National Pesticide Information Center



Rodent Control and Rodenticides


Rodents have been known to damage buildings, contaminate food and transmit diseases to people. They're diverse; the rodent family includes rats, mice, gophers, voles, beavers and more. They're also adaptable, capable of learning by trial and error. As a result, people who need to control them have always struggled to "build a better mouse-trap."

Keep in mind these important tips when controlling a rodent infestation in your home or business:

  • Always read and follow label directions for any pesticide product, including rodent baits. It's the law.
  • Always store pesticides in a cool, dry place that's not accessible to children and pets. Rodent baits, in particular, can be attractive and dangerous to kids, pets and wildlife.
  • Many rodenticide baits have the potential to be toxic to wildlife if the product is eaten, or if an animal eats a rodent that was recently poisoned. If you suspect an animal may have been poisoned, please contact NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 to talk with a pesticide specialist.
  • It's important to know which species of rodent you're dealing with; they have different capabilities and preferences. The first step in any effective control program is proper pest identification. For help identifying your rodent infestation, try using this rodent information, or try contacting your local Cooperative Extension Service.
  • Many experts recommend an IPM approach, which stands for Integrated Pest Management. This kind of approach emphasizes prevention, sanitation and exclusion, and utilizes pesticides only as a last resort when other options have been exhausted. Learn more by visiting the following links:

Rodent Control and Identification

Rodenticide Poisoning in Humans

Rodenticide Poisoning in Pets and Wildlife

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Last updated August 19, 2014