Monthly Archives: August 2012

How common are Rats in houses in London?

Every few months sees a new story appear in the media about rats in houses in London. These tales can be worrying, particularly if you know that rats are a problem in your area. Unfortunately, rats can be a common issue in houses where the basic principles of pest prevention are overlooked.

The Norway rat, also known as the brown rat, lives all over London. They make their nests anywhere they can find, including old drains, in burrows or in buildings. They have an excellent sense of smell and they are always looking for food. Being extremely agile, they can climb, jump swim or dig their way into places where they think they will find something to eat.

Problems rats cause in houses

Rats are not just unpleasant to look at, they also damage property and carry disease. They can get into London houses of any age, although it’s usually easier for them to get into older properties. Broken pipes, gaps in brickwork and the spaces between floors and walls can all become real rat runs. Here the rodents can scurry out of sight, finding their way all over a house.

Out of sight in these places, rats can do considerable damage. They can chew through wood and electrical cables, as well as into containers, causing a variety of different problems. They also spread the germs that they carry.

The most common infection associated with rats is Weil’s disease, which is potentially fatal. They can also cause food poisoning by contaminating surfaces and stores with their droppings.

Rats have been known to bite people in houses. The rodents can be bold in their search for food and have sharp dirty teeth that they will use to defend themselves.

Signs of rats in houses

When rats are a common problem in a house, there will be no shortage of evidence. Even if the rodents themselves remain out of the sight, they will leave obvious signs of their presence, such as gnawed boxes of cereal and other foods, smeary marks on surfaces and footprints. They also leave a distinctive, unpleasant smell.

If you are concerned about rats getting into your house, take a look at all the possible entry points. Small gaps in the walls and old pipes are common ways for them to get in. A professional pest controller will have the experience to spot potential entry points, and will know the signs of rat activity.

Rats Pest Control in London houses

By taking a few simple precautions, you can dramatically reduce the chances of a rat getting into your house. The most basic is to make sure all sources of food are in sealed containers that rats cannot get into. It is the smell of food, including food waste, that attracts the attention of these unpleasant rodents. So keeping your house clean and not leaving food lying around, either for you or your pets, is a big step towards Rats Pest control.

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How to prepare the house for Flea Fumigation

Flea problems are more common than you might imagine, particularly in homes shared with cats or dogs. Your pet only has to brush against an infected animal for fleas to hop from one fur coat to another, giving you a pest control problem.

While minor Flea Infestations can be solved by treatment of the affected area or pet, if your home seems to be teeming with fleas, fumigation is the best solution.

To get the most effective results, it’s important to know how to prepare the house for flea fumigation.

If you are moving into a new property where the previous residents had pets, you may want to consider fumigating before moving in. Whether you do it yourself or employ a pest control expert, it will be easier to carry out when the property is empty.

Preparing your house for flea fumigation

If your pets are likely to be carrying fleas, these must be dealt with before any fumigation is carried out. Use all appropriate flea treatments and perform regular checks to ensure the problem has been effectively dealt with. Change or clean pet bedding regularly.

With your pets cleaned up, you can focus on preparing the house by carrying out thorough vacuuming of all carpets and hard surfaces. Take care to vacuum right to the edge of floors, as flea eggs often fall into crevices in skirting boards. Empty the vacuum cleaner immediately after each clean.

All rugs should be taken outdoors and beaten and, if possible, washed.

Make arrangements for alternative accommodation for yourself and your pets on the day of the fumigation. It will take several hours for the entire process to be completed.

If you are conducting the fumigation yourself, read all the instructions of the products carefully some days before you use them, in order that you can be fully prepared. When a pest control expert is involved, seek clear instructions in advance and take care to follow these.

Some of the chemicals used in the fumigation process could be harmful to your pets, so do all you can to ensure their safety.

On the day of flea fumigation

There are a number of different products which tackle serious flea pest control problems. Sprays can be applied to carpets, killing fleas hidden in the fibres and leaving a residue which inhibits their return for several weeks.

An alternative to spray is the flea bomb, which sounds more dramatic than it is. The flea bomb is a device which fills the air with a fine spray of pesticide, which disperses across a room over a few hours.

These fumigation techniques can be combined for maximum effect, but both require you to be absent from your home for several hours. Upon return, you’ll need to carefully follow the instructions about cleaning surfaces, for your own safety and also to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment.

If you have any questions or concerns about how to prepare the house for flea fumigation, talk to a pest control expert. Eradicating fleas can be a time-consuming and frustrating process if not conducted correctly, and you’ll want to do all you can to reduce disruption and inconvenience in your home.

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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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What time of year do Moths attack clothes?

