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How Does Rodent Bait Station Work

Updated on: November 9, 2020

Rats and mice are among the worst pests to infiltrate your property. They multiply quickly, spread diseases, and do a lot of damage to your home or building. Many exterminators and pest control specialists agree that one of the most effective ways to handle these rodents is to set up a rodent bait station. 

So how exactly does a rodent bait station work? A bait station is a small, plastic box with an entrance that allows rats and mice to enter. Highly toxic bait called rodenticide is usually placed inside this box so rodents will consume it and die. In cases where the rat or mouse manages to escape, they end up bringing the bait to their nest and share it with others. 

What Is A Rodent Bait Station?

A rodent bait station is a container designed to trap rats, mice, and other rodents. These bait stations are usually boxes that can hold solid or liquid bait: grain, seeds, or toxic blocks of rodenticide. You can either build your own bait station from scrap materials or buy a ready-made bait box. 

Bait stations need to be tamper-resistant to prevent non-targets such as children and pets from accessing toxic bait. A bait station should also be made of sturdy, solid materials that won’t be knocked out of place or damaged. It’s ideal to anchor a station by nailing it to a surface, staking it to the ground, or securing it onto a support structure. 

Many of the bait stations sold commercially also feature an internal system called “baffles”. These baffles are compartments and tunnels that protect the bait from moisture. Baffles also keep the bait from being shaken out or reached by non-targets. 

When set up properly, rodent bait stations can be an effective way to reduce a rodent infestation. 

DIY Pest Control: Setting Up A Tamper-Resistant Rodent Bait Station 

Many people prefer to use poisonous rodent bait to resolve infestation problems because exterminating rodents prevent them from multiplying. Unfortunately, young children (usually under the age of six) are at high risk from ingesting rodent poison as well. Over 10,000 children are exposed to rodenticides in the US every year. This is the reason why you should either build or buy a rodent bait station that is tamper-resistant. 

What Does A Tamper-Resistant Rodent Bait Station Look Like? 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are eight safety criteria that a bait station should fulfill before calling itself “tamper resistant”. As long as they meet these criteria, a tamper-resistant bait station can come in any shape and size. Some homemade stations can be a flat board nailed at an angle to the bottom of the wall or a pipe segment where bait can be placed. It’s important that these bait stations can allow several rodents to feed at once. 

Manufacturers who create sturdy plastic baits usually include a hinged lid with childproof latches. These allow people to inspect the station easily and see if the bait has been consumed. Manufacturers also include baffles in their design to keep the bait secured. 

What Rodent Bait Types Can Be Used? 

There are a lot of multiple-dose (anticoagulant) rodenticides available on the market. These are the bait types that require rodents to feed on them for several days before they take effect. Usually, anticoagulant rodenticides come in loose grain or pelleted grain mixtures, blocks, or even water-soluble concentrates. 

Solid baits tend to come in packets so you can either place the contents of these packets into the bait station or keep them in packaging and wait for the rodents to gnaw on it. Liquid bait concentrates that can be mixed in water are especially attractive to rodents during dry seasons. Unless they are feeding on moist food, mice and rats will visit water stations and drink daily when water is available.

The most effective baits are fresh and high quality. Rodents will ignore spoiled and stale food so you have to add fresh bait and dispose of spoiled or uneaten baits regularly. 

How Can Rodent Bait Stations Be Maximized? 

Manufactured rodenticides have high success rates. Usually these baits are unconsumed due to human error. Here are some tips that will help you get optimal results with your bait stations:

  • Place the bait station where you’re sure rodents pass by. Signs of rodent activity like gnawings, tracks, rub marks, or droppings indicate that you’re close to their nest or food source. These rodent travel routes are the most ideal areas to keep your bait boxes.
  • Avoid exposing the bait box to afternoon sunshine as this can increase the heat inside the box by 20% - 30%. At this temperature, the bait will melt and the plastic container will quickly become brittle. 
  • Aside from locking, sealing, and concealing the latches, you need to label the bait station with warnings that say “POISON” or “DO NOT TOUCH”. It’s also important to assume that children and pets can still reach the bait box so keep it in a secure and inaccessible place. 

