Guest Editorial: The Importance of Pest Management During a Pandemic

Guest Editorial: The Importance of Pest Management During a Pandemic

PCO Kurt Treftz encourages fellow pest management professionals to help authorities and the public value pest management during a pandemic.

Subscribe
Editor’s note: Kurt Treftz and his business, Cascade Pest Control, Bothell, Wash., operate in the Pacific Northwest, one of the areas hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Treftz has been chronicling his experiences on his blog, www.cascadepest.com/blog/ . In the following guest editorial Treftz encourages fellow pest management professionals to help authorities and the public value pest management during a pandemic.
 
I’d like to appeal to pest management professionals everywhere that we expand our tact in both ensuring that pest management is included as an essential service during our COVID-19 crisis, and helping the public understand and appreciate our value during a pandemic.
 
Yes, we need our officials to know that the federal government in various forms recognizes pest control as an essential service however depending upon the locale, and given the heightened emotions in totally uncharted territory, appeals based solely on federal authority could fall short.  Furthermore, we need both our local health departments and our local/regional public at large to deeply understand the consequences of halted or hampered pest management that is provided by us in the private sector.
 
What people need to understand is that in numerous epidemics (there are more epidemics to learn from than pandemics) much of the illnesses, injury or even death was due to declining sanitation and hygiene.  So much for buying tons of toilet paper!  What agencies and the public need to be reminded of right now is how pests with health (and also financial) consequences can easily exacerbate our current crisis.
 
For each our own regions the primary health pests may differ.  Obviously, rats and mice, ticks, cockroaches, flies, wasps and others can either cause allergic reactions or spread disease.  As you’ll see in a blog post we just made hear at Cascade Pest Control, located in the greater Seattle area, we took the time to help people understand the impact of discontinued pest control during a health crisis.  
 
In our area rats are now endemic and without well over 100,000 homes and businesses being collectively serviced for rat suppression, cities and neighborhoods would be overran in very short order.  Adding a sudden influx of pest problems would add substantially to health risk and our health departments have neither the resources to step in, nor the added staffing to do so during the coronavirus outbreak.
 
When you add pests that cause financial loss such as termites, other wood destroying organisms, and rodents (damage to insulation, etc.) this again becomes a compounded problem during a health crisis that is severely slowing the economy.
 
This is not only a reason for pest management to be valued as an essential service from the standpoint of public officials now considering “shelter in place” orders, but also to our clients who may wish to postpone service during these times.

My best to all my colleagues in pest management.

 
Kurt Treftz
Cascade Pest Control
Bothell, WA