Pests of all shapes and sizes

Various pests and solutions we provide

Locating wasp nests

If you are constantly being harassed by wasps when out in your garden, you most likely have a nest close by or there is a food source that scout wasps have found and have relayed the position of it back to the nest. Wasps will seek out sweet foods and dead flesh. Lyme and Oak trees are also potential problems as their sap is very sweet.

Wasps do swarm feed, so if a foraging wasp has found a source of food, it will go back to the nest to recruit other wasps to join in feeding. In a very short space of time one wasp can become hundreds.

To possibly help reduce wasps from your garden, identify any potential problems, such as sweet foods laying around, or dead flesh in bins. Wasps will also look for dead wood as a source for nesting material. If you have lots of wasps stripping wood from fence panels or shed walls and they are becoming a problem, treat the affected area with Cuprinol.

If you are certain that a nest is present, standing and observing for a few minutes will help establish the flight lines and determine where the main activity is concentrated, which is most likely where the nest will be located.

Do wasps build nests indoors?

If you are finding wasps inside your house on a daily basis, there is a chance that you may have a wasp nest inside. Very often wasps find their way into a house from the loft space through small gaps and cracks in cupboards. Wasps are also attracted to “Down lights. Wasps are attracted to the light and fall through the small gap between the light bulb and the metal casing.

Wasp Nest Underground

Locating wasp nests in the ground is slightly more difficult. Reason being is that the hole is potentially partially covered or camouflaged with leaves and other ground debris. A few examples of other places where wasps are likely to nest are: old compost heaps/bins, garden walls, under deformed tiles on roofs, kids’ playhouses, holes in trees, under patio slabs, bird boxes, coal bunkers, air bricks, wall cavities etc.

Common Wasps

English wasps (Vespa Vulgaris) also known as the common wasp, generally build their nests inside something, this can be a roof space/loft, garden shed, inside an air brick or even in the ground. It is very common to find common wasp nests in disused vole and rabbit burrows. Wasps will build their nests anywhere that they deem suitable, where it is protected from the elements and undisturbed.

At the end of the year when the frosts arrive, any fruit that has been edible starts to perish quickly and as human activity changes, wasps start to starve as food becomes increasingly hard to find. Wasps need food with a high energy (sugar) content to maintain flight. Flying takes a lot of energy. As the food sources disappear, the adult worker wasps start to die off.

The new queen wasps will already be in hibernation by this time, ready to emerge and start the whole process again in the spring. These new queen wasps build a brand new nest and the whole process starts again. Nests from previous years are never re-used.

German Wasps

German Wasps (Vespula Germanica) also known as the European wasp are slightly larger than the English wasp and they build their nests in bushes, trees and hedgerows and at a first glance the nest resembles a grey football. The nest itself is made in exactly the same way as the common wasp nest, using chewed wood and saliva to make a paper maché material. The nest material is strong, lightweight and surprisingly waterproof.

Rodents are a major pest due to the disease they carry and transmit as well as the damage they cause. 1 in 15 food premises are rat infested, higher still for mice. All rodents must gnaw regularly to keep their continually growing incisor teeth at a manageable length. They live in colonies of extended families and are capable of rapid reproduction. Rodents usually feed at night and consume up to 10% of their body weight daily. It is also common to see them collecting food during the day.

Damage and Food Contamination by Rodents

Damage is caused by gnawing woodwork, pipes, wires and an endless variety of stored commodities from paper to soap. Gnawed electrical wires cause power failures and fires. Burrowing often causes subsidence in roads, pavements and buildings. Contamination accounts for 15% of worldwide food loss annually. It may take the form of partially eaten materials, ripped packaging and spillage as well as the presence of urine, rodent hairs, droppings and smell.

Disease Carried by Rodents

Weils Disease or Leptospiral Jaundice is a rat borne disease. The bacteria causing it lives in the rat’s kidneys and is transferred in the urine. They pass it onto the new host through cuts, by swallowing infected water or consuming urine soaked materials. 60% of British rats carry the bacteria. “Rat Bite Fever” may be contracted if bitten by a rat. Brucellosis Salmonellosis (food poisoning) and the plague are other examples. Salmonellosis bacteria can be transferred on the animals feet or in their droppings. Plague (Pasteurella bacteria) is normally transmitted by rodent parasites such as fleas, when they bite other animals.

Prevention of Prosecution

Under the Prevention of Damage by Pests, it is an offence to knowingly harbour rodents in any premises and you can be prosecuted.

Common Species of Rat

Brown Rat (Rattus Norvegicus)

This is the most abundant of the three common rodent pests in the UK, and can be found anywhere where there is food, water and shelter. It is the species found breeding in rivers, fields, buildings and sewers. They like to feed under cover.

