Outdoor night vision cameras and rodents ASAP

Peek

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Hey All.
I am wondering if anyone has tried to use outdoor night vision cameras to look for rodents outside their homes? We have tried many cameras and trail cams all with different but unidentifiable results.

We currently have 2 - SDETER Outdoor Security Camera Full 1080P Color Night Vision which uses V380 pro software for viewing captured images and video. We cannot tell if there are rodents in the pics or not.

We also purchased a WOSODA Trail Game Camera, 16MP 1080P Waterproof Hunting Scouting Cam for Wildlife monitoring with night vision LY123 but have yet to get any pics at night.

I need to find a better ”yet affordable” security camera with color night vision. As you can tell from my pictures it doesn’t show what is part of the house and what isn’t.

As you can see from the pictures the roof is a dark color and goes almost all the way to the ground. We have been trying different cameras for 3 years now but have yet to figure out what is going in and out of the house and where it is getting in and out. It’s been very frustrating.

If you happen to see anything in the pictures that doesn’t belong please let me know. In one of the two pics it looks to me like a dog or something up on the left on top flat roof but don’t think it can be.
 

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tigerwillow1

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I've caught numerous images of pack rats and mice with both a game camera and IP camera. It has always been with IR lighting and black-white mode. I think you're defeating your purpose using color mode unless the lighting is fairly bright. The camera sensitivity is a big factor, too. I use both starlight and non-starlight ip cameras. At night, animals that are clear on the starlight camera can be barely visible on the non-starlight, and animals that are barely visible on the starlight just don't exist in the non-starlight image.
 

looney2ns

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Is that camera looking through a pane of glass. It appears you have some reflection going on.
What is it we are looking at in those pictures.
 

Peek

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I've caught numerous images of pack rats and mice with both a game camera and IP camera. It has always been with IR lighting and black-white mode. I think you're defeating your purpose using color mode unless the lighting is fairly bright. The camera sensitivity is a big factor, too. I use both starlight and non-starlight ip cameras. At night, animals that are clear on the starlight camera can be barely visible on the non-starlight, and animals that are barely visible on the starlight just don't exist in the non-starlight image.
I’m not sure what you mean by starlight? I totally respect what you have to say because I know you know what you are talking about. This situation is dyer because we have some kind of bats and rodent in our house. They are multiple very quickly and afraid I’m going to lose my home. We have had several cameras in the past 3 years and unable to capture anything. Whatever it is, they are stuck in wall cavities and ceilings. We have had several exterminators and trappers here but no one knows exactly what they are.

We had a new roof put on a few years ago and nothing but problems since. No one knows where they are coming in but hear them coming in and out at night at top of house. Please advise?
 

Peek

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Is that camera looking through a pane of glass. It appears you have some reflection going on.
What is it we are looking at in those pictures.
Not looking through glass. You are looking at my roof which goes almost all the way to the ground. I’m not sure what the camera took pictures of but in one of them it appears that there is something over to the left on the top “flat” part of the roof. I am not getting clear enough pictures to be able to tell what is what. It doesn’t help that the roof on sides is dark brown.
 

Peek

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The camera is positioned as such because the night vision wouldn’t turn on at dusk and dawn when the light from sky changed. I also have a trail camera on top, flat roof that hasn’t picked up anything but have seen some kind of squirrel footprints.
 

Wildcat_1

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@Peek yes, I think that your current camera solution can be greatly improved. Now let me caveat that with saying we need more information about the install location and what is available there. When you say roof, is that as in roof of a house or some other type of building and what is that material ?

As others have mentioned B&W is usually pretty good for capturing animals, especially due to reflection in their eyes. Depending on if you go with a Dahua / Hik solution as @looney2ns mentioned above, you will be able to dial in the image and even the capture specifics (such as target capture size etc if you ONLY want to capture smaller targets). You also want to adjust contrast etc so you can separate the target from the surrounding (depending on what you are working with material wise, lighting wise etc).

