Pest Control Specialists dealing with Ants, Bed Bugs, Bees, Birds, Bird & Pigeon Proofing, Cockroaches, Fleas, Flies, Foxes, Glis Glis, Mice, Mites, Plaster Beetles, Moles, Moths, Beetles, Rabbits, Rats, Squirrels, Wasps

Monthly Archives: September 2013

MothHomes throughout the country are affected by moths and carpet beetles. The problem can be worse at the beginning of autumn, particularly in the south of England where although the days are getting shorter, the evenings can still be relatively warm and doors and windows are left open. Moths are attracted to light and will enter your home through these open doors and windows when the lights are on.

Adult Moths are not the ones doing the damage in your home. They do not usually feed at all –  they just lay their eggs and then die. It is the larvae however which cause the damage to carpets and clothes. They feed on the wool content in both clothes and carpet.

Carpet Beetles fly around feeding on pollen and nectar – once again it is the larvae that cause issues in the home. Bird nests are often the source of Carpet Beetle problems in your home.

Both Moths and Carpet Beetles develop in areas which are undisturbed – areas that are not regularly walked on or vacuumed,  typically under standing furniture. It is important to treat Moths and Carpet Beetles quickly as they cause a lot of damage to carpets and clothes and this will only become worse without treatment.

To solve the problem the area affected needs to be vacuumed thoroughly before any insecticide is applied, and in the case of stored product moths we recommend removing any contaminated food and thoroughly cleaning the cupboards. A residual insecticide should then be applied to the areas. Those areas treated should not be vacuumed or cleaned for at least a month after the treatment to make sure the insecticide has time to work.

To avoid re-infestation and prevention we recommend that all floor surfaces are regularly vacuumed thoroughly and old bird nests or wasp nests are removed from lofts.

For advice or a pest control treatment please phone PEST UK on 0330 100 2811. Alec Minter

BPCA – Carpet Beetles

BPCA – Moths

Cluster Flies Autumn

cluster-fly Autumn is the time when PEST UK start receiving enquiries about  Cluster Fly Removal.

Cluster Flies are amazing creatures because of the genetic memory they are meant to possess – this also makes them difficult to eradicate.

Cluster Flies pick a hibernation site. The exact criteria for this choice is unknown but it is usually on one side of a building, often on the south side. Once the site has been selected the site will always be used. Cluster Fly insecticide treatments will relieve the problem but rarely eradicate it.

The reason that complete extermination is difficult is that, assuming there is an infestation in the loft which is treated with 100% success, the flies will also be using the wall cavities and soffits and also areas between the felt and the tiles.  When spring arrives Cluster Flies will  start to leave – this is a gradual process and may take several weeks. Flies will come out of the site during the warmer part of the day and then go back in at night. This process will be repeated until they don’t go back in at all.

The most common f Cluster Fly has the following life cycle:

  • Once they leave properly they mate and the females lay eggs in the soil.
  • These eggs hatch into grubs which bore into the soil in search of an earthworm.
  • Once found the grub is parasitic on the earthworm.

There are other species of Cluster Fly, the next most common one breeds in dung heaps so areas near farms are susceptible to Cluster Fly infestations.

What is remarkable is that the descendants go back to the hibernation sites that their great grandparents came from. The Cluster Flies that emerge from hibernation will die shortly after mating and laying eggs and there may be several generations in the Spring, Summer and Autumn before the Cluster Flies hibernate.

Cluster Flies by the BPCA

Wasps & Nature:
The question is often asked – What good do wasps do? Wasps are one of the most hated creatures in the animal kingdom along with rats, snakes and spiders. They do do a lot of good in the Spring and early to mid Summer as the workers are feeding the grubs (which turn into workers which are sterile female wasps) on a diet of masticated flies, caterpillars and other insects. Areas around a wasp nest may be decimated of caterpillars and flies. This does a lot of good to the surrounding vegetation and gives plants and trees that are attacked by caterpillars a good start for the year. I think that the population of the Common and German wasps may be artificially high due to mans intervention. The reason for this is that one of the controlling factors of the number of wasp nests in a given area has to be the availability of suitable wasp nesting sites. In a natural environment without mans interference the availability of hollow trees and other cavities would be very limited. Man however has constructed buildings with limitless cavities for nesting sites.
Apart from the actual physical damage wasps do to people by stinging them (there are deaths every year due to wasp stings to people who suffer allergic reactions or from multiple stings or stings in the throat), they do a great deal of damage to fruit. The wasp nest cycle is in sync with nature, the start of their year they feed off the emerging insects and flies and then finish off with the fruit as it ripens. The grub production of in wasp nest stops in late Summer (depending on weather and how early/late the nest started) with the Queen and Drone grubs being the last batch to be produced. As the masticated meat is no longer required to feed grubs the new Queen and Drone wasps along with the now redundant workers can feed on fruit.
European Wasp

