Rodent Tales: Brian Miller


April 21, 2020

Brian Miller, Bizzy Bee Exterminating

Brian Miller

Brian Miller is the service manager and technical trainer for Bizzy Bee Exterminators, Oxford, Ga. We caught up with him to hear some stories about his rodent control experience.

Q: What was the largest rodent infestation you’ve battled?

Miller: Shortly after taking on general pest control for an apartment complex, maintenance started talking to us about a rat problem by the dumpster and trash compactor area. They asked whether we could even take care of it, since I guess they just considered us “the bug guys” only. Of course, we said we could, thinking it couldn’t be that bad because the units were pretty clean.

Boy, were we wrong. With a nearby shopping center that included a grocery store, plus all the residents’ garbage, these Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) were living the life! We laugh about it now, but it’s true: Some were so fat, they would waddle toward the curb and just fall off onto the parking lot. Also, in nearly two decades of pest control, I’ve never seen so many rat burrows, before or since. There were so many burrows, the bushes were dying.

The real problem stemmed from how the dumpster removal company was picking up and replacing its dumpsters. The alcove in which the dumpster and compactor were situated meant that while there was room for the truck to access the dumpster, they were leaving mounds of trash behind that spilled. By the time we got the account, residents were scared off by the rats — during the day, no less — so they’d just toss their garbage bags near the dumpster instead of opening the lid and putting them inside.

It took some effort, but the client was able to get the dumpster removal company to thoroughly clean up the alcove. We saw an immediate improvement in our control measures. We were there every day for about two weeks, using snap traps and bait in rodent stations. After that, we started seeing a decrease in feeding. After we confirmed the decrease wasn’t for any other reason besides a reduced population, we started coming every other day, then every three days, checking traps and replenishing bait. We switched to weekly, then we finally came to an acceptable level so that it became part of our monthly visits.

Q: What was the single smartest rodent you’ve encountered?

Miller: We had gone to an initial consultation with a small company with a research and development facility. The company had just wrapped up a construction project on-site, and was having an issue with a few mice. The staff had set out some wooden snap traps, baited with Starlight (red-and-white round striped) mints. But they weren’t catching anything, the client told us.

As we were touring the outdoor perimeter of the facility with the client, we noticed a mouse dart from underneath a bush to a set trap a few feet away, then scurry back before it got to the trap. It did this several times, and by the third time my sales guy started taking video of it on his camera. The mouse seemed to be summoning all of its courage to take the candy! Finally, about the fifth time, it was ready: The mouse came racing out of the bush to the trap, grabbed the candy and then ran back to safety without triggering the trap. I don’t think it ever noticed us, it was so focused on the task at hand. The whole thing was hilarious.

That’s when we told the customer, “You know what, we can probably take care of this a little better.” He agreed, and before long we had the account mouse-free, thanks to strategically placed baiting and monitoring stations.


  • Inspect everywhere, not just the problem area. You don’t want to miss anything that could contribute to the rodent problem. What are they feeding on? Why are they here — for a food or water source? Are the rodents nesting here and feeding elsewhere? The answers will inform your choices on how to go about controlling and preventing them.
  • Get the customer on your side. If you’re “on the island” by yourself, you can get control, but it will be harder. In the case of the apartment complex, the team trusted our recommendations and followed up with the dumpster company on our behalf. Getting the area cleaned up made a huge difference, and helped our strategies take hold.
  • Be creative, but don’t do anything you’re not supposed to. The bottom line is, rodents adapt. It’s our job to disrupt their environment so that they cannot adapt.


About the Author

Heather Gooch

Heather Gooch is the editor-in-chief for PMP magazine. She can be reached at or 330-321-9754.

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