I have done 100 if not thousands of rodent jobs over the last 26 years, and if there's one thing, I have consistently noticed at those jobs is the low number of traps that are used. Two specific residential settings, which had been serviced for over a year by different companies, still exhibited rodent activity. The sad part is I achieved control in less than two weeks at both locations. What did I do differently? First, I used more traps. Second, I pre-baited those traps and followed up to ensure I caught the rodents.
Why don't we use enough traps? The number one reason, I believe, we don't use enough traps is the lack of training in our industry. When I go out to a job, and the homeowner has been trying to get control of the rodent problem, I find two specific mistakes repeatedly made by homeowners.
Number one is trap placement. Now, most new pest management professionals are usually taught at least how to properly place a snap trap.
The second mistake that homeowners continue to make is the number of traps they put out. Why do they make this mistake because they don't know any better? And why do pest management professionals make this same mistake? I believe it's because they don't know any better either, which falls back to a lack of training.
You can never put out too many traps for a rodent problem. According to the Mallis Handbook of Pest Control, there have been documented cases where a female rodent has had as many as 22 pups in a single litter. Now that's not normal. Typically, it is 6 to 12 pups per litter. So, if you're only putting four traps out at a job, you're already behind. Not only are you failing with your customer but with your company, and yourself.
The second issue I brought up is pre-baiting your traps. I made this mistake for most of my career, to be honest. When I finally decided to try pre-baiting regularly and not just for specific extreme situations, I found that I could catch all the rats in one fell swoop. This may not always happen, but it is a great way to capture the breeding adults first. This will make you and your company more money because you'll have fewer follow-ups, and your customers will be impressed and more willing to use your company again. Also, your customer may refer you to all their friends and family because you got control quickly.
Remember pre-baiting traps and follow-ups are essential. You cannot put out too many traps, but you can put out too few.