Pests in May
Pests that might appear in your home or business during May
Now is the ant ‘season’. Ants are well out of hibernation and the population of the nests is expanding, and now is the time people start encountering ant problems.
The majority of problems encountered in domestic situations are the common garden or black ant. These ants generally live outside or around the foundations of houses and other buildings. They usually forage outside but occasionally come inside, especially in early Spring when the outside temperatures are low and later when food sources are located inside. The ants lay pheromone trails which are indicators as to where food or water sources are. These trails are hard to eradicate and are followed by others from many different nests. People often think that what they are seeing come from one nest and once the nest is located and dealt with then the problem will be solved. This is rarely the case.
These are from the tropics that have colonised buildings in the UK. They behave differently and ‘normal’ insecticide treatments can actually make the situation worse. Pest Control Ants involving these is difficult and need an expert solution.
These rarely come into buildings. Their usual habitat is the floor of pine forests. Red wood ants get their name from their red and brown-black colouring and most species live in woodland habitats. Wood Ants are considered endangered and a lot of work is being done to conserve the species.
Control of Ants
PESTUK offer a guaranteed treatment (inside areas only) for all types of ants. The tropical variety may require several treatments ranging over months or even years. External treatments will reduce the population but will recover. External treatments are often used when garden ant populations peak or just get too high, treatments in these cases are useful and depending on circumstances, may take several weeks or months for the problem to return.
More Information on Ants by PESTUK
PESTUK may use an insecticide spray or powder treatment, a baiting program or a combination, depending on the type of ants and the circumstances.
Pest Control Ants: To book a pest control treatment or for free advice on any pest control problems then please call us at PESTUK: 0330 100 2811 (local rate) or 0800 026 0308 (free from land lines & some mobiles).
PESTUK cover a wide area of England including Berkshire (Reading, Newbury, Windsor & Maidenhead), Middlesex, (Harrow, Hounslow, Ealing, Feltham, Uxbridge, Northwood, Ruislip, West Drayton) Surrey, (Guildford, Egham, Woking, Camberley Oxfordshire (Henley, Wallingford, Didcot), Hampshire (Basingstoke, Aldershot, Winchester Andover, Whitchurch), Buckinghamshire, (Amersham, Beaconsfield, High Wycombe, Burnham, Gerrards Cross Farnham Common). & West London.
Recently I treated a mouse infestation at a house near Guildford in Surrey. The Lady was clearly alarmed by the mice, although it was not until I actually looked around the house that she realised quite how many mice were in fact present!
After I showed the lady the problems, she still seemed quite concerned, but I explained that at PestUK we are professionals and that it would be no problem to deal with any size of infestation. Mice can do over 80 droppings a day, so even if a situation looks really bad, often it is still very easy to deal with. I used professional use only poisons (including brodifacoum) in secure places around the house where the mice were present.
I explained that although the mice were in many different areas, they were mostly probably hiding in the loft. After investigating the house further I found that many of the air-bricks on the outside wall of the house needed proofing as they were large enough to permit entry by rodents. I then carried out this proofing in addition to the treatment, we do charge extra to do things like this, but like many of the technicians at PestUK I am quite capable of using tools to do small jobs like this professionally.
One of the air-bricks was also broken in the part of the wall adjacent to the kitchen, which was probably the main point of entry as mice had been attracted to food waste under the cooker. This is something that we see all too often at PestUK, and gaps in air-bricks are a very common cause of mouse infestation in older properties. I carried out 3 visits to this property, and as you can see below the lady was obviously quite pleased with the service.
I would like to let someone know how good a service we have had recently. Some mice moved into my kitchen and Rick from the pest uk guildford branch came out to help. He was professional and curteous , explained where they came in from and where they had been in the house without scaring me . He solved the problem and helped protect against a further infestation It was an excellent service and i have already passed on your companies details to colegues who also have a pest problem.
At PEST UK we solve many pest control problems and this type of mouse problem is not unusual, We clear up most rat or mouse problems in two visits. On the first visit we try and establish why the rats or mice are there. Is there a food source? Is there a broken sewer? Are there any holes in the structure of the building? After addressing these matters we lay poison baits then return 2- 3 weeks later when we check that the treatment has been successful, pick up any bodies and the remaining baits. In most cases this is full y guaranteed.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
Bees, Wasps & Hornets:
It 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.
The 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.
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