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UK pest control market to boom thanks to record wet weather

Industry Sector

Business Services


27 September 2012


Matt Bodimeade

Type of News


The total value of the UK pest control market is now over £300 million, having grown at a rate of over 4% per year, in spite of the turbulent economic climate of recent years.

Market growth has come from a combination of growth in the number of relevant premises to be kept free of pests, greater penetration of contracts and adoption of higher service levels, as well as price increases.

The market is split between the service side, where consumers contract specialist pest control companies to deal with a particular problem, and the DIY consumer side, where products are purchased for use by the householder. There is inevitably a degree of overlap between these two areas, with domestic customers often able to buy 'professional' pest control products direct from pest control companies for home use, rather than buying from a conventional retail outlet such as a garden centre, DIY shop or hardware store.

Recent government austerity measures and local authority cuts have caused public health pest control services to be significantly affected. Many services are under threat from future cutbacks. In most cases these cuts have already been felt in terms of pest control staffing and services, having a knock- on effect on response times, pest infestations and control.

Until recently, the overwhelming majority of local authorities provided pest control services in-house as part of their core public health responsibilities. Approximately 80% of authorities are still providing some form of pest control service either in-house or, more commonly, contracted out. However there are almost 20% of local authorities which have decided to discontinue their services due to the current austerity measures and changes to local authority financial models.

Overall Greater London has the most pest control operators per square kilometre and per one thousand people, and more pest control operators than the whole of Wales and Scotland put together.

The record wet weather and flooding in many parts of the UK recently has given manufacturers renewed marketing impetus with the increase in sightings of rats and cockroaches as drains and sewers have filled up.

Rat treatments equated to 42% of all pest services in the UK. Rats are more common in built-up and urban areas, so there is no great surprise that there were 23,203 rat treatments undertaken by the authorities in the whole of Greater London. However this is low in comparison to Birmingham City Council who reported 31,104 rat treatments, making Birmingham the 'rat control capital' of the UK.

While the UK pest control market is not particularly cyclical, an improving macroeconomic outlook is welcome especially to the extent that it supports recovery in construction activity in key customer segments and hence demand for pest control services. A risk for the industry is that, if the recession becomes more drawn out, construction of new premises such as hotels and office space might slip back.

For more information on the UK pest control market, see the latest research: UK Pest Control Market

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