Swarm season did not drive the growth in termite control revenue.
According to the PCT 2020 State of the Termite Market Survey, 50 percent of PMPs said swarm activity was average in 2019. Nine percent said it was an above average season, down from 15 percent who categorized 2017 in this way.
In addition, 40 percent of PMPs said swarming activity in their market areas was weaker compared to five years ago.
“The days of the swarm season are gone. It’s just not what it used to be in our region,” said George Pilkington, Universal Pest & Termite. He said the Hampton Roads area of Virginia once was a top 10 market for termites. “But now, I just don’t see them,” he said.
It was a similar situation across the country in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “I haven’t seen the heavy swarming activity. I don’t think we have that heavy of pressure anymore,” said Charles Osborne, owner of Osborne Pest Management. “We might be getting an upper hand here,” he concluded.
In fact, the majority of PMPs (53 percent) believed swarming activity had declined due to the overall effectiveness of termite control products, found the survey. Products today kill termites, whereas they merely repelled them in the past, PMPs explained.
“I think the materials that are used have made a difference,” said Pilkington. “In our industry, being too good at what you do can cost you a customer.”
Steven Durieu, Senate Termite Control, does not believe improved products have impacted termite populations. “Everybody thought, we’re wiping the termites out. Well after the last two years, they’re just as strong as ever in my opinion,” said Durieu, who operates in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.
Weather boosted swarms in some parts of the country. “I think the moisture we had the year before really just made it one of the best years for termites. This has been our busiest termite year so far,” said Nick Madero, co-owner of Madero Pest Control.