|The Pest Control Logo Review
| Pest control has always been a bit of an affront to my sensibilities, as everything society deems
"vermin" tends to be somewhere in my top 50 most beloved animals of all time, and the very concept
of a "pest" is hypocritical. We like to think that rats and cockroaches are degenerate, primitive
life-forms because they thrive on the same diet and environment as ourselves...which makes us what,
Add to that the overall deceitfulness of the bigger businesses, and you have yourself an industry as
questionable as the fictitious "big tobacco". Many pesticide manufacturers knowingly sell short-term
solutions with long term environmental impact, eliminate beneficial predators (natural competition for
their services), and know damn well that their products are only breeding more aggressive, more
resilient insects and rodents. Still, all soapboxes aside, your local pest service is more than likely
comprised of honest, hard-working individuals who have nothing at all do with the scum and villainy of
retail pest management, and it is not uncommon for an exterminator to be a naturalist or
Either way, there has always been one by-product of the bug business that I can appreciate, and that
is the rich characterization and often outstanding creativity prevalent throughout their logos, mascots
and magazine advertisements; a world where silverfish, carpet beetles and boll weevils become
cackling hobgoblins hell-bent on making our lives miserable.
The following are some of my favorite pest-control mascots gleaned from countless Google image
searches or sent to me by other people. Unfortunately, I could not always find their source, and I
honestly have no idea what companies some of these represent. If anyone can send me further
information on the origins of these masterpieces, please drop me an e-mail.
I like the almost postmodern style to this particular logo, reminiscent of certain Polish
movie posters. It's especially interesting how the "bug" itself is "all in one", a veritable
chimera of insect and arachnid traits, and that the word "in" is literally "in one". That's a
lot of subtle symbolism for a pest control logo.
Though plain and assembled in some sort of paint program with minimal effort, I like
that the spider in this logo is portrayed as a friend and ally to the pest control business,
even giving Jeff its personal approval for their common lifestyle of killing ants and flies
to sustain themselves.
This is one of those sugar-coated logos contrived to distract customers from the
gruesome reality of what they're really paying for. Arnie, you twisted little traitor...what
are they offering you? Money? Women? Old tuna cans with a little bit of dried up tuna
on the bottom? At least you're nicely drawn and colored.
...And on the opposite end of the spectrum is this truly chilling logo that makes no
attempt to soften its message. I can appreciate this kind of honesty, though I'd be
curious to know what kind of psychological impact it might have on consumers. Who's
really going to call these Orange County guys when they could just call the Peachtree
guys, secure in the fantasy that "Arnie" will lead Mr. Orange Centipede off to orange
Another logo acknowledging the beneficial nature of backyard predators, but with a lot
more pizazz than Jeff and his arachnid pal. What could possibly personify a "pest
control club" better than a club-wielding mantis? First they get the wallop of a lifetime,
then they're ensnared by the spiny forelegs and eaten alive.
The insect world is lucky that Mantodea don't really have opposable thumbs.
This isn't actually a logo for a pest control company, but stock art on the front page of a
pest control company directory. An online phone-book of entomologic destruction. Now,
I've always enjoyed the aesthetics of gas masks, and this guy reminds me a lot of the
mutant soldiers from Ralph Bakshi's "Wizards", but all I can really do is ponder what that
is on his pesticide tank. It almost looks like Opus, or one of those pom-poms with the
sticky feet that people decorate refrigerators with. How I can get both of those out of the
same symbol, I do not know.
Another violent one, but slightly less contained than Orange County's, if you get what
I'm saying. The alignment of the giant foot with the "X" is its most distinguishing feature,
and the "generic monstrous bug" is fairly decent as far as generic, monstrous bugs go,
but there's something about this one that just doesn't jump out at me like it should. I
wish that insects grew that large.
This is a really cool drawing from the "Jones Brothers" on-line ad, with detailed and
immediately recognizable insects taking to the streets in search of a new home. The
hopelessness in their eyes is most effective, and I especially like the weary weevil in the
center. I'd love to see these guys as the stars of a CG insect movie, but there's already
like a hundred thousand million (five at the time of this writing) CG insect movies. We
wouldn't want the concept to stop being original, would we?
