In recent years, across the globe, pests have become a big annoyance in the day to day activities of man, with demands for professional pest controllers rising every year.
Pests’ have become increasingly adaptable to different surroundings, enabling them to flourish in the new environments, exploiting our needs to survive.
There has also been a rise in new super breeds of pests; you may have read about two species of termites breeding in South Florida to form a super species posing a huge risk to both your health and your home. Along with other stories such as giant rats the size of cats becoming increasingly frequent.
Why is there an increasing demand for pest control?
The increasing demand for pest control is a result of a combination of 5 different factors. They are:
- Increase in population
- Economic Activity
- Legislation and regulation changes
- Climate change
In 2025, when Rentokil celebrates its 100th birthday, the UN predicts the world population to be 8 billion (that’s a 5 billion increase since 1960!).
This increase in population has led to a rise in living areas – places in which pests flourish, and why wouldn’t they? There’s tons of food, and not forgetting enormous amounts of shelter. The downside to sharing your home with a pest is the health implications it can bring as well as the damage some of them can cause to a property.
On top of a rise in living areas, the population increase also results in a higher demand for food. Food manufacturers in both an industrial and agricultural setting are both at risk of pests such as rodents and spiders contaminating food areas or consuming it themselves.
The rise in economic activity such as office buildings, hotels, and restaurants (to name a few) has led to an increase in suitable homes and environments for pests to flourish.
The need to improve economic conditions by offering more jobs to the public has led to more office buildings with high occupancy levels being built. A downside to this is that your office is a great environment for pests such as rats and mice to live in.
An office is both warm, sheltered and a gold mine for food for pests, especially rodents!
The increase in the use of technology has created what is known as ‘Mouse Motorways’ offering rodents such as mice easy access to buildings through cable routes and pipes.
Pests in an office environment can have a negative impact on your health, mentality, and productivity.
Just like office buildings, hotels, restaurants and pubs also provide a stable environment for pests to flourish for exactly the same reasons.
This makes pest control increasingly important for places where people eat, drink and sleep, as they require hygiene and food safety licences.
Did You Know the number of restaurants in the USA has remained on a steady increase over the years? In 2014 there were around 635,494 restaurants.
To add to this, the increase in hotels, and budget hotel chains, especially in countries such as the United Kingdom, has seen the return of blood-sucking pests such as bed bugs. Between 2011 and 2012 there was a 90% increase in bed bug call outs in the UK. This has been explained by the increase in travel, with more people being able to afford to holiday abroad, as well as low awareness around bed bugs.
Today, hotels across the world take proactive management for bed bugs very seriously utilizing pest control products such as bed bug monitors and training staff around preventing an infestation.
The growth in the world’s population has led to the rise in the property market, with the demand for new housing becoming increasingly high.
In areas such as North America and Australia, termites have found this increase in property development extremely beneficial, helping to fulfil their exceptional thirst for wood.
In these areas termite control has become increasingly popular. Termites cause more damage to properties in North America and Australia than both fire and floods.
According to the United Nations, 54% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 66% by 2050. Latin America is currently the most urbanised continent in the world, with 80% of its population living in cities.
Linking back to the previous section about economic activity, due to the increase in urbanisation more buildings are being built within cities such as homes, office buildings, and restaurants (to name a few). The expansion of these cities also forces pests to relocate and adapt to their new surroundings. It is safe to say they have adapted pretty quickly, and comfortably.
To add to this the increase in the proximity of buildings raises the potential for pest problems to be shared.
Legislation and Regulation Changes
Across the globe, regulation and legislation requirements are increasing as governments try to address the need to improve potential impacts of chemicals on public health, and to the environment.
Europe is at the centre of most of this change currently and examples of this, within the pest control market, include the recent introduction of the REACH and Biocidal Products Regulation.
Food safety requirements, driven by global organisations such as AIB International, BRC Global Standards, and large food processing and retail organisations, continue to improve. Best practices are being embraced to improve food safety across the food supply chain. Pest control is increasingly an essential element of these standards to help customers protect brands and their reputation.
There is no doubt that pests are more of a burden in warmer climates, especially when you think about the pests associated with the summer months – bees, wasps, hornets, mosquitoes, ticks etc.
The impact of climate change is an important factor in terms of pest control.
Milder winters, hotter summers and an increase in rainfall have the potential to change the pest landscape. There has recently been a slight increase in survival rates of mosquitoes and other insects in Europe bringing with it rising concerns around insect-borne diseases in the region.
Climate change might also lead to termites moving further north through Europe. So far there has only been one case of a subterranean termite infestation in the UK, but this could change in the future.
An example of climate change affecting the pest world is the Asian tiger mosquito. To date, this pest has spread to at least 28 countries outside of its native territory around the globe. This is the same mosquito that brought Chikungunya disease to Italy in 2007!
As a global organisation, Rentokil will continue to monitor, control and exclude pests around the world and wherever they cause problems. We will research, develop and innovate to ensure we always keep one step ahead of pests.