Do I Need Heavy-Duty Bait Stations?
Let’s face it – if you’re reading a blog post on a pest control products website, you are probably battling head-on with rats or mice. There is no shame in this! Wild animals are unpredictable, and rodents especially love to try to make their homes in our homes, barns, and even businesses. How can you successfully win this battle of wills? There are a few things that you can do: be diligent about cleaning and sanitation, close off any access points on the exterior of the building, and put bait and traps inside where the rodents have been seen. In addition, one very effective measure is to put bait stations on the exterior– either around the perimeter of the building, or anywhere where rodents have been observed entering. It seems simple enough. There are countless types of bait stations and traps on the shelves and online. Does this mean that any bait station will do? Not so fast; there are levels to this.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. actually provides rankings for rodent bait stations based on their resilience and resistance to tampering. These classifications allow the consumer to choose products that best suit their needs while still protecting children, pets, and “non-targeted wildlife” – that is, animals that you are not intending to poison but that could be harmed if they manage to access the rodenticide. It’s worth noting here that there is a difference between bait stations and covered, or “no-touch,” traps. Bait stations allow multiple rodents to have multiple feedings on a slow-acting rodenticide, which gives the entire pack an opportunity to partake. They don’t trap the rodent inside. The EPA separates bait stations into four tiers. Let’s briefly discuss them, in descending order:
- Tier 4 – These are bait stations that have proven to not be tamper-resistant or have not been tested for tamper resistance. These products would not be appropriate for use in homes with children or small pets, and most certainly not for use outdoors or in barns. In fact, these types of products are increasingly difficult to find in the U.S. because EPA regulations have become more stringent.
- Tier 3 – These products are resistant to child tampering but not rated resistant against pets. A pet may be able to get a paw inside or access the contents through repeated chewing, pecking, kicking, stepping, or scratching. If a bait station is not pet resistant, it is not considered to be wildlife or farm-animal-resistant. Therefore, bait stations in this tier should only be used indoors in buildings where no domesticated animals visit or live, or in homes with no pets.
- Tier 2 – Bait stations in this tier have proven to be resistant to child and pet tampering. However, they are not considered to be weather resistant. They may be made of materials that will break down in the elements, resulting in threats to non-targeted wildlife or domesticated farm animals. This type of station should only be used indoors.
- Tier 1 – These products are the heaviest-duty bait stations. They have been tested and proven to be resistant to tampering by children and pets. They are also weatherproof and won’t deteriorate when placed in the elements, which makes them the only kinds of bait stations approved for both indoor and outdoor use.
Clearly, tier 1 bait stations are the undisputed winner when it comes to safety and versatility. Just how are these heavy-duty products constructed? Tier 1 bait stations are designed to be (1) attractive to rodents, (2) able to withstand unpredictable outdoor elements, and (3) inaccessible to non-targeted wildlife. They are often made of acrylic plastic, zinc-coated galvanized metal (which can resist rusting for decades), or some combination of plastic and metal. Refillable stations have to stand up to being opened multiple times without breaking, so they typically feature long-lasting hinges. Some models of these bait stations are weighted to prevent them from being blown over in high winds or turned over by wildlife. Other models can be attached to stakes for stability or mounted a few inches off the ground in areas prone to flooding. Having a lock and key is what makes them tamper-proof, so they feature a locking mechanism that can be opened with a specialty key or an Allen wrench. Some retailers even sell bait stations designed to look like rocks that can blend in with landscaping, making a rodent problem in an office, warehouse, restaurant or home, less noticeable from the outside.
This higher level of engineering makes these bait stations more effective, but that level of design doesn’t come for free or cheap. Heavier-duty bait stations cost a fair bit more than a typical snap or glue trap since they are not traps and are usually made for more than one use. A good-quality tier 1 bait station can run anywhere from about $18 to $100 and more. Our Eco-Pro heavy-duty indoor/outdoor tamper-resistant traps are tier 1 traps, they come in a two-pack, and they are affordable, making this brand good value for the money.
Bait stations are effective at eradicating a rodent infestation. If you choose the right kind for your needs – indoor or outdoor, animal or child resistant, or weatherproof – it can be a powerful tool in your arsenal in the war against unwanted rodent tenants.