Weird Weather is Making America Antsy

Pests have appeared earlier than usual this year.

THE GIST

A national survey in the U.S. found that 84 percent of American homeowners experienced a pest problem in the last 12 months.

A warm winter, early spring and recent heavy rains are bringing out the bugs.

Is your house driving you buggy? If so, you're not alone.  A national survey in the U.S. found that 84 percent of American homeowners experienced a pest problem in the last 12 months, which could make this a good year for pest control professionals. Slightly more than half of all homeowners think it's essential to use the services of a pest control company.

The top pest issues for homeowners in the last year were ants (49 percent), spiders (43 percent), flies (37 percent), mosquitoes (34 percent), mice (30 percent) and wasps (29 percent), according to a survey of more than 1,300 homeowners sponsored by Home Team Pest Defense, a residential pest control company.

"Pests have appeared earlier than usual this year due to warm winter, early spring and recent heavy rains," said Russ Horton, the company's national technical director. "We have already seen termite swarms in Texas, Georgia and Florida, odorous house ants in the Mid-Atlantic, and scorpions in Arizona."

(Business Opportunity: Invasive species pest management)

The survey also found that 80 percent of homeowners are concerned about pests in their home. The top pests homeowners worry about are termites, cockroaches, rats, bedbugs and mice. Termites are the greatest pest concern, worrying one in four homeowners, and 13 percent actually experienced termites in the last 12 months. Pest problems have caused structural damage to their homes for nearly one quarter (22 percent) of homeowners.

Eighty percent of homeowners are also concerned about being exposed to bedbugs when traveling, and 81 percent are not confident they know how to prevent bringing bedbugs into their home.

While many homeowners (54 percent) treated pest problems on their own, two-thirds of the do-it-yourselfers were unable to resolve their problem completely. Half of homeowners (51 percent) say using a pest control service is a necessity, and working with a company that guarantees its work was very important to almost everyone (95 percent). Treatments that will not harm children and pets were a high priority for 80 percent of homeowners.

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