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The Zpest Tracker program is the tool to use to track and report on pests within any type of institution. It is a database comprised of records of observations. Each observation contains the details of the observation – the what, when and where of the observation. The base flow of an tracking pests is to place traps in various locations around the institution and then periodically inspect those traps taking a count of each type of pest found and entering that information into the database. Where to place the traps and when to inspect the traps will be left for another discussion. A good place to start is at the Integrated Pest Management Groups website – Museumpests.net. An observation is a pest caught in a trap. But an observation can also be a pest observed by the personal of the institution. The fact that it wasn’t in a trap is not really that important. This leads to a discussion on trap id and location. After years of working with the tracking of pests and other items in various projects it became apparent that trap itself was not the important piece of information – it was the LOCATION of the trap (or visual observation) that was the important piece of information that needed to be tracked. Physical traps will change (and should be changed according to manufacturers recommendations) but the location that the trap was/is in does not change. It is with this in mind that the Zpest Tracker system is based.

Here are the fields available for your use and suggest use:

  • Area – the Area is the largest designation. Here are a couple examples:
    • State wide – you have to track pests in places covering a whole or large part of a state. Living in NY if I had charge of the whole state I would brake the state into areas – New York City, Long Island, Southern-tier, Upstate, Western, etc.
    • Multi Campus – Each campus would be one area.
    • Single building – the whole place would be the area.
    • Buildings and Grounds – the building may be one area and a greenhouse or multiple green houses being another area.
    • The idea of an area is (if you have more than one) you can see if you are getting an infestation starting in one area it would be easier to pin down the reason for the outbreak and also to be aware of moving objects between areas to prevent expanding the infestation.
  • Building – Usually just that – the name or identifier of the building.
  • Floor – Like building – the actual floor.
  • Room – same – what room is it in.
  • Location – the actual location of the trap or observation. Examples – South Wall near door, Left of Elevator, Stairway Entrance. The idea of location, and the general idea of all the location fields is this – If someone has the Area, Building, Floor, Room and Location they would be able to find exactly where the trap is.
  • Trapid – this is a unique identifier for a “trap”. Originally the trapid was a number or id code specifying a particular physical trap. Over time we have realized that this was limiting. Besides the observations or counts from physical traps there are visual observations by staff. Although the types of observations are different the important information is that a pest was seen or counted in a particular location. There are times when a physical trap may have an id or serial number that has to be tracked. This may happen if traps are collected and stored for later counting – there needs to be a tie in of the trap and where it came from. Generally this trap id is more of a particular physical space within the whole institution. There really isn’t a lot of information contained in the idea that trap #1293.23 was in the southwest corner of building 3 in the southwest campus on the third floor. The important piece is the fact that at the Location of #1293.23 there were pests observed – or not observed in some cases.
  • Trap Type – There are various types of traps. In some locations one type may work better or be better suited than another. This is a way to track the type used and then get count reports by trap type.
  • Risk – also a set of terms determined by the IPM Working Group. They are Incidental, Indicator, Nuisance, Pest and Predator.
  • Eco Type – this is used to track the ecosystem that a particular pest is generally associated with. It can be used to give insight to a developing problem in your buildings infrastructure. A uptick in the counts of pests usually found in moist or damp environments can indicate a water leak or seepage problem in the building.
  • Common – this is the common name used to identify the pest – such as – German Cockroach, Black Larder Beetle. Once you have some entries in your database the “As you type it” comes into play. As you type the common name the matching entries will list and you can choose one of those to complete the entry. This helps cut down on misspellings as well as saving keystrokes.
  • Scientific – The scientific, sometimes called the latin, name for the pest. After you choose a common name and leave that field the scientific name is pulled from the internal Pest List (editable from the utility section) and the scientific name is filled in from the pest list database.
  • Count – How many where observed or counted in the trap.
  • Lifestage – This is a set of terms determined by the IPM Working Group. They are Adult, Juvenile, Larva, Nymph or Puparia. Depending on the actual pests growth pattern, knowing the lifestage gives different indications.
  • Notes – any notable information pertaining to the pest count or observation.
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