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Rodenticide Products are Changing

By Vincent Lazaneo, Urban Horticulture Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension (Excerpted from Retail Nursery and Garden Center IPM News, Vol. 1, No. 3, September, 2011 (www.ipm.ucdavis.edu)

poison symbolThe U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving to ban the sale of the most toxic rat and mouse poison products to consumers, because it has determined that they pose an unreasonable risk to children, pets and wildlife.  As a result of this action, sales of several active ingredients and products will no longer be allowed in outlets such as retail nurseries, garden centers, and hardware stores.  Other active ingredients formerly available as pellets or loose grain baits will be sold only when packaged in tamper-resistant bait stations.

Although all products of concern were expected to be off the shelves by June, lawsuits have slowed implementation of these changes.  However, a number of manufacturers have withdrawn targeted products, and many new, safer, tamper-resistant products are now on shelves.

Any program of trapping or baiting must be supplemented by removing food, water, and shelter (such as thick ivy around homes) for rodents and excluding rodents by screening, caulking, or plugging potential entryways.   It is only legal for homeowners to use poison bait or traps to control some rodents including gophers, ground squirrels, mice, moles and rats.  If toxic baits are used, care should be taken to keep them away from children and pets.

For information on how to manage common rodents and other vertebrate pests in home gardens, visit the UC statewide Integrated Pest Management website www.ipm.ucdavis.edu .  You will find UC Pest Notes on gophers (pocket gophers), ground squirrels (California ground squirrels), house mouse, meadow mice (voles), moles, opossum, rabbits, rats, rattlesnakes, skunks, and tree squirrels.

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