Category Archives: Pest advice for businesses

Can pharaoh ants live outside in summer in the UK?

Small and yellow, or light brown in colour, the Pharaoh Ant presents a Pest Control problem all year round in London and across Britain. Pharaoh ant nests are found in big buildings, such as hospitals, and have a reputation for being difficult to get rid of.

These tiny, fast-spreading pests are attracted to large, warm buildings because of the heat given off by their huge networks of radiators and hot water pipes. No one is quite sure where the pharaoh ants first came from, or when they arrived in the UK, but experts agree that they came in from more tropical climates.

Because of their origins, the ants love warm and humid conditions. This makes blocks of flats, hospitals and similar buildings ideal for them, because they are kept warm all year round.

Can pharaoh ants live outside in the UK?

The British weather, with all its variety, makes it virtually impossible for pharaoh ants to live outside for very long. If you spot light brown or ginger ants outdoors in Britain they are highly unlikely to be of the pharaoh variety.

There are about 30 species of ant living in UK, many of which thrive outdoors all year round. While they can be irritating, particularly when they get into your home or office, these ants perform a useful task, cleaning up waste material and controlling other pests.

However, all pharaoh ant nests are located inside flats and other buildings, because they simply cannot live outside in summer. Their tropical origins prevent them from establishing ant colonies outdoors.

Pest control for pharaoh ants

These almost invisible insects are more than just a scurrying nuisance, running up and down the floors and walls of hospitals and other large buildings. Pharaoh ants have been blamed for spreading ill-health, including food poisoning, because they find their way into places where food is stored.

Having travelled along dirty pipes and picked up old scraps of food, the ants carry germs that can cause sickness. These can be transferred to into places food is stored, causing infection.

Pharaoh ants can also get into sterile environments and supplies, particularly in hospitals, where they can again cause infection.

Because of this, landlords, hospitals and local authorities regularly have to take pest control action against pharaoh ant infestations. The ant nests, which can appear huge because the ants make lots of small nests near to one another, are difficult to eradicate. They are often built inside walls and only professional pest controllers can deal with them.

There is no way for pharaoh ants to live outside in summer in the UK, but this has not stopped them becoming a serious pest control problem that requires action when discovered.

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When do feral pigeons lay eggs?

Feral pigeons create a nuisance with their continual scavenging for food and their unsightly droppings, which can be extremely damaging to stone, brick and wood. They also carry a variety of parasites and diseases, some of which can be harmful to humans.

If you have a Pigeon Pest Control problem, knowing when and how the birds breed will help you to find a solution.

Like so many of the other pests that live in London, feral pigeons are capable of breeding all year round. Captive bred pigeons can lay a new batch of eggs every month, but their feral cousins typically produce between two and four broods a year.

Pigeon pest control by preventing nesting

While pigeons can lay their eggs at any time of year, they are more likely to nest during the spring and summer months, when the weather is warmer. Making it impossible for the birds to nest at this time of year is an important step in a pigeon removal strategy.

Feral pigeons usually build their nests on ledges outside or inside buildings. Being descended from Rock Doves, who live wild around coastal cliffs or in mountainous areas, they have learned to exploit the nooks and crevices in tall city constructions. It’s this ability to build nests in urban areas that has led to a pigeon pest control problem in London and other towns and cities.

Roof spaces are a particular favourite, being high, and full of beams and other flat surfaces. Here the birds can lay their eggs, undisturbed and usually sheltered from extreme weather. The eggs hatch within three weeks of being laid and the squabs, or baby pigeons, are able to fly within a month.

Within six months, they join the breeding population, creating a new generation of pigeon pests.

How to stop feral pigeons building nests

Where pigeons are nesting inside roof voids and other spaces, this can be stopped by the use of deterrents, or completely preventing access.

A variety of devices are available which discourage feral pigeons and other bird pests from taking up residence, including plastic bird spikes, brightly-coloured bird-scarers or even inflatable models of predators. Where specific access points are identified, such as broken windows, these can be repaired or covered by netting.

Pigeon spikes and bird-repellent gel can also be used on the outside of buildings. Spikes make it impossible to land, or uncomfortable to roost, while pigeons don’t like the feel of tacky bird-repellent gel. This ensures they won’t want to stay around long enough to build a nest or lay eggs.

