Can You Name The Most Harmful Pests?

The Most Un-Wanted List of pests that could be invading your business is quite long. From foul flies and ruthless rodents, to blood-sucking bed bugs and crafty cockroaches, these pests can be harmful and threatening to many commercial business environments. While there are no good pests when it comes to your business, you might be surprised to know that some are more dangerous and damaging than others.

Here’s our list of what your industry peers think are the most harmful pests and the take from our entomologists on whether they’re right on the money or off by a few species.

Office Environments

What They Think: Flies, ants and occasional invaders can be a nuisance in many office environments. They are usually attracted to office spaces because of leftover food in kitchens and employee break rooms, as well as crumbs left around desk spaces.

What’s Worse: Rodents’ ability to spread diseases and cause allergic reactions make them more dangerous to an office environment. Rodents happily show up for work in offices where employees keep food at their desks or readily available in the break room. Unpredictable employee behavior means a rodent invasion is harder to manage.


What They Think: Rodents pose serious health threats by damaging product and contaminating food and other supplies.

What’s Worse: Cockroaches and flies spread diseases onto food handling and prep surfaces. Both pests reproduce at rapid rates, faster than rodents, and can increase the chances of a negative online review or points lost on a health inspection.

Food Retail

What They Think: Cockroaches can spread harmful bacteria and pathogens to any surface they touch. In addition to health concerns, cockroaches can also severely damage a store’s reputation.

What’s Worse:  Rodents win again. Stock in grocery stores is prone to rodent attacks, given rats and mice can fit through small spaces and chew through packaging. Rodent droppings also remain one of the largest threats to profitability, damaging structural integrity, representing a serious health concern, and contaminating a large amount of product.


What They Think: While many people think bed bugs indicate filthy conditions, these pests have little to do with cleanliness. All the same, a bed bug sighting can ruin the guest experience and tarnish a hotel’s reputation.

What’s Worse: In this case, bed bugs are a hotel’s worst nightmare. A confirmed bed bug sighting can lead to negative online reviews, on top of lost revenue from rooms taken out of service. Add that to the replacement of infested soft goods and furniture, and these blood-sucking pests can take a real bite out of your bottom line.


What They Think: Cockroaches can carry and transfer harmful bacteria from one place to another. They can leave behind their droppings, empty egg cases and cast skins, and their odor can aggravate allergies and even cause asthma attacks, especially in children and sensitive patients.

What’s Worse: Flies can carry more than 100 pathogens – many more pathogens than cockroaches. They are the toughest pest to exclude from a building. Just think about every time a door opens for an incoming patient, delivery or visitor, giving these pests access to an extremely sensitive environment with zero tolerance for disease transmission.


What They Think: Beyond damaged product, rodent urine and droppings could potentially threaten the health and safety of workers, customers and visitors.

What’s Worse: Rodents, the always-gnawing pests, chew their way to the top of the list. Able to cause damage by chewing on wires, infrastructure, equipment and packaging, rodents eat away at your bottom line. They multiply quickly, spread diseases and can contaminate product. And let’s face it – no one likes a rat at work.

Now you know that the pests you worry about may not be the worst of the worst. Be sure to talk with your pest management provider about all of your pest concerns so you can tailor your program to avoid all the pest pitfalls. In the meantime, educate yourself on the habits of these harmful and most dangerous pests by visiting our Pest Library.

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