If you’re suffering from a rat infestation, your own home can suddenly become a source of anxiety. Scratching in the walls, scuffling in the attic, and mysterious droppings on your pantry shelf can be enough to induce a panic attack. To help you eliminate these pesky critters, we’ve created a list of the six best rat bait packages on the market.
We’ve focused primarily on anticoagulant baits because they’re generally the safest for people with pets and children. If you’re interested in ways to eliminate rats from your entire property, read our article on how to get rid of rats in your backyard.
Table of Contents
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…
1. Motomco Tomcat All-Weather Bait Chunx
- Contains the active ingredient diphacinone
- Tougher than a barnyard cat for controlling rats and mice
- Rodenticide Class: 1st Generation Anticoagulant
Last update on 2024-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Motomco Tomcat All-Weather Bait Chunx comes in a large, 9-pound plastic tub that contains about 120 pieces of bait (varies by weight). The baits are plant flavored, to help prevent them from being eaten by cats or dogs who may be attracted to a meat-flavored bait.
The main ingredient in Tomcat baits is diphacinone, an anti-coagulant that will cause rats and mice to bleed out internally within 4-6 days. On the one hand, this compound is less powerful and slower-acting than bromadiolone or brodifacoum, the two other common anti-coagulants on the market. On the other hand, it gets the job done, and it gives you a little extra time to get medical attention in the event of an accident.
Provided you’ve got enough patience to let the poison take its course, Tomcat has a lot to offer. Perhaps the most attractive feature is that it’s designed for outdoor use, so you’re not limited to setting it inside your house. Position it outdoors, near access points, and you’ll do just fine.
And if you’ve got a barn or a silo, you can also position bait outside those areas without any issues.
- Comes in a large tub
- Suitable for outdoor use
- Easy to set
- Also works on mice, squirrels, and raccoons
- Requires a lot of bait to eliminate an entire colony
2. Neogen Havoc
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Neogen Havoc is a brodifacoum-based bait that’s also an anti-coagulant. This is an extremely powerful chemical that will kill a rat after just a single bite. In exposed form, brodifacoum can be dangerous to humans, but the Havoc is an enclosed trap that doesn’t require you to touch the bait itself.
These baits come in a 40-piece tub, which is fewer pieces than we’d normally expect for the price. That said, because they’re so powerful, you won’t need to use as many of them to wipe out a similar-sized rat population. Just a few traps are sufficient to kill dozens of rats, so the tub goes as far as a larger tub of weaker poison.
Havoc baits are designed primarily for indoor use. Place them inside doorways, even inside a barn and shed doorways, to get the best results. You’ll also want to place them inside other entry points, such as air vents and chewed-out window screens.
Be careful, though. This bait is very powerful. While it’s difficult for an adult to poison themselves, small children are liable to chew on the housing. Keep them out of reach, and don’t use them anywhere a small child may find them and become curious.
That said, Neogen Havoc is a great choice for dealing with large rodents. Even raccoons will die quickly after attacking one of these baits.
- Very potent
- Enclosed bait chamber for safety
- Effective in just a few days
- A little pricey
3. Neogen Ramik Mouse and Rat Bars
- One Of A Kind: Ramik Bait Bars are made of 1st Generation Anticoagulant: Diphacinone (.005%)
- Target Rodents: Kills Rats, Mice, and Meadow Voles*
- Effective Results: Death may occur within 4-5 days after lethal dose is consumed
- Proven Formula: Ramik bait bars are formulated with a food quality fish flavored grain mix
- Protect Your Home: Can be used indoors and outdoors and is especially suited for wet or damp areas
Last update on 2024-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Neogen Ramik Mouse and Rat Bars are fish-flavored baits that are like a magnet for rats. They’re extraordinarily effective at attracting rodents and getting bites, but be careful; domestic cats and many dogs will enjoy the fish flavor just as much, so you’ll want to use a different bait if you have indoor cats.
