What a difference a decade makes. When I first introduced my organic pest control services using solely botanical oils and dusts to treat insect infestations back in 2009, the typical looks I received from fellow pest management professionals ranged from bewilderment to shock. The comment I heard most frequently accompanied with a snicker was, “you can’t control insects using botanical oils!” The optimistic eight-year-old in me instantly knew I was onto to something big. After all, nature has been “naturally” protecting itself from insects since the dawn of time. The Venus flytrap is a great example of this. I simply sought out to harness nature’s ability to fight insects and began offering an eco-friendly approach to pest control for residential and commercial customers. I literally began fighting nature with nature and the word spread like wildfire. I went from one client to three thousand clients in the blink of an eye.
“THE CONSUMER IS DRIVING THE PEST CONTROL INDUSTRY TO PROVIDE A SOFTER, MORE ECO-FRIENDLY APPROACH”
Ten years later and the “organic” pest control industry is booming! A huge reason for this success is the rise of the health-conscious consumer in recent years. People want to know where the food they’re eating comes from, how it’s grown, the exact ingredients and chemical additives, and whether the food they are ingesting is organic. This explains the current popularity of large food stores like Trader Joes and Whole Foods; establishments that focus their line of products around whole-food and EPA-approved organic products. There has also been a rise in the popularity of fitness centers like Orange Theory and LA Fitness. These facts combined with the rise in health care have driven consumers to put their health first. So it only makes sense that these health-conscious consumers would want their home services like pest control, house cleaning, and lawn services, to be organic as well. As in most markets, the consumer is driving the pest control industry to provide softer, more eco-friendly approaches.
“THE BEST PART? WHEN MY SIX-MONTH-OLD SON, LEO, GROWS UP TO BE AN ADULT I CAN HAPPILY EXPLAIN TO HIM THAT DAD HAD A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT SO THAT HE CAN HAVE A HEALTHIER PLANET TO LIVE AND THRIVE IN.”
The rise of organic solutions in the pest control industry over the past ten years has been both astonishing, and dramatic, even for me and I was one of the first to introduce these services to the market. I’ve seen first-hand the shift in the mindset of consumers, and I firmly believe that there is a direct correlation between the popularity of organic food chains, fitness centers, and the rise of health care costs. I for one am very pleased that more consumers feel this way. Not only is this “green” paradigm shift a great thing for the environment and our health, but it’s also healthy for my bottom line as a proud eco-conscious business owner. Our 2018 sales outpaced the previous year’s sales by nearly 37%, and 2019 is already exceeding that pace. I predict an even bigger increase over the next ten years as more consumers enter the “organic” market and realize that there are companies like Arkadia in the pest management industry that provide a healthier choice when it comes to protecting their home and family from disease-spreading insects. The best part? When my six-month-old son, Leo, grows up to be an adult I can happily explain to him that dad had a positive impact on the environment so that he can have a healthier planet to live and thrive in. That’s a story that I look forward to telling—one that I’ll be tremendously proud to have a played a part in.
Mark is the Founder and CEO of Arkadia – Eco Pest Control in Randolph, NJ.