Top Ten Domestic Pests in the UK
Pests in the UK are a lot less exotic and dangerous than in other parts of the world, but they can be just as much of a nuisance and can, in some circumstance pose a very real danger. Here’s a list of the Top Ten Domestic Pests in the UK:
- Bed Bugs
Bed bugs bite at night, and some people are prone to more severe reactions than others. In most bed bug infestations bed bugs will not be seen, the only evidence being the bites. Bed bugs are large enough to see with the naked eye – they can grow up to 1/4 inch long. Bed bug infestations have steadily increasing in the UK for the past 10-15 years. Bedbug infestation may stem from adjoining buildings, from furniture or suitcase recently brought into the house, even second hand clothing! Bedbugs live in cracks and crevices in furniture, behind wall paper, bed frames, cupboards, mattresses, electrical equipment, curtains, light fittings etc.
Cockroaches are mainly nocturnal so they are more likely to be seen at night, Cockroaches prefer high temperatures, and are usually found in kitchens and other rooms with boilers and electrical devices such as fridges or cookers, the inside of the fridge motor is a particular favourite. Cockroaches are a health hazard and commercial premises need to be particularly vigilant
Flea problems are usually noticed when bite marks appear. Most commonly found on the lower leg, although bites can occur on any part of the body. Some people experience painful itching and swelling while others don’t. Fleas are most commonly found living in carpets and are usually introduced by pets.
Mice often live in loft spaces and will travel in the wall cavities to other parts of the house, especially to areas where food can be found. They often follow the routes of pipes throughout the house.
You may see or hear rats, or see evidence such as droppings or gnawing. Luckily most rat problems occur outside, not inside. Bird feeders, compost heaps and animal droppings are the main causes. Rats may dig the burrows in earth or in compost heaps but they are adaptable and will make use of areas under sheds or inside buildings. Lofts may be used as resting places, kitchens as a food source or both. Rats are extremely intelligent, and adapt to their surroundings. Rats carry diseases, they can start fires & cause other damage by chewing through cables, water pipes etc, they kill other wildlife and infestations spread rapidly.
- Pigeons and Birds
Often birds get into the eaves of houses causing problems of parasites, noise and mess. Sometimes the problem is caused by starlings or sparrows which are both protected. It is against the law to disturb, eggs, nests or young so the householder will need to wait until the birds have left before blocking off any holes. Pigeon spikes and pigeon netting can be used to deter pigeons and, in some areas, sea gulls from taking up residence. Blocking off the holes will have to be done when none are present.
These common house fly is a world-wide pest. The larva feed on rotting organic material or animal faeces. Adults will travel several miles to feed, mate & lay eggs. They are disease carriers, and spoil food and as well as being a general nuisance.
Worker ants will frequently enter dwellings foraging for food, particularly sweet substances. While not a risk to human health, they can be present in sufficient numbers to cause a nuisance. The ants will almost certainly be coming from several nests so locating one nest and destroying that will have a limited effect.
If you see any evidence of wasps entering or leaving a hole in the ground, a wall, roof or any other part of a building then you probably have a wasp nest. You may also be getting ‘unexplained’ wasps inside a room which may indicate a nest nearby. In the autumn as the days get shorter wasps get attracted to lights inside building which they confuse with sunrise. DO NOT be tempted to block the hole up, this will make them angry and aggressive but will not kill the nest! Wasps are aggressive and should be dealt with by professionals!
Squirrels can cause chaos when they take residence in a loft space. They can make a tremendous amount of noise and usually are much more destructive than rats or mice. They will enter loft spaces for shelter or a breeding site. Squirrels can cause damage in gardens to bulbs, plants, trees and eat birds eggs and young birds.