IoT pest tech used to combat European bedbug crisis
A UK startup claims to hold the solution to the bedbug crisis currently plaguing Paris and spreading across Europe, with a smart monitoring technology that can help hoteliers catch an outbreak before it spreads.
According to Spotta, bedbug populations have grown rapidly in all cities around the world over the past decade and are one of the most “viscerally terrifying and value-destructive pests”.
Spun out of Cambridge by a couple of the university’s engineering grads, Neil D’Souza-Mathew and Robert Fryers, the firm offers a small internet of things sensor device that can be fitted to hotel beds and metro seats and send live bed bug detection reports to authorities, so they can act fast to quash an infestation.
The device uses harmless pheromones to attract bedbugs and artificial intelligence to verify their presence, then sends an alert that allows hotel staff to intervene. Although it can’t help with extermination, the firm claims that it helps prevent bed bugs coming back again.
So far, the startup has fitted around 4,500 devices in hotels across nine countries and is working with four governments. It charges hotels 15p per device per night and each device can run on one alkaline battery for a whole year
The BBC recently looked inside the lab developing this technology, which you can see in the video below.
There is growing public concern about the insects, following an infestation that has swept Paris – but it’s not just the French capital, according to experts, there’s been a resurgence in these little critters in every major city over the last two decades
Pest control company Rentokil said it saw a 65% jump in cases of bedbugs in the UK in the second quarter of 2023, compared with a year earlier.
French hoteliers, meanwhile, are expected to turn to Spotta’s technology to help combat their bedbug business before next year’s Paris Olympics have reportedly been in discussions with the Paris mayor.
“We call out to all who wish to protect their cities, their hotels, their inhabitants from bed bugs — one of the biggest threats to Paris’ reputation ahead of the Olympics,” said Spotta’s CEO Robert Fryers.
“Our technology can solve this problem and can revolutionise the pest control industry broadly. We are committed to making it available to everyone.”
The technology is currently in use in hotels in the UK, USA as well as France, and in forests and farms in Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America.
Spotta said the product is a safe and effective solution for use in a variety of settings, including homes, businesses, and agricultural operations.
Subscribe to our Editor's weekly newsletter