As mandates from the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) become more ingrained in the operations of food processing, distribution and storage facilities, it is evident that a proactive, integrated pest management (IPM) driven approach to rodent management will become the norm.
An IPM-driven rodent management program to fulfill the requirements of FSMA’s Preventive Controls Rule is not dependent on one ‘silver bullet’ solution tool but rather a collection of tools working together. Technology, in the form of electronic remote monitoring systems and cameras, is a tool that pest management professionals are starting to use when designing and deploying true IPM rodent management programs.
There are multiple units currently in development and while each possesses different features, the underlying benefit is the same – they deliver valuable data in real time that makes rodent management programs dynamic, not static.
“Remote monitoring is moving out of the early adopter phase and into something that can be used in a variety of commercial facilities,” says Blair Brookes, technical manager with Clark Pest Control. “Rodent programs constantly evolve and remote monitoring supports that.”
A Constant Guardian
Would it be cost effective to have a technician at your plant checking devices at 3:00 a.m.? Probably not but remote monitoring units provide clients and their pest management service provider with continuous 24/7 monitoring capabilities. They can be your eyes and ears when rodents are most active inside your facility and be positioned in hard to reach areas where access is an issue. The real time data that is generated provides valuable insights into rodent behavior to help identify the root cause of the infestation and arrive at a faster resolution.
Better Use of Time
Deploying remote rodent monitoring units reduces purposeless device checking and allows technicians to spend time on actions that move the needle on a rodent management program. Would you rather have the technician servicing your facility spend time checking traps or bait stations that have not seen activity in months or conduct inspections to identify potential pest issues and take proactive IPM-based actions to prevent them?
Better Intel, Better Results
With a continuous stream of data telling you what rodents are doing and where and when they’re doing it inside your facility. Remote monitoring steers pest management professionals and facility management where to direct their efforts.
Remote monitoring can time stamp rodent activity in a device. Instead of simply knowing a rat was caught sometime between weekly service calls on a loading dock, it can pinpoint when data points (catch activity, device entry, feeding and general rodent activity levels, etc.) were registered. This provides pest management professionals and facility management with a wealth of valuable information.
How does remote monitoring technology and the deployment of additional technology tools such as game cameras move the needle on rodent management programs?
Brookes says it only takes a small amount of rodent activity in a food processing facility to cause a product recall and a shutdown. Data from remote monitoring devices and camera video allows pest management professionals and facility management ‘behind the scenes’ access to a rodent’s world.
“Remote monitoring and cameras reveal rodents’ habits and can reveal where a food source is located and when they might be visiting it, as well as identify access points into a facility,” says Brookes. “As a rule, rodents access areas humans can’t get to and technology offers a gateway to parts of their world that you normally wouldn’t see.”
Brookes recalls a situation in a food distribution facility that was dealing with a mouse issue and through remote monitoring, cameras and good old fashioned investigative work, it was determined the mice were not gaining access through an open loading dock door or crack in the foundation but on incoming shipments from the same manufacturer.
“Remote monitoring delivers valuable data that is shareable, reviewable and actionable,” says Brookes. “These devices have been developed with auditors in mind and can be game changers when it comes to delivering more effective rodent management programs.”
If your company is looking for a pest management partner that understands your business, and can help you protect your products, employees and customers, give Clark Pest Control a call at (800) 936-3339.