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Habitat Magazine October 2020 free digital issue

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ARCHIVE ARTICLE

A SMART Tool for Fighting Rodents

It’s almost impossible to live in New York City without experiencing a rodent infestation. While many buildings resort to exterminators, poison, or even old-school glue traps, there are more modern – and humane – ways to fight rodents.

The SMART System from JP McHale Pest Management is an electronic prevention and elimination system. Enclosed traps are placed at spots where rats or mice enter a building or in individual apartments. Unlike traditional traps with poison bait, when a pest enters one of these traps, a small electric shock is administered, killing it instantly.

But the real draw is the efficiency built into the system. Jim McHale, the company's president, explains how technology reduces time spent examining traps. “In traditional rodent-control methods, we would put stations every 10 feet around the home, fill them with rodenticide, and come back every month to check the traps,” he says. “Now, we don't waste time. You're not paying us to check traps. Rodents go into the traps, and a little SIM card in there notifies us. We don't have to wait for the clients to call us; we call them and say, ‘Hey, you have a rodent in your building. We'll be out today.’”

McHale says that his company charges clients by the hour, but instead of that hour just being spent examining traps that may or may not have pests, staffers use that time to investigate possible points of entry into the building. If possible, crews seal the opening. If major work is required, they notify management.

Installation costs a building $500 to $1,200, depending on factors such as the size of the building and the number of traps needed. In addition, there is a monthly fee to monitor the equipment.

“Historical data [is] being captured on these SIM cards,” says McHale, “and things become very predictable on an annual basis. We can be very proactive [and] can almost anticipate when the spike is going to occur. You don't have to call when there's a rodent running around in your place anymore – I call you. We sell peace of mind.”

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