Pulsing is a strategy for baiting or trapping in which the control isn’t continuous, but is carried out intensively typically four times per year for 4-6 weeks.
Pulsing strikes a good balance between effectiveness and volunteer fatigue. In the case of using poison bait, it also reduces toxicity in the environment. It can be nearly as effective as continuous control if carried out with high enough intensity and coordinated over a wide area.
Community groups will usually find it is easier to get publicity for pulsing campaigns, than for continuous ones. A continuous campaign stops being ‘newsworthy’ after about the first month, but local media will often continue to report each pulse starting.
Pulsing must be timed to coincide across a large area, otherwise pests from the areas where the pulse wasn’t carried out will re-invade the areas where it was. For example, pulsing is unlikely to be effective in an isolated property.
Ideal times (ANJA)
The ideal times to carry out pulsing are widely agreed to be August, November, January and April – an acronym commonly referred to as ANJA.
The follow paragraphs explain why those months are important.
At the end of winter there is less food available, so baits and lures are more attractive simply because there are fewer alternatives on offer. Trap boxes and bait stations provide shelter too. While the absolute catch numbers may be low compared to April, this is the pulse with the biggest impact on the relative rat population.
At the same time this helps cutting down the rat population prior to native wildlife starting to breed in spring.
Rat population is typically the highest towards the end of summer. Which makes is more likely to catch higher numbers.
- Nov / Jan
Rats start reproducing at the age of 3-5 months. Having four pulses per year ensures each rat has a chance to find a trap or bait station before they breed.
Pulsing in The Urban Rat Project
The Urban Rat Project can send reminders on several different schedules selected by users, one of which is ANJA pulses. Reminders are sent on Fridays according to our schedule.