Pest Control News

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

What happens to wasps, flies, fleas, bedbugs and other insects over winter?

What happens to wasps, flies and other tiny insect over winter?

We don’t see them buzzing around as we associate the bee, the wasp, the fly and anything else that is small, insect like and with wings, with the warmer summer months of spring and summer.
In fact, for people with an allergy or fear of wasps and so on, the summer can present a tortuous time of dodging stingers. Winter, even with the sub-zero temperatures and the chaos of snow, or endless rain, is a welcome hiatus from flying, buzzing things that seem intent of stinging or hurting us. 
But, where do these bothersome critters go in winter? Do they ‘die out’, only to miraculous appear again in spring? If so, how does that happen?

Cold blood and cold temperatures – a recipe for disaster
For many years, where insects went and how they survived winter in the UK was a mystery. Did they, like migrating birds, fly to the southern hemisphere? The answer – or the start of it – lay in the science and how some insects have adapted over the millennia to not survive but thrive.
  • Lay eggs
Insects are cold blooded and this means that any drop in temperature presents them with a serious issue. And so, the insect has adapted to survive. Some insects, for example, lay eggs that survive the winter because they are insulated, some with hair. The adults die out but in spring, their offspring appear in abundance. 
  • Hibernate
Some insects hibernate, finding a warm, safe place to snooze through the cold winter months. Ants for example, go deep underground, enjoying the heat of the earth and not popping some antennae above ground level until the warmer rays of spring sunshine are obvious. 
Wasps, however, have a different strategy. In the nest, as the days of autumn draw near, adult females will be mated and will then fly the nest in search of a safe place to hibernate over the cold winter months. The common garden shed is a perfect example. Emerging in the warmer months to begin her nest building by instructing the males to gather wood based materials and then to gather food for her eggs.
Fat with eggs and high energy food, the mated female wasp can often be mistaken for being dead and swept away but in some cases, they survive. When spring arrives, they fly off to start their own colony and do the same thing all over again. 
The worker wasps left in the hive have no chance of surviving winter but leave the nest at the end of autumn.
  • Carry on as normal…
… because we think that because it is cold they will die off. Fleas and Bedbugs are active all year round if they have a host to feed on. So yes, you will need to check "Buster" and "Fido" for fleas in November, December, January, February…
Some other species of insects that live in warmer climates in spring and summer do survive the winter months by heading south. The Monarch Butterfly, common in warmer climates will follow the heat of the sun due south but in the UK, most insects take cover because otherwise they would not survive the harsh winter.

Friday, 4 December 2015

The Cluster Fly – friend or foe?

The Cluster Fly – friend or foe?

In effect, the cluster fly is neither. They do not spread bacteria or ill health, but they are an irritation.
Some pests, as we know, are a nuisance, whilst others are dangerous. The cluster fly falls into the aforementioned category. Common across Europe and in the UK, this species of fly is harmless, and does not spread disease that affect humans. 
Many people also wrongly assume that many insects, including flies die out over the cold winter months. They do disappear from sight but this does not mean that they have died out. They are, in fact, like lots of other animals, hibernating. Sleeping out the cold winter months is one way of preparing for the busy months of spring and summer, when they will need to procreate, lay eggs and generally act in a way that guarantees the future of their species. 
And this is why cluster flies, dark or olive in colour and about 6 to 8 millimetres in length can be a problem in winter, and all other seasons.

As the name suggests…
This species of fly – and there are many different type of cluster fly – like to all clump together in large numbers. These swarms of flies can look frightening but they are harmless. It is the plump adult cluster fly that makes it through the winter, starting to cluster together in September. 
When they have identified the place that makes a good clustering site, they send out a pheromone, a smell that can only be detected by other cluster flies. However, get millions of cluster flies in one place doing the same thing and it is possible to smell a sickly, sweet smell – the culmination of large amounts of pheromone being given off. 
In the spring, they all zoom off to make laying their parasitic eggs in compost heaps and so on. On hatching, the larve will hitch a ride on an unsuspecting earthworm, feeding until they break out as a fly. 

Surviving winter
Winter is an unwelcome time of year for many insects. The cold can quickly kill off insects as they have little reserves to be able to fight off the chill. Thus cluster flies, like many other flies, wasps and winged insects, will need to find somewhere warm to last through the winter. 
They will, therefore, congregate in large numbers in places where they are warm-ish, free from draughts and so on. Unfortunately, this may mean in loft spaces, cellars and so on. 

