Remote Monitoring for Pests – the Pros and Cons.

As more pest control technology becomes available to the pest management industry, we see how much it can benefit various businesses. Anything that can help our technicians and customers with pest monitoring also helps us. But, we want to make sure companies don’t get complacent and use these monitors to replace what pest control technicians do – because they are not designed for it and simply can’t do it. Assessing and weighing the pros and cons of this technology will allow you to make more informed decisions about using these monitors.

The Pros:

Remote pest monitoring allows technicians the opportunity to spend more time investigating pest risks instead of checking empty traps. This means using pest technology gives them more time for actual IPM strategies and finding the source of a pest rather than simply where the pest is at that moment. In addition to freeing up the techs to focus on underlying causes to potential problems, the notifications from remote monitors can help catch an infestation early instead of waiting for the next time the technician visits. This can be very handy in food processing and restaurants where the consequences of pests can be dire. Oftentimes, the notification from remote pest monitoring comes instantaneously and with a timestamp. That gives your technician an idea of what was happening during the catch. It also tracks the data in time and space, so that root causes can be found and resolved quickly (e.g. supplier issues, facilities exclusion weaknesses, certain shift sanitations, trash removal scheduling, etc.). The data you get from the monitors is great provided you have a consultative pest control company that can help with the root cause analyses and corrective actions that would come from that data. The data is limited to the pest knowledge and experience of the person analyzing that data. The key is using the right system in the right places. A professional pest control operator can help guide you in the right direction and help create the right pest monitoring system for you. These benefits can give you a feeling of more control over your pest control and the overall management of it, which can provide peace of mind.

The Cons:

Peace of mind is a good thing but not when it creates complacency. The false sense of security that comes with these monitors can cause businesses to turn a blind eye to their pest control or try to use a pest monitoring system as a replacement for professional pest control services. While they can provide simple cost savings by removing cost from wasted time, as described above, they should be thought of as a more efficient way of utilizing investment dollars in pest prevention rather than cost savings. In addition, with the current technology, the excessive notifications from false positives (e.g. a sensor getting kicked) can become overwhelming depending on the kind of monitor you have. That can be a waste of time for not only the business owner but the technician, taking the tech away from more important pest control work. In addition, reaching out to your pest control company every time the monitor goes off can increase fees, reducing the cost savings the systems can bring with them. New and evolving pest technology will help that, but until then, you are stuck with whats out there right now.

It’s important to remember to balance the pros and cons that remote monitors can bring with them. The advantages only really work if they are used as a supplement to pest control – not as a replacement. And you’ll want to use a pest control company that will truly partner with you to help balance the pros and cons so that you have an effective and more efficient system with value added dollars to your pest prevention pre-requisites. Remote monitoring systems are by no means a silver bullet when it comes to pest control, but they can be a benefit in addition to a trained technician’s eye and as more advanced pest technology becomes available, the drawbacks could decrease. And they don’t even come close to the benefit of having an entomologist’s trained eye! Just remember – pro as an addition, con as a replacement… but it’s all about how remote monitoring systems are implemented to really maximize their benefits.