Monitoring systems also hold promise for use in intensive trapping programs where service follow-ups can be determined based on sensor alerts. For example, in facilities with an elusive rat that is not visiting the control devices, remote monitoring systems can be particularly helpful. The pest management company will still need to assess equipment and strategize but daily visits may no longer be required.
Get Paid For Your Thoughts!
- Wiley (Food Quality & Safety’s publisher) is offering $200 to qualified food scientists who participate in research interviews about challenges facing the food industry.
Take the survey >
Advantages and Disadvantages
The main advantages of remote monitoring systems are the ability to have 24/7 coverage and the opportunity to reduce routine inspection of equipment. McCloud Services data reveals that on average 3 percent of interior rodent equipment is showing activity in any one month, which requires weekly inspections to maintain those monitors. Additionally, 24/7 coverage creates an opportunity to gather more data and better understand the cause of the rodent activity. When the sensor sends an alert, a PMP can investigate and determine the “why” behind the capture right away, reviewing potential causes like a door left open, a certain product on the receiving dock, etc.
Through continuous use and tests, McCloud has learned how quickly a trap may become ineffective. In one test, snap traps were triggered within hours of a visit. Once a snap trap is triggered, it is unable to capture additional animals. Learning this information has allowed PMPs to readjust their service visits to increase capture potential.
There are also niche uses where monitoring for rodents in the past was difficult, including trapping rooflines, interstitial areas, false ceilings, safety sensitive areas where access is restricted, chronically blocked sanitation aisles, and roofs. With the advent of remote monitoring systems, these niche areas are now treatable. In fact, with the use of remote monitoring systems, McCloud used a sensor equipped multi-catch trap to prop open an exterior door on a site. When the trap caught a mouse, a service specialist was dispatched and uncovered certain employee behaviors that contributed to a potential pest problem.
While the benefits of remote monitoring systems outweigh the detriments, the disadvantages include continuous technological advancements, as the development and launch of these systems have come with challenges. This may explain the reasons why it has taken so long to establish systems on the commercial market. Even manufacturers with products currently on the market continue to tweak their systems to perfect the devices. It is like the regular changes seen in other areas of technology, such as mobile phones.
In addition to the systems themselves, costs associated with employee training need to be considered before implementing a system into a facility.
Remote monitoring systems provide a host of opportunities to learn more about rodents and increase the ability to effectively respond to pest intrusions. Professionals should become skilled in sensor placement to protect from damage, false positives, and inaccurate detecting activity. And be prepared for the time required to manage and analyze the data each trap receives. This includes further analysis of trends and root causes.
Hottel is a technical director at McCloud Services with close to 40 years of pest management experience. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.