Pest controllers in optimistic mood, despite the recession

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The people who work at the sharp-end of pest control are broadly optimistic about the future of the UK pest management industry, according to findings in the second National UK Pest Management Survey.

Jointly organised by BASF Pest Control Solutions and Pest publications and undertaken in March 2012. 65% of those taking part said that prospects for the coming year were good or very good.

However there were differences between those working in local authority pest control departments, pest technicians and managers in private companies and self employed pest controllers.

Local authority staff were markedly less optimistic. Even so 58% said prospects over the next 12 months were good or very good and that is an increase over the previous survey conducted in early 2011 when just under half felt that way. Over the medium term however local authority people were much more uncertain with just 28% believing their prospects were good over the next five years.

In sharp contrast 75% of those working in private companies were optimistic over the coming year, rising to 82% over the five year term.

Not surprisingly, the local authority group identified local authority cutbacks as the most important barrier to effective pest control in the UK whilst the self-employed and private companies saw this as the least significant barrier.

Clearly the private sector, including the self-employed, view local authority cut-backs as more of an opportunity than a threat. All sectors however identified financial pressure on customers and DIY control as presenting substantial barriers to effective pest control.

Other key findings were:


2012 Survey - prospects


2012 Pest survey - activities by type

  • 48% of all pest control activity is to combat rats and mice with local authorities even more focused on rodents (60%);
  • Wasp work at 17% is the next biggest activity;
  • Just 5% of all pest control work is for bed bugs with private companies at 7% having the biggest involvement. Over 80% of private companies do some bed bug work (up from 70% in 2011) with 94% of local authorities (up from 88% in 2011) having some involvement. Only around half of the self employed do any bed bug work;
  • Bird management is most likely to be conducted by private pest control companies;
  • The focus for local authorities is domestic dwellings which make up 72% of their workload;
  • The self-employed pest controller’s work is split 50:50 between domestic and commercial with farms identified as a significant sector for this group;
  • In private companies the commercial sector dominates – even so 25% of wok is in domestic dwellings;
  • The major growth areas were listed as bedbugs, followed by rats and then mice.

The second National UK Pest Management Survey 2012 was conducted amongst Pest readers at the sharp-end of pest control and who had registered an email address. It was conducted in March this year, 12 months after the first survey. With a 20% response rate, a good geographical split and a reasonably even split between the three groupings, it provides a valuable industry perspective.

A full report will be included in the next edition of Pest magazine – Issue 21 – May & June 2012.

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