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 – Rats in the Kitchen

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.

A lot of Tony’s pest control stories feature Rats. These unsavory rodents breed in the old London sewers, making their burrows in the cracks and crevices of decaying Victorian brickwork and broken pipes.

Not surprisingly, rats often turn up in kitchens. They’re always hungry and always looking for food. In older houses, often those which have not been so well looked after, there are plenty of gaps and holes through which the rats can slip in.

On one call-out in Southwark, Tony and his mate were met by a burly South American bloke who didn’t speak a word of English. Tony tried to explain why they were there and the South American responded by waving his arms around and firing off a torrent of words in a foreign language.

Eventually the South American seemed to calm down and led Tony through to the kitchen, a ramshackle affair that had seen much better days. There, on top of the washing machine, peering out from under the worktop, was a rat.

Despite his size, the South American refused to enter the room and simply pointed from the doorway. Tony and his mate knew that they had to get rid of the rat and take measures to protect against other vermin.

Catching a rat is relatively easy using modern pest control measures, such as sticky boards. Unfortunately, this encounter was before Tony’s team had such equipment. So he was forced to hunt the rat down to catch and dispatch it.

This particular rat had a strong sense of self-preservation and did not want to be caught. It quickly disappeared, leaving Tony and his mate to begin a cupboard by cupboard search. They removed kickboards and emptied cupboards as they methodically closed in on the creature.

Looking into one cupboard, Tony thought he heard a noise from the back. He grabbed his torch, put his head in the cupboard, and found himself literally face-to-face with the rat, which was hiding in a saucepan.

For the rat, it was almost a case of out of the frying pan into the fire. Tony dealt with the rodent quickly and efficiently. The South American, despite being unable to speak a word of English, understood that the job had been done and was effusive in his gratitude to the pest controllers.

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Dangerous spider invasion is a growing household problem

Pest Control experts are receiving an increasing number of calls about tropical spiders being discovered in London and other English cities and towns. International trade has combined with a changing climate to boost the population of potentially dangerous arachnids in suburbia.

We’ve all heard the stories about venomous spiders being discovered in the local supermarket, or the domestic fruit bowl. Every now again a Black Widow or similar beastie slips into the country, usually riding unnoticed on a bunch of bananas.

Just this summer, one of the world’s most dangerous spiders, the Brazilian Wandering, lived up to its name by exploring a Coventry warehouse. A couple of months earlier, a Merseyside family abandoned their home for a week while another Brazilian spider, which they unsuspectingly brought home from the supermarket, was hunted down. A painstakingly slow search finally discovered it inside the dishwasher.

Australian spiders migrate to the UK

The distinctively marked Red Back spider has begun turning up in homes and commercial premises across Britain. The tiny, but extremely poisonous, creature is often an unexpected stowaway in travellers’ luggage.

Before an antidote to their bite was developed, the pea-sized arachnids were thought to have killed around 14 people in Australia with their poison. Today, 250 bite victims require anti-venom treatment each year.

Most of the exotic species of spider which find their way into this country are unable to survive outdoors. But warm modern homes and offices can prove ideal habitats for them to live in and, potentially, to breed. A dozen Red Backs were recently discovered in packaging in a Preston factory.

What to do if you discover an unusual spider

Should you come across an unfamiliar spider in your property, don’t panic.

It may simply be a Common House spider, which can grow to around 10cm across. Their size can scare people, and, like all spiders, they do bite. If you’re concerned about the number of spiders in your home or place of work, take advice on how to deal with them from a pest controller.

If you suspect a spider is more unusual, try to trap it inside a transparent container. That will allow you, or a local expert, to identify the species and take the appropriate action.

However, if you have any concerns about dealing with the spider, contact a pest control specialist. They will have the necessary equipment to capture it, and to lay traps in case others are lurking, unnoticed, in the floor, walls or ceilings.

Exotic spiders are just one form of creepy-crawly we’re seeing more of in Britain. Disease-carrying Ants, Cockroaches and mosquitoes are becoming more frequent visitors to these shores. International travel and trade brings with it both pleasures and pests.