These baits use diphacinone poison, which is relatively slow-acting compared to some other anti-coagulants. As we’ve already mentioned, this is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it means the rats will take longer to die; on the other hand, it means you’ll have more time to get help if your child or domestic animal ends up getting poisoned.
Unlike the last two baits we’ve looked at, these are designed for indoor use only. While they’re mold-resistant and moisture-resistant enough to be used in a musty basement, they’ll melt in a rainstorm.
That said, they’re a great choice if you’re looking to attract as many rats as possible. The fish smell is irresistible to them, and you can quickly wipe out a large colony if you’ve set your baits at good, strategic locations.
- Kills after a single feeding
- Large baits can poison several rats apiece
- Mold and moisture resistant.
- Not suitable for outdoor use
4. JT Eaton 709-PN Bait Block
- RODENT CONTROL: Anticoagulant block bait that eliminates rats and mice within a few days
- QUALITY FORMULA: Specially formulated with a peanut butter flavor to attract rodents and stop a potential rat or mouse infestation
- PROVEN ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Diphacinone (0.005%) efficiently eliminates mice and rats
- EASY TO USE: For use outdoors in farm and agriculture areas or indoors in attics, garages, basements, or other areas of the home; designed with center holes for easy use in bait stations
- 1-OUNCE BLOCKS: The 10.5"(l) x 10.5"(w) x 10.25"(h) tamper evident resealable pail includes 144 x 1-ounce Bait Blocks
Last update on 2024-01-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
JT Eaton 709-PN Bait Block is formulated to be as affordable as possible while still allowing you to deal with your rat problem. You receive a large pail with 144 bait blocks, which means you can eliminate a large number of rats without having to invest multiple buckets.
This bait is peanut butter-flavored, which makes it attractive not only to rats, but also to mice, squirrels, raccoons, and other small pests. The downside? It’s also attractive to cats and dogs, so take care to put your bait in locations where your pet can’t get at it.
That said, the best course of action with any bait is to put it where the rats are, not where your pets are. Look for dryer vents, furnace vents, attic vents, and other locations where rats can gain easy entry. Put your bait in those places, and you’ll keep your pets safe while hitting the rats every time they enter or leave.
The main ingredient in the 709-PN Bait Block is diphacinone, a powerful but slow-acting anti-coagulant. This means it will take up to a week to kill your pests, but it’s still powerful enough to get the job done as long as you have a little patience.
Best of all? If you need to put down a second round of baits, you’ll have plenty in the bucket.
- Attractive peanut butter flavor
- Comes in a large bucket
- Not terribly potent
5. d-CON Rodent and Mouse Bait Station
- Helps reduce house mice problems. Guaranteed to kill (Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back).
- This bait may be considered safer because it contains no neurotoxins or anti-coagulants.
- This bait station is 'Child Resistant'; Mice get the bait, Kids can’t.
- Compact & low profile weather-resistant station can be used indoors or outdoors.
- Ideal for your: attic, kitchen/pantry, basement, bedrooms, bathrooms, living room, laundry room, garage and shed.
Last update on 2024-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The d-CON Rodent and Mouse Bait Station comes from one of the most respected brands in the business. d-CON is well-known throughout the world for their pest control devices, and their Rodent and Mouse Bait Station is a continuation of their tradition of high quality.
The pack itself contains a single bait station, which means it may take some time to kill an entire rat colony. On the plus side, you get a powerful poison, and the bait station is safe for cats, dogs, and children. If you’re concerned about a child or domestic animal getting into your rat bait, it’s hard to go wrong with this option.
Even better, you can mix the bait with real food to make it more attractive. Several users report mixing the bait with peanut butter for better results, and peanut butter is a rat magnet. The bait station utilizes a mix of anti-coagulants, which provide a potent toxin that will bring down even the most battle-hardened of rats.
As a side note, the package says “kills mice”. This is 100-percent true. But it kills rats, squirrels, and raccoons with equal ease.
