Rodent Tales: Dr. Mohammed El Damir, BCE


March 29, 2024

Photo: icefront / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Photo: icefront / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Q: What’s one of the largest rodent infestations you’ve battled, and how did you win?

El Damir: We had a shopping mall client that experienced high house mouse (Mus musculus) activity because of its location and frequent shipments. To gain control, we employed a multifaceted approach:

  • Overnight mass trapping. We set up traps strategically throughout the mall to capture as many mice as possible during the night when they are most active.
  • Remote monitoring. We monitored exterior bait stations and strategic indoor traps remotely to track activity and ensure timely intervention.
  • Color modification of adhesive traps. To address mice’s sensitivity to contrast, we modified the color of adhesive traps to match the surrounding surfaces, making them less noticeable to the rodents.
  • Rotation of rodenticide formulations. We experimented with different formulations of rodenticides, such as blocks, meals, seeds, etc., to effectively target the mouse population.
  • Soft and hard bait combination. By combining different types of bait, we increased the attractiveness of bait stations, thereby enhancing their effectiveness.
  • Use of field cameras. Field or trail cameras were installed in hard-to-reach areas to observe mouse behavior, especially at night and in inaccessible places, providing valuable insights for targeted interventions.
  • Partnership with mall management and store owners. We collaborated closely with mall management and store owners/managers to improve sanitation practices and implement pest-proofing measures.
  • Testing food preferences. We experimented with various food lures, leading to a significant increase in trap captures. This insight helped us tailor bait preferences based on the specific site’s conditions.
  • Adjustment of trapping preferences. Based on the results of bait preference tests, we adjusted our mechanical trapping and baiting preferences accordingly to optimize effectiveness.

Q: What is one of your “Tom & Jerry” moments — that is, when a rodent kept eluding you to the point where you had to get creative to catch it?

El Damir: I once found myself at the airport investigating mouse sightings near one of the gates. Despite a thorough inspection and ensuring all holes and gaps were properly sealed, I couldn’t pinpoint the entry point. As I sat down to document my findings, I noticed something watching me. It was a mouse. As soon as it saw me looking, it darted away.

I quickly followed its path with my eyes and saw it disappear behind the gate door used for boarding and disembarking passengers. Upon closer examination, I noticed that a small piece of the door sweep had been cut to prop open the door during boarding. This seemingly insignificant gap served as the entryway for the mouse.

To address the issue, airport management replaced the door mechanism to allow for smooth operation without the need to cut the door sweep. This simple fix solved the problem and prevented further entry of our friendly mouse visitor.

Dr. Mohammed El Damir, BCE

Dr. Mohammed El Damir, BCE


  • Thoroughly inspect the premises to identify entry points, hiding spots and runways used by rodents. This helps in understanding the extent of the infestation and allows for targeted pest control efforts.
  • Field cameras and smart traps can monitor rodent behavior and movement patterns.
  • Experiment with diverse bait options, trap placements and environmental modifications. Persistence is key, even if initial efforts are unsuccessful.
  • It’s crucial not to jeopardize personal safety or the safety of others in pursuit of rodent control. Be mindful of hazardous methods or materials that pose risks to humans, pets or the environment. Follow label directions, consider long-term implications, and prioritize non-target safety.
  • Overlooking inaccessible or isolated areas, such as attics, crawlspaces, storage areas or cluttered places, can provide rodents with perfect hiding spots. Ensure thorough inspections include all potential rodent harborage areas, even if they are difficult to access.
  • Rodents are intelligent and adaptable creatures, so using a single approach may not be effective. Avoid relying solely on traditional trapping methods or bait types. Instead, experiment with different strategies and tactics to outsmart these resilient animals.

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