Pest control as an industry is growing at a rapid rate. According to research, the global pest control market is expected to expand by 5.52% through 2020.
A few of the primary factors influencing growth include the rise of urban developments, growing consumer awareness concerning health and other hygiene issues, changes in weather patterns, the increasing demand for “green” and environmentally friendly technology, and a general rise in intolerance for pests.
But the real question isn’t whether or not pest control as a whole will continue to be relevant, but rather, “Will professional pest control matter?”
A growing number of customers are relying on do-it-yourself techniques to handle pest problems, but there’s still a good reason why professional pest control businesses are thriving. Namely: effectiveness.
Professional pest control services are predicted to continue to grow over the next several decades, and here are a few reasons why.
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Why Professional Pest Control Matters
It would be obvious to say that pest control will always be needed, as rodents, insects, and other pests will always be around (and getting into places they shouldn’t). But there are actually several reasons why the pest control industry is growing beyond the obvious.
Rising Pest Populations
For one, pests are doing more than just sticking around; populations are actually increasing. Pest control calls related to rodents – especially rats, for instance – are on the rise in both major and outlying cities.
Scientists also note that higher global temperatures have impacted insects’ ability to reproduce, and with the rise in urbanization, more insects are moving indoors, causing problems for residents and commercial businesses.
Environmental upgrades in businesses could change how pests behave as well. As homes and businesses make the move to more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly lighting, for example, researchers predict that pest invasions will increase (LED light emissions have been shown to attract pests due to higher wavelengths than standard lighting).
Growing pest populations means that more pests will need to be dealt with, which means the greater the need for experts who can handle these populations quickly, effectively, and humanely before things get out of hand.
Behavior and Chemical Resistance
Pests are also becoming more resistant to traditional pest control methods.
Mice and other rodents have shown behavioral resistance – where animals alter behavior to increase survival rates – in certain situations. Some rodents have been known to avoid carbohydrate-rich foods or avoid other forms of bait containing rodenticide, reducing the success rate for certain baiting methods.
Biochemical resistance – where animal’s metabolic pathways detoxify and remove poisons at a quicker rate – has also been an issue for at-home pest control options. Over-the-counter pest control chemicals may not be as effective on certain pests over time, requiring something stronger or chemicals with different compounds entirely.
Some pests have also developed advanced genetic resistance to certain anticoagulants and poisons. Repeated poisoning of rats, for example, has resulted in genetic-resistant rodents in many cities.
All of this reduces the chance that do-it-yourself or at-home pest control solutions will be effective, increasing the need for pest control experts who can handle complex situations.
Customer Need for Expertise
Human behavior also affects the need for pest control expertise. Hospitality industries like hotel and food service are seeing an increase in employee turnover by as much as 33%.
Newer employees may be under-trained or inexperienced in identifying pest control problems, resulting in a lack of awareness of prevention methods, which can increase those problems over time.
Studies show that younger customers tend to shy away from preventative measures in regard to pest control, and tend not to wash sheets or clean in ways that stop pest populations from growing out of control.
This means that experts are increasingly needed when it comes to pest control, especially those who understand and can train customers on proper preventative methods.
How Pest Control Companies Stay Relevant
So how can pest control companies capitalize on the growing need for pest expertise? Here are a few ways to stay ahead of the game.
Invest in the right chemicals. Because chemical and behavioral resistance is on the rise, pest control companies will need to invest in a variety of baiting and chemical methods to reduce the chance of pests developing resistance. Switching chemicals can be one solution. New research from Purdue University found that insecticide-resistant bed bugs were susceptible to other chemicals, including chlorfenapyr and bifenthrin, for instance.
Pay attention to growing populations. Experts predict that bed bugs will see the largest rise in population over the coming years, especially in U.S. hotels and growing urban cities. Bed bugs can also be found in high-density population living, working, or learning environments, such as nursing homes, college dorms, offices, schools and daycare centers, hospitals, and public transportation hubs.
Train customers on pest prevention. Helping customers understand how to prevent infestations can help minimize the growth of pest populations in addition to boosting your reputation as an expert in the field of pest control. Education can also attract younger customers and those in industries that are more susceptible to pest problems.
Rely on technology to increase effectiveness. The increasing need for pest control experts will also create more demand on your business. Thankfully, technology advancements for pest control businesses can help save time and reduce energy expenditure that would prevent growth. GPS, scheduling, billing, and other automation tools can all improve workflow and help meet demand.
Stay informed about environmental changes. As more companies (and homes) shift toward environmentally-friendly technology, it’s important for pest control businesses to understand what this means for pest behavior. Changes in weather may affect pest populations in certain areas, and the installation of LED lighting may also impact pest populations for different customers.
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Pest control companies should stay educated about potential changes to pest populations in order to better serve their customers over the coming years. Shifts in spraying or baiting methods, chemical use, or general pest control techniques may be required over time to stay relevant.
It will also be important for companies to educate their customers on proper cleaning techniques in order to prevent infestations from growing wildly out of hand. This is especially true for high-risk industries, like hospitality and food service, where bed bug and rodent populations are on the rise.
Companies should also watch for resistant behavior in pests (avoiding certain foods, areas that are typically set with traps or sprayed, or avoiding certain areas in general), and should switch up insecticide or rodenticide chemicals if necessary.