Homeowners Rank Bug Infestation Third-Worst Threat

Survey Shows Americans Fear Only Fire and Natural Disasters More Than Bug Infestations

ST. LOUIS--()--Americans fear bugs – big time. In fact, bug infestations rank just behind fires and natural disasters as one of the most dreaded threats to people’s homes, according to a recent national survey.

There’s good reason to fear these tiny forces of nature: Ninety-five percent of homeowners who responded to the survey said they’ve been the victim of a bug infestation.

And just one of those pests alone – the termite – strikes five times as many U.S. homes as fire and wreaks an estimated $5 billion in property damage every year. That’s more than the combined cost of destruction from tornadoes, hurricanes and windstorms.

Not surprisingly, the termite is America’s most feared insect foe, according to the survey, conducted for BASF Pest Control Solutions. As one third of all respondents said they would be afraid if termites came into their home, the termite is clearly seen as insect enemy No.1, followed by bed bugs (28 percent), bees and wasps (27 percent) and cockroaches (27 percent).

Three major fear factors drive the disgust for bugs: People are afraid they’ll be bitten, that their property will be damaged or that their food will be contaminated. These concerns and others compelled respondents to rank bug infestations as a greater threat than rodents or even floods.

“Insects attack silently, sometimes almost invisibly, which adds to people’s concern,” said Dr. Bob Davis, Chief Entomologist at BASF. “Unfortunately, by the time people realize they have a problem, the damage may already be done.”

When it comes to battling bugs, about half the respondents (58 percent) said they try to treat the problem themselves. But a majority (55 percent) admitted the do-it-yourself approach doesn’t always solve the problem.

“Homeowners who try to fix the problem themselves often end up with failure and frustration,” Davis said. “That’s because most people don’t know exactly what pest they are dealing with and how best to fight it. In fact, the most technologically advanced materials are not available to the general public.”

Licensed pest management professionals have access to these modern insect-fighting agents and are trained to handle them. Proper treatment also usually requires specific tools and techniques for inspection and application of the materials.

Some people seek professional help sooner than others, the survey showed.

About a third of respondents said calling a professional is the best way to deal with a bug infestation. That number grows considerably once self-treatment fails to solve the problem. More than 75 percent of homeowners in the survey said they turn to pest control professionals when the do-it-yourself approach fails.

Many insect problems can be prevented before they start, including infestations of America’s No. 1 pest enemy, termites. For more information about identifying termites, bug infestations or preventing and eradicating insects, consumers should visit termiteinstitute.com, antinstitute.com or saveastud.com

About the Survey

The survey was conducted among 717 homeowners identified in a national probability sample of 1002 adults 18 years of age and older living in private households in the continental United States. Interviews for this survey were conducted by Opinion Research Corporation from April 30 to May 3, 2009. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent.

About the Crop Protection division

With sales of € 3.4 billion in 2008, BASF’s Crop Protection division is a leader in crop protection and a strong partner to the farming industry providing well-established and innovative fungicides, insecticides and herbicides. Farmers use these products and services to improve crop yields and crop quality. Other uses include public health, structural/urban pest control, turf and ornamental plants, vegetation management, and forestry. BASF aims to turn knowledge rapidly into market success. The vision of BASF’s Crop Protection division is to be the world’s leading innovator, optimizing agricultural production, improving nutrition, and thus enhancing the quality of life for a growing world population. Further information can be found on the web at www.agro.basf.com.

BASF - The Chemical Company. We don't make a lot of the products you buy. We make a lot of the products you buy better.®

BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has more than 15,000 employees in North America, and had sales of approximately $17.5 billion in 2008. For more information about BASF’s North American operations, or to sign up to receive news releases by e-mail, visit www.basf.com/usa.

BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics and performance products to agricultural products, fine chemicals, as well as oil and gas. As a reliable partner, BASF helps its customers in virtually all industries to be more successful. With its high-value products and intelligent solutions, BASF plays an important role in finding answers to global challenges, such as climate protection, energy efficiency, nutrition and mobility. BASF has approximately 97,000 employees and posted sales of more than €62 billion in 2008. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN). Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com.

© 2009 BASF Corporation. All rights reserved.

Contacts

Padilla Speer Beardsley
on behalf of BASF
John Anderson, 612-455-1756
janderson@psbpr.com
or
Padilla Speer Beardsley
on behalf of BASF
Kimberly Huston, 612-455-1704
khuston@psbpr.com

Contacts

Padilla Speer Beardsley
on behalf of BASF
John Anderson, 612-455-1756
janderson@psbpr.com
or
Padilla Speer Beardsley
on behalf of BASF
Kimberly Huston, 612-455-1704
khuston@psbpr.com