Pest Control News

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

9 Top Tips for Keeping Rats and Mice at Bay This Winter

9 Top Tips for Keeping Rats and Mice at Bay This Winter

As winter arrives on our doorstep, it brings with it rain, grey clouds and a chill wind.
It can also usher in rats and mice. Just like us humans, these rodents are not too keen on the cold, the wind and the rain, preferring instead somewhere warm. Even better, if there are planet of nesting space and materials to hand, as well as a handy constantly-replenished food source.
Yes, you’ve guessed it, your home including the basement, garage and sheds, are perfect places for a rat and its family, or a tiny mouse to make their homes. 
They bring with them many problems, however, which is why dealing with a rodent issue is essential;
  • They are incontinent – that’s right, as they scamper along, they are constantly urinating and pooping. They secrete a rather nasty bacterium too which if ingested by humans, can make us very ill indeed. 
  • They gnaw EVERYTHING – they must keep those two long front teeth down to size and the only way is to keep them filed is to gnaw at everything, from wood to plastic, to cabling and more. 
  • They shred EVERYTHING as well as gnawing, they also want to make their nests as warm and cosy for their young as they possibly can. They shred soft materials to make a nice bed, and again that means fabrics, stuffing from stored soft furnishings, cardboard, paper, you name it, they can gnaw at it or shred it. 
Can you make your home rodent proof?
You can certainly make it a lot less attractive;
  1. Store items in plastic sealed boxes and containers, rather than cardboard boxes which rats and mice will easily demolish
  2. Keep food in air tight containers and make sure that any rubbish is dispose of quickly
  3. If you can and it is safe to do so, cover vents with plastic
  4. Seal cracks and holes (even small ones!), paying attention to small cracks and crevices around pipe work
  5. Give the exterior of your home a once over too, replacing any missing weather stripping and so on so that rats and mice cannot find their way in to basements etc.
  6. Keep gutters and drainpipes running freely too – rats can climb, especially if they are given a helping hand to do so!
  7. You may love your log burner but storing wood too close to your home can attract rodents to enjoy the cover it provides – stack it at least 20 feet from your home and 5 feet of the ground (if you can)
  8. Inspects insulation and wiring for gnaw marks. If you do spot an issue with cabling and wires, get the cable replaced as it could be a fire hazard
  9. If you spot rodent poop, hear scurrying or see a rat or mouse, contact a local pest controller NOW!

Rats and mice don’t go away. In fact, by not dealing with the problem, it will just get bigger as rodents are prolific breeders. They will carry on causing damage and problems!

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Could Rats Become Less of a Problem?

Could Rats Become Less of a Problem?
There are many pests that cause farmers and landowners to worry about their crops and land – rats and rabbits are just two pests that are considered rampant in the country side.
Both cause an incredibly amount of damage in a short time. Rabbits can make the ground unstable with their constant burrowing, and rats on farms can damage crops, as well as contaminate food stores. 
Damage is not only vast but costly. But there may another solution on the horizon to those measures that farmers, landowners and pest controllers already take – a fence of ‘laser beams’.
Successful trial
Scientists at John Moores Liverpool University have successfully trialled a fence of laser light in Scotland, the Netherlands and Spain. The laser fence seems to frighten the rats and other pests too, forming an environmentally friendly alternative to poison. 
Funded by the European Commission, bodies like the National Farmers’ Union are hoping that its widespread use could save thousands of pounds each year in damaged crops and food stuff. The fence of laser lights could also be effective with foxes, birds, rabbits and badgers. 
Secondary poisoning
The pest control industry has been working in recent years to lessen the impact of the use of poisons on non-targeted species. And this laser could be a major contribution to stopping the deaths of many other species, especially birds, who succumb to second-hand poisoning.
When bait is laid for pests, such as rat poison, the rat does not die immediately on eating it. It may reach several metres away from the original spot. Its carcass however, is still full of poison and a bird flying overhead will spot what they think is a ready-made snack. Unfortunately, they too will be poisoned. 
There is now measures in place for widespread and consistent baiting to be stopped, and pest control technicians will also return to the area to collect carcasses to prevent secondary poisoning of birds and other species. 
With sales on poisons also being tightened, it is hoped that unintended poisoning of non-target wildlife will significantly decrease. There is no doubt that this laser fence would also contribute to this too. 
An urban problem
Rats, foxes and rabbits are not just an issue in the countryside – they can present significant issues in the urban setting too.
Rabbits confuse industrial plants for safe burrows and tunnels, or their tunnels on embankments can lead to landslide problems for both the road networks and rail lines across the country. 
Foxes have learnt to live alongside humans in the city and the town, a trade-off for the ready supply of food that they find in bins and recycling containers. 
Rats are also a common sight in may urban settings, again as a result of having a ready supply of food and nesting sites. 
Do you have a pest problem?

We deal with all kinds of pests from birds to rabbits, foxes to fleas, bedbugs to ants… and more! If you have any concerns or would like advice from an expert, call us today!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Could your business be fined for not dealing with a pest problem?

Could your business be fined for not dealing with a pest problem?

