Monthly Archives: November 2014
PEST UK is a local pest control company servicing the South of England for both commercial and domestic pest control problems. In 2013 we decided that we would give 1% of our profits to charity. (or £400.00, whichever was greater) This decision was made because we wanted to give something back, it is good publicity and also the fact that we are bombarded with people phoneing, e mailing and writing asking for charitable donations. The problem with the last point is that a lot (but not all) are bogus charities so even though they give a sob story you don’t know that the money is actually going to a charity. Even if it does sometimes a percentage of the donation will go to the salesperson who collected the donation. Anyway after we decided we would give 1% of our annual profits to a charity we looked for a suitable charity. Our criteria was that we wanted a broad charity that was not religious or restricted to a certain country and would be long lasting (not targeting a specific disaster or area). The reason for this was so that we didn’t alienate any of our customers.
Now you may think that this was easy, it isn’t. The only condition we applied was that we could use the charities logo on our website to let our customers know and to advertise the charity. We approached: Oxfam, Medcine Frontier, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Save the Children, Feed the Children, Barnardos (we have a contract with Barnardos & Guide Dogs for the Blind, Children In Need, Sport Relief and many more. None of these would let us use their logo unless we donated at least £50 000.00 or they said that their major sponsors (I think Boots was one) would not let any other companies use the charity’slogo. It was like banging your head against a wall. If they (the charities) had any sense they would ditch the major companies and concentrate on the hundreds of thousands of small to medium sized companies who combined would outstrip these selfish large companies with donations.
Operation Smile had no such qualms and our next years donation (due later this month) will be nearly double that of last year.
What do they do?
Operation Smile takes kids who are born with cleft pallets and do a simple operation that fixes it, which is life changing and in some cases life saving for the children affected by this condition.
We are still treating wasps nests in late November (29/11/14) and have wasp jobs booked for December. Wasps in December are not unusual but the volume of of wasps nests we are treating and have enquiries about is unprecedented. This is probably due to the warm weather in October, November and forecasted for the first week in December. There are problems with treating wasp nests at this time of year. A colleague of mine treated a wasp nest at one of my pest control contracts, I had to visit the contract on a scheduled visit a few days later. The nest that was treated seemed to be dead fro th outside, ie there were no wasps flying in and out of the nest from the outside. The person who treated the nest had treated the nest from the outside by injecting the entrance of the nest with a biodegradable insecticide dust (called Ficam D) under pressure. This dust circulated around the nest and killed the occupants but when I inspected the nest from the loft (where I could see this large nest from the loft) there were dozens of Queen wasps on the outside of the nest. The reason for this is that the Queens are due to leave the nest once the nest naturally dies out in the Winter so after an insecticide treatment at the time that nests normally naturally die out they start to leave where as if the nest had been treated a few weeks earlier there instinct would have made them go back into the nest and come into contact with the insecticide and die. If wasps are are a problem at this time of year then it is beneficial to do a fogging and /or a residual insecticide treatment to a wide area rather than just the nest itself (if the nest is still active).
Understanding the habits and lifecycle of wasps is important if they are to be treated successfully.
Glue Boards are only used by PEST UK as a last resort. They are very popular in other countries including the United States but in the UK, probably due to the fact we are less cruel than a lot of countries they are not so popular. There are strict Guidelines about catching Rats & Mice using Glue Boards. The British Pest Control Association (the BPCA, of which PEST UK is a member so is obliged to abide by them). The main criteria is that they must be inspected every 12 hours by a trained person and any trapped animals must be dealt with swiftly. In some countries glue boards are even left in bait boxes for inspection on the contract visits! This means that they may be left for weeks or months before being checked. Another BPCA criteria is that all other methods must be tried first before using them.
When Should they be used?
As stated all other reasonable methods: baiting, trapping, proofing, contact gels & foam & removal of food sources should be tried first. A typical area where they might be used is in a food shop where the rats or mice will not be interested in baits or food on traps as they have ample supply and are used to feeding on certain foods in a certain way. There may have been initial success but leaving the rats or mice that won’t change their habits and feed on poisons. The use of contact gels and foams may be restricted in these areas. Another time of use is where a rodent is trapped in a room and is too frightened to take baits or go near a trap but can be persuaded to cross a glue board. This happened at one of Ken’s jobs (see photo).
