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RESPONDING TO COVID-19

Peter McCarty, Director of Pest IT, offers pest managers some advice regarding room disinfection and cleaning services.

We are entering a new and uncharted period in Australian business. The pest management industry has so far been largely unaffected by COVID-19, however as more businesses join retail, pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants in closing, our industry function will begin to slow – dramatically.

Pest managers have worked through existing bookings and are now seeking revenue to sustain business from May to August and beyond. Even if a full lockdown doesn’t eventuate, pest managers will need to be innovative and focus on new opportunities, as they develop over the next few months.

Room sanitising

Many companies are now offering their client base room sanitising services, providing both peace of mind and risk minimisation. However, misting equipment and disinfectants are in short supply and it’s important that pest managers are aware of the necessary training and procedures to deliver these services. The sanitising and disinfecting sectors are a minefield of correct technique, application, product selection, company literature wording, and company liability. With the pending arrival of our new ULV Cold Foggers, Pest IT will endeavour to assist our clients to correctly manage these services, while AEPMA has also stepped in to offer support, Standard Operating Procedures and Safe Work Method Statements for its members.

The new ULV Cold Fogger

Heat treatments

With the Government now quarantining visitors and returning Australians in hotels, a new market for room sanitising between the changeover of quarantining ‘guests’ exists. Heat treatments could be an ideal option and business opportunity. Pest IT has been involved in the supply of heat treatment equipment for bed bug management for three years. Working closely with Colorado Tri-Flo Heaters (the Tri-Flo Erradi-Flo Room Heater is pictured above) the company is now using heat treatments in the US as a control process for viruses. Heating viruses for 57°C for 30 minutes or more will kill virus cells. Room heat treatments will sanitise the air and surfaces as the heaters are designed to bring the room to a higher temperature for longer periods when treating bed bugs.

Facility shutdowns

From a bird manager’s perspective, this is a golden opportunity to re-approach clients with historic bird issues. Especially those clients where the business function made treatment or major installations difficult. Loading docks, food courts, shopping centres and the like are now available for uninterrupted access to complete your works. Pest bird species will continue to thrive and your ability to react and assist clients will be paramount to the success of your business over the next six months.

Changes in pest behaviour

As the primary food source of our target pests change with business shutdowns, so will the pest behaviour being exhibited, something pest managers should be mindful of when providing services to both existing and new clients. Rodents, pest birds, insects (especially cockroaches) and animal pests (including foxes and feral cats) will need to forage wider a field for food. Pest birds’ roosting behaviour will also change as they may be locked out of traditional roosts or more likely, now have free range to nest and roost in locations without human intervention.

Pest IT turned ‘sweet 16’ last month and we wish to thank the pest management industry for its continued support. We are modifying our business to ensure we can remain as close to ‘business as usual’ as possible during COVID-19, including the introduction of daily video training podcasts on our Facebook page to share our expertise with you and your teams. In the meantime we are shipping orders out every day to assist clients in this challenging new era in business.

Peter McCarthy, Director, Pest IT

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