Henrik Møller Jørgensen
Henrik is a Global Analyst for Household Products; conducting research, leveraging his extensive knowledge and creating reports and customised client serveys for Mintel.

Spurred by climate change and by international travel and trade, disease-bearing insects are spreading to wider parts of the world. Global warming is creating new habitats for disease-transmitting insects in temperate climate zones and at higher latitudes, while they flourish in warmer climate zones. This creates a rising need for insect killers and repellents globally.

Disease-bearing mosquitos spread far and wide

Spurred by climate change and by international travel and trade, disease-bearing insects are spreading to wider parts of the world.

Mosquitoes spread several viruses, including dengue, chikungunya, zika, west Nile and yellow fever. They thrive in urban settings, due to a lack of natural predators and the ready availability of food and habitats in which to procreate. The accelerated movement to some European countries and North America poses an alarming problem for public health.

The increased risk of mosquito-borne disease in a warmer, wetter world is also global concern for health authorities. While a changing climate may contribute to more mosquito-borne diseases, human movement around the world is likely to play an important role.

Global warming speeds up insect procreation

Unlike mammals and birds, insects heat up or chill as their environment does. As an insect warms, its metabolism speeds up. The faster it burns energy, the more ravenously the insects feed and the sooner it reproduces. Tropical insects are often already near the ceiling of their temperature tolerance, where an insect must cope with so much heat that reproduction rates falter. In cooler temperate zones, insects have much more leeway to reproduce faster.

Ticks could well be the biggest global health threat; a fact overlooked by most marketers of insect killers or repellents, especially outside North America.

Global spread of mosquitos and ticks and availability of repellents

Dominant or potential mosquitoes capable of transmitting infectious diseases are present in all areas globally, except for extreme cold regions or deserts. Most insect killers and personal repellents marketed globally target mosquitoes, regardless of region or type of product, which is in-line with the presence of disease-spreading insects.

Lyme disease, a bacterial infection transmitted by ticks, that exists in North America, Europe and parts of Asia  is a viral infection that causes influenza-like symptoms and occurs in parts of Europe and Asia.

Tick-borne spotted fever is caused by ticks infected with Rickettsia bacteria that causes black tissue and has a worldwide presence. The virus that causes Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever is transmitted by ticks in Southern and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Africa, SE Asia and the Middle East.

Ticks could well be the biggest global health threat as one tick often carries more than one pathogen and are currently spreading fast; a fact overlooked by most marketers of insect killers or repellents, especially outside North America.

Personal insect repellents that protect against ticks are more widely available, however have untapped opportunities in Asia.

What we think

Most people encounter problems with insects at some point during the year, especially flying insects such as mosquitoes. Worries about the negative health consequences of rising insect populations can be used to market insect killers and repellents and boost sales.

Many are unaware that ticks can pose an even greater threat to health than mosquitoes, as ticks can cause a multitude of disabling chronic diseases. Products that protect people and property against tick invasions represent a white space in most markets.