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Rat poison is a drastic solution, often used when the infestation becomes very violent, and when something quick and immediate is required. A powerful rat poison, in fact, can help you defeat the invasion of these pests in a short time, but it is certainly not a toy.
There are guidelines and precautions to follow when choosing to use a topicid such as zinc phosphide or rodenticides such as bromadiolone and poisoning rats. That’s why today we’re going to explain to you in detail how to choose these products, how they work, how to use them safely and many other useful information.
Types of Mouse Poisons
There are different types of rat poison, although there are basically two factors that allow us to divide them into categories: the composition of the product and its effects. On the basis of these two elements, the topicide can prove to be more or less lethal, and more or less fast in execution.
Moreover, you should know from now on that we often refer to rat poisons with the term rodenticides or ratticides: in any case, it does not change the basic meaning, that is the fact that they are intended to kill the rodent. Below we will go into the two main categories of rat poison in order to explain exactly how they differ.
Acute Rat Poisons
Acute Tophodoids are highly lethal and very powerful poisons, which aim to kill the rat in the shortest possible time. Typically, depending on the option chosen, these rodenticides kill the rodent in less than 24 hours, as they produce immediate and irreversible damage. Here you should know that this is a very dangerous solution, precisely because of their rapid effect. It is no coincidence that we are talking about professional rat poisons, many of which can only be sold to those with a professional pest control licence.
Of course, there are also acute poisons available for purchase without a licence, and here it is important to check that the CE (European Communion) mark is present. Remember, however, that these are very dangerous products and always require a conscious use. In any case, we will tell you about this later on, because now we are going to study which are the different products currently on the market.
- Zinc phosphide: this is an acute, powdered poison for mice, to be handled with extreme caution. This is because phosphide is a lethal element, which acts in a few minutes by hitting the stomach. To date, there are no known remedies for zinc phosphide poisoning, which can also be fatal to humans and pets.
- ANTU: ANTU is another acute topicide, only this time we are talking about a product that causes pulmonary edema and respiratory disorders. Also in this case the death of the mouse is very rapid, even if not like phosphide, since it arrives in about 3 hours. It is a very dangerous substance for man, as it is carcinogenic.
- Alfacloralose: it is one of the most “gentle” rat poisons, in the sense that it kills the mouse without causing it pain. This is due to the fact that alphachloralose affects the rodent’s nervous system, narcotizing it and leading it to hypothermia.
- In reality there are also other examples of acute and rapid poison mice, such as red scilla, sodium monofluoroacetate (illegal in Italy), normorbide and so on. In any case, these products are more dangerous than the others: in some cases they cannot be sold in our country, in others they can only be purchased by licensed professionals.
Pros and Cons of Acute Poisons
The advantage of an acute topicid is obvious: being extremely fast, it kills the mouse or rat in a few hours, forcing it to stop its pest activities in a very short time. It must be said, however, that this type of poison has also some equally evident disadvantages: first of all, its rapidity renders it very dangerous, because it can cause serious damages not only to the mice, but also to the domestic animals and to the human beings, in case of ingestion. Then, we talk about poisons for which there are no antidotes and, even when, they are so fast that the physical time for administering them would be missing.
Secondly, it should be specified that rodenticides of this type rarely manage to attract mice on their own. This is because these are very clever animals, which tend to discard lethal and fast-acting baits right from the start. The reason is very simple: when a rodent sees a mate swallow a bait and die, it realizes that it is poison and will not touch it. As a result, the products in question can cause the death of several rats in a few hours, but they are unlikely to eradicate the entire infestation. And then, being really very dangerous, this particular type of powerful rat poison should never be used in inhabited areas or frequented by people or other animals. This also explains why the use of these substances is increasingly rare in Italy.
Chronic Mouse Poisons
When it comes to rodenticides, there is a second family of rat poisons on the list of lethal products, and these are chronic ones. This type of rodenticide shares some characteristics with the products described above, but it also has clear differences.
Both in terms of action time and in terms of effects caused to the mouse. In this particular case, we are talking about poisons with anticoagulant action such as bromadiolone, the blue bagged rat poison that we have already told you about in our guide on rat baits.
If you’re wondering how this rat poison works, here’s the answer: Basically, rat poison contains a substance that interferes with the epoxide-reductase enzyme, the purpose of which is to promote vitamin K production. By breaking down the production of this vitamin, the product prevents blood clotting, causing a series of internal chain haemorrhages lethal to the rodent. It is not an immediate action ratticide, therefore, but a slow-release solution, which causes the death of the mouse within 3-5 days (sometimes up to 10 days).
In this regard, it should be noted that there are several chronic rodenticides, which differ according to their chemical composition, sometimes very different. On the contrary, the action of these products is always the same: they hit the liver, inhibiting the production of vitamin K, and causing a series of haemorrhages that will then lead to the death of the animal. In addition, it must also be specified that there are chronic first- and second-generation topicides.
First Generation Chronic Poisons
Their “discovery” and first use dates back to the 1920s, and they are not very effective products today. It is no coincidence that they have been enhanced leading to the development of second-generation chronic poisons. An example is given by Wafarin, which later became super-Wafarin (the current bromadiolone, to be precise). In addition to Wafarin, other examples of first-generation chronic poisons are as follows:
- Pival or Pindone;
Some of these substances are not very attractive and not very powerful (low toxicity), with the risk of generating the opposite effect in the mouse: poison resistance.
