D-Con is the best-selling mouse poison in the United States with a line of bait stations, poisoned bait pellets, and traps designed to control house mice, field mice, rats, and other rodents. D-Con's products (see the range on Amazon) have gone through many changes over the last several years thanks to changing federal and state regulations over rodenticides, specifically anticoagulant poisons once common in D-Con products.
Not sure if D-Con poison is the right choice to tackle your rodent problem? This D-Con mouse poison review will explore the benefits and drawbacks of D-Con products, help you choose the right product for your problem, and cover common questions you may have about using D-Con around your home.
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D-Con Mouse and Rat Poison Review
Considering using D-Con around your home or business to control rodents? This D-Con mouse poison review will go over the types of products D-Con sells and the pros and cons you should understand.
D-Con rat poison pellets and trays
D-Con bait pellets (check price on Amazon) are designed to kill rats and mice but they aren't as easy to find as the bait stations. D-Con's bait pellets are still mostly available with the older active ingredient, an anticoagulant that can kill warfarin-resistant rodents. The pellets are only sold in D-Con rat poison trays with no tamper-resistant cover.
D-Con bait stations
- Transparent design so you can see when bait needs to be refilled or the bait station can be thrown away
- Low profile and weather-resistant design for indoor/outdoor use
- Tamper-resistant for improved safety near children and pets
- Corner fit design for use in tight areas like behind appliances, in corners, and in an attic
Pros and Cons of D-Con poison
Here are the most important benefits and drawbacks to consider when choosing D-Con rodenticide products.
Pros of D-Con
- Cholecalciferol is fairly low in toxicity upon skin contact to reduce the risk when refilling bait stations.
- Cholecalciferol has a proven track record as a rodenticide and has been used since the 1970s.
- D-Con offers a selection of bait station styles, including corner stations for tight areas and the choice between refillable and disposable stations depending on your level of comfort handling the bait.
- Sturdy and well-designed bait stations can be used indoors or outdoors.
- Affordable rodenticide options. D-Con rat poison is one of the most affordable options to control rodent populations around your home. You can get a refillable bait station and 20 bait refills in a single package.
- Safe bait station design. D-Con bait stations are tamper-resistant to reduce the risk to pets and children.
- Bait is safer for humans. While vitamin D3 can be poisonous when ingested by rodents, dogs, or even cats, low levels are safe for humans. Vitamin D3 is even used as a supplement.
- Guaranteed to kill. D-Con offers a money-back guarantee on its rat poison products.
- Begins killing rodents within 3 days.
Cons of D-Con
- Limited product options. When it comes to poison bait, you are usually left with only refillable and disposable bait stations with D-Con. It's not easy to find their bait pellet trays for sale although this can be considered a positive as loose bait pellets can be dangerous to pets and animals.
- No antidote. There is no antidote for cholecalciferol used in new D-con products. It can be very toxic in the case of accidental pet poisoning and it's considered a very challenging poison to treat.
- Difficult to predict how many feedings are necessary. A rodent that consumes a large dose of D-Con cholecalciferol bait can receive a fatal dose but it usually requires multiple feedings. The rodent's ability to maintain calcium levels must be exhausted before the bait is toxic.
How to Use D-Con Poison
D-Con offers a few types of poison bait products designed to fit different needs. D-Con Wedges work best for hard-to-reach areas. Disposable bait stations are a good choice if you do not want to handle bait at all. Refillable bait stations are the most cost-effective solution and can be used indoors and outdoors.
The key to using D-Con poison effectively is placing the bait in a strategic location, removing access to other food sources if possible, patience, and safety. You can use bait stations as a standalone solution or combine them with other strategies for best results. This includes removing clutter from around the outside of your home, checking for and fixing any possible entryways into your home like cracks and openings around pipes, and rodent traps.
