U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Published in Agricultural Sciences, from Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), Developed under the Auspices of the UNESCO, Eolss Publishers, Oxford ,UK,


Rodents are an important and ubiquitous group of mammals that occur as indigenous or introduced species throughout the world. The populations of a relatively few species that live in close association with humans sometimes cause economic damage or become threats to the health of humans or domestic animals. When rodent control efforts are contemplated, the type of problem and the objectives of these efforts should be carefully defined. Successful management of rodent problems depends upon correct identification of the rodent species involved and on obtaining information on the biology, ecology, and behavior of the species in the ecological setting where the problem occurs. Analyzing the economic costs of potential damage or assessing the risks of failure or inaction can assist in the selection of appropriate combinations of control methods to employ. Progress in rodent control programs should be monitored regularly and success should be measured against the achievement of appropriate objectives (for example, prevention of crop damage or prevention of rodent infestations in warehouses or feed mills), not by counting the numbers of rodents killed or the amount of poison bait applied. No single method of rodent control will be predictably effective in all situations; IPM programs that apply several methods appropriate to the species and the environment where a problem occurs offer the best prospects for long-term success.