Pests in July
Pests that might appear in your home or business during July
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.
The 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.
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
Sewer Valves, Wasps & Bees:
One 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.
The 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.
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
Ants, Pests & Flooding:
Most of the pests we deal with are not affected by the recent flooding. The main pests that we deal with at PEST UK that will be effected are will be rats and mice. They can swim ad flooding may encourage them to move into buildings and as long as the area does not remain flooded for too long then fatalities would be limited, probably less for the time of year as Winter is when the rat and mouse population decreases to to lack of food and cold weather. For although the weather has been wet it has not been very cold. The flooding may also increase the food supply of worms and slugs but reduce the bird food available as people tend not to feed birds as much in wet, mild weather but more so in very cold frosty or snowy weather. As mentioned in previous Blogs Weils disease can be a problem in flooded areas as the virus is transmitted in water. Insect, especially hibernating insects are surprisingly resilient to flooding. Ants and hibernating wasps and bees are the insect pests that we deal with that flooding may affect.
Today we are dig our third ant job of the year. This is very early and treatment of ants at this time of year (inside) will probably ned another treatment later in the Spring. A nests tat are situated on the edge or under a building may e affected by heat and light from the building and start foraging inside. This leads to the occupier calling a pest control comp. The trouble is that the insects metabolism is slow so absorb any insecticides, including the uptake of insecticide baits. This makes treatment a very slow process. Normally an external insecticide and/or baiting treating is needed for success bt although not cold it is still too cold for ants to be foraging outside at the moment.
Hibernating Wasps & Bees:
Soon PEST UK will be selling more pest control products to the public. We don’t really like to do this as we believe that, in most cases it is better that pest control is left to professionally trained people. The reason for this is that we see many so many DIY attempts at pest control where poisons or traps have been incorrectly used, which can lead to extreme suffering for the targeted animal and/or non target species being accidentally poisoned, killed or injured in traps. The problem is that most pest control products can be bought (sometimes not legally) over the internet.
If you do want to attempt your own pest control, then please buy your products from an expert. The products we sell are all safe for DIY use and we will give advice on how they should be used to get the best result, and protect family and pets. We always recommend that the treatments should be carried out by a qualified person.
More Queen Bumble Bees have been seen over the weekend. Yesterday’s (Sunday) sunshine has brought them out. Really for our point of view it would be good to have three to four weeks of cold weather to keep the Queen Wasps and Queen Bumble Bees in hibernation until the Spring proper. If they come out of hibernation too early then the likelihood of them building nests that survive until the Summer are much reduced. Colder weather will also increase the number of rodent related calls.
In the British Pest Control News recently, there was an article about the danger in certain conditions of Cluster Flies enervating tall buildings in their hundreds of thousands and apart from the nuisance value there can also be dreadful smells from rotting fly bodies. PEST UK has seen a similar situation on a tower block in Bracknell. We treat this building every year and the volume of flies is amazing to see.
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.
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.
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.
Bed Bugs & Squirrels:
Hello to Customers Past and Presentand Future!
The winter season at PestUK is traditionally quieter than the rest of the year, however we have foud ourselves very busy with rat and squirrel jobs which traditionally try and come inside houses at this time of year.
I have recently been asked to carry out a few squirrel treatments in Reading using only bait at customer request, as they did not like the idea of hearing the squirrels being caught! I much prefer to use traps and bait in conjunction as it is much more successful, and clears the squirrels out the loft spaces much quicker. Only one type of bait is cleared for use with squirrels (warfarin) and the formulation it comes in is not palatable for the squirrels in my experience, so I prefer to use mostly traps. Obviously the squirrels will make a noise for a few moments after being killed in a trap (this is just nerves twitching after it has been killed), and while this noise may be disturbing for some customers, in my experience it is the quickest way to clear them out of a loft. Below is a picture to show a squirrel humanely caught in a loft in Reading, Berkshire.
