Bugs bug us. When we wake up to find a cockroach belly up on the tile floor, it reminds us that there are rent-free roommates who are scavenging for food in the middle of the night. But maybe you like them. Maybe you understand their role in the ecosystem and appreciate their contribution. From our research, you are in the minority. Most people really don’t like bugs.
In fact, if you have a bug or pest problem you need solved right away, you can find a list of the top local exterminators, just by adding your zip code.
With that in mind, our team at Pest Strategies decided to run a survey to assess which pest is the most hated in each state. To get this data, we surveyed 3,543 Americans and asked them to choose their most hated bug.
Here’s what we found:
It’s safe to say that Americans hate cockroaches more than any other insect with 29 states claiming it as the most despised pest. Bed Bugs (hated by 9 states), spiders (hated by 6 states), and mosquitos (hated by 4 states) are also common uninvited household pests.
Cockroaches were here when dinosaurs roamed the Earth -- but unlike prehistoric reptiles, cockroaches have survived hundreds of millions of years. Their resilience makes them a formidable foe as they can survive without food for a month, without water for two weeks and without a head for 7 days. Forget Godzilla and The Joker, how has Hollywood not made a summer blockbuster with a giant, radioactive, unhinged cockroach as the supervillain?
These nocturnal creatures can aggravate allergies and spread bacteria so no wonder we love to hate them. Yet, they aren’t the only pests that pester us.
#2 Bed Bugs
Next up is bed bugs. Bed bugs, though a common nuisance in NYC, play second fiddle to cockroaches in the Empire State but first place in Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. With its tentacles in the upper half of the US, bed bugs are natural tourists. They spread by hitchhiking in luggage and places with dense populations and travel destination hubs.
In third place are spiders. If you are looking to live a spider-free life, you’d need to either live in the ocean, at one of the poles or at the top of a very tall mountain. But in the US, spiders are unavoidable and according to the residents of Connecticut, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Utah, they are worse housemates than cockroaches.
Mosquitoes are the nuisance the residents of Iowa, Kansas, Montana and Pennsylvania say they most hate. Spiders don’t intentionally bite but female mosquitoes sure do. Our blood is their food and they need it to produce and develop eggs. They’ve existed for a long time though their lives are short. Like cockroaches, they’ve been here since the time of dinosaurs but their life span is actually only about two months.
#5 Honorable Mentions: Ticks and Centipedes
Some honorable mentions are ticks and centipedes. Ticks are most hated by Mainers and Hawaiians are not a fan of centipedes. Lyme disease, a harmful infectious disease that is caused by bacteria spread by deer ticks, can cause lifelong debilitating symptoms. No wonder the people of Maine are not having it. The tropical environment of Hawaii makes it a perfect place for centipedes to thrive. But watch out, these creepy crawlers are aggressive and potentially dangerous as their bite contains venom that can cause skin inflammation and even gangrene.
Cockroaches are hated twice as much as the next two pests, spiders and bed bugs, combined. Then take the next four, mosquitoes, ticks, wasps and centipedes, which together attract the same amount of disdain.
Scorpions, which are only found in the southwest region of the U.S., made the top ten despite their small geographic footprint. 2.6% of respondents said they were the pest they hate the most.
Next, we wanted to see if there was a difference between genders when it comes to their least favorite pest.
To be clear, cockroaches are enemy no. 1 for both women and men. We can all agree on that but then for second place, we have a difference in opinion. Men hate mosquitoes more and women hate bed bugs more. Then, for the third most hated pest, we agree again that spiders are awful.
We surveyed 3,543 Americans from February 25th, 2021 to March 5th, 2021, asking them to select their most hated pest from a list of 20 most common bugs found in the US: cockroaches, bed bugs, spiders, mosquitos, ticks, centipedes, wasps, fleas, scorpions, ants, termites, hornets, yellow jackets/bees, silverfish, house flies, crickets, fruit flies, gnats, cicadas, and beetles. The survey respondents were not limited to specific demographics. We had 1,721 women respond, 39 who preferred not to say their gender, and 1,783 men participate. We estimate the margin of error at 2%.
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