You will need more than a can of fly spray to deal with a cluster fly issue. The first and most important thing to do is not panic, and then to call our professional pest control experts on 07879 473298.
We will assess the size of the infestation, and the size of chemical treatment needed and where the infestation is too. Some areas are easier to treat than others but in some situations, there are health and safety grounds to consider when it comes to treatment too. 
Some treatments, for example, will need 48 hours to work before the clear up can begin. 
Do you need help with a cluster fly swarm or any other pest this winter? Call us today on 07879 473298 or our local landline numbers.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Rats and poison immunity

The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) has issued a stark warning to home and business owners this winter that rats are becoming not only immune to over-the-counter, mass produced pelleted poisons but are becoming stronger and bigger too.

What can you do this winter to keep your property rat-free?

They have been dubbed in the popular press as ‘mutant rodents’, rats that are immune to poisons and are becoming alarmingly big and strong too. These super-rats have been seen in the cities rather than in towns or more rural locations, with residents fearing that their homes, as well as businesses could be under siege.

What are the solutions?

Fortunately, as BPCA went on to explain, there are solutions to dealing with this super-rat.
Some rats are still immune to the over-the-counter poisons but, as people are handling poison which can cause them harm, as well as pets and wildlife, the obvious solution is to get hold of an expert, professional pest controller.

The products available to buy are not as strong as the professional-grade materials and rodenticides that pest controllers can use. This is because to buy and use them, strict legislation needs to be adhered to and pest controllers are the right people to contact.
But, there are other practical preventative solutions that home and business owners can take.

Steps to keeping rats at bay, including giant rodents

With announcements that some local authorities are looking at monthly or three weekly bin collections, many homeowners are concerned that once again, they will be paying the price with increased vermin and pests in their gardens.

Laying poison in the open is not a safe or effective solution, understanding the habits of rodents can be fundamental in preventing an infestation:

·       Sheds, garages and outdoor buildings should be sealed as much as possible – rats can squeeze through a whole of 15mm.  Don’t forget to check vents and pipes for damage too.

·       Get gardening – overgrown gardens make perfect cover for rats and other pests to move around undetected. Cut back growth and keep it short.

·       Remove or block access to bins and compost bins too – in winter, like all animals and rodents, their natural food supply becomes short thus, they will look to other sources of food. Bins and compost bins etc., make perfect food sources for rats.

·       Get a cat – if you don’t have cat, and are not averse to getting one, research has shown that a cat around a property can be a great deterrent.

Rats in and around your property is unacceptable. They spread disease as well as cause a huge amount of damage. If you see one, there are others – call for pest control advice and treatment.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Winter-time pests: can you afford to relax?

Many people assume that pests are only really a problem in the warmer summer months. In some ways, this is true; food is plentiful and the breeding season usually starts in the warmer months of spring through to the golden days of autumn.
However, this does not mean that the winter months are barren months when it comes to pests.

·       Flies
Many people assume that flies and other insects like fleas and cockroaches for example, die out during the winter months, only to mysteriously re-emerge in the spring. The truth is they don’t die, but simply wait the cold months out somewhere warm – like your home.

There is however, a natural predator but the eight legged insect is by far the most feared and unpopular insect here in the UK. The spiders native to our shores are not venomous and so if you can, why not let it roam around, doing its thing and eating all those flies and other little critters?

·       Mice
Cute and cuddly in the pet shop, mice in the home can cause us many problems, from spreading disease to chewing everything in sight. With enough food around, mice can have a litter a month, not something you want to hear if you have mice in the garage or the basement.

Like many animals, mice like to have somewhere warm and cosy to live – just like us – and our homes make for perfect place.
As well as taking various preventative measures, you can also lay traps, including live ones so you can release the mice back to where they should be or you can also lay poison. However, with the latter, it is always preferable to get a professional pest controller to do this.

·       Rats
There is a saying that a human is no more than 6 feet away from a rat – or is it 10 feet? Needless to say, no one really knows how many rats are in the UK at any one time, or how close they are to us in terms of proximity.

Like mice, they enjoy the warmth and security of our homes, along with the abundance of food close-by – your bin is a great place for a meal for the rat. They spread disease, however, as they are constantly urinating, as well as a huge amount of damage. As winter sets in, be vigilant for rats.

·       Wasps
Commonly associated with summer, the winter months are when the mated queen buzzes around looking for somewhere warm and safe to hibernate. When the depths of winter have passed and spring arrives, these queens spring into action building a nest.

Make sure any damage to soffits, facia boards, sheds and so on is repaired to prevent them from entering. And, if you find what looks like a dead wasp, it may actually just be asleep. A dead wasp will be curled, but a hibernating wasp will be lying straight, as if it is having a rest
Winter is the time that many animals, insects and rodents hibernate but, they can still cause us a problem or two. 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Is your home under siege from spiders?

