Farming is all about dirt, plows, seeds and tractors … until now! The laser technology that was initially developed for airports to scare away birds is making its self a valuable tool around the farm now. For farmers wanting to protect their crop, this laser beam device just may keep not only birds away but bats too!
The founder of Bird Control Group, Steinar Henskes, said these light devices are an eco-friendly way of to control birds. He is also trying to get the word out to Australian farmers it may be what they need to keep bats away too.
“We in Europe don’t experience the bat problems like Australians do, so I would love to talk to the industry and innovative farmers to trial the equipment on the bats to see if we can reduce the damages,” and he went on to say “There’s definitely the potential, as the bats come during night time and during night time the laser is much more effective.”
Trying to strike a balance Mr Henskes said, of keeping crop on trees and still managing pests is a critical mission for the farming industry’s reputation. He believes this new technology is the answer to that.
“You want a win-win where you can live with nature and keep animals at a distance from commercial activities,” he said. He went on to say, “You don’t want to shoot them and you don’t want to kill them, which is bad from a company perspective and a regulatory one. It’s important to do it in a sustainable way from an ethical point of view.”
Animal pests and birds have been known to acclimate to the eco-friendly methods that have been used to control them in the past. Methods like sound scaring devices and just old fashioned common scarecrows. Nonetheless, Mr Henskes feels that lasers offers a long-term solution for more security because the birds, and possibly bats, perceive the laser beam as a physical threat.
“The birds perceive the laser beam as a physical danger, so by moving it towards them they get scared and fly away,” he said. Henskes went on to say “We really approach them in a comfort zone, so it’s the same reflex they use when a car drives towards them. The challenge for those wanting to use laser technology to control pests was that it was more effective at night time than during the day. Basically during the day it can be effective, but the range is way less.”
“During dawn, dusk and night time it can be 2,000 metres in range compared to day time where it can only do 300 metres. It’s still effective but the range is less, but it could be combined with other techniques. As a standalone it can still be effective. It just depends on which time of the day the birds cause problems, and then you might need denser implementation of the devices.”
Mr Henskes admits there was the lasers have a potential to be misused by anyone that would want to cause trouble, such as shining them on aircraft. He does feel that company has a social responsibility of selling the lasers only to those who are using them as intended.
“We make sure we have very good instructions and make sure we know who to sell to. Economically the laser also has a barrier, because the laser is too expensive for a teenager to play around with. So it comes down to [issuing] instructions, training and safety instructions in terms of how to deal with it, what to do and what not to do with it.”