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WHY THE PEST INDUSTRY IS SO IMPORTANT - Some Industry, Health & Food Facts

The NPMA recently released a reviewed Pest Industry Fact Sheet (www.npmapestworld.org). We found some of the facts really interesting and the details supporting of the important role professional pest management techniques have in homes, businesses and the community. We have summarised (and added some Australian variants) the most relevant facts from the article for your reading pleasure:

Some reasons why the pest management industry is so important:

  • Pests destroy homes and buildings and their contents; termites alone cause billions in damage annually. Damage which IS NOT COVERED by your home and contents insurances.
  • Pests can transmit disease and disease-causing organisms including Dengue fever, Murray Valley encephalitis virus, Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus, salmonellosis, gastroenteritis, hepatitis A and trachoma.
  • Insect stings force hundreds of thousandsof people to emergency every year.
  • Rodents consume or contaminate about 20 percent of the world’s food supply. They carry fleas and ticks that potentially carry diseases. Rodents have also been implicated in fires across the country by chewing wires and spilling flammables.
  • Bed bugs have made a resurgence around the world, especially in the US. While no one is sure of the exact reason, experts suggest it may be due to treatment practices and increased international travel.
Plague Plaque

Most people relate pest management to residential problems (cockroaches, ants, spiders, rats, mice, termites, fleas, etc.).  The importance of the industry to the nation is much broader including food and health protection.

  • Public health officers attribute our quality of life today to three things:  better pharmaceuticals and vaccines, improved sanitation and advances in pest control techniques.
  • Rats bite tens of thousands of people each year.  Rats can cause fires by chewing wires and transmit disease organisms such as salmonella, trichinosis, typhus, the plague, and leptospirosis.
  • According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, more than two million Americans are allergic to stinging insects. In the US more than 500,000 enter hospital emergency rooms every year suffering from insect stings, and between 40-150 people a year die as a result of these stings.
  • In a recent US consumer survey, 93 percent of people expressed concern over finding insects within their home.  According to a survey cited by the US Army Community Service, insects and bugs rank as the public’s third most common fear, behind public speaking and heights.
  • Seven to eight percent of the general population is allergic to cockroaches.  Studies of inner city children in Atlanta with chronic wheezing and runny noses revealed that 44 percent of them were allergic to cockroaches.  Recent surveys in Australia and the US have determined that cockroach allergens are the number three contributors to children’s asthma.
  • Cockroach suppression and eradication is vital to health care facilities, homes, and sites where food is prepared or served.  Cockroaches contaminate food and spread filth by walking through contaminated areas.  They commonly carry staphylococci, streptococcus, coli-form, moulds, salmonella, yeasts, and clostridia.
  • Innovations in pest management parallel an increase in life expectancy.  A child born in 1900 had a life expectancy of just 49 years while a child born in 2010 had a life expectancy of 78 years.
  • In a US consumer survey, renters and homeowners were asked about the problems they’ve had with their homes or apartments.  The number one problem they cited was insects.  In fact, nearly half (45 percent) of the complaints dealt with insects or rodents in the home.
  • It would be difficult to find any segment of the food industry that could comply with health regulations without an adequate pest management program.
  • Without pest management practices, pests could destroy more than 50 percent of our food crops. Only 11-12 percent of the average Australian and U.S. disposable income is spent on food compared to 19.9 percent in Japan and 52.6 percent in China.

“....the challenge facing the coming generation of farmers. It is to double global food supply using half the water, on far less land, without fossil fuels, with scarce and costly fertilisers and chemicals, amid spreading diseases and pests, under the hammer of climate change” The Coming Famine – Julian Cribb

Locust Plague

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