Pests in January
Pests that might appear in your home or business during January
Rodents and Homes.
At PESTUK we know this time of year can lead to an increase of rat and mice activity within homes. The colder weather can make our homes an inviting destination for Rats and Mice. People are also more likely to feed birds in the cold weather which can attract rats and mice to this delicious extra source of protein, which can then nest nearby.
Signs of Rats and Mice in your home
Signs of rodent activity can include late night movement heard through the ceiling, the smell of urine, droppings and gnawing of cables, pipes and beams. They will mostly nest in the loft and use cavities for movement in and about the house.
With the drop in temperatures, rats and mice enter homes to nest in lofts tearing up insulation, under floorboards or in wall cavities. They can gain access to the kitchen and other parts of the home. You may see them during the day but they usually are active at night. Rats and Mice both carry diseases and can damage your home with their constant gnawing. This can even lead to fires from the chewing of electrical cables.
With a steady access to food rodents can easily begin to nest and can begin breeding rapidly in your home. Rodents prefer grain based foods but will happily eat almost anything.
Our technicians can visit your property and can assess for points of entry, food sources and possible nesting areas and can lay poison bait to humanely deal with the rodents.
Wasps in January
At PEST UK we are still getting calls from customers with pest control problems concerning wasps and wasp nests. Usually this involves people getting Queen wasps coming into rooms from the loft or other cavities where old nests were and/or Queen wasps have chosen these sites for hibernation. The unusually warm weather coupled with artificial light and heat can make Queen wasps think it is Spring and time to come out of hibernation.
What can be done about Wasps in January?
One solution is to apply a residual insecticide and /or an insecticide applied through a fogging machine. This kills wasps but rarely will this type of treatment eliminate the wasp problem immediately as the metabolism of hibernating wasps is very slow which means once they come into contact with insecticides it may take some time to die. The other reason is that hibernating wasps are spread over a wide area and the insecticides applied may not reach all areas of a loft or cavity. Having a wasp treatment will also reduce your chances of getting a wasp nest or wasp nests the following year. Queen wasps come out of hibernation March-April and start a nest into which lay lay eggs. The eggs hatch into grubs which are fed by the Queen wasp and then they pupate and hatch into worker wasps. The population increases from just the Queen wasp in April to several thousand by mid July.
Prices for treating wasps in January start at £65.00 + VAT, depending on the size of the house and the area that needs treating.
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).
PEST UK cover a wide area of England including Berkshire, Middlesex, Surrey, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire & West London.
Wasps – Advice from the BPCA
Rats and Sewer Problems:We have a pest control contract for rats and mice at a school in Wokingham, Berkshire. They have had a rat problem at the site off and on for the last two years. When it first started I was asked to supply a second opinion as Stephen Tiller from PEST UK had informed them that the rats were entering the building via a sub terrain route that was almost certainly the foul sewer.
How he reached this conclusion was: 1. There was no rat activity externally on the site & 2. There were takes on test baits placed in the sewer. I visited and formed the same conclusion myself. (I didn’t expect anything else as Steve is a first class pest control technician with many years experience). The local council (Wokingham Borough Council) didn’t seem to want to spend any money at this point so the problem kept re occurring during the last two year period. Last week after a period of smells in the building that indicated dead rats two technicians from PEST UK carried out another inspection at the request of the school and the council. They found more evidence in the sewer and a dry sewer that needed blocking off. We also recommended that two one way sewer valves were installed. The school and Wokingham Borough Council agreed for the work to be carried out. The sewer valves are quite expensive but a fraction of the cost of digging up a sewer to repair it or to find a breach. In fact the sewer valves are cheaper than getting a camera inspection for a sewer. They work like a cat flap, they allow sewage to flow one way when there is pressure from one way but when the sewage stops then the flap closes. Not only does it prevent rats getting further up the sewer to areas where they might be able to gain access to the house but prevents backed up sewage entering the house. In Australia the valves are used to prevent snakes getting into houses via the sewer system.
Call PEST UK Pest Control Services on 0800 026 0308 or 0330 100 2811 for help with Rats and Sewer Problems.
