As if COVID-19 isn’t enough to occupy our lives, according to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a national rodent assault is underway. Hawaii is not immune.
“With so many restaurants closed because of the COVID-19 lockdown, rats are finding their way into homes,” said Ian Mateo, founder of Kalihi-based Pest Tech Hawaii. The problem is compounded, he added, with people hoarding large quantities of food from Costco and Sam’s Club.
If the rats already have made your home their new feed lot, the first step is to seal any entrances. The best method to do this, according to Shawn Woods, founder of YouTube channel and website Mousetrap Monday (mousetrap monday.com), is with silicone caulk, steel wool or copper mesh. Woods, a fount of rodent wisdom, regularly reviews seemingly every rodent trap known in existence.
The upshot is you can dispatch the rodents in any number of ways. I do not like using poison, so I tested a battery-operated electronic trap that delivers a high- voltage shock.
There are several electronic traps on the market, but I selected the Smart-Kill Wi-Fi Enabled Rat Trap from a Lititz, Pa., firm called Victor. The cool thing about this product is that it will inform you via smartphone or another mobile device when you’ve liquidated a rodent. This is much better than finding out a few days later when the decomposing creature leaves a distinctive odor.
To get started, download the Victor Pest app and pair it with your phone. Just follow the instructions. Be certain that you’re using the 2.4 GHz band on your router rather than the 5 GHz. Otherwise, as I learned, it won’t function.
In addition to informing you when you’ve caught a rat, it will monitor your batteries, remind you to empty the trap and even keeps a lifetime kill record. You’ll need four C-cell batteries, which are good for up to 50 rat kills. It’s priced at $54.49 on Amazon.
After a “catch,” just power down the unit and remove the lid (if necessary) to clean the trigger plates. (You don’t have to remove the lid to dump the rodent.)
What I liked was once set up on your network, it proved to be an efficient, handy trap. Simply dump the dead rat and clean. It’s simple to bait. There’s a tiny hatch, and using a toothpick or plastic fork (you want to avoid human scent), just dab some peanut butter in the cup.
On the minus side, the software is a bit clunky. I had to change the Wi-Fi network settings on my Samsung phone to get it functioning. The first time I set it up, within 10 minutes I had five “kills,” only to find dead B-52s and no rodent. The roaches will quickly suck up the batteries.
Perhaps the behavior of the roaches mimics the rats? It would be nice if the system used rechargeable lithium-ion batteries instead of the disposable ones.
The conclusion? It’s quick and humane (no dealing with sticky traps or poison).
The connectivity afforded by this product is slick. You can’t use it where there are a lot of roaches, so I put it in my roof space where I often hear the miscreants scamper about. Bingo, it worked like magic.
New disaster handbook
If you think a natural hazard (say, a pandemic) won’t affect you, think twice. To prepare for the current hurricane season or any other natural calamity, this updated handbook from Dennis Hwang is for you. Whether it’s stocking up on provisions or shoring up your home, it has 169 tip-packed pages. Download it for free at 808ne.ws/3h8fDCs.
Rob Kay, a Honolulu-based writer, covers technology and sustainability for Tech View and is the creator of fijiguide.com. He can be reached at Robertfredkay@gmail.com.