Pest Control In The United States

Part
01
of three
Part
01

Drivers For Purchasing Pest Control

Among homeowners or consumers in the United States, reasons for purchasing home pest control products, particularly bug sprays, include (a) fear or prevention of property damage, (b) fear or prevention of illness, (c) fear or prevention of stings and bites, and (d) fear or prevention of reputation damage.

FEAR OR PREVENTION OF PROPERTY DAMAGE

  • Homeowners express concern about pests damaging their property, so it is likely that the fear or prevention of property damage is one of the reasons consumers purchase bug sprays. Homeowners' concern that pests may damage their property averages 7.72 on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 represents the highest level of concern.
  • The level of concern is higher among homeowners aged 25-44 (8.62) than among homeowners aged 45-64 (7.37) and homeowners aged 65 and older (6.59).
  • These details are part of the results of a survey of 2,027 homeowners in the United States that was conducted by Regina Corso Consulting for the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA). Though the survey was commissioned by the PPMA, it offers insights into the pest-related concerns of homeowners.
  • The property damage that termites cause each year amounts to a total of more than $5 billion.

FEAR OR PREVENTION OF ILLNESS

  • Homeowners express concern about pests causing illness among household members, so it is likely that the fear or prevention of illness is one of the reasons consumers purchase bug sprays. Homeowners' concern that pests may cause illness averages 7.08 on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 represents the highest level of concern.
  • The level of concern is higher among homeowners aged 25-44 (8.54) than among homeowners aged 45-64 (6.45) and homeowners aged 65 and older (5.39).
  • Homeowners find the following pests the biggest threats to the health of their family: mosquitoes (44%), rats and mice (42%), cockroaches (34%), ticks (30%), bed bugs (29%), stinging insects (28%), termites (25%), spiders (25%), ants (19%), and bats, squirrels, or other wildlife (15%).
  • Homeowners are more concerned about Zika virus (59%), Lyme disease (58%), allergic reaction to stings (55%), and West Nile virus (53%) than about rabies (41%), asthma or allergic reaction to cockroaches (40%), and Hantavirus (40%).
  • Cockroaches carry at most 33 types of bacteria and can trigger an asthma attack in children.
  • Surprisingly, based on National Pest Management Association's survey of over 1,000 homeowners in the United States, only 17% of homeowners would be "most concerned about a rodent bringing diseases into the home, if they were to see one indoors." Seventy-five percent of homeowners say they would trap a rodent on their own if they saw one in their home. Rodents are associated with the following health risks: hantavirus, allergies and asthma, salmonella, tularemia, rat bite fever, plague, leptospirosis, and lymphocytic choriomeningitis.

FEAR OR PREVENTION OF STINGS AND BITES

  • Homeowners express concern about insect stings and bites, so it is likely that the fear or prevention of insect stings and bites is one of the reasons consumers purchase bug sprays. Homeowners' concern that members of their household may be bitten or stung by insects averages 7.01 on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 represents the highest level of concern.
  • The level of concern is higher among homeowners aged 25-44 (8.32) than among homeowners aged 45-64 (6.32) and homeowners aged 65 and older (5.73).
  • People, for example, hate wasps and are afraid of being stung by wasps. Most people associate wasps with stinging, pain, and danger.
  • Adults with children are more inclined (86% versus 73%) to worry about insect bites than adults without children. It appears keeping insects away from their children is a priority for parents or guardians.
  • Manufacturers of home pest control products, such as Raid, Black Flag, and Ortho, have products designed specifically to kill or control stinging pests, so purchases of stinging pest sprays are most likely triggered by the detection of stinging pests in or just outside the home. The same can be said with pests that bite.