- Safe for dogs, cats, and children
- Can be mixed with peanut butter for better flavor
- Powerful anticoagulant
- Takes a long time to kill an entire colony
Rat Bait Buying Guide
Now that we’ve talked about the six best rat baits on the market, it’s time to take a deeper dive. Here, we’ll talk about different types of poison, how to use them, and other ways you can mitigate your rodent problem.
Types of Rat Poison
These days, there are numerous types of toxins available for eliminating your rat infestation. However, they can broadly be sorted into two categories: anticoagulants and non-anticoagulants.
These are some of the most common types of household rat poison on the market. The three most popular chemicals are brodifacoum, bromadiolone, and diphacinone, but all three chemicals essentially work the same way. They thin the blood and prevent it from clotting, which causes rats to slowly bleed out internally over the course of a few days. These poisons will kill from a single feeding, but not immediately.
The benefit of anticoagulants is that there’s a readily-available antidote: a large dose of Vitamin K. This means that if your cat catches and eats a poisoned rat – or, God forbid, a small child ingests some poison – a veterinarian or doctor can save their life with an injection. Most consumer rat poisons, including all six of the ones we listed, use an anticoagulant toxin.
Most non-anticoagulant rat poisons are only available to professionals or are only sold in farm supply stores. These toxins are more dangerous to people, because they’re more fast-acting, and not all of them have an antidote. If you decide to use one of them, be extremely careful and follow all the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter.
A few of the most common non-anticoagulants are:
- Bromethalin, a central nervous system toxin. This chemical causes brain cells to swell, leading to paralysis and death within hours.
- Zinc phosphide is harmless until it’s exposed to water and acid. Guess what’s inside a rat’s stomach? When they swallow it, the zinc phosphide reacts with water and stomach acid and turns into phosphine gas, a potent nerve agent that was used on the battlefields of World War I. It’s toxic not just to the brain, but also to the heart, liver, and kidneys.
- Strychnine is a potent nervous system toxin that induces muscle spasms and prevents breathing. It causes death within minutes, but it’s extremely dangerous and only available to pest control professionals.
- Cholacalciferol is a fancy name for Vitamin D3. All mammals need this vitamin to balance calcium between the blood and the bones. When a rat receives a large dose, their blood becomes saturated with calcium, which causes damage to the brain and kidneys, leading to death in a few days.
Types of Rat
Before you set your bait, it’s important to understand the type of rat you’re dealing with. This will affect bait placement.
Since we’re writing for a US audience, we’ve limited ourselves to the two most common rat species in the US: the black rat and the brown rat.
The black rat, also known as the roof rat, is the smaller of the two species, but don’t let that fool you. Rather than making them less dangerous, it just allows them to fit into smaller spaces. They’re fast, agile, and they’re notorious climbers. As a result, they’re prone to infesting all areas of your home, including the attic, which is why people call them roof rats.
These rats can be identified by their small bodies, oversized ears, pointy noses, and exceptionally long tails that are longer than their body. Black rats are normally black, as their name implies, but they can appear in any color, from a deep coffee tone to a medium caramel.
In nature, black rats like to nest in trees and tall shrubs, the better to stay off the ground and avoid predators. They love sneaking in through attic vents and have been known to chew through window screens to get inside your house. If you’ve spotted one of these critters, check your screens, as well as any mesh vent covers to see if they’ve been holed. Should this be the case, you’ve likely found the source of your problem.
If you hear them in your attic, keep in mind that rats are gregarious animals with a tight family structure. If you’ve seen one, there are going to be more, and there’s going to be a nest. Be prepared to set traps at all your attic’s entry and exit points.
The brown rat, also known as the street rat, common rat, sewer rat, or Norway rat, is significantly larger than the black rat. These bad boys can be found anywhere in the US, but are most common in colder climates. They can be distinguished from the black rat by their small ears, large bodies, round noses, and tails that are as long as the body or shorter.
These rats aren’t always brown. They can also be a flat gray or tawny gray, so their body shape is the best indicator of what species you’re dealing with.
