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How can Smart Pest Management reduce my Business Risk?

Pests can pose serious threats to businesses of all kinds, from agriculture and food processing to hospitality, facilities management and healthcare. They can damage property, contaminate products, harm brand reputation, cause financial losses and of course spread diseases. So how can Smart Pest Management help reduce these unplanned impact risks and enhance compliance and duty of care through health and safety?

Some types of businesses manage risk as a core function, for instance in financial services, where they have to deal with market volatility, credit default, fraud and cyberattacks. These businesses often have a chief risk officer (CRO) who is responsible for overseeing the governance of significant risks and related opportunities. But every business manages risk in some shape or form, for instance general safety risk management to minimise the chance of fires through having the appropriate detection and firefighting equipment, keeping exit routes clear and occasional evacuation drills to practice should the worst occur.

Whilst all businesses may not have a dedicated CRO or a formal risk management framework, they still need to consider their risk exposure. Notably for high impact but low probability events that can have significant consequences, these being less predictable and posing a challenge outside normal expectations and assumptions. Examples of such events are natural disasters, pandemics, terrorist attacks or technological failures, however a rodent chewing through a critical power supply or data cable can similarly cause significant unexpected damage.

If the risks related to pests are not considered and managed there are obvious exposures to product damage & disease, also a mouse running across reception or around workers’ desks, causes a great deal of business interruption and cost. Moreover, in this socially connected world, there can be reputational damage resulting from pest related problems appearing in the public domain; video clips of rats or mice running around food environments are not the best advert. Who’s going to rush to a restaurant that has recently received unwanted publicity about a pest infestation?

What compounds the business risk exposure from pests, is that historically pest management servicing practices have been more reactive than proactive. Based typically upon a regular visit where a lot of time is spent checking traps or bait stations (often where there’s been no activity), relatively little time is spent on proactively advising the customer on the management & mitigation of pest related risks.

Worse, alerting to the occurrence of pest activity between these visits often relies upon the customer spotting evidence of pest activity and then having to relay this to the service contractor. If this happens to go unnoticed, then by the time of the pest controller’s next visit the scale of the infestation may have grown significantly. Rats & mice only take about 21 days to go from conception to birth, meaning that a pregnant rodent can give birth to a new litter every three weeks. Any delay in spotting and controlling pest activity is therefore a risk exposure not only in that business impacts may occur, but also as the scale of the problem needing to be resolved will highly likely increase within a short period of time.

Smart pest management on the other hand is a proactive approach that utilises digital technology to monitor, detect and (where appropriate) eliminate pests 24/7. It also provides real-time data and analysis that help businesses identify potential pest problems before they become costly or disruptive. Solutions such as those from PestSense go further by profiling the nature & extent of any activity and the types of rodents likely in the vicinity, thereby minimising unnecessary site visits. This allows control activities to be prioritised to locations at the greatest risk, while releasing the time to allow a detailed inspection to take place &  provide proactive services to minimise recurrent pest issues.

A further element of this risk management equation is that any software solution such as the PestSense OneCloud App needs to categorise locations by their risk exposure, such that alerting & urgency thresholds can be adjusted accordingly. For instance, any movement in an indoor data centre is likely to constitute a higher risk and a probable different escalation plan, than somewhere lower risk such as on a fence line.

Another consideration for pest risk management is that organisations are increasingly under scrutiny for their ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) credentials. As such, there is a need to balance pest control measures with the impact they may have on the wider environment, a concept that has always been integral to the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Community of interest organisations such as IPM Central ( have developed risk models that weigh the pros and cons of such pest control interventions, for instance how to balance business risk in a given setting with the likely impact on the surrounding environment.

PestSense markets its solutions as ‘IPM 2.0’ as the data they can provide enable an assessment of risk. Moreover, the premise of using smart technology to utilise toxic chemicals for the minimum possible period, means that pest control can be rapidly and effectively achieved with the minimum environmental impact.

In summary, smart pest management can be a valuable tool for reducing business risk by proactively alerting to pest infestations, as well as profiling their severity & resolving them as quickly as possible when they do occur, with minimum environmental impact.


Rob Burley-Jukes is Alliances & Strategy Director of PestSense


Other related articles in this series may be found in the PestSense blog.


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