Either way, again depending on the material on your roof, IR may pose some issues. For example if the cam is super close, material is reflective etc you end up getting IR washout or splash back which is hard to counter UNLESS you have options for mounting at different angles etc. Can you provide some pics of the install location both during the day and some at night so we get to appreciate better where this is located etc ?

Also agree with @looney2ns that you may be experiencing washout today OR have dirty lens or other optic issues based on what we see in the pics.
 

tigerwillow1

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Startlight is a marketing term used by Dahua for their cameras that have higher low light sensitivity. They perform better in low-light and night situations. Here's a snap of a pack rat from a game camera. I haven't saved any from the IP cameras. We once had something eating seedlings in out greenhouse. I put in an IP camera high-up looking down and to our surprise it nailed a mouse. It was running black-white with IR light.


bigrat_22.JPG
 

Peek

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Startlight is a marketing term used by Dahua for their cameras that have higher low light sensitivity. They perform better in low-light and night situations. Here's a snap of a pack rat from a game camera. I haven't saved any from the IP cameras. We once had something eating seedlings in out greenhouse. I put in an IP camera high-up looking down and to our surprise it nailed a mouse. It was running black-white with IR light.


View attachment 50690
Are you all saying that I should scrap the cameras I have and go with the starlight? Whatever I do I have to do now because these things are taking over my house to about the point of no return because I can only imagine that there is no insulation left in wall cavities. I literally bought these cameras a bit over a month ago but may be able to sell them.
 

Wildcat_1

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We're just explaining what Starlight is and how it can assist with low light / no light situations. Again though, in your case, understanding the location and the questions I asked above will help all of us assist further. With that said, you won't go wrong with upgrading cameras and especially with ones like @looney2ns suggested BUT knowing more about the current location, lighting, other options for installation you have, ultimate end results you want etc will help us.

Are you all saying that I should scrap the cameras I have and go with the starlight? Whatever I do I have to do now because these things are taking over my house to about the point of no return because I can only imagine that there is no insulation left in wall cavities. I literally bought these cameras a bit over a month ago but may be able to sell them.
 

Peek

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@Peek yes, I think that your current camera solution can be greatly improved. Now let me caveat that with saying we need more information about the install location and what is available there. When you say roof, is that as in roof of a house or some other type of building and what is that material ?

As others have mentioned B&W is usually pretty good for capturing animals, especially due to reflection in their eyes. Depending on if you go with a Dahua / Hik solution as @looney2ns mentioned above, you will be able to dial in the image and even the capture specifics (such as target capture size etc if you ONLY want to capture smaller targets). You also want to adjust contrast etc so you can separate the target from the surrounding (depending on what you are working with material wise, lighting wise etc).

Either way, again depending on the material on your roof, IR may pose some issues. For example if the cam is super close, material is reflective etc you end up getting IR washout or splash back which is hard to counter UNLESS you have options for mounting at different angles etc. Can you provide some pics of the install location both during the day and some at night so we get to appreciate better where this is located etc ?

Also agree with @looney2ns that you may be experiencing washout today OR have dirty lens or other optic issues based on what we see in the pics.
The camera itself is mounted on a boat in the yard because didn’t really have much options but may be able to mount it on the fence or something so it isn’t pointing straight at the house. I can have someone move it for me later because I can’t move it myself.

The roof is made of architectural shingles. It is a home. I believe it’s called a Mansard or something like that but is an “A” framed house with a flat top roof. There is a smaller one room addition attached at back of house. We have been told and now agree that the design of the house makes it an easy target for rodents to take up residence. In case I haven’t mentioned it, there is no attic in the house so that makes the whole issue much tougher.
I am attaching pictures of the location during the day because have already attached the nighttime in my original post.
Thank you both so much for your help!!

p.s this picture appears to have something coming or going near the roo in the left hand corner but I can’t make out what it is. This is really a fairly new roof but loves pollen.
 

