Date of this Version
Good practice in pest control is a responsibility of several elements in our democratic, free-enterprise society. Most notably, these are: (1) the general public, (2) responsible government agencies and (3) industry. Before I comment about the responsibilities of each of these three groups, let me tell you about the work of structural pest control operators and their interests in vertebrate pest control. The pest control industry which I discussed in detail at the Second Vertebrate Pest Control Conference (1) continues to grow and expand its fields of activity. At the present time, it is our estimate (2) that 26,700 persons are employed as pest control servicemen by the more than 5,000 firms which provide such service on a contract basis. The revenues produced by this work are now estimated at nearly 500 million dollars per year. Ninety-five percent of the members of the National Pest Control Association (NPCA) engage in what we call "General Pest Control." It involves the control of commensal rodents and a number of household insects. According to a survey conducted among NPCA members in 1965 (3), the house mouse and the Norway rat are number two and number three respectively in importance among the pests encountered by our industry and are exceeded in importance only by the German cockroach. Bird control continues to gain in importance among the industry's sources of business and nearly half of our members provide such service. Among all pests, the feral pigeon ranked 16th in the 1965 survey and the English sparrow was 24th. Starlings and bats were tied in 39th place. Much of our industry's work in bird control is concerned with the protection of structures—-homes, churches and industrial plants--from roosting birds. Bird control work at food processing and warehousing plants has been stimulated by actions under Food and Drug Laws. The control of pest birds at feed lots for cattle, pigs and poultry is rapidly expanding. PCO's also receive requests for assistance from members of the public plagued by woodpeckers or gulls or even migratory song birds which injure buds or fruit or seeds of crops and ornamental or specimen plants. The concern about rabies in bats and skunks plus the conflicts which arise when humans and wild animals attempt to use the same habitat are the basis for many additional requests to our industry to provide a variety of services quite different from those expected of old-time exterminators. At any rate, control of commensal rodents, pest birds and other animals which adversely affect the public health and well being is an expanding and essential part of the work of the commercial pest control industry.