While you can take some pigeon pest control measures yourself, using a professional pest controller brings the added benefit of years of experience. As with all pests, feral pigeons have particular habits and preferences and an expert will be able to supply the most cost-effective, and long-lasting, solution to your pigeon problem.

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How common is it to have Mice in London?

You might be surprised at how many homes and businesses in London take Mice Pest Control measures from time to time.

Not everyone likes to admit that they have a problem with mice, particularly if they are running a business that involves the production or sale of food. Some of your neighbours could be unwilling to admit they have taken steps to get rid of mice, as they are concerned about giving a poor impression of their domestic cleanliness.

But needing to take mice removal measures is not something to be embarrassed about. These tiny, always hungry and fast-breeding Rodents can squeeze through almost impossibly small gaps in their endless search for food. Even the cleanest house, kitchen or store is at risk if they discover a way in.

Mice pest control starts before the rodents arrive

It’s almost inevitable that mice will be living somewhere near your home or business premises. The diverse architecture of London leaves many buildings susceptible to mouse infestation. There is an endless supply of cracked bricks and pipes which leave gaps big enough for these nimble rodents to get through.

One of the best pest control measures you can take against mice is to stop them finding a way in. Visual inspection of your property is a good start, especially if this is carried out by a pest control expert, who will be able to make you aware of potential entry points you might not have considered.

Another easy step is to make sure all potential sources of food are inaccessible to mice. They chew their way through paper, cardboard and even wood to get to a meal. Securing food in plastic or metal containers will keep them out. Keeping your home or businesses premises clean will reduce the amount of food waste lying around, providing mice with less of an incentive to find a way in.

Get rid of mice as soon as you spot the problem

Unhygienic and unsightly, mice can also do considerable damage to your property once inside. They’ll pull out insulation from inside walls and lofts, makes nests in stored textiles, and can even create electrical problems by chewing wires.

All of which means it’s important to get rid of mice the moment they arrive. Because they are a common pest control problem, there is no shortage of options available. Poison, traps and electronic deterrents are just some of your choices.

Do-it-yourself pest control measures will often get rid of mice if they have not had much time to breed. A well-established infestation can be much harder to remove, because of both the number of mice and the variety of hiding places they will have created for themselves.

It can be surprisingly common to have mice in your London property. But they can usually be removed relatively quickly and easily, and with the right actions, you can prevent mice from returning.

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Who should remove a hibernating queen Wasp?

Warm weather in early spring will rouse hibernating queen wasps from their winter sleep. If you see a wasp at this time of year, it will almost definitely be a queen wasp emerging from its hibernation. These wasps are larger and brighter than other wasps and are the only wasps which survive the winter cold.

While you might consider wasps to be a pest during the summer months, the best time to prevent a wasp problem is when you find a hibernating or newly woken queen wasp. By destroying it now, you are preventing it from building the much bigger pest problem of an entire wasp nest.

How to spot a hibernating queen wasp

A hibernating queen wasp will protect her wings and antennae by tucking them under its body. It uses the middle legs to cover and protect its wings and the hind legs to anchor itself in place for the winter.

The wasp may construct a small hibernation cell, about the size of a golf ball, which may be grey, silver or straw in colour and will often be hidden from human eyes in an undisturbed spot in a loft space or shed.

As with all wasps, a queen wasp carries a sting which injects poison into its victim. This can be painful to a human and in rare cases can cause a dangerous allergic reaction.

If you discover what you think is a hibernating queen wasp and are unsure of how to deal with it, you may want to call in a pest control expert. They have the experience to identify and destroy it.

Prevent queen wasps building a new nest near your home

The queen wasps usually wake up from hibernation at the beginning of April. They immediately begin searching for somewhere to build a nest. Popular locations are roof voids, wall cavities and sheds, but wasp nests can also be found underground and in more unusual places, such as holes in trees or bird boxes.

Once a queen wasp has chosen a location, it begins building the nest. The nest is made from chewed wood and wasp saliva, creating a grey, papery material. Once a few cells have been built, the queen wasp will begin to lay eggs. These hatch into workers who then feed the queen. As the queen wasp is fed, she makes more cells and lays more eggs and so the colony grows, by up to 100 eggs a day.

