Is Pest Control Necessary in the Winter?
Is Pest Control Necessary in the Winter?
Is pest control necessary in the winter? The answer is a very resounding yes. With the nights long and dark, temperatures are low or freezing. Surely insects and rodents have all died off and won’t be a bother?
Sadly this is not the case. Rats, mice and squirrels do not die off or hibernate. With modern insulation they can in fact thrive and be a nuisance throughout the year. Some insects will still be active despite the drop in temperature.
Spiders and Flies
In the UK there are no indigenous spiders, so no threat to human, but many people do not like them and will kill them on sight. Spiders are a natural form of pest control for many of the insects that invade homes.
Flies normally find somewhere sheltered and wait out the winter. With our homes being so much warmer than anything found naturally they come inside and flourish. Flies transmit many infectious diseases and are very unwelcome guests in any home.
As insects and spiders come into our homes rodents will follow. Mice are extremely adaptable, changing their behaviour to fit in with the environment they are in. House mice consume food meant for humans or pets.
They will contaminate food-preparation surfaces with their faeces, which contain the bacterium that causes food poisoning (salmonellosis). People are more tolerant of mice than rats although they can carry the same diseases as rats and are more likely to transmit such diseases, as they are bolder and more curious, coming into closer contact with food, cutlery, work surfaces, etc. Their constant gnawing causes damage to structures and property. Rodent damage to wiring has been known to start fires. House mice live and thrive under a variety of conditions in and around homes and farms.
They will chew holes in woodwork and make nests in wall cavities. They can also eat through wiring, shorting out your electricity supply which could start fires. There are many humane traps available for catching mice. But you do need to think where you are going to release them. If you do it too close to your house they will come straight back in, and be very wary of future capture. Poison and lethal traps are of course a more effective way of dealing with mice, but if they are not handled carefully you might harm yourself.
There are two species of rat found in Britain, the Black Rat and the slightly larger Brown Rat. Luckily most rat problems are outside and are usually caused by a food source, rats using an area for cover or a water source or possibly a combination of all three. In domestic gardens bird feeding, compost heaps and animal droppings are the main reasons. Runs are evidenced by lack of vegetation, smear marks, footprints and packed down earth. Rats lie in burrows dug into the earth and cause damage by collecting nesting materials, or soiling food with their urine, excreta and hairs. Burrows can resemble small rabbit holes, they may dig the burrows in earth or in compost heaps but rats are adaptable and make use of areas under sheds or inside buildings.
Lofts are often used as resting places, with kitchens as a food source. Rats are extremely intelligent, adapting to their surroundings. This is what makes them one of the most successful animals on the planet and makes controlling rats a difficult task. When rats are inside the building you may hear them in wall cavities or roof spaces. If you see rats during the day this is a sign of a larger problem as rats are nocturnal by nature. It is highly recommended that you call a professional pest control company.
While they are not strictly a winter pest, queen wasps will enter homes, lofts and garages seeking a space to over winter, a form of hibernation, as the temperatures drop. In springtime they will build a new nest. If they have chosen a spot in your loft for instance, with access to the outside, a new nest of wasps will form and by the next autumn will be a nuisance.
PESTUK are full members of the BPCA, the governing body for pest control in the UK. Using a BPCA member company ensures you have a qualified, fully insured company treating your pest problem.
PESTUK have offices in Balham, Oxford, Guildford, Enfield, Potters Bar, Reading, Shepperton, Wantage, Salisbury, St Albans, Stevenage and Ware.
Call us on 0330 100 2811 to book an appointment regarding pest control in the winter or any other pest problem you may have.
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