Pest Control News

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Cockroach Infestations

THE COCKROACH!

It must surely be the most detested and hated of insects, and with good reason. It infests a property in numbers, can be incredibly difficult to get rid of and can spread diseases, as well as cause other issues, one of which is allergies.

Not many people are aware but the cockroach can cause allergic reactions in some people. Those who are asthmatic, or sensitive to the house dust mite can find that on exposure to a cockroach infested property or area, they can feel unwell. However, it is probably true to say that anyone who spends more than a few minutes in a cockroach infested house or building will soon feel distressed and anxious.

The species

In the UK, the most commonly dealt with cockroach species are the German cockroach and the Oriental cockroach. Adaptable and mobile, the cockroach can make its way into a new building via sewers, pipes, ducts and so on. The hole only needs to be the smallest crevice, almost unseen by the human eye.
The Oriental cockroach can be identified as it is the bigger of the two species found in the UK, and it is the most common too. Congregating in water sources, this cockroach can also climb rough walls, such as brickwork. The German cockroach on the other hand, can easily scale a smooth plastered wall.

Not sure if there is an infestation?

Although they can and do infest in large numbers, neither species of cockroach enjoy or seek out human company. Hence, as soon as walk in to a room, they scuttle and hide in the corners, behind units and so on. They are mainly nocturnal creatures hence they can be present in a property without the homeowner knowing for a long time.
There may be some tell-tale signs but using a sticky trap can be one way of determining if you have cockroaches or not. Lay it at night in the kitchen or wherever you think the cockroaches are, and check back in the morning…

Prevention

As with all pests, prevention is better than cure and when it comes to high danger areas – food serving and preparation outlets, hotel kitchen, take-aways and so on – hygiene needs to be top of the list.
This does not mean only the interior of a property but the exterior too. Food waste should be tightly sealed bags, and then disposed of in tightly sealed bins that should be emptied on a weekly basis, more often if the refuse is liable to spill over in a matter of days.
When an infestation does strike, it needs to be dealt with. It will not go away of its own accord, but if left untreated will simply gather pace. Baiting, gelling and use on insecticides is common in this kind of infestation, followed by cleaning and the application of heat too, in some cases. 

Proofing

However, there is sometimes need in some situations to proof an area against cockroaches and this investment can pay dividends in high risk areas.
Cockroaches are nocturnal, preferring dark, warm spaces – the kitchen or bathroom is perfect – and cracks in floors, walls and ceilings make perfect access points. These small cracks and crevices need to be filled and, as far as is possible, any voids in walls cavities filled too.

Eradication and the law

For food premises, it is a legal requirement that cockroaches are dealt with in a timely way. In other words, all food premises are expected to act in a way that discourages all pests but, in the case of cockroaches this means ensuring that their premises and habits do not allow cockroaches to take hold.
When a food premises suspects an infestation, by law they must act and the best and safest route to dealing with a cockroach issue is to call in professional pest controllers.

In summary

More and more people are aware of the dangers that some pests can pose to their health – the cockroach being one of them – but are also now increasingly mindful of the types of chemicals that were once accepted as part of treatment.
Cockroaches have become resistant to some chemicals too and thus, simply laying down any poison or gel is no longer effective. The safest option for both human health and the environment is the treatments offered by a professional pest control company or technician.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

How to Deal with Pigeons?

Dealing with feral pigeons

The discussion regarding pigeons and the nuisance that they can be, is a sensitive subject. Some see them as an integral part of the environment but others see them as a nuisance and vermin.

There is, however, a need to have this discussion as research has shown that the number of feral pigeons, those that we commonly see roosting on buildings and the like, have been increasing in recent years.

There are many reasons why their numbers have swollen;
  • Descended from wild rock doves, in urban areas the feral pigeon population has increased enormously and was reason is the man-made built environment. In the wild, pigeons roost on cliff edges, with the ledges and edges of buildings and roofs being similar
  • Feeding pigeons has also meant that they numbers have swelled, as the birds become more robust and well fed
  • They breed all year round too if food is plentiful, with each pair raising three to six broods a year, with two squabs (young) in each brood
  • In the nest, pigeons will normally use sticks but, in urban areas any kind of rubbish will suffice, including strips of plastic and so on


As you can see, the pigeon has adopted to the urban environment well, taking advantage of the opportunities afforded it.

However, there are some people who regard pigeons as a nuisance pest, and with good reason in some cases;

  • Damage – pigeon droppings are not only unsightly but acidic, which means that over time, damage is caused to the fa├žade of a building. Their nests can also block gutters, as well as air vents.
  • Health – pigeons also carry a range of diseases which can be transmitted to humans should their droppings come in contact with food stuffs. This is the common reason why food serving premises etc. cannot and will not tolerate pigeons on or around their buildings.
  • Accidents – fresh pigeon droppings are also slimy, and can if there is a large amount of pavements and so on, cause someone to lose their footing and slip.
  • Birds – pigeons, due to their size and numbers, can also drive other birds away from an area. Even though you may feed the garden birds from feeders and so on, somehow the pigeon always manages to steal some food too. They can also pass disease on to other birds.

Statutory nuisance

Overall, it is the responsibility of a business or homeowner to ensure that their property does not attract or harbour pests. In other words, if you see a problem you should deal with it.

In terms of pigeons and other birds, many businesses invest in bird proofing measures with the statutory powers, such as the local authority only getting involved when there is a statutory nuisance.

Defined in the Environmental Protection Act 1990, a statutory nuisance refers to noise, smoke, smell, artificial light, insect infestations from industrial or trade units and accumulation of deposits (droppings, rubbish and so on). The important thing to note about this is that a local authority will only act when the pest, in this case the accumulation of pigeon droppings, is related to an address.

And so, there is not much that can be done in public space in terms of forcing the hand of a local authority but, when it comes to business or domestic dwellings, if the accumulation of pigeons, droppings and so on is encroaching on the enjoyment of nearby properties, the person or business could be served with an abatement notice.

In other words, they need to stop what they are doing that encourages pigeons in to area; in some cases, a householder – your neighbour - may be feeding the birds by scattering food in the open. It may be that the pigeons roosting on a business premises are defecating on a walkway that could lead to someone being injured.

Being served with an abatement notice instantly puts the person or business under pressure. The best way forward, if there is an issue with pigeons is to take a serious look bird proofing measures.

However, it is always best to buy in the services of a professional pest controller as despite pigeons being a pest in some cases, how they are treated and euthanized is quite specific. They are, for example, protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which specifies they must only be controlled by authorised persons, such as a qualified pest controller. They cannot be entangled or gassed, but trapped or drugged, and only the humanely destroyed.

In summary


All this said, no local authority or Government legislation encourages euthanizing pigeons. Control is the key issues, from bird proofing to ensuring that food is not offered to them, or that the opportunity to access food is removed. This is a far more humane way of controlling pigeon population numbers.