Early summer (37 percent) and spring (33 percent) were the busiest seasons for ant control, found the PCT survey.
“The seasonality is something I really didn’t understand when I started this business and it is brutal,” said Wesley Parker, co-owner of Seattle-based Parker Eco Pest Control, which opened in 2016.
Even so, 13 percent of PMPs reported no seasonal difference in ant control, up from 11 percent in 2019. And in follow-up interviews, some reported more calls in winter for pavement and odorous house ants.
Year-round ant service (50 percent) was most commonly provided, while 31 percent of PMPs — including Parker — controlled ants as needed. The majority of her customers don’t like quarterly service. “I believe as long as we’re offering things people want to buy, we will win,” she said.
Likewise, Ron Jennings, owner, Cavalry Pest Control, Staunton, Va., introduced a preventive ant control program featuring twice-yearly exterior perimeter treatments for clients who don’t want quarterly service. “I guarantee people will never see another ant in their house,” he said.
Service guarantees were touted by nearly half (49 percent) of PMPs when promoting ant services. But that’s not always possible, depending on the ant. “Pest control operators around here are not giving many promises with bigheaded ants,” said Daniel Schoeneman, owner, A-Tech Pest Control, Seminole, Fla.
The average callback rate for ant control was 6.3 percent.