Across the globe, pests have always been an annoyance in the daily life of man, but demands for professional pest controllers are rising every year. Pests have become increasingly adaptable to different environments, enabling them to flourish in new locations, by exploiting our needs to survive, many have become synurbic (species that have learnt to thrive in urban habitats) actively exploiting our towns and cities. There has also been a rise in new super breeds of pests; you may have read about cat sized rats becoming increasingly frequent. There are a variety of factors involved in the increasing demand for pest control.
Population Increase and Pests
In ten years’ time 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 an increase in areas that have been developed for our habitation – places in which pests can flourish, and why wouldn’t they? There’s plenty of food, and potential shelter for them. 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 your property.
Population increase also results in a higher demand on food supplies. Food manufactures in both industrial and agricultural settings are both at risk of pests such as rodents and insects such as flies, cockroaches, stored product insects and moths contaminating food preparation and storage areas or consuming it themselves.
The rise in economic activity and post industrial development such as office buildings, hotels, and restaurants (to name a few) has led to an increase in environments more suitable for pests to flourish.
Improving economic conditions within many countries over the past few decades has led to more office buildings with high occupancy levels . A downside to this is that your office is a great environment for a pest 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 easier access to buildings through cable routes and pipes. Pests in an office environment can have a negative impact on your health, mental well being and productivity.
Just like office buildings, hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars 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.
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 maybe explained through the increase in travel, with more people being able to afford to travel abroad, as well as low awareness about signs of bed bugs and what to do. 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. Warm, centrally heated, well insulated homes are ideal shelter for rodents too! Lofts, cellars, garages and garden sheds, as well as decking, sewers and hidden voids offer warmth and protection to synurbic species with food supplies close at hand.
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. Due to increased urbanisation, construction within cities such as homes, offices, shops, leisure complexes, schools, hospitality and other facilities can become very condensed . The expansion of this urban sprawl 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 density of buildings raises the potential for pest problems to be shared more easily.
There is no doubt that pests can be more of a burden in warmer climates, especially those pests associated with the summer months – wasps, hornets, mosquitoes, ants, 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 vector 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 with mosquitoes, flies thrive in warmer climates. The World Health Organisation predicts that fly populations will increase by 244% by 2080, bringing with it an increase in fly borne diseases. As an organisation, Rentokil will continue to monitor, control and exclude pests wherever they cause problems. We will research, develop and innovate to ensure we always keep one step ahead of pests.