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Council Food Waste Recycling Tackles Pests and Pollution

Your household or business could be spending hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds on food that’s then thrown away. Apparently the average home bins food worth £50 every month. That’s a lot of pizza, pasta and peas being tossed away as rubbish, every day.

This mountain of edible waste creates its own problems. The decomposing mass is a huge source of pollution, pumping CO2 into the atmosphere as it rots down in landfills. More worryingly, for householders, it’s an enormous food source for a variety of insects and animals, attracting vermin and creating a pest control problem.

Fortunately, Borough councils are taking positive steps to introduce food waste recycling for at least some of London’s thousands of homes.

For example, the London Borough of Southwark has recently completed a trial collection of food waste from many homes. Considered a success, the pilot scheme has been continued beyond its initial six months and the Borough is now looking at extending it to other areas.

These collections take place weekly, partly as a pest control measure. While much of the discarded food is placed in secure plastic bins with lids, it still produces unpleasant smells as it begins to rot. The trend towards collecting rubbish once every two weeks is acceptable for dry rubbish, but by removing food waste weekly, councils are helping to deter pests attracted to the foul odours.

Southwark’s recycling scheme takes a broad range of food waste including meat and bones, rice and pasta and dairy products. This material is mixed with garden waste and composted on a commercial scale. By processing this in a controlled environment, exposure to pests is minimised and the outcome is a reusable material, compost, which can be sold back to consumers.

Other London Boroughs provide services similar to those being trialled by Southwark. Lambeth began a trial in 2009 which is slowly being extended across the borough. The City of London is also rolling out food waste collections. However, some areas, such as Kensington and Chelsea, are still without food recycling capabilities.

Businesses can’t take advantage of the free collection services provided by Borough councils. However, there are plenty of waste disposal firms eager to service their needs and all of these will be working towards recycling targets.

The most effective way to deal with food waste is to buy more carefully and throw less away. But there will always be some leftovers which require disposal in a way that avoids attracting the attention of pests.

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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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Our recommended suppliers

In the pest control trade, we often need to work alongside related suppliers in areas such as building, cleaning and property maintenance. We’ve put this post together to let you know about some of our recommended suppliers.

S&D Decorating, based in in Chislehurst, Ken, is a long established painting and decorating specialist based trading
all through Kent and its associated areas.

A Pigeon’s Eye View of the Royal Wedding Procession

As William and Kate’s big day approaches, we decided to celebrate by taking a slightly different perspective on some of the sites they’ll pass during their horse-drawn trip from the Abbey to the Palace.

Westminster Abbey

Pigeons love medieval churches, particularly the soaring cathedrals with their towers and spires, wide ledges and cosy crevices. However, the birds aren’t particularly welcome on ecclesiastical property, either inside or out, despite making a number of appearances in the Bible.

In the thousand years since Westminster’s construction, pigeons have faced an increasing range of deterrents including rows of anti-roosting spikes, acres of netting, and a variety of Bird Scarers.

Whilst weddings are traditionally accompanied by symbols of good luck, measures will be taken to ensure that pigeons won’t be able to deposit their own sign of best wishes on the bride and groom.

Downing Street

Larry might be the latest and Humphrey the most well-known, but they’re simply some of the latest in a distinguished line of cats appointed as government pest controllers. The first Treasury mouser documented in history was owned by Cardinal Wolsey, who kept it by his side as Lord Chancellor, during the reign of Henry VIII.

The Cenotaph

As the wedding procession passes the focal point of national remembrance for fallen British servicemen, it’s good to recall that not all pigeons are thought of as pests. In fact, over 30 have been awarded the Dickin Medal for displaying conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in support of military forces.

Horse Guards Parade

This royal parade ground is no stranger to spectator events, hosting the Trouping of the Colour, displays in honour of the Queen’s birthday and, in 2012, it’ll be transformed into an Olympic volley ball arena. But according to Westminster City Council pest control experts, the number of rats watching events is down on previous years.

