A pest manager is only as good as his or her tools. So what equipment are pest managers using? The latest Pest Pulse survey finds out. 

In considering general pest spray applications, there is a wide range of equipment options and accessories available to allow pest managers to select the best equipment and determine the correct set up for optimal performance. In the latest Pest Pulse, we get a top line snap shot of the type of spray equipment pest managers are using for their general pest treatments.

There are four main categories of spray equipment: hand-held sprayers, backpack sprayers, trolley sprayer and vehicle based spray rigs. Often, pest managers possess more than one spray equipment option and will select the most appropriate tool for the job. For general pest treatments, the hand-held sprayer is still the most commonly used (Figure 1), with nearly 63% of pest managers using a handheld sprayer. However, vehicle-based sprayers are a close second with just over 60% of pest managers also using a spray rig.

Figure 1: Percentage of pest managers using different types of spray equipment

For bigger jobs, especially commercial accounts, the spray rig may well be the best option, but pest managers will be well aware of the extra safety precautions required when using a spray rig for general pest treatments — not leaving an unlocked vehicle unattended, the trip hazards posed by hoses and ensuring the spray tank is empty whilst driving are all considerations.

Traditionally, the 5L hand-held pump sprayer would be the first piece of equipment owned by a new pest manager. However, battery powered sprayers (59%) have just nudged ahead of hand-pumped sprayers (57%) as the most commonly owned type of hand-held sprayers.

Foggers are an alternative application method to deliver a liquid insecticide. Although the number of use situations may be more limited than a spray application, they can nevertheless be a useful piece of kit and in some situations the only option to deliver appropriate control. However, only a third of pest managers use a fogger, and of those, two thirds will only use a fogger in commercial accounts.

Perhaps not surprisingly, treatments for stored product pests are the most common use of foggers (Figure 2), but treatments for general pests and mosquitoes — where fogging treatments can deliver both immediate control and the creation of a mosquito ‘interception zone’ — are also common uses.

Figure 2: What pests or treatments do you use a fogger for?

There are two types of foggers; thermal foggers and ULV foggers. Thermal foggers use heat to produce the mist and deliver a visible fog of very small droplet size. ULV foggers use a high-powered, low pressure air stream to create the fog. With ULV foggers, pest managers have the advantage of being able to control the particle size for different applications. Of the pest managers that carry out fogging applications, around a third only use thermal foggers, a third only use ULV foggers and a third possess both pieces of equipment.

In terms of the favourite piece of any equipment that pest managers own, the backpack sprayer was cited by over 15% of pest managers as their favourite. However, the most commonly cited favourite piece of kit was the dust blower, with nearly 23% of pest managers citing one brand of dust blower or another, and a further 12% citing hand-held puffers as their favourite — clearly pest managers like their dusting.

Surprisingly, only one pest manager listed perhaps the most important piece of equipment as his favourite — the credit card machine!