Wasps, Squirrels & Rats:
Today (10/1/14) was the first cold day with sub zero temperatures we have had for a while. This has immediately brought a rush of rat enquiries at PEST UK. Calls into PEST UK regarding rats this Winter have been much lower than normal. As I have mentioned in a previous blog, this is not that the rat population is low but people are not seeing them or coming into contact with them. Our rodenticide usage on contracts is high which indicates the rat population at present is quite high. Today numerous calls regarding rat problems and sightings have confirmed this.
Wasps, Squirrels & Rats
The question pest control companies are asking is Will this mild weather have any effect on the hibernating Queen Wasps? It is not only temperature that makes Queen Wasps come out of hibernate,daylight length ad other factors do play a part but it can make the come out. We know this from the calls we get regarding Queen Wasp problems when lights and or heat go on in loft spaces and other areas where Queen Wasps hibernate. I think that as long as the mild weather finished before the end of February then things should be ok but if not it means the Queen Wasps will emerge from hibernation early and may get caught by cold or prolonged wet Spring weather. If this happens there will be few wasp nests and so less work and money for Pest Control Companies.
We should be getting enquiries from people experiencing Squirrel problems shortly. this is also weather dependant. Cold weather leads to squirrels moving into loft spaces instead of using dreys in trees and milder weather will lead to squirrels looking for sites to have young and loft spaces are ideal sites for this. Again we have not been experiencing the level of calls we would expect to get at this time of year but I forecast that tis will improve in the coming months.
Rats BPCA Advice
Pest Control December & January:
December and early January are traditionally a slow months for pest control companies. Rat and mouse enquiries normally tend to increase in January but this hasn’t happened yet. There may be several reasons. The first is probably that it hasn’t been particular cold so rats or mice haven’t needed to take risks such as feed in daylight hours when they will be seen or to go into buildings for shelter as the vegetation cover diminishes and the weather gets colder.
The other reason is the flooding we have been experiencing. This will displace rats and mice but also cover areas where they may be seen in water. As the temperature is not that low there is not so much bird feeding going on which is a major factor when rat problems are involved. In fact 80% of our domestic rat call outs involve bird feeding of some kind. People feel sorry for birds when there is snow and/or it is very cold. So far in January, apart from our pest control contract work, which is steady all year round we have been doing a mix of Bed Bugs (which are not really seasonal), rats, moles, mice, cockroaches, flies, cluster flies and one flea spray.
Although currently we are not taking many rat jobs the general population of rats at present is high. We can tell this but the amount of rat poison we are using on our contract, which is a great more than normally used at this time of year. Some years January can be busy depending on the weather. In fact in 2012 January was the month wit the biggest turnover in monetary terms for the year. This is artificially boosted though as quite a few companies like to start (and Pay upfront) for their pest control contracts at the start of the year.
Rats & Mice After Storms:
Some of you may notice a sudden infestation of rats and mice after the dreadful weather.
This is not unusual, and there is not much you could have done to prevent it.
The rain and wind will damage rodents’ natural nesting spots and force them to higher ground, including into your home. Overflowing sewerage systems, and storm water drains will also drive them to seek warm dry shelter.
If you are in an area where heavy flooding has taken place, then keep an eye out for signs of rodent activity – rats can gnaw their way through some pretty tough materials to gain access to food and shelter.
If you do suspect any rodent activity it is important that you deal with it as quickly as possible, because once they settle in and start having babies, they becomes so much more difficult to remove. Look for the food source (rats need a continual supply of high protein food to thrive).
Check the outside of your home to make sure that there is no damage that is providing rats and mice with easy access to shelter. Also, if there has been damage, then ensure that any items being discarded, such as damp carpets etc, are kept well away from the house.
Make sure pet food is not accessible to rats, and don’t leave bowls out overnight. Stop feeding birds, this attracts rats, mice and squirrels.
Also, if your rubbish collection service has been disrupted, keep the rubbish as afar as possible from dwellings, and make sure it is stored as securely as possible. Rats will take advantage of refuse bins with holes in them, drain plugs missing or broken/missing lids.
If you have any concerns about rodent activity in your home then give PEST UK a call on 0800 026 0308 for a straightforward assessment.
Geeks, Moths & False Widow SpidersYesterday (27/11/13) we had a call from an existing pest control contract customer. The company is called JV Foods. They are an importer of specialised foreign foods. They started off importing and distributing Mexican foods but have expanded from a farm unit to a large modern warehouse and now import food from all over the world. Any way the problem was that they found a Gecko in the warehouse. At PEST UK we have eight technicians and two of them are reptile experts. JV Foods sent us photo’s of the Gecko and one of our reptile experts (Paul Bendell) thinks it as a Crested Gecko from Madagascar. He is going today to pick it up and will re house it. There is one problem with this however as JV Foods don’t import any food from Madagascar but we will confirm the identification later.
