Monthly Archives: February 2012

Where do Feral Pigeons spend their days?

London’s biggest airborne pest, the feral pigeon, has recently become something of a film star. The evil Professor Moriaty, adversary to London’s most famous detective in the movie, “Sherlock Holmes: A game of shadows”, has a habit of feeding the winged vermin in the city’s parks.

But when they’re not to be seen alongside the likes of Jared Harris, Jude Law, Robert Downey Jr. and Stephen Fry where do feral pigeons spend their days?

‘Rats with wings’ were not always pests

Today’s feral pigeon, or town pigeon, is descended from birds who were once bred in captivity, often for meat. This happened for thousands of years. Some of the world’s earliest writings, such as Egyptian hieroglyphics, mention the domestication of the Rock Dove or Rock Pigeon.

Over the centuries, millions of birds have escaped from captivity and formed huge colonies in our towns and cities. Trafalgar Square alone was home to around 35,000 birds before the Mayor of London took action to reduce their numbers.

A day in the life of a feral pigeon

As their name suggests, Rock Doves live on cliffs. Today’s tall buildings with their miles of ledges provide an attractive alternative to their feral pigeon descendants.

It’s here that birds begin the day, on some precarious perch or rooftop that’s not been coated in Pigeon Spikes or Netting. Some will be nesting, as pigeons can lay eggs at any time of year.

They like to nest in groups, if they can, with derelict buildings being favoured spots for housing a pigeon nursery. Both parents take turns at incubating the eggs, while their partners go in search of food.

Much of the pigeons’ food comes directly from the human inhabitants of the town or city. Some feed the birds deliberately, although this is increasingly discouraged. But many of us feed feral Pigeons by accident, by dropping pieces of food onto roads and pavements. They also eat berries, seeds and insects.

Pigeons can live for up to fifteen years in captivity. However, it’s unlikely they survive this long in the wild, with most feral pigeons probably dying within their first five years of life.

Feral pigeons pollute and damage

While pigeons help to keep our streets clean of food waste, they make plenty of mess of their own. Stonework, vehicle paintwork and the personal dignity of town and city dwellers are the daily victims of pigeon droppings.

Once prized as a quality fertilizer, pigeon excrement is not just unsightly, it’s also highly corrosive and a health hazard. The acids it contains will eat their way through paint, wood, steel and stone. Millions of pounds have been spent restoring historic buildings which had suffered major damage from a build-up of pigeon droppings.

Their waste, and the birds themselves, can also contain parasites and other sources of diseases. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the feral pigeon has been associated with the villainous Professor Moriaty on the silver screen, as both can present a rather nasty hazard to human health.

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Are cockroaches common in London?

If you’ve spent time travelling around London, there’s a good chance you’ll have spotted a cockroach or two. Even if you haven’t seen one yourself, you have probably been very close to one.

Cockroaches are just one of London’s pest control problems, and they are a problem that seems to be getting worse. The London Evening Standard recently reported that the city’s firefighters are discovering an increasing number of cockroach-infested temporary dwellings. Local media often contains stories of restaurants and hotels where infestations have been discovered.

With pest control budgets being cut by councils and firms looking to save money, it’s no surprise that cockroach numbers seem to be rising. These hardy insects have developed the capability to survive under many different conditions, and their ability to breed quickly makes them difficult to eradicate.

Why cockroaches are a problem in London

These ugly brown or black insects can be found in a huge variety of environments right across the city. Homes, hotels, warehouses and even trains and buses are all common habitats for cockroaches, some of which can grow to over an inch (30mm) in length.

Most of them live out of sight, in the dark spaces under cupboards and appliances, and in cracks and crevices. They prefer to come out at night and if you disturb them by turning on a light, they’ll scuttle back to somewhere dark.

Cockroaches thrive in these places because of the warmth and the abundant food supply. They will eat virtually anything, but can also survive for long periods without food or water.

In addition to doing damage and being unpleasant to look at, cockroaches are a pest because they can carry a number of different diseases, including salmonella and dysentery. Any food they come into contact with becomes tainted, and they give off an unpleasant odour.

What to do if you have a cockroach problem

If you think your house or business premises is providing a home to cockroaches, you should take prompt action. The longer you leave them, the harder they will be to eradicate. Cockroaches are tough survivors and it often requires the persistence of a pest control expert to get rid of them completely.

Signs of an infestation include finding droppings or smear marks on surfaces, discovering damage to foodstuffs or paper containers, and encountering an unpleasant musty smell. You may also find the insects themselves if you look into cracks or beneath cupboards or go into the area at night.

Immediate actions to take include putting all foods into strong, sealable containers and promptly clearing up spills of food and liquid, including crumbs, on surfaces, including the floor. Also, tidy up the area to remove possible hiding places.

You can buy DIY cockroach products that may help deal with the problem. But calling in a professional will give you access to stronger insecticides, along with expert advice on how to prevent the insects returning. Just because cockroaches are becoming more common in London does not mean they have a to be a problem for you.

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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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