In most cases the use of glue boards can be avoided but occasionally there is no choice. In any case it is highly unlikely that using glue boards on there own will eradicate an infestation in fact the distressing nature of their use may have a detrimental effect on other control methods such as baiting.
Rats BPCA Advice
If you have problems getting rid of cockroaches in houses and flats don’t despair! Cockroaches are now relatively ‘easy’ to treat compared with bed bugs and other insect pests due to the introduction of the new cockroach baits. Successful treatments do rely on the premises being clean and grease free. Problems of re infestation occur when the flat or house treated is attached to other flats and/or houses that are also infested. A problem house or flat that has poor hygiene and/or the occupants are not concerned with cockroaches can lead to a block of flats or row of terraced houses being repeatedly infested over a period of many years. This is the main reason why it is difficult to supply a guarantee with cockroach treatments.
Should the Landlord Pay
We often get asked this question. As pest controllers we try not to get involved but as Cockroaches are considered a health hazard (unlike wasps or garden ants but similar to rats and mice) then really the Landlord (whoever they are) should pay.
Treatments to Eradicate or Get Rid of Cockroaches
There are several species of cockroach but the main one is The German Cockroach. It’s not from Germany all cockroaches come from the tropics but act differently in temperate climates. In domestic situations cockroaches will live in fridges, cookers, boilers and any gas or electrical appliance that regularly heats up. They will then venture out to get food. They feed on any organic substance but the higher the protein the better which is why the infested area (including inside cookers etc) needs to be grease and fat free. We lay a gel bait which is eaten by the cockroach. The cockroach takes a few days to die, depending on how much is infested but any droppings the cockroach makes are eaten by other cockroaches which will also die but again any droppings the 2nd cockroach does are eaten by other cockroaches who also die! This happens 4 time! Once the cockroach dies other cockroaches eat the body and they die and again this happens 4 times. After the PEST UK technician has laid the bait they make another visit in about 3 weeks to check the treatment has worked and lay non toxic permeate sticky traps which are left down so the occupier can see when or if any more cockroaches are present or come along in the future.
In the Spring the first time of that year that people come into contact with wasps or hornets is when hibernating Queen wasps and hornets come out of hibernation or are disturbed by artificial heat and light sources (if this happens they may think that Spring has come early and come out of hibernation early even in the Winter). Many people wrongly assume that 1. Queen wasps are hornets (this is because they are much larger than ‘normal’ wasps) & 2. that they have a wasp or hornet nest. These Queens are not living in a nest, all the nests have died out in the early Winter, these are fertilised hibernating Queens (either wasps or hornets) that have left the old nest before it dies, dispersed over some distance from the old nest (maybe a few yards but in some cases a few hundred) and gone into hibernation. In the Spring they come out of hibernation and each Queen will attempt (but often fail) to start to build a new nest, lay eggs and continue the lifecycle.
Treating Queen Wasps & Hornets in Spring & Winter
This is not as easy as treating an active wasp nest in the Summer. This is because there is no nest so rather that concentrate any insecticide in one area (the nest) the insecticide has to be spread over the area where the Queen wasp or hornets are living and causing problems. The other problem is that as the metabolism of these emerging hibernating wasps and hornets is much slower that in the Summer they take longer to absorb the insecticide and longer to die. Any treatments will reduce and not eliminate the problem
PEST UK have the tools and expertise to deal with this type of problem, we cover all the areas of: Berkshire, North Hampshire, Middlesex, NW Surrey, South Bucks, South Oxfordshire and surrounding areas. Phone 0330 100 2811
Proofing Rats & Mice:
Proofing has to be considered when dealing with rats and mice in buildings. Just treating a rat or mouse infestation with Rodenticides may work but other rats moving into an area can always tell where other rats and mice have been even years later. The food source is probably the most important short term factor, especially with Rats. In the case of Mice they are able to survive in loft spaces on insects and seeds blown in and any other organic matter. Only very sparse populations can survive like this so the population density is very low but will increase should they come across a food source say in a kitchen or shed with seeds and bulbs in. Rats need a source of high protein food to thrive. They also need access to fresh water.
