Oct 23, 2012 – One Visit Rat Control?


What is the protocol on rodent control, such as follow up, removing the trophies, & resetting traps? I have been getting calls on this from customers saying that the company they used just set 2-4 snap traps in a subarea or attic and did not call or come back to check the traps. Then the customer starts smelling the trophy. These companies are not informing the customer about entry points and I do not see that they are doing deep inspections, as I do, in order to find and eliminate entry points. On one of the last jobs I did I even found trapped rats being consumed by other rats. Should these other companies be obligated to do what I believe regulatory agencies require? Customers I serviced say they had to call them back to complete their job. Thanks for your views.


In every industry there will be companies that will do the bare minimum, and if they can get away with this bare minimum then that works for them. But, in rodent management the bare minimum should include removal of trapped rodents, and this likely is going to be written in the regulations of many states for licensed pest control technicians. It also is an issue with respect to "humane treatment" of any animal, and whether we like it or not we have to deal with unwanted rodents in as humane a manner as possible. This means that kill traps need to be inspected routinely and in a timely manner so that partially captured rodents do not suffer. I understand very well that many people don't care how a rat or mouse dies as long as it dies, but vocal animal rights groups do care and they can press their cause if they believe our industry is acting in a cruel manner. 

So, blunt answer, YES, certainly a technician should return to an account where traps have been set and inspect those traps and remove and dispose of trapped rodents. If it were the use of rodent baits, nearly all rodenticide Labels have statements instructing that dead or ill rodents must be removed, making it mandatory for us to do so. I also recognize that for a technician to return to a customer's home or business costs time and money, and a lot of homeowners may not be willing to pay another $100 each time that technician has to return to check a few traps, but this is the reality of rodent control. If traps are set and animals are captured and killed, the aftermath is going to be a rotting carcass that creates an intolerable smell and breeds blow flies. This is particularly so with rats and their larger body mass. In particular, if the customer is not made aware of these likely problems he is going to be very upset when they occur, particularly when maggots start dropping out of the kitchen ceiling and landing on the dinner plates. This is the stuff of lawsuits, bad publicity, and a bad reputation for our industry.

I believe you are right on track David. Traps must be inspected, and initially should probably be checked the next day to remove dead rodents or deal with those caught but still alive. It would be very unsettling for the customer to hear a rodent struggling with a trap on its body and thumping around in the attic all night long. Your careful inspection of the infestation may reveal damaged wires or PVC piping that needs to be repaired before worse problems occur in that structure. You may find accumulations of rat feces that need to be removed to eliminate this health issue. You may find a lot of other things that result from rats and mice living inside structures that need to be addressed for the health and safety of the customer. 

And, "if nothing changes nothing changes", and if these rodents found their way inside others will follow, and if the entry points continue to exist then the customer is going to continue to have a rodent problem sometime in the future. Taking pot shots at the rodents AFTER they get inside is inappropriate. Exclusion is a major part of structural rodent management, so absolutely the customer needs to be educated right at the start to understand what needs to be done to give them the best long term satisfaction. 

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