Thankfully, the cases of businesses allowing pest infestations to continue unabated are few and far between. 
But as we go about our daily lives, we assume that local businesses and retailers are safe places to shop, local cafes and restaurants are safe places to eat and that the takeaway we just order will be hygienically prepared in a hygienic kitchen. 
When this doesn’t happen and businesses are called to account, the fine can be pretty hefty. So, what are your responsibilities as a business when it comes to pest control?
Pests and your business
Pest control is an often-overlooked part of running a business, with owners and staff only realising there is a problem until it becomes visually apparent you are sharing the building – inside and out – with an unwanted pest.
Broadly speaking, pests can be divided into three categories:
  1. Rodents – rats and mice, for example
  2. Birds – pigeons and seagulls can cause problems, as can other birds
  3. Insects – cockroaches, fleas, flies, ants, wasps and bees are some of the more common pest infestations
As a business, you should;
  • Be vigilant
Training staff on how to store items, to keep areas tidy, to be keep the area clean and so on is an important first step. 
And this isn’t just about inside the business property, it is outside too. Spending time on ensuring that rubbish bags are properly sealed so that it is harder for vermin to get in is a key example. Pests are like humans; they want somewhere safe to nest. They also want plenty of food. If your rubbish is piling up and easily accessible, they will keep on coming back.
It is imperative to understand that prevention is key because once a pest problem starts, it can be difficult to get rid of. 
  • Take active prevention steps
Businesses, especially food businesses, are expected to take active, prevention steps to stop pests becoming a problem. 
If you understand the pest that could be attracted to your business, they you can take steps to keep them away. For example, engaging a local pest contractor on a service contract to be checking and dealing with rodents is a move that should keep all kinds of pests at bay. 
  • Deal with a problem promptly
Pests don’t go away. If you see one cockroach, there are thousands more in the premises. If you see one rat, it will have a litter of young and they will continue to breed. Pests are rarely lone animals and as such, by not dealing with it, you are not only allowing the problem to grow, you are also acting against the law. 
Can we help?
As a local pest control contractor, we already work with many local businesses offering a discreet pest control service in and around their retail units, factories, warehouses, feed stores etc. 

It costs less that you think too – and certainly a lot less that the huge fines you could face for not dealing with a pest control problem!

Monday, 14 November 2016

Would You Rent a Home with a Pest Problem?

Would You Rent a Home with a Pest Problem?

A recent report from Shelter found that 40% of rented properties in England do not reach acceptable standards. As well as mould and damp, there was also mention of pest problems, such as silver fish.
Sometimes, disrepair at a property – either owned or rented – can lead to problem with pests. But who is responsible for pest control at private and social housing rented properties?
What is a pest?
There is no legal definition of what pest or vermin is. But they are generally thought to include rodents, such as rats and mice, cockroaches, ants, fleas, mites and bedbugs.
Who is responsible for dealing with a pest infestation?
Working out who is responsible for dealing with a pest problem depends on several factors, including;
  • Whether there is any mention of pest control and responsibilities in the tenancy agreement
  • Whether your home has a pest infestation before you moved in
  • If the problem is caused or made worse by the property being in a poor state of repair
  • Whether you have contributed to pest infestation by doing or not doing something
Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to work out who is responsible which can add to a tenant’s distress when they realise they have a pest problem. An Environmental Health Officer from your local council may be able to help. They can identify the pest and the source of problem, which usually reveals who is responsible for dealing with the problem. 
Social housing tenants
Local authority tenants or those living in social housing complexes should contact their local housing department or call the social housing group to whom you pay rent. 
They will often be clear about what pest problems they will take responsibility for. For example, rodent infestations can be a problem in many areas and considering the danger to human health, most local authorities and social housing providers will act quickly.
In some cases, where there is a pest problem in the house – such as fleas or mites – you may have to contribute to the cost of treatment. In the cases of some vermin, such as cockroaches, the local authority will also act quickly as allowing such an infestation to continue can lead a bigger and costlier problems in the longer term. 
Private tenants
Unfortunately, not all landlords take their responsibilities seriously, leaving tenants to live in properties that are in disrepair. If you rented your property through a letting agent, contact them for advice relating to pest control issues. 
Can a local, professional pest control company help?
Yes, we can!
Before we act on any infestation, we will always check what the problem is and the extent of it. We also realise that as a tenant, you have concerns about who will pay the bill. We may be able to offer advice on this too. 
ALWAYS get the problem dealt with!

Sharing your home with any pest is unpleasant but when the pest could make you ill, it is a huge concern – and it must be dealt with.

Friday, 4 November 2016

The Top 10 House Home Pests

The Top 10 House Pests

Pests are everywhere and most of the time, we live quite happily alongside insects in the garden, birds and rodents. Providing they don’t encroach on our living space, everything is just fine. 
Do you know which are the most common pests in the UK?