A rapid breeder with 3-6 litters per year of a litter size of 8, they are sexually mature at 10-12 weeks. Signs of activity include well marked travelling routes, gnawing marks and greasy smears left on walls, pipes and around floor joists. They are neophobic and therefore cautious about new objects and food sources.

Black Rat (Rattus Rattus)

This rat is now rare in this country and most commonly confined to shipping ports and coastal areas. Also known as the ship rat, it is historically infamous as the carrier of the plague flea. Smaller and more agile than the Brown rat, it is equally omnivorous with a preference for fruit and spice.

House Mouse (Mus Domesticus)

Living mainly indoors, mice are difficult to exclude as they squeeze through gaps as small as 7mm (approximately the diameter of a pencil!). Omnivorous feeders but preferring cereals and nuts, water is not vital as they derive moisture from the food they consume.

Mole Removal Techniques

Moles clearly experience pain. Unlike insects which can generally be killed in any way, it is important that they are dealt with humanely. This is one of the reasons why it is important to call in pest control experts when you have a problem with moles. We know all of the best and least painful ways to tackle mole removal issues, ensuring minimal pain for the moles.

Trapping

The other reason why to call in a pest control expert to handle your mole removal problem is that they are very difficult to trap. There are a number of ways of performing mole control procedures, all of them requiring some level of skill. The problem is quite obvious of course, in that they live underground, and they will escape to at the first sight of danger.

One of the techniques used in mole removal is the mole trap. This obviously requires a lot of patience. It also requires skill and experience to be able to set them up correctly, in such a way that moles will be attracted to it. Once the moles are caught, they will then be dealt with humanely.

Mole Prevention

Unfortunately there isn’t an awful lot you can do to avoid getting a mole problem. They tend to be more attracted to wet soil, which is why they tend to increase in number during wetter periods, but there isn’t anything you can do about that.

There is a theory that vibrations keep them away. You can purchase sonic devices which you stick into the ground, and they let off vibrations which are supposed to discourage moles. However, it has not been proved that they work.

Squirrels look harmless. And indeed they are. At least, they’re mostly harmless. They can be extremely annoying however, and can cause damage if they get into your loft space. They can also cause a lot of damage in your garden, not only from digging holes to store food in your lawn, but by stripping back trees for their nests, resulting in trees dying. There are a number of techniques to deal with squirrels, most of them preventative rather than aggressive.

Red vs Grey

There are two types of squirrels in the UK, grey and red. You’ll be lucky to see a red squirrel. They are very rare, and consequently are now a protected species. They can be deterred in the same way that grey squirrels can be deterred, but they cannot be killed. This is why it is a bad idea to put out squirrel traps yourself to get grey squirrels, as you might end up getting a red squirrel instead and be in legal trouble.

Squirrel Damage

Children often enjoy watching squirrels running along branches, chewing on nuts, leaping here and there. Some adults do as well. Others, however, see them more like rats in fur coats, and can’t stand them. Whatever the case, there are certain situations in which squirrels can be a real pain. For instance, while they might be okay to watch from a distance, you definitely wouldn’t want one in your loft. They will likely form a nest out of plasterboard, woodwork and insulation from around electrical wiring. This can cause serious problems. If you hear noises in your loft, it is best to call in pest control experts as soon as possible. Even if it isn’t a squirrel, it will probably be something else you’d rather not have in your home, like a mouse or a rat.

Squirrel Control

So assuming you do have a problem with squirrels, what can be done about it?

Well, if the problem is in the garden, they may well be getting their food from a bird table or nut feeder. Therefore, to get them to leave and not come back, either takes these things away, or put up guards against squirrels. If the squirrels are getting into your loft, it will require a bit more work. There maybe a gap that they are getting through or perhaps a tile which needs to be replaced. Other sorts of entry points can be stopped with wire mesh, which is generally carried out after the squirrels are no longer there. As a last resort, we can lay down kill traps that are quick and  humane.

The law forbids them being released back into the wild once trapped, so we don’t use these live traps.

Fleas

There are various different species of fleas, which feed on various mammals and birds, and all are of similar appearance. The most common fleas to be found in houses and offices are cat fleas and dog fleas. Adult fleas are approx. 2 to 5mm long and are flat (side to side), the opposite to bedbugs. Fleas have long legs that enable them to jump vertically to heights of 10 to 18 inches. Fleas vary in colour from dark grey through to dark mahogany brown.

Persistent attacks can result in a build-up of tolerance to the infestation, and there are many examples of families moving around, taking fleas with them, but being unaware that they are transporting fleas around. On the other hand their new neighbours may soon become aware of the presence of fleas, resulting in significant irritation and loss of sleep. Fleas are still very much disliked because of the bites they inflict, and the deep-rooted social stigma attached to humans with flea infestations. Many flea species are known to be carriers of disease, the most infamous being the plague.

