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Desley Whisson, Extension Vertebrate Pest Specialist University of California, Davis,
CA 9566 !"ly 996
#o$entici$es are co%%only "se$ for control of roof rats, &or'ay rats an$ ho"se %ice
()no'n as co%%ensal ro$ents* in an$ aro"n$ po"ltry facilities as one co%ponent of an
inte+rate$ pest %ana+e%ent pro+ra%, -ost co%%ercial baits are re+istere$ for rats an$
%ice, altho"+h level of s"sceptibility to the toxicants, as 'ell as the attractiveness an$
palatability of the bait for%"lation varies bet'een the species an$ even bet'een
in$ivi$"als of the sa%e species, &o ro$ent bait in+re$ient is "niversally hi+hly
acceptable, an$ re+ional $ifferences are the r"le rather than the exception, .o achieve
+oo$ control of co%%ensal ro$ents "sin+ ro$entici$es, selection of the appropriate
toxicant an$ for%"lation (i,e,, +rain, pellete$, or 'ax bloc)*/ as 'ell as bait place%ent,
are i%portant consi$erations,
Bait Selection and Formlation
Contrary to pop"lar belief, rats prefer fresh, hi+h01"ality foo$s an$ 'ill re2ect spoile$ or
inferior foo$ ite%s 'hen +iven a choice, .herefore, ro$ent baits sho"l$ be %a$e fro%
hi+h01"ality foo$ %aterials, an$ baits 'hich have beco%e ranci$ or insect0infeste$ sho"l$
be $iscar$e$, Us"ally corn, oats, 'heat, or barley are the +rains %ost preferre$ by
co%%ensal ro$ents, Preference varies bet'een ro$ent pop"lations an$ a%on+
in$ivi$"als, 3aits si%ilar to foo$s that ro$ents are acc"sto%e$ to eatin+ are often a +oo$
choice, partic"larly if their nor%al foo$s are li%ite$ or can be %a$e less available to
.o $eter%ine bait preference, a bait0choice test can be con$"cte$ by placin+ abo"t 4
o"nces (5 +* of each of several nontoxic baits abo"t one foot (56 c%* apart in several
locations 'here ro$ents are present, 3aits are then chec)e$ $"rin+ the next fe' $ays to
$eter%ine 'hich foo$s are preferre$, #ats are s"spicio"s of ne' ob2ects an$ novel foo$s/
therefore, they %ay not accept a ne' bait "ntil the thir$ or fo"rth $ay,
#o$entici$es are available in vario"s for%"lations, 7rain0base$ baits in a loose %eal or
pellete$ for% are available in b"l) or pac)a+e$ in s%all, 40 to 60o"nce (80to 4540+*
plastic, cellophane, or paper 9place pac)s9, .hese pac)ets )eep bait fresh an$ %a)e it
easy to place baits into b"rro's, 'alls, or other locations, #o$ents 'ill +na' into these
ba+s to fee$ on acceptable baits, Pellete$ baits can %ore easily be carrie$ by rats to other
locations, S"ch hoar$in+ of foo$ by rats is not "nco%%on an$ %ay res"lt in bait bein+
%ove$ to places 'here it is "n$etecte$ or $iffic"lt to recover, :n so%e cases these baits
%ay then beco%e ha;ar$o"s to nontar+et species, Anticoa+"lant baits have also been
for%"late$ into 'ax an$ extr"$e$ bloc)s, .hese are +enerally less rea$ily accepte$ by
#o$entici$es are classifie$ into t'o +ro"ps, anticoa+"lants an$ all other co%po"n$s
Anticoagulant Rodenticides
Anticoa+"lant ro$entici$es 'ere first $iscovere$ in the 946 s an$ have since beco%e the
%ost 'i$ely "se$ toxicants for co%%ensal ro$ent control, #o$ents poisone$ 'ith
anticoa+"lants $ie fro% internal blee$in+, the res"lt of loss of the bloo$ s clottin+ ability
an$ $a%a+e to the capillaries, Prior to $eath, the ani%al exhibits increasin+ 'ea)ness $"e
to bloo$ loss, tho"+h appetite an$ bo$y 'ei+ht are not specifically affecte$, 3eca"se
anticoa+"lant baits are slo' in action (several $ays follo'in+ the in+estion of a lethal
$ose*, the tar+et ani%al is "nable to associate its illness 'ith the bait eaten, .herefore,
