Rodent Mitigation Program Underway at Laurel

Horsemen based at Laurel Park may notice an increase in the rat population, but that’s part of a current rodent mitigation project being handled by Innovative Pest Management of Beltsville, Md.

The company, which recently began the project, said it plans to dust active rat burrows with tracking powder along exterior areas of barns and use dry ice and newspaper in burrows inside or near stalls. It will also employ about 160 traps throughout the barn area. The initial placement of materials took about five days and will be followed by regular checkups once a week.

Maryland Jockey Club Director of Facilities Rick Allen said an increase in visible rats is because rather than using poison, the company is targeting their burrows.

“They spray a powder in the burrows, and when the rats go in, they get the powder on them,” Allen said. “It kills their offspring, and when they lick the powder off, they die.”

Erin McElwee, MJC Facilities Administrative Manager, said the treatments will not hurt horses or cats. The company said it doesn’t recommend use of pelleted rodenticides because they could end up being consumed by a horse.

The company’s chief executive officer and entomologist plan to visit the Laurel barn area Nov. 12 to troubleshoot and if necessary make additional recommendations.

Horsemen are advised to keep the inside and outside of barns clean and carefully store feed. Allen said damaged floors in some feed rooms have been identified and will be replaced with concrete, and that others will be addressed if needed.

“If everybody is patient, in a few weeks to a month they will see a nice change,” Allen said.

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