To book a pest control treatment or free advice then please call us at PEST UK: 0330 100 2811 (local rate) or 0800 026 0308 (free from land lines & some mobiles).

Queen Wasps & Hibernation:
The Queen wasps have already been produced by the wasp nests. The Queens, which are retile females and the Drones, which are males are the last wasps to be be produced by a wasp nest as it starts its decline. The number of wasp nest this year from PEST UK’s point of view has been ‘average’. This may not be the case for other pest control companies that may have had a good or bad year. The volume of work depends on so many other factors than just the number of wasp nests. If the advertising fails then this will have a knock on effect of people requesting wasp nest removal or wasp nest treatments. The demand for wasp nest treatments or removals may vary in different parts of England. PEST UK’s covers only the South of England, in fact only the counties of Berkshire, South Buckinghamshire, South Oxfordshire, North West Surrey and North Hampshire. Weather patterns and other factors will effect other parts of England differently to PEST UK’s coverage area.
Hibernating Queen Wasps should go into hibernation in good condition. The reason for this is the abundance and good quality of the wild fruits this year. Another factor is how soon the cold weather starts. The later this is, the better for the Queen Wasps. They will have to spend less time in hibernation and so consume less energy so they will be in good condition to start the new nests and rear the first generation of new (worker) wasps. Big fluctuations in temperature are bad for hibernating insects. What improved the wasp year this year was the steady increase in Spring temperatures rather than warm early Spring weather followed by a cold wet spell. Ideally early Springs are best for emerging Queen wasps providing the weather stays warm and dry. Unfortunately the weather in the UK is not like that.

For advice or a pest control treatment please phone PEST UK on 0330 100 2811. Alec Minter

Update on Wasp Trap Trial, Squirrels & Wasp Nest Removal:
The weather is set to get warmer nest week (w/c 23/9/13) which may alter the catches on the different types of wasp and fly traps I have on a trial. After the run away success of the bag type disposable wasp trap earlier on in the Summer the re fillable dome and non dome traps with the entry points underneath are exceeding the disposable bag wasp trap in catches. The main noticeable difference is the amount of hornets the two re fillable traps are catching. There are dozens of hornets in these two traps. Since the weather has cooled they are catching more hornets than wasps, flies or other insects.
Re fillable Wasp Trap
The Rescue Fly Trap has not performed well at all in comparison with the other traps. There is not a problem with flies in the garden and it may be that the flies just prefer the wasp bait to the fly bait. If the Fly Trap was situated on its own it may still work. It is designed for flies.

Fly Trap from PEST UK

Fly Trap from PEST UK

At PEST UK we are now getting an increase in enquiries for people wanting us to remove squirrels from their lofts. This is because the squirrels are now looking for warmer sites to over winter. They would have occasionally visited the loft earlier in the year but lofts are really not suitable for Summer occupation as they get too hot in the Summer.
Grey Squirrel Feeding on spilt bird food
The bulk of the calls into PEST UK at the moment is still people wanting us to remove wasp nests. A lot of people ask if it is worth removing or treating the wasp nest at this time of year. They ask if they could leave the wasp nest to die on naturally. This is possible but there is still a long time until this happens. We still get calls for wasp nest removal and wasp nest treatments in early December.
European Wasp

To book a pest control treatment or free advice then please call us at PEST UK: 0330 100 2811 (local rate) or 0800 026 0308 (free from land lines & some mobiles).

