In the last few years new technology introduced in the pest control industry has been propelling the continued development of related products that are evolving year to year. One of them is electronic rodent monitoring (ERM).
This technology allows technicians to focus on utilizing stations with electronic connections that can be monitored via cell phone applications – and most importantly can allow real-time notifications when there’s a rodent issue.
Now this doesn’t mean each notification requires a technician driving out 30 minutes to check one station. However, if that location is on or near a scheduled route, a technician can service it immediately (instead of waiting for the next scheduled visit). This provides greater service to the customer and literally allows for more knowledge-sharing, which in commercial food-handling settings is essential due to quality control audit restrictions.
While they are not currently using EM products, Centereach, N.Y.-based The Bug Bandit is considering testing a few of them, The Bug Bandit’s Rebecca Salas said there are many positives once you choose the right solution for your company.
“The benefits of using EM products may be having the ability to provide information without the need of always being on-site, having something that’s able to remotely track and send information out to a technician, such as when a trap, bait station, or other tool has been activated by the rodent you’ve been sent out to retrieve allows for a quicker response from technicians,” Salas said.
Salas added that improved time management and the ability to focus more efforts on investigative measures are other reasons electronic rodent monitoring appeals to her.
Along with that is “making the most out of time management and giving your company and technicians the time to focus efforts on more investigative measures instead of spending time to go check on empty traps that aren’t bringing anything in,” Salas said. “A better use of time and focus with using EM’s could expand the ability to implement real IPM strategies and identifying entry points instead of just the location of where the pest got trapped, which in turn can help complete a rodent job by effectively being able to close off those entry points and prevent the return of the same issue in the future.”
Sprague Pest Solutions, Tacoma, Wash., has been testing and utilizing some devices as part of its control programs, says Jeffrey Weier, the company’s recently retired technical director.
“We have used multiple electronic rodent monitoring systems. In some cases, we did short tests with some they are being used as part of our services. All systems currently work well in some ways and poorly in others. Communication issues are common. A major issue is data aggregation with the additional information gathered. Pricing and business models are also issues. There is a huge potential upside that has not been achieved yet. When these systems allow technicians to focus more time on inspection and analysis, they will move us to a higher level of pest management and then we can integrate the additional costs of these systems.”
Jeff King, owner of Pest Rangers, Hanover Township, Pa., has tested many product solutions several years ago but isn’t using them now. He says, “While it makes sense to have this technology available most clients, we have opted out of it due to cost.”
King said time savings are the No. 1 benefit of using electronic monitoring. “The negatives are the upfront and ongoing costs associated with it. Whether its components to provide cellular services, batteries, or replacement costs of damaged equipment these add up over time. We have had discussions with many of our clients where we believe it could be beneficial to deploy such technology, but they have opted to stay with manual checks. It’s possible, in time, clients will be forced to adopt the technology by regulations. We are prepared to service those clients if they’re ever forced to move.”