Unlike brown rats, black rats prefer to stay close to the ground, where they can quickly escape under cover if they’re threatened. This means they’re most likely to be found on the ground floor of your house, where they can raid your pantry and other food storage to get a free meal. They’re also notorious for invading grain silos, barn feed bags, and even chewing through electrical wiring.
The good news about brown rats is that they don’t often invade your attic. Instead, you can focus on setting your bait near ground-level food sources, as well as around ground-level access points. And keep in mind that even a relatively big rat can fit through a surprisingly small space. Look around dryer vents, bathroom windows, and other openings around the ground floor.
Types of Rat Traps
In addition to poison baits, there are several other ways to catch rats.
The most obvious method is a simple spring trap. If you buy spring traps that are designed for rats, be advised that they’re much stronger than mouse traps. They’re more than capable of breaking your fingers, so be careful while you’re setting them.
Another option is a glue trap. These traps typically take the form of a flat sheet of plastic, coated with thick, heavy glue. When a rat steps on the glue, they get stuck. When they struggle, they get more stuck. Eventually, they die of exhaustion and dehydration.
Electrical rat traps are another popular choice. These traps consist of an electrical chamber with a tasty bait inside. When the rat enters, electronic sensors register their presence and deliver a high-voltage shock. The disadvantage of these traps is that you have to clean them up and deal with the dead rats. With poison, the rats typically go somewhere secluded and private to die, so you don’t have to clean them up yourself.
If you want to eliminate your rat problem without killing them, there are a couple of non-lethal options available. A cage trap is the most popular. In this type of trap, a non-lethal bait is set inside. When the rat enters, they step on a pressure plate that causes the door to shut behind them.
A similar design is the funnel trap. These traps consist of a vertical funnel, with a cage on the bottom and the tips of the funnel wires pointing straight down into the cage. Rats enter easily to come after the bait, then find that they’re unable to escape.
The downside of non-lethal traps is that you have to release the rats somewhere else. If you’re in a populated area, this can mean driving several miles to a forest or another suitable habitat to set them loose.
How to Make Your House Rat-Resistant
If you’ve got a rat problem, the first step is to identify how they’re getting in and out. Part of this is knowing what species you’re dealing with, as we’ve discussed earlier. The most obvious sign is if you hear rats in the attic – you’re clearly dealing with black rats – but you can also identify them by their droppings if you haven’t gotten eyes on the rats themselves. Brown rat droppings are about ¾ of an inch long and have blunted tips, while black rat droppings are shorter, and are pointed on the ends.
Once you know your species, you can start looking for entry points. For brown rats, look around exterior doors and vents on the bottom floor, and look for gaps in window framing. Don’t neglect the basement! Most people are careful about keeping their windows intact and draft-free, but if you’ve got an unfinished, unheated basement it’s easy to forget that your window wells even exist.
For black rats, look at second-story windows, attic vents, and roof vents. Remember, if the gap is about ½ an inch or more, there’s a chance that a rat can slip through.
Once you’ve secured these openings, remove any outdoor sources of food and shelter. Clear out leaf piles, dead shrubs, and empty trash cans. And if you have a bird feeder, consider removing it temporarily. The rats will eventually leave, and the birds will come back once you’ve replaced your feeder.
Best Rat Bait Brands
When you’re buying a rat bait, it’s important to have confidence that it’s going to get the job done. And buying from a reputable manufacturer is a great way to put your best foot forward.
- Motomco is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bell Laboratories. This company was founded in 1974 and is based in Madison, Wisconsin. They specialize in rodent control solutions, specifically poisoned bait for mice, rats, moles, voles, and other pests. In addition to Motomco, Bell also sells Target brand glue traps and TALPIRID mole poison. All in all, they’ve registered more pest control poisons with the EPA than any other manufacturer.
- Neogen is a full-service agricultural supply company that manufactures just about any chemical you might need for a farm. While their rodenticides are very reliable, they’re just a small part of Neogen’s total business. The company also pesticides for food crops, antibiotics for dairy farms, foodborne pathogen detectors for safety, as well as a variety of veterinary tools and supplies.
