Preventing Contamination of Food Donations

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food pantry donations

Armed with data from the ActiveSense® system, learn how Killum Pest Control was able to eradicate a food pantry rat infestation in three weeks, catching 26 rats in total.

Plain and simple, rodents are a public health threat. As vectors of disease, they are the last thing you want in your business, especially as a food pantry. While they can damage a facility, the real problem is when their feces and urine contaminate food donations that were meant to help those in need.

For one Texas food pantry, the contamination threat was real when a small roof rat (Rattus rattus) problem grew into a full-blown infestation. When its previous pest management professional (PMP) was unable to get the rodent problem under control, the food pantry’s director hired Killum Pest Control of Lake Jackson, Texas.

“You could smell the rodent urine and feces on the shelves,” says Eric Melass, vice president of operations for Killum Pest Control. “It was pretty bad. You could see rub marks where the rats went behind the shelves.”

Killum quickly got to work controlling the infestation by putting down snap traps. While effective for knocking down rodent populations, snap trap catches can quickly smell and attract flies when not removed promptly. Knowing the food pantry was mostly staffed by volunteers, who had not signed up for this activity, Killum recommended installing the ActiveSense® system to allow technicians to be notified of rodent activity in real-time. The pantry director agreed.

The ActiveSense® system provided even more value than prompt rodent removal. Around the clock rodent activity monitoring provided data that helped the Killum team identify rat activity hotspots that allowed them to be more strategic and efficient on-site. Plus, every real-time activity alert received led to a technician visit to remove a rodent, providing additional revenue beyond the initial install and monthly service fees.

The installation of the ActiveSense® system paid off almost immediately. On the first day, the Killum team caught seven rats and gathered valuable data that revealed previously undetected activity in the drop ceiling over the office space. Further inspection revealed a nest in the office wall that the rats would return to after feeding in the warehouse.

Armed with data, the Killum team was able to eradicate the rat infestation in three weeks, catching 26 rats in total. Even with no additional signs of activity, the food pantry opted to follow Killum’s recommendation to keep the remote monitoring in place. Once those three months were up with no additional activity, the food pantry opted to remove the system.

By helping deliver valuable peace of mind to the customer, the ActiveSense system helped Killum retain the customer through ongoing preventative service.

“Because ActiveSense was a hero, it got us pest control service we didn’t have, and that was pretty cool,” Melass says.


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