Monthly Archives: September 2014
Getting rid of Cluster Flies & Ladybirds in a House:
The answer to this question is that practically it is not possible to eliminate hibernating Cluster Flies & Ladybirds for their hibernation site in a house. The reason for this is that the area where you are seeing the Cluster Flies and Ladybirds may only be the edge of the hibernation site. For example, if you are seeing Cluster Flies & Ladybirds around windows or in loft spaces you will not be seeing the ones hibernating in the cavity walls or between the felt and the roof tiles.
The treatment of the Cluster Flies & Ladybirds is normally an application of insecticide in either a residual spray, a powder, fogging or insecticide smoke generator. The fogging and insecticide smoke generator methods are quick and can cover a large area in a short space of time and if done at the right time (too early and not all the flies and ladybirds would have arrived at the hibernation site and too late then the results won’t be as effective as the metabolism of the flies and ladybirds slows down as the temperature drops making insecticides less effective and slower working) these methods will kill hundreds or even thousands of flies and ladybirds. Problem is that neither methods are vet residual (the smoke generators have no insecticide residually, meaning a few hours after treatment there may be no insecticide working, depending on circumstances). The fogging method is more residual but not as residual as powders or sprays. These last two methods do have their drawbacks, sprays don’t work very well on dusty surfaces (like in lofts) and powders won’t stick to smooth surfaces like rood felt. The Pest Control Technician will advise on the method and timing of any treatment.
PEST UK have years of experience treating these difficult pests.
Grubs in a Wasp Nest:
We recently had a call from a woman who had grubs (see photo) crawling out of beams in her bedroom. She sent pictures in and we (with the help of Killgerm) identified them as a type of Hover Fly larvae called Syrphidae. These in this case almost certainly came from a wasp nest, either still living or dead. In fact the larvae of this type of Hover Fly as well as feeding in and on wasp and bee nests will feed on a wide range of foodstuffs which is broader than those of most other insect groups. There are those which feed on plant and plant products such as sap, species that scavenge on or filter decaying matter (usually in water), species that live in the nests of social insects (bees, wasps and ants), and carnivores, whose main food is aphids. I was called out to a massive infestation in what was ICI in Jealotts Hill, Bracknell where hundreds of these grubs were crawling out of drains into a building looking for safe places to pupate.
The species that is associated with wasp nests is Volucella spp. The female Hover Fly enters the wasp or bee nest, usually at dusk and lays her eggs on the papery outer surface. Even when stung by the wasps female Volucella are able to lay their eggs while dying. The majority of larvae which hatch fall into the vault of the nest below, which is where the wasps throw their dead adults and larvae. The Volucella larvae therefore have a ready-made food store. Some fly larvae enter the interior of the nest where they lie alongside a wasp larva and eat its excretory products. Strangely these larvae are not attacked by the adult wasps.
Treatment is by a residual insecticide spray and if possible food source removal.
Squirrels in Lofts:
The Grey Squirrel is not a natural inhabitant of England. It was imported from North America and either deliberately or accidentally released in the South of England and spread, replacing the native Red Squirrel. They are classed as vermin and many efforts have been made to eliminate them by trapping and shooting. These efforts have failed. As they are vermin and classified as an alien species, it is illegal release Grey Squirrels (as Rolf Harris used to do on Animal Rescue).
PEST UK get calls throughout the year from customers who have problems with Squirrels in Lofts. In the Autumn squirrels will look for over wintering sites within their territory. Each family (or single male) will have their own territory, the size of which depends on food availability, for example if the territory includes a garden with bird feeders then that territory does not need to be as large as one without. The result of bird feeding over a wide area leads to a greater population density which actually harms birds as Grey Squirrels will eat young birds and any eggs. Within the territory the family or single male squirrel will have several Dreys and a loft site will be treated as one of those. In colder weather they will visit oft ‘Dreys’ more frequently.
Squirrels in Lofts can be controlled by trapping and/or poisoning. The type of poison allowed to be used is a low concentration (lower than rat poison) on whole wheat. Problem is that whole wheat is attractive to Grey Squirrels in the middle of a forest where types of high protein foods are not as available as they are from a bird feeder. To over come this we tend to use either traps or add attractants to the bait. PEST UK offer a fixed price guaranteed treatment for a domestic premises, unlike many pest control companies that charge per visit.
