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What Kills Rats Instantly | How to Get Rid of Rats in House Fast | 2022 Buyer’s Guide

What kills rats instantly? When dealing with severe infestations, combine two methods: poisoning and trapping. Place baits with poisons in hard-to-reach areas close to rat nests, while traps should be set along their runways. Fast-acting poisons based on bromadiolone or difethialone kill rats after a single dose is consumed. Slow-acting baits, such as diphacinone and warfarin, take more time to kill the rodent because they require multiple feedings. This is the safest poison to use around pets and kids due to the delayed effect. The third option includes zinc phosphide and bromethalin. These are the most toxic and dangerous poisons. They have no antidotes and can be used in agricultural settings only.

As for the rat traps, the most effective one is an electronic trap that electrocutes a rodent that enters the device. It is a humane, fast, clean, and safe trapping method. There are cheaper options — a snap trap and a glue trap — that are less effective and cause unnecessary suffering to the captured rat. In addition to a lower price, the advantage of a snap trap is that it can be placed outdoors.

Farnam Just One Bite II Bait Chunks. 
Formulated with bromadiolone, the poison kills fast and is highly potent. Only single feeding is needed. To prevent bait aversion, the poison is designed to kill within 4 to 5 days. The pail includes 64 chunks with nibble ridges, which are appealing to rats. Use it around agricultural buildings and in bait stations.

Farnam Just One Bite II Bait Chunks min: photo
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JT Eaton 166004 709-PN Bait Block
The bait entices rats with the peanut butter flavor and kills them with diphacinone. It is a safer option to use around pets because multiple doses are needed to kill. The 9-pound canister includes 144 blocks. The product will not cause bait aversion because of the delayed effect. It’s highly attractive flavor will help to avoid bait shyness.

JT Eaton 166004 709-PN Bait min: photo
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Tomcat Bait Chunx Pail
Made with 0.01% bromethalin, this highly toxic poison can be used in agricultural areas only. Since bromethalin has no antidote, be careful and make sure that no other animal or kids have access to the bait. Once the poison is ingested, the rat cannot feed anymore. It kills within 2 days and works great for rats resistant to other poisons.

Tomcat Bait Chunx Pail 4 LB. min: photo
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Tomcat Rat Killer Bait Station
To make rat control safe for kids and pets, place poisons in this bait station. This tamper-proof box cannot be accidentally opened by kids. The weatherproof design allows you to use it outdoors. The product includes a bait station and 15 baits containing bromethalin. The box can stand vertically and horizontally, so you can place it in narrow spaces.

Tomcat Rat & Mouse Killer Refillable Bait Station min: photo
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Rat Zapper Classic RZC001-4 Electronic Rat Trap
Among traps the most effective one is the electronic trap. It features smart circuit technology for rodent detection, the kill indicator light, and an easy disposal design. The activated device delivers a continuous electric shock that kills a rat instantly. Designed for large rats, the device weighs 1.5 lbs and is 12 inches long. Place it indoors only.

Tomcat Rat & Mouse Killer Refillable Bait Station min: photo
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Victor Metal Pedal Rat Trap
The pack includes twelve 10-inch snap traps consisting of high-quality materials. The base is made of eco-friendly wood while the pedal and string are metal. Made in the USA, the product is the world’s best seller and is highly appreciated by professionals.

Kat Sense Bait Station min: photo
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Catchmaster Heavy Duty Rat Trap
This product is more reliable than other glue traps because it is made with a floor anchor. It doesn’t allow the stuck rodent to drag the trap away. The pack contains 6 pre-baited trays with long-lasting adhesive.

JT Eaton 902 Plastic Top Loader Bait Station min: photo
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How to Get Rid of Rats in House Fast

Rat Zapper Classic RZC001: photo

Trapping is the safest way to kill rats in and outside your house. They work great without dangerous poisons and will cost you less money in the long run. Disposable traps are cheap while more expensive devices are mainly reusable. You can set a trap in any place where traces of rodent activity have been seen, without worrying that your kids or pets may have access to dangerous substances. Of course, older designs may pose some risk to humans and non-target animals. For example, a powerful spring trap is able to harm or even break a human finger. And yet, it isn’t lethal.