Another contract customer in the same business had a problem with their customer accusing them of supplying Chillies infested with Moths and their larvae. Our customer thinks that the moths may be at the customers end and infesting the Chillies from there as there is nothing at our customers warehouse. It may be that the moths are mot appearing until later once they have reached the end destination. In either case we will know more once the moths have been identifies. We have takes pictures and specimens to the lab we use at Killgerm Chemicals. (See pictures)
The False Widow Spider saga continues. I took a call from a person who had found what he thought were spiders eggs on a bunch of bananas. He wanted us to identify the eggs. If he got a positive identification (in other words a False Widow or ‘other venomous spider) he wanted his house treated. This was possible but it would have taken time. He was not prepared to wait and went back to the supermarket.
For advice or a pest control treatment please phone PEST UK on 0330 100 2811. Alec Minter
Cold Weather & Pest Control Contract:
This coming week at PEST UK will see a further reduction in the seasonal insect pests such as Cluster Flies, ‘other Flies, and Wasps (& Wasp Nests, requests for removal). This will be due to the cold spell we expecting this week that will kill off or send into hibernation these types of pests. Today (18/11/13) we have booked up several Cluster Fly jobs, Wasp Nest treatments, Bed Bugs, Moles and Fleas. Fleas seem to be the pest on the increase at the moment.
A new pest control contract was started today in a restaurant in the Reading town centre. This was in the older part of the town and the contract developed from a ‘normal’ rat job we started last week. This part of Reading appears to be overrun with rats. At the start of the treatment this well known and popular restaurant didn’t seem concerned that rats were running in and out of the restaurant! We advised proofing, hygiene measures and a clear up as well as regular pest control inspections. We didn’t hold out much hope they would bother with any of the advice as the owners did not want to spend any money. Much to our surprise they wanted the pest control contract with monthly visits. Steve Tiller, the PEST UK Operative talked to several properties adjoining this restaurant. They all had problems. This is an old part of Reading, I would expect the sewers would not be in a brilliant condition due to their age. The areas at the rear of these properties were rubbish and debris strewn giving harbourage and food for rats. The rear of the buildings in these situations are never maintained as well as the front so there is often holes around pipes, missing or broken air bricks to allow access into the buildings by rats.
To deal with this rat problem takes a combined approach of proofing, removing the food source and rodenticide treatment. Failure to do any properly and the treatment will fail.
Pest Services During Winter:
This December (2015) has been the warmest on record and this does effect pests. It means we are still carrying out pest control treatments for many insect pests that we would not be doing in late December such as Cluster Flies, House Flies, Blue Bottles, Wasps and Ants. This bonus for us at PEST UK is countered by the fact that the warm weather means there are less rat, mouse and squirrel jobs as they are not under much pressure (as the weather is warm) to move into buildings. Saying that however the population of rats, mice and squirrels is very high. We can tell this by the rodent takes we are currently getting on our pest control contracts with external bait points and we are using a lot of poison bait! Once the weather finally does get colder there will be an influx of rat, mouse and squirrel jobs coming into PEST UK.
Our mix of work at PEST UK is quite varied at this time of the year. It can include:
- Cluster Flies
- Rodents (both rats and mice)
- Bed Bugs
Some pests are not effected by external temperatures, these include Cockroaches, Bed Bugs and Tropical Ants. Cockroaches generally live inside buildings in fridge motors or other high temperature areas. Bed Bugs will slow down if a house is not centrally heated but generally if some one is sleeping in a bed room at night and bed bugs are present they will be active. Tropical Ants rely on the core temperature of the building they are living in being high.
Our usual contract work continues all year round, as does certain types of specific jobs such as
- Bird/Pigeon Proofing
There are fewer insect related call-outs as the weather gets colder but we are expecting to see an increase in rodent and squirrel-related call-outs.
December is traditionally the quietest month for pest control call-outs as most pests are happily curled up somewhere sleeping through the winter. The reduced daylight hours can also make pest control difficult at this time of the year.
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.
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.
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.
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