Part III: Protecting Your Harvest from Vertebrate Pests - UNL CropWatch, June 14, 2012

Part III: Protecting Your Harvest from Vertebrate Pests - UNL CropWatch, June 14, 2012

June 14, 2012

Part III: Using Toxicants to Manage Rodent Damage to Stored Grain

Rodent bait trap

Figure 1. Rodent bait station. Many bait stations are designed with the flexibility to be used with traps, glueboards, or toxicants.

Rodent Management

This is the third article in a three-part series. Also see:

Part I. Potential Impacts of Rodents on Stored Grain

Part II. Exclusion: A Non-toxic Way to Reduce Rodent Damage to Stored Grain

The development of highly effective rodenticides has been one of the more significant advances in the management of rodents. In general, rodenticides are more cost-effective than other management techniques. Despite these advances, however, rodenticides require proper use to obtain the best results. Here are several tips help you use toxicants responsibly and effectively

Tactics to Improve Rodenticide Efficacy

Bait Stations

Use tamper-resistant bait stations whenever possible to reduce access by livestock, pets, and children and and increase bait consumption. Bait stations increase the attractiveness of bait to house mice by exploiting their tendency to explore openings.

Proper Location

Place bait stations where you find rodent signs, such as scat, trails, and gnaw marks. Look for signs along walls, around bins and augurs, under pallets and equipment, and near any sources of heat.

Monitor and Maintain your Bait Stations

Rodents avoid stale bait. Check stations at least once a month. Check more frequently when baiting begins to ensure a continuous supply of bait.

Be Patient

Even single-feed toxicants, known as second-generation anticoagulants, can take five to seven days and sometimes as long as 10 days before treated rodents die.

Be More Patient with Rats

Rats tend to avoid “new” objects in their environment, a behavior called “neophobia.” If alternative foods are available, rats may take two weeks before entering bait stations.

Replenish Bait

Failure to provide sufficient bait to hungry rodents may result in lower mortality and bait avoidance. Check bait stations daily during the early portions of a rodent control program. You can reduce the frequency of your checks as bait consumption declines.


Control of rodents requires persistence and attention to detail to achieve desired results. Use of these tactics will improve your success with toxicants.


For more information on managing rodents and other crop pests, consult UNL Extension NebGuides available online at

Stephen Vantassel
Extension Wildlife Damage Coordinator
Scott Hygnstrom
Extension Vertebrate Pest Specialist