A quick breakdown of mouse baits
There are a lot of different ingredients that can be used as poisons in mouse baits – Brodifacoum, Bromadiolone, Bromethalin, Diphacinone, and others. Some are fast-acting and can kill the rodents almost instantaneously. Others are purposely slow-acting in order to allow the rodents to leave a couple days before dying. The latter method is done not for some sadistic reasons but in order to trick the rest of the rodents into thinking that the bait is safe for consumptions. The fact is that people often underestimate the cognitive abilities of mice and rats – most similar rodents are very capable of understanding the link between cause and effect, so they often avoid fast-killing rodent baits after they see one or two mice die from them.
Other differences and variations in the active ingredients of mouse baits are how toxic and dangerous they are. Typically, all mouse baits are dangerous for humans and pets and direct contact with them needs to be avoided at all costs. Particularly pets and kids need to be protected by these poisonous baits in any possible way. Still, some baits are specifically made to be less toxic and to be easily “survivable” by humans and pets if an antidote is taken as soon as possible. These baits tend to be a little less effective at killing rodents than others, but if they are of a high enough quality, they can still do a good job.
Another key component of good rodent baits is the bait itself. It can be done through a lot of different means but it’s always high on protein and always has a strong scent and a nice taste (nice enough for mice at least).
There are, however, several downsides of mouse and rat baits:
The dead rodents die anywhere they see fit, so you’ll have a lot of dead rodents on your hands. If they happen to die in hard to reach place (such as your crawlspace, for example), you’ll have to put in a lot of effort in getting their stinking corpses out of there.
- They kill the rodents so if you are looking for a humane solution – this is not it.
- Mouse and rat baits are highly toxic for your family and pets.
- Rats and mice are often smart enough to learn to avoid rodent baits after seeing some of their pack members die.
So, what are some of the alternatives of rat and mouse baits if you don’t want to have to deal with any of their drawbacks? Well, there are all kinds of rodent traps that we’ve covered in previous articles:
- Glue traps that glue the rodents down for hours or for days until they die of dehydration;
- The classical snap traps that aim to break the animals’ necks or spines with one quick spring-delivered hit;
- Shock mouse traps that are similar to cages but when sprung shock the rodent with thousands of volts of electricity, hopefully killing it on the spot;
- As well as various different humane mouse traps that just capture the animals and allow you the option to dispose of them in whatever way you see fit.
Of course, if none of those options seem particularly appealing as well, you can also call mice exterminators.
Mouse bait buying guide
- How much mouse poison would you need exactly? Different mouse and rat poisons can in different quantities. Some come in large buckets of hundreds of pieces/ blocks/pellets, while others consist of just several dozen. Neither option is inherently better or worse than the other, but they both just have their uses. If you have a huge farm that you want to thoroughly rodent-proof, then it’s better to buy a lot of mouse baits. If, instead, you just want to treat your apartment or small house against mice, then buying a giant bucket of several hundred rodent bait blocks might be an overkill.
- Longevity matters – do you want to exterminate existing mouse only or do you want to also prevent the follow up spreading of new rodent infestations? The sad reality is that if you’ve got rats or mice once, you’ll likely get them again. That’s why a lot of homeowners tend to just leave the mouse baits in place even after all the rodents have been exterminating – as a deterrent against further invasions. And while this is a sound plan, sadly mice baits can only last so long. So, if you plan on using your mouse baits for more than just killing off several rodents but instead you want to keep the baits around, go for a product that can last in the open for a long as possible and – preferably – one that can repel mold, mildew, and other similar problems.
- Pellets or blocks? The basic difference between pellets and blocks is insignificant – after all, rodents can chew on the blocks as easily as they can eat the pellets pretty much regardless of their size. The main difference this choice makes for you is where you’ll want to put the mice poison. For smaller mouse traps and bait stations, pellets make more of a sense as they can fit more easily. However, in larger mouse traps and bait stations, block mice bait can also work well. Additionally, if you just want to place the bait by itself somewhere, the block is a more manageable option unless you want to have poisonous pellets scattered all around the place. Also, cubes and blocks are easier to string on a wire of that’s how you’d rather set them up for your unwanted rodent guests.
- How powerful do you need the poison to be? As the goal of the whole ordeal is to exterminate a bunch of rodents, getting mouse baits that are as toxic as possible seems like the way to go. There are a lot of mouse baits out there that are simply not strong enough to kill most larger rats and even smaller mice. In fact, this tends to be the chief difference between high-quality mice baits and subpar products. However, slightly less potent mouse and rat baits do have their benefits, mainly the fact that they are less toxic for children and pets should they be accidentally consumed. Ideally, you would have set the baits in such a way that they are inaccessible to your pets and kids, but accidents do happen.
- Make sure that the bait is attractive enough for its rodent targets. Mice and rats aren’t really known for being picky eaters but like everyone else, they do have their preferences. If you want them to take a bite or two out of the poisonous rat and mouse baits then said baits need to be as tasty and as attractive as possible to them. A lot of subpar baits are often just ignored by your rodent invaders and that’s not something that you want to see happen. Of course, you can’t really “taste” the mouse baits yourself, so you’ll need to rely on reviews to form your opinion.
