Happy World Pest Day: celebrating the service that protects our way of life
Today most of us would have woken up relatively healthy, or at least free from insect-borne disease. We would have walked through a house that if not clean, was relatively clear of cockroaches and spiders scurrying along the floor and walls. We would open a pantry where packaging was intact and food was safe to eat, or maybe dropped into a cafe for our morning brew where, despite so much food in one place, we weren’t greeted by rats racing across the floor.
Protecting our clean and comfortable way of life is the thousands of pest control technicians dedicated to safeguarding our homes, businesses and health against the impacts of pests.
World Pest Day is our opportunity to look back on the evolutions and inventions in pest control, and celebrate the tens of thousands of pest control technicians who have a role in making our lifestyles possible.
What is World Pest Day?
While pest control has been around since at least 2500 B.C., World Pest Day is a much newer concept, with the inaugural ceremony on 6th June 2017.
Allstate has close ties to this all-important event. Originally hosted in Beijing by the Chinese Pest Control Association, the World Pest Day was co-sponsored by the Federation of Asian and Oceania Pest Managers’ Association – an organisation of which our very own CEO Vasili Tsoutouras has served as President.
A brief history of pest control
From flies pestering cavemen to rats invading grain stores, pests have troubled humans since the beginning of mankind. The first evidence of chemical pest control was documented relatively later in 2500 B.C., when the Mesopotamians used sulphur to prevent mites and insects invading their crops.
Chinese farmers led the next evolution with several inventions between 1200 and 300 B.C. This included botanical insecticides to treat seeds and prevent fungus, and using predatory ants to remove beetles and caterpillars from their citrus orchards. Another questionable technique they used was a mercury and arsenical compound to control body lice…fortunately modern day pest control is a lot safer!
The Romans also invented several pest control techniques, until the fall of the Roman Empire caused pest control science to go backward, and a great deal of disease outbreaks occur in the process. Most famous of all is the Bubonic Plague, but many other pest-borne diseases decimated Western Europe during the Middle Ages, including tuberculosis, leprosy and smallpox.
When the Renaissance brought science back to the mainstream, it brought many new pest control inventions along with it. People began experimenting with chemicals, herbs and arsenic to repel insects and other pests. This was complemented by mechanical technology, such as a flytrap and fleatrap in the 1700s, and the first lethal mousetrap in the late 1800s.
The first publicly advertised pest control company was founded in London in 1690. Called H. Tiffin and Son Ltd., their trademark was Bug Destroyers to Her Majesty and the Royal Family.
Cleaner, safer and smarter: the evolution of modern-day pest control
Since the second half of the 20th century, we have become more aware of the toxicity of certain chemicals to our health, followed by awareness of our impact on the environment around us. Pest control has followed suit, with industry leaders always looking for cleaner, less impactful and more humane ways to control pests.
With pest control forming such an important part of clean, safe and well functioning businesses, many industry leaders are also on a mission to find the most efficient and least disruptive way to manage pests in these environments.
At Allstate we have been stay at the forefront of these innovations, whether they are AI-powered rat traps or OvoControl as a zero-harm way to remove pest birds.
We’re also proud to have developed several solutions of our own through our PestSense brand, which helps our clients undertake pest control more conveniently and cost-effectively.
For us at Allstate, World Pest Day is an opportunity to reflect on our 37 years of evolution in the pest control industry, celebrate our wonderful team who keep homes and businesses safe, and thank our clients who give us the opportunity to do so.