PMP uses BurrowRx to tackle rat infestation at large mall

Johnny Soto is a certified field trainer and field technician for Ehrlich Pest Control in Maryland. This summer, he began working with a large regional mall client whose maintenance crews were battling a significant Norway rat infestation. After some due diligence, he proposed using the BurrowRx Rodent Control Device to fully eradicate the rat colonies. The results have been excellent, and the pest control pro has suggested the product to other pros in the area and elsewhere, going so far as to post about his experiences with it on the Pest Cemetery Facebook page, a forum where several thousand pest industry professionals share ideas and strategies to improve their work.

“I was posting to show off some of our new equipment and thought it would help to share this (information) with others and to get feedback. Hopefully, everyone gets on-board with this method of treating rat burrows.” 

Here’s a look at how Soto used BurrowRx to tackle a huge problem for a new client.

A bad situation only getting worse

For a large regional mall home that is to dozens of retailers and hundreds of thousands of square feet of shopping space, including a food court, rat sightings could be a potential business killer. Soto’s client worked with a different pest control company in the past. However, results were non-existent outside of identifying possible areas where the Norway rats were burrowing underground.

The property management team gave Soto a couple of months to assess the situation using tracking powder and baits. Norway rats are the largest of the dominant rodents in the U.S. and are not good climbers, so they have a propensity to burrow under foundations, brush, porches and even underground, developing their own larger burrowing systems, not unlike gophers or ground squirrels.

“When we took on the account, there was some huge rat activity,” Soto said. “Basically, what we were seeing was they were all around the perimeter of the property and especially near the food court, where there were trash cans and other ways to access food.” 

He estimated about 50 to 60 rats in the area and made suggestions to the client about relocating trash cans and other preventative measures to eliminate potential harborage zones. One of the greatest challenges on the site was extensive brush around the building that proved to be a great hiding place for the rats but also made it difficult for technicians to access areas for treatment. Soto took the suggestion from a colleague to use BurrowRx for the problem. He would also work with maintenance crews to get them to cut back the brush in order to access the rat burrow zones.

BurrowRx is an EPA pesticidal device. It clears out burrowing rodent infestations by pumping carbon monoxide gas into their tunnel systems to efficiently kill them. The majority of rodents die inside the burrow, minimizing the need for clean-up on the surface. The gas also quickly dissipates after the machine is turned off and does not harm humans or pets in the area who may come into contact with the burrow. BurrowRx utilizes its own proprietary smoke formula to show where the carbon monoxide gas escapes from the burrow system. BurrowRx has also been found to be effective against ground squirrels, moles, rats, gophers, voles and virtually any pest that creates an underground tunnel system.


“Our Baltimore district entomologist made the suggestion, then he showed us how to use it,” Soto added. “The customer was willing to do it, even though it would cost more. They needed us to try something else. Nothing was really working. After this experience, my district is now going to purchase one of the machines, too.”


BurrowRx tackles the rat problem

BurrowRx was used on three areas around the mall. Mall maintenance crews first cut back enough brush so that Soto’s team could try the device on the first area of concern. With this application, only requiring a few minutes of using the device, the team quickly learned how BurrowRx’s smoke oil helps to identify exit holes that may not be visible upon first inspection. His team was able to quickly cover the holes with dirt. With the first use, a few rats tried to escape, but were exterminated easily, Soto said, and overall, there was a significant drop in activity when the treatment was done.

Two more successful treatments on separate tunnel systems were conducted over the course of the next month, now eliminating a majority of the rat population and bringing the situation under control. Soto’s team is still waiting for two more brush areas to be cut back so that technicians can treat and completely eradicate the problem. In the meantime, the technician is using tracking powder and bait when he conducts weekly checks on the property, but is eager to use BurrowRx to finish the job right.

“It has worked really well so far, there isn’t nearly as much activity,” he said. “The customer has been very pleased.”

A tool for PMPs, a new revenue stream for businesses

With the initial success, Soto’s technicians also used the BurrowRx to eradicate a rat infestation at a different commercial development where he estimates about 20 rodents were present.

The BurrowRx has not just become an important tool for the technician, but also an opportunity to expand business. The founders of BurrowRx built the product to easily integrate into existing services. At the same time, it can create a new revenue stream for PMPs, while increasing professionalism and customer confidence, especially if clients have dealt with long stretches of time where PMPs used ineffective bait and trap systems.

“I think we can definitely help more accounts with this tool … and people are willing to pay extra for us to use it,” Soto said. “It was easy to use, the training was simple, and I’m happy we actually have something that’s really effective. … We’re close to Baltimore and as you may have heard, Baltimore has a huge rat problem. So, there’s a lot of ways we can use the BurrowRx around here.”