RFID Tracks Rodent Traps for Pest Control

Published: January 17, 2024

The company is capturing automated data from readers worn by technicians as they open and service traps at customer sites

A Midwestern pest control company is managing the services its staff members provide at customer sites as they inspect rodent traps, with an RFID solution that includes readers from CAEN RFID.

The solution, known as Verif-ID, enables its personnel to visit a customer and go about their inspection and servicing of traps, while the ultra-high frequency (UHF) RAIN RFID reader worn in a holster detects each trap, when it is opened and for how long.

CAEN worked with the unnamed company to provide readers and firmware that allow the system to capture data during service calls, without requiring any intervention from the workers themselves. The readers interrogate tags automatically as the worker goes about their day.

Managing Trap Inspections

When it comes to managing service calls and ensuring that rodent traps at each customer site are being properly checked, companies have some challenges. Many customer sites are larger facilities, consisting of extensive industrial areas, schools, hospitals, or multi-building sites.

That means they may have thousands of traps on a site that need to be checked for rodents, not to mention inspected to ensure they’re working. Pest control companies provide that service on a regular and contractual basis and customers will question whether all the traps are being checked in a timely manner.

For the Midwestern, multi-state, pest control company, proving a worker was in fact on site and checked every trap wasn’t easy. If the worker was simply filling out forms or entering information on a tablet, there was no proof that they were inspecting a specific trap.

The solution they developed uses RFID to track each trap inspection without requiring any extra effort by the employee, says Maurizio Turri, CAEN RFID’s business development manager, USA.

How it Works

Each of the traps has a passive RFID tag attached inside it. Because the trap is metal, the tag cannot be read through closed metal containers. Therefore, if the trap is closed, the tag is unreadable.

Employees inspecting the traps carry the skID portable RFID reader in a holster as they go about their work.

As the employee opens the trap to inspect whether a rodent has been caught, the reader captures any RFID tag in the vicinity and identifies that trap. The tag data is transmitted via Bluetooth to the individual’s tablet, and the tablet can then forward that data to the server in the cloud over a cellular connection.

The inspector then completes any servicing for that particular trap, and when they’re finished, they close the door. The tag inside the trap can no longer be read and the software updates the details about that trap to indicate how long it was open and when.

Automated Invoicing

The pest control company can then use that information to share details with their customer about the services they provided and bill accordingly.

“This is a novel application,” says Turri, due to enabling visibility into remote operations and inspections without requiring any efforts on the part of the work.

The firmware was customized to lengthen battery life by ensuring the reader didn’t keep transmitting interrogation signals when no tag was responding. Instead, once a reader no longer receives a tag response, it goes into a less frequent scanning mode. The device’s rechargeable battery can operate on a single charge for an entire day.

Small Form-factor

There are two things that make the skID reader especially well-suited for the application, says Turri. “One is the dimension and form factor,” as it is the size and shape of a very thin smartphone and therefore easy to carry, without interfering with the individual’s activities throughout the day.

The other is the read range which is shorter than a “gun” style reader, but longer than a key fob-style reader.

“It is a more practical form factor compared to a gun, and better performance compared to a key fob type reader,” Turri says.

The CAEN system has been in place for about six months, following some early piloting. It is now in use at customer sites across multiple states in the Midwest.

Key Takeaways:
  • A pest control company can offer its customers proof of maintenance and automated their invoicing with an RFID solution from CAEN.
  • The Verfi-ID solution captures activity each time a rodent trap is opened for servicing, and continues to track that activity until the trap is closed again.