The changing nature of pest control
27 June 2018
Technology is being used to drive efficiencies in all aspects of business. There’s also a widespread increased commitment to reducing environmental impact through business practices and service offerings. Servest’s head of pest control, Jason Rout, explains how technology and sustainability are helping to shape the future of pest control
The age of Industry 4.0 has taken root, providing the inescapable connectedness we’ve come to understand as the Internet of Things (IoT). While this technology is being used to drive efficiencies across a wide range of sectors including healthcare and education, facilities management and pest control are undergoing a widespread increased commitment to reducing environmental impact. Instead of the more traditional methods, the pest control industry is now in a position to capitalise on the injection of smart devices to not only streamline their services but to also become more sustainable.
Pest infestations can cause an array of problems, from the obvious health and safety implications to loss of stock, risking the reputation of your business. From a brand protection perspective; a pest infestation can be a difficult thing to shed and has the potential to severely affect the perception of your business or business environment in the future. By proactively managing potential causes you can minimise the risk to your employees, customers, assets and property.
For a number of years already, pest control devices using carbon dioxide and sensor-activated trap doors have been at the top of the game. These traps have now received an update, with wi-fi connectivity vastly upgrading their efficiency and allowing service providers to operate a far slicker service, with a bespoke, real-time response.
The biggest cost within pest control is the labour involved in monitoring pest activity. Typically, this requires a physical site visit by a technician. IoT enabled devices can however provide a live, real-time view on where the pest activity is, meaning specific servicing and disposal routing can be planned in order to clear and reset the traps in the quickest and most efficient way possible. At this stage however, the cost of tech-enabled devices is still prohibitive, with a single smart-trap priced at approximately £125, versus manual traps costing approximately £25.
At Servest, we’ve embraced the conservation aspect of pest control, using exclusively non-toxic baiting. Keeping pest control practices in line with EU standards is crucial to the safety of both wildlife and humans. The Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) was established to promote responsible use of rodenticides among all user groups and reinforces the need to ensure that rodenticides are used correctly and in ways that minimise the exposure of wildlife and other non-target animals. The CRRU promotes responsible use through a seven-point code of practice, which acts as the pillar to pest control provision today. The code of practice is based around planning your approach prior to treatment, recording the bait that is used, using enough baiting points, collecting and disposing of rodent bodies, making sure bait is never left exposed, inspecting bait at regular intervals, and never leaving bait down after treatment.
Onsite devices can now come equipped with a host of features including Near Field Communications (NFC) — a form of contactless, non-Wi-Fi, communication between devices; Geo-Positioning (GPS) — the identification or estimation of the real-world geographic location of an object; and further proof-of-presence technologies to offer assurance that client sites are being serviced correctly. Using cloud-based systems that do not require integration into existing IT can also reduce installation costs as well as operational costs.
By using tech-enabled devices and following the above checklist of best practice, pest control providers should be able to provide clients with a degree of assurance that their site is being constantly monitored and they are receiving the highest standard of service. As with all areas of the service sector, pest control is set to evolve with new innovations and methods of working.