The irritation seems to be a reaction to the saliva injected into the host’s skin to prevent the blood clotting during feeding. The larvae of the flea are not in contact with humans at all, feeding as they do in the dust and debris on the floor or on the bedding. When larvae hatch, the adult flea will remain dormant until stimulated by the vibration of a potential host. This dormant stage can be for a considerable amount of time.

Treatment with professional insecticides both powder and liquids are recommended. Where heavy infestations are present, a follow up visit within 30 days may often be required.

Bedbugs

Bedbugs are approx. 5mm long, mahogany brown in colour and are flattened from top to bottom. After feeding, the body swells and becomes reddened. The young stages of the bedbug are very similar to the adults, but are paler in colour. Bedbugs are blood feeders, and have a sharpened proboscis (mouthparts) to enable them to take a blood meal from their host. Bedbugs will take up to seven times their own body weight in blood at any one time. Bedbugs cannot fly so have to crawl around, sometimes being transported into buildings on clothing, luggage and furniture. The bedbugs’ ability to go without food for many months and being a very hardy insect has enabled them to survive and spread in such a way.

Bedbugs are not regarded as disease carriers, but their blood feeding can cause severe irritation in some people, resulting in loss of sleep, lack of energy, particularly in children. The bite often gives rise to a hard, whitish swelling which distinguishes it from the fleabite, which is a dark red spot surrounded by a reddened area. Some individuals have even been known to gain immunity from bedbug bites. Added to this is the distaste and social stigma attached with bed bugs. The very thought of being preyed upon by such insects is quite sufficient to make most people take immediate action against them. They are often associated with un-cleanliness, but bedbugs are not fussy, and will just as readily feed off clean skin. Bedbugs have even been known to create slum-housing areas by driving away householders with reasonable standards of hygiene, leaving behind those who are less concerned with such matters.

Not an easy pest to deal with at times as they can become resistant to even the best insecticides and a very thorough approach needs to be taken by both the pest controller and home owner.

All clothes and soft furnishings should be hot washed where possible or placed in bags then put in a large freezer for around 48 hours where possible. Freezing kills the insect where hot washing isn’t an option. Everything else will need spraying by the pest controller. Don’t use cheap single active insecticides.

Preventing Fly Infestation

Flies cannot eat solid food, so to soften it up they vomit on it. Then they stomp the vomit in to form a liquid, adding a few germs for good measure. After this they suck it all back up again, dropping some excrement at the same time.

Cluster Flies

Adults live harmlessly outdoors in summer but may enter buildings (usually roof spaces and lofts but also through windows into rooms) in autumn to hibernate, sometimes in vast numbers. Other unrelated species may also cluster.

They may be severe nuisance if large numbers of adults enter inhabited parts of buildings. Some buildings are infested each autumn year-after-year.
Cluster flies are very difficult to control especially pre-adult stages. Please call us to help with your infestation of cluster flies.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches are among earth’s most ancient creatures, surviving floods, fire, famine and nuclear tests. They can live a month without food and two weeks without water, so infestation is always a significant risk. Being nocturnal, cockroaches spend the day hiding in cracks and crevices around sinks, drains, cookers, backs of cupboards and refrigerator motor compartments. They are vectors of disease such as dysentery, gastroenteritis, typhoid and poliomyelitis.

Ants

Common black ants are a temperate species living in soil or in association with dwellings. They form nests in gardens, under paving stones, in foundations or occasionally within buildings. There is one queen per nest. Workers are very active foraging on a wide range of foods including sweet substances. Young queens leave the nest as ‘flying ants’ to start new colonies each year and are normally found on the wing in clusters during humid afternoons and before thunderstorms both inside and outside properties.

Control is only necessary where ants become a serious nuisance within buildings entering cracks and crevices under doors, windows and air bricks heading towards kitchens.

Just call us and we can deal with them for you in a variety of ways using liquid and powder insecticides.

Pharaoh’s ants feed on meat, cheese, fats, sugar, honey, jam, chocolate and blood. Pathogenic organisms may be transmitted mechanically as the ants feed in unhygienic places including drains, refuse bins and wound dressings. Colonies range from a few dozen to a 300,000 strong ant infestation.

Pharaoh ants always need a professional approach, as the nest will fragment and become two, four and so on! They are not an easy pest to deal with, so be warned!Thankfully they are not that common.

We are learning new courses and methods, so do check here in future for what else we have added to our offering. Or call us to discuss any pests you are struggling with and can see how we can help.

We are learning new courses and methods, so do check here in future for what else we have added to our offering. Or call us to discuss any pests you are struggling with and can see how we can help.

Steps to Control

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