Much of the benefit of electronic rodent monitoring (ERM) comes from being able to provide information without always being on-site. The ability to know when a trap or a bait station or another tool has been activated by a pest allows for quicker technician responses. That also could lead to helping prevent a rodent infestation before it begins.
But because of the information ERM systems provide – and the associated investment that goes with them – they are ideal tools for the commercial sector. Specifically, PMPs cite food-handling, health care, and other sensitive markets where timing of pest problems is imperative, as ideal locations.
It seems to be the consensus opinion of professionals that ERM systems are not going to be everyday tools for residential pest control customers, unless a pest population is tremendous in that specific area leading to the need for real-time data.
Plunkett’s Training Coordinator Caroline Kirby says she believes commercial is the proper market segment within pest control for ERM.
“Food plants are the top of the list for zero tolerance for contamination to get rodents out quickly,” Kirby said. “Others are research facilities and hospitals. I don’t know I see it used frequently for homes and smaller places for higher tolerance.”
However, Glen Ramsey, MS, B.C.E., senior manager technical services for Rollins, says he expects to see ERM used to address all types of client needs.
“I see the possibility of this technology at any account, from the smallest to the largest,” Ramsey added. “I don’t think the market should be limited to a certain kind of account.”
According to Ramsey, ERM makes pest control a new ballgame with information and data that could only be previously captured by a technician. That’s one of the reasons Rollins uses them, he said.
“We are very well versed in the technology and the capabilities of these systems,” he said. “They are very interesting (especially) in a data-driven world. There is still some question on how clients use the data, what it means for service models, and what the future will hold.”
Critter McCool, owner of South Carolina’s CritterMcCool Management Group and a national pest consultant, has been performing rodent work for more than three decades. He said he likes the ability to share information with commercial customers.
“Most commercial food clients and related industries need detailed information from their pest partners for auditing purposes, so the more data I can deliver to my customers the more valuable I am,” said McCool. “That’s what ERM does for me, it provides some real-time information that I wouldn’t have been privy to without being on-site.
“The other thing it does for me commercially is it allows me to perform additional pest duties. While I made my name as a bee expert, I’ve been doing wildlife and rodent control for a long time and when I get to a facility, I have a list of tasks I want to perform. Knowing that all of the ERM traps and stations are still alert and have no activity allows me to move on to more important activities.”
Scott Harvey, owner of Kenosha Pest in Colorado, is familiar with ERM and plans to implement the systems when the time is right, he said.
“If I ever have the situation to use them I will. I’ve seen them at conferences and watched how they work,” Harvey said. Kenosha Pest has mostly been working with bait stations for pack rats and deer mice, but they are exploring how ERM systems can improve data and efficiencies for its customer base.
Lavonne Dideon, vice president and director of sales and marketing for Seattle’s Green City Pest Control, is interested in what they can bring to commercial accounts.
“I’m very familiar with them (ERM),” Dideon said. “It could possibly work for a couple of our clients and with the right client, needs to be a good fit though.”