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Peek

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I am most concerned with this side and front of house which would be on the left hand side of the photo I posted. I hear things coming and going from late afternoon and all night long On both sides towards the front somewhere. I have tried several cameras but have yet to capture anything over the last couple of years. I have trapped 4 grey squirrels but they would be coming and going during the day but also have something coming and going all night. My home of 27 years has become a wildlife sanctuary. We have had a Few contractors come out and say they can’t figure out how or what is coming and going but have family stay who hear it too.
 

tigerwillow1

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Are you all saying that I should scrap the cameras I have and go with the starlight?
Not knowing the specs for your cameras, it would be a bit presumptuous for me to say that. I'm jut trying to provide info. In the specs that I found for the camera I think you have I did not see the sensor size, so it would seem that sdeter is not bragging about it. I did find for a different sdeter camera that the sensor size is 1/4". Everything else being equal, a bigger sensor gives better night images. The cameras that most on the forum consider to have lousy night vision use 1/3" sensors, which are close to twice the area of a 1/4" sensor. The starlight cameras use even larger sensors. So IF your camera does use a 1/4" sensor, most of us here would likely consider it worse than what we think is lousy for night vision.

I've had pretty good luck with traps. The standard spring-type rat and mouse traps work pretty well for the rats and mice. I do have to be careful so our own animals don't get into them. Some of the rats don't fall for the spring traps and I've gotten them with a live trap. The hardest one for me to trap was a chipmunk who lived in our shop with 3 cats who never got it. I finally got it with a live trap that I could trigger remotely, monitoring it with a camera that I had to sit there looking at. Took me months to get that darned thing!
 
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Peek

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Not knowing the specs for your cameras, it would be a bit presumptuous for me to say that. I'm jut trying to provide info. In the specs that I found for the camera I think you have I did not see the sensor size, so it would seem that sdeter is not bragging about it. I did find for a different sdeter camera that the sensor size is 1/4". Everything else being equal, a bigger sensor gives better night images. The cameras that most on the forum consider to have lousy night vision use 1/3" sensors, which are close to twice the area of a 1/4" sensor. The starlight cameras use even larger sensors. So IF your camera does use a 1/4" sensor, most of us here would likely consider it worse than what we think is lousy for night vision.

I've had pretty good luck with traps. The standard spring-type rat and mouse traps work pretty well for the rats and mice. I do have to be careful so our own animals don't get into them. Some of the rats don't fall for the spring traps and I've gotten them with a live trap. The hardest one for me to trap was a chipmunk who lived in our shop with 3 cats who never got it. I finally got it with a live trap that I could trigger remotely, monitoring it with a camera that I had to sit there looking at. Took me months to get that darned thing!
So there is someone who knows how I feel!! Thank you!! I have live traps on the ground and snap traps up on the flat top roof. I haven’t caught anything in snap traps on the roof but there are some kind of squirrel prints up there. I’m praying I don’t have flying squirrels in here but whatever it is has multiplied. I have seen some bats flying around the cameras. I’d much rather have a house full of bats n not flying squirrels. I don’t know why nothing has been seen in any of the cameras. I will see if I can have someone move the camera tonight. I am not able to move any of them myself.
I do get why you say the cameras are junk. I’ve had cameras that I thought were junk take much better pics than these.
 

Wildcat_1

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@Peek thanks for the update and the pics. With that said, I would definitely (if you can), adjust the angle on whatever camera you end up using (recommendations here or others) so you are not at such a straight on angle. By adjusting the camera angle and either shooting across the roof (cross section) or diagonally you will create more of a 3D view than a 2D face on, that will help with detection of targets by camera as well. With you describing the roof as shingle based should mean no reflections UNLESS the camera is moved super close to a shingle/tile OR you have IR so high that it causes washout of the target / target area (something that can happen). I would also recommend with what we've seen so far that you do consider upgrading the camera, better optics and sensor will definitely help here AND if you are wanting to make this change / move these in an already difficult situation, why not do it once and properly is my thought. From the pics you sent they appear low resolution and certainly there is a lot of chromatic aberration going on as well as elements of motion blur. All of these I feel confident you could improve with a different camera and with more control over the captured image.

