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

Pests in April

Pests that might appear in your home or business during April

Due to the recent warm weather at PEST UK we are getting dozens of calls about wasps. The main feature of these calls are people saying they have Wasps, Hornets, Bees, Queen Bees or Bees coming out of their lofts. Customers even find these (they are in fact usually Queens) then look in the loft, see an old wasp nest and assume this is where these wasps are coming from. This may have been the case but removing the old nest at this time of year makes no difference to the existing wasp issue. These Queen Wasps may have emerged from the old nest in the loft but maybe from a nest in a different building. Once they leave the nest in the Autumn the Queen wasps disperse and hibernate. From then on they are leading solitary lives and not living with other wasps until they make their own nest and produce grubs, which hatch into worker wasps. These are sterile females. The males (Drones) and fertile females (Queens) are produced later in the season (usually about August) to carry on the cycle for the next year.
European Wasp
The problem of Queens in a house at this time of year can be treated. It is difficult to control flying insects that do not have nests but reduction can be achieved. In the case of Queen Wasps we recommend ‘fogging’ the loft with an insecticide accompanied by a residual surface insecticide spray to walls, ceilings and around windows of affected rooms. The price for this sort of treatment varies between £60 and £90 + VAT. The fogging treatment to the loft has a quick knockdown effect compared to the the longer life killing power of the residual spray. The reason the residual spray is not used in the loft is that the surfaces are either not suitable for this type of treatment (insulation) or very dusty (residual insecticides work best on clean surfaces.)

For help and advice on wasp problems call PEST UK Pest Control Services on 0800 026 0308 or 0330 100 2811

This is the most important time of the year for the Queen Wasp and Bumble Bees. The weather in the next 12 weeks will decide on the population levels of these insects in the Summer ahead. This factor can make or break pest control companies as the financial implications are enormous.

Bumble BeeThe life cycles of Wasps and Bumble Bees are very similar, not to be confused with solitary wasps, honey bees, mining bees and mason bees which have different life cycles but still can be pests depending on where they are. The reason why this time is crucial for Wasps and Bumble Bees is that the Queens are emerging from hibernation. They were mated in the Autumn/Late Summer and are the e.g. layers of the potential new nest and future generations from that nest (if she survives). The Queens are designed to lay eggs and are large and clumsy compared to the workers they produce that are designed to forage for food and nesting materials. Most of the Queens (both Wasp and Bee) die. A large wasp nest may produce up to 1000 fertile Queen Wasps (the usual figure is probably in the low hundreds) but on a couple will survive the Winter and Spring to produce a new nest that produces more Queen and Drone wasps for the following year. Bumble Bee Queen numbers vary on the species. Some Bumble Bee colonies in the Arctic don’t have time to produce workers, the Queen produces more Queens and Drones immediately as the season is so short. If there are long periods of cold, wet or windy weather then the Queen Wasp and Bumble Bees die, only the very strong survive. If this type of weather is separated by calm warm days then more Queen Wasps and Bumble Bees will survive.
German Wasp
Lets hope for a calm, warm and dry Spring, and if you need help getting rid of wasps and bees call PEST UK Pest Control Services on 0800 026 0308 or 0330 100 2811

Wasps – BPCA


Sewer Valves, Wasps & Bees:
Rat Sewer ValveOne of the questions we get asked at PEST UK concerning rat infestations in houses is:

  • Where are they getting in?
  • How do I stop them in the future?

If the house is part of a terrace or a block then this makes finding the entry point(s) difficult. Rats may be getting into the structure of the building some way to the place they are causing problems. The may be travelling though cavity walls and emerging in a loft space or a kitchen. The entry points are easier to detect if they are above ground. The pest technician will always be trying to locate the food source of a rat infestation. This may be bird feeding, refuse or droppings/food from other animals. This factor is the most important when dealing with a rat infestation. If this item is not dealt with then control of the rat problem will either not be successful or soon re establish itself.

German WaspThe only exception to this would be if the rats are coming from a broken sewer. Sewers have rats, especially the older systems where rats can burrow into the sides of the sewer using the spaces left by broken bricks. Rats that live in sewers are not a separate species in this country (except in some ports) all rats are the Brown or Norway Rat. If the rats are getting into the house via the sewer then action is needed. Initially bait the sewer will help but not solve the problem.

