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Information about the ban on mouse and rat poisons

According to HSE rodenticides can be used only by qualified persons. Qualified persons here means trained pest control professionals and those who have taken a special professional qualification. Use of these by normal consumers is therefore forbidden! Additional biocides, known as second generation biocides, are also likely to become subject to the same restrictions over the coming years.

Various reasons have led to the use of rodenticides being restricted:

  • Commonly used poisons are anti-coagulants which prevent blood from clotting and pose a high risk to the environment.
  • When an animal consumes these substances, their blood no longer clots and they bleed to death internally.
  • The poisons only take effect 3–7 days after consuming the poison so that the animals do not make a connection with the bait.
  • This is an agonising death for the rodents and is therefore highly questionable with regards to animal cruelty laws.

Anti-coagulants are divided into first and second generations.

Coumatetralyl is a first generation substance. Chlorphacinon and Warfarin. The rodents must consume these substances several times in order to receive a lethal dose.

Second generation rodenticides, including difenafcoum, bromadiolon, difethialon, brodifacoum and flocoumafen, are usually lethal from ingesting the bait just once. These second generation biocides are therefore much more poisonous and even less biodegradable.

Unfortunately, it is an all too common occurrence that protected species such as shrews and birds that consume nuts and seeds eat the bait and consequently die. This is known as primary poisoning of unintended target organisms.

An additional danger exists for birds of prey, such as owls and the common buzzard, but also foxes, weasels and other wild animals. These creatures can eat the poisoned mice and rats and suffer from secondary poisoning.

Some studies have found lethal concentrations of rodenticides in wild animals. In addition, the wide use of poisoned baits has led to some areas seeing brown rats and particularly house mice developing a resistance to the poisons. Further uncontrolled use of these poisons would eventually lead to even more resistant animals breeding that would then be extremely difficult to control.

In line with the EU-wide review, the use of rodenticides has been limited to those with expert knowledge. This is in order to reduce to the possible risk to humans and the environment. (Risk reduction measures)

The poison-free alternatives available to consumers for use in fighting rodents are now of interest. It's certainly no myth that both rats and mice can transmit various diseases to humans and cause significantly material damage.

Various preventative measures should be taken to avoid coming into contact with rodents in the first place. Most important is not to provide these animals with a source of food and nesting places.

Food should be stored in a place that is inaccessible to rodents. Disposing of  food down in the toilet should be strictly avoided! Rubbish should be securely disposed of in closed rubbish containers. It is also important to keep compost heaps free from leftover food and not leave out any unnecessary bird food or similar in the garden.

Buildings should be well maintained to prevent animals from finding a way in. Broken windows, holes in walls or broken pipes are common entry points for these animals. You should also avoid having a lot of junk lying around. An uncluttered layout in cellars, yards and storage areas will prevent rats and mice from moving in.

If, despite taking all these preventative measures, rodents have moved in, then the use of traps is recommended for fighting sporadic appearances of mice and rats.

Using traps may at first seem rather cruel. However, tests clearly show that, when properly used, traps cause significantly less pain and suffering than poisoned baits which would leave the animals in pain from internal bleeding for several days.

Snap traps and electric traps are good for fighting rodents. These ensure a quick death.
Glue traps are explicitly forbidden!

Snap traps generally have a metal frame that is tensioned with a spring.

When an animal steps on the trap, which has been filled with an attractive bait (peanut butter, bacon, raisins or similar), the metal frame is triggered. The frame snaps onto the rodent, breaking its back. In most cases it will be instantly killed. Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that the rat or mouse is not fully caught by the trap and is left to suffer.

Electric mouse and rattraps are different.

The mouse or rat is attracted to the trap by the bait. The rodent runs into the trap and walks over metal plates placed in front of the bait. These plates are charged with a high voltage. The animal receives an electric shock that reliably kills.

The main advantage of electric rattraps is that mice and rats are quickly and decisively killed without any suffering. Depending on the model of trap used, several rodents can be dealt with by a single trap. It is usually possible to empty the trap without having to touch the rodent.

Where you are experiencing pest problems that involve various animals, you should not deal with this yourself. Rather, you should alert the health authorities. Where you are experiencing pest problems that involve various animals, you should not deal with this yourself. Rather, you should alert the health authorities. The problem can then be dealt with by a professional person, e.g. a pest control expert.

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