#1 Mice
In top spot, we have mice. Unlike other rodents, many people find mice cute but they can still cause damage by gnawing everything in sight, as well as leaving droppings all over the place too. Mice are active all year round and in winter, they will often seek safe and warm refuge in our homes. Cute they may be but you will need to deal with the problem. Talk to us!
#2 Moths
You may not have expected the Common Clothes Moth in the number two spot but moths are a real nuisance in the home. They lay sticky eggs on natural fibres and when the larvae emerge, they chew the fibres before flying off. The perfectly round holes they leave is costly damage in carpets, sofas, clothes etc. 
#3 Rats
The Brown Rat is very common in the UK, with many people noticing the signs of infestation such as droppings, teeth marks and so on. Very elusive, you are unlikely to see one unless they are confident there are no predators around. A pest controller can deal quickly and effectively with a rat problem so don’t waste time setting traps or laying poison as shop bought remedies are rarely effective. 
#4 Bedbugs
Bedbug infestations are a real problem because we are travelling more, hence bringing them home from holiday or business trips, and people being unaware how to treat an infestation properly. As well as chemical treatment, there needs to be deep cleaning too.
#5 Wasps
With a nasty sting in their tail, wasps can be a real nuisance when they decide to make their nest close to your home or business. A large nest can have 25,000 wasps in it and can be found in lofts, wall cavities, trees, bushes and underground. ALWAYS get help with a wasp problem. 
#6 Flies (of all kinds)
Half way through and at number six we have flies. From fruit flies to blue bottles, flies spread germs and bacteria as they hop from ‘animal waste’ to uncovered food on your kitchen worktop. They congregate where there is rotting protein, so animal carcasses or rotting fruit, that type of thing. Find the source and get rid of it, and the fly problem goes with it. 
#7 Ants
Not a health issue, but at number 7 in our top 10 list, are ants. They scurry about looking for food and when they find it, bring the rest of the colony with it.  Common in spring and summer, they die back in autumn and winter. 
#8 Spiders
For people with a fear of spiders, autumn can be a testing time as spider come into the home to escape the autumnal rain and wind. They are beneficial, easting flies but not a welcome visitor when you are finding several BIG spiders in the house…
#9 Cockroaches
Cockroaches will either like the cool of the basement or the heat of the kitchen. Like rats and mice, a cockroach infestation is one for a professional pest controller. 
#10 Woodworm

And finally, woodworm (it’s actually a beetle) live in wooden things, from wood trusses to furniture. Although not necessarily rampant, there is a noted increase in woodworm calls because people are upcycling and recycling furniture, effectively introducing woodworm into their homes. If you buy second-hand furniture, check for the tell-tale pin prick holes. 

Does Winter Mean No Pests?

Does Winter Mean No Pests?
Pests are a nuisance. From fleas in the carpets to rats in the garage, there seems to be no end of pests that try and share our homes with us. 
And why not? Our homes are safe from predators, they are warm and humid, they are great places to nest and there is usually a source of food close by too. 
However, many people are under the impression that all pests die off in winter. In other words, as soon as the cold comes, pests can’t cope and simply fade away until the warmth of spring returns. This is not quite the case, however. 
Outside bugs
Cold is not favoured by many common pests. For some insects, the cold spells immediate death. This is because they have smaller bodies that cannot retain heat well and when the cold strikes, their body temperature drops, and they are unable to cope.
This is why insects like ants will not be seen here in the UK from the autumn onwards. They will only emerge from their underground tunnels when they can feel the warmth of spring.
So, what does happen to insects over winter?
It varies from one species to another;
  • Die away – many insect colonies will die away leaving a ‘mated female’ behind to hibernate. The queen wasp is a prime example. It sleeps and slumbers its way through winter, waking with the first rays of spring sunshine. It will then find somewhere safe to start building a nest. Once it does this, it lays the fertilised eggs it has looked after all winter. At first, she’ll be busy flying off for food for these tiny young but once they reach a certain maturity, they will do all the running around whilst the queen wasp lays more eggs. 
  • Leave young behind – in other cases, the adults in the last throes of summer will leave their young (usually protected in eggs etc.) before they succumb to the end of their life-cycle. These young, safely cocooned over winter, will emerge in the spring. Their parents have been very thoughtful however, and placed them right in the middle of a delicious supply of food. Caterpillars on the underside of cabbage leaves will leave a lot of damage in their wake as they emerge into moths or butterflies. 
How can I stop bugs becoming a problem in spring?
Of all the infestations, having your home or garden invaded by insects is possibly the most unpleasant of problems. 
There are some things you can do to stop insects becoming a nuisance;
  • De-flea and worm pets – fleas can still be a problem in winter, so make sure you stay on top of flea treatments for both cats and dogs (see your vet for the latest, effective treatments).
  • Keep the outside tidy – leaves, general rubbish, rotting wood and so on can all be attractive places for some less-pleasant insects to hide or spend the winter. Get rid of this rubbish and compose leaves for leaf mulch.
  • Check outbuildings – greenhouses, sheds and garages are all places that the mated female wasp will enjoy the winter in. They often look ‘dead’ as they just lay on a window ledge but in fact, they are sleeping. Remove carefully as they can still sting.

Think you have a pest problem? Call us and we can keep you bug-free this winter.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Never more than 10 foot away from a rat at any one time…

Never more than 10 foot away from a rat at any one time…
… or is it 6 feet? Or is it 20 feet or more?
The truth is when it comes to the rat population in the UK, both urban rats and their agricultural cousins, we don’t really have a firm idea of numbers, just best guesses and estimates.
However, with recent news articles about super-rats, we are becoming aware of rats, the damage they do and how we are struggling to control their numbers. What doesn’t help is that scientists believe that without predators, the common brown rat could grow as big as a cow! Evidence that this could be a distinct possibility lies in fossilised remains found in the far east some years ago.
We are not at the point of cow-sized rat just yet – and the conditions for this to happen are nowhere near being reached – but rats are growing in size and in many ways, we are partly responsible.
Built environment
There are 1.8 million commercial premises across the UK and so not including domestic properties, a survey suggests that around 5% of these commercial premises have rats present; this means that there are 200,000 rats close by or in commercial properties. 
And then there is the sewer system. A marvellous modern invention that keeps us safe in terms of reducing the number of germs that blight our everyday lives. But for rats, they make an incredibly convenient highway to move from one place to another, at speed and without being detected. 
There is over 16,000 kilometres of sewers in Britain, with 5% of the rat population enjoying them. Back in the 1950s, there was a project in which people were asked to count the rats in sewers. From this work, it was concluded that there were 2,000 rats per square kilometre of sewer. 
Thus, in the urban environment the conservative estimate is that there are 3 to 3.5 million rats but there could be far more…
Not much better in the country
Agricultural premises of all kinds, from farms to livery yards, stables and food stores suffer from a huge rat problem too. With over 200,000 agricultural premises in the UK, nearly half will have rats present, nearly 90 rats per farm. Thus the rural landscape is blighted by 7 million rural rats.
This means that with the current population of the UK at around 60 million and a rat population of 10.5 million we outnumber rats by 6 humans to 1 rat.
And all this means what exactly?
The rat population is large and we need to be vigilant in how close rats are getting to properties, as well as understanding how our own habits and routines could be contributing to the problem. 
From finding food sources in rubbish bins to food on the ground, we need to be confident we are not creating the perfect breeding ground for rats. 

