The effectiveness of any rat bait depends upon environment and the habits of the rat in question. Rats tend to avoid new objects, so traps take some time to be effective. Traps can be made more effective if an attractant, sometimes called a bait, is used. Because rats are scavengers, the most effective rat attractant is food. Fruits and vegetables are attractive to roof rats. Meats or fish are more attractive to Norway rats. However, it is best to utilize food baits that are not likely to spoil in unreachable locations. Peanut butter should not be used since some people are allergic to the smell of peanuts. Another possible attractant would be nest materials such as bits of string, yarn or even cotton balls.
Rodenticide baits are engineered to kill rodents, rather than to catch them. These baits can be harmful to humans, house pets and wildlife if misapplied or ingested. Bait stations are available to prevent children and pets from accessing these baits.
Nevertheless, it is recommended that a pest control professional be consulted prior to using any bait around a home. Proper pest identification is necessary prior to attempting any pest eradication methods, as different measures are effective with each species. Pest control professionals are trained to identify specimens and to determine and carefully administer the most effective and lasting treatment.