The new smart pest control devices
What is a Spitfire device?
The Spitfire is a self-resetting, long life toxin delivery device, designed for efficient pest control in remote locations. The device uses an automatic lure dispenser to attract pests, then a sensor array to accurately detect the target pest and differentiate it from non-target species. Once the target pest triggers the device, liquid toxin is squirted onto the target’s stomach which is then ingested during grooming.
With each Spitfire device containing 100 lethal doses, a Spitfire device can be left unattended for 1 year without any maintenance or refills required which significantly reduces the personnel hours and operational costs that are currently required for maintaining traditional bait stations and traps. With a bluetooth enabled data logger, every trigger event is logged with date and time so the devices can be used for assisting with monitoring pest population densities and any re-invasion events of eradicated areas.
Two Spitfire designs have been developed and are currently being trialed with project partners, Department of Conservation and Boffa Miskell; one tree mounted specifically for possums, and another ground placed, designed specifically for stoats. The toxins used are a Diphacinone and Cholicalciferol formulation for possums and a PAPP formulation for stoats.
A Rat Spitfire is currently in prototyping stage with non-toxic trials being conducted in 2020.
Footage of a Stoat Spitfire during pen trials. Courtesy of ZIP.
Why a Spitfire device?
Benefits of Spitfire devices
reduced risk to Non-targets
Morphometric based architecture and smart sensors differentiate target pest animals from non-target species, greatly reducing risk to our native animals. Furthermore, the toxin is contained securely inside the device and cannot be accessed.
At an estimated initial $200 purchase price and refills yearly, the devices are designed to be highly cost efficient for most pest control programmes.
The devices are designed to require very little interaction by the target animal, thereby increasing control likelihood. There is no required pulling, biting or walking on a treadle. Additionally, there is fresh lure dispensed daily to keep pests coming.
Every trigger event, an accurate dose of toxin is fired onto the target's abdomen. With proven success of grooming the lethal amount, there is no worry of sub-lethal doses and potential bait shyness. The toxins (D+C and PAPP) are carefully chosen as they are humane and have a high kill success rate.