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Old 09-20-2010, 08:48 PM   #1
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Is Tomcat mouse poison worth a darn?


I've been using Tomcat brand mouse poison (green blocks) out in my shed for a while but they just keep bellying up to the buffet! Do I have mice that are immune to the stuff, or is it possible I just have a steady stream of soon to be deceased customers?

I doubt the latter for the following reason: The little buggers like to live in the engine housing of my lawn tractor. Almost every week when I roll it out of the shed one of them jumps out and runs away when I start it. Last week after I stopped by the garage shortly after starting it, two pinkies rolled out onto the driveway. So, obviously, Mama was holed up in there for a while.

Anyway, I'm tired of periodically rewiring the tractor after they gnaw the wires. My snap traps just get licked clean. I'm going to try the peanut butter in a cheesecloth bag tied to the trigger; Thanks PABugman!

Any other thoughts?

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Old 09-22-2010, 12:36 PM   #2
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Is Tomcat mouse poison worth a darn?


As I stated in my original post, the mice in my shed were able to clean the cheese or peanut butter off the traditional wood snap traps I used.

Yesterday in Home Depot I saw something new. It was a white plastic snap trap made by Ortho. They are "one touch to set". The bait does not go on the trigger. The bait goes in a little cup that is surrounded by a plastic (and spiked!!!) shoe plate that serves as the trigger mechanism.

They are $4 for a pair vice $2 for a pair of the old type.

But it was priceless to find two dead mice this morning before leaving for work! I'm hooked!

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Old 09-22-2010, 01:14 PM   #3
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Is Tomcat mouse poison worth a darn?


Those new traps do sound like fun! I looked at Tomcat today in Walmart and the active ingredient is Bromodialone. That is a very good ingredient, 2nd generation anticoagulant, single feed. Are you finding crumbs from the bait with mouse droppings present? If not, something else may be eating it.

Things to think about:

1) Even though it's single feed, if a lot of mice are present, maybe you need to put out more at one time.

2) Other things that eat rodenticide: slugs (Leave no crumbs, leave smooth, round edges on the blocks, sometimes shiny from their slime). Ants, roaches, crickets will eat the bait harmlessly. Crickets will leave black droppings resembling mouse droppings. Also, opossums, raccoons, sometimes squirrels will eat the bait. Opossums can consume A LOT before they die, if they die.

3) Place rodenticide in a tray, dish, or a vapor barrier underneath to preserve the bait longer. Sometimes the blocks have a small hole in them for wire so that you can keep the bait in place, so it doesn't get dragged away. I will use insulation stays (wire- 16" or 24") to wedge into crawl spaces, pipe chases, etc. You can keep the bait off the dirt and keep it from getting pushed out. If insects are eating your bait, maybe you need to elevate the bait. Put out some glue traps to monitor what else may be in the shed.

4) Make a bait station for the exterior, so they get a dose before they even get in. You can buy large black plastic exterior stations at Tractor Supply, or you can make your own, in the spirit of diy.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-22-2010, 04:35 PM   #4
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Is Tomcat mouse poison worth a darn?


Thanks PA for the reply. To answer:

1. I put two blocks out at a time. They seem to last about a week before they are gone.

2. They are obviously gnawed on, with crumbs and mouse-like droppings surrounding them. Don't ever see crickets in the shed. I don't think anything much larger than a mouse could get inside.

3. I nail them to the 2x4 at the bottom of the open inside walls.

4. A very good idea!

Thanks again!
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Old 09-22-2010, 08:21 PM   #5
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Is Tomcat mouse poison worth a darn?


I don't know about Tomcat in particular but anything listed as "one bite" is bad news. The mice die too quickly resulting in the rest becoming bait shy. It is also a more potent bait which makes it harmful to domestic pets that may eat the baited mice. We killed a perfectly good mouse cat using one bite bait. If the mice are that big of a problem I would be looking at ways to block their access in the shed.

As far as the mice stealing your bait, try cutting a black licorice jelly bean in half and pushing the sticky side down onto the peddle. They can't resist licorice and will have to clamp down and pull to get the bait.
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Old 09-23-2010, 06:11 AM   #6
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Is Tomcat mouse poison worth a darn?