The hot but wet summer has led to an invasion in some home that is unwelcome, but also for many people, simply terrifying. Spiders native to the UK are not venomous, but no less scary if you have a fear of them.

Unfortunately, the recent hot summer has meant the common house spider is now bigger than ever… and making its way up the garden path to the warm sanctuary of your home to see out the winter months.

Increasing in numbers and size

Experts are warning that after the long hot summer, matched by the mild autumnal temperatures we are all enjoying, the giant house spider is loving it too. House spiders, in spite of their name, enjoy the peace and quiet of the outdoors, especially sheds and undisturbed places in the garden.
Our homes, however, are the perfect place to mate and guess what? That mating season is now.
For anyone with a serious hatred or fear of spiders, the first few weeks of autumn must be their least favourite time of year with large house spiders making their way into homes to find their mate.
When temperatures are mild, there is more food available and thus, the spiders thrive. It is the male spider, however, that makes the first steps on the trek for love. Searching out female spiders to mate with, the male spider enters home through an open door or window. They are not, however, eating at this point, simply roaming around looking for a female mate becoming a little weaker with every step.

The bite – but it is not serious

The UK has no killer spiders but some of our native spiders so carry a venomous bite – however, before you start running for a spider-free hill, this does not mean they will attack at will. In fact, spiders here in Britain tend to be a peaceful bunch until they feel under attack which, in most cases will come from another spider or insect.
The common house spider can bite, if picked up by one of its leg etc. but rather than delivering a nasty bite that can paralyse or kill, will simply deliver a nip (which you may not feel) as a way of being released from your grip. Their ‘venom’ is too weak to cause us humans any issues.

Catching a spider

Spiders play an important role in our environment, including preying on smaller insects. Catching them indoors and relocating them to the garden is a sound ecological thing to do. Follow our 5-step plan:
      I.         Don’t panic
     II.         Place large glass over spider, taking care not to trap the legs. Use a thin piece of cardboard or something similar to trap spider in glass – release into garden
   III.         For a spider in the bath, coax it up on to a towel and then shake it off outside
   IV.         Or use a dust pan and brush and sweep it into the pan; as you walk outside tap the dustpan so that the spider doesn’t move
     V.         Coax it onto a long stick and then shake it off outside, then vacuum the old webs

Feel under siege? Why not call a pest controller?

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Myths about fleas, your pet and your home...

Many pet owners believe that with the first frosts of winter, the flea population dies out. This is not the case and this perpetuating myth means that some pet owners are leaving their homes wide open to the flea becoming entrenched in the soft furnishings.
It may be winter, but your pet can still have a flea or two, but there are more flea myths…

#1 Treat the pet only

Spot a jumping flea on Fido or think you have spotted eggs on Misty? Identifying the flea is one thing, effective treatment of your pooch and feline friend is also important for their own comfort as much as anything else. But remember, the pet carries them in to the house and so treating the home is important too.

#2 There was only one or two…

… that you could see. Where there is one flea, there will be others. More importantly, there could be hundreds of eggs, all waiting to hatch out. Once they have done, it only takes the flea a few days to reach sexual maturity and start breeding themselves. You have been warned!

#3 My house is spotlessly clean and so fleas won’t live here

Where would you rather live – somewhere cold and inhospitable, or warm and dry? Unfortunately, no matter how clean your home is, it is the heat that is not only attractive to the flea, but also perfect for laying eggs and so on.

#4 My pets have flea collars and I use a spot on treatment for prevention

It sounds easy and simple but, there are concerns regarding the use of treatments. It is just as easy, for example, to overdose your pet and cause them to become ill or, worst case scenario, contribute to their death. Use the latest recommended treatments prescribed by your vet and steer clear of ‘easy’ solution offered over the counter.

#5 Once treated, the problem is solved

There are times when a pest can become deeply embedded in an area, both inside the home and within the immediate vicinity outside too. Some homeowners have found that even though they have treated pets and inside their homes, that the fleas do not seem to completely vanish.

#6 Calling a pest controller to deal with the issue is expensive

Dealing with a flea infestations is simple – when you know how. When you have in-depth knowledge of the four stages of the lifecycle of a flea, knowing what treatments to use at the right time is second nature. Understanding the length of this life cycle and when a deep clean is required, but also the length of time the treatment needs to work.

In fact, when you consider the advice you will also receive as part of this service, the price is even more cost-effective. And, we also guarantee our work.  
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