Keep in mind!
Even the least potent mice poison is still poison and you’ll need to take measures and treat your child or pet immediately, but some weaker poisons will give you more leeway than others. As long as they are still strong enough to help you with your mice infestations, sometimes it might be a good idea to go for the weaker option.
- Is the price a consideration for you? Mouse and rat baits aren’t the most expensive products one can find, but if you need to cover a lot of ground and/or use mice baits for a long time, you might find yourself purchasing quite a large amount of rodent baits. In that case, paying some attention to their price is a good idea. The price of the products in this niche isn’t always directly connected to their quality and it’s not rare for us to find subpar products with jacked up prices as well as high-quality products at a nice cheap price. Most of the time, however, the higher quality is worth the higher price, so keep that in mind too.
We ended up with quite a lot of bullet points for a niche of so similar and straightforward products but those are all things you’d do well to consider if you want to make the right choice for your situation. Now, as this is essentially mice poison we are talking about, there are two main ways to answer the above questions – the trial and error method or by simply reading as many reviews as you can find. The former method doesn’t really require much preparation, but reading product reviews online can become very annoying very fast.
Consumer reviews, for example, while a good barometer for a product’s performance, tend to be very subjective, to lack context, to often be driven by practical mistakes that the consumers themselves make, to offer incomplete information, to be affected by various external circumstances, and so on, and so on.
Industrial reviews by professionals, on the other hand, tend to feature much more information but are also often biased toward some products and against others.
Still, both types of reviews can be very useful when used in conjunction and especially when you read a large enough quantity of them. With each subsequent review, you’ll start to get a more and more clear picture of how things are and which products are worth your attention and which – not so much. Hopefully, our best-of list will also provide you with such clarity and help you make the right decision.
Another fact to consider when looking to purchase rat or mouse baits is the brands of the products you’re wondering between. As with the mice baits’ prices, brands aren’t always a clear indication on what you should purchase. Sometimes you’ll find prominent brands that happen to sell subpar products and other times you’ll stumble upon unknown brands that have a surprisingly rich and high-quality assortment of goods. Most of the time, however, a good and prolific brand will offer you products of a substantial quality, so paying that some attention is not a bad idea. Here are some of the more famous brands we’d recommend you take a look at first: Ramik, Contrac, Farnam, JT Eaton, Tomcat, Motomko, Havoc, and others.
Other useful information about mouse baits
The primary purpose of rat and mice bait stations isn’t to trap the rodents – they aren’t rat or mouse traps so don’t expect to find dead rodents in them. Mouse bait stations provide easy entrance and exit to rodents but are designed to keep children and pets away from the poisonous bait.
Another benefit of using mouse bait stations is that they keep the bait in place, protect it from nature’s elements, and stop it from being scattered around. This is great because it allows you to accurately observe and judge the condition and quantity of the bait and know when you have to refill the bait station.
Bait stations can also have different functions, depending on their “interior” – some may be designed to work with rodent bait pellets, while others – with blocks or chunks. Additionally, some are meant to incentivize the rodent to get the bait and take it out of the bait stations, while others are meant to keep the bait inside. Either way, as long as the bait is out of the reach of pets and children, the station is doing its job.
What about DIY mouse and rat baits?
DIY rat and mouse baits are not only not unheard of but to the contrary – humanity has made and used them for thousands of years up until now. Making a DIY rat bait is fairly easy – all you need is some strong mice poison and a delicious and high on protein treat to put the poison in. Things such as peanut butter, cheese, marshmallows, gumdrops, beef jerky, or even nesting materials such as yarns, twine or dental floss can all make for good baits and lures for your mouse poison.
To get a strong mouse poison all you need to do is go to your nearby convenience store and buy from there. Of course, if you are doing this, you might as well buy commercial mouse and rat baits instead, but that’s your choice. The problem with DIY mouse and rat baits is that you risk doing it wrong – applying too much poison and forcing the rodents to avoid it, applying too little poison and making the whole thing ineffective, and so on. Good, high-quality commercial rat and mice baits are instead finely tuned for maximum effectiveness.
Usage tips for mouse baits
If you want to maximize the effectiveness of your mouse and rat baits, here’s a quick list of tips and advice to follow:
- Know your enemy. Figure out what type of rodents you’re dealing with before you’ve started doing anything. Different types and sizes of mice and rats sometimes require different strategies, as well as different products to properly deal with. You can try and catch several live ones using cages and other live mouse traps in order to see what you’re dealing with. You can also use night vision cameras to get to know your rodent invaders.
- Place the baits or bait stations near the entrances of the treated area. This means that you’ll first have to determine where the rodents are coming from – doors, windows, holes in the walls, crevices, nooks, and other such places can all be the entry points of your rodent invaders. Keep in mind that while a mouse obviously can’t fit through as many places as a cockroach, they are still quite nimble creatures.
