Mice and Rats
We have mice in our house and rats in our barn.
The mice are mainly an issue as the weather changes and we go through lots of traps each winter. If tried plugging up areas of access but it's an old farm house so there are probably plenty of other avenues still. We have a toddler in the house and I'm quite leary about using poison. Does the poison pass into their urine and feces? I was reading some poison labels and it says it takes 4 to 5 days to kill them. I don't really like the idea of them suffering for several days but my primary concern is the health and safety of my family.
The rats in our barn go after the horse feed. We have a cat in the barn but not one big enough to take down the rats. It does an okay job on the mice in the barn. So again the same questions apply about poison and also traps are an issue because of not wanting to hurt the cat.
It's only August and already we are seeing evidence of mice in the house so I was hoping to get some advice on this issue before the weather really starts to change.
We live on the waterfront of a farm, and when the weather starts to turn cool, here they come...rats and mice, but mostly mice. Our crawlspace is "tightly enclosed" to keep most animals out, but they tunnel under the foundation.
We built this house in 1977, and I solved our rat and mouse problem many years ago. I keep D-Con out in the enclosed crawlspace most of the year (except summer) on plastic plates or old tv dinner trays (to prevent ground moisture from ruining the pellets). The pests eat it, and 99% of them die under the house and we never even smell them.
If they get out from under the house and die in the yard, a cat or other animal could get killed by eating their carcass, however. Traps would have to do in the barn, I guess.
I think that if you can avoid using the poison, you would be better off. As Mike said, the dead carcass can prove hazardous to other animals, so if you are using it in a barn, it is very likely the dead carcasses will come in contact with other animals. Depending on the poison some work by dehydrating the mouse and then killing them as soon as they drink water, so these ones are even worse, because the dead mouse/rat will end up near the water supply.
I don't know how well they work for rats, but I have had good luck with the sticky traps. They are a little gross, but at least you don't have to worry about contaminating your other animals.
Good rodent control begins with thorough inspections. Look for these ten signs: droppings (feces); tracks; gnawing damage; burrows; runways; grease marks (from their coats); urine stains (use a blacklight); live or dead rodents; and rodent odors. You'll want to place your traps or bait boxes on the rodent runways, or where there is a preponderence of droppings. Using a black light to check for rodent urine is important, because it cannot be seen otherwise, and you'd probably want to know if one urinated on your toothbrush. It is important to block off every entrance hole you can find, both in the barn and house. Rats can get through a hole the size of a quarter and a mouse can enter through a nickel-sized hole. Areas to inspect: plumbing penetrations, soffits, foundation vent screens, attic for any outside light shining through, your yard for rat burrows. Also, it is important to keep your barn floor as clean of feed as possible. If you're going to use baits, I would suggest contrac bait blocks in lockable bait stations--one placed on each side of your barn. For mice, tin cats (live catch) are effective, although you will have to take the mice 2 to 3 miles away to release. Glue boards are good also if you don't mind the squeeking, and then of course, you have the ever faithful snap traps. One more point. Most rodenticides today are anti-coagulants. Rodents die over a couple of days without pain. They slowly weaken and die, not associating their weakness with the bait. Hope this helps.
There are many feral cat programs that spay or neuter and vaccinate cats that they can place in your barn. These are cats that are used to fending for themselves but arent in a safe area. The different groups relocate them to safer areas. Just another option to your rodent problem.
One site is www.barncats.org I believe there are links to other similar programs.
...And of course there's always cats. Barn owls do a good job also. There are plenty of control techniques available, but the important thing is to not waste time choosing one because the weather will be cooling down soon, and rodents like to stay warm just like humans do. Also, they are prolific breeders.
I had rat problems for years. It seems that the traps only pissed them off, so I have had to resort to the poison. As long as I keep the poison hid in certan places, no more rats.
The poison you are looking at that takes 4 to 5 days to kill would be Diaphacinone
What you need is the active ingredient Brodificoum which kills in about 24 hours
If it is Brodificoum that you are talking about then the instructions are giving you the approximate time for rats to start dying once they take the bait which can sometimes takes a few days
Modern rodenticides have Ipecac added to lessen the chance of non target exposure to the poison
rats can not throw up but cat's dogs and kids can
Pesticides killing power is based on milligrams per kilograms of active ingredient
It takes a milligram of active ingredient per kilogram of body weight to work
If you look at the percentage of active ingredient in a product you will see that a very small amount of AI is available for pets or kids to eat
Baits are formulated to be attractive to the target pest
What will entice a rat will not even be noticed by a cat or kid and unless you are letting the child wallow in large amounts of fecal material or urine he is not going to come in contact with enough AI to even register
Te effect would be less than if they licked an aspirin which has the same blood thinning effect that the coumidin based rodenticides have
Te chance of secondary poison are minuscule and the amount that would be ingested would not have any adverse health effects
The poison would have to be intentionally ingested and then the biggest issue would be the vomiting that is the safety vale built into the product
Lastly the antidote for poisoning is Vitamin K which is found in pet food
This and the regurgitation issue is why cats are 90 times more resistant to brodificoum and dogs are 50 times more resistant
A child would not even come in contact with the product with the minimal amount of expected supervision of a child young enough to eat rat poop on purpose
In other words
poison the rats forget the traps they are not effective with heavy infestations
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