Pest Controls

What to Expect From Your Pest Management Company
How to Select a Pest Control Service

What to Expect From Your Pest Management Company

The prevention, control and elimination of the household and structural insect pest, depends on the availability of information on pest biology and habits, as much as the availability of pesticides.

The professional pest management technician must be knowledgeable in both areas to provide consumers with environmentally safe and effective control programs.

The ability to respond will depend on the depth and strength of the information available for the most frequent household and structural insect pests.

The political importance and the availability of funding for research and development of the industry is often directly related to its economic or medical importance to society. This certainly applies to urban entomology research and the professional pest management industry.

Limited funding for research on urban insect pests may reflect limited understanding of the importance of these pests or the impact of the industry involved in their control.

The critical need for understanding with liability insurance for the professional pest management industry points to a lack of appreciation of the importance of this industry to the economics and well being of states and their people.

There is a need to assess the economic importance of the professional pest management industry in the United States. The issues of insurance, and state and federal regulations, will be better addressed.

Information on the economic importance of household and structural insect pests are:

1989 estimated total revenue nationwide for pest management companies were $3.3 billion, this figure reflects cost of control only. This figure is also an increase of six and one-half percent over the previous year.

Residential service comprises about 60% of the industry income. Commercial clients accounted for 25 percent, institutional generated 7 percent, and industrial accounted for 6 percent.

Treatment programs designed to control cockroaches, fleas, beetles and ants, sustained the pest management industry to the extent of 61 percent of the industry’s income. Termite jobs accounted for 26 percent of the industry’s gross income.

Cockroaches directly affect more people in the United States than any other arthropod. As an example of the economic impact of household and structural pests in loss and control, in 1982, South Carolina had topped an estimated $43,300,000. In Virginia, experts estimate that pest management professionals and veterinarians collected $2.5 million for household flea control in 1983.

The modern era of pest management, and pest management as an industry, is a fairly recent development. In earlier times, fumigators were often brought into houses where someone had suffered a highly contagious disease, such as smallpox. The most common method of banishing germs was to burn a large amount of some antiseptic, highly corrosive substance, such as sulfur, which often damaged furniture and household goods. Twentieth-century chemical research has made possible the use of substances toxic to pests but not harmful, in the quantities used by professionals, to people, pets or household furnishings. Modern pest management has controlled the fifteen major disease-causing organisms pests are know to carry. What was once an epidemic, is no longer a problem.

Pest management companies are required to be licensed in all states. Many of these states also require the applicators to pass a written examination and become certified. There may also be a training requirement in some states, in addition to the company training, prior to registration as a technician.

Excerpt from managers report, June 1997

Information and statistics in this article were compiled from an article by William H. Robinson, Department of Entomology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; C. H. Kline & Company, Fairfield, New Jersey, and Nuventures (California) Industry Survey.

How to Select a Pest Control Service

If you suspect a pest problem in your community, you may want to consider professional pest control help. Selecting a pest control service is as important as selecting other professional services.

The National Pest Control Association suggest the following guidelines for selecting a pest control service:

  • A good place to start is to ask someone you know who has used pest control services. Inquire about the type of pest problem then encountered and how satisfied they were with the service.
  • Membership in the National, State or Local Pest Control Association is a good indicator that the company has access to modern technical information and has pledged to follow a code of ethics.
  • Reach a complete understanding with the company before work starts, find out what the pest is, how it will be treated, how long a period of time, and what results can be expected.
  • Be sure you know what is, and is not, guaranteed.
  • Buy value, not price. What appears to be a real bargain may need a second look. Likewise, the higher price may be the best value.
  • Choose a company which will give you “callbacks” without charging a service call. If there is a problem, you want a company which will keep coming back until it is solved and not insist on sticking to a monthly schedule unless you pay extra. Such service may cost more, but it is worth it for the peace-of-mind it offers you, the board and the unit owners.
  • Check your local Better Business Bureau to see if complaints are filed against the company you have in mind.
  • In developing countries without any pest-harvest pest control, harvest losses ranged from 40 to 50 percent, while in the United States, it’s less than 10 percent.
  • Nearly every segment of the food industry utilizes pest control services: crop storage and shipping companies, food processors and manufacturers, and food service facilities such as restaurants, grocery stores and bakeries.
  • The structural pest control industry services 12 million households, 288,000 retail food outlets, 480,000 commercial restaurants and kitchens, and 66,000 hotels and motels annually. Nationally, it’s a $3.5 billion a year business. There are approximately 14,250 pest control companies in the United States with 66,600 service technicians and 33,000 office and sales personnel.

Excerpt from Managers Report, June 1997.

If you would like more information, send 50 cents for handling and a stamped, self-addressed legal-sized envelope requesting “How To Select And Use Pest Control Services”, National Pest Control Association Resource Center, 1800 Oak Street, Dunn Loring, Virginia 22027.