There has been relatively less attention paid to the monitoring of linear drifts in Poisson rates. Although the conventional CUSUM charts can be used for monitoring linear drifts in Poisson rates, they often rely on the assumption of a known parameter. To get rid of this assumption, this paper develops adaptive CUSUM (ACUSUM) charts for monitoring drifts in Poisson rates. The basic idea is to first estimate the current Poisson mean level and then to dynamically update the likelihood ratio in the CUSUM chart based on the estimated mean. Three different mean estimators based on the exponentially weighted moving average (EWMA) schemes are discussed. The comparison results are shown to favor the ACUSUM chart, especially at small drifts. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.