FEAR OR PREVENTION OF REPUTATION DAMAGE

  • Homeowners express concern about being associated with a dirty home, so it is likely that the fear or prevention of reputation damage is one of the reasons consumers purchase bug sprays. Homeowners' concern that they may be associated with a dirty home averages 6.42 on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 represents the highest level of concern.
  • The level of concern is higher among homeowners aged 25-44 (8.20) than among homeowners aged 45-64 (5.54) and homeowners aged 65 and older (4.63).
  • Bed bugs, for example, have a strong stigma attached to them. People, even family and friends, would not want to go over to a home infested by bed bugs or where they know bed bugs have taken root, as they fear that they would pick these bugs up. People assume they would not be welcome at other people's homes if they are dealing with bed bug infestations.
  • Most people wrongly believe that if someone has bed bugs, they have a dirty home. Bed bugs are not a sign of a dirty home, however, as they can infest even the cleanest of homes.
  • For some reason, married people are more inclined (82% versus 75%) to express concern about pests than people who are not married. This may have something to do with the tendency of married couples to host dinner parties and holiday dinners or entertain people at their home. People, of course, would not want guests or visitors to think they have a pest-infested home.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

Since the perspective of consumers or the public is needed, we looked for surveys, interviews, reviews, or testimonials that detail or touch on the drivers of bug spray purchase or the reasons consumers would purchase pest control products for use in the home. While we were unable to locate a single source that sufficiently covers these reasons, we were able to pull together helpful insights from a number of recently published surveys and articles. Pest Control Technology, Arrow Exterminators, Pest World, American Pest, ThoughtCo, and Newsweek were all consulted as the information they have recently published offers clues as to the things that could trigger consumers to purchase home pest control products. We noticed that even though surveys about consumers and their pest-related concerns, especially the one published by the PPMA, are mostly commissioned by pest management associations or pest control service providers, these surveys offer insights into the possible reasons consumers would buy home pest control products such as bug sprays or insect killers. They touch on the pest-related matters that consumers are most concerned about.

To find additional information, we examined the press coverages, filings, and publications of leading insecticide brands such as Raid, Black Flag, and Ortho. These leading players likely have first-hand knowledge of what drives people to buy pest control products for use in the home, so we thought these brands' disclosures may offer helpful insights. The only thing we learned with this strategy, however, was that with the way these brands have organized their products, consumers must already have a clear idea of the type of pest they are trying to control or eradicate. Consumers must already know the kind and scope of pest infestation they are dealing with, and they must have already detected the pests in their home. This information suggests that pest detection or the prevention of pest infestation triggers pest control product purchase.
Part
02
of three
Part
02

Pest Control In the Home: Regions in the United States

Sources that readily identify the regions in the United States where pest control products, particularly bug sprays or insecticides, are most often used could not be located in the public domain. However, an analysis of the most pest-infested cities and states in the country reveals that the Southeast, the Northeast, and the Southwest are likely the regions in the United States where home pest control products, particularly bug sprays, are most commonly used.

OVERALL

  • The most bug- or pest-infested cities in the country are located in the Southeast, Northeast, and Southwest. This information suggests that there is a good chance the Southeast, Northeast, and Southwest are the regions where bug sprays or insecticides are most commonly used.
  • The most bug- or pest-infested cities in the country are Houston, New York City, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, Tampa, Nashville, Phoenix, and Boston. Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Miami, Tampa, and Nashville are located in the Southeast, while New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston are located in the Northeast. Both Houston and Phoenix are located in the Southwest.
  • Around 7.4% of residents in Philadelphia, 9% of residents in Washington, D.C., 15.6% of residents in New York City, 20.3% of residents in Phoenix, 24.9% of residents in Atlanta, 32.2% of residents in Miami, and 37.9% of residents in Houston say they have come across cockroaches in their home.
  • Among apartment renters, the most roach-infested metropolitan areas are the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area in Texas, the New Orleans-Metairie metropolitan area in Louisiana, and the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolitan area in Florida. The most rodent-infested metropolitan areas, on the other hand, are the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metropolitan area in Pennsylvania, and the Boston-Cambridge-Newton metropolitan area in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. All these metropolitan areas are located in the Southwest, Southeast, or Northeast.
  • Based on a survey of homeowners, the most bug-infested states are Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. Both Florida and Louisiana are located in the Southeast, while Texas is located in the Southwest. Warm and humid states such as Florida are known to attract bugs and pests.