bait shyness $oes not occ"r, .his $elaye$ action also has a safety a$vanta+e beca"se it
provi$es ti%e to a$%inister the anti$ote (vita%in <* to save pets, livestoc), an$ people
'ho %ay have acci$entally in+este$ the bait,
.he first anticoa+"lants ('arfarin, pin$one, $iphacinone an$ clorophacinone*, are
co%%only )no'n as the first0+eneration anticoa+"lants or %"ltiple0fee$ ro$entici$es,
.hese co%po"n$s are chronic in their action, re1"irin+ %"ltiple fee$in+s over several
$ays to a 'ee) or %ore to pro$"ce $eath, :n or$er to achieve this %"ltiple fee$in+, the
bait %"st be %a$e available on a contin"o"s basis "ntil the $esire$ control is reache$,
Where anticoa+"lants have been "se$ over lon+ perio$s of ti%e at a partic"lar location,
there is an increase$ potential for a pop"lation to beco%e so%e'hat resistant to the lethal
effects of the baits, #esistance of rats to 'arfarin 'as first note$ in Scotlan$ in 95=,
so%e years follo'in+ its repeate$ "se, Shortly thereafter, anticoa+"lant resistance 'as
i$entifie$ in both rats an$ ho"se %ice in other E"ropean co"ntries, #ats an$ %ice that are
resistant to 'arfarin also sho' so%e resistance to all first +eneration anticoa+"lants,
ren$erin+ control 'ith these co%po"n$s less effective, Altho"+h relatively "nco%%on, a
fe' instances of resistance have been reporte$ in the Unite$ States,
Warfarin resistance le$ to the $evelop%ent of the secon$0+eneration anticoa+"lants,
bro%a$iolone an$ bro$ifaco"%, .hese co%po"n$s are %"ch %ore potent than the first0
+eneration anticoa+"lants, %a)in+ the% effective for the control of 'arfarin0resistant rats
an$ %ice, As one fee$in+ can pro$"ce $eath if a s"fficient a%o"nt of bait is cons"%e$,
they are often referre$ to as sin+le0fee$ anticoa+"lants, :n co%%ensal sit"ations 'here
ro$ents are often %ar+inal or rel"ctant fee$ers, these co%po"n$s can be extre%ely
effective, .he effects of these co%po"n$s are also c"%"lative an$ 'ill res"lt in $eath
after several fee$in+s of even s%all a%o"nts, As in the case of all anticoa+"lants, $eath is
$elaye$ for several $ays follo'in+ the in+estion of a lethal $ose,
Where anticoa+"lant resistance is )no'n or s"specte$, the "se of first0+eneration
anticoa+"lants sho"l$ be avoi$e$ in favor of the secon$0+eneration anticoa+"lants or one
of the non0anticoa+"lant ro$entici$es li)e bro%ethalin or cholecalciferol,
3eca"se of their si%ilarity in %o$e of action, all anticoa+"lant baits are "se$ in a si%ilar
fashion, >abel $irections co%%only instr"ct the "ser to 9%aintain a contin"o"s s"pply of
bait for 5 $ays or "ntil fee$in+ ceases9, th"s ens"rin+ that the entire ro$ent pop"lation
has a%ple opport"nity to in+est a lethal $ose of the bait, Anticoa+"lants have the sa%e
effect on nearly all 'ar%0bloo$e$ ani%als, b"t the sensitivity to these toxicants varies
a%on+ species, :f %is"se$, anticoa+"lant ro$entici$es can be lethal to nontar+et ani%als
s"ch as $o+s an$ cats, A$$itionally, resi$"es of anticoa+"lants 'hich are present in the
bo$ies of $ea$ or $yin+ ro$ents can ca"se toxic effects to scaven+ers an$ pre$ators, :n
+eneral, ho'ever, the secon$ary poisonin+ ha;ar$ fro% anticoa+"lants is relatively lo',
Fir"t#$eneration anticoa$lant"%
War&arin (?inal@ an$ others*
Warfarin 'as the first %ar)ete$ anticoa+"lant an$ therefore beca%e the best )no'n an$
%ost 'i$ely "se$, :t has relatively li%ite$ sales to$ay, $"e to the availability of %ore
potent anticoa+"lants,
'indone (Pival@ , Pivalyn@*
Pin$one is also one of the early anticoa+"lants 'hich is still available for "se in
