Has the Pest Control Industry Embraced ERMs as a Tool of the Trade?

The industry is full of both early adopters and “wait and see-ers” when it comes to ERMs.

Electronic rodent monitoring (ERM) systems have been available and in use for a few years now, allowing the pest control industry to start to accurately gauge their features and benefits based on actual field experience.
Several manufacturers offer ERM systems, and pest management professionals both large and small have been a part of the initial trial process the first few years, helping to refine these devices. But while many larger companies have introduced ERMs into their workflow, many others – typically smaller and mid-size firms – still have yet to jump on board for various reasons.
Mike Richards of Adam’s Pest Control in Minnesota, says he thinks while some PMPs are early adopters of the new technology, others are still in the trial phase, continuing to gather information as they decide whether or not they’ll use ERMs on a daily basis.
“I don’t know what the cost-benefit ratio is but ERMs are good systems and the ones we use save me time.,” Richards says. “One system is Bluetooth activated so I literally have to walk the perimeter and I’ll get a green light in the app if there’s no activity, yellow for moderate or light and red if there is activity.
“If there’s no activity, then I don’t have to check it. That saves me time. I can walk a property say in 20 minutes but if I have to check every station it’ll take me two hours because there are 50-60 stations with me opening, replacing baits if I need to, and then closing. This saves time.”
Rick Detisch, owner of Las Vegas-based American Pest Control, hasn’t used ERMs yet for a few reasons. He says he thinks ERMs are primarily a commercial or industrial tool designed as a support for technicians and Detisch’s business is more than 80 percent residential with steady rodent work.
“Rodent problems aren’t horrendous here in Las Vegas, I’d say that’s probably 8-10 percent of our business,” Detisch said. “Some of it is more seasonal and then we’ve had it spread through the valley from some golf course areas that had construction containers.”
The biggest issue for Detisch is the investment. “We have not used those because we have a very specific protocol for any rodent problems and that’s been pretty satisfactory with our customers. I think (ERM) would be cost prohibitive for us.”
Burt’s Termite & Pest Control in Columbus, Indiana, was an early tester of the technology. According to Doug Foster, the company’s president, ERM products are here to stay and will only gain more widespread acceptance in the future.
“It’s kind of cool to see what’s happening and to be in on the ground floor, or what I kind of feel like seems to be the ground floor, of what’s going to be very big and game changing,” Foster said. “I think this will be very important for pest control, especially in food-handling facilities and pharma.
“We were actually involved with one company and their beta testing initially when they were first coming out with that several years ago. We worked with them, we gave input to Dr. Bobby Corrigan as we were testing, and they had companies all across the country that were testing these before they came out.”