Rodent control involves risks for man and the environment

Safe and effective use of mouse and rat poison

ein Rattenschatten an der WandClick to enlarge
Rodenticides = chemical agents used to control rodent infestation
Source: Lugaa /

The use of poisonous bait to control rats and mice can lead to an unintentional poisoning of pets and wild animals. In addition, most of the chemical substances used are very persistent in the environment and accumulate in organisms. A large number of risk mitigation measures must be taken to prevent these occurrences, for example the use of bait stations. The German Environment Agency (UBA) has published these measures in practical guides for professional and non-professional users and FAQ on the topic of rodent control.

Rodenticides (pest control chemicals) commonly contain substances that reduce blood clotting which are known as anticoagulants. They are often used as food bait in and around buildings, sewage systems or in rat holes. This can lead to unintended poisoning of pets and wild animals. Moreover, the majority of anticoagulants most are persistent in the environment, accumulate in organisms and thus in the food chain. Residues of rodenticides have been detected in foxes, weasels, owls, predatory birds and songbirds, and also fish.

There are many rules for the application of these substances with regard to protection of the environment and human and animal health which both professionals and laypersons must follow. These rules were established and made binding by the procedure for the authorisation of biocidal products and are included in the instructions for use of the products. Failure to comply is a regulatory offense which can be penalised with a fine of up to €50,000.

Different regulations apply according to user groups. UBA has therefore compiled and issued best practice code publications for the different groups: the general public; professional users (non-qualified); qualified professional users. The regulations explain in practical terms how to use rodenticides lawfully, safely, and efficiently.

UBA has also updated an FAQ list on the topic of rodent control with the use of anticoagulants. The publication provides extensive background information on the authorisation procedure for rodenticides, environmental risks, risk mitigation measures, and non-chemical measures of rodent control. The 4th edition of the FAQ now includes information about the evidence of rodenticide residues in fish. It also devotes a chapter to rodent control in sewers.

Umweltbundesamt Hauptsitz

Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau

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 Rodenticides  rodent infestation