BY TYPE OF PEST CONTROL PRODUCT

  • Bug sprays for cockroach control are likely often used in the South, as the pests people in the South are most worried about are cockroaches, and huge and especially grotesque specimens are more prevalent in said region. Based on Radius Global Market Research's survey of 2,011 adults in the United States, of adults in the South, 40% are worried about roaches, 39% about ants, and 32% about mosquitoes.
  • Bug sprays for ant control are likely often used in the West and the Northeast, as the pests people in the West and the Northeast are most worried about are ants. Of adults in the West, 36% are worried about ants, 34% about spiders, and 28% about mosquitoes, and of adults in the Northeast, 33% are worried about ants, 26% about spiders, and 25% about fleas and ticks.
  • Bug sprays for spider control are likely often used in the Midwest, as the pests people in the Midwest are most worried about are spiders. Of adults in the Midwest, 37% are worried about spiders, 35% about ants, and 28% about mosquitoes.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

We started by searching for surveys of consumers and their pest control product purchase habits, and checking whether survey results include regional insights. Arrow Exterminators, Vulcan Termite and Pest Control, Pests.org, and Multi-Housing Pro were among the sources we consulted because they were the ones that have recently published pest-related regional insights. Unfortunately, none of these sources have identified the regions that see the highest use of home pest control products such as bug sprays and insecticides. They only indicate the states or cities that are most pest-infested, bug-infested, roach-infested, or rodent-infested. To determine the regions with the highest levels of pest infestation, we identified the regions where these most pest-infested states and cities are located.

Since our first strategy yielded only the most pest-infested regions (and not necessarily the regions where bug sprays are most often used), we continued by researching purchase, revenue, or sales data. Raid, Black Flag, Ortho, Hot Shot, Combat, Bayer Advanced, D-Con, Amdro, Bengal, and Garden Tech were identified by Statista as the most often used brands of insecticides in the United States, so we searched for the regional sales of these brands. We also attempted to find whether these brands have disclosed any qualitative regional insights. This strategy, however, did not produce any relevant information. These brands likely have no reason to disclose regional data.

Lastly, we checked if market research firms have published reports on the home pest control product industry, as these reports may contain insights about how demand or sales vary by region. Freedonia, Grand View Research, and Fact.MR have all published reports on the home and garden pesticide industry, so we reviewed their respective paywalled reports. It appears, however, from the descriptions or summaries of the reports of both Grand View Research and Fact.MR that the reports of the two market research firms do not contain insights about the regions in the United States. Freedonia's report, which covers the United States only, provides the demographic trends around consumer pesticide use. It is not clear, however, if these demographic trends include regional insights. Information on regional pest control product use may only be available behind paywalls.

For our findings above, we focused on presenting the most pest-infested regions and assumed that high levels of pest infestation correlate with high levels of home pest control product use.
Part
03
of three
Part
03

Bug and Pesticide Use In The Home - Attitudes

Consumers in the United States appear to readily use bug sprays, particularly insecticides, as only a relatively small number of consumers do not use insecticides. There appears to be some level of preference for natural alternatives, as some best-selling pest control sprays are labeled as natural or natural and organic. Some consumers avoid insect repellents that contain diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) because they think the repellents with DEET are not as safe as those without said ingredient.

DO CONSUMERS READILY USE BUG SPRAYS?

  • Consumers appear to use bug sprays readily. At present, 144.07 million consumers in the United States use insecticides at least once a year, while only 7.61 million consumers do not use insecticides. Of the 144.07 million consumers mentioned, 44.9 million consumers use insecticides once a year, 40.69 million consumers use insecticides twice a year, 27.02 million consumers use insecticides thrice a year, 18.26 million consumers use insecticides four to five times a year, and 13.2 million consumers use insecticides at least six times a year.
  • Sixty-three percent of homeowners in the United States say they have attempted do-it-yourself pest control in the past after encountering a pest-related problem. It is likely that homeowners who have attempted do-it-yourself pest control have purchased some kind of pest control product, for example, bug spray.
  • Among consumers in the United States, the most commonly used type of insecticide is the ant and roach aerosol spray. At present, around 85.94 million consumers in the country use ant and roach aerosol sprays. The ant and roach aerosol spray, which leads by a wide margin, is followed by the flying insect aerosol spray, the ant bait or trap, the house and garden aerosol spray, the flea and tick killer, the roach bait or trap, the ant and roach killing gel, and the indoor fogger.
  • A survey was conducted on 5,209 adults in the United States to determine the strategies these adults most commonly use to repel mosquitoes. Spray-on mosquito repellents with DEET emerged as the most commonly used strategy, with 48% of respondents indicating usage, while spray-on natural repellents emerged as the third most commonly used strategy, with 36% of respondents indicating usage. Insecticide sprays (such as permethrin) emerged as the ninth most commonly used strategy.
  • According to Faith Oi, PhD, of the University of Florida, who is the lead investigator of a study that supports at-home integrated pest management, says households that opt to control pests without professional help use pesticides somewhat liberally.