Bait shyness is a problem with rats because they are "neophobic" (fear of new things), but hunger usually overrides fear in due time. Sounds like me!

Bait shyness does not appear to be a factor with mice, at least in my experience. Mice will avoid bait that has been contaminated/adulterated. Fuel/chemical smells, mold are examples. The human smell won't hurt at all-they recognize human smells as being related to a food source, hence the phrase "commensal rodents". Rodents will continue to feed even in close proximity to dead rodents as I will find them in our bait stations periodically. Rodent odors attract other rodents, even dead rodent odors.


The most toxic over the counter rodenticide contains "brodifacoum" as the active ingredient. Unfortunately it is the most common-a name that we all know. I personally won't use any bait containing brodifacoum as it is too easy for people to have accidents with it. I don't want it on my truck. All the other anticoagulants, including bromodialone are much safer and lower in toxicity. Secondary poisoning is a rare occurrence, not sure that I've ever seen or experienced it first hand. Used to happen with raptor birds that ate rodents daily.

The single feed bait still take 1-3 days to kill. The older generation anticoagulants took 3-5 days after regular feeding. Their toxicity was oftentimes higher than modern day rodenticides.

Jim F: Was your cat an outdoor cat? Did you have a blood test done, and if so, what was the toxicant? Anticoagulant poisoning can be antidoted with Vitamin K; was this tried?

Your licorice jelly bean advice is great, I will remember it.

Mouse proofing a shed wil be difficult but is a good idea; I can't mouse proof my own garage or basement completely (but it's better).
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Old 09-24-2010, 04:21 PM   #7
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Is Tomcat mouse poison worth a darn?


Quote:
Originally Posted by PAbugman View Post
Jim F: Was your cat an outdoor cat? Did you have a blood test done, and if so, what was the toxicant? Anticoagulant poisoning can be antidoted with Vitamin K; was this tried?

Your licorice jelly bean advice is great, I will remember it.

Mouse proofing a shed wil be difficult but is a good idea; I can't mouse proof my own garage or basement completely (but it's better).
The cat oscillated between hiding, acting crazy, then acting normal. The vet diagnosed him symptomatically with probable encephalitis possibly from anticoagulant mouse bait or rabies. His brain (or head) was sent to Albany NY for rabies testing but no toxicology that I am aware of. They were only concerned with possible rabies.

Yes, he was an outdoor cat. No, vitamin K was not tried only subcutaneous IV hydration therapy. He was quite ill and it was costing us daily to keep him at the vet at a time when we could not afford it. I don't think the vet even suggested mitamin therapy. This was about 15 years ago. The bait shyness info came from a guy at Agway. It made sense at the time.

Good to hear from an expert and reassuring that bait is safer than I thought. There is a lot of misinformation out there.
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Old 09-24-2010, 04:43 PM   #8
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Is Tomcat mouse poison worth a darn?


Thanks for your replay JimF; We've had cats all our lives and like them a lot; sorry about your experience. There are other baits out there, such as zinc phosphide, not used a lot today, but was in the past and it is not anti-coagulant and could cause secondary poisoning easier than anti-coag's.

Agway guys advice: What we learn and accept at one point in this industry does change as time goes on. His advice probably came from accepted teaching and thinking at the time, and very possibly was true. I started in this industry in the 1970's, had a few breaks for other stuff: USArmy, my own adventures (whew), etc. Knowledge changes as technology and research develops; getting better all the time.

Cats are rarely poisoned by our industry, but dogs are another story. Dogs love to chew, and a determined dog can get thru a protective bait station. Rodenticide regulations are changing in the near future, for both diy'er and the pro industry, in large part to dog incidents. Cost's will increase to all, hope that safety goes up commensurately.
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Old 09-24-2010, 04:55 PM   #9
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Is Tomcat mouse poison worth a darn?


Two days since my last post and each day finds another pair of dead mice!

I wonder how long this will go on?
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Old 09-24-2010, 06:35 PM   #10
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Is Tomcat mouse poison worth a darn?


Quote:
Originally Posted by cgoll View Post
Two days since my last post and each day finds another pair of dead mice!

I wonder how long this will go on?
hopefully till they are all gone !!!

have you added an outdoor bait station?

