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Bugs Feel the Heat

04 January 2011

A new heat process tackles infestations of cockroaches in one go and without chemicals. Developed by Rentokil, the Entotherm process was used to eradicate them at the Bullring Indoor Markets.

LAST AUGUST, RENTOKIL was brought in by Birmingham City Council in response to a cockroach and mice infestation in the Bullring Indoor Market. The Bullring Indoor Market sells a range of fresh produce as well as clothing and textiles. The market currently operates 140 stalls.
Cockroaches were initially brought into the market premises through various products being both stored and transported within cardboard boxes. The pests were undetected by the relevant stall holders which meant the problem quickly became established across the site. The market’s management team immediately instructed Rentokil to deliver an intensive treatment of the areas known to contain German Cockroaches. Mice were a secondary issue to the cockroach problem, and the mouse problem was being kept under control using traditional methods by Rentokil.
This first treatment indicated that the cockroach infestation was on a far wider scale than initially thought. It was decided to close the market for a number of days, causing understandable frustration and anger amongst the market traders.
The priority for all parties was to re-open the market as soon as possible. The market management decided to pursue intensive treatment for both pests while the premises were closed.
As Steve Grogan, Head of Operations at Bullring Indoor Market, explains: “Closing down the market was absolutely the last resort for us, given the impact this would have on trade.
However, our first responsibility is the well-being of our traders and the general public and we knew that the only way an intensive treatment program could be implemented quickly and effectively was by taking these steps.”
As the cockroaches were so hard to access Rentokil’s Entotherm treatment was identified as a key part of the solution. Entotherm heat treatment eliminates all lifecycle stages of insects through the application of dry heat. The chemical-free treatment is quick, efficient to apply and reaches all areas of infestation.
The Rentokil team, led by Kevin Lawrenson, applied its ‘Exclusion, Restriction, and Destruction’ principle for both pest species to draw up their plan. The schedule of works involved a total of 12 Rentokil technicians, a team leader and local operations manager on site throughout the three days to carry out:
● Exclusion - Proofing the external and internal areas against rodents, and detailed inspections of individual stalls; Implementing a stock delivery system to minimise cockroaches reentering the building through future deliveries. Night inspections to identify exact harborage locations of the German Cockroaches. This resulted in the decision to dismantle a number of stalls, removing them to access the infestation at source.
● Restriction - Site management drew up an intensive cleaning programme which was carried out by contractors and stall holders simultaneously, removing any potential food sources available to pests as well as dismantling affected stalls
● Destruction – Clothes and fabrics infested with cockroaches were transported to and from kilns to be heat treated, using a total of four 20 foot containers throughout the project; a combination of re-baiting, glue board and insecticide treatments were used to tackle both cockroaches and mice throughout the premises.
As Kevin explains: “Logistics were a key challenge as the sheer scale of the project required considerable technical and management resource. Effective communications were also key as the closure of the market meant the traders were losing business.
Rentokil worked with the management team and Environmental Health Officers to update traders on progress, work schedules and communicate what help was needed from them to ensure trading would resume as soon as possible.”
The team achieved its goal of re-opening the market within four days, enabling traders to capitalize on weekend trading. The experience has led to several fundamental changes in terms of pest control management at Birmingham Indoor Market:
1. Established clear concise reporting lines with recommendations actioned with a sense of urgency
2. Monthly meetings between contractors and the management team to discuss pest control and hygiene to implement standards across these operations
3. Increased awareness among traders and a more proactive approach; Rentokil is exploring the option of Pest Awareness training for market traders.
Steve Grogan concludes: “The success of this project is down to the full co-operation and commitment of everyone on site. The single goal of re-opening the market as quickly as possible to minimise disruption to traders created an impressive team ethic. It is great to see that this continues to avoid the same happening again in the future.”

How Entotherm works
Entotherm is a new chemical-free pest control process launched by Rentokil in March 2010 following three years of research and extensive testing resulting from a successful collaboration with Revival Environmental.
It is a mobile system that delivers dry transferable heat to any contained area, large or small, infested with insect pests. The treatment works by heating a liquid syrup and delivering it through insulated pipes to heat exchangers which are placed within the infested area. The heat exchangers convert heat into hot dry air which is then discharged at a pre-determined temperature. Strategically placed heat probes monitor and record the core temperature. The process is monitored remotely, producing a computer generated graph as proof of heat exposure. The treatment area is heated to eradicate pests, but not enough to cause structural damage.
The chemical-free treatment is quick, efficient to apply and reaches all areas of infestation and revolutionised the way that Rentokil can treat bed bugs and cockroaches. It kills every lifecycle stage of an insect, from eggs to larvae, to fully-grown creatures, making it a more efficient way to treat infestations.
Rentokil can run reports using the heat probes and thermal imaging technology to confirm that all target pests have been eradicated effectively.
Conventional chemical spray treatments normally need to be repeated several times and can fail to reach insects living in wall cavities or crevices. Entotherm is it highly effective, requiring one swift treatment that causes minimal disruption which is crucial for commercial food or high occupancy premises.

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