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3 New Rules for Rats and Mice

Have you been trying to fight rodents on your own? If so, you may have noticed some changes in what you can buy over the counter. The EPA recently launched several new rules to reduce the risk to non-target organisms from rodenticides. Their main concerns were dangers to children, pets, and wildlife from homeowner misapplication, naturally.

  • Bait stations – All rodenticide bait products marketed over the counter must now be sold as a block or paste bait, and be packaged with an EPA-approved bait station. The biggest change here is bait stations are now required.  That means no more little bags of pellets…this is a very big deal!  Most homeowners don’t use bait stations at all or use pellets that end up spilling out of the stations, which could be very dangerous to non-target organisms. Rats and mice are known hoarders and could stockpile these pellets in undesirable places where children, pets, and other wildlife might find them.  Venus Pest Company always has, and always will, use child and pet resistant bait stations.
  • Bait size limitation – Products marketed to residential consumers may now contain no more than 1 pound of rodenticide bait. On the flip side of this, professional pest control companies now have to buy in quantities of 16 pounds or more. They are making a bigger separation between home use and professional use, so homeowners will not be able to store mass quantities or overuse rodenticides.
  • Active ingredients used – While several rodenticides will still be available to the homeowner market, products marketed to residential consumers will no longer contain the most toxic and persistent active ingredients. Those are the second generation anticoagulants (prevents clotting of blood) brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, and difethialone. Products containing these active ingredients will only be available for commercial use and for residential use only by professional pest control operators. We believe the goal is such that if the homeowner still manages to misapply, the consequences are less catastrophic.

A check on Medscape for the most current data about rodenticide poisonings presents a shocking number of incidents.  In 2009, the AAPCC reported a total of 13,922 incidents of rodenticide exposure to US poison control centers.  Of these, 97% of these were of the second generation anticoagulants as mentioned above.  The outcome of these exposures was generally benign, however 11 of the exposures resulted in major illness, and one death occurred.  Approximately 85% of the rodenticide exposures occurred in children younger than 6 years, thus you can definitely see why these new regulations are warranted.

We could not find any of the reports on wildlife exposure, but the EPA specifically mentioned that there were some poisonings involving protected species.  In particular, the San Joaquin kit fox and Northern spotted owl were listed in addition to the Bald eagle, which is protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Act.

Ultimately, these are good and necessary regulations as they should not affect people’s ability to control rodents at all.  They will simply force them to do it correctly, using an integrated approach.  Such an approach should include exclusion (most important), traps, rodenticide (only outside in tamper proof containers), and habitat modification (removal of bird feeder, heavy foliage, compost piles, etc).  If you don’t think bird feeders attract unwanted critters, look at this photo.

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About Dr. Scott Lingren

President and founder of the best pest control company in the world! Also, for search purposes... the best pest control company in College Station, Texas!