In the past decade, new technologies have given facility managers the opportunity to make their buildings run more effectively and efficiently. The same goes for the pest management industry, which over the past few years has introduced new technology that can help the facility manage pests more efficiently—and with less impact on the environment.
The pest control industry as such has displayed a substantial growth as well and is even anticipated to demonstrate a significant growth in the future; the growth of this market is anticipated taking into consideration various aspects that include current market trend, growth pattern, market drivers and its challenges. The growing need for pest control and related health concerns have also led to a growth in the industry.
Looking back, many in the industry believe that there has been an increased form of awareness about pest control services. An Executive Director in the Environmental Services Department of an FM company attributes this to the implementation of an aggressive marketing strategy adopted by the pest control companies--including advertising in social media, use of branded vehicles and direct marketing initiatives. “There is an increasing demand for pest control services as most of the homes and commercial establishments have expressed a need for these services especially eradicating cockroaches and bed bugs. Dubai Municipality also conducts frequent inspections at sites to make sure that the premises are free from pests,” he adds.
Agrees Odelon Del Mundo Reyes, Entomologist and Technical/Account Manager, Ecovar, who adds that the awareness has increased for services that tackle bed bugs, cockroaches, flies and ants control in particular. “More and more people are now calling the professionals for service rather than doing it on their own. Homeowners and facility managers are realizing that the professionals can help them solve their pest issues in a more effective, safer and cost-effective manner,” he adds.
With clients from over 160 countries, Bird-X, the leading brand of humane pest and bird control solutions, knows the bird control industry is extremely diverse. Bird-X has customers across many different industries, including the manufacturing, transportation, food and agriculture, service, retail, entertainment, energy, government, and medical fields. Dennis Tilles, Bird-X President, says that there has also been an increase in the awareness in clients about bird control as well. “There has been an increase in clients that are taking precautionary measures related to bird control solutions by having architects include bird control in facility plans. Bird-X is committed to helping clients plan future bird control solutions or assisting clients to solve bird control issues as they develop,” adds Tilles.
Demand for eco-friendly products and best practices
When it comes to best practices in the industry there are plenty including training, use of certified products to providing effective solutions to the customers. The Executive Director points out that the objective of using pest control solutions should be sustainable and on a long term basis rather than quick fix solution. “Focus should be made to control the source of the problem, which causes infestation and taking appropriate measure to control them. The approach should be preventive rather than reactive. Root cause analysis should be done prior to pest control application. Both the employer and contractor should work in collaboration to address pest issue. The chemical application should be the last choice and should be used to a minimum when other alternative methods have failed. Pest control strategy used should be environment-friendly,” he adds.
The industry is always working to create new, effective and environmentally- friendly treatment options to help facilities prevent and combat pests. Within the past few years, several new technological tools have entered the marketplace, from environmentallyconscious treatments to Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs that take a new, proactive approach to pest control.
Reyes points out that there has been an increasing demand for “green and eco-friendly products”. “There has been a demand especially from the upper echelons of society and our western expats. They are always asking for “green and eco-friendly products”. Schools, hospitals, and office facilities are beginning to require more of the least toxic, eco-friendly products during their regular pest services,” adds Reyes.
Tilles states that all Bird-X products are non-toxic, non-harmful and promote green energy and being eco-friendly. Customers, he says, are always looking out to not only prevent pest infestation, property damage and the spread of disease but are also demanding solutions that are safe, humane and eco-friendly as well. “We believe that everyone has a responsibility to the future of our planet, which is why none of our products use chemicals or have a negative impact on the environment,” says Tilles.
Even though there are eco-friendly products, the use of pesticides still largely exists in the market. But experts warn that while using them one should handle them with care. First and foremost, only those pesticides that have been approved by the Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment and Dubai Municipality should be used. “The dosage and method of application should be carried out as specified by the manufacturer. Only competent pest control professionals who are duly licensed should carry out pesticide application. It should be safely stored and transported to prevent unauthorized/unsafe use. It is also important to give post treatment advice to the customer after application of a pesticide,” explains the Executive Director.
Reyes also explains that all the licensed and accredited pest control operators in the UAE are trained and mandated to implement safe and proper pesticide handling and usage protocols. “These are the “skills and features" that separates the true professionals with the illegal, “fly-by-night” companies. Product stewardship (safe and proper handling of pesticide products) is one of the main advocacies of Ecovar, we are continually training, instructing and reminding the pest control operators of its utmost importance,” he says.
Trends and innovations
These are exciting times for the pest control segment as the industry is facing some very innovative products. The Executive Director says that he is now seeing the emergence and availability of organic chemicals, which are highly eco-friendly. “Aside from these, we are also seeing the use of other non-chemical methods like Steam/Heat treatment machines to control bed bugs. Conventional spray methods have also been replaced by an increased use of gel and dust formulation solutions,” he adds
While Odelon also stresses on the popularity of eco-friendly products. “The demand for green and least toxic pesticide products, non-chemical approaches are gaining popularity. More facility management companies are now getting involved in the pest control service, and finally pest management training and consultancy services are also on the rise,” he adds. One of Bird-X’s products is the Pro- Hawk UAV drone, the first drone of its class made specifically for bird control.
The product combines the predator sounds from a sonic bird repeller with the latest autonomous flight GPS technology and design. “However, the company has seen incredible success with electronic devices, ultrasonic technology, bird spikes and netting, organic compounds, visual scares, and more,” states Tilles. The market is primarily driven by price, which is due to a large number of pest control companies competing to take a share of the market. “Because of the current economic condition, there has been a reduction in the amount allocated for pest control services. Pest control companies need to align themselves to the current market condition. Value added services should also be provided to clients in order to stand above the competition,” says the Executive Director.