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Rainy with a risk of pests: tackling unpredictable weather to mitigate pest risks

Rodents and rain: an unexpected pair with surprising connections. Here’s how. 

Several factors, such as temperature, air pressure, humidity, cloudiness and wind all contribute to the uncertainty of weather. These variables can change rapidly and unexpectedly.

Due to climate change, the Earth is now about 1.1°C warmer than it was in the late 1800s. 

Studies from all over the world show us that heat, the intensity of rainfall and drought frequency are all changing. The mean temperature profile and the distribution have shifted and the heatwaves of today are outside the range of normalcy relative to the heatwaves of 40 years ago.

Climate does change naturally, but human actions are acting as a steroid and speeding up the process. Over the last decade or so, global warming has accelerated significantly and there are clear trends that demonstrate that the pace of warming is ramping up. 

It’s raining rats and mice: unpredictable weather and rising pest risks

Rat holding an apple on top of a bin

The implications of extreme weather events – such as floods, droughts or forest fires – can be severe, causing increased economic costs and changes in ecosystems.

As the climate continues to change, so too do pest risks and these changes can cause an increase of pests, such as rodents, that can compromise business reputation, spread diseases and contaminate food.

We can’t go a day without a pest control story in the mainstream news and that’s because pest pressures continue to rise. Weather and pest risks are inextricably linked and we see real-world examples of pest activity affected by weather every day. 

In fact, Rentokil has seen a +20.2% year-on-year increase in fly infestation levels in Milan and Turin. As the drought was later in the year, we saw an initial spike in August 2022 then the infestation levels dropped, which coincides with when the fly population seasonally decreased.

In this case, the initial spike in August could be linked to favourable weather conditions that support fly reproduction and population growth. The subsequent drop in infestation levels might coincide with the arrival of cooler or less favourable weather conditions, causing a natural decline in fly populations.

However, this isn’t the case in 2023. This leads us to believe that the fly population will be significantly higher than in 2022 due to the base population/seasonal starting point being higher.

Furthermore, Rentokil has seen a +8.8% YOY increase in fly infestation levels in the following regions: Ft Myers, Tampa, Ft Lauderdale, Orlando, Miami and Jacksonville.

Seasonally, we generally see a drop-off in fly activity from November to February in many temperate regions, such as North America and Europe. This seasonal drop-off is a natural pattern where the fly population tends to reduce during colder months or unfavourable conditions.

To tackle this problem of weather increasing pest risks, businesses must develop strategies to mitigate the risks posed by inclement weather and increased pest risks and the pest industry needs to be proactive to stay one step ahead of pests. 

Scroll on to explore the exciting possibilities that weather prediction for pest protection can bring!

Exploring weather prediction's potential to forecast and mitigate pest activity

Rat next to a bench

Climate change, extreme weather events and their effect on pest risks require businesses to be proactive if they want to tackle the unpredictability of weather and protect their premises.

Data mapping could potentially help predict weather changes, emerging patterns and where pests will appear, allowing for more preventative pest control practices, more targeted treatments and reduced chemical usage. 

So, what are the possibilities if we could use this data to predict pest infestations based on the weather forecast and what would be the outcome?

Firstly, by analysing weather patterns and historical data, we could identify conditions that are favourable for pest activity. Early detection of potential infestations allows for proactive measures to be taken, such as targeted pest control strategies, before the infestation becomes severe. 

Furthermore, with predictive insights, pest management efforts could be aligned with the expected infestation periods. This enables pest control professionals to allocate resources and implement control measures at the right time, maximising their effectiveness. 

Because data-driven predictions mean pest control interventions can be more targeted and precise, this will reduce the use of pesticides – as treatments are more targeted and used when needed – minimising environmental impact and promoting sustainable pest control. This means that businesses can rely on pest control strategies to be both effective and aligned with their sustainability goals. 

Beyond promoting sustainability, data-driven pest control could bring substantial cost savings to businesses. By predicting pest infestations based on weather data and other relevant factors, early interventions can be implemented. As a result, widespread infestations are prevented, reducing the need for extensive and costly damage-repair treatments.

Data-driven predictions allow businesses to take a proactive approach, tackling pest issues before they spiral out of control, leading to significant cost savings in the long run.

As the experts in pest control, we’re already using data to keep us one step ahead of pests and are working towards these possibilities. A well-rounded look at weather and environmental conditions gives us the ability to predict a pest response with more precision than just looking at temperature or water levels. 

We use ecological modelling to help us. Ecological modelling is the scientific process of constructing and using mathematical and computational models to understand and predict the behaviour of an ecological system. In our case, pests are that ecosystem. 

Every time our devices record a pest sighting, we have a stronger ecological model that we can use to anticipate tomorrow’s pest control needs. In fact, between our front-line colleagues and the deployed devices around the world, Rentokil receives 9 million data points every day. 

Our colleagues intelligently deliver observations as our first line of sight to pest defence and we’re working with Google and NGIS to understand how geography, city boundaries, weather and daily data collection can predict pest pressure across the world and improve the services we deliver.

An ecological model only gets stronger with more data added and with new data added every day, our ecological model is getting stronger and stronger.

Staying ahead of pests 

Man working on laptop

As technology continues to advance, the future of pest control holds even more promising opportunities for delivering superior services while prioritising environmental responsibility and product efficacy.

By harnessing weather mapping, we can identify conditions before they lead to infestations, bringing customers a wealth of new benefits as outlined above. The opportunities are exciting and endless.

For more information about the latest innovations in rodent control, click here or hit the button below. 

Digital pest control

Round-the-clock digital pest management and monitoring

  • Proactive, digital pest management system which monitors constantly, reacts instantly and reports directly
  • Real-time alerts and data-driven insights to help mitigate risk and inform preventative measures
  • Rapid response pest control from your local service team
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