Rodent control: Why remote sensor technology is taking off

By |  March 1, 2018

What’s new in electronic remote sensors and other rodent control solutions

Smartphones are becoming not only essential tools in tech communication, but also in real-time pest monitoring.
Photo: Courtesy of Pied Piper Pest, Termite & Lawn

The big news in rodent management is not a better mousetrap. It’s mousetraps with electronic monitors attached — figuratively, and in some cases, literally.

The systems, often referred to as electronic remote monitoring, are becoming widely available in the U.S. In Europe, they have been in use for years, because of tighter restrictions on the use of rodenticides and regulations that stipulate traps must be checked daily.

The technology varies by manufacturer. The basic concept, however, is the same for all electronic remote monitoring systems: A battery-operated sensor is placed on a trap. When a rodent is caught, the pest management professional (PMP) is notified immediately. The sensor gathers data that PMPs can then use to plan an effective rodent management strategy.

Notifications can indicate trap activity, battery strength and monitor status. PMPs can know immediately if a rodent is caught, whether batteries must be replaced, and if a remote monitor is damaged or no longer working.

Instant notifications give PMPs a chance to clear traps before anyone sees what’s in them. It also saves PMPs the trouble of frequently checking traps placed in hard-to-reach places. With monitors, rodent control is more manageable in large facilities, as the need to regularly inspect every trap is no longer necessary.

Eventually, the batteries in the sensors will need to be replaced or recharged. To ensure the system works properly at all times, PMPs are notified when a battery-related issue occurs, and many continuously indicate battery strength.

Most systems make it possible for PMPs to customize the ways in which they receive notifications. Often, they can choose the frequency of the alerts, as well as the delivery method (text or email). Many systems offer an app to make checking easier and more convenient.

Pest management companies that use electronic remote monitoring systems often designate a PMP to receive notifications and act on them when needed. Establishing a protocol that details who receives alerts and when action must be taken (during work hours only or after hours as well, for example) may help facilitate the use of the systems.
 

Insights for customers, too

The monitors collect data PMPs can use to plan, execute and tweak their rodent management strategies. The information also helps illustrate the scope of the work performed, as it can be presented to clients in easy-to-read formats (such as bar charts). For instance, PMPs can use the data in a presentation to show customers:

  • Where traps are placed throughout a facility.
  • Rodent activity (or lack thereof).
  • Severity of a rodent problem.
  • Exact time and date of rodent activity.
  • Effectiveness of service.

The data becomes more meaningful the longer the system is in place.

At the moment, monitors are pricier than traditional rodent control solutions. Pest management companies must determine how to budget for the use of monitors and the manpower needed to set them up, receive notifications and check traps.

Customers who understand the many benefits of using sensor technology — reduced labor and callbacks, and better rodent pressure data, etc. — report significant, immediate and sustained returns on investment.


 

How remote monitoring technology works

Although many manufacturers offer sensor systems, most generally work the same way. Here’s a basic look at the technology:

  1. Battery-powered sensors are fastened to rodent traps. Typically, a variety of models may be used with these systems.
  2. When a rodent enters a station or trips a trap, it triggers the sensor. The sensor then sends a signal to a router, gateway or hub. The source of power varies by manufacturer; Wi-Fi or cellular connections are common. Extenders help ensure receipt of signals from traps placed far from the router, gateway or hub. The number of sensors per router, gateway or hub varies by manufacturer.
  3. The router, gateway or hub transmits the sensor signal to an internet server 24/7. From here, pest management professionals (PMPs) receive notifications regarding rodent activity, battery strength, etc.
  4. Data is collected and stored where PMPs have easy access to it. Most manufacturers offer portals or consoles to house the data. PMPs can generate reports, complete with easy-to-understand charts, for customers. Most systems offer the ability to analyze data and view trap locations.

You can reach Managing Editor Sofranec at dsofranec@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3793.

Note: This exclusive PMP feature story package is not intended to be all-encompassing. Rather, these stories comprise a sampling of what’s new in electronic remote sensors and more traditional rodent control solutions.

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