Another advantage of traps lies in the fact that in most cases, you do not have to deal with the problem of dead rat odor. Oftentimes, poisoned rats die in their nests indoors, such as in the attic or walls. The location of their corpses is hard to identify, let alone remove, whereas decomposing rat bodies are a source of infection and foul odor. When a rat is trapped and killed, it’s body remains in place. And finally, trapping is an effective tool to monitor rat activity and reveal their harborage.

Electronic Rat Trap — the fastest way to kill rats

This is the most effective, clean, and safe way to kill rats by trapping. Once the rat enters the box, it is detected by the sensors and immediately electrocuted. The captured rat is killed instantly, without sufferings, which is generally associated with other types of traps and poisons.

All electronic traps have an enclosed design and a disposal mechanism. So there is no need to touch or see the dead critter. The weak part is the higher price of such products compared to glue and snap traps. This might be essential for some homeowners because an effective rodent management plan requires placing multiple traps within the same area. Another disadvantage is that you cannot place it outdoors because electronic traps are not fully waterproof.

Rat Zapper Classic Trap: photo

To date, the highest-rated product is the Rat Zapper Classic RZC001-4 Electronic Rat Trap. With a weight of 1.5 pounds, the unit measures 12 x 4.3 x 4.5 inches and can kill large-size rats. It is made with smart circuit technology that detects a rat inside the device. Once the rodent steps on the metal plate, it is killed by a powerful shock that lasts two minutes. After each catch, the indicator light flashes red to let you know that a kill is made. The dead critter can be easily disposed of directly into the trash. The product is intended for indoor use only.

How to Kill Rats Instantly: Poisons for Indoor & Outdoor Use

When choosing a rat poison, keep in mind that they differ not just by active ingredients but also by the mode of action. The first type of rat poison is blood thinners that kill rodents by preventing blood clotting. There are fast-acting blood thinners, the first dose of which is lethal, and the slow-acting ones. The latter ones kill only after multiple doses are digested by a rat.

The Benefits of Slow-Acting Rat Poisons

The reason for using a slow-acting option is to prevent bait aversion. Rats are naturally neophobic and tend to avoid new objects. They may eat some bait but not enough for it to be lethal. Meanwhile, sickness caused by the toxicant would prompt them to avoid the bait in the future.

Slow-acting poisons do not cause immediate sufferings, as a result, rats do not perceive them as potentially hazardous food. In addition, slow-acting poisons are safer for your kids and pets because an accidentally swallowed dose of poison is not lethal. The most efficient ingredients of this kind of bait include diphacinone and warfarin. They have a delayed effect because the toxicants act slowly, killing a rodent within a week. More importantly, a rat must consume enough doses to be killed, but you never know how long this will take.

JT Eaton 166004 709-PN Bait: photo

Another option to try is the JT Eaton 166004 709-PN Bait. Based on diphacinone, it includes peanut butter flavor, which is among their favorite ones. The flavor lures rats into eating the bait while diphacinone kills them slowly without arousing suspicion. This toxicant kills rodents by preventing blood clotting and has a long active half-life. Made primarily in the USA, diphacinone is used in many rodent-control products. It is more toxic to rats when compared to warfarin. It kills quicker than many other slow-acting poisons but, at the same time, does not give immediate symptoms of poisoning. The pail contains 9 lbs of bait blocks — a total of 144 pieces — and comes in a resealable package.

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The Benefits of Fast-Acting Rat Poisons

Rats need to consume a substantial amount of slow-acting poison to ingest a lethal dose, something that does not always happen. That is why to get rid of rats within a short time, you should choose fast-acting baits. However, many brand-name manufacturers do not produce baits that kill rats instantly. Why? Such a bait is likely to turn inefficient when you are dealing with a rat infestation, not just a handful of rodents. Once rats see their buddies dying after consuming the bait, they will avoid it. This phenomenon is called bait aversion.

