Monthly Archives: October 2014
In the Spring and early Summer there are always problems with bee swarms moving into chimneys. Most people (including PEST UK) would like to remove the bees without killing them. There are problems with this, it would cost thousands of pounds to get a scaffold erected to get near enough to the top of the chimney (if you could get a scaffold company to do this as there are safety issues with working at height whilst being attacked by bees). Even if scaffold was erected there is no guarantee that the bee swarm will be reachable, it may be too deep within the chimney. So apart from the access problems there is also the problem of the nest (wether wasp or bees) blocking the chimney. This can be fatal if there is a gas appliance venting into the chimney. This conflicts with the guidance for treating bees which says that the entry points should be sealed off immediately after treatment to prevent contamination of other bees or even that bees should not be treated if there are bee hives nearby. It is illegal to cover a chimney with a gas appliance venting into it and unless the bees or wasp nest is removed or treated there may be a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Methods of treatment
Removing Wasp Nests and Bee Nests in Chimneys by first treating them with a non residual insecticides such as Cooper Mini Smokes or Permits Uni. These are fast acting insecticides that reduce the risk of contamination of other bee hives. Smoke treatments have the advantage of being used from the inside through the fireplace but have the disadvantage of not working with wasp nests (the nests are enclosed and full penetration of insecticides may be insufficient) or established bee swarms.nests. Where possible the entry points are blocked (not possible in chimneys or where blocking may lead to bees getting into a building). Blocking entry points should never be carried out with wasp nests.
If tackled from the top of the chimney then the costs, equipment used and risks are all higher. In many cases an attempt will be made to deal with the problem from the base of the chimney but in some cases treating from the top of the chimney is the only option.
Removing Rats Domestic Properties:
This year (2015) has been an exceptional ‘bad’ year for rats. Rat calls to PEST UK would generally fall off quite dramatically during the Summer months. This has not been the case this year. Although there was a drop off compared to the Winter the demand was fairly constant. The weather meant rat populations didn’t Summer from prolonged periods of very dry weather. Rats have to drink daily, unlike mice who tolerate much drier conditions and extract most of the moisture they need from the food they eat. There was also another bumper year for natural berries, fruits and seeds meaning food supply was in abundance. Judging by the calls we are getting at PEST UK the rat population is extremely high. This means that the next few months will be very busy with rat calls. The reason for this is that once the natural food dries up, the vegetation dies back (leaving the rats more exposed) and the weather gets colder, there will be a general movement as rats search out alternative food supplies and places to live. Although very adaptable rats originally are from hot climates so prefer warmer conditions that would be found in the Winter in the UK. This does not stop them adapting to much colder conditions and countries if they have to.
The three things that rats need are:
A suitable place to live.
If they are denied at least 2 of these they won’t survive. The food aspect is most important and any baiting treatment will fail if this is not addressed. Rats prefer to get to the food source under cover. They do not like to cross open ground to get to the food site but they wil if they have no choice.
They need a safe, preferably dry place to live. In completely natural situations they will live in burrows or holes in trees or caves but will take advantage of any cavities.
Access to water in the UK is generally no problem except in exceptional dry Summers.
In most cases getting a professional in to deal with rats is required.
Rats BPCA Advice
Is the Increase of Pest Problems down to Wealth?
Pest problems are normally associated with poverty and to a certain degree this is true. Bed bugs for example can be associated with immigration from Eastern Europe (the last major influx of immigrants into the UK came from Eastern Europe that is near enough for them to bring their own furniture and bed bugs!) but they are also associated with foreign travel and hotels. Bed bugs do not discriminate, they will infest 5 star hotels just as easily as dingy bedsits. The increase in foreign travel and to countries outside Europe must have influenced the rise in bed bug infestations.
BPCA Info Bed Bugs
In the past twenty years as more people are in work the popularity of cats over dogs has increased due to cats being easier to look after if both adults are working in a household. More cats lead to more fleas. If cats are out and about in the Summer one cat can spread fleas to other cats they come into contact with. Fleas don’t care if a carpet is clean or dirty in fact they prefer a dense high quality pure wool carpet.
Rats, Mice and Squirrels
These pests definitely have benefited from the massive rise in bird feeding during the past 20 years. The main culprits are the hanging peanut feeders, fat balls and seed feeders. Tons of bird feed is bought in the UK every week, much of it consumed by rats and mice. Another part of modern life are food take aways which again provide food in the way of food debris litter being spread over a wide area of the country but the waste, litter and cooking oil produced by the take away shop itself.
Obviously bird feeding in gardens has befitted these pests but also the increase in people in work taking lunch breaks in parks with their shop bought sandwiches feeding pigeons. They also benefit from the result of food takeaway debris and litter.
