SOURCE: Terminix International

Terminix International

April 18, 2016 08:00 ET

Survey Finds Pests Are More Frightening Than Zombies, Tornadoes or a Celebrity Presidential Candidate

Critters Said to Cause Breakups and Nightmares in New Data From Terminix

MEMPHIS, TN--(Marketwired - April 18, 2016) -  Ninety-three percent of Americans are afraid of pests, with many even experiencing nightmares about them, according to a new survey from the pest control company Terminix®. Though dangerous encounters with household terrors like spiders, cockroaches and mice may seem far-fetched, the threat is more real than many people think. Especially because nearly six in 10 homeowners (59 percent) admit they're cohabitating with one or more pests right now.

"Unfortunately, pests are a natural part of life and owning a home," said Dr. Stanton Cope, directory of entomology and regulatory services at Terminix. "But one little mouse or spider could lead to a larger infestation, significant home damage or even health problems. If you're concerned about pest invasions, calling in a pest control professional is the most effective way to curb the problem."

Terminix partnered with Kelton Global to survey more than 1,000 homeowners ages 18 and over to expose their biggest fears about pests. The results revealed that homeowners are not only terrified of various critters, but are also unprepared to deal with them. In fact, 21 percent of millennials say they've considered moving just because they spotted a pest.

Other key findings include: 

  • Critter infestations trump other common fears. More than one-third (36 percent) of respondents said they fear pests invading their home-nearly as many as those who fear their home being damaged by a natural disaster (40 percent). In fact, a pest invasion is a scary threat for more homeowners than public speaking (32 percent), global warming (26 percent) or a celebrity reality star running for president (25 percent).
  • A single pest can be a relationship deal-breaker. One-quarter of female homeowners said they would stop dating someone whose home had even one cockroach-and three percent say they've actually called it quits after seeing a critter. To put it in perspective, fewer would consider conflicting political views (17 percent), terrible style (13 percent), or a lack of a college degree (7 percent) to be worthy of a breakup.
  • Even the toughest people fear pests. Ironically, those who consider themselves "brave" are more likely than those who don't to have a fear of pests invading their home (44 percent vs. 32 percent). Scorpions ranked as the pest most homeowners are scared of, with 65 percent of people reporting a fear-followed by rats (55 percent), bed bugs (54 percent), bees/wasps (51 percent) and spiders (49 percent).
  • Spiders are scarier than the undead. The majority of homeowners agree it would be more terrifying to spend the night in a house filled with spiders than to encounter a zombie (69 percent). Speaking of deadly, 61 percent would be more scared of rats infesting their home than an approaching tornado.
  • Pests are keeping people up at night. Twenty-seven percent of homeowners say they've lost sleep after seeing a pest in their home. Pests have caused nightmares for 57 percent of people, with spiders being the most popular villain.

Despite these fears, the survey shows homeowners aren't leveraging the most effective methods to eliminate or prevent pest infestations. For example, close to a quarter (22 percent) admit their go-to weapon to fight against pests is a shoe.

For a safer, more powerful solution to a pest problem, homeowners can find relief with services from Terminix.

Terminix's Ultimate Protection® Package offers homeowners guaranteed protection against pest and termite threats to achieve better peace of mind. Homes that qualify for the Ultimate Protection Package receive regular interior and exterior pest treatments to eliminate current critters, and keep insects like ants, cockroaches and spiders out. A service technician will also perform annual inspections to monitor for termite activity. If termite activity or damage is ever detected while under the plan, the home will be treated and the damage repair costs covered by Terminix.

About Terminix ®
Terminix is the leading provider of termite and pest control services in the United States. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., Terminix services approximately 2.8 million residential and commercial customers in 47 states and 22 countries. Terminix provides pest control services and protection against termites, rodents and other pests threatening human health and/or safety. Terminix is a business unit of ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SERV), a leading provider of essential residential and commercial services. To learn more about Terminix, visit

About ServiceMaster ®

ServiceMaster (NYSE: SERV) solves the homeowner's dilemma. Every day, we visit more than 75,000 homes and businesses through our extensive service network of expert professionals. Technology powers our trusted experts to engage with customers so they can order, buy and receive services when, where and how they want them. Our well-recognized brands includes American Home Shield (home warranties), AmeriSpec (home inspections), Furniture Medic (furniture repair), Merry Maids (residential cleaning), ServiceMaster Clean (janitorial and residential floor cleaning), ServiceMaster Restore (disaster restoration) and Terminix (termite and pest control). Like, follow or visit us at,,, or

About Kelton Global

Kelton Global is a leading global insights firm serving as a partner to more than 100 of the Fortune 500 and thousands of smaller companies and organizations. Utilizing a wide range of customized, innovative research techniques and staff expertise in marketing, branding, PR, media, and business strategy, Kelton helps drive our clients' businesses forward. For more information about Kelton Global please call 1.888.8.KELTON or visit

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