co%%ensal ro$ent control, Altho"+h re+ar$e$ as sli+htly less effective than 'arfarin, it
has so%e properties that resist insects an$ +ro'th of %ol$, ?or opti%al control "sin+
'arfarin or pin$one, bait %"st be available to ro$ents over a perio$ of several $ays, so
that there is no lon+er than 4= ho"rs bet'een fee$in+s, :$eally, $aily fee$in+s sho"l$
C(loro)(acinone (#oAol@*
Di)(acinone (#a%i)@, Ditrac@*
Chlorophacinone an$ $iphacinone are si%ilar in potency an$ are si+nificantly %ore toxic
than the anticoa+"lant co%po"n$s $evelope$ earlier, Conse1"ently, they are for%"late$
at lo'er concentrations, Chlorophacinone an$ $iphacinone %ay )ill so%e ro$ents in a
sin+le fee$in+, b"t %"ltiple fee$in+s are nee$e$ to +ive a$e1"ate control of an entire
With these co%po"n$s, fee$in+ $oes not al'ays have to be on consec"tive $ays, When
anticoa+"lants are eaten $aily, ho'ever, $eath %ay occ"r as early as the thir$ or fo"rth
$ay, ?or opti%al lethal effects, several fee$in+s sho"l$ occ"r 'ithin a 60$ay perio$ 'ith
no lon+er than 4= ho"rs bet'een fee$in+s,
Second#$eneration anticoa$lant"%
Brodi&acom (.alon@, Davoc@*
3ro$ifaco"% is the %ost potent ro$entici$e c"rrently available for co%%ensal ro$ents, :t
is available in 6,665F pellet for%"lations an$ in 'ax bloc)s, 3eca"se of its ac"te
toxicity, a lethal $ose can be obtaine$ in a sin+le fee$in+, altho"+h $eath is $elaye$ for 4
or 5 $ays,
Bromadiolone (-a)i@, Contrac@*
50B50(4 bro%oB, biphenylC040yl*050hy$roxy00phenylpropylC
3ro%a$iolone is not 1"ite as toxic to ro$ents as bro$ifaco"% b"t can res"lt in the sa%e
level of control, :t is available in 6,665F pellet for%"lations an$ in 'ax bloc)s,
Anticoa$lant Bait Formlation"
-ost of the anticoa+"lant baits "se$ to$ay are co%%ercial rea$y0to0"se baits in +rain,
pellete$ or 'ax for%, 7rain an$ pellete$ anticoa+"lant baits are "se$ extensively in
ta%per0resistant bait boxes or stations for a per%anent baitin+ pro+ra% for &or'ay rats
an$ ho"se %ice, .hey %ay not be effective on roof rats, ho'ever, beca"se of their
place%ent, 3ait stations are $iffic"lt to place for roof rat control beca"se of the ro$ents
overhea$ travelin+ habits,
Paraffin0type bait bloc)s provi$e an alternative to bait stations containin+ pellete$ or
loose cereal bait, :f per%itte$ by the label, bait bloc)s can be place$ or fastene$ in
locations 'here bait boxes 'ith loose +rain or pellete$ bait 'o"l$ be $iffic"lt to place,
an$ 'here they are rea$ily accessible to roof rats,
7enerally, roof rats are less s"sceptible to first0+eneration anticoa+"lant ro$entici$es than
&or'ay rats an$ a fe' %ore fee$in+s are necessary to pro$"ce $eath, .his is less
si+nificant 'ith the secon$0+eneration anticoa+"lants, ?or best res"lts, several baits
sho"l$ be trie$ to fin$ o"t 'hich one rats cons"%e %ost, Do"se %ice are s"sceptible to
all of the vario"s anticoa+"lant ro$entici$es, b"t they are +enerally less sensitive (often
far less sensitive* to the active in+re$ients than are &or'ay or roof rats, :t "s"ally
re1"ires a fe' %ore fee$in+s to pro$"ce $eath 'ith the first0+eneration anticoa+"lants
than 'ith the secon$0+eneration anticoa+"lants,
Anticoa$lant Bait Failre
#esistance is only one (an$ probably the least li)ely* reason for fail"re in the control of
ro$ents 'ith anticoa+"lant baits, Control 'ith baits that are hi+hly accepte$ %ay fail for
one or %ore of the follo'in+ reasonsG
.oo short a perio$ of bait expos"re,
:ns"fficient bait an$ ins"fficient replenish%ent of bait (none re%ains fro% one
baitin+ to the next*,
.oo fe' bait stations an$Hor too far apart, :n so%e sit"ations, stations %ay have to
