Survey: Americans react to pests


October 31, 2023

TruGreenTruGreen and OnePoll recently conducted a survey to understand how American homeowners’ feelings towards unwanted pests and bugs.

The survey highlighted several primary conclusions, including:

  • Spiders aren’t so scary to homeowners. Whether found inside or outside the home, beetles, centipedes and cockroaches take the top spot as creepiest crawlers to be removed or squished. Surprisingly, spiders are less often subject to the same fate, whether found indoors (16 percent) or outdoors (11 percent).
  • Homeowners’ reactions to pests can evoke a strong, vivid emotional response. A majority of homeowners, specifically 56 percent, express outright frustration, while there’s a close tie among those feeling fear, disgust, and anxiety – each registering at 39 percent.
  • The likelihood of taking action against pests hinges largely on two factors: their appearance and where they are found. More than half of the Americans surveyed (56 percent) make the choice to “squish” based on the pest’s appearance, while an equal percentage consider the potential harm these creatures could inflict on their children, pets and homes.
  • Preparing food = worst scenario for encountering pests. A majority of surveyed Americans agree that discovering an uninvited pest while cooking is the worst-case scenario. A close second is the unsettling scenario of stumbling upon an unexpected pest while on the verge of sleeping (23 percent). On the other hand, some believe that the living room (16 percent) or the shower (12 percent) are the most undesireable spots for such encounters.
  • Social media squashes traditional advice. Americans depend heavily on social media channels like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube for information on pest control with a staggering 97 percent compared to books, home improvement stores, or their family and friends.
  • Professionals are a go-to resource. More than half of the respondents (68 percent) said they would hire a professional for pest issue and concerns, and 20 percent would rather “phone a friend” to squish the pest than do it themselves.

“With the arrival of the spooky season, Americans agree that there’s nothing more unsettling than encountering a pest in your home,” Jeremy McReynolds, TruGreen’s pest control expert, said in the news release. “Between Halloween-themed creepy crawler décor adorning every neighborhood and bracing for the chill of the season that drives pests indoors, it’s no surprise that nearly half (48 percent) of Americans experience the most pests at home during the autumn and winter seasons. To protect your home and the well-being of your family, it’s best to enlist the expertise of a professional to proactively keep unwelcome intruders from gaining entry.”

The random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 American homeowners or renters with a yard or lawn was commissioned by TruGreen between Aug. 11-14, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).


About the Author

Ellen Wagner is a former digital editor for PMP magazine.

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