Pests in Spring
Pests in Spring
Removing Wasp or Bee swarms or nests in a chimney can be difficult. Most pest control companies will not tackle these difficult jobs, it can be dangerous, more expensive to insure and takes 2 people with long ladders and roof ladders. In the case of bee swarms it may be that they can be treated using an insecticide smoke from the bottom of the chimney. If the swarm has only recently moved into the chimney this is often successful but we always warn the customer that treatment from the bottom of a chimney is not always successful and some times the only way is to get close from the top to apply the insecticide. We always look at re locating bees but once they enter a chimney this is virtually impossible. If tackled from the top it may be possible to net the top of the chimney to prevent re infestation and cross contamination. This is not possible if there are any gas appliances venting into the chimney.
Regulations do say that a non residual insecticide be used (if removal is not possible) and that treatment should not be carried out near other bee hives and the entrance be blocked. Unfortunately the gas regulations will supersede these as what do you do if gas appliances are venting into the chimney? It is against the law to net such a chimney or block the flue (entrance to the bees nest) in any way and peoples lives come above bees. In these cases PEST UK will carry out an assessment and in most cases treat the bees. Wasp nests are rarely successfully treated from the bottom of a chimney. The reason for this is that where as a bees nest and the bees have a nest that is ‘open’ (it is not enclosed but relies in the cavity itself for protection) a wasp nest has a skin of paper mache type construction that gives some protection against insecticide smokes and small amounts of insecticides. We often recommend that customers try the cheaper treatment from the bottom for a newly arrived bee swarm but rarely for a wasp nest.
Prices for Removing Wasps or Bees in a Chimney
Current price for a chimney treatment is £50.00 + VAT for a one man smoke or insecticide treatment done from the bottom of the chimney or £135.00 + VAT for a 2 man ladder and roof ladder job. In some cases it may be even dearer if a Cherry Picker is required.
For advice or a pest control treatment please phone PEST UK on 0330 100 2811. Alec Minter
Like Bumble Bees, Honey Bees have been making a come back in the past few years. The increase has not been as dramatic as the increase in Bumble Bee nests but they have been increasing. This may be down to the increase in people keeping Honey Bees.
The way new nests are formed is different to that of wasps or Bumble Bees. With Honey Bees the hive will split after the workers produce a new Queen. It is thought they do this when they decide there original Queen needs replacing. Either the new Queen or the old existing Queen then takes a percentage of the hive and leaves in a massive swarm. They then hang in a bush or tree and send scouts out to find a suitable cavity to start a nest. This process normally takes (dependant on weather) about 4 days. Cold or wet weather may prolong this time. While they in the hanging stage a bee keeper can come and collect them and put them in a proper bee hive. The scouts find a cavity then communicate with the Queen and once satisfied she leads the swarm to a cavity where they start a nest. In some cases the Queen may decide that the cavity chosen is not suitable so will move some where else.
The pictures attached so Rick Pellen attempting to remove a Honey Bee swarm from a chimney. This is difficult and in this case Rick had to destroy the swarm with a non residual insecticide to prevent contamination to other bees. If left in a chimney the bees can block the chimney with dire consequences if the chimney has gas appliances venting into it. They will also cause liquids from the nest (including honey) to drip down the chimney or if in a loft stain and/or rot the ceiling. Wasps and other bees may attempt to rob the nest as well as insect and mite parasites feeding on the honey and honeycomb.
At PEST UK we have done (so far at the time of writing on 30/6/14) 134 wasp nests. Last June we did 163. Our turnover was much higher this year than last year this is due to the increase in Bee and other jobs. We posted a video of Rick Pellen who is PEST UK’s Wokingham technician, destroying a wasp nest in a bush. The nests built externally are either the German Wasp or the Tree or Wood Wasp. The Common Wasps rarely nest outside preferring to nest in building cavities. German wasps will nest outside and inside as well. Wasp nests that are built outside generally don’t get as large in either size or population numbers as with external nests more time and energy is needed to proof the nest against the weather as well as anchoring the nest against the wind. They do have an advantage in that they spend less time cooling the nest which is a common problem for wasp nest built in buildings. Lofts especially get very hot and wasps will have to collect water to place on the outside of the nest. This acts like an air conditioner, the process of evaporation cooling the nest. The worker wasps will also fan the nest to cool it. We often get calls in hot weather from people at night hearing a buzzing noise, this is the wasps fanning the nest. If a nest is in a building and the outside temperature exceeds 20 C then time and energy will have to be spent cooling. Prolonged hot weather stresses wasp nests and can even lead to the nest dying out. The wasp year for 2014 will probably peak in August as there was a slow start even though the weather was warm but it was wet.