DO CONSUMERS AVOID BUG SPRAYS?

  • Some consumers do not use insecticides, but they are a small minority compared to consumers who use insecticides. As previously mentioned, only 7.61 million consumers in the United States do not use insecticides. This is a very small number compared to the 144.07 million consumers who use insecticides at least once a year.
  • There is evidence that some consumers avoid insect repellents that contain DEET or express concern about using said products. According to Consumer Reports, 25% of adults in the United States avoid using repellents that contain DEET.

DO CONSUMERS PREFER NATURAL BUG SPRAYS?

  • There appears to be some preference for natural bug sprays. The aforementioned survey of 5,209 adults revealed that spray-on natural repellents are the third most commonly used strategy for repelling mosquitoes.
  • Twenty-two percent of pest management professionals report that the number of requests for green and natural products and services they receive from customers has increased. It is likely that this growing demand for green and natural products extends to the pest control products consumers purchase for use in the home.
  • Nearly half or 7 of the 15 best-selling pest control sprayers on Amazon are labeled natural or natural and organic.
  • Some people prefer natural bug sprays or pest killers because they have children or pets and they want products that are safe for use around humans and pets. One consumer expressed relief that there are natural pest control products on offer, as he or she has multiple health problems, including Lyme disease.

DO CONSUMERS HAVE HEALTH CONCERNS ABOUT USING BUG SPRAYS?

  • According to Consumer Reports, many consumers express concern about using bug sprays that contain DEET. Consumer Reports polled 2,052 adults, and a third of these respondents indicated that they believe insect repellents with DEET are not as safe as those without.
  • Though DEET is a popular active ingredient in insect repellents, some consumers are skeptic of using pest control or insect repellent products with DEET because they believe the ingredient is a toxic chemical. They fear that the ingredient can trigger seizures in children or cause adverse skin reactions or cancer.
  • The fact that P&G has recently rolled out insect control sprays that can quickly paralyze and kill bugs or pests but are safe for use around humans and pets suggests that there is a demand among consumers for pest control products that have no associated health risks. The new insect control sprays make use of concentrated essential oils, including lemongrass oil, cinnamon oil, and geranium. They are free of pesticides such as cypermethrin, imiprothrin, and pyrethroids, artificial colors, artificial fragrances, butane, and propane.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

Since the perspective of consumers or the public is needed, we examined surveys, interviews, reviews, or testimonials that detail or touch on the attitudes of consumers or the public towards pesticides and bug spray use in the home. While we were unable to locate a single source that comprehensively covers people's attitudes, we were able to pull together helpful insights from a number of recently published surveys, articles, lists, charts, and reviews. Statista, Vulcan Termite & Pest Control, NCBI, Consumer Reports, Greener Pest Solutions, Northeastern IPM Center, Amazon, HuffPost, Business Journals, and New York Media were all consulted as the information they have recently published offers clues as to how consumers feel about pesticides and bug sprays. For example, the chart about insecticide usage frequency that Statista has recently published offers insights into whether consumers readily use or avoid home pest control products. The best-selling list of home pest control sprayers that Amazon has shared offers insights into whether consumers prefer natural products, and reviews of natural pest killers on Amazon offers insights into why consumers purchase natural pest killers. The article about DEET that Consumer Reports has published offers insights into the health concerns consumers have when using some bug sprays and the type of bug sprays that consumers avoid.
Sources
Sources