The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many pest management firms to re-prioritize their services. Indoor services have primarily focused only on public health pests such as cockroaches, rodents and bed bugs. Firms are looking to the great outdoors — mosquitoes, fleas and ticks — to keep the revenue going and the protection strong.

As the National Pest Management Association’s Dr. Jim Fredericks reiterates in this month’s “Callback Cures” that as of now, there is no proof that mosquitoes, ticks, rodents or other pests can transmit the COVID-19 virus. But there is plenty of research that shows urban pests can cause other public health issues.

For society, professional pest management means so much more than merely eliminating spiders for the arachnophobic or preventing termites from ravaging a structure, although those are important tasks, too. It means protecting the public from mosquitoes transmitting West Nile virus, from rodent droppings contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria, from cockroaches aggravating those with allergy and respiratory issues — just to name a few.

As I type this, the pandemic curve is flattening and our industry may soon once again focus on its full scope of services. I welcome our return to the mundane — and the chance to observe May as National Lyme Disease Awareness Month. I also find strength in knowing that this industry has truly earned its status of “protectors of public health.”

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