So in the short term rats and mice can be dealt with by reducing or eliminating the food source, using a rodenticide (poison bait) and reducing cover where ever possible but in the long term proofing must be looked into.
Mel (PEST UK’s lady technician) has taken this picture of a hole rats made in an air brick to gain access to the building. This type of modern air brick is actually one of the only types that mice cannot get through (they can get through a 1cm gap) but unfortunately as it is made of plastic, rats can chew through it!
PEST UK supply and fit mesh covers for air bricks. These are designed to prevent mice and slugs getting into a cavity wall. Although they don’t look that sturdy I have yet to see rats chew through these covers but it is a possibility.
Where as rats and mice will generally gain access to a building at lower levels (but not always so) Grey Squirrels will enter a building at roof or gutter level often under the tiles. After the present family of Squirrels has been eliminated then this area needs inspecting and proofed.
Rats BPCA Advice
Removal of Rodents:
Removal of Rodents in a House: For the first time since Spring this year the number of rodent jobs taken in a day at PEST UK has exceeded the insect jobs. These rodent jobs are a mixture of rats, mice and squirrels. The rats and mice are a result of the weather getting colder and the vegetation and cover dining back making the rats and mice seek shelter. The population of rats and mice is also at the peak as they have been breeding all year and taking advantage of the natural food available as well as ‘artificial’ food such as bird feed, crops, rubbish etc. The increase in squirrel enquiries again is the result of colder weather. Squirrels at this time of year will look for a warmer place to sleep during cold weather. They don’t hibernate properly but will sleep and remain inactive for long periods during the Winter. Squirrels have several dreys within their territory and a loft space may be one of many. Of course the Red Squirrel is protected and is the native squirrel. The squirrels we have in the PEST UK catchment area of central Southern England and Wes London are all Grey Squirrels which are an alien species introduced from North America. Not only have they displaced the Red Squirrel but kill a lot of birds and their eggs as well as stripping bark from trees.
Control and elimination of these pests is carried out with a combination of baits, traps, proofing and hygiene measures. Not taking into account all these subjects may lead to the treatment failing or being re infested in a short time. They may include blocking holes, stopping bird feeding, reducing composting, cutting back of trees or other vegetation. At PEST UK our technicians are very experienced and will advise on all these matters.
For free advice or to book up a pest control treatment then please call: 0330 100 2811 (local rate) or 0800 026 0308 (free from land lines & some mobiles).
Rats BPCA Advice
BPCA Squirrel Advice
The Cluster Fly season this year has been later than previous years due to the warm October. Harlequin Ladybirds are another addition to pest control in recent years. These type of Ladybirds seem to be replacing the British Ladybird and although bad news for the British Ladybird it’s good news for pest control companies as this type of ladybird hibernates in mass in buildings as opposed to under back and holes in the ground away from buildings as the British Ladybird does.
One of the problems with treating these pests at this time of year is that if the weather is too cold then they take longer to absorb the insecticide and so longer to die. The insecticides although residual for up to 3 months inside areas are still degrading and may fully degrade before the majority of the problem is dealt with.
At PEST UK we may use one or several methods to deal with Cluster Fly and Ladybird problems. It may be a residual insecticide spray to surfaces such as walls, ceilings, window frames, brickwork and roof felt (this is the most effective and long lasting type of treatment but not suitable for all types of surfaces especially dusty or dirty surfaces). A large void such as a loft can be fogged with a fogging machine that gives out the insecticide into the air in fine particles which settle and penetrate voids and kill any airborne insects within the fog which may hang for several hours or days in a space that is not ventilated. This treatment is not residual as the surface spray is but gives a quick ‘knock down’ effect. Applying dust into voids or even onto surfaces offers excellent long term control, it has the advantage of a surface spray in that it will work on dirty surfaces and is highly residual (up to 6 months). The drawback of this type of insecticide application is that it is messy and can easily be disturbed and so the risk of contamination is greater.
