DTY Rodent Management
'Lureology' Gets Smart Traps Talking


The rapidly advancing technologies of remote sensing are providing pest management professionals (PMPs) with a plethora of new options and systems. From smart devices to artificial intelligence, rodent smart traps can not only "think," but also "talk," communicating their effectiveness with us and with our other devices. It's time to have a conversation!

Regardless of the device and system, if the house mouse (Mus musculus) or other rodent does not interact, a smart trap has nothing to say. Even with new technology, old rules and practices can still apply.

For example, Bergmann’s Rule states larger animal size occurs in colder climates; so as small animals, mice prefer warmer climates. Galileo's Square Cube Law states when body surface area increases, it will do so proportionately to the square of the body length. Additionally, when body volume increases, it will do so at the cube of the body length. Because of a high surface area-to-volume ratio, and a basal metabolic rate of ~2 W/h, the house mouse possesses an unstable interior milieu or internal body temperature of 98°F to 101°F.

To maintain metabolism, the house mouse opportunistically feeds upon 3 to 5 grams of combined carbohydrates, fats and proteins in small amounts and at numerous times, as well as forming hidden caches of food in numerous locations. To aid in smart trap effectiveness, "lureology" suggests using very nutrient-rich, odoriferous foods, such as bacon. Bacon also happens to contain all house mouse nutritional requirements. Nutritional analysis per serving includes fats, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, cholesterol, proteins, carbohydrates and fiber.

The house mouse is a social animal, and for years, research has shown that house mice influence one another to feed at a limited number of food sources. These communal feeding sites are determined by cues within their social groups. Mouse urinary proteins (MUPs) are a primary source of communication or social cuing. According to Pest Management Professional  Hall of Fame member Dr. Bobby Corrigan (Class of 2008), the house mouse produces ~3,000 microdroplets of urine every 24 hours. Dr. Corrigan found that pre-setting smart traps for seven days suggested house mice will socially cue the traps.

A 2017 study, taking a closer look into "lureology," suggests mammalian sex hormones found within urine and urine deposits of female and male house mice regulate expression of both sexual features and physical functions. Additionally, adding synthetic testosterone to a lure increases adult female house mouse trap captures 15-fold, and adding a mix of synthetic progesterone and estradiol to a lure increases adult male house mouse trap captures 8-fold.

The old practice of "lureology" can benefit and help inform new smart mouse traps, and when you get smart trap lures "talking," you get more house mouse captures.

Stuart Mitchell, DO, DVM, PsyD, BCE, is an entomologist, veterinarian, observing physician and consulting clinical psychologist, and a regular contributor to Pest Management Professional's Direct to You series.

PMP's Direct To You provides pest management professionals with educational refreshers on timely and critical topics essential to operational success. Look for the content-rich PMP Direct To You archives at mypmp.net/direct-to-you-archive.

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