New technology for the bird management market, utilising sensors to monitor bird activity and performance of bird repellent systems.

New technology continues to have a positive impact on the pest management industry. Whether it be devices to facilitate tracking vehicles, measuring productivity, or risk minimisation, or detecting and mitigating pests, providing reporting or automating many of our processes.

In a market sector traditionally devoid of technology, it’s exciting to see the bird management space receive vital advancements. Numerous suppliers and manufacturers have entered with new ideas, devices, and technologies. Pest IT has been focused on working with and developing new bird deterrent systems (more about these soon) and electronic monitoring systems with Cre8tec Australia (the manufacturer of rodent and avian sensors), and other new technologies including laser bird deterrents.

Over the past two years we have been working on new deterrent systems. During this period, we have had the opportunity to experiment with different ideas and options prior to the final commercialisation.

Figure 1: Bird activity pre- and post-installation of the AvesSense bird deterrent system

One such study has been on a large aircraft hangar where a deterrent system was installed in conjunction with 20 AvesSense Avian Sensors. The study followed the use of bird deterrents and monitoring with IoT (Internet of Things) sensors using the AvesSense bird sensor management system, a world first. With native species (swallows – Hirundo rustica) and exotic species (pigeons – Columba livia) impacting the processes within the hangar, the damage to aircraft, the overall cleanliness, potential of disease transfer and the working conditions of the facility had become intolerable.

An AvesSense IoT Sensor installed in a vertical position

From the outset of this aircraft hangar study, a sensor count indicated the population density as well as the distribution profile of birds moving in, out and within the hangar. The AvesSense IoT Sensors were positioned in vertical and horizontal positions to best measure the activity of birds throughout the large aircraft hangar. Once the deterrent system was commissioned, the pest bird numbers were measured by the receiving movement detection or ‘activations’ as birds flew past the sensors. Over the period of the study, the activations reduced by 97% or greater.

New generation IoT sensors such as RatSense and AvesSense are new tools for the detection, tracking, density pro ling and automated reporting of rodents and birds. In the case of the aforementioned study, the sensors supplied real-time data, heat mapping, daily emails and a sophisticated algorithm-driven dashboard capability. All of which combined with the use of a deterrent to measure, track and report on the bird activity within the facility.

Initially the deterrent changed the birds’ movement pro le in the facility whereby the birds only congregated at the front hangar doors closer to the exit, allowing an easy escape from the deterrent system itself. This was clear from the heat mapping data collected by the sensors.

During times of the deterrent system isolation, maintenance or power outages, the birds of both species returned in large numbers. When the system was operational, the birds left en masse. The AvesSense sensors measured bird movement by registering activations, aiding the scientific and statistical demonstration of the ultimate success of the program. Figure 1 shows the bird activity prior to the installation and the change to the bird activity after August 19, 2019 when the deterrent system was commissioned.

Avian sensors have a wider capacity for bird managers to measure bird activity before and after any mitigation process. Aligned with monitoring insects and rodents, bird sensors can be incorporated into any facility
to measure activity, provide trend analysis and heat mapping, indicate the need for mitigation and extend a detailed reporting structure for HACCP, AIB and other food or workplace safety systems.

In a world where humans and pests are emerging in the new COVID-safe environment, technology that facilitates reduced face-to-face interaction whilst increasing communication and service levels with clients will succeed. Reporting in real time, 24/7 and being able to substantiate pest activity and therefore when action by a professional pest manager is needed, will also resonate with forward-thinking commercial clients.

This will help in the new Business Continuity Plans (BCP) for clients and assist to better manage their financial risk. The alert activation of a pest – where it used to be visit-dependent (often monthly) – can now be done more effectively through new sensor technology.

One of the few benefits in this COVID era is the acceptance and increased dependency on technology. It may almost become an expectation that solutions that provide a safer work environment, or in this case an early detection system, be provided by new technology.

In this new COVID world, where viruses, bacteria, hygiene and zoonotic diseases are part of the public’s daily vocabulary, sensor technology will eventually form an integral part of all future commercial pest management systems. From Pest IT’s perspective, we look forward to developing and introducing new technology in the very near future.

Peter McCarthy, Director, Pest IT

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