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: October 2013

Fleas in a Derelict House:
A Housing Association called us out to deal with a flea problem in Swindon. As you can see from the pictures this house was truly derelict. The problem was that fleas were biting the people sent in to clear the house.

There are many problems dealing with fleas and other insects in these situations. The first is that insecticides only work properly on clean surfaces, so not a good start. The other major problem is that to eliminate a flea infestation takes time, typically 2 – 3 weeks occupation in a heated environment.

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This house was cold, it was unoccupied and it is filthy. We always ask our customers with fleas to vacuum thoroughly before treatment and to keep the floor areas clear. Afterwards we ask that the place is kept warm and occupied, reduce humidity by leaving windows slightly open and if the customer has a cat or dog then to keep them in and give them the freedom of the house (providing that they have been treated with Program, Frontline or a similar product) the reason for this is that as the flea infestation takes tome to die out, fleas will still be present, so it is more desirable that the fleas bite the pet rather than people (if there is a choice they will prefer to feed on a cat or dog in preference to humans).

There is also the problem of the Flea Pupa hatching. Flea eggs hatch into grubs that feed on flea faeces and other organic debris. Then they pupate but have the ability to wait, fully protected in the pupa case until the conditions are right, i.e. there is food in the way of an animal or human and the environment is warm enough for them to operate.
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Treating a derelict house for fleas will probably fail for the reasons given. However the treatment will still kill a high percentage of the flea infestation and provide protection from most of the fleas for the workers doing thew house clearance.
Cat Flea iStock_000013644766XSmall copy

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

Fleas – BPCA

Pigeon Netting in Ascot Berkshire:
PEST UK is carrying out pigeon spiking on pillars and girders at the front of a prestigious Mercedes garage in Ascot. Pigeons are perching and roosting on the tops of the pillars are girders that support the roof. These will be spiked using metal pigeon spikes to prevent them from perching and roosting. We have successfully completed pigeon netting at this garage. I have taken some photo’s to demonstrate this. This garage is large with an underground workshop and cleaning bays. There is a dry cleaning bay and a wet cleaning bay. These bays are open on one side allowing pigeons access at all times. Pigeons would fly in and roost on the girders that support the roof and lights. The pigeons droppings would fall onto the cars and foul the work area. The droppings are acidic and can damage paintwork on cars. There is also the health issue. Pigeon droppings may carry psittacosis which can be fatal to humans.
Pigeon Netting of canopy roof

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Rick Pellen of PEST UK and his assistant did a fine job of installing nets under the roof but above the lights to prevent pigeons roosting. Great skill is needed when working at height to get a pigeon net straight, taught and behind the lights. As you can see from the pictures the nets are almost invisible. The only difference the customer will see is that pigeons are not fouling the cars and work area.

Night roosting sites for pigeons are vitally important. These sites determine the number of pigeons. It is generally thought that food is the main criteria to determine pigeon numbers but in and near towns food and water are never a problem for pigeons. This is why they are able to breed almost all year round. Most native species will only breed when food supplies have peaked.

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

BPCA – Pigeons

Hornets & False Widow Spiders:
At PEST UK we like Hornets they are interesting insects and much less aggressive than wasps. The sting is meant to be more painful than a wasp sting due to the large amount of acetylcholine (5%). Like wasps and unlike bees, they can sting multiple times. They use their sting to defend their nest and to kill prey. Below are pictures of a Hornets nest that Haydn Philips of PEST UK treated in a shed in High Wycombe. After he had treated the nest he returned a few days later to take photo’s and remove the nest. The colour of the nest is similar to the Common Wasp but probably not quite so attractive as their nests are a brown colour with creamy coloured whirls in. The German Wasp has a grey nest. Nests are made from chewed up wood pulp and bark mixed with saliva. A favourite source of wasp nesting material is wood fences or garden furniture that has been cured by the sun. You can often see the marks the worker wasps make and in fact in the Spring and Summer see the wasps chewing the surfaces of the wood.
Hornets Nest removed from shed in High Wycombe
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Already this morning we have had calls from newspapers asking about False Widow spiders. The press are looking for a story! Unfortunately there isn’t one. As well as calls from the press there have been several calls enquiring about treatment and general questions on the False Widow spider.
False Widow Spider
We can treat houses for spiders, in fact in the Autumn this is quite a regular occurrence. A residual insecticide is sprayed externally and internally around windows as well as the wall/floor and wall ceiling junction. This kills spiders as they walk over the treated surfaces. The insecticide will remain active up to two months but at less strength as time goes by. We also advise about removing creepers and vegetation away from walls. At PEST UK we don’t like killing spiders. They do a lot of good by killing flies.

