Somerville, MA Pilots Sensor-Equipped Rat Traps

The City of Somerville, MA has partnered with Modern Pest Services for a five-month pilot project to test sensor-equipped rat traps that provide real-time data to inform pest control authorities. The SMART Box pilot is the latest strategy in the City’s Integrated Pest Management Plan.

50 SMART Boxes will be installed in four neighborhoods around the city, which were chosen on the basis of 311 Constituent Services data on rodent reports and Inspectional Services ticketing information. They also represent different types of settings with variables that can affect rodent activity – including a business district, a residential district, open space, and proximity to construction and transit.

When a rodent enters a SMART Box, sensors detect the animal and activate a ‘catch’ function, immediately killing the rodent with an electrical current. The rodent is deposited into a closed container, then the trap automatically resets. SMART Boxes monitor and record rodent activity 24/7 and send alerts wirelessly when activity is detected. The data received provides a visual representation in real time to determine hotspots for rodent control and additional efforts – such as fumigation – that may be required.

“Rodent activity is a critical quality-of-life issue here in Somerville, so I’m very pleased to bring this new technology to our neighborhoods and to get this pilot underway,” said Mayor  Katjana Ballantyne. “We need to be committed and forward-thinking in our approach, which makes the SMART system so compelling. It will not only catch rodents – it will expand our ability to collect data, to quantify the issue, and to identify additional steps we can take to make the greatest impact citywide.”