By mid-summer, the nest could be home to hundreds or even thousands of wasps. If it’s near your home or workplace, it can become a significant pest control problem, as their search for food will keep bringing the wasps to you. They could be a continual nuisance, and you risk being stung, particularly in the autumn, when they become more aggressive.

You may be able to avoid all this by destroying a hibernating queen wasp when you find it, perhaps as it emerges from winter sleep.

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How to make Air Bricks Mouse Proof

Mice are a common pest control problem all year round. Their keen sense of smell and an ability to squeeze through tiny gaps means they’re continually finding their way into homes and offices in search of food.

Air bricks, designed to allow ventilation to voids beneath wooden floors, can also become an unintended entry point for Mice. While the holes in air bricks are designed be too small for mice to use, they are not always an effective barrier, particularly if damaged.

The common house mouse (mus domesticus) is able to find its way through surprisingly tiny holes. Capable of compressing its body, a mouse can get through a gap no wider than a fingertip, or the thickness of a pencil.

Mouse proof air bricks which are at risk

Air bricks can allow all sorts of inconveniences into your property, including cold draughts. For that reason, along with pest control, some people block them up. However, the ventilation they provide to the voids beneath floors is needed to reduce the risk of wet or dry rot taking hold of timber.

If you want to make air bricks Mouse Proof but still allow them to deliver ventilation, you need to cover them with a fine mesh or grille. The covering must be able to withstand rodents’ teeth, as they will attempt to chew their way through material which is preventing them from reaching sources of food.

You can buy steel grilles designed specifically to cover air bricks, which you can fit yourself. These are available in various sizes to cover the different types of air brick which have been used in construction over the years,

Rodent proof air bricks are prevention not a cure

Covering air bricks will prevent mice from using them as an entrance, but you could also be trapping them inside your premises. Or they may have found another way in and out.

If you already have problems with mice or other pests and you’re not sure how they are getting in, you would benefit from a survey by a pest control specialist. They have the experience to identify a variety of potential entry points, such as disused pipes and gaps in brickwork that you may not even have noticed.

A pest controller will also be able to spot other signs of pests. Droppings, damage and distinctive smells are all giveaway signs to the trained eye and nose.

When it comes to dealing with mice already inside your property, there are a number of methods available. These range from humane mouse traps to lethal poisons. Again, specialist advice is recommended because to be effective, traps and poisons need to be laid in the right places and baited appropriately.

Making air bricks mouse proof is just one of the many measures that you can take to protect your home and commercial premises from mice and other pests.

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Who to contact about a Rat problem?

It’s pretty unpleasant to discover that you’ve got a Rat Problem. At first you might not want to believe that the occasional scratching inside the walls or gnawed wood or plastic is evidence that these rodents have invaded your premises.

Unfortunately, the longer you ignore it, the bigger the infestation is likely to become. So the moment you think there’s trouble, the question you need to ask is: “Who do I contact about a rat problem?”

The answer to that question can depend on several factors. Are they indoors our outside? Are you a tenant or a home owner? Do you want a short-term or long-term solution?

Dealing with a rat problem indoors

If rats are inside your property, you’ll want to act quickly. They can spread disease, destroy property and even, in extreme cases, bite people.

Rats can also be very frightening and the mere sight of one in what should be the security of your home could cause considerable upset to vulnerable adults and children alike. If someone, particularly a customer, spots a rat in your commercial premises, this could have a major negative impact on your trade.

To get the fastest and most effective response, you should get in touch with a professional pest control expert. We can be called out at any time of the day or night, 365 days a year. We also have the equipment needed to deal with rats in both homes and commercial premises, such as restaurants or warehouses.

If you are a tenant, you could contact your landlord. However, it could be several days before they address the problem, which is a long time when there are rats on the prowl.

Controlling a rat problem outdoors

It’s not unusual to see a greasy, brown rat outdoors, near your home or workplace. But don’t make the mistake of ignoring the risk it presents. These voracious rodents are adept at finding ways indoors in their constant search for food.

Rats are prolific breeders. Females can give birth to over fifty offspring in one year and each of those could be breeding within five weeks. Putting off dealing with a potential rat problem could result in there being over twice as many vermin to deal with in just a few weeks.

Dealing with a rat problem outdoors does not require such an urgent response, but you should still take action. Your local council may have a pest control team who can offer advice, and perhaps even help. Or you could look into do-it-yourself pest control measures.