ALWAYS consult a professional pest controller if you spot rats in or near your home or commercial property!

Thursday, 7 July 2016

5 of the Most Common Pests in the UK

5 of the Most Common Pests in the UK
With the summer months upon us, it can be easy to forget that we share the world we live in with some remarkably common pests. Although some summer pests are well-known – like avoiding wasps and bees – there are other pests that are incredibly common during the summer months. 
  1. Mice – cute looking, mice are no as feared as rats but they can still do an enormous amount of damage. Mice, like rabbits and rats, have teeth that are constantly growing so they need to gnaw to keep these front teeth well filed. They are active all year round and like all pests, like safe, warm and dry places to make their nests. Your garage, cellar, attic etc. is a great place to do this hence, you may see mice in the summer months. You need to get the problem dealt with as they can spread disease.
  2. Common clothes moths – flying in through open windows on hot summer days unnoticed, these moths lay their sticky eggs in dark places and on materials that contain at least 25% natural fibres. Unseen and undetected, the emerging larvae eat the material to which they are attached leaving more or less, perfectly round holes. A nuisance as well as expensive damage to repair but not a danger to health.
  3. Wasps and bees – the biggest fear of most people during the summer months are the wasp and bee, mainly because they sting and also because their behaviour seems unpredictable. However, bees only really sting under duress and wasps sting when they think they or their nest is under attack. If you have a nest close by, get a professional to deal with it as soon as possible.
  4. Rats – like mice, these pesky rodents are active in the summer months too. Virulent breeders, if they have a nest of young to feed, they will become confident and brazen in approaching a food source, even if there are humans nearby. Spreading disease on every surface that they touch, getting rid of rats is a code red priority! Always call a reputable pest controller.
  5. Flies – a really common problem in the UK during the summer months is flies. Buzzing around, looking for food they spent their short lives doing nothing but feeding and laying eggs. And they don’t mind where they do it – dog poop or the food on your plate, they are not fussy eaters. Flies are attracted to high-protein foods, including organic matter like dog faeces and rotting animal carcasses, or the food in your bin. If you notice an infestation or more flies than usual buzzing around, find the food source means finding the solution to your problem. But it can be hidden and fairly unpleasant – and pest controllers know where to look. 

There are of course, other pests that are active all year round – like bedbugs, spiders and woodworm – but if you suspect you have a summer pest problem, why not give us a call?

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

I have fleas in my house but I don’t have pets!

I have fleas in my house but I don’t have pets!
Many people commonly associate fleas with cats and dogs. As well-known carriers and hosts of the flea, it is no surprise but we get calls from customers who tell us they have spotted fleas, but they can’t have fleas surely, if they have no pets!
The uncomfortable truth is that fleas like humans as much as they enjoy a tasty blood meal on the back of a prized pooch or moggy. And getting rid of them can be just as hard too. 
Not just homes with pets
We work with customers who spot fleas in their soft furnishings but find this hard to understand as they are a pet-free home.
  • Residual problem - In many cases, fleas in the carpets can be a residual problem from previous tenants or home owners. This is why many letting agents rely on pest controllers to deal with recently vacated properties to ensure that any undetected critters are well and truly dealt with before the tenants arrive. 

  • Hitching a lift – Fleas find their way in to the home in numerous ways, such as attached to you, your clothing, your bag, your kids and so on. We are far more transient in our every day lives, commuting several miles to work, sharing trains, tubes and buses and so on. Fleas are opportunistic, stopping at nothing to find their next blood meal.
  • Vacant nest in or near your property – sometimes, nature works against us too and with many birds also carrying fleas, when they nest in or near your property, they can be inadvertently introducing fleas into your home. This is why if you don’t have pets, a pest controller may spend time looking outside of your property, checking for old nests that could be causing a problem.
  • Visiting cats/dogs – as hard as it may be to comprehend, you know when next door’s cat pops in for an afternoon nap or treat? He or she could be leaving behind a delightful deposit of a flea or two. And once they find the delightful warmth and humidity of your home, a micro-climate perfect for their breeding needs, they will happily make their home there too. 
Can fleas be prevented?
They are not just prevalent in summer although this is the peak buying time for flea prevention treatments simply because many people still believe that the problem is worse during the summer months. 
If you do have pets, regular checking and treating them for fleas (see your vet as not all prevention products are effective) will stave off a flea infestation. If you do spot a flea or two hopping about, you need to take action. But always read the label of any shop bought remedies you buy as there are some specific instructions that need to be followed. 

If the problem persists, contact your friendly, local pest control company!

Monday, 6 June 2016

Hello Summer – Hello Ants!