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 – Hornets

Spider by the BPCA

Fox Deterrents: BBC article:
FoxFoxes are in the news again, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24563919
The article goes into the history of foxes first moving into towns, this was in the 1940’s and first recorded in Bristol. It also looks at why culling foxes may be a waste of time due to the fact that once a territory is vacated it will soon be occupied by another fox family. This is partially true but culling is useful once a fox or the family develop behaviour that disturbs people. This may be digging, fouling, going through bins, attacking domestic pets, generally getting too bold (not being scared of humans) or a noise nuisance. Fouling is especially unpleasant. Domestic animals can pick up Mange and Fleas (usually cat fleas) from foxes. It is thought however that Mange and Flea infestations are picked up by foxes from cats and dogs but foxes may help spread these problems. Probably similar to the way Badgers may pick up and spread Bovine TB.

At PEST UK schools are our main customers for fox shooting and trapping. This is because of the fouling of playing fields. Culling or trapping in these situations does work but does have to be repeated on a regular basis. The bbc report mentions companies that carry out humane fox deterrents. They use sprinklers to frighten or disturb the fox. These work the same way as repellents do, they make life uncomfortable for the foxes so they choose another garden to carry on their business in. It works providing the garden is not too important to the foxes ie if the garden is near a food source or the route to a food source then deterring foxes will not work. If it is successful then other foxes are unlikely to move into the vacated garden as the territory is still ‘owned’ the fox family that own the garden just don’t use it because of the deterrents but protect the area from other foxes moving in.
Fox in Live Catch Trap
There is a program on foxes this evening called Fox Wars on BBC One at 22:35 GMT on Tuesday 22 October 2013.
At PEST UK we are luck to have a marksman (Nick Browning) who does most of our Fox Shooting. This Summer he carried out a cull at Bourne End, Berkshire and culled a family of Foxes in one evening (see Pics).
Fox Shoot

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Fox Culling (or Shooting) is not always as successful. If the Fox(es) don’t show then there is nothing much that can be done. We will often recommend ‘pre baiting’ before the visit is made.

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).

Advice from the BPCA on Foxes

Harlequin Ladybirds & Cluster Flies:
At PEST UK we have experienced more calls concerning Harlequin ladybirds in the past 8-9 years. This is because mainly due to their hibernation habits. This species tends to be more numerous than the native ladybird and hibernated in greater numbers similar to Cluster Flies. We used to get calls from customers concerning the native ladybird as these hibernate in groups as well but they usually hibernate in smaller numbers in window frames where they would be a nuisance to people. There hibernation sites are rarely buildings while the Harlequin Ladybirds nearly always chose buildings to hibernate in. As with Cluster Flies the hibernation process takes time and Harlequin Ladybirds and Cluster Flies will often hibernate together. The Ladybirds may go into the hibernation sites then come out when the weather warms at midday or sunny periods. It is not thought that Harlequin Ladybirds do any damage except for displacing the native Ladybirds. In fact they may do some good with all the aphids they eat.

Harlequin Ladybirds were introduced into North America in 1988 and are now the most widespread lLadybird on the continent. There are currently 46 species of Ladybirds in the UK. Control for Harlequin Ladybirds from a domestic pest control point of view can only be done in buildings and on external walls and window frames. Treating on plants should be done with a garden insecticide labelled for the purpose although as this would kill native ladybirds as well it would be pointless as it would make no difference to the numbers coming into hibernation sites as they will come from a large catchment area. Treatment may involve a fogging insecticide treatment and the application of a residual insecticide to walls, ceilings, windows, window frames as well as external walls and window frames. Types of treatments may vary depending on individual circumstances.
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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 – Ladybirds

BPCA – Cluster Flies

The recent spate of false widow spider reports in the news has raised concerns about what they are and where they’re found.

False Widow Spider

  What Do They Look Like?
“False widow” is a general term for any one of up to about 120 species of spider that resemble the notorious black widow spider.
Steatoda nobilis, is the spider that is currently making headlines in the UK. It is sometimes also referred to as a “British black widow”, and is about the size of a 50 pence piece. Steatoda nobilis is identifiable by its bulbous brown abdomen with cream coloured markings that often resemble the shape of a skull. It has a tawny body with reddish-orange legs.