However, the best and quickest result is usually going to come from a professional pest controller. Our experience allows us to assess the severity of the problem and take the steps needed to deal with it as quickly and effectively as possible.

Solving a rat problem for the long-term

There’s more to dealing with rats than catching them. If vermin have found their way into your property, they’ll keep coming back.

We pest controllers do more than remove the current generation, we also take measures to eliminate the breeding population and prevent a reoccurrence of the problem. We provide advice on how to spot and close up potential entry points, and we supply long-term baiting and trapping solutions.

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Tiny Ants Can Pose Huge Pest Control Problem

Does the sight of a solitary ant marching across your floor or counter top have you anxiously glancing around to see whether it’s alone?

Because it should. If no others are visible, it’s probably a lone explorer. But if there’s company, the ants are probably helping themselves from a food source in your premises. It’s time to take some pest control action.

Ants don’t wander about aimlessly. They’re highly focused hunter-gatherers engaged on a remorseless search for resources to take back to the nest. They have no respect for property: your home, office, favourite restaurant or doctor’s surgery are all under continual siege by these tiny insects.

An ant infestation is more than an annoyance

Having a trail of ants marching across your kitchen floor is not just unsightly, it can also be unhygienic.

If your little visitors are garden or black ants, the most common variety in Britain, they probably pose the smallest health risk. But you should still take pest control measures to be rid of them. And you ought to find out what food they’re helping themselves to.

The ants may simply be harvesting crumbs from dirty floors and surfaces or they could have found a route into food stores and containers. It only requires one tiny hole for them to gain entry and once food is discovered, they leave an invisible trail for their comrades to follow.

Other types of ant, such as the Pharaoh ant, are more likely to transfer germs from place to place within buildings. This exotically named variety is a foreign invader, preferring to nest in warm places, usually within buildings. Not only do they pose a health risk, they’re also notoriously difficult to get rid of.

How to protect your premises from ants

The ant’s ability to pass through the tiniest cracks and gaps means it’s almost impossible to stop them from entering your home or office. The most effective way of keeping them at a distance is to avoid doing anything to attract their interest.

Storing food in clean cupboards and containers and promptly clearing away spillages and splashes reduces the chance of ants wanting to explore indoors. If they can’t sense food nearby they’ll probably stay away.

Should you have an ant problem, off the shelf products can be effective if used correctly, as long as the food sources which attracted them are removed. But if the ants keep coming back or if you think that you’ve been visited by Pharaoh’s ants, it’s time to call in a professional pest controller.

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Pest Control Takes on Invisible Threats

If you’ve ever had the misfortune to encounter a cockroach in your home or at work, it’s an experience you’re unlikely to forget. These ugly brown beasties have got ‘pest’ stamped all over them.

Unfortunately not all household nasties are so easy to spot. Take Bedbugs, for example. Infestations of these night time nibblers are on the increase and pose a particular problem in the hospitality industry.

Customers paying for a night in a hotel or bed and breakfast probably won’t realise that they’re sharing a bed with the blood sucking mites, which can grow to about 6mm in length. But they’ll know the following morning, when the bites start to itch, and that’s when the complaints will begin.

We regularly deal with bedbug problems across the London area. As with all our work, it’s handled quickly and discreetly.

Another micro pest that adores people and their pets is the humble Flea. The British passion for wall to wall carpeting in centrally heated houses has created the ideal environment for fleas to multiply. While the human flea is relatively rare these days, cat fleas and dog fleas are a regular problem for animal lovers.

The adult fleas cling onto their living hosts but their eggs are laid in carpets, cracks and crevices around the home, where they lie unnoticed. We’re used to dealing with flea problems in both domestic and commercial premises.

Yet another hard-to-spot pest is woodworm. We’re all familiar with the clusters of tiny holes in old timber which mark the exit holes of these wood boring creatures. What we often don’t see, until too late, is the damage they’re doing to the wooden beams in our homes.

Older buildings are particularly at risk from a variety of different wood boring beetles, all of which have a taste for seasoned timber. The name ‘woodworm’ describes the larval stage, when tiny grubs carve networks of tunnels in the wood, sometimes for years. Eventually they emerge as beetles, creating the trademark woodworm holes, and then lay the eggs which become the next generation.

Prevention is better than the cure with woodworm, but often by the time we’re called in, significant damage has been done.

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