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.
This past month have been our busiest April ever at PEST UK. Ants, especially in the latter part of the month have been the pest that has increased the most. As ants come out of hibernation they will forage inside as it is warmer. They may come out of hibernation early if the nests are effected by an artificial source of light or/and heat. When this happens then insecticide and baiting treatments may take longer to work or even fail as large parts of the nest will still be in hibernation and not be effected by insecticide bait or contaminated ants covered in insecticide after foraging in treated areas. Generally speaking the warmer the weather the quicker treatments work. Ant treatments done in cold water often have to be repeated later in the year.
All the modern insecticides are biodegradable to make them safe for mammals but the drawback is they are delicate and not as long lasting as some of the ‘older’ insecticides. If applied to surfaces exposed to the weather, strong sunlight or areas that are walked, vacuumed or cleaned then the insecticides break down and will not work.
In ideal conditions the insecticide sprays can last up to three months but generally one month inside and a couple of weeks outside. This is part of the reasons that ant baits have become popular. These are vert effective, have the advantage of not being effected as much by the weather, are not poises at all to mammals but do take a long time to work compared with insecticide sprays and dusts, especially in colder weather. Ants leave pheromone trails when foraging for food. These trails tell other ants where food sources are. Trails are followed by ants from other nests so the ant problem in a house may have ants coming from several nests. The solution is to get a treatment quickly before the trails and pheromones build up.
Most of the calls we are getting at the moment are for bees. The warm weather had meant an influx of jobs, the majority of them being bees. For the first time this year we took over 25 jobs (yesterday) in a day.All of the wasp nest reported have been Mason Bees except for one customer who wanted some old wasp nests removed from their loft.
Mason Bees are the first bees to nest, where as Bumble Bees follow the same life cycle as wasps (where the only fertile female is the Queen who lays all the eggs), with the Mason and a similar species the Mining Bee, all the females are fertile and all lay eggs. Both females will find a hole and expand it or fig a hole in the ground (as in the case of Mining Bees) or as the name suggests, in masonry or soft cement as does the Mason Bee. I have seen what appears to be extensive damage to mortar in houses where Mason Bees have made holes to lay eggs. They will only use very soft motor to do this and so will only use mortar that should be replaced anyway. The female bees lay an egg in the hole, pack it with pollen then seals the hole with mud. The grub hatches out eats the pollen and turns into an adult bee the cycle then continues. Mainly seen in the Spring but some years generations may appear into the late Summer.
The question people ask is: Can they sting? Mason and Mining Bees are equipped with a sting but I or any other pest controller I know has been stung by a Mason or Mining Bee.
Yesterday we also had 2 call outs for honey bees in chimneys. These nests are hard to deal with as we have to be careful of contaminating other bees if treated with an insecticide. We do this by using a non residual insecticide, blocking up holes after treatment (we have to be careful when doing this incase bees find there way inside a building) and checking there are no bee hives nearby.
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
Spring Weather, Councils & Pest Control:
The weather has improved and already the number of calls to PEST UK for Ladybirds, Cluster Flies, Bees and Squirrels have increased. The Ladybird call outs have increased from previous years and in fact we are getting more calls for Ladybirds than we are for Cluster Flies. These are the Harlequin Ladybirds that are migrants from Europe but are now well established in the South of England. From a pest control point of view (I am talking about buildings not plants) they cause problems as they hibernate in large groups inside buildings. The native British Ladybird hibernates outside singly or in small groups. They will often hibernate in the same location as Cluster Flies. Treatment is the same as for Cluster Flies which is usually a combination of a residual insecticide surface spray to walls, ceilings and windows as well as an insecticide ‘fogging’ applied to lofts and other cavities. The recent sun will lead to a burst of Cluster Fly jobs next week as the sun leads to the flies coming out of hibernation and then returning to the hibernation site once the sun goes down. During this emergence phase they will sun themselves on walls. They may return to the hibernation several times before finally leaving.
Squirrels will be looking for sites to have their young at this time of year and lofts are ideal for this. Spring Squirrel jobs can be more difficult to eradicate than at other times of the year just due to the fact that the total number may include the Mother and Father and up to six young.
There has been a couple of mentioned in the press about Councils charging for rat jobs. As a private company we agree with councils charging in fact they should charge a realistic rate. I can understand councils doing there own properties as part as their responsibility as landlords but to carry out subsidised or free rat treatments for the general public is in my opinion wrong.
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
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