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Innovative CO2 Rodent Control: A Sustainable Solution 

by Nic Ellis

For healthcare facilities, pest control is critically important to keep everyone on its campuses safe from the diseases — and damage — rodents can bring. If rodent populations are not being dealt with properly, they can spread illnesses inside the building. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they can transmit – directly and indirectly – more than 30 diseases, including Hantavirus, salmonellosis, and tularemia. 

Rodents can also do structural damage to a building by gnawing through electrical wires, water pipes, support beams, and sheet rock. To get into a building, rats are capable of penetrating openings the size of a quarter – and mice can enter a hole the width of a dime. Both mice and rats can sneak in the doors and windows opened by your staff and patients or through service and delivery doors used on a regular basis. Once established inside, rodents are likely to migrate unseen throughout a building, leaving structural damage, waste products and potentially harmful conditions everywhere they go.

At the same time, healthcare facilities are looking for pest control solutions that are safe for humans, sustainable, and don’t significantly disrupt the critical operations needed to serve patients every day. There has been a relatively recent development in pest control that uniquely fits the needs of healthcare facilities called the IGI Carbon Dioxide (CO ) treatment. The new approach utilizes pesticidal carbon dioxide to target and eliminate rat populations. It’s an environmentally responsible solution that pest control professionals can use in confined spaces. Not only that, but it’s proven to be an extremely reliable and effective option. The reason IGI CO is so effective is that rodents don’t sense it when the pesticide reaches them. It’s a colorless, odorless gas that eliminates rodents because their respiratory systems are sensitive to elevated carbon dioxide levels. That’s why it can only be used in confined spaces like rodent tunnels and burrows – the IGI CO deprives the rats of oxygen which causes them to suffocate in a relatively short amount of time without causing any unnecessary suffering.

Even though IGI CO is being used outdoors and applied in tunnels, it doesn’t contribute to air or water pollution, and it doesn’t leave any type of residue in the soil. In fact, the USDA National Organic Program certified it for use in pest management programs and it’s approved for use in public spaces, residential, commercial, and field settings. IGI CO can be used next to occupied buildings because it’s perfectly safe for humans and pets, and there isn’t any noise when pest control professionals are applying the treatment. The pesticide is 99.9% carbon dioxide and there is no smoke when it’s applied, which is why the gas is considered a more sustainable approach than other pest control methods.

In addition to rats, IGI CO can also be used to treat voles, ground hogs, and moles (all of which occupy tunnels and burrows) if those are an issue near your healthcare facility. As stated earlier, it is critical for healthcare facilities to maintain a clean environment for employees, patients, and visitors. By keeping rodent control on your radar, and even more so – a sustainable control option, healthcare facilities can not only better protect their reputation in the medical field, but also the staff and patients they care for. 

With that, IGI CO is a sustainable, eco-friendly pest control method that more healthcare facilities should consider for controlling the rat population in a more humane way while also keeping employees and patients safe. Facility managers should work with their pest management professional to determine if IGI CO is the right solution to fold into their Integrated Pest Management programs. 

Dr. Ellis is a Board Certified Entomologist with Western Pest Services, a New Jersey-based pest management company serving businesses and homeowners in major Northeastern markets.