While mouse traps or rat traps work (and we have a best rap trap pick here), they may not be the best option for every situation, and not everyone wants to deal with the aftermath of a snap trap. The best rat poisons effectively take care of your rodent problem in a hands-off manner. They also offer a solution for multiple types of rodents, even those who've become resistant to bait. With all the different types of rat poison, homeowners can rid their house of Norway rats, roof rats, voles, or whatever types of rodents plaguing them—without the cost of an exterminator.
The best and most effective way to kill rats to use an anticoagulant-based poison. "It will affect the blood in rats and eventually make it so the heart can't pump the blood because it is too thin," says Matt Smith, owner and licensed professional pest control technician at Green Pest Management, which operates in several eastern states.
Amazon has a great selection of rat bait that feature anticoagulants such as bromadiolone, chlorophacinone, difethialone, brodifacoum, and warfarin. Depending on the state where you live, an effective rat poison can be shipped straight to your door. No matter which you use, remember: The best way for safe, effective rat control is to read all the instructions and warnings when using rat poison.
Best Rat Poisons and Best Rat Trap of 2023
- Best Fast-Acting Rat Poison: Tomcat Rat Bait Chunx
- Best Rat-Poison Pellets: Farnam Just One Bite II Bait Chunks
- Best Rat Repellent: Nature's Mace Rodent Repellent
- Best Rat Trap: Goodnature Home Trapping Kit A24
- Best Bait for Rat Traps: JT Eaton Bait Block Rodenticide
Best Fast-Acting Rat Poison
Top Pick: Tomcat Bait Chunx ($28)
The active ingredient in this Tomcat mouse and rat killer is bromethalin, which kills by disrupting the rodents' nerve cells and can deliver a fast-acting lethal dose in a single bite. The poison bait is a good choice because you don't have to worry about rats and mice that have developed anticoagulant resistance, meaning the traditional poisons won't work.
These "bait chunx" each kill up to 12 rats, and the instructions recommend baiting in safe perimeter traps to prevent rats and mice from dying inside your home or walls. Make sure the packaging is tamper-resistant as well. You don't want your dog or cat to break into your mouse bait station and get sick. Note: if you live in some states, like California, you won't be able to purchase bromethalin-based rat poison.
Tomcat Bait Chunx - $28
Best Rat-Poison Pellets
Top Pick: Farnam Just One Bite II Bait Chunks ($65)
Best used around agricultural buildings or farm settings, the active ingredient in this rat and mouse killer is bromadiolone, similar to the bromethalin above, which acts as a toxic food source for rodents. It can deliver a lethal dose in a single feed, though death is delayed up to four days, so rats may keep coming back for more before they expire.
It works great for rodents resistant to those anti-clotting agents, such as Norway rats. Note: Bromadiolone is not legal to use in certain states, like California.
Farnam Just One Bite II Chunks - $65
Best Rat Repellent
Top Pick: Nature's Mace Rodent Repellent ($39)
Spraying some rat repellents can be tricky. No one wants residue all over their shoes or on the floor, and you certainly don't want your pet getting chemicals on their paws and tracking it through the house or, worse yet, licking it.
Nature's Mace Rodent Repellent is all-natural and made out of peppermint oil and other spices, making it safe to spray inside and outside your home. Better yet, the rat and mouse repellent is weather-resistant and won't wash away, making it a year-round solution to your rodent issues. It will last through rain and irrigation, so feel free to spray it around your house, shed, yard, and garden to keep rodents at bay.
Nature's Mace Rodent Repellent - $39
Best Rat Trap
Top Pick: Goodnature A24 Home Trapping Kit ($180)
With the A24 Home Trapping Kit, Goodnature did, indeed, build a better mouse trap. It kills both rats and mice by luring them in with tasty nontoxic bait, where they trip a neck-breaking trigger powered by a CO2 canister. The trigger then resets, and each canister can go off 24 times before needing to be changed.
Nail the rat bait station to a tree to keep it secure or stick it in a corner of your home to eliminate your uninvited house guests. Unlike rat and mouse poison, this trap is safe for wildlife and pets, as it doesn't use any chemicals.
Goodnature Home Trapping Kit - $180
Best Rat Poison for Traps
Top Pick: JT Eaton Bait Block Rodenticide ($39)
If you prefer to bait rat traps with poison for a double-whammy effect, consider the JT Eaton bait blocks. They have a peanut-butter flavor that even the pickiest mice and rats can't resist. The aroma draws them in immediately, though it may take a couple of feedings for it to take effect—provided they escape the trap in the first place.
This nine-pound pail is full of anticoagulant bait that will rid your basement or garage of any infestation—just don't use it around pets or kids. To keep pets and kids safe, use this for bait in an enclosed trap. That way, the only mammal getting to it will be the rats! Note: Diphacinone is illegal to use in certain states, like California.
JT Eaton Bait Block Rodenticide - $39.32
How Best to Kill Rats
There are a few things to consider when thinking about the best way to kill rats.
How Best to Kill Rats
The best way to kill rats is by using a rat poison that contains an anticoagulant, says Smith. Why an anticoagulant? "It will affect the blood in rats and eventually make it so the heart can't pump the blood because it is too thin," he says.
That said, you have options of type. Second-generation anticoagulants kill their targets in a single feeding, whereas first-generation products take a little more time, which means rats may come back for more before expiring (not necessarily a bad thing). An anticoagulant is best to use "because once you set it out, it is constantly available to the rodents," Smith says.
In contrast, snap or live traps need to be monitored and reset. "For snap or live traps, rats will typically learn and avoid it if it is left in one spot too long," he says. "With poisons you can switch out different types and have more variety in where you can place them, a poison doesn't have to be accessible for you to check it often."
Pet owners need to be careful when setting out rat poison. Depending on the size of your animal, it can do quite a bit of damage with just a small amount In most cases, it may take a lot of poison to harm your cat or dog, it can still make them sick if they get enough. To minimize the risk, put the poison in spots where your pets won't get to it or inside a bait box, says Smith.
But the actual poison isn't the only potential danger: If the rat wanders off before dying, a pet or other animal might eat it and get secondary poisoning. "Following the label is the key to success," says Susan Hare, program director for Thrasher Termite and Pest Control of So Cal. Inc. A common mistake: "Use too little bait or let the bait stations remain empty, and the rats will develop a tolerance for the bait. Also, always secure it in a box manufactured specifically for that purpose."
If you'd rather not use poison, traps are your next best option. In fact, the most effective rat trap, according to Hare, is the Goodnature CO2-powered trap that was developed for use in New Zealand and now sold on Amazon (and is in our list above). It comes with a nontoxic bait that lures rodents to their death, and is safe to use around pets.
What Foods Kill Rats Instantly
Rodent control is necessary in almost every environment where there are people, but there isn't a simple answer to what kills a rodent instantly. Most baits take time. Some will kill the mouse or rat within 18 to 24 hours, while others can take a couple of days. If you have a controlled area, you can use a bait box with an anticoagulant bait and within 12 to 24 hours, your rodent should be dead.
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