be 'ithin 86 to 56 feet (I to 6 %* of one another,
.oo s%all a control area, per%ittin+ ro$ents to %ove in fro% "ntreate$ a$2acent
7enetic resistance to the anticoa+"lant, Altho"+h this is "nli)ely, it sho"l$ be
s"specte$ if abo"t the sa%e a%o"nt of bait is ta)en for a n"%ber of 'ee)s,
Control 'ith anticoa+"lant baits that are poorly accepte$ %ay fail for one or %ore of the
follo'in+ reasonsG
Poor bait choice, or bait is for%"late$ i%properly, Jther %ore attractive foo$s are
available to ro$ents,
:%properly place$ bait stations, Jther foo$s are %ore convenient to ro$ents,
Ab"n$ance of other foo$ choices,
.ainte$ baitG the bait has beco%e %ol$y, ranci$, insect0infeste$, or conta%inate$
'ith other %aterial that re$"ces acceptance, Discar$ ol$ bait perio$ically, an$
replace it 'ith fresh bait,
Jccasionally, ro$ents accept bait 'ell an$ an initial pop"lation re$"ction is s"ccessf"l,
.hen bait acceptance appears to stop altho"+h so%e ro$ents re%ain, :n s"ch instances it
is li)ely that the re%ainin+ ro$ents never accepte$ the bait either beca"se of its
for%"lation or place%ent, .he best strate+y is then to s'itch to a $ifferent bait
for%"lation, place baits at $ifferent locations, an$H or "se other control %etho$s s"ch as
Non-anticoagulant Rodenticides
.he ol$er ro$entici$es, for%ally referre$ to as the ac"te toxicants (e,+,, arsenic, re$ s1"ill
an$ phosphor"s* are either no lon+er re+istere$ or of little i%portance in co%%ensal
ro$ent control, &e'er ro$entici$es are %"ch %ore effective an$ have res"lte$ in the
phasin+ o"t of these ol$er %aterials over the last 86 years,
At present there are three non0anticoa+"lant ro$entici$es 0 ;inc phosphi$e,
cholecalciferol (Vita%in D5* an$ bro%ethalin 0 re+istere$ an$ available for co%%ensal
ro$ent control, Since none of these are anticoa+"lants, all can be "se$ to control
anticoa+"lant resistant ro$ent pop"lations,
Jf these active in+re$ients, bro%ethalin an$ cholecalciferol are for%"late$ to serve as
chronic ro$entici$es, applie$ so that ro$ents 'ill have the opport"nity to fee$ on the baits
one or %ore ti%es over the perio$ of one to several $ays, 3eca"se they are slo'0actin+ in
co%parison to ;inc phosphi$e, bait shyness is not "s"ally a proble%, nor is prebaitin+
necessary to +et +oo$ control in %ost sit"ations, Ainc phosphi$e $iffers in that prebaitin+
(offerin+ ro$ents si%ilar b"t non0toxic bait prior to applyin+ the toxicant0treate$ bait* is
reco%%en$e$ to increase bait acceptance, Ainc phosphi$e is not $esi+ne$ to be left
available to ro$ents for %ore than a fe' $ays, as contin"e$ expos"re is li)ely to res"lt in
bait shyness 'ithin the pop"lation,
&on0anticoa+"lant ro$entici$es, partic"larly ;inc phosphi$e, re%ain "sef"l tools to
achieve rapi$ re$"ctions in ro$ent pop"lations, When pop"lation levels are hi+h, the cost
of baitin+ 'ith these %aterials %ay be lo'er than for the anticoa+"lants,
Bromet(alin (Assa"lt@, Ven+eance@, .ro"nce@*
&0%ethyl08,40$initro0&0(8,4,60tribro%ophenyl*060(trifl"oro%ethyl* ben;ena%ine
3ro%ethalin is a sin+le0$ose ro$entici$e that ca"ses central nervo"s syste% $epression
an$ paralysis, lea$in+ to $eath in 8 to 4 $ays, 3ait sho"l$ be rene'e$ at intervals of
several $ays, Contin"o"s bait availability (as 'ith anticoa+"lants* is not re1"ire$, b"t bait
nee$s to be present lon+ eno"+h to allo' all ani%als in the area to fee$, .he a%o"nt of
bait nee$e$ is "s"ally abo"t one0thir$ that "se$ 'ith anticoa+"lants, since an ani%al
in+estin+ a lethal $ose $oes not fee$ a+ain, .his effect is "nli)e that of anticoa+"lants, in