The Pros and Cons of Bait Stations 

Exterminators and pest control providers generally agree that bait stations play an important role in any pest control plan. The primary reason unobtrusive, tamper-resistant bait stations are used is to protect children, pets, and non-target animals from toxic bait. However, bait stations are not a perfect, all-in-one solution to your rodent problem. Here are some pros and cons to using a rodent bait station: 

Pros Cons 
Bait stations can protect bait from the elements and keep the bait free of moisture, dust, or dirt. This saves you money in the long term as the bait remains palatable in one place. If you place the rodent bait station in one area, there is no guarantee the rodent will visit the station at all. 
Bait stations make it easier to monitor rodent activity because you can see whether or not they have been feeding. It may take some time for the rodents to respond. Even though you place the bait station at a well-known area for rodents, they will not take the risk if they have a reliable food source elsewhere. 
Compared to rodent snap traps, bait stations are less dangerous for children and non-target animals. Rodent bait stations are also more effective than glue boards, which rats and mice can shake off or escape. Rodents may be picky about the type of bait you use. Many rats and mice are particular about the food they eat. If you have a major rat infestation, chances are high that they have found an easy food source inside your property. 
Bait stations help you place bait in areas where it might have been more difficult to place a trap, due to the weather or the potential hazard it poses to non-target animals. Even though bait stations are generally safe and effective to use in many situations, some circumstances make it unsafe or unsuitable - such as using toxic bait. This is why some areas require you to hire a licensed pest control company to handle rodent bait and bait stations. 
If you’re working in a food facility or hospital, bait stations prevent bait from spilling and contaminating your work area or products. Spill-proof bait stations also work great on farms because you won’t have to worry about the livestock accidentally consuming poisonous bait.Without an active rodent control program in place, you will have to place bait stations both indoors and outdoors permanently. The bait stations may not be able to eradicate the rodents completely but they can keep rodent numbers low. 
Bait stations are effective in enticing rats and mice. They are less suspicious of the trap because they prefer dark, enclosed spaces. 

Before purchasing or building bait stations, it’s important to discuss with pest control experts. Pest control services can understand your property, your unique circumstances, and the type of pest problem you have. They can also recommend what kind of bait you should use and where you should put your bait station for the best results. Pest control services will also offer advice and tips on how to prevent your rodent problem from recurring or becoming a full-blown infestation. 

4 Things To Do If You Have a Rat and Mouse Infestation 

If you have discovered that you have a rodent infestation but cannot hire an exterminator or pest control provider immediately, there are a few steps you can take to prevent the situation from getting worse: 

1. Look for the signs.

Rats and mice tend to hide in dark, crammed spaces so it’s hard to figure out exactly where they are nesting. To get a good idea on where they are passing through, keep your eyes out for the following signs:

  • Rodent droppings in drawers, cupboards, or under the sink 
  • Food packaging with bite marks 
  • Stale smells or bad odors in hidden areas 
  • Chewed up entry holes through walls and floors
  • Nesting materials like fabric, shredded paper, or dried plants 
  • Electrical wires that have been gnawed on 

2. Seal up any holes you find. 

Mice and rats can chew through all types of material except steel. This is why they can easily get in and out of your home. To prevent more rodents from entering the building, it’s important to seal off any holes inside and outside to keep them out. 

Inspect the building to check for possible entry points: stairs, corners, walls, even the foundation. Any place that can hide small crevices should be blocked off with steel wool. Assume that these rodents can squeeze themselves through any gap or crack, even those that only a pencil could pass through. 

3. Clean up inside and outside your home. 

Rodents thrive in unclean environments. Not only do they have an abundance of food scraps to eat and materials to build their nests with, but they can go unnoticed when there is a lot of stuff around. You need to discourage these rats and mice from living inside your property by removing these resources. You can do this by:

  • Securing kitchen garbage in containers with tight lids 
  • Removing nesting sites such as mulch or leaf piles 
  • Turning compost piles to cover food scraps 
  • Cleaning up leftover food from your pets and outdoor birds 

4. Start setting up traps. 

Once you’ve cleaned up and closed all possible entry points to your property, it’s time to deal with the ones that are already inside. You can research various traps or bait stations (if you can get them) to use, as well as the type of bait you can use. 

If your traps don’t catch anything after several days and you still see signs of rodents around, there are two likely explanations. The first reason is that you haven’t sealed up every entry point available so rats and mice are still coming in. The second reason is that the rodents are evading your traps - you can either add more traps or move your traps around, as mice and rats can be wary of the traps you already have in place. 

Keep Your Home Pest-Free With PermaKill Exterminating 

If you’re in need of pest removal services, PermaKill Exterminating has been serving the New Jersey area since 1984. We specialize in providing scientifically-proven solutions to our clients’ pest problems. 

For mice and rat control, we can visit your home for an inspection and conduct treatment on the same day, using effective techniques that will keep your home and health safe. We also provide aftercare tips and additional follow-up sessions can be scheduled as needed. Book an appointment with PermaKill Exterminating today. 

Read more: How To Get Rid of Rat Smell In Your Home


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