Two of NPMA’s Strategic Partners discuss upcoming technological innovations
Technology is transforming all aspects of business and pest management is no different. Behind those innovations are NPMA’s Strategic Partners, those who are advancing the industry and the association. Created in 2017, the Strategic Partnership program has helped drive the industry forward through advocacy and education.
Two of the NPMA Strategic Partners discuss their technological innovations and where they see the pest management industry headed. Other partners will be profiled in the July/August 2020 issue.
BAYER PEST MANAGEMENT AND PUBLIC HEALTH
There’s the old adage about building a better mousetrap and the world beating a path to your door. It is something that the Bayer Pest Management and Public Health business has been focused on in recent years.
The company’s rodent monitoring system (RMS) is a wireless network of high-tech sensors added to traps. The sensors broadcast their status through radio signals, which are then uploaded to the cloud. When a rodent enters one of the traps, the user is instantly notified. It also allows the pest management pro to focus on areas of infestation and broader IPM efforts rather than manually monitoring individual traps. In March, the RMS got a significant upgrade that allows it to be deployed in exterior situations.
“This latest release features enhancements such as a new water-resistant sensor and other features that make the system compatible with outdoor environments to help prevent rodents from entering facilities,” said Ildem Bozkurt, U.S. Head of Pest Management and Public Health for Bayer. “Bayer developed the system based on customer input, and we are continuing to evolve it as we see how customers want to use it.”
Technology can play an important role in helping pest management professionals meet the needs of their customers. Bozkurt points to “ever-tightening regulations” in the area of food safety. That creates an atmosphere in which it is “increasingly important for PMPs to allow sufficient time for in-depth inspections of their food sensitive accounts to curtail potential issues and help ensure their customers are audit-ready,” she said. “Technologies that can cut out manual labor to free up more time for this are critical. And those technologies exist today.”
In some ways, 2020 is a perfect storm of technology and opportunity. “Consumers are demanding more transparency,” Bozkurt said. “Regulators are tightening restrictions. And technology is literally changing how society operates. Our industry has to rise to those expectations. If we don’t, the world may very well work around us. Will there always be a need for the important work that PMPs do? I’d love to think so. But how they do their jobs may look very different in the future. As an industry, we have to be okay with that. In fact, I think we should embrace it and harness it to help lead pest management into an exciting new era.”
She realizes that, as in any other industry, there are those who quickly embrace and adapt to new innovations and those who want to continue doing things the way they always have. The broader pest management industry, she believes, is behind in “harnessing the power of Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled technologies in the way that other industries have to increase efficiency and insights.”
That may change as digital and IoT technologies continue to be created. “It’s where society is going as a whole,” she said. “We see it all around us. Our industry is not immune to it, nor should we aspire to be, particularly if it helps us be more effective, efficient and sustainable in the way we do our jobs.”
Bayer will help lead the way, though some innovations are too early to talk about. “Bayer is continuing to innovate, both on the chemistry side and on the digital side to meet customer needs now and into the future,” she said. “While we do have some exciting things in the works—particularly on the digital front—it’s too early to share the specifics, but please do stay tuned.”
As a leading maker of pesticides and rodenticides, Syngenta has been a driving force behind some of the technological changes occurring in the pest management industry. It offers new active ingredients and improved application methods. In terms of its own technology innovations, it puts information at the pest management professional’s fingertips. The Syngenta Pest App provides details about products and a mixing calculator for Syngenta, among other tools.
“Since the Syngenta Pest App does not require that you are online to access product information, PMPs are finding the app useful when they’re in the field to quickly look up a label direction or figure out the proper mixing ratio for their tank or spray equipment,” said Pat Willenbrock, Head of Marketing Professional Pest Management. The app can be downloaded by texting PESTAPP to 20103. It also is available on Google Play and in the App store.
That innovation isn’t the only one that Syngenta is looking forward to, but when it comes to developing new products, research, trialing and registration requires time. “It takes years for manufacturers to develop new active ingredients and products. Syngenta is working on new innovative products that we are excited to bring to the market in the coming years.”
New formulations and packaging options also are coming, soon. “In addition, we are continuing to launch new SecureChoiceSM Assurance Programs which can include new and/or existing products, proven protocols and guaranteed results. These programs come with supporting documents and some include helpful training videos.”
Information about those programs is available at SyngentaPMP.com/SecureChoice.
The Syngenta innovations aren’t all that Pat is watching. Recent innovations like new monitoring technology for sensitive areas “can be efficacious for determining infestations in a timely manner and acting fast to resolve.”
In the future, baits, monitoring and precision applications all show trends for growth. But registering new products requires extensive submissions and years of evaluation by regulatory authorities. “With increasing registration challenges, it’s becoming more and more difficult to get insecticides registered. We do not see this trend slowing any time soon. With that, it’s going to be even more important for companies like Syngenta to continue to use advances in technology to develop products that consider the environment, pollinators and endangered species.”
Editor’s note: Stay tuned for another update on innovations from NPMA’s Strategic Partners.
BY SANDY SMITH