Especially at this time of the year, it is important to consider whether the fly control units, for which you are responsible in your facilities, are performing to the best of their ability. Are the fluorescent lamps producing optimum levels of ultraviolet light? Are the sticky boards still capable of retaining any insect which lands upon them?
It is a fact, known to all who work with UV fly control units that the ultra violet light produced by the phosphors within the lamps deteriorates over time. As a result of the decrease in output of the UV light, it has become standard practice within the responsible pest control industry to replace UV lamps when the output has fallen to less than 50% of the initial value. It is felt by most experts that with good quality lamps this equates to around 7-8 months operation. When purchasing lamps to replace those in a unit, it is absolutely imperative to remember that not all lamps available on the market are of the same quality. There is a great discrepancy in the output levels of the various lamps available and also in their longevity. For these reasons it is absolutely essential to select lamps from quality manufacturers.
How can you differentiate between high- and low-quality lamps?
Reputable manufacturers like PestWest will be able to supply supportive data for their lamps. This data will outline details of spectral output levels as well as details of the output level over time. Quite often there is a great temptation to purchase less expensive lamps. However, this is always false economy in the long run as UVA light emitted from the lamps varies greatly depending on the type of phosphors used and the quality of the manufacturing process. The wrong phosphor mix and any lack of quality control leads to very low product performance. The special phosphor mix used for the PestWest Quantum® lamps and a quality control system to international standards give high initial UVA output while maintaining more UVA light over the lamp’s lifetime (see graph below). As a result, PestWest Quantum® lamps guarantee the user highly effective performance throughout their entire life-span.
Considering health & safety aspects, particularly when UV fly control units are used in areas with open foods, the glass coating becomes significantly important: Not all shatterproof coatings are the same because their quality depends on the material used. The FEP coating used for PestWest Quantum® shatterproof lamps features excellent impact resistance and guaranteed glass retention. It will not melt, flake, discolour nor drip and complies with international standard EN 61549 for shatterproof lamp coatings. Further, the high quality FEP shatterproof coating has an excellent UVA transmission of around 95%.
Another point worth considering is associated with pest control contracts. If a pest control operator has been given a contract including the placement and maintenance of fly control units, the main aim is to keep a premise pest/fly free. If the contractor is found to be fitting lamps of poor quality, then the contractor could be adjudged to be in breach of that contract which could lead to a dispute between the contractor and customer.
Furthermore, it is incumbent upon the contractor, in order to fulfil the contract, to change the UV producing lamp at the correct intervals to ensure maximum efficacy of the units. If the contractor is not changing the lamps at the correct intervals to insure optimum operation, again the judgement may be that the contract is not being fulfilled. These may seem slightly obscure points, however, the details of pest control contracts are being examined more and more closely. Therefore, in order to avoid any unnecessary conflict between contractor and customer: change the lamps at the correct intervals and always use good quality lamps!
Exactly like the choice of lamps outlined above, the choice of sticky boards is also extremely important. There has been a great deal of research into the development of sticky boards which can retain flying insects when they are attracted by the UV light. It is not just a matter of applying any glue to a board and hoping the flies are caught when they come into contact with the board. It is essential that the glue is not too rapidly degraded by the UV light, that the glue does not dry out quickly, that the glue does not ‘run’ from the board, etc. Boards from reputable manufacturers have been developed over many years of testing and experimenting. These boards will give many months of reliable and effective trapping of insects within the fly control units. In addition to that, PestWest glue board units are designed to allow the glue boards to sit closer to the UV lamps than competing models, providing a more rapid catch. This is possible thanks to the introduction of the Reflectobact® sleeve, which makes the units more effective for longer periods of time.