CLEVELAND – With summer’s end just around the corner, PCT checked in with pest management professionals from various parts of the country to find out how this summer’s weather impacted pest pressure – and thus business. It was another summer of weather extremes and, generally speaking, this was good news for pest control businesses.
Several PMPs said it was a roller coaster summer weather-wise. “Oh, it was a crazy spring – cooler than normal,” said Bob Richardson, entomologist at McCarthy Pest Control, St. Charles Mo. “And then it was extremely hot which I think hurt our ant business a bit. Odorous house ants are our No. 1 moneymaker and they were down. But we still did pretty good this summer.”
Several areas of the country, including Texas, experienced extreme heat and drought conditions. Eric Melass, president of Killum Pest Control, Houston, Texas, said Greater Houston has had triple-digit temperatures in more than three-fourths of the days of each month of June and July. “We are starting to see quite a bit of activity for native crazy ants. Other than technicians having to work in this exceptional heat, the summer business has been great. We are super busy.”
Also in Texas, Jason Eicher said the team of Southlake, Texas-based Versacor believes the brutal heat contributed to increases in pest activity. “These hot, dry conditions have forced pests to change their normal behaviors in searching for food and water.”
Along the Gulf Coast, Bruno Milanese, Bay Pest Control, Ocean Springs, Miss., said his year started strong and has not let up. In May, he said his service area experienced the largest and longest Formosan termite swarming season it had had in many years. “Also, rodent and insect calls have been much higher this year. The weather in the Gulf South region has been very hot and wet. Both of those together make for prime breeding grounds for all insect species.”
Florida pest management professionals did not report weather temperature extremes playing a significant role this year. However, the region was not impacted by hurricanes or tropical storms – weather events that cause huge business disruptions. Brian Wescott, Kingfish Pest Control, Ponte Vedra, Fla., noted that in Northeast Florida “local conditions have been favorable for mosquito activity, which has translated into a 54 percent growth in services over this time last year.”
Out West, Caleb Tennenbaum, Arizona Pest Control, Tucson, Ariz., said pest pressure has been great for the company this summer. “Calls for termites have been up 25 percent,” he said. “We had one of our wettest summers on record last summer, and I think that is rolling over and playing a role this summer.”
And further west, in California, Greg Bausch of American City Pest & Termite, Los Angeles, said it’s been more humid than normal “and we know that humidity has an effect on pests. I’ve seen a lot of flying pests, ants and even roaches, and I think that they might all be impacted by the humidity.”
One PCO who reported a cooler than normal summer was Ken Hogarth, Hogarth’s Pest Control, Traverse City, Mich. This has resulted in “everything being little bit behind this year. Right now, we are seeing a lot of wasp activity, and we usually see [wasp activity] earlier.” Despite the cooler conditions, he described this past summer as “busy,” and he said the company benefitted by being proactive and stocking up products and supplies in anticipation of supply chain shortages.