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Rodenticides are used to control mice, rats and other rodents. Read here about how to use them safely and about the rules for selling them.

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    What are rodenticides?

    Rodenticides are biocidal products used to control mice, rats and other rodentsIt may be necessary to use rodenticides because rodents can:

    • Transmit diseases to humans
    • Contaminate food
    • Damage buildings

    However, the use of rodenticides may also pose risks to people, pets or other animals and the environment. Therefore, only a temporary use of rodenticides is authorised in case of an infestation and, in all other cases, non-chemical prevention and control methods, such as mouse and rat traps, are preferred. Improper use or careless storage of rodenticides may lead to serious cases of accidental poisoning. More information can be found on the website of the Poison Centre

    Types of rodenticides

    Currently, there are three types of rodenticides:

    Each of these three products control rodents in a different way.


    Most modern rodenticides are based on anticoagulants, i.e. substances that inhibit the coagulation of bloodRodents that ingest products containing anticoagulants die quite quickly from internal bleeding. First-generation anticoagulants, such as Warfarin and Coumatetralyl, are gradually giving way to new second-generation products, such as Flocoumafen, Difethialone, Brodifacoum, Bromadiolone and Difenacoum.

    The classification of anticoagulants against rodenticides was revised in 2016 by lowering the toxicity limit. As a result, products containing 0.003 percent or more of active substances may no longer be made available on the market for use by the general publicOnly professionals are still allowed to use these products, often only with the necessary personal protective equipment. As a result, many products are now much less available.

    Substances that act on the central nervous system

    At present, only one substance that acts on the central nervous system has been approved at the European level: alpha-chloralose, formerly used as a sedativeRodents that ingest products containing alpha-chloralose become dizzy and confused, have convulsions and end up in a lethal coma. The concentration of alpha-chloralose in a rodenticide is typically 4 percent. Professional users as well as the general public are allowed to use products containing alpha-chloralose.

    Substances with systemic effects

    Three substances with systemic effects are currently approved at the European level: carbon dioxide, hydrogen cyanide and aluminium phosphide. Products containing these substances are primarily used for fumigation: the products are dispersed in gaseous form, for example, in containers, to prevent cargo from being infested by rodents. Rodenticides with systemic effects are strictly reserved for professionals whose job is to control rodents. The list of active substances approved at European level can be found on the ECHA website (European Chemicals Agency).

    Purchase or sale of rodenticides

    Since rodenticides may be hazardous to humans, animals and the environment, their sale is strictly regulated.

    • Free-circuit rodenticides may be sold to the general public. They usually contain a lower concentration of active substances.
    • Closed-circuit rodenticides may only be sold to professionals. Users require personal protective equipment to apply these rodenticides in a safe manner.

    In exceptional cases, there may be derogations for closed-circuit products. In such cases, these products may be sold to the general public and certain obligations for users and/or sellers no longer apply. Refer to the Certificate of Authorisation to find out whether it is a free-circuit or closed-circuit product and whether any exceptions apply.

    Use of rodenticides

    The table below provides an overview of the most important things to know before using rodenticides, and especially anticoagulant-based rodenticides. Always read the product label and the Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC) to find out exactly what you have to do.




    For professionals, the general public or both?

    An anticoagulant rodenticide with 0.0025 percent active substance may be made available on the market for professionals, the general public or both. The authorisation holder defines the user category. This must subsequently be approved by the competent authority. From 0.0030 percent active substance onwards, a product may no longer be used by the general public.

    Label, Certificate of Authorisation, SPC

    Which rodents does the product help control?

    The most common target organisms are mice (Mus musculus), black rats (Rattus rattus) and brown rats (Rattus Norvegicus). Rodenticides may be authorised for one or more species of rodent. So it is advisable to check in advance if the product you want to use is suitable for the rodent species you want to control.

    Label, Certificate of Authorisation, SPC

    How should I use the product?

    Check what dose you need and how much distance to leave between two bait stations. The dose may vary depending on the rodent species you want to control.

    Label, SPC

    What types of baits may I use or sell?

    General public: may only use ready-to-use baits placed in secured bait stations

    Professionals may use:

    • Ready-to-use bait in secured bait stations
    • And/or protected and covered bait stations
    • And/or pulsed baiting

    Please note: the type of bait that may be used is determined by the intended use and the active substance contained in the product

    Label, SPC

    How much of the product may I buy or sell?

    General public:

    • For mice: the maximum bait quantity per package is 100 g for bait block and 50 g for bait in the form of granules, pellets or paste
    • For rats and/or mice: the maximum bait quantity per package is 300 g for bait block and 150 g for bait in the form of granules, pellets or paste

    Professionals: the authorised amount of bait per package is minimum 3 kg and maximum 10 kg

    Label, SPC

    Where may I place the rodenticides?

    General public: may use the product only inside and/or outside, around a building

    Professionals may place the product:

    • Inside
    • Outside, around a building
    • In an open area
    • At a refuse dump
    • In/by a sewage pipe

    Please note: some products must not be used in rat or mouse holes

    Label, SPC

    Is the permanent use of rodenticides allowed?

    Permanent baiting is allowed in order to deal with problematic locations, but only under the following conditions:

    • Use of approved products (see SPC) and not products containing the active substances Brodifacoum, Chlorophacinone, Coumatetralyl, Difethialone, Flocoumafen or Warfarin
    • By a professional user with proven advanced skills
    • In locations with a high risk of recurring pests
    • If a temporary use of rodenticides or control by non-chemical means has failed
    • Control strategy is periodically reviewed, taking into account the risk of recurring pests


    Instructions for use and general risk management measures

    A few general measures can go a long way towards preventing or countering rodent nuisance:

    • Clear away any food that is easily accessible to rodents
    • Always give preference to the use of traps
    • Do not clean the area to be treated, the intention is not to disturb rodent populations
    • Place the bait close to the place where signs of rodents were noticed
    • Keep rodenticides out of reach of children and pets
    • Do not eat, drink or smoke while using rodenticides, to reduce the risk of accidental poisoning
    • Avoid water contamination and do not place rodenticides near drainage systems
    • Avoid contact of the product with food
    • Wear gloves when using the product and when removing bait or dead animals
    • Always wash your hands after using a rodenticide
    • Check the bait regularly and replace it if necessary
    • Remove dead animals regularly, both during and after the treatment period
    • Remove the bait after the treatment period
    • If the treatment is not effective after 35 days, contact a professional rat exterminator
    • Rodenticides must not be used preventively, except for certain professional purposes

    Label, SPC

    If you have any other questions, you may contact our Helpdesk. 

    Distribution by local authorities

    Local authorities may distribute rodenticides that are authorised for use by the general public. The products must remain in their original packaging: redistribution and/or repackaging of products is not allowed.

    To avoid repackaging issues, we strongly advise municipalities to fill the secured bait stations themselves. This can be done, for example, by renting out empty bait stations to citizensThe citizens can then have these stations filled by a professional engaged by the municipality. This reduces the risk of improper use of the product by non-professional users. In each case, the municipality provides a copy of the label so that the private user can read through the conditions of use and the Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC). When the user returns his bait station, his rental deposit is returned to him.

    Rodent control by regional authorities

    To protect the environment, the regional authorities are committed to rodent control. More information can be found on the websites of the Flanders Environment Agency (VMM), the Walloon federal government and Brussels Environment.

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