Hornets in England:
Hornets have definitely been on the increase judging by the call outs we get for them at PEST UK. I have found them much less aggressive than wasps or honey bees, even when their nest is being destroyed or removed. I have noticed that in some cases the nests can be very low in numbers. This would indicate that hornet nests may be quite common but if the numbers are low then discovery of the location of the nest will be extremely difficult. The advantage of this will be that the nest survives and produces fertile Queens for the following year. Hornet nest numbers are much smaller than wasp nest numbers. A wasp nest may have a population at it’s peak of several thousand, depending on the conditions throughout the year while a hornets nest is usually only a tenth of this number. Hornets prefer a warmer climate than the UK and PEST UK’s coverage area of Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire and Surrey are on the edge of their range. There numbers increase the further south you go in Europe. At the same time Common and German wasps can be found in Southern Europe but in less numbers, their places being taken by solitary wasps, hornets and social wasps (have Queens and sterile females for workers) but these social wasps have much smaller nests, similar in number to the hornets. They compete with the same food sources as wasps but obviously they are much bigger and will quite readily kill and eat wasps. At PEST UK we have found that a year when there are a great number of wasp nests leads to the following year having a low number of hornets nests whatever the weather. I have been contacted in the past by some one whose hobby was filming hornets and he offered to pay PEST UK for the privilege of removing any hornets nests reported to PEST UK rather than us destroying them.
Wasp Control from PestUK

To book a pest control treatment or free advice then please call us at PEST UK: 0330 100 2811 (local rate) or 0800 026 0308 (free from land lines & some mobiles).

Hornets BPCA

Treating Wasps without Insecticides:
At PEST UK we some times get asked to treat or remove a wasp nest without using insecticides. People (quite rightly so) are very suspicious of insecticides. An example of this is an insecticide used in the 1970’s and early 1980‘s in the UK called Chlordane. This was a potent insecticide used in the UK to treat wasps, ants and other insects. It was applied in an oil based spray. In America it was also used to treat Termites. It was long lasting and thought to be safe to mammals. I worked for the then Wokingham District Council in 1977 – 1978 and we used Chlordane with virtually no PPE. We had no respirators, proper chemical overalls, we were supplied with gloves but rarely used them. It was then found in America that people were dyeing from Chlordane poisoning when they lost weight, usually due to some other illness. The chemical was stored in their body fat and then went to the nervous system one the fat was lost. This insecticide is now banned. Modern insecticides break down in mammals very quickly. There are lots of insecticides with bad reputations: Lindane, Chlordane & DDT.

There is an insecticide free way of treating a wasp nest. The product is called Killgerid and is made of crushed shells. It works by scratching the insects shell or cuticle, which leads to evaporation. This process also makes the insect susceptible to other insecticides so as well as working on it’s own (albeit slowly) it is excellent at speeding up or reducing the need of conventional insecticide treatments.

Some people just don’t trust insecticides and in some instances (such as very near a pond) it is not desirable to use insecticides, in this cases we have successfully used Killgerid on it’s own. The draw backs are that it may take more than one application so increasing the cost and also that it at the very least doubles the time the treatment takes to work.

To book a pest control treatment or free advice then please call us at PEST UK: 0330 100 2811 (local rate) or 0800 026 0308 (free from land lines & some mobiles).

Hygiene & Pest Control: Restaurants:
Food & Dring Storage Area in a RestuarantAt PEST UK we have Pest Control Contracts in hundreds of restaurants. I often wonder just what the Environmental Health Departments are doing. I have seen a perfectly clean tidy restaurant forced to spend hundreds of pounds moving a sink yet some disgusting kitchens and stores. It is probably that they (the Environmental Health Departments) have limited resources which makes inspections less frequent especially as there has been a massive increase in food outlets in the past twenty years. I can’t see why rather than normal business rates food premises (including shops) pay part of the fee directly to the Environmental Health Department to finance inspections.
Laundry Room
I have attached pictures of the kitchen and stores of a restaurant where we have have a pest control contract and we have been pressuring the customer to clean up the place as there is a minor cockroach problem we are treating in the kitchen. Although hygiene is not as important when treating cockroaches using the baits as opposed to the insecticide sprays it is still an important part of control and the cockroach treatment in this dirty kitchen could fail unless the hygiene improves.
Food Storage Area

The poor hygiene also interferes with the cockroach treatment. The reason for this is that if they do do a thorough clean then they are very likely to clean up the cockroach gel insecticide bait as well as any cockroach pheromone monitors as well meaning we will have to start the treatment again. The longer the cockroach infestation is active the more likely the place will quite rightly be closed down if by chance there is an Environmental Health Inspection.

