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04 August 2020

BPCA position statement on remote monitoring for rodent management

TECHNICAL | PPC100 August 2020

Digital monitoring for pest activity appears in lists of services offered by pest management companies across the world. But what will the impact of remote monitoring have on the level of service a company provides? Is this a new tool to power-up a pest professional, or is it an attempt to automate our jobs?

BPCA position statement on remote monitoring for rodent management

Remote monitoring utilises sensors and cameras, connected via a network, to alert someone of rodent activity on a particular site. 

This technology is developing fast in the UK market. As with all innovation, BPCA is generally supportive of remote monitoring as a part of an integrated pest management programme.

However, BPCA is aware that pest management companies are sometimes promoting remote rodent monitoring devices as an alternative to visits from a pest professional. We recommend extreme caution before incorporating this model as part of your service.

BPCA is certainly not opposed to technological innovation, and we believe that remote monitoring techniques will play a part in the future of pest management. However, the implementation needs to be carefully considered.

Technology can enhance a technician or devalue their expertise and professionalism, depending on the way it’s implemented.

You’ll never be able to replace an expert pest professional with an automated monitoring system. However, you can use the technology to prepare, inform and protect your technicians and better protect your client. For example:

  • An alert system that is working all day, 365 days a year, can help you provide a faster response to a potential infestation
  • The data provided by the monitors can serve as a valuable education tool for your client and help demonstrate the value of your service
  • Remote monitoring may save you time onsite and allow for a technician’s attention to be directed to areas of a contract where pests pose the greatest risk
  • When paired with a live capture trap, technician response time to a catch can be reduced, supporting the humane control of species such as grey squirrels
  • They can also be used to help protect technicians from health and safety issues as monitors can be placed in situations unsafe for a technician to enter routinely.

However, BPCA believes that the technology should be utilised to supplement and improve your professional services – not replace them in the pursuit of greater profit margins.

The limits of remote monitors are clear. If you replace technician visits with remote monitoring then you should consider:

  • How will the presence of other pests
  • such as invertebrates be determined and levels monitored?
  • Can the system be left activated where non-target species may gain access?
  • How will you be aware of rodents exhibiting behavioural resistance or bait shyness and consequently avoiding the units?
  • How will other signs of rodent infestations be monitored such as droppings, smear marks, tail swipes, footprints, smells, etc?
  • How will those areas not covered by the units be monitored?
  • How will you meet your legal and moral due diligence requirements?
  • How will you demonstrate excellent customer service and build a relationship with your client?
  • How will you educate your clients on pest prevention measures?
  • Will the system identify false positives, or will these result in more trips to site?
  • Is the system robust and reliable enough to provide acceptable feedback through data sharing?
  • Will your client value your service if they think your job can be done by technology they could purchase themselves?

Always use technology to highlight the professionalism of your people.

Research new technology thoroughly making sure it’s fit for purpose and identify any weaknesses before you implement something new.

Approach innovation as a way to enhance your team – not to replace your workforce with automated systems.

Technology won’t spot signs of a secondary infestation. It won’t advise on proofing measures. It won’t say ‘hi’ to the staff on-site and put a face to the name of your company.

Don’t undermine your professionalism with technology – enhance it!

Prepared by the BPCA Servicing Committee.

Source: PPC100

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