Professional Pest Controller Magazine Issue 105

09 November 2021

Ask the technical team November 2021


Remote monitoring, digital reporting, data protection and spider season are looked at in this issue of Ask the BPCA technical team.

Ask the technical team anything if you are a BPCA member pest control questions answered (2)


  • Remote monitoring can be helpful but be cautious about over-reliance
  • Digital reporting is not mandatory, but don’t be afraid to bring your reporting into the 21st century
  • You can use an ICO self-assessment form to determine whether you need to register with them
  • Spiders are our pest control colleagues - save them if you can!

Subject: Remote monitoring

Can you use remote monitoring devices to check live traps?

Technology in this sector has been developing quickly over recent years, and devices can now stream live video or send up-to-date pictures in real-time.

If you can demonstrate the effectiveness of the remote monitoring devices and reliably check there is nothing caught, then this could reduce your physical inspection times.

However, you must be aware of the risks that failure of remote monitoring devices pose and that you could be open to prosecution if the traps are not inspected at the required legal frequency.

And, as always, you should be confident that unnecessary suffering is not caused.

Subject: Digital reporting

Am I legally required to provide a digital reporting option if my client asks for it?

No, however you are legally required to provide a report regarding the treatment you have undertaken.

More specifically, as a minimum, the pesticides used and the associated safety information.

This could be a handwritten paper report or a digital one.

It’s also essential that the report contains the correct information such as visit details, products used, active ingredients, percentages, locations used, emergency procedures, and any proofing or housekeeping.

A good solution for when your customer requests a digital copy would be to take a picture or scan of your written report, and attach that to an email, along with any photos.

If you aren’t currently using digital reporting but are thinking about it, there are plenty of good options out there (check out pages 18-21). Why not talk to other people in the sector or pop along to PestEx to get some inspiration?

Subject: ICO and data protection

I’ve had a letter from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) telling me I have to register as a data processor? Is it a scam?

As part of the Data Protection Act, any entity that processes personal information will need to register with the ICO and pay a data protection fee unless they are exempt.

This is the case for every type of company, from sole traders and SMEs to multinational corporations.

There are some exemptions to the rules. You are not required to register with the ICO and pay a fee if you only process personal data for staff administration, accounts and records, not-for-profit reasons, personal or family affairs, and advertising, marketing and public relations purposes.

You are also exempt if you only keep paper records and do not use an automated system such as a computer to process personal information.

If in doubt, use the ICO self-assessment form to determine if you are exempt or not.

Members have access to our Data Protection and GDPR microlearning course - for free!

Subject: Spider season

My customers are seeing lots of spiders at the moment. What can I do?

Spiders are great pest controllers themselves, so explain this to your customer, and they may decide to keep them.

You should also explain to your customer that spiders in the UK are not generally considered a pest, as they are not dangerous or a threat to health.

False widows can bite, which causes pain similar to a wasp sting, but they rarely do.

The easiest, non-chemical solution is to put a glass over the spider, slide some paper underneath and pop it outside!

We should only be offering other control options if there is an extensive infestation of spiders indoors.

Sticky insect traps may be a good option for that physical control, which will reduce sightings for your customer.

In terms of insecticide use, there may be products available for chemical control. If assessed as needed, it would be best to speak to your distributor regarding products approved for this use.

Remember the golden rule: always follow the label!

Are you a BPCA member with a technical question?

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01332 294 288

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