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


Date of this Version

January 2007


Published in Proceedings of the 12th Wildlife Damage Management Conference (D.L. Nolte, W.M. Arjo, D.H. Stalman, Eds). 2007.


Rodents occur worldwide and have adapted to most types of ecosystems. Rodents provide many important ecosystem functions and while most rodent species do not cause serious damage problems, a small number of species do. Rodent-caused damage includes crop and stored food consumption and contamination, forestry and nursery damage, rangeland damage, ornamental plant damage, property damage, cable and irrigation pipe damage, disease transmission, and, when introduced to islands, damage and even extinction of native flora and fauna. Many tools are used to reduce rodent populations and damage. Rodenticides are an especially important tool in rodent management. Many types of active ingredients and formulations are available for different species and situations. Rodenticides and their use are regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and authorized State agencies. Following regulatory review, the approved label dictates how the product must be used and who has authority to use the product. All labels contain mitigation measures to reduce the risk to workers, consumers, pets, livestock, non-target animals, and the environment. Recently, the EPA has been re-evaluating many of the major rodenticides as part of the periodic re-registration process. To reduce the number of accidental exposures by children and impacts to non-target wildlife, the EPA has proposed new mitigation measures to reduce the hazards of certain rodenticides that are used in and around homes and other buildings. If implemented as proposed, these mitigation measures may affect the availability of some of the most common rodenticides.