Hello Summer – Hello Ants!
As well as wasps, the summer months can bring an influx of ants into your garden and, if you are unlucky enough, into your home too.
Although ants are generally harmless, you don’t necessarily want to share your home with them. This practical guide tells you about ants and how to get rid of them…
Did you know…?
  • There are 12,000 documented species of ant around the world? – and possibly more to find.
  • Ants are incredibly strong? - they can lift 20 times their own body weight
  • They don’t have ears?  - they hear by sensing vibrations in the ground with their feet
  • They don’t have lungs?  - they breathe in oxygen through tiny holes across their body
The most common UK ant is…
The garden or black ant, which is actually dark brown in colour. They measure between 3 and 9mm, have three pairs of legs and a body that is divided into three sections. 
They have structure and discipline in the colony too, which when you consider that one colony can contain thousands, if not millions of ants, you can understand why.
As they forage for food, an ant will leave a pheromone trail, an undetectable scent to us but one that other ants can smell. If and when they find food, all the other ants will follow this trail straight to the food source, which is why you find them marching along your worktop in a single file order!
Ants love sugar!
Ants are omnivorous, meaning they will eat any kind of edible substance that they can find, including food that is both plant and animal in origin. But they really love sweet, sugary foods.
But they also need water to survive so where you see ants, you know there is ample water close by and plenty of food too. 
Ants will enter a home looking for uncovered food, including pet food, as well as grabbing the small scarps and dust in empty food containers. 
They don’t really like living in our homes, preferring lawns, gardens, underneath paving stones although they will also live in the base of walls. 
Are they harmful?
In the UK, most ants are considered harmless but clearly, you don’t want thousands of ants crawling across your worktop, food and so on. They will contaminate foodstuff which is why when a food preparation or food service business come across an ant problem, they will always try to resolve it as quickly as possible.
Getting rid of ants need not be difficult, if you know where the ant colony is. Sometimes, it can take some finding as they can travel a fair distance from their home to find food. 

If you keep having an ant problem, and feel you need professional help and advice, as a local pest control company, we can respond to your call the same day. 

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Super Sized Rat?

The Super-Size Rat – an urban myth?
Not so long ago, the Internet went into a meltdown over a photo posted of what looked like a giant rat. As it turned out, it was a trick of the eye and a law of physics colliding to give a false impression.
That said, in early April 2016 another photo appeared of another rat that this time, seemed to be genuine – in other words, the brown rat, common in villages, towns and cities across the UK, was big. Possibly bigger than normal and certainly big enough to once again ignite debate about the rat, its size and its prevalence. 
A lesson from history
The discovery of a giant rat fossil, the size of a small dog, has raised many questions, one being just hoe big can rats grow. 
Scientists have not delivered the reassurance many rodent-hating people wanted to hear because, given the right circumstances, the rat could grow as big as a cow. 
Giant rodents roamed the earth for millennia with huge fossils being found in east Timor and other far flung, tropical countries. These species of rat are now extinct and were thought to be herbivores. The modern equivalent of a large rat would be the capybara, roughly the same size as a sheep but do not roam free here in the UK.
The largest known rat is the now extinct Josephoartegasia monesi which would have weighed over a ton and as large as a bull. 
So, the super-rat is consigned to history then?
Possibly not say scientists, because the right conditions may be closer than we think:
  • Dominant species – known as the right ecospace, if the rat has the opportunity to become the dominant species, it will grow in size and drive smaller native species to extinction
  • Abundant food supply – it has long been known that the rat is a scavenger and where there is a ready food supply, there will be rats. Hence, what were common and accepted sights in the countries, are now unwelcome sights in the urban setting: rats in food and waste bins. 
But there is a third, pressing issue that is having an impact – the increasing resistance that rats are showing to chemical and poisons. 
Is there an effective pest control option?
Pest controllers and organisations that regulate the industry are constantly innovating methods for effective rat proofing and control. As with all pest infestations, prevention is better than cure but if you do spot a rat in or near your property, getting it dealt with quickly and effectively is essential. 

But scientists are clear on one thing; regardless of how much rats grow or evolve, the key is cutting off their food supply, preventing them from growing into a healthier, bigger species. 

Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Benefits of Buying into a Pest Control Franchise

Franchises can be a great way of buying into a ready-made business. The pest control industry in the UK is thriving, enough to encourage more people, male and female, to become qualified pest control technicians. 
Starting your own business as a pest controller can be tricky, as most customers will tend to rely on well-known, reputable brands. With some larger companies also dominating the industry, finding a way in can be tough. 
One solution is to buy a franchise and this offers many pest controllers several benefits:
#1 Piggyback onto a successful track record
A pest control company that has developed a successful business model with great results is a franchise opportunity worth looking at. Any company offering franchise opportunities will need to provide a great deal of information to potential franchisees before they make their final decision. They want the best for their business, and this means growing it with the right people. 
#2 Branding
When an industry is dominated by strong brands, it can be tough for the sole trader to get in front of them and tout for business. There is a saying if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em and this is exactly what a franchisee is buying into. 
#3 Training and qualifications
As a pest control technician, there is a clear expectation that you will be qualified and fully trained in identification of all pests common in the UK, the safe storage, transport and use of chemicals and insecticides, as well as having a whole raft of methods that you can use to solve a pest problem quickly and easily. It is a fast moving industry so as new methods come to fruition, with most franchise opportunities, you get the chance to train in the latest techniques too.
#4 Ongoing support
As a sole trader, you rise and fall by your own activities and ability to run and grow your business. As rewarding as it is, it can be tough and there are sometimes just not enough hours in a day. Operational support is provided with a franchise and one that is welcomed by all franchisees. 
#5 Marketing support and help
You will still need to grow your business in your area, meaning that you still need to be in all the places that potential customers will look for a local pest control technician. From online marketing, including a website, to adverts in papers, leaflets and so on, franchises will often provide excellent marketing support and help.

