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'Rat birth control' developed by Arizona company after menopause study

ContraPest developed by SenesTech aims to stop rodent reproduction by 90 percent

ARIZONA, USA — A love potion for rats now has the hearts of Arizonans plagued with ridding themselves of the rodents, swooning.

“Think of it as rat birth control,” Courtney Ray with Arizona-based SenesTech said.

In 2016, the company developed ContraPest, a product that aimed at stopping the rapid reproduction of rats by as much as 90 percent.

“A lot of what you see on the market to control rats are convention methods. The problem with those tools is that they reduce the population but unless they get all the rats, you’re going to always have the survivors that can reproduce,” Ray said.

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The product started with research into menopause at the University of Arizona. At one point it was known as “Mouseopause.”

The product which has undergone plenty of testing has received lots of love from the Environmental Protection Agency, which has declared ContraPest not harmful to humans or other animals.

With the ability to produce thousands of offspring a year, the product doesn’t kill rodents, just their ability to multiply.

The ability to humanely stop rats and rodents is an important aspect for Kim Meagher, founder of Wildhorse Animal Rescue in Gilbert.

“We believe all lives matter, and the poisons from many products can seriously hurt animals,” she said.

Meagher has been using the product since 2017 after she said rats and rodents were inundating her ranch.

“You know I know there’s birth control for horses, was there something for rodents,” she asked.  

The bait comes in a container, which is then loaded onto a platform and then placed in a box, where the rodents can come to drink over and over again.

The company said the “milkshake for rats” tastes sweet and very attractive, and targets the reproductive system of both male and female rodents.

"Typically within 15 days the rats are completely infertile," Ray said.

The company has also developed an elevation station for roof rats, who typically wreak havoc in elevated areas, and are typically attracted by citrus and fruit trees.

Ray said rats are creatures of habit and will typically go wherever they can find a source of food.

She encourages homeowners not to make it easy for them.

"Roof rats are much more secretive and hidden. So you're less likely to know that you have a roof rat problem until it becomes a big problem," she said.

ContraPest is already being used in cities across America like San Francisco and Washington D.C.

The company said the product is a long-term solution that has to be used monthly in order to see the best results.

Meagher said after nearly a year her mischief of rats had disappeared for good.

Ray said the average cost for the product is around $30.00 for a monthly supply and is now more widely available to homeowners.

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