The smart thing to do when dealing with rodents or other pests on your property is to hire a professional. They should be aware of the most humane and effective techniques and be able to handle the less appealing tasks for you, including any handling of the rodents that is necessary.
However, simply choosing to hire any pest control company is not the smartest decision. Many pest control companies prefer to use poison when controlling rodents, despite the presence of other better choices available.
But why do they tend to prefer poison?
1. It is a Lazy Fix
One of the many reasons that pest control companies tend to prefer poison for controlling rodents is the ease of starting the process. They can just show up, lay out the poison, and leave, telling you to keep an eye out. From their perspective, this is the simplest and quickest method, allowing them to visit multiple clients in a day.
This Laziness Actually Causes Problems
The thing to remember is that while pest control companies choose poison due to laziness, poison can actually create more work in the overall scheme of rat control. The difference is that the pest control company will not deal with that later work.
This later work in question is trying to find and then remove the dead rats. Pest control companies use poison and hope that the rat dies outside or somewhere that you can easily remove it. They hope that if it does die hidden in a wall, which is likely, that you either do not notice for a while, take care of it yourself, or hire someone else. This leaves you, the homeowners, with a decaying rat carcass in your wall and no idea what to do with it.
In this way, using poison lets pest control companies be lazy and give you more work to do.
2. They Can Charge Monthly Contracts
Perhaps the biggest reason that pest control companies prefer poison is the fact that they can charge you to have it applied over and over again. This is because poison is only a temporary fix. As soon as the poison is gone, non-poisoned rats will come and take over the space, unless you have made other changes.
In other words, you will need to keep applying the poison indefinitely until you incorporate another rodent control method.
Pest control companies are banking on this fact, knowing that you will be able to provide them with a steady income. If they recommend poison to hundreds of clients, that results in hundreds of regulars who keep using their services month after month, increasing profits.
3. It Is Familiar
In the case of pest control companies that focus on insects as well as rodents, the use of poison can also be a question of familiarity. Poisons like insecticides tend to be the control method of choice for insects due to a range of factors. As such, these pest control companies already have the equipment and training to apply poisons.
By suggesting poison for controlling rodents, they can use similar equipment and techniques, just with different poisons. There is minimal additional training required, making it a low-effort option that is familiar to them.
Why You Should Not Use Poison
If pest control companies prefer poison, this makes it easy to assume that it is a reasonable solution for controlling rats. Do not be fooled, however. There are multiple factors that make using poison to kill rats a poor decision.
Finding the Dead Rats
As mentioned, most pest control companies just hope that the rats will die somewhere visible or outside. Unfortunately, it is much more likely that the rats will die inside walls or in other hard-to-reach areas. This gives you the challenge of finding the dead rodent before it begins to decay, which will result in bad smells and attracting flies.
Not Fully Effective
It is also important to note that using rat poison will not kill all of the rodents in your home. It may get a large portion of them, but you will definitely still need to use another method. That is because some rats will not eat enough of the poison for a lethal dose while others may have a resistance to it.
It Can be Dangerous
There are also health risks associated with using rat poisons, both to people and animals like your pets. If someone or a pet accidentally ingests rat poison, it can be fatal. In the best case scenario, it will result in becoming seriously ill and require a trip to the emergency room or veterinary hospital.
It is Inhumane
Many experts also argue that using poison to kill rats is inhumane. (See Is Rat Poison Inhumane?) This comes from the fact that the death associated with using poison in this way is slow and painful. It typically takes several days to occur, during which time the rodent will suffer.
What to Ask a Rodent Control Company
When it comes time to hire a professional to take care of your rodent control needs, you should make sure to hire one that does not rely on poison. This is as simple as asking the right questions.
Do You Use Poison?
Start by asking them flat-out whether they use poison to control rats. The answer should be a quick no. If they hesitate before answering or give you vague answers, move on.
What Control Methods Do You Use?
You should also ask about the type of control methods that the company uses and why. Ideally, they should use a method that is proven to be effective and humane.
The best rodent control companies will not only help you remove the rats, but also give you advice on how to prevent future rat infestations. This should include suggestions such as property modifications to take away food, shelter, and water, and sanitary measures to further remove food.
The Bottom Line
Many pest control companies prefer to use rat poison because it is a lazy solution that lets them keep charging customers forever. There are better alternatives out there, so find a company that specializes in rats and uses effective, humane methods.