What Can We Learn From the Top 5 Minnesota Pest Searches?
Information Captured 5/10/21
Using Google Trends (https://trends.google.com/trends/?geo=US) we took a look at Minnesota’s Google search volume of 11 different pests to narrow down the top 5 most searched pests in Minnesota. We will be breaking down the takeaways from each pest that made this list.
“Mouse” is Minnesota’s number one most searched pest in the past year, but not without some help. Mouse searches are undoubtedly boosted by searches for “Mickey Mouse”, computer mouse devices, and by people who keep mice as pets (not a very common pet, but still has an impact). Despite these boosts to search volume, this doesn’t mean that mice don’t belong in the top 5 pests of Minnesota. After all, they are one of the most common and persistent pests.
In tallying up a year’s worth of pest searches, not only is the total impacted by how common a pest is, but it is also impacted by a pest’s ability to cause problems all year long instead of just during particular seasons. That certainly describes the mouse. Mice can enter homes and businesses during the warmer months when they are able to breed and multiply very easily outside, but they also cause issues during the colder months. Cold weather forces mice inside because they can’t regulate their body temperature very well and structures are able to provide mice with food when it’s even harder to find outside.
The second most searched pest in the past year was the spider. Spiders are another very common pest in Minnesota and even though they are more active during warmer months, they are also less seasonal than other pests and can be found inside during the winter. They are commonly found leaving webs inside and outside of homes which makes them an especially visible pest because you can see webs even if the spider is no longer there. These webs are commonly found in basements, areas with high moisture, and areas where they can be undisturbed. Seasonal housing such as cabins or summer homes are also susceptible to large amounts of spider activity.
The spider is also helped into this position by its creepy appearance. The eight, long legs, eight eyes, and the size of spiders is more than enough to creep people out. Most people can recall a time when they’ve had a horror movie-esque jump scare after seeing a spider while showering, laying in bed, or going into a basement. They certainly have a reputation!
Rats are the third most searched pest in Minnesota. Like the mouse, rats get a small boost in searches for being a pet, but they get an even bigger boost because people commonly mistake rats as mice (and vice versa) or use the names interchangeably. That’s not to say that rats aren’t in Minnesota. They are just much less common than mice.
When looking at the two, rats typically have longer, hairless tails where mice have thinner tails with small hairs. Rats are also typically bigger than mice. Understandably, they can be hard to tell apart. Oftentimes they will run away before you can fully realize what you saw. If you don’t know whether you saw rats or mice, someone at Adam’s would be happy to assist you.
Ants are another frequent pest in Minnesota, and they can cause damage in various ways. Depending on the type, ants can bore into wood, contaminate food or other surfaces, and they are overall a nuisance that can be hard to handle on your own. Ants are typically more of a seasonal pest, but what is interesting is that they can sometimes remain active through the winter. If the cold weather pushes them into your temperature controlled home, they have the ability to continue on with life as normal. This is, in part, reflected by how Google searches for ants never really dip that low even in the colder months.
What likely increases the volume of searches as well is that there are many different types of ants in Minnesota and across the globe. In Minnesota, we have ants such as carpenter ants, pavement ants, odorous house ants, pharaoh ants, cornfield ants, the list goes on and on. The sheer amount of ants and different ant species means that they are found in different habitats and cause different pest issues depending on the type of ant.
Bed bugs round out the list at #5. They are a big pest issue as well in the state of Minnesota, but the search volume is also likely boosted by people’s fear of the pest and the scenarios in which people get bed bugs. Bed bugs are very good hitchhikers and individuals can get them while traveling, from a neighboring apartment, taking in used clothes or beds, etc. The uncertainty with travel or purchasing used furniture combined with the nature of how they feed on blood while you sleep make bed bugs the subject of anxiety for those who have them and those who are trying to avoid them. The very nature of the pest sounds like something out of a horror movie.
This is a good reminder to be diligent when you travel even if a lot of the travel industry has strong bed bug procedures and prevention. You should check your bed for bed bugs before you unpack, keep your clothes on the luggage rack, and throw your clothes in the drier when you return. Always seek the assistance of a pest control company if you have bed bugs. Many DIY methods are ineffective and some can even be dangerous. The longer you wait with bed bugs, the harder the issue can be to solve.