Wasp Nest Removal January:
Although wasps and wasp nests are considered a Summer pest they can actually be a problem throughout the year. In fact more people are stung in the Autumn & Winter than in the Summer. This is due to the fact that the metabolism of the wasps is reduced and they are more likely to crawl than fly which means they will crawl into areas where they can sting people. Wasps are also attracted to artificial light and will get confused by artificial heat and light sources. In the Summer this is a much reduced problem as the days are longer there are less heat sources and as the temperatures are higher the wasps are fully alert and active so do not get lost as easily. Everything wasps do in the Autumn and early Winter takes longer, even dieing. A nest treated in the Autumn or early Winter can take up to ten days to die out where as a wasp nest treated in the Summer can be completely dead within a few hours.
Even once the nest is dead wasps can still cause problems. This is because once the original Queen, Drones and workers have died off the new Queens leave the nest and disperse and then hibernate until the Spring. Problems occur again due to artificial heat and light sources which can fool the Queen wasps in believing that Spring time has come and it is time to come out of hibernation. Treating a wasp problem in these circumstances is difficult and completely f=different to treating a wasp nest in the Summer. In the Summer a small amount of insecticide is placed in the wasp nest but with hibernating Queens there is no nest(s) so the insecticide needs to be spread over a wide area (loft, walls & ceilings) which the wasps absorb as they walk over the treated surface.
PEST UK over this service. Phone for details 0330 1002811
At PEST UK we have been looking at our prices as we have not had a price rise (except for wasp nests) for at least seven years. What is amazing is that the pest control department of Harrow Council charges way above the going rate for pest control even though it is subsidised by the Council Tax Payer.
Here is what they charge (Harrow Counci’s charges bold):
Rats and Mice
Domestic owner or occupied properties – £114 per treatment. Each treatment usually requires two visits, although a third visit can be arranged if necessary.
Tenanted properties will be treated at the domestic charge of £114 – payable by either the tenant or landlord.
Small commercial premises, excluding food businesses – £260 (£130 per visit, minimum 2 visits required). Payment for 2 visits will be taken at the time of booking. Larger jobs: per hour per operative as priorities allow – price to be quoted by Animal Services Officer.
PEST UK only charge £108.00 inc VAT for a fully guaranteed treatment and will not (under normal circumstances) charge for further visits. PEST UK charge commercial customers and domestic the same rate. It all depends on the size of the premises and the amount of work that needs doing.
Squirrels (trapping only)
Domestic owner/occupied properties (2 visits 5 days apart) – £109
Although PEST UK charge £144.00 inc VAT this again is a guaranteed treatment with as many visits as it takes to eliminate the problem. Very, very rarely can a squirrel trapping program be completed in two visits. This means that the customer will be paying much more than the Harrow Council’s advertised price of £109.00.
Wasps (colony killed but nest not removed) – £71 Additional colony treated at the same time as initial treatment – £21
This is an outrageous price, PEST UK only charge £60.00
Cockroaches (domestic premises only) Gel bait – £130 for one treatment (2 visits are required as part of this treatment).
PEST UK charge £108.00
Fleas and general insect sprays – £130 for one visit.
PEST UK charge £72.00
Pharaohs Ants – £135 for one visit (minimum of 2 visits required).
PEST UK charge £108.00
Bed bugs – £230 for an initial survey and two treatment visits. Properties with more than three bedrooms are charged £25 extra per additional room.
PEST UK charge only £108.00 inc VAT. Very occasionally 2 sprays are needed (this 2nd spray is discounted) after which the treatment is fully guaranteed. Their web site makes no mention of the extensive preparation needed for bed bug treatments or any guarantee.
Other insects / services – £160
PEST UK charge £72.00 inc VAT
Annual contracts for pest control services, eg rodents, are available to residents and businesses – price on application and survey.
They are a council. Why are they getting involved in commercial pest control? It leads to a conflict of interests. Say they have a pest control contract at a restaurant and the pest controller is not doing the job properly and the place is then inspected by the Harrow Council EHO. Does the EHO criticise the pest controller (who works in the same department). Do they recommend prosecution of the pest controller for failing to do the job properly? Do they recommend another pest control company? Probably no to all questions.
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