Second Generation Chronic Poisons
They are more powerful and more advanced than the first generation. Especially because they prove to be effective against all breeds of mice present in Italy, from rattus rattus to rattus norvegicus. Here below we give you a list of the second generation poisons present on the market, with their pros and cons.
Bromadiolone: also known as super-Wafarin, bromaldiolone is without a doubt the best rat poison currently on the market. This is because it has several advantages: it has a higher palatability than the others, and just one intake is enough to cause bleeding in the mouse. Secondly, it has an excellent resistance to water (low solubility) and tends to degrade slowly in contact with the ground. On the other hand, it has a very slow action time, but this can also become an advantage (we will see in a little while).
Brodifacoum: the chronic topicid with the highest toxicity value. It must be said, however, that it is not very attractive for mice, and can be dangerous for pets. On the other hand, it does not dissolve in water and does not degrade on the ground. If used with caution, it undoubtedly proves to be one of the best performing chronic poisons. How does this rat poison work? By causing dehydration and pushing the mouse to drink more water. The greater quantities of liquid, however, increase the permeability of blood vessels, aggravating internal bleeding.
Clearly there are many other second-generation products, such as Flocoumafen and Difethialone, but Brodifacoum and Bromadiolone are the two most widely used.
Chronic Poisons With Amaricant
Bitterness (like Bitrex) is an additive substance capable of adding a bitter taste to bait, and is used in some chronic poisons to make them unwelcome to pets and children.
However, in spite of this addition, you should be careful and place the bait in safe places not reachable by dogs, cats and children. On the other hand, products with bitterant are preferable, because they clearly reduce the danger of ingestion by pets in the house and garden.
Pros and Cons of Chronic Poisons
A chronic rat poison has many pros, along with some drawbacks. First of all, it is a slow release product, as mentioned, which means that it will take a few days of patience and constant monitoring of the environment. Mice, when they swallow these baits and suffer the first pains, tend to look for a shelter to protect themselves, which means that you will probably have to go and check every corner of the house to find and dispose of the bodies.
On the other hand, the relative slowness of these rodenticides has its advantages: the other mice won’t realize what’s happening, because they won’t be able to link those baits to the death of their companions, since death won’t happen immediately. As a result, you will be able to exterminate many mice without fear of them realizing what is killing them. In other words, if your house suffers from a rather massive infestation, it is the number one solution.
As far as the disadvantages are concerned, consider that these types of topicidas have a lower degree of toxicity than acute poisons anyway. This means that the mouse will still have to ingest enough product to trigger the anticoagulant effect. Also for this reason, some producers have launched on the market slow release poisons seasoned with other substances, such as flour and sugar. All with the aim of making them more appetizing, and to push the mouse to consume the entire dose contained in the sachet.
When and How to Use Mouse Poison
The rat poison is a resolutive product, but also powerful, so it requires great caution during use. First of all it is the case to say that it should not be used in environments frequented by children and pets, such as dogs and cats. In fact, the ingestion of these products is lethal even for human beings. In these cases it is better to use a mouse trap or ultrasound for mice, which can prove to be a very effective and risk-free solution for children and pets in the house. Products with bitterant, however, prove to be safer than others.
Secondly, rat poisons such as rodenticides and various topicides also require a lot of attention when using them in open spaces such as the garden or the countryside. Because they can poison dogs and cats, as well as the various predators that presumably frequent those plots of land. In addition, it is advisable to always handle the sachets with care, to prevent them from opening and spreading dust around. It is best to use a pair of rubber gloves, so as to protect yourself from any residue on your hands. Moreover, the use of gloves is also recommended to avoid leaving our smell on the bait, as mice are very cunning animals. Obviously you should always read the information booklet, following the instructions given by the manufacturer.
Here it is good to give you an important piece of information: the poison for mice in sachets should always be used in combination with a topicid bait dispenser, or a container specially created for this purpose.
The reason? By doing so, you will further reduce the risk of poisoning pets and children, so for safety reasons. This is because the bait dispensers or containers are made to fit mice, so they prevent other larger animals from entering. The dispenser is necessary if the poison purchased is in the form of dehulled grain, while the container is excellent if you use sachets or squares.
So when should you use them? Our advice is to use the poison x mice when you have to disinfest an area of the house not frequented, such as the cellar, the attic or the garage. These products are also excellent when it comes to disinfesting the sheds in the countryside and houses or villas that have been uninhabited for some time, and the same goes for glue for mice. We, for example, have used both solutions for our country house (only for interiors), obtaining great results. In inhabited houses you should choose only the poisons with bitterante, but be careful.
Poisons, Poisoning and Safety
Given that it is always essential to use these products following what the information booklet recommends, it is good to understand how to act in case of poisoning. If this unfortunate situation arises, you should call 188 immediately and clearly indicate the active ingredient used by the poison in question. The same applies to animals such as dogs and cats, as you will need to contact a vet and tell him what the active ingredient is. Usually, to combat poisoning from chronic products, you take the vitamin K capsules, which are necessary to combat the anti-coagulant effect of poisons.