Where to Place D-Con Bait
To increase your chances of success, place D-Con bait stations where you find evidence of rodents, including areas with droppings or where you have noticed signs of gnawing or nesting. Always place the bait stations against walls or hard surfaces, never in the open, because rodents travel along walls for safety. The bait stations should be placed perpendicular to the wall in dark or secluded areas like under the sink or behind appliances in a way that a mouse traveling along the wall will walk through the entrance to investigate the food source.
It may take a few days before you see signs that mice are feeding on the bait. Check the clear window on top of the bait station regularly. Once you see signs of feeding, it will take a few days for the mice to die. If there is no evidence of feeding after a few days, relocate the bait station to a new area. Remember to be patient: rodents often won't try a new food source on the first day or two. You don't need to worry if most of the bait is left uneaten because mice don't need to eat much to get a lethal dose.
You do not need to unwrap new D-Con bait. The new formulation uses mostly food-grade ingredients to make the bait attractive to rodents that will easily eat through the wrapper.
To refill the bait station, look for the latch on the bottom of the lid and the top button. Use one hand to pull the bottom latch while pressing the button on the top. Swing the window open and place a new bait block, making sure it's secured on the peg.
Bait stations are always preferred over loose poison bait or pellets because tamper-proof bait stations keep pets, children, and other animals safe from accidental poisoning. To protect your pets and family, always use the D-Con tamper-proof bait station; do not place the refill bait unprotected in your home or around the house. After all, even if you place it somewhere pets and children can't reach, you can't assume a rodent won't remove it from the hiding place and leave it in plain sight.
While the new D-Con formulation has low toxicity from skin contact, it's still important to leave the wrapper on D-Con bait. Rodents will eat through it easily but it reduces the risk of exposure.
If a pet accidentally ingests cholecalciferol bait, it's important to seek immediate medical attention. Cholecalciferol poisoning can be very hard to treat and may require hospitalization, therapy, and lab monitoring. Watch for signs of accidental ingestion in dogs and cats:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Low appetite
These signs may be apparent within 12 to 48 hours. If exposure was very recent, inducing vomiting may be recommended. Only induce vomiting in your dog if you know what they consumed and your veterinarian tells you it's safe. This technique is recommended if your dog ate the new D-Con formulation but with other types of rat poison, inducing vomiting can be dangerous. The only recommended product to safely induce vomiting in dogs at home is 3% hydrogen peroxide.
Tips for success
Stopping a mouse or rat problem can be easier said than done, even with an effective product. These tips can increase your chances of success in eliminating an entire nest.
- Place bait stations 8 to 12 feet apart for mice or 15 to 40 feet apart for rats. It's always a good idea to use several bait stations rather than relying on one station to solve the problem of multiple rodents.
- Avoid handling the bait station. If you can, use gloves when handling the bait station, even to refill the bait. You don't want to leave your scent near the bait.
- Leave the bait stations alone for several days. It will take a few days for rodents to take the bait. Rodents have a natural and understandable fear of new objects. It may take a few days before they feel comfortable to approach the bait station and sample the bait. If you keep moving the bait station, they will not get accustomed to it.
- D-Con recommends maintaining bait stations for at least 15 days in each location or until rodent activity stops.
- Rats are more difficult to kill with bait than mice because they are more intelligent and more suspicious. When using a bait tray to target bait shy rats, try placing seeds or dog food around and on the tray for a day or two before adding the bait. Once the rodent's scent is around and on the tray, they will be more likely to eat the bait later.
- Eliminate other sources of food. It's crucial to eliminate any competing sources of food to encourage mice or rats to take the bait. Even smart or bait shy rodents will be forced to turn to the poison bait after a day of scarce food. Make sure any food in your pantry is sealed in hard plastic containers, pet food is not left out in a bowl, and there are bird feeders close to your home.
- If you use the bait station outside, make sure you are using D-Con's weather resistant bait.
Common Questions About D-Con Poison
Do you have questions about how D-Con works, how long it takes to work, or where to buy it? Here are answers to common questions about D-Con products.
What Kind of Poison Is in D-Con Poison?
