Rodents have survived for millions of years and have co-existed with humans since our beginnings. Still, the mention of rats or mice gives most people shivers. Rodents contaminate food, damage property, and can spread diseases.
They are intelligent animals, which can make them extremely challenging to trap. Before you decide on a method to get rid of rodents, make sure you have all the facts – and before you settle on rodenticides, let us look at why you should choose a toxin-free rodent control method.
Handling rodent poisons
Rodenticides are highly toxic and safety standards surrounding them are lacking. There are several types of rodenticides, but second-generation anticoagulants are the most toxic. These “super” rodenticides work by blocking the vitamin K needed for blood clotting. Ingesting even a small amount of rodenticides can cause serious health problems.
The EPA has also warned of health risks from breathing the dust and fine particles when using rodenticides. Using non-toxic rodent control methods lets you avoid wearing a mask, using eye protection, and worrying about contamination from handling the product. Rodenticides should also be stored in tightly-sealed containers that can’t spill and contaminate surrounding areas and need to be safe from curious young children and pets.
Symptoms of rodenticide exposure can take days depending on the type of poison and amount ingested. Symptoms can include nosebleeds, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, bleeding gums and more. Ultimately, a non-toxic control method allows you to avoid all of these potential contamination problems. It's not just the handler of rodenticides that is at risk; the safety of pets, wildlife, and children should be considered too.
Protecting your pets
Anyone who has ever owned a cat or dog knows they are curious and can get into all kinds of places, which is why rodenticide poisoning in cats – and dogs – is common. Dogs are notorious for getting into things they are not supposed to, and finding out your pet has eaten rat poison is an extremely urgent matter. Non-toxic rodent control methods can help decrease poison exposure to your pets. It should be noted that snap traps and glue boards can also introduce dangers to pets and non-targeted wildlife when not set up without a plan, so be careful to put them out of reach of little paws!
Avoiding harm to children
Rodenticides are highly poisonous and usually brightly colored. It’s not a surprise then that they are often mistaken by children for candy. If poisons are used, make sure that they are inaccessible to children. Children commonly explore in places adults may not think of, keep this in mind and take precautions to minimize exposure. While we don’t recommend using rodenticides, if you choose to, it’s always a good idea to talk to your children about staying away from these poisons.
Since barns are often plagued by rats and mice it is often necessary to take steps to eliminate them from the area. Rodenticides may seem like a quick and easy solution. However, many are grained-based and can be attractive to horses and other livestock. It is extremely important to keep rodenticides away from barn areas where animals are housed, or near fences where livestock can access it. Rodenticides should always be kept in a tightly-sealed spill-proof container.
Environment and wildlife
Toxins in the environment
Rodenticides are not only a danger to children, pets, and livestock, but can harm the environment as well. What do you do with the rodenticide that is not eaten by the rodents? This is a valid question as most of the time rodent poison is scattered around without containers. Rain and wind break down the bait, enabling passage of the raw poison into the soil.
When poison gets into the soil, there is a chance of poisoning on earthworms and other insects. It can also get into streams, rivers, and lakes, which can lead to poisoning of fish and other marine inhabitants. The presence of rodenticides in water and soil could also pose a risk to drinking water and food grown in the contaminated soil.
Rodenticides can also impact the food chain. You may not want rodents around, but they play a significant role by being a source of food for other animals. Birds that feed on rats and mice as prey such as hawks, owls, and eagles.
Large carnivores, foxes, wild cats, snakes, and wolves also feed on rodents. When you poison rodents, the predators face the risk of secondary poisoning. Many of these species are endangered and exposing them to rodenticides adds another challenge to their survival.
So is rat poison really worth the risk?
How to safely eliminate rodents
Cut off their food supply
The first step in eliminating rodents in a safe manner is cutting off their food supply. Rodents enter your house or barn in search of food, don't provide it for them. Store your food in rodent-proof, tightly closed containers. Do not leave food spills on counters and floors. Seal your trash cans to prevent rodents from getting inside. Also, do not throw away food in the yard intending to feed wildlife as this can attract rats and mice. Lastly, ensure that cracks and holes around your home are sealed for prevention of rodents accessing your home.
Understand your landscape
Rodents find shelter in bushes and shrubs on your property. Other plants such as ivy and grass provide shelter not only for rodents but also for slugs and snails. When ivy is climbing on a wall, it forms a ladder for rodents to get to the attic, window, or ceiling. After cutting grass or trimming trees, keep them away from buildings as they act as rodents’ hiding places.
If you have firewood, keep it off the ground away from structures to avoid creating shelter for rodents. Outdoor cooking areas and grills should be cleaned after use to not attract rodents looking for food. Do not leave water and pet food outdoors overnight. Pet food should be stored in sealed containers inside the house.
Use humane rat & mice traps
While snap traps, buckets, and glue boards are non-toxic rodent control methods – they aren't always effective and can cause a lot of suffering for rats and mice. Snap traps don't always snag their targets and can leave them injured and maimed and glue traps are incredibly cruel.
The Goodnature A24 Rat & Mouse Trap
The A24 Rat & Mouse Traps uses safe, non-toxic lure without the use of any poisons. The trap also eliminates the need to reset after every strike, and reduce exposure to rodents. When rats or mice enter the A24, they are quickly and humanely dispatched. When used outside, scavengers can clean up the remains after a rodent is quickly and humanely killed. Because no poisons are involved, there is not a danger to the environment and other animals. It is a h3 alternative to rodenticides that is safe, easy, and automatic.
While rodenticides are a cheap alternative to non-toxic trapping, the cons below heavily outweigh the pros.
- Rodenticides are dangerous to humans, pets and non-targeted wildlife
- Rodenticides can be harmful to the environment
- Rodenticides can contaminate food supplies when used near crops or vegetable gardens.
- Rodenticides are a non-humane way to eliminate rats and cause unnecessary pain and suffering to the rodents.