Insect pests cost the world around £320 billion each year, affecting industries as diverse as hospitality, farming and forestry.
From bed bugs in hotels to flies in restaurants, these small pests can devastate businesses, causing financial damage as well as destroying reputations. Who wants to stay in a bed at a hotel reported to have bed bugs? Who wants to buy their sandwich from a fly-infested cafe?
How to stop pest infestations
You can’t prevent all potential pest threats by just having an immaculately clean facility: good housekeeping, effective waste management and the upkeep of facilities go a long way to reducing the chances of infestation but sometimes nature will still find its way. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London advise “70 percent of good pest control is good housekeeping; 25 percent is good repair of buildings and the remaining 5 percent is the use of pesticides.”
With the world using 4 million tonnes of pesticides each year, the environmental damage from pesticides and increasing resistance in insects is leading pest controllers to be more proactive in managing pest infestations. Insect populations grow exponentially, making early detection critical in minimising damage and reducing pesticide use.
Early detection vs traditional pest control methods
Current pest detection methods often centre on manual inspections of passive traps - a practice which hasn’t significantly changed in decades. Manual inspections have high labour costs - in most businesses, this requires staff such as facility service and housekeeping teams to add the task to their ‘to do’ lists. Frequency and coverage of inspections are generally low, leading to late identification of pests’ presence, or sometimes missing them altogether.
The later the detection, the more chance pests have to ‘bed in’, increasing the cost of treatment when they are identified, as well as resulting in greater pesticide use. In hotels, a bed bug infestation can cost a property up to £55,000 a year through loss of business, reputation damage, staff time spent on the problem, and treatment costs.
A range of semi-automated solutions exist in the pest control marketplace. Other detection techniques include specially-trained sniffer dogs and adding a visual inspection to already-busy staff schedules. We specialise in smart pest systems: fully-automated solutions which detect and identify pests in real-world settings such as our Bed Pod for bed bugs in hotels, care homes and other commercial accommodation businesses.
Using AI to improve pest management
Artificial Intelligence has been adopted by many industries to improve services and products: facial recognition allows for log-in to personal computers and phones; Netflix uses machine learning to provide personalised viewing recommendations; and AI temperature controls boost efficiency in heating and cooling.
New technologies offer long-term cost-saving and improved efficiency measures, which will help reduce operational costs and balance demands of staff workloads. Having the right data to understand the problem allows pest controllers to shape appropriate solutions and minimise business risk caused by pests.
For pest management professionals, strategically placed ‘smart’ devices can analyse pests through image sensors and machine learning, informing you of the type of pest and its location. Being able to offer early detection provides the opportunity to improve customer relationships: proactive pest control lets you treat the pests before infestations grow, helping your customers minimise damage to their business.
Find out more about our smart pest platforms and how we work with pest controllers and other service professionals.