Rat poison, or rodenticide is a category of pest control chemicals intended to kill rodents such as rats and mice.
Rat poison is often used as an effective aid in rat control, however “convincing” the rodents to eat the poison, may take some time and experience.
Rats are suspicious of new objects and generally avoid new foods that can make them ill, because anatomically and neurologically they are incapable of vomiting a contaminated or poisonous substance they ingested. The rat’s first line of defense is to “sample” the food in a very small amount. If it doesn’t make them sick, they will return and eat a bit more of it.
Rats have keen senses of taste and smell– and can detect harmful substances in minute amounts. If something smells or tastes suspicious, they won’t touch it.
Rats are also very intelligent. They are capable of observing and linking the cause and effect of another rat dying after eating a particular food. As a result the whole colony will learn to avoid that food in future. They have also been known to develop resistance to some poisons and ingest them without any serious side effects.
Therefore, to effectively control a rat population, careful monitoring and the simultaneous use of several different rat control methods such as rat poison, rat traps, rat proofing and good sanitation should be used.
Most Common Types of Rat Poison
There are several types of rat poison. The most common are bromethalin, anticoagulants, phosphides, and calciferols.
Rat Poison # 1: Bromethalin
Bromethalin is a neurotoxin that affects cells in the brain and liver. It causes sodium accumulation within cells and results in fluid build-up within the brain. Bromethalin poisoning is fast acting– signs of brain swelling and central nervous system disturbance appear within 2 to 24 hours after ingestion. The swelling compresses nerves, which then lose their ability to send messages to the brain. Bromethalin can kill rats within a few hours following a single ingestion of poison.
Rat Poison # 2: Phosphides
Metal phosphides are frequently used as a rodenticide and are considered single-dose fast acting rat poison. A bait consisting of food and a phosphide (usually zinc phosphide) is left where the rats can eat it. The acid in the digestive system of the rodent reacts with the phosphide to generate the toxic phosphine gas which kills the rodent usually within 1 – 3 days after single bait ingestion.
Rat Poison # 3: Anti-coagulants
Anti-coagulants are common rodenticides that contain chemicals to interfere with blood clotting. Some of the most popular anti-coagulant rat poisons are fumarin and warfarin.
When the rodents begin to bleed internally, there is no vitamin K to induce blood clotting and the rats die due to internal bleeding. One of the shortcomings of this class of rat poisons is that it does not kill the animals instantly, but allows them to return to their nests—which are usually in walls or roof rafters, subfloors or foundations. Rats die and decompose in difficult to reach places and and that often results in a difficult to eradicate odour.
Rat Poison # 4: Calciferols (vitamins D).
This type of rat poison works by affecting the levels of vitamin D and calcium in the body. Ingesting toxic amounts of vitamin D causes hypocalcemia. Hypocalcemia is a condition where calcium levels are raised to a degree where the kidneys, stomach, lungs, blood vessels and heart are all damaged by calcification, or hardening. This process is slow and takes a week to kill the rodent.
Dangers of DIY Pest Control using Rat Poison
Each of these rat poisons is dangerous and should not to be applied without proper tools and knowledge. It is therefore safest to leave it to a professional pest control technician to administer the poison treatment.
Many people think that ingesting rat poison (or mice poison) would cause their dog or cat to vomit. However as some of the rat poisons effect the blood or nervous system or calcium balance, the symptoms are much more subtle and difficult to detect. If any of your pets or a child seems unwell after you put our the rat poison, contact a poison control centre immediately.
OnGuard Pest Control Offers Safe, Yet Effective, Rodent Control
We only use approved rat poison. The poison is never left lying around, but it is administered in specially designed bait stations, not easily accessible to other pets or children. Our Rat Control technicians, know where to put the bait, so to minimise your exposure to the poison and eliminate the rodents as soon as possible.
If you would like us to quickly and safely eliminate rats or mice from your house or place of business, give us a call; or request a call back by filling the form below.