What do Consumers Think?

Features - Cover Story

Numbers don’t lie. Research from PPMA shows what consumers’ pest-related health fears are, as well as what they think of the pest management industry.

October 8, 2018

Now that we know a bit about which insects are in peoples’ homes and how the public thinks and feels about those pests, PCT wanted to “dive deep” into what actions consumers take when it comes to pest management in their home.

In 2016, the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA) commissioned a third-party research firm to conduct a survey of homeowners to learn more about professional pest control usage and public perception of the industry. A total of 2,027 interviews were conducted among adults, 25 and older, who live in the United States and are homeowners with a household income of $60,000 or more.

PPMA’s research confirms what was reviewed previously in this month’s cover story: People just don’t like insects.

The No. 1 reason consumers elect to have a contract or regular service with a pest control company is because doing so “best protects my home and/or my family,” the reason given by 70 percent of respondents. But almost half — 45 percent — said the reason they hire a PMP is because they “cannot tolerate pests in and around my home.”

One-third of homeowners are extremely concerned about pests damaging their home and property while three in ten are extremely concerned about pests causing illness to them and/or their family.

Digging deeper, those ages 25-44 are more concerned than those ages 45-64 and 65 and older about pests damaging their home and property (mean = 8.62 vs. 7.37 and 6.59), pests causing illness (mean = 8.54 vs. 6.45 and 5.39), insect bites and stings (mean = 8.32 vs. 6.32 and 5.73) and the stigma of having a dirty home (mean = 8.20 vs. 5.54 and 4.63).

Consumers identified their top five pest control concerns as ants (44 percent), spiders (39 percent), mosquitoes (34 percent), rodents (34 percent) and cockroaches (31 percent). Perhaps surprisingly, termites and bed bugs didn’t make the top five.

When asked which pest they were most concerned about as far as their family’s health, more than two in five homeowners said mosquitoes and rodents are the biggest threats, followed by cockroaches, ticks and bed bugs.

But when asked which was the biggest threat — selecting only one — rodents and mosquitoes tied at 21 percent and bed bugs dropped to 6 percent, below cockroaches, ticks, termites, stinging insects, and tying with spiders.

Almost three in five homeowners were concerned about Zika (59 percent) and Lyme disease (58 percent), while more than half were concerned about allergic reactions to stings and West Nile virus.


The full PPMA survey results are available exclusively to all PPMA Guardians and investors who contribute more than $1,000 annually, as well as Mainframe subscribers on PPMAMainframe.org. Non-subscribers or firms that are not investing in PPMA at the minimum level can purchase a copy of the survey results for $1,000. Contact Cindy Mannes for more information at cmannes@pestworld.org.