This owl’s family unknowingly fed on rodents who had ingested rat bait that contained second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) and over the course of a week they succumbed to its deadly effects. Photo: New England Wildlife Center
Overview: Second Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides (SGARs) are a type of poison used for rodent control that work by stopping the blood clotting processes, causing lethal hemorrhage. SGARs have been extensively used for rodent control, allowing secondary exposure and poisonings in non-target wildlife species, such as birds of prey that mainly feed on rodents or small birds. SGARs are prohibited for residential consumer purchase in the Commonwealth, but commercial use is allowed for licensed pesticide companies when hired to deal with rodent problems.
This bill requires pesticide companies to provide customers with written information on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies and the effects of SGARs on wildlife and the environment. Many homeowners have stated that if they had known the effects of this poison, they would not have allowed it on their property.
The legislation also requires the increased use of IPM strategies in Massachusetts. It would require public institutions of higher education and managers of public land to adopt IPM strategies, which use multiple methods to prevent and address rodent problems. For example, sealing building holes and cracks and removing nesting materials from problem areas discourage rodents. It would also require the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to implement demonstration and education programs to encourage integrated pest management strategies, and for pest companies to share information about strategies.
This bill also requires digitization of pesticide use forms for better monitoring. Currently, licensed and certified pesticide applicators are required to submit annual reports detailing the quantities of all pesticides used. Pesticide dealers are also required to submit annual sales reports for restricted use products. However these forms are paper, and not regularly monitored, so they can be filled out with little continuity. Digitizing these forms will allow for better tracking of rodenticide use and easier follow up when these records are requested by the public.
Do you have a rodent problem?
Rodent-proof your home. Lethal methods are a temporary fix, at best. Instead, remove or securely contain any potential food sources for rodents. Repair any exterior areas of your home to prevent rodents from coming inside. Read more about critter-proofing.
If you choose to use a problem animal control company, ask questions so you know their practices. Look for an integrated pest management company that uses multiple approaches to pest control instead of relying solely on poisons. You can request that the company avoid using SGAR products including brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, or difethialone.