If the repairs are deemed too expensive then long term baiting may be an option. A camera survey may be needed to find out where the breach is so it can be repaired. Repairs to sewers can cost thousands of pounds. A cheaper alternative is to insert a one way sewer valve into the sewer where the sewer pipe leaves the house and enters the main system. In older systems there may be several sewer exits that need to have valves fitted and more in an older terrace type building. These valves are like a one way cat flap that allow sewage to flow out but then shut so that rats cannot go any further up the system and into the house.Bumble Bee

Queen Wasps & Bumble Bees

The mild weather of this February has lead to many more enquiries
requiring Queen Wasps and Bumble Bees than we would normally expect at this time of year.
Rats BPCA Advice

Wasps & Hibernation:
Mel (she is our only lady pest control technician) got us to write to one of her customers, she had told them verbally and written on the pest control report (that we leave with every contract customer) but she was so concerned about this issue that she wanted a letter as well. The issue was Weils Disease. The customer was a flooded Nursery School and as there was a history of rat problems on the site she was worried that the children may contract Weils Disease. This disease is transmitted in rat and mouse urine via water. If contaminated water is consumed or gets onto scratches or cuts it can infect the person. Weils disease can be treated using particular anti biotics but it is hard to detect (flu like symptoms) and unless treated with the correct drugs early enough can lead to liver failure and even death. Many people in the UK die from this disease every year. We wrote a letter advising the Nursery School to keep the children away from water and damp areas outside. Areas such as lofts, sheds and inside areas can be treated with a disinfectant to kill Weils disease. This is best done once the rat or mouse infestation has been eliminated and is a service that us at PEST UK do provide.
This month has supplied a steady stream of bed bug jobs with rat enquiries being the most numerous followed by mice, a couple of mole jobs and one rabbit gassing job. This month so far we haven’t carried out any wasp nest removal or wasp fogging jobs but we have had several phone calls from people asking why they have large wasps or hornets in their lofts. The Queen Wasps are ready to emerge from hibernation and this can be set off by artificial light and or fluctuations in temperature.
German Wasp

Wasps BPCA

Bees & Wasps in Lofts:
On Saturday I saw a Queen Bumble Bee flying about at Tilehurst Station. This is very early even for Bumble Bees and not good news for Bumble Bees unless the weather stays mild and the rain stops! The daly emergence from hibernate is often triggered by lid weather. Temperature is not the only factor as daylight length also has a part to play but when insects hibernate in places where there is artificial light (in a building) then temperature might play a more important role. Coming out too early can lead to problems for Queen Wasps and Bumble Bees. With Queen Wasps over 99% of the hibernating population will die before making a successful nest that includes workers and on to rearing next years Queens. most will die. Most will never reach the stage where workers are produced. The reason is that they are trying to feed, build a nest, lay eggs, rear & feed grubs and maintain the nest all in weather that may be cold, windy and wet, in fact typical British Spring weather. I believe the percentage of Queen Bumble Bee Queens mortality is probable a lot less than Queen Wasps. The reasons are that where as up to a 1000 Queen Wasps are produced by a wasp nest, Bumble Bee nests may only produce a dozen or so depending on species. Queen Bumble Bees are also more suited to cold weather. They generally emerge earlier than Queen Wasps and some species even live beyond the Arctic Circle, feeding on the Arctic flowers that thrive during the Summer.
Bumble Bee
Already at PEST UK we have had calls from people complaining about wasps in the loft and have ‘fogged’ the loft with an insecticide which will not eliminate the wasp problem completely but reduces it dramatically. The problems with treating Queen Wasps in this type of situation is that when cold the metabolism of the insects is slow so they take time to absorb insecticide and of course some Queen Wasps will be hibernating in areas untouched by insecticide such as deep in the soffats, behind roofing felt to under insulation.German Wasp


Wasps BPCA

Bees, Wasps & Hornets:
GermanWaspIt won’t be long before we start getting calls about bees and wasps. This normally starts with customers saying that they have got hornets when in fact they usually turn out to be Queen wasps emerging from hibernation. Their function is to find a nest site, build a nest, lay eggs, rear and feed the grubs that hatch out until they turn into the first batch of worker wasps. Nests in the early stage can be dealt with fairly easily if the nest can be seen. Many nests are located in cavity wall, soffats or other cavities that are not accessible.

dark_honey_bee_hemberger-1The start of nest building does not start for at least a month after the Queens emerge. Bumble Bee Queens come out of hibernation before Queen Wasps. Bumble Bees are used to colder climates and some species live in the arctic. Bumble Bee Queens do not hibernate in buildings as Queen Wasps do so don’t come into contact with people so much unless they fly in through an ope window. Queen Wasps can be a nuisance and in fact a danger to people if they have been hibernating in loft spaces and get down into rooms underneath. A common treatment for Queen Wasps in late Winter and Spring is for us at PEST UK to fog a loft with an insecticide that kills any insects the insecticide comes into contact with. This type of treatment is very successful but has its limitations as the surfaces in a loft space are not very good for insecticides to last very long on as well as some Queens being in areas incapable to the insecticides such as in the soffats or under the insulation.

Honey bees have a different lifecycle to that of most wasps and Bumble Bees, they have a Queen but all forms (Workers, Drones and the Queen) live throughout the Winter (although there are fatalities). They are able to do this as Honey Bees store honey.Bee Control by PestUK


BPCA Hornets

Wasps – 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).
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.
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.
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

Grey Squirrels:
When we say the word “Squirrel” it immediately conjures up images of Beatrix Potter like figures, all warm and cosy and fairytale like.Squirrel-Control

Unfortunately the reality is often very different, and squirrels can be a real problem for some people.

There are people who actively encourage squirrels by feeding them.  In other cases people are unknowingly increasing the population of squirrels by feeding birds.

