Ratsense from Cre8tec brings the Internet of Things to rodent management, incorporating ‘smart traps’ into a wider digital monitoring program.

Rodents present a unique challenge to professional pest mangers. Not only have they become less susceptible to traditional rodenticides, but changes to legislation about the use of certain products have resulted in fewer control choices being available. Add to this the rodents’ intelligence and their ability to adapt their behaviour to avoid danger and traps, and it becomes apparent that a new approach is needed.

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the modern practice of embedding computing devices in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data via an internet connection. This technology is now available in the field of rodent management in the form of ‘smart traps’, whereby pest managers receive a notification when activity has been detected at a trap site.

Most smart traps are developed with a view to increasing compliance regarding animal welfare legislation and to enable the pest manager to attend sites less frequently i.e. only when trap activity has been detected. They offer 24/7 monitoring and many time-saving benefits – but is this enough?

Today, data is king and it is used to drive decision-making and action. CSIRO, for example, digitally tracks mouse population ‘hot spots’ to help predict future outbreaks and to facilitate timely management for mouse control. New commercial systems are being developed that use data to better understand the adaptive nature of mice and rodent behaviour over time. It’s no longer enough just to have an automated ‘smart trap’.

Ratsense from Cre8tec brings the IoT to rodent management – taking smart traps and integrating them into a wider intelligence program.

How Ratsense works

The system uses infrared sensors to monitor rodent movement within a building. The sensors have a conical field of perspective, allowing each one to capture a wide radius of rodent activity. The encrypted behavioural data is then uploaded to a cloud-based server. Using data analytics, a movement chart of rodent behaviour is mapped out, along with information on movement pathways, breeding and harbourages of rodents.

The reports can be downloaded by both the pest manager and the client using their unique logins. For the pest manager, he or she can use the information to modify the treatment program by changing the locations of products, quantities use and indeed product mix – developing the best combination of baits and traps, to gain control as quickly as possible.

Over time, Ratsense identifies patterns of rodent movement and has built-in algorithms that develop predictive modelling, allowing for an efficient and effective rodent control program to implemented. The constant remote monitoring of premises gives both the pest manager and his or her clients the upper hand against these smart pests, with Ratsense allowing the development of more profitable rodent programs and identification of new opportunities.

Ratsense is built upon a system infrastructure that uses GPRS, 3G
and bluetooth technology

Case study: retail complex

The management company of a mixed-use retail complex (that featured numerous food and beverage outlets) had experienced success with its rodent control program. The traps around the complex showed zero sign of activity and as a result, the decision was taken to reduce the level of spend on its subsequent pest monitoring program.

In order to highlight the importance of continued monitoring, the retail complex’s pest management company installed Ratsense. The system revealed that there was activity, albeit at very low levels. While the pest managers saw no activity in the traps, it was incorrect to assume there was no rodent activity within the building. As a result, the management company continued to engage the pest management company to monitor the building using Ratsense.

Case study: commercial account

The owners of a warehouse that featured multiple wide, expansive floors had consistently received complaints about mice for many years, to varying degrees. There was a need to pinpoint where rodent activity was taking place so that appropriate action could be taken.

The pest management company installed Ratsense so that rodent activity ‘hot spots’ could be identified. Using the monitoring data together with the pest manager’s expertise, the rodent population was quickly brought under control. The pest manager was able to use Ratsense to demonstrate to the client the direct impact the control activities had on the rodent population levels through the data.

Ratsense is available in Australia on multiple platforms, allowing the system to be installed in a variety of situations. It is distributed exclusively through Globe and training workshops will soon be available to pest managers across Australia.