Before 2015, D-Con used two active ingredients: brodifacoum in its rat and mouse pellets, wedge baits, and place backs and diphacinone in its disposable and refillable bait stations. In 2014, Dcon rat poison ingredients changed after an agreement with the EPA to discontinue the use of brodifacoum. Dcon rat poison ingredients were changed to use first-generation vitamin K anticoagulant poison like diphacinone in all baits.
Dcon rat poison ingredients changed once more in 2018 when the company announced a new formulation that uses vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol in its bait stations. The transition from anticoagulants to vitamin D3 began in January 2019 due to EPA regulations restricting the use of common rodenticides, including second-generation anticoagulants. While D-Con switched to diphacinone initially, it began development efforts to reformulate its products because first-generation anticoagulants require feeding on bait for several days. Rather than using bromethalin, a neurotoxin with no antidote in the case of accidental pet poisoning, D-Con chose vitamin D3.
The switch to vitamin D3 bait isn't complete yet. Many D-Con products on the market are still made with diphacinone or brodifacoum.
How Does D-Con Poison Work?
New D Con poison products are made with cholecalciferol or vitamin D3, a very potent poison. Cholecalciferol works by causing dangerous elevations in calcium and phosphorus in the rodent that causes fatal kidney failure. Cholecalciferol is considered a single-dose poison.
D Con poison made prior to 2015 typically contains brodifacoum, a second-generation anticoagulant. D-Con rat poison pellets and trays made between 2015 and 2018 are made with diphacinone, a first-generation anticoagulant. Anticoagulants work in a similar manner although second-generation rodenticides are much more potent than first-generation poisons and are capable of delivering a lethal dose with a single feeding.
Anticoagulant rat poison works because the liver needs to make an enzyme that allows the body to recycle vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting. An anticoagulant stops the enzyme from working. With a high enough dose of anticoagulant, the rodent's body is depleted of vitamin K, and internal bleeding results.
D-con products with diphacinone require that the rat or mouse eat several doses of the bait over a period of days. Older D-con products with brodifacoum only required a single feeding.
Will D-Con for Mice Kill Rats?
Yes, D-Con poison for mice will kill rats but the problem is the size of bait stations for mice. A mouse bait station will not work for rats because the openings are too small. Bait trays for mice will work on rats and vice versa. Dcon rat poison trays are designed with larger pellets for rats to carry back to their nest but they will receive a sufficient dose of poison from mouse-sized pellets, too.
How Long Does It Take for a Rat to Die From D-Con?
How long it takes for a rat or mouse to die from D-Con poison depends on the active ingredient. New D-Con products use cholecalciferol or vitamin D3. This poison causes clinical signs within 18 to 36 hours of ingestion. By this time, the poison has already caused permanent damage to the rodent's body and they will display lethargy, increased urination and thirst, and decreased appetite. It takes about 2 to 3 days before acute kidney failure occurs. Most rodents die within a few days to one week of a fatal dose of cholecalciferol.
Is D-Con Banned in California?
In 2014, California enacted a ban on consumer sales of the most dangerous rodenticides, including the sale of D-Con products that use second-generation anticoagulant poison. The ban phased out 12 D-Con poison products on the market including Dcon rat poison pellets and Dcon rat poison trays. This ban coincided with new EPA safety standards for rodenticides.
The move came after widespread harm to wildlife from second-generation anticoagulants. Poisonings were documented in 25 wild species including endangered northern spotted owls and San Joaquin its foxes. The poison was found in more than 70% of wildlife tested, even in remote areas.
Only products containing brodifacoum were banned in California. Starting in 2015, D-Con phased out this active ingredient and now uses vitamin D3, a new active ingredient that meets California regulations.
Where to buy D-Con poison
D Con poison is available in most hardware stores and big-box retailers. You may find a larger selection of D-Con products online, including older D con products before anticoagulants were phased out of its product line-up. D-Con on Amazon offers the current line-up of D-Con rat poison pellets, trays, and bait stations.
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