Bird food is a great source of  high protein food, not only for birds, but also for squirrels, rats and mice.  Concentrations of these  pests can have a devastating effect on local insects , other rodents and mammals as well as newts, slow worms, frogs and toads. The more food in a squirrels territory the smaller the territory will have to be thus allowing the population density to increase.

Squirrels will also eat baby birds and birds eggs, so by having bird feeders that squirrels can access, can encourage squirrels into gardens and allow them to easily reach and kill birds that people are trying to protect.

Most of the calls we get within   our catchment area (Berkshire, North Hampshire, North West Surrey, South Oxfordshire and South Buckinghamshire) are for problems with squirrels entering roof spaces.

A male squirrel will have several dreys within its territory and a loft space is often treated as one of these and may only be visited every now and then which can make treatment difficult. In warm weather squirrel families are unlikely to visit lofts as the temperature may be too high. Lofts are often favoured for giving birth, especially  for the first litter of the year when the temperature is still quite cold.

SquirrelPestUK use a combination of traps, (usually Fen traps but some times Kania) and a warfarin based poison to control squirrels. Some pest technicians favour poison over traps. This method takes longer and the poison needs to be treated with an attractant such as sugar, chocolate flavouring or rat attractant.  Squirrels can be fussy feeders, particularly if they have access to a bird feeder full of peanuts and bird seed. The reason for this is that they can be fussy feeders, especially if they have access to peanuts, sunflower seeds and bird seed.

If a squirrel is poisoned outdoors then a special feed hopper has to be used (it is illegal not to poison this way outside). If traps are used we use special containers to prevent birds and other animals being caught in them.

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 Pest Control Squirrels

More info on Squirrels from PESTUK

Honey Bees:
Bee Control by PestUKNo one likes to kill bees and at PEST UK we will always try and move them where possible. Bees are not protected as some people believe. In fact honey bees are a semi domesticated species. Although not officially protected they (Honey Bees) may only be treated as long as there is no danger of the insecticide contaminating other Honey Bees. This means that the entrance to the nest needs blocking as soon as the insecticide has been applied. This in itself can lead to problems. If the entrance to the nest is in a chimney with a gas flue then it is illegal (and life threatening) to block the chimney. If the nest is in a cavity wall and bees are entering through an air brick and the air brick is blocked off then bees may find another exit and this could be inside the house. Hundreds or thousands of angry bees inside a house will be dangerous. These regulations do not apply to Mason, Mining or Bumble Bees.

Moving Honey Bees

Honey bees can be moved if they are in a hanging swarm. This happens when the hive produces a new Queen and the splits with one Queen leaves with a percentage of the hive and the swarm ‘hangs’ in a bush or tree while scouts search out a suitable place to start a new hive, usually a cavity such as a chimney. The waiting process can take several days and if found in this state can be collected by a bee keeper and placed in a hive. Once the swarm moves into a cavity it is almost impossible to remove them and they have to be left or destroyed. Leaving an active nesting a building is rarely a desirable option. Parasites will feed on wax and honey. The nest produces waste liquid and may also smell.dark_honey_bee_hemberger-1

PEST UK is often approached by beekeepers in Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey & South Buckinghamshire  asking for swarms.

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).

Bees – BPCA

Bee Stings and Ladders:
At this time of year we are getting ready for Bee and Wasp season to start at PestUK. In the spring and summer months each technician will often treat many nests a day. Last year I became proficient at Bee swarm removal in addition to just treating them. Bees usually swarm onto a tree branch or bush in someones garden which is what prompts people to  call us.  This happens when the original hive splits in two, and a new queen and some of the workers go off to find somewhere new to live. Removal of these swarms from your garden is relatively simple with the right safety equipment, and the Bees can be put in a box and either given to local beekeepers or released somewhere that they are not doing any harm.

Sometimes Bees may need to be treated if they have already built a hive in somewhere that is unsafe or dangerous. It is a common misconception that it is illeagal to treat bees, as some pest control companies refuse to do it, but as long as the action against the bees can be justified it is perfectly legal to treat them. The most common scenario would be bees inside a wall cavity, obviously they cannot be removed, so it is acceptable to treat them if they create a hazard to the occupants of the building (eg young children, they are allergic etc).

It is very important to not attempt to disturb bees unless you have access to the proper PPE (a bee suit) as I  have found in my experiance they are much more agressive than wasps if disturbed. Last summer i had to have a day off work due to being stung when treating a bees nest inside a wall in henley, this wouldnt have been quite so bad, except that i was 3 stories up on a ladder at the time! So for the technician it can be quite dangerous! If you should get a bees nest in a high awkward place like a chimmney, no matter if you are in Wokingham, Reading or anywhere else in Berkshire, it will probably be myself that comes with another technician to treat it.

On another note, I will be constructing a couple of hives at my parents house this year, so if you are one of the first people  to call us to remove a bee swarm this year, you can be assured that they will be going to a good home!


Rick P

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).

Bees from the BPCA

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