A key example of how data-driven technology is transforming business and providing new value to customers, is Ecolab’s development of an algorithm to help predict pest risk in partnership with the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota (UMN).
As spring brings increasingly warming weather to the U.S., it also brings increasing risk of pests -- as shown in the Pest Pressure Calendar, which provides general pressure levels by pest for each month of the year. While pressures will vary by geography and facility type, the winter months tend to have low to medium pressure from most pests, with gradually increasing pressures beginning in April, and nearly all pest risk being at high levels by June or July. (To download a high-resolution version of the calendar and assess your specific pest risk, click here.)
While any of the listed pests could affect food & beverage processors at virtually any time of year, those that tend to cause the highest concern in these facilities beginning in the spring are:
In addition to the natural increase of pest pressure of spring, 2021 is bringing with it the reopening of businesses in many states, due to decreasing cases of and increasing vaccinations against COVID-19. While we cannot yet be sure what this will mean for pest pressure, we can assume there will be some impact on the food industry. While many experts expect the online purchasing and restaurant take-out trends to continue, there is no question that there also will be an increase in in-restaurant dining and in-store shopping as consumers become comfortable with the post-COVID norms – which will impact the entire food supply chain.
Additionally, with the lockdown restrictions and business closures of the pandemic, some businesses cancelled their pest control altogether. While this caused some pests to seek out other food sources, it enabled other pests to settle down without interruption with food that remained in the building – to be revealed upon reopening.
As this could mean that manufacturers will need to increase or change suppliers to meet increased or changed demand, so it will be critical to ensure all suppliers are completely vetted, with thorough pest management programs in place. Manufacturers also are wise to ensure there is a systematic program for the inspection of incoming goods – to ensure a supplier’s pest problem don’t become theirs.