A franchise is a great opportunity for many people and with the pest control industry looking set to grow and grow in the UK, is a franchise the right, lucrative opportunity for you?

Friday, 29 April 2016

Calls to Ban Glue Traps for Rodents

Coming unstuck – calls to ban cruel rodent ‘glue traps’ in the UK

Mice and rats, two rodents that send shivers down the spine. Known for spreading disease and causing thousands of pounds worth damage in some instances.
But the announcement at the end of 2015 that a major wholesaler was withdrawing from sale rodent glue traps came as welcome news.
Growing concerns
The Humane Society International UK branch welcomed the news that these cruel glue traps would no longer be available from a major wholesaler. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) also welcomed the news. Although still available to buy, many organisations are hoping that before too long the UK will follow New Zealand and Ireland by banning the sale of glue traps. 
Why the change?
The wholesaler has said that it was presented with compelling evidence that glue traps were no longer a viable option for effective pest control:
  • Animals trapped by the glue traps are subjected to extreme and unnecessary suffering
  • People who use glue traps could be at risk of committing an offence under the Animal Welfare Act
‘Unnecessary suffering’
The Animal Welfare Act is clear – anyone causing unnecessary suffering to any animal or bird, pest or not, would be committing an offence for which they could face a heavy fine. Under this act of 2006, it would also be an offence to leave rodents alive on the glue trap, drowning them or worst still, throwing them alive into the rubbish bin. 
And the British public seem to be in agreement too. The results of a YouGov poll have shown that 70% of the British public also agree that glue traps are cruel. Thus, the Humane Society has been the driving force behind the ‘Unstuck’ Campaign. 
Are non-lethal, humane removal methods the only answer?
The Humane Society International promotes the use of non-lethal humane traps for live release of rodents back into their natural habitat. Supported by an educational campaign, the Humane Society International hopes to help homeowners remain rodent-free in and around their property.
For some people, catch-and-release is not an option, more so in urban settings and for large commercial customers where it would be a costly exercise to trap and release large numbers of rodents. With grey squirrels, releasing them back into the wild is an offence. 

Agreements is clear – if a rodent or any other pest is to be exterminated, it must be done so quickly and humanely, without causing distress of suffering. The only people who do this – and do it every time – are qualified, reputable pest controllers. 

Monday, 25 April 2016

Pest Control - A Growing Industry

A growing industry – why pest control in the UK is booming

At one, the pest control industry was a rare choice for a career but figures show that the pest control industry is booming. With a huge growth rate in recent years, it is not just the UK enjoying this upswing in pest controllers.
With the industry worth around £367 million in the UK alone, the US has a bigger industry with a worth of some £7 billion. 
Does this mean we are inundated with pests? Not so, say pest controllers who attribute this growth to changes in attitude of the British public.
  • Personalised service
The advent of the Internet has had a huge impact on how consumers buy products and why; the same foes for buying in professional services too. Consumers are now expecting a more personalised service, tailored to them, their needs and their budget. 
  • Losing its ‘nasty’ side
For a long time, pest controllers suffered from a poor reputation. Their job was to kill whatever it was that was causing a problem. However, over the years the pest control industry has evolved, becoming leaders in the important field of balancing local environments. In other words, pest control no longer stands for extermination. 
  • Decreasing tolerance
Although people want humane methods, they want effective methods of pest control which is a driving force behind the 6% annual growth that the pest control industry has been enjoying in recent years. Customers are no longer willing to share their space with bugs, rodents or unwanted birds and animals. 
  • Dealing with growing pest issues
From rats to wasps, bedbugs to bees, there are some pests that are becoming more common in the UK – thus people want professional help to get rid of them and prevent future infestations. But, as some pests start to become immune to poisons and other chemical treatments, pest controllers are developing new ways of dealing with pest issues. 
An evolving industry
It could be argued that for a long time, the pest control industry stood still, locked in the position that they were a) a last resort and b) just killed everything by poisoning it. Realising that it needed to modernise and play a part in protecting the environment, the pest control industry has become a powerful voice and partner in looking after both the urban and rural landscape. 

Qualifications, as well as experienced, have started to bear fruit with more qualified pest control technicians operating safely throughout the country. But the old adage has not slipped far from the modern pest control industry – prevention IS better than cure. 

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Spring Cleaning – The Effective Pest Control Method!

