Drones have made a significant impact on business since becoming a mainstream, affordable tool for capturing video and photos in hard-to-reach areas. The drone industry itself continues to grow.
Estimated by Forbes Magazine at at least $52 billion by 2024, and appearing to be on the low end of projections, the drone business is in full swing and applies to almost every industry that has an outdoor segment.
For example, drones have dramatically changed how films are made, allowing magical shots from the sky to be made by any filmmaker who can rent a drone. Gone are the days of renting a helicopter to get those shots. Additionally, drones can fly in areas that helicopters never could, creating new shots and new angles that were never possible before.
In pest control, drones are incredibly useful for two reasons – location or image analysis as well as precision quality control. For example, following the tunnels and trails in large rural locations to detect burrowing animals causing problems with crops or just landscapes can make a drone very useful. Checking rooftop areas or simply getting a “bird’s eye view” of a location with lots of surrounding foliage can also be helped with drone technology.
Jeffrey Weier of Sprague Pest Solutions hasn’t used drones yet, but his firm is considering using them as a new tool.
“We haven’t, but we have thought and talked about using it. Drones will allow us to see areas like roofs or ceiling areas for evidence of rodents,” says Weier. “They can allow us to find entry points for rodents and will be particularly useful for roof rats.”
As they become more useful in pest control, drone use could increase, Weier added. “A technician in a large warehouse, without access to elevators, can effectively inspect the ceiling area for evidence of activity. Outdoor drones can be used to look for activity at night, when it is not safe to be on roofs, when rodents are most active.”
According to Bug Bandit’s Rebecca Salas, who has yet to use drones as a tool, they have promised to offer a lot of support to technicians as they integrate more into the market.
“The potential for drones to play a bigger role in the pest control world is very simple – It’s a new solution to many issues that every pest control service provider encounters on a regular basis. Difficult jobs where technicians may not have full access to an invasive pest. not: Drones can be the perfect alternative.
“Difficult tasks – I’m sure every pest control service provider/technician has faced themselves, such as: tight/enclosed, dark spaces that no person can fit into or have the necessary valuable visual access, or even help with dangerous situations that they can contribute – to making infrastructure inspections safer.”
Perhaps drones will even be able to help technicians distribute certain products on a more widespread basis, such as pellets or even liquids based on weather conditions and on the size of the drone itself.
Drones are not without their problems though, flying them requires skill and in most places, regulatory approval.
Weier says there are concerns about drones, including “having the skills to operate one. Younger technicians may have this skill set. (Also) FAA regulations and local restrictions and privacy concerns.” All of these must be considered when implementing drones as a regular part of a program.
Accuracy is a consideration that newcomers to drone use will need to learn more about, says Salas.
“With any kind of technology comes challenges. The argument of relying on technology, of not being completely reliable, is very accurate,” she added. “There are a number of issues that can occur – failure to function properly, or not having access to these technologies because of the high cost attached to these devices.”