For the life of me, I can't remember where I found this particular image...but what a
scene! An apocalyptic show-down between the world's largest termite and the world's
largest...sort of... anthropomorphic baited termite trap. Not sure how this battle is really
supposed to work, since the termite is hardly going to eat poisoned wood that a giant
nail is throwing at it. I love how the termite has taken an entire house hostage, with a
baffled couple screaming at eachother in the windows.
I've seen this picture advertising more than one unrelated product, so I'm not sure
precisely where it originates, but it's definitely the coolest anti-flea insignia I have ever
seen! This snaggly-fanged parasite knows you don't want him around, but couldn't
possibly be any more indignant about it. "You and what army?", he seems to say. "Kill
me, and a thousand more will take my place!". I wish he were available as a stuffed toy.
Of honorable mention is another flea displayed on a number of veterinary websites.
This isn't really a pest control logo, but an illustration off the flea and tick section of
"myvetonline.com". Still, it can sort of be considered a part of the pest control industry,
and I feel the need to show it for its neat sense of stylization. Though they share
roughly the same shape, the tick has four limbs, a single contour indicating a flattened
body, and a pointed snout representing the tick's stabbing and drilling mouthparts. The
flea, however, is clearly an insect, and its "beak" parallels the facial barbs used by the
Siphonaptera to anchor themselves in flesh.
This, too, is not at all an ad for pest control but an educational poster on the dangers of
invasive species. It is also the most wicked-awesome poster I have ever seen, and I'm
dying to find out where I can get one. Unfortunately, all I find online are varying scans of
it with no indication of where they actually come from. I also have yet to find one large
enough to read the additional text.
|One giant awesome
This coupon I received in my usual junk mail features a no-good punk gang of
delightfully scuzzy little critters in a blatant but well-crafted imitation of the legendary
"RAID" mascots. This is actually a very common piece of public-domain stock art, which
I've even seen on packages of bug-themed candy. All four bugs are interesting in their
own ways, but the one in front is just so incredibly ghastly and maniacal...an awesome
mascot all on his own.
Wow, nice effort. Steal the trademark "RAID" cockroach and add your name in
photoshop. Not only is this boring, but the company website is loaded with inaccurate,
exaggerated scare tactics about the dangers of un-checked pests. According to Trump,
rats and mice will attack your children and transmit a variety of dangerous diseases.
What they fail to mention is that rodents bite only when physically caught (something
few children would be quick enough to pull off) and that there is no disease a rat or
mouse can transmit by biting...no, not even rabies. Rodent-borne illnesses are out
there, yes, but you're more likely to bitten by a shark than contract one at all, much less
a life-threatening case, and the likelihood is the same whether or not you have rodents
in the home. Nice try, Trump, but you're not saving anyone from Hantavirus anytime
soon. Now, let's move on to the real deal!
The poorly-resized drawing in this website header is unnecessarily brutal, and not in a
fun way like Orange County. Just look at that soulless, nonchalant smile on the
exterminator's face as he prepares to fumigate the helpless creature squirming
desperately in his steely grip...his dead eyes seeing not a six-foot insect, but perhaps
the face of his own abusive father.
Tragic, but not as tragic as the overall composition of this image. The text is too big,
and it awkwardly crowds an image that is too small.
...The company that started it all, Raid has been in business since the late 1950's and
invented the very concept of cute-but-creepy pest control mascots. Their earliest "Kills
Bugs Dead!" commercials were produced by legendary "Looney Tunes" cartoonist Tex
Avery, with bug characters designed by artist Don Pegler. Though the style has evolved
heavily over the years, it continues to personify the common layman's view of insect life:
a rambunctious, unhygienic underworld of nondescript, hairy little gremlins who feed
defiantly on the leftovers of Human society. Household freeloaders of every sort have
been given the RAID treatment, but my personal favorite would have to be the ants in
one particular TV spot drawn in the style of egyptian hieroglyphics, complete with a