Toxicants & Fumigants

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Definitions–See Glossary

Toxicant–substance used to poison a problem animal, typically through ingestion.

Fumigant–gas used to poison a nuisance animal as it breathes.

General Use Pesticides (GUP) may be purchased over-the-counter.

Restricted Use Pesticides (RUP) require a pesticide applicator’s license to purchase and use.

Secondary poisoning-Injury to an organism that ate the animal that was poisoned originally.

Facts about Pesticides

  • No one can guarantee where a poisoned animal will die.
  • No pesticide can be called “SAFE”. You can only use pesticides more safely or less safely.
  • Most negative incidents with toxicants and fumigants occur because the applicator failed to follow the instructions on the label.


1. Phosphine Gas

  • Phostoxin– Degesch America
    • Fumigation Management Plan (FMP) is required when using this product.

2. Charcoal-Potassium Nitrate

Used as a rodent fumigant in burrows, carbon (charcoal) formulated with several other pesticide active ingredients (sodium and potassium nitrates and sulfur), is used in pyrotechnic fumigant gas cartridge products. When a cartridge is ignited and placed in a pest burrow, it produces carbon monoxide and other gases that kill target pests.

Toxicants in Rodenticides


First Generation Active Ingredient Feeding
Warfarin Multi-feed
Chlorophacinone Multi-feed
Diphacinone Multi-feed
Second Generation
Brodifacoum Single Feed
Bromadiolone Single Feed
Difenacoum Single Feed
Difethialone Single Feed


Active Ingredient Feeding Mode of Action
Bromethalin Single Feed Interferes with the animal’s nervous system
Cholecalciferol Single Feed Causes internal bleeding and kidney injury by increasing calcium levels to  a lethal level
Zinc Phosphide Single Feed Blocks cells from making energy, and the cells die


Bait Station Use— Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln