Fumigation Service Improves Safety and Profit with Wireless Temp Monitoring
The amount of fumigant needed for an introduction depends on a number of factors, one of which is temperature. Insects breed faster at higher temperatures; therefore, pests in areas with temperatures in the 80°F range are more susceptible to fumigants than pests occupying areas with temperatures in the 70°F range. Because areas with higher temperatures require less fumigant, collecting temperature data is a critical aspect to keeping operations safe, effective, and economical.
For years, FSS had been relying on hand-held laser thermometers for temperature spot measurements. However, these instruments cannot be used to collect measurements during exposure times since, due to safety concerns, technicians cannot occupy areas during fumigation operations.
To overcome this obstacle, FSS implemented a HOBO® Wireless Temperature/Relative Humidity Monitoring Kit from Onset, a Massachusetts-based supplier of data loggers and weather stations. This compact system, which costs less than $1,000, includes three wireless data notes with integrated temperature and RH sensors, a receiver, and a data graphing, analysis, and management software package.
In the fall of 2012, FSS technicians deployed the kit’s three wireless temp/RH data nodes within a grain milling plant, mounting them on a table, a roll stand, and a flour sifter. Temperature and humidity data were wirelessly transmitted every 20 minutes to a receiver linked to a computer located outside of the facility.
Accompanying HOBOware Pro® software allowed the technicians to view the temperature and humidity data as it was being measured, manage the sensor network, and export the data to Microsoft Excel. There, the data were analyzed in order to determine optimal pesticide concentration levels – too much product would expose the facility to more pesticide than necessary, while concentrations that are too weak would leave the facility infested.
“The monitoring system gives us the marketing advantage we need,” says Jeff Waggoner, general manager at FSS. “Keeping at the forefront of technology, we extend the highest possible safety standards and costs savings to our clients. With the help of temperature data, we are able to introduce the appropriate amount of fumigant needed. Higher temperature readings will allow us to reduce the pesticide footprint and potentially save 50% on fumigant costs. This is a great option for clients seeking to reduce the economic impact of fumigations.”
FSS continues temperature monitoring during fumigant exposure and uses the near real-time readings to maintain safety and manage cost-saving measures while fumigations are in process. Technicians also plan to extend the portable wireless monitoring system to other infested areas within their clients’ multi-level structures. Temperatures in receiving, processing, warehouse, and quality control vary and must be collected and analyzed separately.
The company is also now able to take more regular measurements over longer periods of time, helping to improve the accuracy of pesticide introductions. “It is essential that our clients avoid facility downtime. With the ease of our temperature and relative humidity monitoring system, we can ensure successful fumigations within a tight timeline,” says Waggoner.