Sewers | Cockroach Infestation | City Management |

Heat and humidity are the best friends of cockroaches. With the arrival of summer, the rise in the temperatures and high humidity in the city sewer pipes, make the primary inhabitants of the intricate tunnels, the American cockroach (Periplaneta Americana), look for a way of escape from the extensive sewage system. Today, in the world-famous heritage city Cordoba of Spain, a coordinated action led by researchers in biology from the University of Cordoba, the City Council, and the public sewerage company of Cordoba (Spain) join forces to implement a method of pest control to predict the infestation of cockroach, eradicating the problem at the root, with the smart environmental monitoring system from Milesight, as it ensures that the authority can get notified in time and also shows live data, the system can help people in the city live healthier lives.



In these circumstances, a pilot project takes place in the ecological and digital transition, as it effectively reduces and optimizes the use of pesticides through the live data collected by Milesight's IoT sensors, locating and reacting early to changes in pest populations. This experience launched in the 'Paraíso Arenal' neighborhood in Cordoba and is expected to be applied to the whole city in the coming years. Other cities, such as Barcelona, have already been interested in the discovery of research from the University of Cordoba in this work for the municipal sanitation company, which also engages in an ongoing effort to prevent cockroach in its network of sanitary sewer manholes.


Challenges & Requirements

In June 2022, as part of the Green Deal, the European Commission adopted a proposal to restore damaged ecosystems and restore Europe's nature, striving to be the first climate-neutral continent. As part of this, the Commission proposes to reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides, as well as completely end the use of the most hazardous pesticides by 2030. Therefore, the new solution must be able to cover the city-wide sewer network while adapting to the new regulations.

Setting up the data collection infrastructure in a large area is the main difficulty as the devices must be placed underground in the sewers and covers wide areas in duty.

Tough conditions call for a different class of product design. The devices are required to handle temperature extremes, humidity, dust, and water, as well as exposure to rodents and some other kinds of unexpected events.

The appropriate conditions of the sewer network such as humidity, temperature, carbon dioxide, the darkness of the environment, and the presence of plenty of water have made sewers a suitable environment for the growth and reproduction of American cockroaches.

Considering deployment efficiency and anti-climate change, the LoRaWAN®-based wireless communication solution including IP65-rated sensors from Milesight was chosen, which meets all the above needs and more, such as transmitting data over long distances in a stable way.

Related Products

The following Milesight IoT devices were deployed at the condominium:


The project includes 3 phases, data collection, mathematical modeling, and data visualization.

During the first phase, the Milesight EM300-TH and EM500-CO2 sensors are deployed in different zones to collect various data over 4 months (data collection). With the rich data in the second phase, specialists created a process-based mathematical model to manage the mutual correlations between environmental variables and the presence of cockroach (mathematical modeling). And finally, as data has both a spatial and a temporal context, heat maps are then generated for real-time analysis of conditions under sewers (data visualization). The advanced methodologies help the sewerage company carry out the intervention at right time without causing the least discomfort in the treated areas.


Four fundamental parameters are measured:

The project commenced in March 2022, on the following three months Milesight temperature and humidity sensors, carbon dioxide, and barometric pressure sensors are installed in the maintenance holes under the sewer, without the need of a power source, giving the device the autonomy of up to 10 years in case of once-ten-minute measurement reading (the reading times can be changed remotely). These sensors function with lithium batteries, a very necessary feature of any equipment installed in underground remote locations deprived of electricity. They also have an IP65(EM500) or IP67(EM300) enclosure to protect them in the midst of harsh environments and make them resistant to water.


The sensors take measurements and forward them to gateways wirelessly, afterwards, the LoRaWAN® gateways store the data or send it through the Wi-Fi network to the cloud-hosted database FIWARE, where the researchers can remote access into and work with the data. The gateway allows Wi-Fi, 4G/3G, and Ethernet connectivity and can send the data via MQTT/s or HTTP/s.

Thanks to the LoRa technology, this monitoring platform easily covers an enclosed area of 148,000 square meters in the city of Córdoba.

Data Management

The collected data is stored and processed in the FIWARE cloud to create heat maps for a pest risk classification of each zone. The predictive models are used to analyze infestations and allow authorities to take preventive actions when the presence of the cockroach population grows, whereas the study can be also adopted to identify other types of pests. Furthermore, along with a better understanding of underground conditions, researchers and local communities will be more involved in contributing to the conservation and development of sanitation networks.



The sensor is set up to send the data once every ten minutes, except when it detects an unusual change in temperature, humidity, or other environmental factors. If that happens, the device sends an alarm along with the gathered data.

Thanks to the ultra-low power consumption by LoRa technology, the batteries do not need to be replaced for ten years, resulting in a considerable reduction in maintenance costs, driving time, and human resources that would be needed in case they had to be changed more frequently.

Besides the sewer network, the LoRaWAN sensors are the ideal solution for monitoring refrigerators, fire risk in forests, monitoring weather (CO2, Barometric Pressure) for crops, etc.


GrayHats build customized and secure IoT platforms to improve enterprise productivity, people safety, and the planet's health based on FIWARE and AWS. You can monitor, act, analyze information or model digital twins to help you make better decisions or predict what will happen in the future.


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