Editor’s Note: The following statistics are from A Strategic Analysis of the U.S. Structural Pest Control Industry, a report created by Specialty Consultants, Jacksonville, Fla.
The U.S. structural pest control industry is comprised of more than 20,000 pest control firms. An increase in insect pest and rodent pressure, and expanded service offerings for public health pests like mosquitoes, appear to have aided the professional pest control industry again this past year. The professional pest control industry generated an estimated $8.597 billion in total service revenue in 2017, a 5.2 percent increase from the $8.175 billion measured in 2016. The amount of service revenue generated from controlling bed bugs surpassed the revenue generated from controlling spiders for the first time this past year. Nationwide, service revenue derived from controlling bed bugs increased to $644.7 million.
“We estimate 1,046,440 bed bug jobs were completed in the U.S. this past year. This is an 15.3 percent increase from the estimated 907,875 jobs completed in 2016,” says Gary Curl, founder and president of Specialty Consultants.
Six of 10 (59.9 percent)respondents named bed bugs as the pest needing a better solution to control, followed by ants, which were named by more than one-quarter (27.6 percent) of the respondents. Mosquito control services remained the fastest-growing pest segment in 2017. Service revenue, primarily from residential barrier treatments, increased 22.8 percent this past year. Service revenue from controlling rats and mice in commercial and residential accounts increased 6.4 percent to $860 million. Nationwide, an estimated 56.4 percent of all post-construction termite jobs were completed — primarily with liquid termiticides — this past year. Overall, termite baits were primarily used on an estimated 43.6 percent of post-construction termite jobs.
“We expect the industry to continue to grow the sale of preventative post-construction termite treatments,” says Specialty Consultants Partner Rich Kalik. “Preventative post-construction treatments are defined as treatments to established structures that do not have a termite or other wood destroying organism (WDO) infestation.”
In 2017, respondents reported that 36.4 percent of their post-construction termite jobs were conducted on structures where no termites were present.
For the third year in a row, more than one of five (22.6 percent) respondents reported that “finding or keeping good employees” was the greatest challenge to their pest control business. The second greatest challenge was “gaining new customers” (14.5 percent).
Despite the challenges, a majority of the respondents had a positive outlook for their business in 2018, with about six of 10 expecting their residential (64.2 percent) and commercial (58.9 percent) business to increase. In contrast, only four of 10 (43.8 percent) respondents expect their termite business to increase this year.
“Sluggish existing home sales (+1.1 percent) continues to hamper the number of termite and carpenter ant treatments this past year,” Kalik says. The 2017 season market report is the 18th edition of “A Strategic Analysis of the U.S. Structural Pest Control Industry.” A total of 800 owners or managers of pest control companies were surveyed for this study. The market report forecasts pest control service and pesticide product category sales through 2022. The impact of the expanding service offerings like mosquito barrier treatments, industry consolidation, and pest control operators’ outlook for 2018 are just a few of the topics analyzed in this year’s report.