'hich ro$ents contin"e to cons"%e bait after they have in+este$ a lethal $ose, 3ait
shyness has not been reporte$,
C(olecalci&erol (Vita%in D5 , K"intox@, #a%pa+e@*
9,60Seocholesta05,I,6(9*0trein05 betaol
Cholecalciferol is a sin+le0$ose or %"ltiple0$ose ro$entici$e that ca"ses %obili;ation of
calci"% fro% the bone %atrix to plas%a an$ $eath fro% hypercalce%ia, .i%e to $eath is
5 to 4 $ays after in+estion of a lethal $ose, As the toxicant is slo'0actin+, bait shyness
apparently $oes not occ"r, As 'ith 3ro%ethalin, once a ro$ent cons"%es a lethal $ose,
all foo$ inta)e ceases,
*inc )(o")(ide
Ainc phosphi$e is a $ar) +ray po'$er, insol"ble in 'ater, that has been "se$ extensively
in the control of ro$ents, When ;inc phosphi$e co%es into contact 'ith $il"te aci$s in the
sto%ach, phosphine (PD5 * is release$, :t is this s"bstance that probably ca"ses $eath,
#ats an$ %ice that in+est lethal a%o"nts of bait "s"ally s"cc"%b overni+ht 'ith ter%inal
sy%pto%s of conv"lsions, paralysis, co%a, an$ $eath fro% asphyxia, .hey typically $ie
in a prone position 'ith their le+s an$ tails o"tstretche$, 3eca"se ;inc phosphi$e is not
store$ in %"scle or other tiss"es of poisone$ ani%als, there is no secon$ary poisonin+
'ith this ro$entici$e, .he bait, ho'ever, re%ains toxic "p to several $ays in the +"t of a
$ea$ ro$ent, Jther ani%als can be poisone$ if they eat eno"+h of the +"t content of
ro$ents recently )ille$ 'ith ;inc phosphi$e,
Ainc phosphi$e is available in rea$y0to0"se $ry baits an$ also in concentrates for "se by
persons traine$ in ro$ent control 'ho %ay 'ish to prepare their o'n baits, :ts stron+
+arlic0li)e o$or appears to be attractive to ro$ents that are not bait0shy an$ apparently
%a)es the bait "nattractive to so%e other ani%als, 3ait shyness can be a proble%/ so
prebaitin+ is reco%%en$e$ or necessary for achievin+ +oo$ bait acceptance,
#o$entici$es, li)e all other pestici$es, %"st be han$le$ responsibly, an$ "se$ in
accor$ance 'ith the label instr"ctions, .he ro$entici$es liste$ in this article are c"rrently
re+istere$ for "se in California as of !"ly 996, Jne or %ore of these pestici$es %ay not
be le+al to "se 'ithin California at later $ates,
3eca"se so%e pestici$es are restricte$ 'ithin certain locations in California, chec) 'ith
yo"r local A+ric"lt"ral Co%%issioner for infor%ation abo"t those that are allo'e$ to be
"se$ in yo"r co"nty,
?or a$$itional infor%ationG
Clar), !, P, (E$,* 994, Vertebrate Pest Control Dan$boo), 4th E$ition, Division of Plant
:n$"stry, :nte+rate$ Pest Control 3ranch, State of California Depart%ent of ?oo$ an$
Dyn+stro%, S, E,, #, -, .i%%, an$ 7, E, >arson (E$s,* 994, Prevention an$ Control of
Wil$life Da%a+e, University of &ebras)a Cooperative Extension, USDA0APD:S0ADC,
an$ 7reat Plains A+ric"lt"ral Co"ncil,

Rodenticides used for commensal rodent control in California.
Common name and Percent Acute oral LD50 (mg/kg)
tyical trade acti!e
names ingredient #ouse mouse $or%ay rat
Roof rat
&arfarin 0.0'5 0.( for )"* days 0.+ for +",5 days
or , for 5 days
Pindone 0.0'5 '-0
Di.acinone 0.005 ,+, " )+0 ) " ,/
C.loro.acinone 0.005 ,.0( '., " '0.5
0rodifacoum 0.005 0.+ " 0.-( 0.'/
0.(5 " 0./)
0romadiolone 0.005 ,./5 ,.,'5
$on"anticoagulant rodenticides

0romet.alin 0.0, 5.'5 " -.,) '.0, " '.+(

C.olecalciferol 0.0/5 +'.5 ,0 " 50
1inc .os.ide ,.0"'.0+0 '/ " +0 '.* " +0.5
.o si%plify infor%ation, tra$e na%es of pro$"cts have been "se$, &o en$orse%ent of
na%e$ pro$"cts is inten$e$, nor is criticis% i%plie$ of si%ilar pro$"cts that are not