Resolution will be key if you want more than just 'something is moving in that area of the roof', so while you definitely (depending on distance from camera to target and on optics / sensor) need something with more resolution than is shown in the pics here, you don't need to go crazy. Either a good 2MP camera (like the one @looney2ns) mentioned where you also gain the benefit of a varifocal lens to dial in your shot or a 4MP 1/1.8" sensor cam would be fine and certainly elevate your video IMO.

Now, before I end this post, what is the lighting situation up there either direct (spotlight over area) or indirect (cast from streetlight) ? The least amount of hassle looking at this install location would be IR and could probably be taken care of with on-cam rather than augmented IR BUT that will remain to be seen after you look at the options listed here.

HTH


I am most concerned with this side and front of house which would be on the left hand side of the photo I posted. I hear things coming and going from late afternoon and all night long On both sides towards the front somewhere. I have tried several cameras but have yet to capture anything over the last couple of years. I have trapped 4 grey squirrels but they would be coming and going during the day but also have something coming and going all night. My home of 27 years has become a wildlife sanctuary. We have had a Few contractors come out and say they can’t figure out how or what is coming and going but have family stay who hear it too.
 

mycatjest

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ive used a hik cube camera to resolve a mouse infestation, in my garage nothing like using intrusion detection, along with 5 mouse traps, 15 trapped over a week, infestation gone
 

Peek

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There is a lot of reflections from I guess would be IR on the lens, or the camera lens needs cleaned.
This camera would do a good job.
Review-Dahua IPC-HDW2231T-ZS-S2 2mp Varifocal Starlight Camera | IP Cam Talk
Thank you for your recommendation. There is a loop back to your revie of a couple of different cameras. Should I buy this model or should I spend more money and get a better model because this will be the last camera I buy for a good long time to come. I’m disabled and on a fixed income and have put so much money into this problem but trust you guys who know about this stuff because, clearly I don’t.
 

mech

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This is my suggestion:

1. Get the 2231T-ZS-S2. One of the benefits here is that it is a varifocal camera and it can focus on stuff quite close to it, if you need to put it at ground level and focus on the nearby ground or the underside of the roof.

2. put the camera down near the ground and aim it up at a nearby tree or house, something it can get a focus lock on in the dark.

3. crank up the shutter speed to a very fast shutter like 1/500th second, then even faster if you can. You're not trying for a pretty picture. What you want is a stop-action shot of flying bats (if that's what you've got) caught in the beam of the camera's infrared. If the background's really dark, that's fine (as long as the camera can still get enough details to focus).

4. if your camera doesn't get anything interesting flying, have the camera look up at the bottom of your eaves from ground level to see if it reveals anything going in or out.

5. if it still doesn't catch anything, put it just above ground level looking laterally along the base of the wall.

I was recently doing a field-of-view study and included the old version of the 2231, and due to its varifocal nature, it was able to focus on stuff just a foot away from the lens pretty well, not the case for a fixed-focus camera I happened to test.
 

Peek

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There is a lot of reflections from I guess would be IR on the lens, or the camera lens needs cleaned.
This camera would do a good job.
Review-Dahua IPC-HDW2231T-ZS-S2 2mp Varifocal Starlight Camera | IP Cam Talk
Is this the best camera you’ve reviewed? I ask because these will be the last cameras I buy for many years to come. You won’t believe the money I’ve spent on this issue between trappers, home modifications and repairs. Not to mention several crappy cameras. Will this camera catch bats and flying squirrels? Is a 4mp better? I trust you guys because you know about this stuff and I clearly do not.
 
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