When you have a rat infestation that is getting out of control, it is time to turn to using rat poison. Poison should always be your last resort – but how do you use rat poison safely? In this article, we’ll go through how you can use and feel confident you’re minimizing the main risks.
Some rat poisons are more potent that others. As a general rule, we recommend you start with a standard first-generation anti-coagulant type rat poison. This will help to minimize the risk to children and also to pets and wildlife.
How to Handle And Store Rat Poison
Always keep you rat poison it its original container – that way it can never be confused with anything else. Most containers are tamper-proof, and you should make sure you store your poison out of reach of pets or children.
When handling rat poison, always use unscented disposable gloves. This doesn’t just help keep the poison off your hands, it also keeps your human scent off the poison. Any trace of human scent makes the poison much less desirable to rodents.
Where To Put Rat Poison
Take some time to scope out where the rats have been active recently. The best places to put rat poison are places that are only accessible to rodents. This way you minimize the risk of pets or children finding and consuming the poison.
Thankfully, rodents also like to hide away from humans if possible. Wall spaces, enclosed roof spaces, crawl spaces and the suchlike all make good places to put rat poison. Remember you should place the poison only where you have reason to believe the rats are present – so pay attention to signs of rodent activity – droppings or chewing damage are the most obvious.
You should ideally use a bait station wherever you place rat poison, but this is especially important if you are using it in a garage or other open area. Bait stations are best places against the wall, as rodents often like to run along walls rather than in open spaces. The EPA has published a guide to choosing a bait station here
When choosing a bait station, you should look for one that is both child and pet proof. You also want to use a poison block that can be firmly secured into the bait station using a rod. This will prevent rodents from removing the poison from the bait station and potentially leaving it out in the open where children and pets can reach it.
What To Expect
It’s important to understand how rat poison works. Many people assume that it will kill rats instantly, which is untrue. Poison is specifically designed to kill the rat over several days for safety reasons – otherwise if a pet or child consumed it, they would also die instantly.
Most rat poisons take between 2-5 days to kill a rat, and many will require the rat to eat the poison multiple times. This is completely normal, and you should expect to refill your bait stations every 24hrs. Remember, the poison has been designed to be appealing to rodents! If they are eating it – it’s a good thing!
Dispose of Dead Rats
While rat poison is obviously poisonous to animals who consume it, people often forget that the carcasses of rodents who have consumed it can also themselves be poisonous. We have covered the is topic on more detail in another article.
This phenomenon is called secondary poisoning, and it can affect both wildlife and pets. You should always keep an eye out for any dead rodents, and dispose of them in the trash. Not only with this prevent your house from smelling if they rot, it’ll also stop pets and other animals from consuming rodent remains.