Has anyone tried the bucket trap method? ie ... small diameter rod through top of 5 gallon bucket ... water in the bottom of bucket ... soda or pop can ( depending on your region of the country ) rammed onto rod ( so it spins freely ... with peanut butter smeared on can.
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Old 09-24-2010, 09:28 PM   #11
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Is Tomcat mouse poison worth a darn?


No, I haven't had time to build a bait station as I've been crushed at work lately.

I also have a large population of chipmunks in my yard and in my garage that I don't mind. (They don't seem to destroy anything.) So I wonder how small of an opening I could put on a bait station to keep the chippies out, but let the mice in.

I was thinking a simple box, maybe 6"x6" square, w/ a hinged lid to reload the bait. What size hole(s?) should I drill in the lower side(s?)

On another note: I don't care if the mice are in my shed except for the damage they cause to the wiring in my tractor. Is there anything I could put in the engine housing to keep them from nesting in there?

It would have to last a whole winter season as I don't want to drag the tractor out during the snow season. I don't want to kill animals unnecessarily, but I have my limits!
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Old 09-25-2010, 11:01 AM   #12
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Is Tomcat mouse poison worth a darn?


Just measured our mouse bait stations. The openings (2) are 1" x 1.25" and are big enough that chippies do get in.

Some stations use round holes, others squarish; doesn't matter.
I held a 3/4" wood bit inside the above opening and it fit easily. I held up a 5/8" wood bit and liked the look of it. Since you can make a hole bigger, but not smaller, try 1/2" first and monitor the results. If you find acitivty, droppings etc, then good. Otherwise increase hole incrementally.

A 6x6" square box would easily be large enough as a station.

Maybe make the top slightly oversized so that rain water runs off much like a drip edge on a roof; otherwise it may get under the lid and run back into station. You could also cut a piece of rubber roofing material and lay on top with a brick to hold it on. Doesn't have to be pretty; rodents don't care.

Anchor/weigh the station down so opossums and such don't push it around.

An idea about protecting the engines from nesting: Mothballs have a repellent action in confined spaces such as an engine cowling. The shed itself is too large volume wise to protect. Even if you lay the mothballs on the exposed fins, the vapor could penetrate down. Replace frequently as mothballs "sublimate", that is, go from a solid to a gas with out going thru liquid state, much like fumigants.

p.s.: The holes should be aligned so that rodents can see thru 1 and out the second, otherwise they tend to run around the station. They need to see daylight before they will enter. Place the holes parallel with the shed; in other words so that a rodent running the shed perimeter would naturally enter 1st hole while seeing thru the 2nd hole, smell the good stuff and stop for a while.

If you can find an old milk box, the kind that sat on the porch from when the milkman made deliveries, you can cut/drill small holes in the bottom corners of it. You've already got a hinged, weatherproof, semi-insulated box to start with. I've seen guys even drill holes in the lid and side so they could padlock the top. That could compromise waterproofing, though.

Keep the entry/exit holes up from the ground about 1/2" so that a serious rain doesn't flood the station.

In our 4-wheeler I put bait under the seat as the mice chewed our battery wires, probably while I was in someone else's house baiting for mice.
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Old 02-07-2011, 04:58 PM   #13
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Is Tomcat mouse poison worth a darn?


Use the red tomcat blocks. Get a grater and grate one up into a powder. Best to have gloves on when you do it. Mix it with 100mls of warm milk and place it in a shallow dish where the mice are. If succesful you should have a ring of dead mice around the bowl the next day. You can also use milk by itself to get them used to it before adding the bait. The ingredients in the tomcat only work when the animals have a drink. If they are not drinking then they don't die. Mixing it with milk makes it leatal straight away. Also good for getting rid of cats, chipmunks, racoons and foxes although they will need a little more.
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Old 02-07-2011, 08:14 PM   #14
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Is Tomcat mouse poison worth a darn?


I've never seen red tomcat blocks. Where are you from/where did you get them?

Anyway....Since my posts below on Sep 22nd/24th 2010, I've discarded over 33 mice on the Ortho traps. Haven't caught one in a while, and my bait blocks are not diminishing. Guess the word got out!

So, I'm still a very satisfied customer of Ortho's product.

Never did make the outdoor station though. If they come back w/ a vengeance I'll have to consider it.


Last edited by cgoll; 02-07-2011 at 08:19 PM.
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