Somerville Introduces New Pest Control Devices That Electrocutes Rats, Mice

Photo: Matt Shearer/WBZ NewsRadio

SOMERVILLE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Somerville introducing new rodent control devices that use electric shock to kill any pests found that get trapped inside the devices.

The city partnered with Modern Pest Services to install 50 of the SMART Box devices in places like Davis Square and the areas near Gilman Street, Lexington Street, and Mccaurthur Street. They chose these locations because of data from the city's 311 service and based on the type of buildings in the area.

SMART Boxes work by using sensors to detect the movement and body heat of a rodent that has entered the trap. Once a rodent is detected, an electrical current kills the rodent almost immediately. The boxes can hold up to five rats and 50 mice at a time.

Modern Pest Services general manager Joe Schaefer said the technology is effective because it doesn't pose a risk to the environment or other pets by using things like poison to kill rodents.

"It's a data-driven solution, and it's non-toxic and sustainable," he said. "Really the key to it is that we're constantly monitoring the boxes for proactive pest control."

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Somerville Mayor Katjana Ballantyne said in a statement the devices are an important step for the city to identify where in the city rodent issues are the most prevalent.

“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 Ballantyne. “[SMART Box] 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.”

Somerville is the second city in the U.S. to implement the use of SMART Boxes, following Portland, Maine. The boxes will be in the designated neighborhoods until at least July of 2020, according to the city.

WBZ's Matt Shearer (@MattWBZ) reports.

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