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Despite Tough Times, Americans Insist on Pest-Free Homes

87 Percent of Adults Polled About Pests and the Economy Agree “There Is Still No Room for Bugs in My Home."

While many Americans have slashed home maintenance budgets in this economy, a recent independent survey by Atlanta-based pest control leader Orkin, Inc. reports nearly nine in ten adults (87 percent) still refuse to tolerate pests in their homes. More than half of respondents (57 percent) also agreed that, unlike services like house cleaning, pest control is not a do-it-yourself project. Pest tolerance and treatment approaches varied by type of pest and respondents’ geographic region.

“Our homes are likely our biggest investments, which is why it is important to protect them from pests,” said Ron Harrison, Ph.D., Orkin, Inc. technical director. “A professional trained in pest identification and control can help reduce pests and the risks they pose to our homes and health.”

Survey respondents named severity of the pest problem and health concerns as the two most important reasons for calling an expert to control pests. According to Harrison, these responses are likely due to increased awareness around pests like bed bugs, which can be difficult for consumers to control on their own, and cockroaches, which can cause asthma. Half of adults surveyed ranked “severity of the issue or problem” as the number one reason to call an expert, while 26 percent ranked “concern for [their] family’s health” as their top priority.

Harrison says health risks and home damage caused by cockroaches and termites, respectively, also may explain consumers’ priorities for calling a professional. Survey respondents reported they are more likely to call an expert for termite control (87 percent) than any other pest. More than half would call a professional to control cockroaches (58 percent) and rodents (56 percent) — both known to carry and transmit germs that can cause disease — and bed bugs (56 percent). Only 27 percent and 24 percent of Americans would call an expert for ants and spiders, respectively.

Adults in the South were more apt to hire an expert for pest control (51 percent) than adults in the Northeast (43 percent), West (43 percent) and Midwest (41 percent), particularly when rodents, ants or spiders were involved. While Midwesterners were more tolerant of most pests than respondents from other regions, they were the most likely to call in outside help with cockroaches (67 percent).

The Orkin survey was conducted by Global Strategy Group from March 9 – 12, 2009. The interviews were conducted among 1,253 adults (aged 18 and over) living in private households across the continental U.S. The margin of error was plus or minus three 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, Central America, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Asia. With more than 400 locations, Orkin’s almost 8,000 employees serve approximately 1.7 million customers. The company serves homeowners and numerous industries including food and beverage processing, foodservice, hospitality, healthcare, retail, warehousing, property/facilities management, schools and institutions. Learn more about Orkin on our website at Orkin is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rollins, Inc. (NYSE: ROL).

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