BPCA Rodent advice
How long does a wasp nest take to die out?:
At this time of year (Autumn) if a wasp nest is discovered then the question often gets asked: Is it worth treating the nest now as surely the wasp nest will die out in the Winter anyway? It is true that a wasp nest will die out in the Winter if left alone. The problem is though that a wasp nest in the Autumn is far more troublesome that a wasp nest in the Spring or Summer. One reason is that due to the lower temperatures the wasps slow down and will often be found crawling around, apparently lost rather than flying directly to and from the nest. When this happens people will come into contact with them. In fact more people get stung in the Autumn than the Summer. As there days shorten wasps are attractive to artificial light which can pull them inside, the wasps in the Autumn are more likely to come into contact with people and more likely to cause problems than at any other time.
The other issue with leaving a nest to die out naturally in the Winter is new Queens. The way that wasps re produce is by each nest supplying fertilised Queen wasps which leave the old nest in the Autumn and hibernating, emerging in the Spring time to start a new nest. Each nest can produce up to 1000 fertile Queens (although it is usually a much smaller number than this). These Queens can be a problem as they will often hibernate in lofts and if stimulated by artificial heat and or light will ‘wake’ up and cause alarm. The more Queens in an area means more wasp nests for the following year!
To summarise, a wasp nest will die out in the Winter but it is best to get it dealt with properly.
For advice or a pest control treatment please phone PEST UK on 0330 100 2811. Alec Minter
Pest Control in Schools: Schools require a reliable, trustworthy (CRB Checked), reasonably priced and fast pest control service. At PEST UK we pass these criteria as we have pest control contracts and carry out many ‘one off’ pest control treatments in Schools throughout the South of England.
The time period after or just before the end of the Summer Holidays is the busiest time for schools when it comes to pest control. The reason for this is the schools have been relatively unused for a long period and this is also the wasp season. In the Autumn wasp nests are at their most troublesome and dangerous state so prompt treatment is essential and PEST UK provide this service. We move our regular pest control contract work to allow for this busy period at schools.
Some schools have pest control contracts that cover ‘all pests’, others have pest control contracts that just cover or/and monitor the public health pests while some just call out a pest control company on an ad hoc basis. Whichever system they use it is important that they use a company they can rely on and understands a schools particular needs.
If poison baits are used then PEST UK will only ever use solid block baits (which can’t spill) in locked tamper proof bait boxes. In the case of contracts we will always try and use non toxic methods (trapping and non toxic pheromone traps and baits) wherever possible. It must be remembered though that modern insecticides and rodenticides are relatively harmless to humans compared with the serious (some fatal) diseases that rats, mice and cockroaches transmit and carry.
if you require pest control in schools or pest control anywhere else, either domestic or commercial pest control then please call PEST UK on 0330 100 2811 (local rate) or 0800 026 0308 (free from landlines & some mobiles.
Cluster Flies in the Autumn:
Soon pest control companies will be getting calls about Cluster Flies. These are flies that hibernate in cavities, before humans made buildings they would use caves or hollow trees to spend the Winter. These flies are not the same as ‘normal’ flies such as House Flies or Blue Bottles and there are several species. The most common type is parasitic on Earthworms. The adults lay eggs in the soil which hatch into grubs which then burrow until they find an earthworm. Once found the grub burrows into the earthworm and feeds on the worm (probably eventually killing the earthworm) until the grub is ready to turn into a pupae and then the adult fly. Most of the eggs that are laid and hatch will not survive. In years when there is not much rain (or as in last Winter too much) and there is a lack of earthworms near the surface then Cluster Fly numbers are small. The fly numbers may be effected by the flooding last Winter which killed a lot of earthworms. We shall have to wait and see. The second most common type of Cluster Fly is one that feeds on cow dung. Properties near farms with uncovered dung heaps are susceptible to this type of Cluster Flies infesting lofts and cavity walls. The flies are nor considered a health hazard as are House Flies, Green Bottles, Blue Bottles etc nor do they bite, sting or damage foodstuff. They are more a nuisance. The numbers of dead flies can build up over time in lofts. I have seen layers several inches thick of dead flies. The amazing thing about these flies is that although the flies that emerge from hibernation will never see another Winter (they will die from old age in the next few weeks after they have mated and layer eggs) their descendants will return to the same hibernation site. This is known as Genetic Memory and is bad news if you have a Cluster Fly problem.
Treatment will only reduce the problem, not eliminate it as in a lot of cases you will only be dealing will part of a larger infestation and it is not always possible to get insecticide deep into cavity walls.
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.
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