Tag Archives: Pest control

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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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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Tony’s Tales – The Giant Midnight Rat

Tony Halliday, our boss, has spent years on the front line of pest control in London. His tales of strange situations and even stranger customers would fill volumes. He’s allowed us to record some of the skirmishes he’s experienced in his battle against vermin in Southwark and beyond.

One of London’s most unpleasant Rodents, the rat, can grow to an enormous size. The average rat is usually the size of a man’s shoe, but occasionally pest controllers run into a giant specimen. When that encounter happens at midnight, in a confined space, a routine pest control call-out can become an alarming experience.

Tony’s tale begins, as so many, with an emergency callout just before midnight. A customer had returned, with their family, to discover rat droppings in their home. Having a baby, it was particularly important to have the problem dealt with.

“I know where the rats are coming from,” the customer told Tony when he arrived. “I know because I’ve killed two of them already.” He seemed pleased with himself for taking on the rats. “I hit one with a golf club and killed it instantly. Blood everywhere.”

He told Tony there was another rat upstairs. Asked why he hadn’t dispatched that one, the customer replied by holding his palms two feet (60cm) apart. That’s how big he thought the rat was.

Tony’s got wise to people overestimating the scale of their rodent problems. Unconcerned, he entered, alone, the small bedroom, containing a baby’s cot, where the rat was thought to be hiding. He closed the door behind him.

The creature soon revealed itself. And it was huge, just as the customer had described. Tony had heard occasional reports of giant rats, almost two feet in length, but this was the first time he’d met one face to face. It was enough to send a shiver down any spine – even that of a seasoned pest controller.

Trapped, the sewer rat hurtled around the room, too fast to catch. Not wanting a nasty nip from those disease-ridden fangs, Tony waited for it to settle. It hid beneath a pile of nappies under the cot and Tony surrounded the baby’s bed with sticky Rat Catcher boards. These would catch the lank fur and hold it tight, allowing for easy dispatch with a hammer. Not pretty, but practical.

Tony poked the nappy pile, provoking the rat to run. One leg was caught by the sticky board. Held fast, the rat squealed loudly. Outside the door, the customer and his wife exclaimed in shock. They’d never heard the shriek of a trapped rat.

Tony raised his hammer, only for it to catch on the cot. Knocked from his hands it fell into the grasp of another sticky board. He lifted his foot over the rat, a desperate last resort, but the creature slid out of the way as he struck.

Both Tony and the huge rat had one leg trapped by the sticky board. It would have been a ridiculous sight, if the massive rodent hadn’t turned its sharp teeth on the pest control specialist, ripping lumps from his boots and trousers.

Superior strength won the day and the rat was eventually subdued. But the experience left Tony white and shaken. That was the largest rat he’s ever seen and he’s in no hurry to meet another like it, particularly at midnight.

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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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Protect Winter Woollies From Munching Moths

The days are getting longer, the sunshine’s warmer and we’re beginning to dress more lightly. But as you put those thick sweaters away, take care not to create a summer of packed lunches for moths.

Many of us associate pests with the dark, dirty worlds beneath the floorboards or in the kitchens of seedy cafes and restaurants. So it may come as a surprise to discover that Moths are often the subject of pest control measures.

They can be a problem in both domestic and commercial premises. And once they’re arrived, these tiny nibblers are often tricky to get rid of.

The adult Common Clothes Moth likes nothing more than to lay tiny, almost invisible, eggs on clothing or carpets. Being ‘butterflies of the night’, the moths prefer to do their business in dark, quiet spots, where they’re less likely to be disturbed.

The eggs soon hatch into minute, hungry caterpillars who start gobbling up any natural fibres they can get their little mouths into. Cotton, wool, linen, silk and furs are popular dishes and they’ll also make a meal of foodstuffs such as flour and biscuits.

Well-fed, the wriggling white worms are ready to pupate, or to become adults, within five to six weeks of hatching. But when food’s scarce they can take up to two and a half years to reach this stage. When that time comes, they crawl off to a quiet spot, form a cocoon around themselves, and emerge as adults three or four weeks later.

It is the caterpillars that do the damage to your clothes and fabric. If you spot the small adult moths with their golden wings, it’s too late. All they do is mate, leaving the females to lay their eggs to start the whole cycle again.

Probably the most effective way to protect your winter woollies from moths is to keep them in a light, airy place. Alternatively, they can be wrapped in plastic or stored alongside strongly scented moth repellents. There was a reason why Granny’s clothes always smelled of lavender.

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