Pest busters going high-tech to nab rats

Pest busters going high-tech to nab rats
Pest controllers removing a rat carcass near Bukit Batok MRT station on 22 December 2014. Pest busters attacked rat nests and burrows, then monitored the area to ensure survivors did not get away.

TO OUTSMART rats, pest controllers are arming themselves not just with glue boards and traps, but also a range of equipment such as motion sensors and infrared technology.

Rats are intelligent and can adapt to urban spaces, so pest busters say that conventional methods may no longer be sufficient to hunt them down, which is why the rodent population seems to be growing.

So they are relying on gadgets which can help to better track down the rodents' movements, especially if they are hiding in structural gaps or building crevices.

The Norway or sewer rat, for example, traditionally lives in underground sewers or burrows, but can now be found living in gaps in or between structural defects.

For the past two years, Star Pest Control has been using an infrared motion detector to more accurately detect where the rats are hiding.

Its general manager, Mr Bernard Chan, said the device, which can be placed on top of places such as false ceilings, takes photos and videos of

pest activity to provide more clues on where the rat burrows may be.

"If I suspect there is pest activity in a certain area, I can place the detector there and then decide... if I should place a trap there or seal up the hole," said Mr Chan, whose pest-control firm was involved in the Bukit Batok rat infestation clean-up last December.

The weather-resistant device costs about $1,000 and has helped to improve the firm's productivity rate by 60 per cent, said Mr Chan, whose company has caught more than 500 rats this year.

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