Every year, thousands of people across the country are disappointed, and sometimes shocked, to discover that moths have eaten holes in their precious garments and textiles.

Almost all natural fibres used in the production of clothes, bedding and furnishings are at risk of becoming a meal for the almost invisible caterpillars of the Common Clothes Moth (tineola bisselliella).

It’s easy to assume that summer is the time of year when moths attack clothes. However, this is a mistaken impression, formed because moth damage is often discovered as the cooler days of autumn lead us to open wardrobes that have been closed up for months.

While moth larvae, or caterpillars, are more active when the weather is warm and moist, they can feed all year round.

Protecting your clothes from attacks by moths

Clothes moths prefer to lay their eggs in dark, quiet places. That’s why you find them in wardrobes, drawers and lofts which remain undisturbed for days, even weeks. Unfortunately, these are also the places where you are most likely to store your unused clothing and special occasion wear.

They also lay their eggs on the underside of carpets and rugs because, again, these are dark and undisturbed locations.

Regularly lifting and beating rugs, airing wardrobes and vacuuming around the edge of carpets will help deter moths from settling in to breed.

It’s their young, the tiny caterpillars, who do the damage. The eggs will hatch in any temperature above 10 degrees Celsius and the minute larvae will start to eat their way into the nearest natural fibres including silk, fur, wool, cotton and linen.

They prefer dirty fibres, such as carpets or clothing with stains or dirt. Washing clothes and bedding before putting them into storage will reduce the risk of them becoming a meal.

The moth larvae can feast for months before turning into the next generation of adult insects and laying new batches of eggs.

Pest control products to protect clothes from moth attacks

Lavender is a traditional remedy for clothes moths and it works by giving off a strong odour which prevents adult male moths from finding females. Modern pheromone traps use the same principle, but go a step further by killing the moth.

Other Moth Control solutions include sprays, sticky rollers for removing caterpillars and devices which create a fine mist in an area infected by moths.

The effectiveness of any product will be determined partly by the way in which it is applied, and by the level of moth infestation. If you discover a large population which is doing significant damage to furnishings and clothes, spot solutions are unlikely to be effective. In these cases, fumigation, by a pest control specialist, is likely to be the most cost-effective answer to your problem.

The time of year when moths attack clothes depends, at least in part, on when and how you choose to store your unused or out-of-season wear, and the extent to which your preparations include moth pest controls.

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What type of Mice live in London houses?

Although very small, the mouse is a widely feared pest, probably due to its unpredictable and quick movements. If you have a mouse in your house, you may hear scampering feet above your ceiling or inside your cavity walls at night. Or you may discover mouse droppings or gnawed cereal boxes in the kitchen. Another tell-tale sign is the distinctive odour that mice emit.

When it comes to solving a mouse problem, it does not really matter what type of mice live in London houses. All the different types of wild mice have the potential to bring infection and destruction into your home.

Just like rats, mice carry disease and can contaminate foodstuffs with their fur, eating and urine, which can cause salmonella poisoning and gastroenteritis. In addition, they can damage your property by gnawing through wood, cables and into containers to get at food.

Types of mice in London

There are four types of mice living wild in and around London: the house mouse, the field or wood mouse, the yellow necked mouse and the harvest mouse. Two of these are pests – the house mouse and the field mouse. If you have mice in your London home, they will almost definitely be house mice.

The house mouse. This is London’s most common mouse. The adult house mouse measures around 7 to 9cm long with a thin tail of about the same length. Its fur is smooth and brown-grey in colour, becoming lighter underneath. It has quite large ears, small eyes, a small pointed head and small feet.

The field mouse. The field mouse is slightly larger than the house mouse and its coat is a warm brown colour rather than the dullish grey-brown of the house mouse. It has larger eyes and ears than the house mouse, making it quite easy to spot the difference. A field mouse can survive outdoors, but will sometimes find its way into a house, where it can breed and become a pest control problem.

Where will a house mouse nest?

The house mouse likes to live indoors. It can get in through the tiniest hole, just the size of a pencil, and will build a mouse nest in a warm place where there is a plentiful supply of food and nesting material. Loft spaces, cavity walls and the gaps under floors are popular places for mice to nest.

House mice eat almost anything that humans eat, but their preference is cereal. They don’t need much water, absorbing this from their food. They are most active at night, when they go in search of something to eat.

How to get rid of a mouse infestation

There are two main ways of dealing with mice – traps and poison – but if you have an infestation, it is likely that you will need the services of a professional pest controller to eradicate your problem. Mice are sporadic eaters, making it difficult to eliminate a whole colony. They are also surprisingly resistant to poisons. A pest controller will be able to help you mouse-proof your home and efficiently remove the mouse population.

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