- Small mice, in particular, can really surprise you with how much they can squeeze themselves through tight areas. Placing the baits correctly at the entrance points of the rodents will greatly increase the chance that they’ll give it a bite or two.
- Keep in mind that the mice and rats can actually be coming from above or from below. You are dealing with a 3D situation – your rodent invaders may be coming from above (the ceiling) or from below (the basement/crawl space), so keep that in mind when picking the locations for your baits and bait stations.
- Place the baits or bait stations in between the entry points and the rodents’ food source. If you’re being invaded by mice or rats chances are that you’ve already realized what part of your storage they are attacking. Place the baits not directly next to the rodents’ food source but on their path to it.
- Place the baits or bait stations close enough to each other. Especially if there are a lot of other competing food sources in the area, mice and rats can easily pass by your bait even if it’s well placed and it’s actually tasty and attractive to their sensibilities. That’s because the mice and rats have likely targeted their food source as they first entered the area and before you placed the baits. So, even after you’ve placed the baits, they are still going straight to the target that they’ve chosen, ignoring other potential food sources on the way.
Mice and rats like to stick to walls and columns as they run around the place, as they give them protection from predators. If you place the baits even several inches away from the meeting point between the wall and the floor, most mice and rats will just pass them without giving them much attention.
- If you can, reduce the amount of non-poisonous competing food sources in the area. Removing the rodents’ other food supply from the area they’ve invaded will make them more likely to choose your mice bait.
- Try to figure out where are the “meeting grounds” of your unwanted rodent guests. Look for rodent excrements, for food prints, for unusually intensive rodent smell, for places they’ve eaten, etc. Place the baits and bait stations near those locations.
- Check on the baits regularly and change them frequently.
- Consider using two or more different types of mouse baits at the same time for maximum effectiveness. As we covered above, different mice poisons and baits have different active ingredients and properties, so using two or more different types at the same time can be beneficial.
- Use bait stations. We mentioned them several times above, but they deserve a separate mention – bait stations serve not only as protection for your pets and kids but also to draw the attention of the mice and rats.
- Make sure that the bait stations you’re using are of the right size. Even the best bait stations will be useless if it’s too small for the huge mouse that’s trying to get inside (or is just passing by).
- Use precautions – use rubber gloves when handling mouse and rat bait, just to be sure. Avoid touching your eyes or face after you’ve handled the mice bait.
- If you have a nice camera with a night vision mode, try placing it toward a good mouse bait location to see whether and how the rodents react to the bait.
Other than this, mice and rat baits are very simple to use and require no special preparations. It is rather unpleasant to find dead rats and mice all over your property and to have to throw them out, but it is much better than finding alive rats and mice wondering around.
Of course, rodent baits do have other disadvantages as well, mainly the fact that even the best mouse bait doesn’t have a 100% kill rate. Rodents are different even when they come from similar species and some can be highly resistant to toxins and poisons. Additionally, rats and mice are highly intelligent so when several members of a population die from mouse baits, the rest of the population can often learn to avoid the baits. These negatives are rarely too significant, however, and given how cheap most rat and mouse baits are, they are often worth the purchase. Even if the first bait you’ve bought hasn’t done 100% of the job, using a couple of different bats simultaneously or one after another can easily get the job done. Using rat and mouse baits followed up by traps is also a good way to effectively deal with a rodent infestation.
With all this out of the way, let’s take a final look at the Top 3 Best mouse baits that we found on the market for you:
The Havoc Rat and Mouse Bait is a highly toxic bait that consists of 0.005% Brodifacoum. This fast-killing poison has the highest reported kill rate we could find and works on all types of rodent pests, including Norwegian rats, house mice, roof rats, and many others. It’s so highly toxic that it’s much more dangerous to kids and pets than other rodent poisons, so be extra careful when using it.
The Contrac Blox Mouse Trap Bait is another very potent rat and mice bait poison. It uses Bromadiolone 0.005% as its active ingredient and this gives it the useful property of being less dangerous to pets and people. Both primary and secondary poisoning situations with the Contrac Blox are much more manageable for non-rodent mammals, however, a timely reaction is still needed. Consuming the readily available antidote of Vitamin K1 is vital for proper treatment. Keep in mind, however, that because it is less toxic, the Contrac is essentially weaker than the Havoc rat and mouse bait and other mice poisons. It’s still strong enough to exterminate most rodents but if you’re looking for raw power, the Contrac won’t be your best bet.
The Tomcat Bait Chunx Mice Bait is another very strong choice for your rodent problem. It uses Bromethalin 0.01% as its active ingredient and it’s very effective against most rodent types. It comes in a bucket of 64 packets, which is better for smaller or medium-sized households. It uses the likely most attractive bait on our list and rodents find it truly irresistible. One drawback, however, is that cockroaches tend to love it too, but they don’t die from the poison. So, if you have a cockroach infestation as well, get some roach poison too.