Just One Bite II Bait Chunks: photo

To prevent bait aversion, manufacturers make products that kill fast but not immediately. In most cases, it takes a day or two for a rat to die after ingesting a fast-acting poison. Another benefit of using a fast-acting bait is that it is effective against rats which have developed resistance to multi-dose poisons. Meanwhile, this option has a number of downsides. It is important to remember that these products are more toxic and pose a greater risk to humans and pets. Besides, these toxicants persist longer in the body and can poison any non-target animal if it consumes the dead rat. Meanwhile, fast-acting baits are safer than acute poisons, the third option which we will consider below. This is because they require large doses to be eaten by dogs, cats, or humans to be lethal.

Which fast-acting poison is the best? Well, there is a list of active ingredients that have proved to work very well: bromadiolone, brodifacoum, difenacoum, and difethialone. These toxicants cause internal bleeding in rats, killing them within a couple of days. Scientists from the University of Missouri mention brodifacoum and bromadiolone as the most effective and potent poisons.

Farnam Just One Bite II Bait Chunks: photo

A good example is the Farnam Just One Bite II Bait Chunks, a powerful product made with bromadiolone. The bait has restricted use and can be applied only around agricultural buildings. Although this toxicant is potent, it will kill rats not instantly but rather within days. Because of its delayed action, the bait is safer to use. The canister features eight pounds of ready-to-use bait chunks. There are a total of 64 chunks, made with holes for easy placement in a bait station. The nibble edges of these blocks are created to attract rats as though they have already been chewed by a rodent.

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Using Acute Toxins to Kill Rats

Acute toxins are the most powerful yet less widespread rodent poisons. Most of them are restricted-use products and can be applied only to control rats in agricultural areas. One of the most common acute toxins is zinc phosphide, an ingredient that is effective even against rats immune to other types of baits. Once the phosphide gets into the digestive system, it reacts with stomach acid, producing toxic gas.


The advantage of using zinc phosphide baits,  is that while being highly toxic, it does not represent a secondary poisoning hazard. In other words, if your dog, cat, or other animal eats the dead rat poisoned with zinc phosphide, it is unlikely to be harmed. Nevertheless, acute toxins are dangerous and have no antidote.

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Researchers from the University of Florida note that bromethalin is the safest among acute toxins. This is a relatively new ingredient that affects the rodent’s nervous system and acts by preventing energy production in the body. It is a single-dose poison providing a quick knockdown. Like zinc phosphide, it does not have an antidote. That said, the toxin is fully excreted before the poisoned rodent dies, so there is almost no risk of secondary poisoning.

Bait Chunx Pail: photo

You may use a bromethalin-based bait made by a trusted brand, Tomcat. The Bait Chunx Pail contains four pounds of powerful bait with 0.01% bromethalin. For safety reasons, you can place it in rural and agricultural areas only. Once a rat ingests a lethal dose, it stops feeding. This product is also recommended to control rats that have developed resistance to blood thinners, both slow-acting and fast-acting. It kills rodents quickly and typically it takes less than 2 days for a rat to die after ingesting bromethalin bait. The Tomcat blocks are resistant to mold and moisture, so you can place them in damp spaces. On top of that, the bait contains little paraffin for better palatability.

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Whatever poison you choose, using them with a bait station is crucial. This is the only way to protect your kids and pets from accidental self-poisoning. When looking for a bait station, make sure that it is weatherproof to be placed outdoors. Tamper-resistant constructions are safer for use around kids and pets.

Tomcat Rat Killer Bait Station: photo

The Tomcat Rat Killer Bait Station is both weatherproof and tamper-resistant. The product includes one reusable bait station and 15 bromethalin-based baits. For added convenience, it is made with a window so that you could see when it is time to refill the station. The bait station holds up to 2 blocks, which is sufficient for eliminating an average of 5 rats. Another advantage of this bait station is its design. You can easily fit the box into narrow spaces as it can be placed not only horizontally but also vertically.

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Disadvantages of Cheap Rat Traps

That being said, there are some drawbacks and peculiarities in using traps. First, this method will help you kill only a small number of rodents and isn’t suitable for handling severe infestations. Setting traps is pretty labor intensive and time-consuming as the success largely depends on proper placement and choice of baits. Food that attracts rats includes whole nuts, raisins, and fruits for roof rats, bacon and sardines for Norway rats. Peanut butter is a favorite food of almost all rodent species.

