Industry News

Overcoming the fear of change: how to embrace technology in the pest industry

By Austin M. Frishman, Ph.D.

A large portion of a pest management professional’s (PMP’s) income comes from ongoing services provided to the customer, such as monitoring, which can be time-intensive. However, with the recent development of electronic monitoring devices, it’s only a matter of time until this task starts to fade from PMPs’ workloads. When this happens, the industry will need to change how our time is spent serving customers.

However, this new technology has caused some discord among PMPs. Some think the industry is running smoothly as-is. If we implement new technology, will the customer feel they can justify paying for as much of your time? What can you do with that extra time?

Devote time to more thorough inspections

You won’t be able to just say you’re going to inspect more: you’ll need to follow through effectively. You’ll need to change your mindset and break the routine of checking bait stations and traps. Then you’ll need to know where, why, how and when to inspect. ​​​​​​​

For example, if you’re looking at an exit door, you’ll need to ask yourself:​​​​​​​

  • Is it solid, or does it have a see-through window?​​​​​​​
  • Is it sealed properly?
  • How do you check to see if it’s sealed properly?
  • Are there stones or objects nearby that are used to prop the door open?​​​​​​​
  • When the door is opened, which way is the air movement (in or out of the structure)?
  • Is the surface of the door difficult to clean?

This is a mental shift from monitoring to inspecting and pest proofing.

You’ll also need to update your toolkit. Here are some inspection tools you’ll want to always have available:

  • A smartphone for identification and taking photos
  • An infrared camera to locate invisible conductive conditions
  • Kneepads for crawling

Evaluate the account

The data you collect will need to be analyzed to determine economic thresholds, trends and actions to take before the pests get out of control. There are two basic pieces of information you’ll need to be successful on your account:

  • The identity of the pest
  • The biology of the pest

However, to truly succeed in controlling the pest, you must ask:

  • Why is it in your account?
  • How did it get there?
  • How do you get rid of it as soon as possible?
  • How do you prevent it from reoccurring?

Electronic monitoring in pest management is a major paradigm shift. How we respond to it will determine if we continue to grow as an industry. It’s an opportunity for us to continue down the path of positive professionalism, as well as an opportunity for us to grow as professionals.

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