In this particular restaurant we have for months put on the reports that the place needs cleaning. We have even written separate letters to the manager. There is even staff sleeping in the store rooms and they have bed bugs!

To book a pest control treatment or free advice then please call us at PEST UK: 0330 100 2811 (local rate) or 0800 026 0308 (free from land lines & some mobiles).

BPCA Advice on Contracts

Removing a Wasp Nest in a Chimney:
We have been asked to treat a wasp nest in a chimney of a private house in Maidenhead. The nest is in the chimney stack of a 40-year old 2 bedroom semi detached house. The chimney is not a large one. If we had been asked to treat or remove this wasp nest a few years ago then one person would have done it by putting a ladder up to the gutter level and aiming a jet of insecticide into the chimney pot. This is a bit dangerous and also a hit or miss way of treating a wasp nest. We will be using two men and a roof ladder to tackle this job.
The occupier has known for a couple of months that they had a wasp nest but decided to leave it to die out during winter. The problem with this is that rather than several thousand wasps flying in and out of the nest with no interest in coming into the house you are left with several thousand dopey, some times drunk wasps that are attracted to lights inside the house.

Wasps are a much more dangerous pest in the autumn, especially when the temperature drops. As the days shorten lights are turned on, this attracts wasps. If they see light seeping into the loft and the nest is situated there, they will head for it. If it is cold they will do this slowly. When a nest is treated in a loft in the autumn you will often find that the floor of the loft is covered in slow moving wasps. Not so much of a danger for a pest controller in protective clothing but certainly for some one going into a loft unawares.

During summer wasps will still be attracted to light sources but will be flying, and there is less internal light because of the length of the days in the summer. Leaving a wasp nest to die out in the winter can lead to massive problems.

European Wasp

For advice on wasp removal  or a pest control treatment please phone PEST UK on 0330 100 2811

Seasonal Pests: Rats & Mice:
Rats and mice can be considered seasonal pests as although they are present throughout the year the calls peak in the Winter. There are several reasons for this. Starting in the late Summer food is relatively plentiful with ripened crops and naturally occurring fruits such as blackberries, apples etc, the rat and mouse population is at it;’s peak. Warmer weather means the rats and mice are not using energy to keep warm and vegetation gives cover from predators, more people are outside supplying dropped food and other edible litter. So the rat and mouse population is at it’s highest by late Summer/early Autumn. As autumn progresses the food sources start to dry up and the vegetation dies back. Rats and mice will feel the cold and will now start to seek cover, alternative food and warmth. This is when they move into buildings. If hungry they will take more risks such as raiding bird tables and bins, possibly in the riskier time of daylight if other more dominant rats or mice are feeding on the same food source.
Mice are able to use gaps as small as 1 cm to enter buildings. This makes proofing of buildings against mice quite difficult. The older style clay air bricks & the metal matrix type allow mice to get into the cavity wall from where they can get virtually anywhere in the building. If they then discover a food source, say in the kitchen then they will breed rapidly. Low level density populations of mice can survive in loft spaces on insects and seeds blown into the loft but the food available in a loft is much less than a kitchen.
Rats need larger holes to gain access, about an inch, depending on the size of the rat as the males are generally much larger. In older properties it may be a sewer or utility breach that allows access and these types on entry points may be under the foundations and may never be found. This can be even harder to locate if the house is in a terrace or block. This type of rat problem is an all year round problem. The garden rat infestation is more seasonal. Bird feeding is a major factor in rat problems outside. When rat populations move in the Autumn they come across areas where bird feeding occurs and discover a high protein regular source of food and decide to set up home.


To book a pest control treatment or free advice then please call us at PEST UK: 0330 100 2811 (local rate) or 0800 026 0308 (free from land lines & some mobiles).
BPCA – Information on Rats
BPCA mice

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