Scientists from Texas A&M Agrilife Extension advise that traps should remain in place for some days before you set them. This will help to overcome bait shyness in rats and trick them into thinking that the device is safe. Nor should you move the trap around the room too frequently, but instead, you should allow rats to get accustomed to it. Also, place traps along rat runways, with the trigger side being on the wall.

  • Snap traps or spring-loaded bar traps are cheap and simple devices made of wood or plastic. Once the spring mechanism is triggered, a metal bar snaps, killing the captured rat. Like electronic traps, these ones are mostly reusable. When dealing with heavy infestations, place approximately a dozen snap traps at a time, about 10 feet apart. Some of them should be placed in pairs in order to catch rats traveling in both directions.

The reason why many homeowners are reluctant to use snap traps is the way they kill rodents, maiming them and causing sufferings. Oftentimes, wounded rats manage to escape from the trap and die slowly somewhere in your house. Besides, you may injure yourself while setting a snap trap.

Victor Metal Pedal Rat Trap: photo

For less than $27, you can get a pack 12 snap traps from the trusted Victor brand. Manufactured in the USA, the Victor Metal Pedal Rat Trap is made of eco-friendly wood and sturdy metal. This product is the world’s best selling snap trap for rats because of its effectiveness. In particular, it is used by many pest control professionals. The trap is easy to use: move the arm bar backward, bait the trap, pull the kill bar back, and swing the arm bar over it. Latch the arm bar.

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  • Glue Traps. These are boards coated with a sticky adhesive layer. A rodent that touches the board, gets stuck, and dies from hunger or suffocation. This is the cruelest way of trapping rats because they are not killed by the glue. And you may be required to handle the rat.

Do not believe manufacturers claiming that their glue traps kill quickly. The glued rodent dies slowly, suffering for up to 5 days. Most homeowners throw away the boards with live rodents in the trash, without killing them. Another argument against glue traps is that they are ineffective against rats. They work on mice but not on rats, which are larger in size.

Catchmaster Heavy Duty Rat Trap: photo

If you still want to use glue boards to catch rats, try the Catchmaster Heavy Duty Rat Trap. The board comes with a floor anchor, which prevents the trap from being dragged away by the stuck rodent. It is pre-baited and non-toxic. Made in the USA, the trap features a durable adhesive coating that will last for up to 12 months. It is easy to use, just separate the boards and place them along walls. Each pack includes 6 glue trays.

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Expert Opinion: S. John Barcay, Ph.D., Urban Entomologist

S. John Barcay, Ph.D.: photo

S. John Barcay, Ph.D., Urban Entomologist

S. John Barcay, Ph.D., is an urban entomologist and senior scientist at Ecolab, a company providing infection prevention services. He leads Ecolab pest elimination, pesticide evaluation, and development projects and specializes in developing effective integrated pest management programs with minimal use of pesticides. Barcay is an expert on pest elimination techniques for food and beverage processing and related industries.

For rodents, an outside-in approach is essential to your program, and three areas to protect include the exterior, the barrier (typically the walls), and then the interior. The first line of defense for you should be established on the exterior. Rodents like to harbor where there is food protection such as garbage areas and near back entrances. Minimize conditions that may attract rodents. Properly cover and store garbage, eliminate standing water, reduce clutter and excess vegetation. The barrier between the exterior and the interior of the building is formed by walls and doors. On the barrier, seal all doors and fill holes and gaps leading into the building. The interior is the final area of protection. Inside, remove unnecessary clutter and clean up any unsanitary conditions.

Traps and baits should be placed around the perimeter. Strategically, they stop rodents before they enter the building. There are no hard-set rules about how far apart this equipment should be placed. Your pest service provider should place rodent stations near doors that lead to the exterior. These stations can contain rodenticides, which are toxic to rodents. They can also contain monitoring baits that do not have any toxicants in them. When there is an indication of activity, such as feeding on the non-toxic bait, then, they may be replaced with some toxic materials. Where toxic baits are not desired, trapping systems can also be placed into these stations.

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