Termite Inspection Orange County Termite Terry Pest Control

Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, South Orange County, Long Beach Area

Coastal Commission Approves Plan To Use Rodenticides On The Farallon Islands Mice

California’s Coastal Commission voted 5-3 to approve a plan for dropping rodenticide-laced pellets on the Farallon Islands. The goal of this plan is to eradicate all of the non-native house mice that have been wreaking havoc on the Islands’ native species.

The Farallon Islands are located about 30 miles west of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. This National Wildlife Refuge is hosts to the largest nesting seabird colony in the contiguous U.S., including half of the Ashy Storm-Petrels in the world and the largest breeding populations of Brandt’s Cormorants and Western Gulls.

It is believed that the house mice, along with cats and rabbits, were brought to the islands by way of ships in the early 1900s. This is when people were doing egg gathering, building lighthouses, and performing military operations.

The cats and rabbits were removed in the 1970s, but no one ever did anything about the mice.

Mice will eat just about anything. On the islands, they eat the Maritime goldfield (a plant), the endemic Farallon camel cricket, and the Farallon arboreal salamander. This reduced the populations of these native species and further disrupted the island ecosystem. Evidence of mice preying on petrels has also been found.

During the springtime, the house mice can reach plague-like densities of about 490 mice per acre!

Burrowing Owls are among the 400 different species of land birds found on the islands. These owls usually stop to rest here, and then leave a few days later. But with so many mice there to eat, some owls decide to stay. The mice population naturally declines in December and January. That is when some owls will start eating the small storm-petrels. This problem has been documented in studies that showed some 90 percent of owl pellets collected contained storm-petrel remains. Studies also showed that an average of 225 storm-petrels are consumed by the owls, annually.

Researchers believe that if the house mice were no longer present, the owls would have little motivation to stay.

Forty-nine alternatives to solve this problem were considered by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service. It was determined that the broad-scale application of rodenticides was the only proven method to rid an island as large as this of the house mice.

The proposed mice eradication program is quite complicated, and will include numerous measures to help ensure the safety of the island ecosystem.

While not everyone is happy with this decision, it is supported by the National Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy.

The plan is to drop the poisoned bait by helicopter and hand. The airdrop is scheduled to occur in November and December of this year.