How Dangerous Are They?
There have been no reports of deaths from false widow bites, and it has been compared with eating a peanut – serious for those who are allergic to it, but not a problem for anyone else. If you suspect you have been bitten by a false widow and you are concerned about the symptoms, then it is probably a good idea to get medical advice, although this should not be necessary for most people.  Symptoms vary and can include chest pains, tingling fingers and hands, and localized painful swelling and itching. A False Widow Spider will only attack if provoked so if you do see one avoid touching it if possible, and either kill it or capture it in a jar.

Where Do They Come From?
The false widow spider is not uncommon in Devon, where it has been found for over 100 years. It is suspected to have arrived in Torquay as a stowaway in a crate of bananas from the Canary Islands. Devon has provided a perfect climate for the false widow to thrive, and climate change in recent years has made it easier for the False Widow to become establish itself beyond Devon. The Natural History Museum’s Insect Information Service suggests that it will continue to spread northwards in years to come.

Are There False Widow Spiders in Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey?
PestUK have never removed a false widow spider, although we have had numerous “false” alarms! We have had some specimens analyzed by our laboratory, but none have ever been verified as False Widow Spiders. Recent newspaper articles about False Widows sightings in Berkshire suggests that this may be changing, although at the moment none of these sightings has been verified. It is unlikely that this will produce any increased risk for humans.

Where Do They Live?
Like most spiders, they can be found almost anywhere, but most commonly in garden sheds and garages, and usually come in after rain and at night.

For more detailed information about the False Widow Spider visit the False Widow page on The Natural History Museum site.

What Can I Do About Them?
At PEST UK requests for spider control are most common in autumn and early winter. This is when the spider population peaks, and as the days shorten and the weather gets colder and wetter spiders and other insects venture inside for shelter and warmth.  Treatment for spiders is fairly straightforward – we apply a residual insecticide externally around windows and doors as well as inside on walls and ceilings concentrating on the wall/floor and wall/ceiling junctions.

Spiders serve a valuable purpose, and in most cases, if we leave them alone they will leave us alone.

If you or your family have any concerns and problems relating to spiders or any other insects or pests give us a call on 0800 026 0308 or 0330 100 2811 for some advice.

Spiders – BPCA

Wikipedia – Hampshire

Wikipedia – Berkshire

Rat, Mouse & Poisons:
It is a common mistake for people to believe that stronger poisons (rodenticides) are better. First poisons with lower toxicity protect other wildlife that may eat a poisoned rodent. Birds of prey, foxes and badgers may be susceptible to this type of what is called ‘secondary’ poisoning. The strength of the rodenticide is often blamed on any treatment failures. Actually the main problem with most rodent treatments is to persuade all the rodent population to consume enough poison. Strong poisons will prevent this. Rodents are very sociable animals, some (especially rats) very suspicious so will take time to feed on a new food source (the poison bait or rodenticide). In most cases (depending on how hungry they are, their social status, external food sources and other factors) rodents will consume small amounts of bait to start with. If the poison is strong and they die or get ill then their friends and relatives will notice this and associate the poisoned bait with this and ignore it. Another reason for failure may be that the food source the rodents are feeding on has not need eliminated so only part of the rodent population is feeding on the bait. As rodents can breed very quickly any rats killed by the poison are replaced. This leads the customer to believe the treatment has failed and to ask for stronger poisons.

The three pest rodents in England are rats, mice and squirrels. All act differently when presented with poisoned bait.
Grey Squirrel Feeding on spilt bird food
Squirrels are curious but fussy feeders and will rarely touch bait unless it has been made more attractive by adding peanut butter, chocolate or other additives to the standard grain bait treated with warfarin. This is (Warfarin on whole wheat 0.02%) that is allowed to be used for squirrels.
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Rats are suspicious of the bait and any containers wether they be trays or boxes. The way the bait is presented and the location are important for success.

Mice are highly inquisitive and the colony requires may small bait points for complete eradication.

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).
Rat Advice from the BPCA
Mice BPCA