Rats BPCA Advice
BPCA on Mice
Anyone who keeps chickens knows the potential problems of rats in chicken coops – and not just rats, mice too! If you keep chickens you need to be very careful that you take every precaution to ensure that there is not an increase of rats and mice in your area.
Many chicken keepers will tell you of the constant battles they fight to keep the rats at bay. Rats will dig or chew their way into your chicken coop and gnaw at chicken’s legs, steal eggs, eat the chicken feed and spread disease.
There are a few basic precautions that can be taken to minimize the risk, and stay on friendly terms with the neighbours.
A couple of things you can do to minimize the risk are to make sure you remove all food and water at night. Rats need water and will be discouraged if there is none around. If possible build your chicken coop on a concrete slab, so the rats cannot dig their way in. This helps with foxes too.
If you can, get a contract with a reputable pest control company. Failing that, put down some rat traps and check them regularly.
PEST UK offer regular contracts and also sell rat traps. Give us a call on 0800 026 0308 to find out about our contracts, or check our website to see the rat traps we stock.
Keeping chickens can be rewarding, and the eggs certainly taste better. With a little care and diligence most people are able to keep the rat problems to a minimum, so don’t give up.
Rats BPCA Advice
How to get rid of Mice in Houses:
Mice are different from rats in many respects. They are often tolerated more readily than rats because some people consider them ‘cute’. Mice can kill. They carry the same diseases that rats do and people are more likely to come into contact with items or foodstuff contaminated by mouse urine or faeces. The reason for this is they urinate more frequently and are more likely to get into cupboards and cutlery drawers than rats. They can also damage electrical wiring and rubber pipework. Where as rats are suspicious of new objects (such as poison baits or traps), mice are the opposite, curious and inquisitive. They are strictly territorial. Both these factors must be considered for the successful treatment. To take advantage of the inquisitive nature, it may be advantageous to use bait boxes instead of trays. Moving objects within the mouse territory makes the mice within the territory ‘re learn’ the area thus discovering baits and traps within the territory. This makes control quicker. Traps as with rat treatments can lead to treatment failure or partial success. A successful treatment must result in ALL the mice being killed. If this is not the result then the mice will breed and the problem returns. Most home treatments fail because the baiting is not thorough enough, all the territories need baiting. These may include the loft, kitchen, garage and shed. Mice in a loft may feed on insects and seeds blown in and anything stored up there. The size of the mouse families territory is dictated by the food supply available. A kitchen territory will be small compared with a loft one which will be large.
Trapping & Poisoning
Initially trapping will be successful but by ‘natural selection’ the mice that like traps will be dead and the remaining will learn to avoid traps. The survivors will breed and produce mice with the same behaviour. The anti coagulant poisons tend to avoid this problem by having a delayed effect and as long as there is enough poison bait laid, presented in an ‘interesting manner’ and all territories baited.
As with rats an integrated approach is best that considers food supply, hygiene, proofing and baiting.
PEST UK offer a guaranteed treatment for mice.
Removing Rats in the Autumn:
Rats are an unceasing problem in the Autumn for a variety of reasons. Outside there is a natural abundance of food. Fields still have a lot of spilt grain on them from the harvest and there are many types of fruits and nuts in woods and hedgerows. Where there is food and the temperature is not too cold will lead to rats breeding. So the rat population will peak in the Autumn. This will be followed by a decrease in natural food, a drop in temperatures and a reduction of natural vegetation cover. This will make rat population move, looking for new harbour ages and food supplies. They will take greater risks the more desperate they become and this generally means moving into buildings and/or in the vicinity of people and their food or animals. Although people phoning us with rat problems in their gardens and houses is a year long feature of calls at PEST UK the calls regarding rat problem is worse in the Autumn and early Winter especially after a spell of frosty weather. Rats are originally a semi tropical animal and although can and have adapted to thrive in cold weather they prefer the shelter of buildings and artificial heat if given a choice.
There is no easy way to get rid of rats. You need a three pronged approach:
Food Supply. This is the most important. Get rid of the food supply or make it more difficult or dangerous for the rats to feed. Stopping bird feeding or even moving the feeder to the centre of the lawn may discourage rats.
Harbourage. Rats naturally leave and breed in burrows in the soil but have adapted to live and breed in any cavity that provides similar shelter. (such as under sheds or in cavity walls). Proofing holes to prevent access and removing cover (rats do not like to be in the open)
Poison Bait. This will only be fully successful if the first two points are addressed.
These are just general points and in the case of sewer problems none of the above may apply which is why it makes sense to call in a professional.
Rats BPCA Advice
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