Caught in a trap
Caught in a trap
College tries to kill mice without harming chipmunks
BENJAMIN MICHAEL SOLIS
ROBERT CONRADI THE WASHTENAW VOICE
This ‘Tin Can’ bait trap is manufactured by Griffin Pest Control.
Don’t expect to hear any Christmas songs by Alvin, Simon and Theodore this year, or any rhymes about the Three Blind Mice, because the rodent traps around Washtenaw Community College may have already killed them.
And it’s been a long time coming, according to Barry Wilkins, manager of Building Services. The college has a pest problem, though no serious damage has done to campus property, he said.
“I received a lot of calls about faculty finding mouse droppings in their offices,” he said. “They said, ‘You’ve got to do something about this!’”
So Wilkins acted, calling Kalamazoo-based Griffin Pest Control, the college’s pest-control agent since 2004.
Griffin had provided Washtenaw with effective solutions for wasps and bugs in the past, so the company suggested the “Tin Cat” bait traps, Wilkins said.
Tin Cat rat models use two different chemical agents to ward off WCC’s resident pests.
The first agent is an anticoagulant, which thins the rodent’s blood so it cannot clot. The rodent’s capillaries, or tiny veins, then begin to break down, causing the furry nuisance to bleed to death. The traps also contain a diuretic that dehydrates the animals, according to Chris Ensey, a customer service representative for Griffin.
These chemicals can also be found in most common household mouse traps.
“The ideal situation is to have rats or other rodents take the bait more than once,” Ensey said. “Then, hopefully, while it is out looking for water, the pest will wander away from campus and die there.”
Ensey acknowledged that the traps could well affect other animals, such as squirrels and chipmunks.
If the college saw squirrels or chipmunks as pests, they could be killed by the traps in the same way mice or rats would.
Yet Wilkins emphasized that he isn’t gunning for squirrels and chipmunks, saying that these animals are not the problem.
“People seem to be pretty fanatically afraid of mice,” Wilkins mused. “If the college sees it as a big issue, we have to do what’s best for the students and the faculty.”
At the same time, people seem to have an affinity for singing cartoon animals. And if he and his team start finding dead chipmunks around campus, Wilkins said he will re-evaluate the college’s solution.
Which means that America’s favorite fuzzy pop-stars are safe. For now.