As winter nears its end, the temperature will start to creep up, the days become longer and we can start to uncoil ourselves from our winter clothes and coats. 
Although the winter of 2015 in Britain may not have been endless days and nights of sub-zero temperature, but weeks and months of rain, spring can be a time that we throw open the doors and windows. Reinvigorated, we can set about making all kinds of changes including the annual spring clean. 
The tradition of the spring clean has its roots in centuries past. Some experts suggest it is linked to the preparation for the Jewish festival, Passover but others say that it re-dates this, with its roots being in the Persian calendar. The spring clean is these times meant to ‘shake the house’, removing the staleness of winter. 
Regardless of its origins, the spring clean is the perfect opportunity to practice pest prevention in and around the home. Just like us humans, pests of all kinds are also waking from their winter hiatus and hibernation thus, ensuring that your property, including the garden, is attractive to the right bugs and birds – and not to rodents, bees, wasps and so on. 
  • Seal holes and cracks
As you tidy the exterior of your home, if you notice any damage such as holes etc., either take steps to fill and seal them, or buy in the services of a local builder or property maintenance firm. These holes, no matter how small, can be the entry points for all kinds of pests into the home. 
  • General maintenance
Leaks and other issues also need to be dealt with these as these too can be attractive to some kinds of pests. 
  • Sheds and garages
Look out for lone queen wasps buzzing around sheds, garages, the porch and so on in early spring. The mated queen will be looking for somewhere to start building her nest for the coming summer. But, if do spot one, always seek the professional services of a pest control technician. 
  • Clean the bins!
Wheelies bins, food collection buckets and so on can become clogged and smelly with food detritus and debris. As this food breaks down, it gives off a smell that is putrid to our nostrils but a delicious aroma to flies. Take advantage of the warmer weather to power hose wheelie bins and so on. 
  • Spring clean the kitchen cupboards
Clean the kitchen cupboards and pantry thoroughly with hot water and some form of detergent. Not the most popular of jobs but spilt food, jars that have spoiled contents and so on can be attractive to various pests. The humble ant, hungry after its long winter underground can detect sweet smelling items and with the aid of its colleagues, will attempt to take as much of it back to the colony as possible. 

With pests being opportunistic in their behaviour, removing some of the attractions can be one of the most effective pest control measures you can take. 

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Pests and Bin Collections – Will Proposed Three-Weekly Bin Collections Affect Pest Infestations?

Several years ago, many local authorities reduced the bin collections to once a fortnight, much to the chagrin of many householders. However, it has now become routine and with more people recycling, it seems to have hit the mark.
But, many councils are now thinking of reducing the collection of waste bins from once a fortnight to once every three weeks; one Scottish council is considering a monthly collection
Whilst this may be hitting and surpassing tight recycling goals, it may be present another issue – an increase or surge in pest control issues. 
Pests are everywhere. But some more than others can present real issues and hazards to the householder. Unless people are educated on pest prevention, and hardware such as wheelie bins, compost bins and so on re robust and pest-proof as far as possible, it could present issues for both householders and local authorities alike. 
Is it a ‘ticking time bomb’?
Read any national newspaper, and you will find all kinds of articles suggesting that proposed changes in the frequency of bin collections will add to the woes of householders fighting off pests in their backyards. 
It is true that rotting rubbish and organic matter can attract certain kinds of pests – foxes rummaging through bins of a night, flies laying eggs in rotting food, rats and mice enjoying the content of the compost, the bin or anything left lying around – and so making sure that the contents of bins are well-sealed is important. 
Is poisoning areas the answer?
As well-sealed as bins may be, pests can gnaw their way through most materials and thus, in certain areas where pests are allowed un challenged access to food and waste, their numbers can soon multiply. 
Once an infestation of some pests become rooted in an area, they can be difficult to control and eradicate. Prevention is, in many cases, is the answer but even this can have issues. 
Up until recent years, the answer to many pests was to lay poison in and area, step back and allow it to takes it course. But, there was a hidden issue – secondary poisoning. This meant that the rat or mouse would slink off to die, but its carcass would then be devoured by another animals or bird. The poison would still be active and cause the animal or bird to also be poisoned. 
Clearly, non-target species were also bearing the brunt of poisoning practices. 
The answer?
Making sure that bins and other recycling boxes etc. are in a good state of repair, and are also cleaned on a regular basis are both important and effective steps in warding off unwanted vermin.

Spotting signs of problems early and have the issue dealt with a professional pest control technician also forms part of prevention and control. 

Thursday, 18 February 2016

10 Top Tips for Preventing Pests in the Kitchen

The kitchen is a hive of activity. From homework tasks being completed, to meals being cooked on a daily basis, the kitchen is a busy place that is also versatile and flexible. 
It is the place where food is stored, where pots are washed and stored too. It needs to be hygienically clean too and with this being a daily on-going battle in many homes, understanding that the kitchen can be a magnate for pests comes as a nasty shock. 
In fact, many people are surprised to learn that they could be sharing their kitchen with an unwanted pest right now – the four weevil, for example, is found in flour, rice and so on. 
There are many ways to prevent pests with the key lesson being constantly vigilant in the kitchen for anything that could cause a problem, or be attractive to certain kind of pests:
  1. Good habits – from clearing up immediately after preparing food, putting dirty dishes straight into the dishwasher and so on can all help make the kitchen a less attractive place to an opportunistic fly buzzing past, or an ant on the hunt for a sugary meal.
  2. Cans and jars – buying food in sealed containers often mean that they have undergone some kind of heat treatment. Likewise, pests find it nigh-on impossible to chew through metal and glass. 
  3. Keep as much food in the fridge and freezer as possible – not only will bugs find it harder to gain access to the inside of these appliances but few pests enjoy the cold. 
  4. Under the kitchen sink – pipes coming in and out of your property can present small crevices and holes that make perfect entry and exit points for pests. Seal them with caulk or foam. 
  5. Check window and door frames – there are all kinds of small holes that a pest can use to work their way into a property. Once you sealed under the sink, check window frames and door frames too. 
  6. Behind appliances – you may have sealed all the holes you can find but in some homes, pests still find their way in. Moving heavy appliances can reveal hidden holes that need sealing – mice, for example, can squeeze through a hole no bigger than a pencil…
  7. Clean. And clean again – for your own health, a hygienically clean kitchen is a must but, when it comes to preventing pests, it is simply essential. Keep the floor clean too!
  8. Rinse dishes – if the dishwasher is full or you don’t have time to wash up, rinse off dirty dishes. The less residue to attract a passing fly or insect the better. 
  9. Rubbish removal – although your kitchen may be spotless, if there is rubbish outside the backdoor etc. there is still something attractive for common pests. 
  10. Clean the cupboards – the flour weevil and other insects can live undetected for a long time in the dark crevices of a kitchen cupboard. Keep them hygienically clean too, with regular cleaning and keep an eye out for signs of pests, such as dead bugs or droppings. 

