Stepping Up, Stepping Out

I’ve been using a fitness tracker for several years. Mostly to track my food and my sleep. I’ve done well with these functions, but it has occurred to me that my beloved fitness tracker might have usefulness beyond what the manufacturer intended.

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I’m servicing a warehouse. Counting steps between pheromones – 37, 38, 39, 40. The distance between each of them is 40 steps. Hhmmm?? Was this the master plan? Forty linear steps. How did the person who setup up the account determine spacing?

I know there are guidelines according to pheromone manufacturers. Audit standards talk about spacing. Corporate IPM managers have ideas. The pest service technician has an opinion. The general rule is a grid-like spacing pattern that adequately covers the area you want to monitor.

So what does that mean? Think of the area like Tic-Tac-Toe, a checker board, or graphing paper. (We’ve all used this to draw mapping diagrams. Remember this. You’ll thank me later.)

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So, now you’ve chosen the appropriate pheromone for the pest you want to monitor. I’m assuming that your fitness tracker is on your wrist, or maybe in your pocket if Good Manufacturing Practices don’t allow for it. You get a visual of your area to monitor. Step by step, you are on a mission. Placing each device in the assigned location.

That graphing paper is a great way to jot down the pheromone locations, and keep track of the numbering system. Did all the placements match for distance between? Surely, you, as the professional, got close. Check the mapping function on your fitness tracker. You drew a checker board, didn’t you? Yay!

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Adjustment are always needed after placements, but give it some time. Insect life cycles vary slightly depending on temperature, humidity, and other environmental conditions. You want to make sure your trending is accurate. Be sure to update your mapping graphics when you make changes. It will help you, your customer, and auditors find them correctly.

Pheromone placements are just one use of the step counter. Bait stations and multi-catch traps can benefit from spacing criteria. Step it out. You’ll find yourself getting rid of the couch-potato mentality. It’s healthy. You might just have some fun.

Melisa, A.C.E.

Published by Melisa Arnold, A.C.E.

My career in pest management began while working in a flour mill as the “in-house” technician in 2008. I am certified in multiple states including a DOT CDL/HazMat. I began working full time as a fumigation-pest control tech in 2010. I achieved my Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) in 2018. I have a Master Tech certification from Kansas State University/Kansas Pest Control Association. I hold a Bat Management certification from NWCOA. Every day, I realize how much I DON’T KNOW. My goal for this blog is to share my every day experiences from the field and to make us all think outside the box for solutions to make pest control make sense.

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