Nov 3, 2012 – Bait – Shortcomings and Truths


Are there any rodent baits with Drying Agents that help control odors by drying the body out quicker? I have read the odor questions and using Bac-A-Zap, etc. Also, is there a legal bait for feral cats?


First on the cats. NO. No, there are no toxins labeled for harming feral cats or feral dogs or many other vertebrate animals, and it is likely that if someone is caught poisoning cats using their own concoctions or an illegal use of rodent baits that person, when caught, is going to be arrested, fined, and hung by his toes by people who, rightfully, strongly protest the harming of cats. Even though they are "feral" animals and in a sense now live a wild existence, they still are offspring of our beloved household kitties, and killing them is not going to be appropriate. For feral cats it is going to be touchy, but working with a local animal control agency you would probably be allowed to live-trap feral cats and take them to that agency for disposition. One concern, of course, is that what one person considers feral or a nuisance cat may just be some neighbor's cat that spends a lot of time outdoors, and killing that cat is going to cause some serious difficulties. 

On rodents, again no. As far as I know no manufacturer is putting anything in their rodent baits that could accelerate the desiccation of a dead rodent. However, that myth continues to circulate from people who either don't know any better or who are trying to market a bait under false pretenses, that the anticoagulant baits cause the dead rodent to dry out and not to stink. This just does not occur, and our industry's rodent control experts tell us this from time to time to keep our knowledge fresh. The dead rodent is going to dehydrate when it is darned good and ready to do so, and for rats this will take a lot longer than for mice, and for dead rats hidden within walls or back in the far reaches of the attic there likely will be foul odors for quite a long time. There also will likely be blow flies developing in that carcass, since that is what blow flies do - seek out and begin the decomposition and recycling of dead animals. 

It is important for us to recognize that most rodenticide labels will have an instruction to, as the Ditrac Blox label does as an example, "collect and dispose of all dead, exposed animals and leftover bait". A couple of very important points are made here. The first is that by stating this on the Label it becomes mandatory that the PMP return to find and remove dead rodents, not a suggestion, but mandatory. So, the one-shot rodent control in a home won't work. Return visits are needed to comply with the Label, and the dead rodents that lie in inaccessible locations are going to be a problem, now not only with the flies and odors, but also for Label compliance. This is one reason that trapping may be preferred over baiting inside many structures. 

The second issue there is that removal of all "leftover" bait, again telling us that leaving bait in the attic or crawl space may not be legal. It also takes the bait out of our control and opens the door to possible non-target animals finding it and eating it at some point in the future. 

A couple more points on Fun Myths About Rodent Baits. Rodents that eat anticoagulant baits do NOT "get thirsty" and go outside to find water and thus die there. They will die inside a structure as often as they do outside. It just depends on where that rodent is in the few days after eating one of these chronic baits when it is overcome with the effect of the active ingredient. Another twist on the dehydration myth is that rodent baits cause mummification of the rodent so that it does not create odors. Also not true. 

View past Ask Mr. Pest Control questions.