Pests are attracted to our homes as a result of push and pull factors. By making our homes less attractive and available to pests, we can stay pest-free as far as is possible. 

Friday, 5 February 2016

Could Flooding affect Pest Infestations in Your Area?

Many parts of the UK have been at the mercy of the elements this year. From strong gale force winds, to lashing rain, many people have been forced out of their homes. Flooding has affected many parts of the UK too this winter.
Just like humans forced from their homes by rising flood waters, animals too have been affected by the floodS waters. Some of these animals will find new places to live in their normal, natural habitat. Other pests, however, will look for a safe, dry place to nest that encroaches on our space – and this brings many hazards. 
Rats live in river banks and so on, but with the rising waters they will search inland for drier places to nest. This can mean taking up residence in garages, cellars, sheds and other outbuildings. Not only can they cause expensive and catastrophic damage, they also spread a bacterium that if ingested, can makes us ill. Death can also result too. 
So, as the winter weather passes the time has come to take a look at the exterior of your property, including gardens and outbuildings for signs of possible pest issues. It is also the time to take action to prevent possible issues too:
  • Check for holes in exterior walls of your property, including sheds, garages and so on – a mouse can squeeze through the smallest of holes, as can a rat, so sealing the whole as best you can with an appropriate material is the best move.
  • Check for holes around pipes too – gaps around pipes that run in and out of the home can also be small enough cervices for all kinds of pests to find their way inside. 
  • Check window frames – frames of some outbuildings will be single pane and also made from wood. Wood can soon rot, especially during times of flooding and heavy, incessant rain. This can make for easy access for many pests, including opportunistic rats. 
  • Tidy the garden – after a flood, tidying the garden might be the last thing on your list. But, with river levels often remaining high for some weeks after flooding, many pests are unable to return to their natural habitats. Thus, trimming the underside of bushes and removing rubbish etc. will help to make your garden less appealing to pests. 
  • Bins and compost heaps – anywhere where there is rotting rubbish, whether it is food or other rotting matter, there is the potential for a pest issue. From flies to rats, to rummaging foxes, making sure that your bins are sealed can be effective in making the exterior of your property less of a pest supermarket. 
  • Get rid of clutter – after a flood, many people will have a mountain of damaged goods and items that need to be removed from their property. As they dry out the interior, these items will often be removed to outside. Ensure that these are removed as quickly as possible to prevent possible infestations by creepy crawlies. 

The winter weather can cause an imbalance in the natural habitat of animals and birds, but can also encourage infestations by all kinds of insects. If in doubt or you need advice, call a pest control company like us!

Monday, 25 January 2016

Winter pest proofing – something our experts can do!

Winter pest proofing – something our experts can do!

Just when you thought there was no more bad news to be had this year, being told that mice can squeeze through a gap as small as a five pence piece will probably make you wonder if there is anything that you can do to ward of the infestation of winter pests that are marching towards your property due to the winter climate conditions.
The answer is that there are several things that you can do to make your home and outbuildings as pest-proofed as possible. Follow our 5-point guide to avoid sharing your home with common pests…
  1. Cracks and holes – they all need sealing but if you think there are none, take another walk around your property. Small gaps around waste pipes are all small enough for rodents to climb through as well as pesky critters such as spiders and ants (although ants won’t be a problem until the warmer spring weather). Use caulk, cement or expandable foam. There are also a range of other suitable sealants but make sure you use the right one. If unsure it's best to give us a call.
  2. Chimneys – not a usual source of entry IF you have a real fire which you use on a regular basis throughout the winter. But, if you don’t use it all, then capping the chimney is perfect for keeping off nesting birds. The birds themselves are a nuisance but can also cause fleas and other tiny bugs to find their way into your home. 
Top tip – store fire wood a few metres away from your home and off the ground to keep it as bug free as possible. 
  1. Under doors – we all know that gaps under doors are bad for letting in cold air and all that lovely warm air in our home is lost to the outside but, it is also the perfect way for tiny insects to make their way in. As soon as temperatures tumble, spiders look for somewhere warm and relatively safe to have their babies, having mated in the autumn. So, get those draught excluders fitted to the bottom of the door and seal those gaps! And don’t forget, a ¼ inch gap is room enough for a mouse to squeeze through too. 
  2. Get gardening – it might not be your favourite place in winter but, the warmer months of summer and spring, including autumn can be the perfect time to lop back overhanging trees and prune bushes and so on. Having them too near the house provides shelter for all kinds of pests to make their way around your property unseen and unchallenged. Clearing some of this shrubbery back means that pests are also pushed away from your property. 
  3. Ventilation – on one hand, we are told to make our homes not only pest proof but more energy efficient, but on the other hand our homes need to be ventilated so that they stay dry. Clearly, sealing up vents and so force is not the right move for the interior of your property. Chicken wire or mesh over the top of the vent can make it harder for some pests to gain entry such as mice and, for the loft space, prevent bats and squirrels making their way in. 
  4. Call SOS Pest Control - We have years of experience in finding potential pest problems and proofing against them. We offer friendly helpful services at an affordable price, so call us today on 07879 473298.
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