Pest control has been deemed an essential service by the government during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, which means pest control companies are still open and operating. However, as social distancing practices ensue and shelter-in-place orders remain in effect throughout much of the world, you may be wondering whether or not it’s truly safe or worth it to have your home or business treated for pests during this time.
Pest threats to health and property
As Erin Richardson, Owner and CEO of All-American Pest Control, puts it, “pests don’t hit pause during a pandemic.” And pests pose their own unique threats to our health, homes, and businesses.
“We know from previous research that pests are carriers of germs, viruses, and diseases that are harmful to humans and pets,” says Genma Holmes, Owner of Holmes Pest Control.
According to Holmes, common pests can cause the following health issues:
|Dust mites||Allergies, asthma, respiratory problems|
|Cockroaches||Salmonella, polio, dysentery, allergies, asthma, respiratory problems|
|Fire ants||Serious allergic reactions, fever, dizziness, burning, itching|
|Fleas||Typhus, plague, tungiansis, tularemia, allergies|
|Flies||Cholera, conjunctivitis, dysentery, salmonella, tuberculosis, typhoid fever|
|Mosquitoes||Malaria, West Nile, yellow fever, Zika, Chikungunya, dengue|
|Rats||Hantavirus, plague, rat-bite fever, salmonella|
|Ticks||Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever|
|Wasps||Serious allergic reactions|
As Kevin Chan, an entomologist for Mosquito Squad, explains, “[pest control] is important to prevent further disease outbreaks and keep people safe.”
In addition to the serious health risks posed by pests, “if left untreated, pests can multiply and cause severe damage to a business and/or home structure,” states Ron Pelshaw, President of My Bat Guy.
For example, termites and other pests burrow through wood, which can deteriorate the structural integrity of your home’s foundation and framework; rodents chew on wires, which can lead to electrical problems; and insects live in walls, which can destroy insulation. Such damage to your home caused by pests can be expensive to repair and may even have a substantial negative impact on resale value.
Charlie Church, Owner and President of Getem, affirms, “pests can destroy homes from the inside out. Pest control companies are here to make their customers feel safe in their home, as well as protect their home’s structure. If you let an infestation grow, it’s possible that your home could need to be completely torn down. However, with immediate treatment and beginning prevention practices, pest control companies are usually able to make sure that infestations don’t get that far.”
Additional pest issues presented by the spring and summer seasons
During this time of year, it is particularly important to get and stay on top of pest problems. Because insects are poikilothermic, or, in simple terms, cold-blooded, they’re generally more prolific and more active in warmer temperatures.
As Mike Duncan, National Technical Manager at Truly Nolen Pest Control, explains, “many pests are emerging from their winter hibernation stages and are looking for habitats and food sources to sustain their colonies. Many species need certain food types in order to sustain egg production and colony expansion, and the food needs for these pest colonies are located in homes.”
In addition to insects in search of food sources, Paul Johnson, Founder of the Tick and Mosquito Project, describes another pest issue that magnifies as the weather warms up: “mosquitoes begin breeding in the spring. If you were to draw a line across the middle of the country from right to left, mosquitoes in states below that line have already started breeding, and mosquitoes in states above that line will begin any day. Reducing the number of mosquitoes now in spring will reduce the overall number of mosquitoes in subsequent hatches throughout the summer. If you wait until summer, you will have a larger mosquito population to contend with.”
This means that it is extra important to fortify your home against pests in the spring and early summer to prepare for the seasonal influx.
Plus, as Bill Horgan, Owner and President of Debug Pest Control, points out, due to the social distancing and shelter-in-place orders resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, “people will spend more time at home and in their yards this spring and summer,” which means you’re especially not going to want to endure a large pest infestation later in the year.
Extra safety initiatives put in place by pest control providers
Many pest control companies are keeping safety top of mind and implementing additional precautionary measures to keep both customers and employees healthy during COVID-19. These measures include the following:
- Instructing employees to stay home if sick or exhibiting any symptoms
- Providing and requiring employees to utilize personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks, aprons, and gloves at all times
- Limiting physical contact between employees and customers by calling or texting upon arrival rather than ringing the doorbell, not greeting with handshakes, practicing social distancing and staying 6 to 10 feet apart, and requiring additional hand washing
- Increasing frequency of mandatory disinfecting of work equipment, tools, and vehicles
- Sending electronic agreements and service reports
- Allowing remote work for customer service and leadership teams
Making your decision
“We are firm believers that people should continue to request pest control services during this pandemic,” states Erin Kelly, Director of Public Relations at Rentokil.
However, choosing whether or not to request pest control services during COVID-19 is ultimately up to you. As Daniel Neves, Director at Inoculand Pest Control, advises, “when it comes to making a decision, it is about balancing the risk of being infected [with COVID-19] against the risks to your health and home caused by a pest infestation.”
Interested in protecting your home, health, and family with pest control service? View top pest control companies in your area and read reviews from verified customers.