Wasp Problems in Winter:
At PEST UK we are getting calls concerning wasps crawling about inside houses in a dopey state. Several customers this week have said that they have been stung. The problem for us and our customers is that the actual nest may be difficult to locate at this time of year. In the Summer and early Autumn there will be evidence of wasps leaving and entering the nest. When the temperature drops the wasps stop flying. Wasps get lost within the building. They get attracted to light and warmth but move very slowly. They get exhausted and disorientated. It is in this state when people get stung. They may sit on a wasp or a wasp may crawl into their bed.
Wasp PEST UK
Treatment is not as instant and more complicated than treating a wasp nest in the Summer. In the Summer a nest is treated and all life within the nest will cease in a matter of hours. Not so later in the year. For a start a percentage of the wasps may be out of the nest. A ‘lost’ wasp may take days to return to the nest if lost within the structure (cavity walls etc) of a building. They may even not make it back to the nest. So to deal with these ‘lost’ wasps insecticide has to be applied to areas where they are crawling, usually walls and ceilings. Insecticides take longer to work when the temperature is lower so the wasp nest destruction process will take up to 20 days at this time of year compared with only hours in the Summer.
Wasp Control from PestUK
To summerise, wasp problems are more complicated, take longer to work and more expensive to deal with in the Autumn and early Winter than in the Summer. Judging by the calls we receive at PEST UK it seems that more people get stung at this time of year than in Summer.
European Wasp

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

Woodlice and Spiders:
It is not only rats, mice and squirrels that invade domestic premises in search of warmth and shelter. Some insect pests do this as well. A common call in our catchment area: (Berkshire (Berks), North Hampshire (Hants), South Buckinghamshire (Bucks), South Oxfordshire (Oxon), NE Surrey & West Middlesex) are spiders. These creatures have had a good Summer with a plentiful food so due to the ideal conditions the population peaks in the Autumn and with the cold weather they venture inside. This is when people then call us.

The spider problem can be dealt with by applying a residual insecticide outside around the entry points (window and doors) and inside on wall floor/ceiling junctions, window sills as well as walls and ceilings. This will not solve the problem completely as the spiders have to crawl across the treated surfaces to absorb enough insecticide to kill them. When temperatures are low this process is slowed down as the metabolism of the spiders is slow. Reducing vegetation on walls helps reduce spiders getting into a house.

Another Autumn insect ‘pest’ are Woodlice. They are actually members of the crab family and need high levels of humidity to survive. They may be an indication of damp but not necessarily so. The most common place in a building for them to be is in the cavity wall or under floorboards. The cavity walls are a humid environment so ideal for them. They feed on the microscopic moulds that grow on wood and stone as well as any organic material. If they stay in the cavity wall or under the floorboards then they are not a problem. The Woodlice will venture out either to look for a food supply or new places to live as the population expands. If they venture into a living space of a building they dehydrate and die. Applying insecticide into the cavity walls will reduce the problem as will removing logs, plants and clutter away from the external walls of the building.

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

Woodlice from the BPCA

Spiders – BPCA

Grey Squirrels & Cluster Flies:
Now the Autumn is here we should be getting more enquiries about Cluster Flies and Grey Squirrels. Cluster Flies will be gradually moving into their hibernation sites while Grey Squirrels will favour ‘indoor’ sites such lofts to rest. They do not properly hibernate but rest up and sleep for long spells during very cold weather. They venture out to find nuts and seeds that they have hidden during the Autumn. They will also take advantage of bird food although some people actively feed Grey Squirrels. Regular feeding increases the density of the population in an area as a regular food supply means the territories don’t have to be so large to support the family. This increase in density of population can lead to problems for other wildlife (especially birds during the Spring).
Squirrel-Control
At PEST UK we are often called out to deal with Grey Squirrel problems. We use a combination of trapping and poison bait to deal with them. They are difficult to deal with as they rarely take poison bait if there is an alternative higher protein food source nearby such as bird food (peanuts, fat balls and sunflowers being their favourites.) The PEST UK Squirrel treatments usually take between two and four visits. We have a fixed fee so the price doesn’t increase if we fail to deal with the problem. Our technicians are the best in the country and never fail.
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There have been a lot of Foxes about recently. They have been gorging themselves on the bumper crop of blackberries and other fruits that are abundant this year. At PEST UK we carry out a number of shoots for about a dozen schools who have problems with foxes fouling playing fields and doing other damage.
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We don’t cover the whole of the UK, these are the areas we cover: Berkshire (Berks), North Hampshire (Hants), South Buckinghamshire (Bucks), South Oxfordshire (Oxon), NE Surrey & West Middlesex.

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).

Squirrels Pest Control BPCA

BPCA Cluster Flies

Businesses:
A Pest Control Contract is not expensive. Not only will it protect the health and safety of your employees, it will also protect your reputation. Most prosecutions happen to smaller companies. Remove the worry and leave pest control in the hands of experts.

Domestic:
If you are regularly experiencing pest problems, maybe a Pest Control Contract is better. That peace-of-mind knowing that there is an expert team just a phone call away!

Take a look at our Pest Control Contract page, or call us now on 0800-026-0308

Member of the British Pest Control Association


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