Tag Archives: Pest control in London

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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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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Pigeons – More Than Fowl Vermin?

The robin and pigeon both enjoy an iconic status in Britain. The cheery, red-breasted chap brightens our winters inside and out. He’s a common sight in our gardens and on our Christmas cards.

His larger cousin, the feral pigeon, has pecked itself into a symbol of city living and formed an unassailable bond with a national institution, Trafalgar Square. When Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London at the time, tried to evict pigeons from the landmark in 2000, he met with unexpected resistance from the birds’ human supporters.

Feral pigeons in LondonIs the little bird who visits your home or office a pest or a pleasure? A bold little robin is entertaining the folk of Aberdeen this winter, popping into his local Co-op for a daily breakfast of crumbs. But he might not be so welcome if he were a Feral Pigeon. Despite having a small, vocal fan base, feral pigeons are not popular with most city dwellers. They’re called ‘rats with wings’ by many of us. They make unwelcome visits to homes and commercial premises across our cities, perching on window sills and roofs and leaving unwelcome and damaging deposits. Their acidic droppings eat away stone surfaces and car paintwork.

Pigeons are often the target of pest control measures, designed either to deter them from moving in or to persuade them it’s time to move on. The brand new Ordnance Survey building in Southampton has a kite flying from its roof, which carries the image of a bird of prey. So far it’s proved an effective pigeon deterrent.

Unlike the little robin, who usually travels alone, feral pigeons move in packs. Well, flocks to be precise, but that term doesn’t capture the arrogant swagger of fat grey birds with aggressive territorial ambitions. They appear to eat almost anything and it’s by living off our rubbish that they’ve earned their reputation as aerial vermin.

Feral pigeons are descendants of the Rock pigeons that we domesticated hundreds of years ago. While we might now despise these grimy, ungainly birds, they’ve been dependant on us for food for generations. But that’s not to say we should have to accept their mess and nuisance.

Effective pest control measures have significantly reduced the number of feral pigeons in London. The 4,000 in Trafalgar Square have been cut to around 200. If they continue to become less common, they might even win back a place in our affections, alongside the round, red robin.

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Confessions of a social media newbie

So, here we are. Bypest has arrived in the digital era with a bang! In recent months we’ve been working on our search profile, setting up a Twitter account and, of course, adding this blog to our site.

We’ve had a website since we started trading, and achieved solid search rankings for our target terms such as ‘Pest Control London’. But now we’ve recognised that we need to take things to the next level – not just to stay in the search-engine race, but also to give our customers the chance to interact with us in new ways.

Brave new world

We have to admit to feeling a little bit daunted by the whole digital marketing landscape. It seems like there are so many different elements that go into the mix. And it’s obvious that they all have to work together, not just in isolation. That’s why we’re taking things relatively steadily, aiming to build up our blog and Twitter before we move on to other channels such as Facebook.

As a London business serving local consumers and businesses, one of our key concerns is our Google Maps listing. Now that Google has decided to make its ‘place pages’ much more prominent in local searches, we need to make sure we’re appearing when people look for us. Most of our business comes in via telephone calls, so getting a prominent Maps listing is a key part of generating new business via the search channel.

Right now, the problem is that it’s so difficult to get a handle on what different users in different areas of London are seeing in terms of their search results. On top of that, it seems that SEO experts haven’t quite worked out what websites really have to do in order to optimise for Google Maps! Watch this space as we grapple with this problem and share some of the things we discover.

Late to the party?

In terms of social-media content, it’s clear that we’re not the first to the party. But we’re not the last either – a large number of pest-control companies have yet to add any sort of dynamic, interactive or regularly updated content to their blogs. It seems that many sole traders in our industry have already taken the plunge, and we’ve already hooked up with quite a few pest control experts from around the world on Twitter. It’s great to hear what they’ve got to say about pest control – and we’re looking forward to seeing how they approach the challenge of building a loyal following too.

Why is it a challenge? Essentially because pest control is one of those things that you don’t really think about until you need it. But when you need it, you really do need it! Unlike ‘fun’ brands like McDonald’s or Pepsi, we’re not really selling a product that people fall in love with – sad but true! So our main aim is to make as many friends as we can through social media, while putting ourselves in prime position to be the pest-control company that Londoners call first when they have a problem with pests.

Lessons from the leader

One model for social-media success in our sector is industry leader Rentokil. When they first started using Twitter, they were accused of ‘follow spam’ – following loads of people on Twitter, who then became confused about why Rentokil was following them. This was largely because of the negative associations of pests – as we’ve said, pest control is something you don’t really want to think about until the time when you really need it.

Of course, people didn’t have to follow Rentokil back, so they wouldn’t have a load of stuff about rats and mice in their feed unless they wanted it. But the outcry forced Rentokil to write a blog post called ‘Why is @Rentokil following me?’ in which they explained the thinking behind their approach.

Unfortunately, the tone of that post didn’t really help matters. As the furore intensified, Rentokil became a case study in how NOT to do social media – as documented in this Econsultancy article.

Nearly one year on, Rentokil has sorted itself out and now has an enviable blog featuring interesting pest-control stories from around the world, as well as 915 followers for its Twitter account (at the time of writing). They’ve even been covered again in Econsultancy, this time in a much more positive light – see the article here.

For our money, Rentokil is a great example of how to offer interesting, engaging content while promoting a service that people aren’t necessarily thinking about day in, day out. We’re hoping we can learn a lot of valuable lessons from them.

Into the future

What does the future hold for Bypest in social media? At this stage, we really don’t know. We’ve got some things we’d like to achieve, but we’re open to seeing where digital channels take us too. Although we waited a while to get involved, we’re hoping that we’re in a good position to learn from what others have done. It’s an exciting time!

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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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