- JT Eaton is a family-owned company that was founded in 1932. In 1979, they developed the first commercially-available glue trap. They manufacture traps and poisons for rodents, snakes, and insects. Most recently, they’ve released a line of bed bug solutions that are among the most highly-rated on the market.
- d-CON is an American pest control brand that was founded in Wisconsin in 1950. They quickly became known for their safe, reliable rodenticides. In 1994, British multinational company Reckitt Benckiser Group acquired the d-CON brand, but they still operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary, so you’re still getting the same d-CON quality that made them famous.
So, what else do you need to know about using rat bait? Before we render our final verdict, we’re going to answer a few of the most common rat bait questions.
Q: What Bait Should I Use For a Mechanical Trap?
A: If you’re setting a mechanical trap, using a poison bait isn’t just overkill. It’s also counter-effective. For a mechanical trap, you want the most attractive scents possible, since you want the rat to move in enthusiastically and lose its sense of caution. The best baits for this are peanut butter, fresh fruits, vegetables, cereals, and meat – especially bacon.
Q: What Are Some Common Baiting Mistakes?
A: The most common mistake people make when exterminating rodents is assuming that there are only one or two. In fact, a female rat can give birth to up to 12 pups in a month. So if you’ve just spotted one rat, expect at least a dozen. If you only plan on a single rat, you won’t kill the entire population, and they will continue to breed. Worse, rats will breed with siblings, parents, and any other rat that comes along, so even a single brother and sister can quickly kick off a new infestation.
Q: Where Should I Place Rat Bait?
A: In general? You want to place rat traps anywhere you’ve found evidence of rat activity.
The reason for this is that most rodents, including rats, will tend to follow the same path. This is particularly true for paths that follow the base of a wall or the edge of a ledge. Look for droppings, since they’re a sure sign that rats have been present.
Good trap locations include the edges of doorways, the corners of rooms, and other choke points where multiple paths are likely to converge. This increases your odds of poisoning as many rats as possible, as quickly as possible.
Q: Should I Wear Rubber Gloves While I’m Setting Poisoned Rat Bait?
A: Strictly speaking, it’s not always necessary. If you’re setting an enclosed trap, where you’ll never have to touch the physical bait, it’s entirely possible to just use your hands. But why risk your health over something as silly as putting on a pair of rubber gloves?
If you’re setting bait chunks, pellets, or any type of bait that requires you to make direct contact, always wear rubber gloves. Then wash your hands and arms, just to be safe. You can’t be too careful with this stuff.
Q: Are Rat Poisons Safe For Outdoor Use?
A: It depends on the particular poison you’re using. Some are rated for outdoor use. However, others can dissolve in the rain. Not only will this reduce your chances of eliminating your rat problem, but it can leech poison into the soil. Depending on the type of poison, this may be dangerous for other animals. If you require an outdoor rat bait, make sure the package actually says it’s okay for outdoor use.
Q: How Do I Keep My Pets Safe?
A: Cats, dogs, and other domestic animals are susceptible to poisoning if they eat rat poison. It’s essential to locate poisons where your pets don’t have access to them. With long-lasting poisons, it’s also possible for a cat or dog to become poisoned by eating a poisoned rat. Watch your pets for symptoms, and call a vet immediately if you suspect they may have eaten a rat that’s been poisoned.
If you’re looking for the most powerful rat bait on the market, the Neogen Havoc is hard to beat. These baits come in a relatively small assortment, but they’re exceptionally powerful, and they’ll wipe out even very large rat colonies in short order.
That said, you may be concerned about your children or pets. The d-CON Rodent and Mouse Bait Station isn’t as powerful as the Havoc, but it’s still effective, and it shields the bait from access by inquisitive dogs, cats, and children.
So, which one of these is the best rat bait? It depends on how bad your infestation is, how many access points you need to cover, and whether or not you have children or domestic animals. Take all of these factors into consideration before you make a buy.