Removing the Guesswork to Protect a Vulnerable Apartment Building

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For more than a decade, Black Widow Termite and Pest Control kept a Manhattan apartment building rodent-free. That is, until Norway rat pressure from a nearby garden threatened its streak. As an added measure, Black Widow installed the ActiveSense® system. Armed with pinpointed data, Black Widow was able to remove the guesswork and make service adjustments that helped them uphold the apartment building’s rodent-free title.

The apartment building faces heavy Norway rat pressure coming from a garden area directly across an alley. Rat food is plentiful in the area, as chickens are caged in the garden across the alley, and a nearby restaurant puts out trash nightly. Further, trash from an apartment building is piled on the curb once a week. Additional rat harborage is in a park adjacent to the apartment building.

Black Widow Termite and Pest Control has kept the apartment building rodent-free for more than a decade. That became more challenging after the garden area changed ownership and Black Widow was denied access to treat that space. The space went on to become so rat-infested that burrows are readily visible along the alleyway, and many local residents were avoiding the alley at night because of rats.

ActiveSense® System Deployed

Rodenticides are not allowed near the garden area, so Black Widow maintains protection around the apartment building using rodent stations containing snap traps. In November 2017, Black Widow installed the ActiveSense® system in 11 exterior rodent stations as an added measure to counter rat pressure in the area.

Sensors were placed in rodent stations in the alley facing the garden area and five were in rodent stations on the street facing an office building.


“ActiveSense lets us give our clients the best service possible.” --Service manager, Black Widow Termite and Pest Control, Bedford Corners, New York


Monitoring and Results

The addition of ActiveSense removed the guesswork from Black Widow’s control program. Knowing exactly when and where activity had taken place allowed traps to be cleaned out within two days after being triggered. More timely service increased live trap availability, which in turn increased captures. One indication of the increase in captures was a shift from finding mostly adult rats in traps to more juvenile rats.

An important discovery from the ActiveSense system data involved human behavior. Over the course of a week, Black Widow received a notification for the same rodent station every night at about 8 p.m., but with no rat capture in that station. Knowing the time of the alerts and the station led to the solution. It was discovered that employees took out the trash every night. They would use that rodent station to prop the door open, leaving the building vulnerable to rodent entry. Black Widow shared this information with the building supervisor, who corrected it.

Black Widow will continue to monitor with the ActiveSense system to help ensure the rodent activity does not move inside the structure.

Case Studies

Find out more about the ActiveSense® system in action through case studies.

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