The traps have been used in a pilot project in the Möllevångstorget square in the city centre. Mounted in sewers, sensors in the traps detect when a rat passes. The sensors activate a device with fourteen spikes that skewer the rats, which die instantly. The corpses are then washed down the sewers.
Each time a rat is killed, a message is sent to project managers at water company VA Syd, enabling them to monitor the effectiveness of the method.
“It feels good to be something of a pioneer. There’s food lying all over the place round here. We have lots of fast food joints and there’s always access to food,” said project engineer Göte Sernbo.
The results have so far beaten expectations – some 700 rats have so far been killed in the thirteen traps installed at the end of May. Sernbo said he believed that rat poison would eventually cease to be used. Poison is both cruel to rats and harmful to the environment, he argued, but rats need to be controlled:
“We don’t want rats as they carry an awful lot of diseases – over 50 infectious diseases,” Sernbo said.