Whether we like it or not, we are constantly thinking about pests: How to get rid of them, how to keep them outside the house, how many our kids have eaten, etc. But which pests consume our thoughts the most? Research shows that, among other things, it depends on the time of year and where you live.
Using Google Trends, we dug into the search results of six major pest types and found that location plays a big role in which pest-type people search for. Check out the map above.
While ants and spiders take up a good portion of the United States, rodents seem to be more of an issue in Maine and New Hampshire while fleas are a concern in the south and cockroaches consume a large portion of search results in Hawaii.
Alaska is infamous for its mosquito presence, so it should come as no surprise that its residents search more heavily in favor of the flying pests. States along the Gulf Coast like Texas and Louisiana have high search results for mosquitoes, while states like Minnesota near the Great Lakes are also interested in the pests. According to some reports, mosquito activity in California has significantly increased, which could explain why the Golden State is gray on our map.
Breaking down the data even further, we created heat maps for each pest type to determine just how popular they are in each state.
This pest is by far the most infamous among Americans. Only Alaska showed little search interest in ants, possibly because they have other pests to worry about (we’ll get to that later). Maine and Hawaii have the highest search interest in ants. Some common ants found in Maine include the carpenter ant, pharaoh ant, fire ant, and pavement ant.
Arachnids are the second-most searched pest type in our research. The northwest tends to have more search interest, specifically in Idaho and Montana while the south and some of the northeast don’t show much interest at all. Some of the most commonly searched spider types include the brown recluse, the wolf spider, and the huntsman spider. Surprisingly, in the last 12 months, Google Trends shows very little search interest in black widows across the United States.
Everyone hates dealing with mosquitoes in the summer, but no state deals with mosquitoes more than Alaska. Alaskans jokingly call mosquitoes the state bird. Californians have been dealing with an invasion of the aedes mosquito in many counties. Southern states also show high interest in mosquitoes, likely because of their proximity to the Gulf of Mexico which is the source of a high volume of mosquitoes.
If you have pets, you have probably dealt with or worried about fleas at some point. Fleas are attracted to your pets, and if your pets come inside the house fleas will hitch a ride. They are a year-round pest in warmer states and emerge in the summer in the northern US. This explains why southern states show a high search interest than other states.
By far, Maine and other nearby northeastern states show the highest search interest in rodents. Common rodent pests in Maine include house mice, roof rats and Norway rats. Other states like Washington, Oregon, Utah, and New Mexico have shown an above average search interest in rodents. House mice are by far the most searched rodent-type in the US, followed by roof rats, deer mice, and Norway rats.
While the map may make it seem like the entire country shows little search interest in cockroaches, Hawaii skews the numbers. The results are based on a curve, and The Aloha State has such an abnormally high interest in cockroaches that it dwarves the rest of the country. Hawaii is home to the American cockroach, the German cockroach, and the brown-banded cockroach. California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Florida also have above average search interest in cockroaches.
Pest interest over time
Looking back over a four-year span, it’s clear that search interest for ants, spiders, mosquitoes, fleas, and cockroaches spike in the warmer months of summer. However, with most interest in cockroaches originating from Hawaii where the weather is warm year-round it makes sense there isn’t as much of a discrepancy. Rodents generate a search interest that doesn’t fluctuate much throughout the year. In other words, rodents can be a year-round nuisance and it doesn’t matter how warm it is outside.
There are a lot we can take away from this research, but in the end all Americans deal with pests of some sort. Aptive Environmental can help. Let us handle the pests so you can more easily enjoy your home.