The use of rodenticide in controlling rat and mice populations can be a controversial topic. On one side of the argument, environmental advocates are concerned about the impact of rodenticide on non-target species and the ecosystem. On the other, pest management advocates desire to keep rodenticide as a tool to provide effective control of rodent populations to homeowners and commercial sites.

So, what do you need to know before starting rat or mice extermination on your property?

1. The Use of Rodenticide is Regulated:

All rodenticides available for use by homeowners and certified pest control operators are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This means that the EPA monitors how those rodenticide interacts with the environment and their long term affects by performing periodic safety reviews of the rodenticides available. Based on those safety reviews, the EPA will make changes to enhance safety (i.e. the removal of several d-CON products from the consumer market).

So whether you agree with government regulation or not, there are checks/balances in place to encourage the safe use of rodenticides.

2. The Rodenticide Label is the Law:

Each rodenticide available has instructions for use listed on its label. These instructions let applicators know what species can be treated with the rodenticide, where it can be applied, how often it can be applied, etc. These instructions are FEDERAL LAW and must be followed.

Untrained use of rodenticide or failure to follow the label’s instructions are often the cause of unnecessary risk to non-target species.

3. Secondary Poisoning of Companion Animals is Rare:

If rodenticide is handled with care and applied according to the label, pets will have difficulty accessing the rodenticide. It should never be applied loose or be exposed where pets have access, but rather it should be secure in tamper resistant bait stations to avoid direct access. This will limit the risk of non-target poisoning of companion animals or wildlife.

Since most pets do not consume rodents, the chances of secondary poisoning are low. Capturing an affected rat or mouse will not transfer the rodenticide to the pet. The rodent would need to be fully consumed for such a transfer to occur. Most manufacturers can provide case study data relating to secondary poisoning of the rodenticide that they produce. If you have concerns about secondary poisoning, ask you pest control provider for more information about the products they use on your property.