In Queensland, static fumigants are a more popular and safer option for controlling rabbits. Static fumigation is time and cost effective and involves using aluminium phosphide (phosphine) tablets, which are placed into the burrow or hole where rabbits live and then the hole is covered and blocked.
The tablets can be purchased from most agricultural suppliers and are small and round (about the size of a marble), weighing 3g. Always refer to the manufacturer's specific recommendations for use. You will need a fumigator license if you use fumigants on someone else’s property.
To fumigate warrens using phosphine tablets:
- Find all warren entrances - both active and inactive.
- Cut back the warren entrance at right angles using a shovel.
- Separately wrap two tablets in moistened absorbent paper (toilet paper/paper towels).
- Insert the tablets as far down into the entrance as possible. (Polypipe and a push rod can be used to help push the tablets down.)
- Push some scrunched-up newspaper down the hole to block the entrance and then cover it up with soil and, if possible, a rock.
- Treat all entrances to the warren (active and inactive) the same way.
- Check warrens about a week after fumigation and re-fumigate any reopened entrances.
Once in the warren, the moistened tablets react with air to release a toxic gas, which spreads quickly throughout the warren. The phosphine gas itself is invisible and odourless but leakages from the warren can be detected by the smell of ammonia. (This is a safety mechanism that is built into the tablet.) Any leakages need to be blocked immediately.
Pressure fumigation involves forcing gas into a rabbit burrow under pressure by use of a fumigating machine. The chemical used in pressure fumigation is chloropicrin, sold as Larvacide. This chemical is highly toxic to humans and can even be fatal. Because of this, its use is not recommended. If you do choose to use chloropicrin, it is critical that you strictly follow the manufacturer's recommendations regarding appropriate safety equipment. Care should also be taken when handling containers and applicators. Containers should not be carried inside a vehicle.