READING, PA—When COVID-19 first made itself known in the U.S., many hotel properties made the decision to close off entire floors or shut down entirely due to the severe drop in demand. As hotels reopen, they need to consider pest control measures they should take—and technology can help with that.
Rentokil has introduced PestConnect, a portfolio of remote, digital monitoring systems to increase efficiency and reduce pest disruption in businesses.
“Since the onslaught of COVID-19, hotels are facing new challenges when it comes to pest control,” said Hao Yu, director of service innovation, Rentokil North America. “The absence of human activities and the long gaps in maintenance allows pests to thrive. Rodents show up quickly when places shut down as they are searching for food, water and shelter and can gain access without operators knowing when the building is quiet. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen an increase in rodent activity across the country, especially at places that are closed or temporarily closed. For hotels, if the bathroom sinks, floor drains and waste lines have dried out, we have seen an increase in small flies, drain flies and cockroaches.”
Hotels are also facing longer gaps in their regular maintenance schedule, which can increase the number of spiders and insects, Yu said.
“If hotel rooms are closed without air conditioning or air flow, the increased humidity and temperature further promotes insect activity,” he added. “Without regular cleanings, mold, fungus and mildew will appear. Other pests can move in quickly to populate areas, including birds, bats and some wildlife animals.”
Yu noted that there are some challenges with traditional methods of pest control. “With traditional pest control, a specialist will conduct a thorough inspection of the exterior and visit every device outside. Interior service with traditional pest control can be even more invasive. The specialist will work through the entire facility, which adds an additional person on your property, elevates risk in sensitive areas and even though pest management professionals aim to be discreet, sometimes service can be exposed to public view,” he said.
“Another disadvantage to traditional pest control is that routine services are on a scheduled basis, which leaves a gap where problems can occur, unnoticed by anyone,” Yu added. “Pest problems do not take long to develop—a single female mouse can get pregnant and deliver in the course of a month and can have up to 12 pups in a litter.”
And that’s where technology can help. PestConnect features remote digital monitoring of devices for 24/7 protection against rodents and other unwanted pests on the interior and exterior of facilities. Using infrared beams and sensor technology, the PestConnect devices will send an alert to the Rentokil Command Center as soon as the device detects activity to ensure a rapid response. Once triggered, the Rentokil specialist will respond to the exact location of the problem.
PestConnect devices do not use cameras or microphones to record the environment. The system also operates on its own network, separate from WiFi and phone lines, and all data is encrypted.
“PestConnect combines the power of technology and data with expert pest control to help hotels and other businesses pinpoint rodent problems and resolve them quickly,” Yu said.
In addition to detecting pest problems, the solution also provides much-needed data. “The device also allows for data capture to help the Rentokil specialist continually optimize the hotel’s pest control program,” Yu explained. “Every hotel is different, and the data analysis can help hotels align with their own operational data to make other business decisions. Over time, data allows the specialist the opportunity to refine and optimize the pest control program for less disruption and increased efficacy of service. PestConnect provides for 24/7/365 monitoring and provides real-time alerts so there is no gap in service.”
In addition to continuous, 24/7 monitoring, real-time alerts and rapid response time, and the data PestConnect provides, Yu said there are other benefits, such as reduced contact for hygiene and safety. “This technology allows us to address only devices with recorded activity and the surrounding areas,” he said. “This reduces the contact needed on your property.”
Additionally, it’s environmentally responsible. “Stations are secured against tampering and keep bait products safe from non-target animals,” Yu said.
“For hotel operators, time is of the essence. PestConnect offers a more precise and modern way to manage the rodent management program,” Yu concluded.