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Embarrassing Pest Inside Homes: Tips and Advice

ATLANTA, June 1, 2006 – According to a recent pest survey by Orkin, Inc., the 105-year-old pest control company, Americans who find pests in their homes feel more embarrassed and annoyed than they do afraid.

Results from the survey – conducted in late April, the unofficial start of this year’s high season for pests – revealed that more than 75 percent of respondents would feel embarrassed if guests came to their homes and saw pests such as insects, spiders or rodents. A smaller portion of Americans – 64 percent – claimed they would feel annoyed to find pests in their homes.

Surprisingly, reactions of embarrassment and annoyance proved more popular than one expected emotional response: fear. Only 15 percent of those surveyed said they would be afraid to find unwanted pests in their home, an ironic figure given the severe public health threats posed by common household pests, including some fly, spider and mouse species.

The Orkin survey also revealed that the older you are, the less likely you are to feel embarrassed when guests spot pests in your home. The survey’s youngest cohort, aged 18-24 years old, appeared most easily embarrassed by pests in the home; 82 percent of them predicted that emotional response given the situation. From there, responses of embarrassment declined among older survey groups. The oldest survey respondents – 65 years of age and older – were least bashful about bugs; 71 percent believed they would be embarrassed if guests found pests in their homes.

“The results of this survey help us better understand what homeowners are thinking and feeling about pest infestations in their homes in a season when pest sightings are prevalent,” said Ron Harrison, Orkin entomologist and Director of Training and the Orkin Training Center. “These insights will help us tailor our training and customer service programs to better equip our inspectors and pest specialists, furthering our mission to provide the world’s best pest control service.”

Other key findings presented by the survey include:

  • 65 percent of respondents agree that finding pests in the home is one of the telltale signs of spring.

  • Nearly three out of four people believe you can still find pests in your home even if you care for your home; the same number believe that pest infestations don’t have to be accepted as facts of life, but issues that can be corrected.

  • 42 percent of men surveyed believe pest infestations are a mark of a dirty home. Women are more understanding; only 24 percent of them agree.

  • For city-dwellers, pests come with the territory; only 14 percent of metro-area respondents expressed shame at pest sightings in their homes, compared with 24 percent of non-metro residents.

  • 66 percent of Americans agree that calling a pest control company is the most effective way to get rid of household pests.

  • 75 percent of those with annual household incomes exceeding $75,000 agree.

  • 68 percent of those with annual household incomes less than $25,000 also agree.

The Orkin survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation between April 21-24, 2006. The telephone interviews were conducted among 1,045 adults (aged 18 and over) living in private households across the continental U.S. The margin of error for this study is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

About Orkin, Inc.

Founded in 1901, Atlanta-based Orkin, Inc. is an industry leader in essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Panama. With more than 400 locations, Orkin’s almost 8,000 employees in the United States and Canada serve approximately 1.7 million customers. Orkin is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rollins, Inc., which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (ROL). Learn more about Orkin by visiting and

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