At PestUK we have recently carried out several Bed Bug jobs in Calcot and Theale. These type of jobs are not really dependant on seasonal differences in any way, however usually we get a sudden rush of them at the end of the summer when people come back from holidays. I have personally had an infestation of bed bugs in my house following a holiday to turkey a few years ago, which is a true storey I often tell customers to reassure them that I am knowledgable and successful at treating them! Below is a photo showing the marks left by the bed bugs on a bed in Theale. If you have noticed marks like this on your bed and are getting bites, then you probably have bed bugs
Bed Bugs & Multiple Occupancy Premises:
I have just booked up a Bed Bug job for a multiple occupancy house in Reading, Berkshire. There are five occupied bed sit type rooms. We have treated this house several times for Bed Bugs before, twice in November 2011, twice in February 2013 and once in September 2013. There are several problems when dealing with pest problems and especially bed Bugs in multiple occupancy houses. The first is the size of the rooms. Any Bed Bugs in the furniture have a shorter distance to travel to the host and so cross less insecticide from the treated surfaces. The treated surfaces are subject to more use in a smaller room meaning that the insecticide degrades more quickly. Another problem is preparation. Unless the preparation is done properly then treatments will fail and these types of dwellings have less room for the occupants to remove and prep there belonging prior to treatments. Treating Bed Bugs successfully is not a simple matter as say treating a wasp or removing a bees nest or any other forms of Pest Control. In this case the reason they require repeat treatments is for several reasons: new people are moving in and out of the rooms and may be bring infested belongings with them and also that on all visits we have never been able to access all five rooms on the same visit. The other problem is whenever we get access the preparation has never been done to an acceptable standard in all the rooms. Bed Bugs will spread from room to room especially if the infestation is heavy or the room is unoccupied for a long period of time and the Bed Bugs may look for an alliterative food supply. Today when I was contacting the occupants one of the persons said the treatment had worked and that they had had no Bed Bug problems since the last treatment in September 2013.
Bed Bugs, Who Pays? Should Landlords Pay?
Some Landlords will pay for Bed Bug treatments especially if the tenants have just moved in but many won’t using the excuse that the new tenants might have bought the Bed Bug infestation with them. Either way it is difficult to prove. We have just had a case involving a large Housing Association and a Bed Bug infestation. A couple of tenants reported Bed Bug problems to the Housing Association, they told the tenants to sort the problem out themselves, they tried but for whatever reason the treatments failed (not many companies are as good at Bed Bug treatments as PEST UK!), this treatment failure lead to the Bed Bugs spreading to five5 other adjoining properties. The premises is a block of flats. (Five other properties have reported bed Bug infestations, there will probably be other properties that have Bed Bugs but as yet haven’t reported this.) Due to the tenants complaints the Housing Association has asked us at PEST UK to treat these five infested properties. Now if the Housing Association had treated the first two infested properties when they were first reported they would have saved themselves a lot of money as well as exposing their tenants to a lot of distress. Bed Bug infestations are extremely unpleasant and the preparation prior to treatment is extensive as well as disruptive for the tenant. I believe in this case that there will be a lot more than the initial five properties with Bed Bug problems. Bed Bugs can spread to flats either side as well as above and below.
So really a reasonable Landlord should pay but there are a lot that won’t. Some will just refuse and won’t care about their tenants welfare or if the problem spreads, such is the demand for cheap rented accommodation.
Rabbit Gassing & Wasps:
Yesterday we did a quote for Rabbit Gassing. Fifteen years ago a high percentage of our time in the Winter and Spring was spent gassing rabbits. Not any more this work has become quite rare. I don’t really understand this, there seem to be as may rabbits around although this does vary from year to year. From our point of view the method of gassing has changed. Cymbal (which is a powder that releases Cyanide gas when it comes into contact with moisture) was passed for use for gassing rabbits. There were two methods of application, either to put a spoon of Cymbal into the burrow and then block the burrow up or blown down by a machine or hand pump. At PEST UK (or Berkshire and Basingstoke Pest Control as we were known then) we tried all methods. By far the most effective was Cymag applied with the motorised gasser. Between 90% and 100% of the rabbits in the warrens were killed after one application. Spooning Cymag only killed between 60% and 80%.
Unfortunately (or fortunately for rabbits), Cymag is no longer available for use. The only way gassing is allowed now is by Talunex or Phostoxin pellets. Pellets are considered safer as spillages and contamination of air is less likely. The problem is is that although this method of rabbit control far exceeds other messages such as ferreting or shooting, gassing with Phostoxin and Talunex is not as effective as gassing was with Cymag.
One of the drawbacks of gassing using a motorised pump when carried out in the Autumn was wasp nests. I have been stung several times while gassing this way. The problem is the noise makes hearing any buzzing impossible and blocking up the entrance to a wasp nest makes them angry (this happens if the nest is situated in the rabbit burrow).
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