Pest intelligence set to revolutionise business impacts

Getting pest control right can be the difference between business success and failure, with research showing that pests are costing businesses billions of dollars per year in loss of revenue, produce or stock. In the food and beverage industry, the impact can be disastrous.

To understand the real impact pests are having on Australian businesses, we partnered with independent research partner, Lonergan Research, to survey Australian consumers and business leaders, including those in the food and beverage industry, on their experiences.

The impact of pests on Australian businesses is extensive

The findings revealed the majority of businesses have suffered losses due to pests. In fact, more than two in five (43 per cent) businesses that had a pest infestation had production delays, with 41 per cent businesses even having to close down while undertaking pest control.

These results are even more extreme in the food and beverage industry, with our findings painting an alarming picture of the havoc pests are causing.

A huge 75 per cent of businesses said pests have cost their business through loss of revenue, reputational damage or damaged produce, with half having to close for up to a week or more to deal with the pest infestation.

It’s not hard to imagine that finding a cockroach in a salad would put a customer off their lunch – but did you know that 51 per cent would never return to a café or restaurant after spotting a creepy crawly?

The food industry is two times more likely to experience negative reputational damage than other types of businesses, via word of mouth or social media, as customers aren’t shy about warning others of their experiences. The effects of this, although hard to quantify, can be both highly detrimental and long lasting.

Are businesses doing enough to protect themselves from these risks?

Food production and hygiene in Australia is closely regulated, and failure to take all practicable measures to eradicate and prevent the harbourage of pests can occur fines, warnings and potential legal action.

This means businesses have a duty to implement effective control measures to safeguard the food we eat. Yet a quarter (26 per cent) of Australians have either found a pest or signs of a pest inside a food product in the last three years. This indicates that some businesses just aren’t doing enough when it comes to effective pest management. 

What do we mean by effective pest control?

When we talk about pests it’s critical to understand which conditions are conducive to pests. Recent times have given some great insights into how pests work and how infestations build – for example, since the mice plague we know that mice flourish in large groups.

On top of this – the environment is changing, with El Niño causing a particularly dry climate which creates the perfect breeding environment for a range of pests. Pest controllers therefore have to be on the alert to ramp up activity to manage changing environmental conditions, as and when they might occur.

Effective pest control is about much more than treating the problem, it’s about foreseeing it and using intelligence and experience to identify trends and behaviours so the focus is on prevention rather than cure.

How technology is transforming the future of pest control

Our connected solution, PestConnect, enables us to map and predict pest activity, by collating and analysing emerging trends through millions of data points.

PestConnect also mitigates the risk of business closure by implementing an extensive infrastructure of digital devices, offering 24/7 monitoring, which can be remotely accessed.

Effective pest control is much more than responding to a live issue or infestation, and PestConnect allows us to simultaneously monitor and predict activity, and by doing so, implement targeted interventions before any damage is done to stock or produce.

Monitoring also allows us to know exactly which pest is causing problems, so that we can target that particular species. Not only is this more effective, but it’s also better for the environment as it allows us to reduce the use of toxic solutions.

If you’re looking for a best in market solution to your pest needs, please visit the website to find out more about PestConnect.

Written by, Matthew Jones, Service Innovation and Development manager at Rentokil Initial.

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