Updated On

April 17, 2024

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    This article was written by Rusty Markland, Technical Director at PestNow.com. He’s a regular contributor for Today’s Homeowner with over three decades of experience in the pest control industry.  As a writer, certified instructor and technical director in the industry he has used his experience to promote safety and education in the pest industry. For the last twenty years, he has been the Operations Officer and Corporate Technical Director at PestNow, one of the fastest growing pest control companies in the United States.

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    How Hard Is It to Get Rid of Rats in My Home?

    If you think getting rid of rats in your home is as easy as setting out rat poison or baiting some traps, think again. These filthy, bald-tailed, disease vectors have survived centuries of elimination attempts.

    When you first suspect rats in your home, you have to figure out why the rats chose your home in the first place. You can kill dozens of rats by setting traps and with poison, but until you find out why they chose your home you will just be “harvesting” rats. Rats will continue to enter your home, replacing the ones you’ve killed, if trapping or baiting is all you do.

    Why Do I Have Rats in My Home?

    When rats are in need of food, water and shelter, they’ll choose family homes as a haven. This is especially the case when drastic weather changes or natural disasters force rats to find new sources of food, water and shelter. Demolition and construction near your community or in your neighborhood may also send rats looking for a new place to live, and make your home a tempting option.

    Rat populations are not static, they fluctuate for a variety of reasons such as those mentioned above. Rats in our area have few, if any, predators making for an unchecked population, which is why cities often have the most difficult time controlling rats.

    People often feed rats in public spaces, without knowing it. Bird feeders, dog feces not cleaned up, poorly maintained trash dumpsters or garbage cans, gardens, pet dishes and compost sites, are all reasons that rats may come around and stick around. Correcting or avoiding the above, along with a powerful rat treatment like a rodenticide, is a holistic approach to getting rid of rats in and near your home.

    While some environmental factors in your community are difficult for you to control alone, this article identifies the best rat poison rodenticides out there to make your rat control efforts as effective as possible.

    But before you start looking for a rat poison:

    • Find out why rats chose your home and eliminate the causes as best as possible, (most of the time it is food source).
    • Find out how rats have made entry into your home. Good inspections and exclusion techniques are abundant online. You need to make it as difficult as possible for rats to get into your home.
    • Introduce a treatment, trapping program or both.

    What Are the Safety Precautions for Rat Poison?

    You are dealing with a toxic product that can be lethal to children, pets and other wildlife. It does not matter how well or effective a product is if it hurts someone you love or worse.\

    First and foremost, you should be using a bait station with poison blox end of story. They are relatively affordable and prevent non-target pets and animals from accidentally eating the bait.

    Below pictured is a station flush against a building to increase the chance of rat capture as they travel along walls.

    Also most rat poisons come with some sort of antidote. For example, if Contrac Blox are ingested, vitamin K1 what the manufacturer recommends as the antidote.

    Some products do not have antidotes, which makes it even MORE important to read the label carefully before buying and administering yourself without the aid of a licensed exterminator.

    Read Also: How much do rat exterminators cost?

    How to Pick the Best Rat Product (Poison)?

    You need to pick a rat poison (Rodenticide) that will work best for your current and specific situation. Some products work best in certain environments, while others do not.

    Also, once you decide on which rat poison best suits your problem, you will need to decide on how you will contain the poison keeping it away from children, pets and non-target animals. Some products will come with pre-baited stations but even then, you will need to make sure the bait stations meet strict criteria for safety.

    Rat bait stations designed to hold rodenticide should meet what is considered Tier 1 level bait station to be safe:

    Tier 1: Ready-to-use bait stations that have demonstrated tamper resistance for young children and dogs. These stations are designed to be weather resistant and can be used inside and outside but can NEVER be used beyond (50) fifty feet from the structure with the rat problem (residential homeowner use). These stations should be secured.

    Make sure the station has a locking mechanism that cannot be opened by small children, it is sturdy, can resist dog chewing, and has a mechanism to secure the bait contained inside. You do not want the bait falling out of the station where pets, children or other non-target wildlife could get to it.

    Remember, “tamper resistant” does NOT mean “tamper proof”.

    Local Store Selections and Options

    If you are shopping at your local chain hardware store or drugstore, your selections will be limited in formulation, chemistry and application. The EPA has regulated that only block or paste rodenticides can be purchased through those stores…

    It’s no longer the case that you can buy pellets or open bait trays of exposed rat or mouse poison!

    The EPA has also limited the chemistry of over-the-counter rat poisons to certain chemical formulations. The most readily available over-the-counter rodenticides are:

    Regardless of the brand name of the product you must check the active ingredient. This will likely be one of the above chemicals in product you choose. There are important advisories specific to each of the above chemicals that you will want to know if you are doing this yourself!

    Single-Feeding or Multi-Feeding Rat Poisons?

    As you research the products you will notice each product will state if it is multi or single-feeding bait.

    Multi-feeding baits are less toxic and allows the rat to feed more than one time before the lethal dose of poison is administered and the rat dies (normally 5 to 7 days). This method requires your patience, but it does have its disadvantages for rats and will impact their population in the long-run.

    Rats over the centuries have developed sensitive food aversions. A rat typically will only sample a new food by taking small bits and not enough for a lethal dose. If the food (rat poison) makes the rat sick it will avoid that food source forever making the rodenticide (bait) useless. Rats cannot vomit. If a rat is feeling nauseous it will feed on clay, which will help dilute the toxin in the bait. This is called Pica, which means to consume non-food like clay to reduce the toxicity of the product. When the rat recovers, it will associate that bad experience with the bait and avoid it forever.

