As the saying goes, “All pests are local” – PCT


I recently spoke to someone on the phone who asked what the “hottest” nuisance was right now. “What are your readers most interested in?” She asked.

That’s an interesting question as so much is happening in the industry right now. And there are so many ways to measure such a request. (More on that later.)

At first glance, it’s easy to say that since virtually 100 percent of our readers do ants and cockroach work, the bread and butter of their business, if you will, would be those insects that are most important and of greatest interest. They are the most revenue stream, so our readers want to know all about them. New styles, new products, new treatment techniques … everything.

But through the pandemic lens, when the nation stayed home for the past 18 months, pests that disrupted the lives of people in the “backyard” frequently made the phones ring for PMPs. Pests like mosquitoes and ticks – it is no coincidence that they are also high on the “public health” awareness list – influenced how people could enjoy their outdoors. So one could argue that these bloodsuckers might be the “pests du jour”.

Is there any other way to answer this question? I think so. Pre-COVID (how long will we say this?), My answer would probably have been bed bugs. Since they appeared (again) about 20 years ago, they have never gone away. And of all the products developed for the professional market during this period, there seem to be more bed bug products out there than any other. They didn’t make headlines every day, but everywhere and along with their “scary factor”, they were the biggest concern of many customers.

Don’t forget about rodents. During COVID, these vertebrate pests made national news, especially at the start of stay-at-home orders. They missed the people (well, our food and our trash) so they had to look elsewhere for resources and in the process created many new problems (see page 46 for more information).

But even before COVID, rodents, like ants and cockroaches, were and are pests that you can set your watch for except for calls from customers. They’re a public health pest, of course, and regardless of the season, they’re everywhere – commercial and personal accounts, indoors and outdoors. And virtually all PMPs offer rodent control (93 percent, according to our upcoming State of the Rodent Market Report).

Rodent Electronic Monitoring – perhaps the newest category of product in the industry – is designed specifically for vertebrate pests. It’s been a while since a whole new category of treatment products emerged. If multiple manufacturers develop such products, it certainly means that there is a market need. Suffice it to say that anecdotally, and from a launch perspective, there is a lot going on in rodents as well.

But what about real data? Facts and figures. No opinions from editors at their desks?

The Professional Pest Management Alliance got us covered. PPMA has partnered with an artificial intelligence partner to use live polls to continuously monitor consumer conversations about pests online to identify patterns and key Americans’ concerns. They monitor broad pest-related and niche topics to identify seasonal highlights.

The June results from PPMA showed in part what you would think about this time of year: With high temperatures and increased humidity in much of the country, mosquitoes saw the highest increase in exposure of any other core pest in June at 110 percent. Ticks saw the second highest increase in engagement at 32 percent.

But this is where things get interesting. While mice showed a 10 percent increase in online discussions, the rat issue rose to 4,041 percent and 867 percent in both North Carolina and Oregon. Huh? I haven’t been to Oregon or North Carolina lately, and I got a D in business statistics in college, so I would love to have some PMPs in those areas talk to us about what’s going on in their areas to explain these unusual numbers.

Would you like to know more? PPMA shares this data with its contributors every month on its website (https://www.ppmamainframe.org). I encourage you to check it out. And if you look through the data from PPMA, I think you will find that all the malware (and their data) is local.

The author is editor-in-chief of PCT magazine.

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