Restrictions in Rodenticides a Boon for WCOs and PCOs
After much review, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has decided to restrict the public’s access to second generation anticoagulants (brodifacoum, difethialone, bromadiolone, or difenacoum). The reason for the change stemmed from concerns over public safety and the hazards second generation anticoagulants posed to non-target animals. Unlike first generation anticoagulants, second generation anticoagulants are more toxic (requiring a rodent to feed only once to achieve a lethal dose) and more persistent in that predators and scavengers that feed on poisoned rodents can have dangerous build up of toxicant levels in their own system.
Final Risk Mitigation Decision for Ten Rodenticides
The EPA summarized its ruling in a page entitled “Final Risk Mitigation Decision for Ten Rodenticides” found at http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/reregistration/rodenticides/finalriskdecision.htm lists the key restrictions as follows:
““Consumer Size” Products (Products containing ≤ 1 pound of bait)
- May not contain brodifacoum, difethialone, bromadiolone, or difenacoum (the second-generation anticoagulants).
- Loose bait forms such as pellets are prohibited.
- Each retail unit must include a bait station.
- Bait refills may be sold with bait stations in a single retail unit.
- All outdoor above ground use must be in a bait station and be applied within 50 feet of buildings.'”
What This EPA Regulation Means for WCOs and PCOs
The bottom line is that homeowners will no longer have access to the faster acting second generation toxicants as of June 2011. Therefore, I predict that customers will be more likely to hire professional rodent control services because:
- they will become impatient with the slower acting (but still effective) first generation toxicants.
- the added cost of buying baits protected with bait stations will reduce the gap between over-the-counter products and professional services,
- the culture of just putting out poison will slowly change as more people will appreciate the role of exclusion and habitat modification (which many will hire out.)
Business Action Plan for WCOs and PCOs
While no one knows the future for certain, I suggest that
- WCOs get their pesticide license as soon as possible to enable them to have access to the second generation anticoagulants.
- PCOs and WCOs enhance their knowledge of trapping and exclusion control methods in preparation for marketing non-toxic approaches to rodent control.
I suggest that those companies able to seize the toxicant free and low toxicant control market will do well in the new regulatory environment.
Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Operator and consultant on wildlife damage management issues. He is available for teaching, research, public speaking, and more.