For many years, programs have utilized set distances for installation of monitoring and control equipment like multi-catch rodent traps and exterior rodent bait stations. Although standard distancing offers some benefit from an auditing system, it doesn’t always equate to a program in the best interest of food facilities. Facilities with low rodent pressures can end up with the same amount of equipment as facilities with heavy pressures. In addition, some facilities may have heavy pressures on one side or area of the structure and little to no activity on another side of the building but have the same amount of equipment coverage in all areas. In the future, equipment will be utilized where it is needed and not based on set spacing. It is commonly called “Next Generation” Pest Management. Next Generation shifts from a set number of traps to a facility analysis and the development of a customized program placing equipment only where needed. Under this new form of pest management, visual inspections are still performed in all areas for pests and new services with specific value to facilities are substituted for the equipment removed. Additional services may include items like web removal, fecal dropping removal, pest proofing, or other monitoring programs or services. Next Generation Pest Management works well with the GFSI-based auditing standards which do not require set pest management equipment spacing, but measure whether or not the program is functioning as it should.
In addition, future technology will likely change the ability to monitor a wider variety of pests and monitor remotely. For instance, the wildlife industry and companies monitoring bulk grain storage have been able to monitor pest activity in traps remotely for several years. Electronic grain probes for grain bins are one example where technology can be used to count pests and send numbers electronically to a computer. In the near future, these grain probes will detect specific species and numbers of insects in bins. Wildlife professionals have utilized electronic systems based on cellphone technology to notify them when live traps have captured an animal. Several trap manufacturers have looked at similar technology for the structural pest management market. Although such remote monitoring and notification systems have not been perfected for the structural pest management industry, availability is expected sometime in the near future. The ability to determine exact date and time of capture can be beneficial in analysis for developing control plans.
Hottel is technical director at McCloud Services. She can be reached at PatHottel@mccloudservices.com.