When it comes to rodent control, it is always a good idea to know your options. Broadly speaking, you can either trap or poison these pesky creatures.

While both trapping and poisoning are effective options for dealing with a rodent infestation, the primary difference between the two is whether there has been a use of chemicals or not.

Regardless of whether you are planning on braving the rodent infestation and expelling the unwelcome houseguests yourself or plan on acquiring professional help, knowing the way both trapping and poisoning work can help you choose the most suitable method for you.

Young Rat
A young rat.

Rodent Trapping

Rodent traps, as the name suggests, trap the rats and mice in your home. There are some traps that kill the rodents on the spot, some that keep the rat trapped for a little while until they starve to death, and some that trap the rats live without harming them so that you can release them away from your home.

Despite these differences, one common feature of traps is that you will have to deal with a rodent, later on, either dead or alive.

Rodent traps can further be categorized as mechanical or snap traps, glue traps, electronic taps, and live or humane traps.

Mechanical Traps

Snap traps are the most common type of rodent traps available. This type of traps is triggered when the bait on it is disturbed. The trap then traps the rodent and kills it almost instantly. There are different snap traps available for dealing with both a rat or a mice infestation. However, we ONLY use Victor snap traps. They have the best strength and durability.

Live or Humane Traps

Live traps are cage-like devices that lure the rats and then prevent them from escaping. Since rats and mice are generally attracted towards enclosed spaces, they are generally curious enough to venture inside. Once the rodent enters the cage, the mechanism of the cage’s door is triggered causing it close. This way, the rat is trapped inside but not killed. You can then take the cage out and release the rodent anywhere else or kill it.

Glue Traps

Glue traps comprise of pieces of cardboard that have a heavy-duty adhesive on them. When a rat passes over it, it gets stuck to the trap. Eventually, the rodent dies of asphyxiation and dehydration. Because of this reason, glue traps are considered a highly inhumane method of rat trapping.

Electronic Traps

Electronic trap detects when a rodent is present and delivers high voltage electricity that, in most cases, is enough to kill the rodent. Sometimes though, the electric shock doesn’t kill the rat, but rather only paralyzes or maims it temporarily. As a result, you are then left with the responsibility of either transporting and releasing the rodent elsewhere or of killing it before disposing of it.

Roof rat
Roof rat Rattus rattus

Rodent Poisoning [WARNING]

Poisoning refers to the use of chemicals that will cause the rodents to die. This poison can be administered through food bait placed in your home that is spiked with various rodenticides.

There is an old wife’s tale that says “You don’t need to worry about rats/mice eating the poison and dying in the attic and smelling. Rat/mice eat the poison, get thirsty and go outside for water and die!”

TOTALLY NOT TRUE! Even pest control professionals tell people this and it is just not true! Rodents will die wherever they feel like dying and often times, it is in your attic and yes, sometimes they smell. However, many times you have no idea where they die and you will never smell them.

There is also no poison that the rats miraculously dry up after eating and leave no smell. Given the right conditions, animal carcasses will dry up and become “mummified” but this has nothing to do with eating poison.

Baits

Baits are a highly effective form of rodent control. The bait looks like food to the rodents but is spiked with poison. When a rodent eats this bait, it will die within a couple of days. Depending upon the type of poison used, the dosage of the bait required by the rodent for it to be lethal can vary.

What is a Bait Station?

Instead of simply placing pieces of bait around the house at random, you can use bait stations. Unlike live rodent traps, a bait station does not trap the rodent. Instead, it merely holds the bait in it and the rodents are free to come and go as they please. The rodent control is achieved through the use of poison in the bait.

The advantage of using bait stations is that it protects children and pets from accidentally consuming the bait or coming into contact with it in any other way. Moreover, since rodents like enclosed spaces and are generally curious creatures, bait stations use these traits of rodents by increasing the likelihood of them venturing into the bait stations.

There are two main types of bait stations, namely disposable bait stations and reusable bait station.

Disposable Bait Stations

Disposable bait stations come preloaded with blocks of bait. All you need to do after purchasing such bait stations is place them in those areas of your house where you have seen high rodent activity, and then just wait for them to die.

Once all the bait inside the bait station has been consumed or you feel that all the rodents in your home have been successfully poisoned, you can simply dispose of the bait stations without having to worry about any post-cleaning process or about disposing of any leftover bait blocks.

Disposable bait stations are a suitable option for those who have a small-scale rodent infestation or those that don’t want to concern themselves with the extensive setup processes, clean up or disposals.

Reusable Bait Stations

For those people who have a larger infestation on their hands or are frequently bothered by rodents in their home, a reusable bait station is a better investment.

While the basic concept is the same that the device contains a bait block; in a reusable bait station, you can add another piece of bait block once the first one finishes.

This way, you can keep using the same bait stations over and over again until you have fully dealt with the infestation or can bring out the bait stations whenever you have a rodent problem in your home.

Placing Bait Stations

When placing bait stations, it is important to keep some tips and tricks in mind in order to increase their effectiveness and to minimize the risk of accidental or secondary poisoning.

Firstly, remember that ass rodents are cautious travelers, it is more likely for them to move along the walls or under furniture items, etc. instead of out in the open. Therefore, place the bait stations in such places where you expect greater rodent activity. This way, you will be able to increase the effectiveness of the poisoning and will see positive results much more efficiently.

Secondly, when using reusable bait stations, make sure to follow the instructions about replenishing the bait carefully to avoid any accidents or mishaps. Additionally, store any spare or loose bait blocks in a secure place where pets or children can’t access them. Furthermore, when using bait stations, make sure that they are child and pet proof, and use bait that reduces the likelihood of secondary poisoning in case someone comes in contact with a poisoned rodent.

Finally, for both types of bait stations, it is advisable to invest in one that has a transparent top so that you can easily observe how much of the bait is left. This way you will easily know when it is time to either dispose of the bait station or to refill it.

How to get rid of mice
House mouse

Which Option Is Better?

While both trapping and poisoning are effective methods for addressing a rodent infestation in your home, choosing the more suitable one for you is a matter of personal preference.

For instance, if you are not looking forward to disposing of the dead bodies of rodents, then poisoning might be a better option for you. Moreover, with poisoning, you can expect faster results as each bait station and bait block can target several rodents. On the other hand, if you are opposed to the idea of letting the rodents die in random nooks and crannies of the house and emitting a foul odor, then trapping might be a better option for you, as you can easily keep track of where the dead rats are and dispose of them off properly without having to look for them first.

But as a professional, our school of thought is, if the building can be rat proofed, then we set trap and animal proof. As soon as all the rats are trapped, our job is done. But if the building has many openings or it is not practical to rat proof, then we recommend a monthly baiting program.

Regardless of your preference, it is important to ensure that the trap or bait poisoning technique you are using is appropriate for the type of rodent you are dealing with. And don’t be hesitant about acquiring professional help for a more systematic and effective countermeasure towards your rodent worries.

Dusty Showers has been in the urban nuisance wildlife and pest control field since 1993. Taught by Garon Fyffe, a pioneer in humane nuisance wildlife management, Dusty has a passion for finding humane solutions to human & wildlife conflicts. Dusty was the only individual invited by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission in the lat 1990's to help write legislation for legal protection of Florida bats. With an instinct for solving wildlife, Dusty found pest control to be an easy "add-on interest". Dusty started his first business "Animal Instincts Wildlife & Pest Management" in the Tampa Bay, Florida area in 1995. Eventually selling Animal Instincts in 2002, Dusty went on to start Creepy Creatures Termite and Pest Control in 2009, which he still owns and operates today in Palm Harbor, Florida.