Steve Harrison, Westminster’s director of premises management, recently said: “We pride ourselves on acting quickly and will continue our work to limit the number of rats and other vermin in the city.”

Buckingham Palace

Tight security at the royal residence hasn’t kept uninvited guests out of the royal kitchens. With pantries and larders groaning under enough goodies to serve up to 600 people at one sitting, it’s no surprise that rats and mice want a slice of Windsor pudding, pie, cake or even just a plain cracker.

A royal Rodent Problem occurred as recently as October last year. However, the only teeth nibbling at the delicacies of William and Kate’s wedding breakfast will be those of their chosen guests.

The rest of us will have to make do with street party fare, bank holiday barbecues or whatever else comes our way.

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Spring Time in London Brings Pest Control Problems

The last of the March daffodils are fading and the bluebells are bursting into colour. The Boat Race is behind us while the Chelsea Flower Show and Wimbledon are getting closer. Spring is well under way in London.

But it’s not just plants and trees coming to life in the city’s parks and gardens. Ants and Flies, two of the most common household pests, are also waking up. Millions of tiny, irritating and unhygienic insects are preparing for another summer of infestation across London.

If your home or workplace suffered from these insect pests last year, the time to act is now. By catching the problem early, you could spare yourself a summer of insect nuisance.

Ants can be a tricky pest control problem

These tiny insects are easy to spot as they forage outside their nests. Unfortunately, they can prove difficult to get rid of.

Ants perform a useful function outdoors, helping to clear up all sorts of debris. But if they find their way into your office or home they become a serious Pest Control problem. They’re constantly searching for food and they can find their way in through tiny holes in walls and floors.

There are various poisons available off the shelf which can help to keep their numbers down. But if you have a major infestation and want a quick solution, you’ll need professional help.

Flies can carry diseases very easily

There are about 6,500 species of fly in Britain. Unfortunately some of the most common, such as the housefly or bluebottle, are also some of the dirtiest. They’re attracted to rotting or decayed material but will also alight, moments later, on fresh food and clean surfaces.

They transport tiny particles of rotting matter from place to place very easily. This can include bacteria which can cause anything from a mild stomach upset to typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery or a host of other unpleasant illnesses.

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US Government Called to Declare War on Bed Bugs

‘Bed bugs are back!’ cries the US National Pest Management Association. They’re supporting a bill being put before the US Congress, intended to allow Americans to sleep more safely in their beds.

The proposed legislation aims to repel a growing invasion that threatens to literally suck the life blood out of the world’s remaining superpower.

The tiny beasts are also enjoying a boom on this side of the Atlantic. They’re becoming a ‘major public health issue’ north of the border, according to the Royal Environmental Health Institute for Scotland. The Bed Bug Foundation (yes, there is such a thing) reports that London’s population of the things increased by 26% every year from 2002 to 2007.

That trend seems to be continuing, with the UK’s largest pest control firm, Rentokil, reporting a 24% increase in Bed bug calls during the first half of 2010.

The last decade has seen the pests break out of the seedy hotels and shabby bedsits with which they’ve long been associated. They’re increasingly taking up residence in smart hotels and tidy homes.

Despite their name, bed bugs are happy to settle almost anywhere with lots of people. They find moving from place to place incredibly easy and are comfortably at home in shops, museums, galleries and theatres.

Changing attitudes to the use of chemical pesticides has probably caused the global explosion in the bed bug population, along with a more mobile lifestyle. It’s never been so easy for the creatures to hop between cities, countries or continents, tucked invisibly into the folds of clothes and luggage.

Pest control experts are becoming more concerned about the world wide bed bug problem. Hence the American ‘Bed Bug Management, Prevention and Research Act of 2011’ being presented to Congress.

If passed, it’ll create a task force focused on finding ways to stop the blood sucking insects from attacking their citizens. As any visitor to the US will know, the Americans take their homeland security very seriously indeed.

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