    Multi-feeding baits do not have the same strength of active ingredient as Single-feeding baits do. Single feeding baits will work on rats faster and in many cases avoid the bait aversion. Unfortunately, you will not typically find strong enough multi-feeding baits at the local hardware store for the typical home owner.

    Single-feeding baits are stronger and more toxic, which is designed to produce a quicker kill. These baits are not found in local stores normally, unless you shop online, due to the toxic nature compared to the multi-feeding baits. If you use a single feeding bait, use one with an antidote in the event a non-target species encounters the rodenticide you have selected, like your pets!

    Products Available:

    Rodenticides are formulated with active ingredients (toxicants) that increase their effectiveness, and consumption by rodents. Attractants like grains, fats, seeds and flavor enhancers entice feeding on the rodenticide.

    Formulation can be in pellet, dust, loose grain, pastes, place packs and solid blocks. For the purpose of this article, it is strongly recommended that you use rodenticide blocks that are secured and maintained ONLY in tamper resistant bait boxes. Always read the product label and follow label instructions – it is the LAW.

    Most rodenticides on the market today are anticoagulants that reduce the ability to clot blood. Most these rodenticides will have an antidote, which is critical in the event non-target species gain access and consume the bait.

    Other rodenticides affect the central nervous system (CNS), metabolic processes and heart function. These baits, while effective, carry more risk than the anticoagulant variety for homeowners.

    Your best bet is to stay with the anticoagulants that have an antidote!

    Products with an anticoagulant active ingredient pose less threat to the people and creatures you love, but are still effective at deterring rats.

    First Generation (multi-feeding) Rodenticides include:

    Second Generation (single-feeding) Rodenticides include:

    Top 4 Rat Poison Rodenticides

    Here are a few of the best options for rat poison rodenticides available on the market right now.

    1. BlueMax
    2. Talon G
    3. Fastrac Blox
    4. Contrac Blox


    BlueMax is advertised as a “maintenance bait”, but it’s formulation is immediately effective against rats because it is a single feeding product, but it is safer than other products because it includes an antidote. This bait is incredibly durable, and is really good in areas where mold and moisture exist.

    The formulation goes through an extensive grinding process to incorporate food grade grains and special mold inhibitors with paraffin (wax). Use in damp basements, under crawl spaces and high moisture areas.

    • Remember to read and follow all label requirements and restrictions
    • Comply with all PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) requirements when handling this product
    • Never apply in areas where kids, pets or nontarget animals have access
    • Never apply unless secured and contained in the correct tamper resistant, locked bait station
    Active Ingredient- Difethialone
    Second Generation, higher active

    Talon G

    Talon G is an extremely powerful super anticoagulant and should be handled by pest professionals. The product has an exceptionally long life, requiring prolonged treatment with antidote vitamin K for humans and pets if accidentally poisoned.

    Talon G is extremely lethal to rats, killing rats in just twelve hours, but it cannot be used in areas of children, livestock, pets or domestic animals. The pellet formulation is a liability, as the packs can be chewed open and the pellets relocated outside the station or displaced by rodents as they feed, again posing a threat to humans and wildlife if not handled properly.

    Talon G bait is preferred over other rodenticides by many professional pest operators, but please use extreme caution when allowing professionals to administer this rat poison product near or around your home.

    • Remember to read and follow all label requirements and restrictions
    • Comply with all PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) requirements when handling this product
    • Never apply in areas where kids, pets or nontarget animals have access
    • Never apply unless secured and contained in the correct tamper resistant, locked bait station
    Active Ingredient- Brodifacoum
    Second Generation, Much higher active

    Fastrac Blox

    FASTRAC Blox may be the fastest acting rodenticide on the market. The results are significant due to the powerful, active central nervous system toxicant and formulation of highly palatable ingredients.

    NOT FOR HOMEOWNERS. even though you can purchase this on the internet it is not recommended unless being administered by professional pest control operators. FASTRAC (Bromethalin) DOES NOT HAVE AN ANTIDOTE! While the product will have a quick and significant impact on Rat population it is just too risky for use by anyone other than a pest control professional.

    • Remember to read and follow all label requirements and restrictions
    • Comply with all PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) requirements when handling this product
    • Never apply in areas where kids, pets or non-target animals have access
    • Never apply unless secured and contained in the correct tamper resistant, locked bait station
    Active Ingredient- Bromethalin (an acute active CSN Toxicant)
    Second Generation, Much higher active
    No Antidote

    Contrac Blox

    CONTRAC BLOX has been proven over the years to provide a quick hit, single feeding bait that has very good at its job.

    This rat poison has the optimal blend of inactive ingredients and low wax content, which rats find very palatable. It also holds up well inside and outside the home, and has a long track record with proven results.

    • Remember to read and follow all label requirements and restrictions
    • Comply with all PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) requirements when handling this product
    • Never apply in areas where kids, pets or nontarget animals have access
    • Never apply unless secured and contained in the correct tamper resistant, locked bait station
    Second Generation, Much higher active
    Formulation: Pellets
    Antidote Vitamin K1 (must be administered immediately)

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    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Ed Spicer

    Ed Spicer

    Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management.

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