The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



eradication of rodents that are sources or carriers of communicable diseases (plague, tularemia, and leishmaniasis) and that cause economic losses. Deratization is conducted against mass species of rodents, predominantly of the families Muridae (rats and mice) and Cricetidae (gerbils, voles, and hamsters) that live in inhabited areas, on ships and airplanes, in deserts, steppes, and forests.

There are two types of deratization: prophylactic and exterminatory. Prophylactic deratization is directed toward depriving rodents of food, drink, and places for building burrows and nests. Toward this end, food products and their wastes are kept in drawers, bins, and cupboards. Windows in basement premises are glassed in or covered with finemeshed metallic screening. Apertures around entry points of electric, gas, water, sewage, and heating conduits are carefully plugged. Ventilating and other openings are covered with metallic screening, and rat runs are cemented or filled with broken glass.

Exterminatory deratization is obligatory for all enterprises and institutions and must be conducted year-round. It is performed by the prophylactic sections of regional or municipal sanitation-epidemiological stations (SES), on ships by the waterway or port SES, and on animal-breeding farms by the veterinary service. When there are increased numbers of murine rodents, occupying over 50 percent of the populated area, thorough deratization takes place twice a year (February-March and September). Selective deratization is performed when there is frequent infestation of a populated place. In accordance with international agreements, deratization is obligatory on all ships.

Biological, chemical, and mechanical methods (traps and crushers) are used in deratization. The biological method is based on the use of animals (cats, dogs, and others) and bacterial cultures. The most common method is chemical. Widely used are zookumarin, ratindan, zinc phosphide, and α-naphthylthiourea. Field rodents are exterminated predominantly in the spring, when, owing to insufficient food (fresh vegetation), they readily take bait containing poison or a bacterial culture. In deratization of loaded marine vessels, gas methods (fumigation) are also used—for example, hydrocyanic acid, methyl bromide, and sulfur dioxide.


Vashkov, V. I. Dezinfektsiia, dezinsektsiia i deratizatsiia. Moscow, 1956.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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