While many of the methods used for pest control today are those that have been in place for many years, the pest control industry is in the midst of big changes. One of those is that of electronic rodent monitoring systems. There are, in fact, a variety of data-driven rodent monitoring systems that use sensors, wireless networks, and apps being developed for the US and Canadian markets.
Another is that of rodent reproductive control. In an effort to find a nonlethal, rodent-management method, USDA/APHIS recently teamed up on research on reproductive control. Based on that, the agency stated, “Researchers are optimistic that these results show the liquid bait inhibits fertility in both male and female rats and may be a feasible alternative to rodenticides for reducing rat populations.”
Both technologies are relatively new, so as Figure 14 illustrates, few respondents were very familiar with either electronic monitoring (14%) or reproductive control (15%) (Figure 15). As a result, even fewer stated that they were “very interested” in either method, however 60% were “somewhat interested” in electronic monitoring and 51% in reproductive control (Figure 16).
To increase that familiarity, and potentially the interest, following is more information on each:
- Electronic rodent monitoring is a digital method of rodent detection, data collection, and notification. Regardless of the specific design, the systems include a central hub and remote sensors. The sensors are installed in traps to automatically monitor and report rodent entry, as well as trap status, temperature, battery status, and/or signal strength. The data is relayed through a cellular or Wi-Fi data connection to a hub, which then sends an alert of a capture through email, text, or push notifications.
- Rodent reproductive control involves the use of a non-lethal contraceptive bait which reduces the fertility of both male and female rodents. Because the rodents can no longer reproduce, their populations decline.
Both technologies may become increasingly important tools for the continuing management of rodents “post-Covid-19,” particularly in areas which had significant or community-wide closures of food businesses.
Because the state-mandated or voluntary closures led to a decrease in food available to rodents, many areas reported an increase in rodent activity as the rats and mice sought out new food sources.