Pest Control News

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Asian Hornet Arrives in the UK

The Asian hornet, an invasive, non-native species has been sighted in Devon. Spotted in late summer, there is now significant concern for the safety of our native bee species.

The Asian hornet – What is the problem?

Vespa veluntina is known as the ‘Asian hornet’ as it is a native species of Asia. It recently arrived in France where its spread is rapid. It is a highly successful predator of insects including honey bees and other species considered beneficial to the ecosystem. The losses to bee colonies are significant with some beekeepers and pest controllers dreading the potential impact on the environment.
A single specimen of an Asian hornet was seen in the UK last year. It was trapped in Somerset, with a nest destroyed in nearby Tetbury, Gloucestershire.
It is expected that in places, the Asian hornet could be found in significant numbers, especially in southern parts of England. The recent confirmed sightings of this invasive hornet in Devon is not the new beekeepers and pest controllers want to hear.

How does the Asian hornet reach our shores?

Contrary to what you may think, the Asian hornet doesn’t take up flight from the continent and fly to the UK. Rather, it is brought in on contaminated flowers and soils, as well as cut flowers, fruits and timber. It is active between April and November, but at its peak during August and September.

What can be done about this invasive species?

There is a concerted effort to track and destroy nests of this invasive hornet, of which pest controllers are a part. Surveillance zones have been created in North Devon, with a local control centre coordinating responses to sightings of the hornet.
Bee inspectors use traps as well as infrared cameras to track and locate hornet nets. Experts such as trained pest controllers are then brought in to kills the Hornets and destroy the nests.
Although they may be over 200 miles away, beekeepers in Kent are also vigilant regarding the Asian Hornet in order to protect native bee species.

What to look for…

Asian hornets are identified by;
·      The queen is around 3 cm in length with the workers being slightly smaller
·      The body is either entirely brown or black, with a fine yellow band border
·      The fourth abdominal segment is entirely yellow or orange
·      The legs are brown with yellow ends
·      It is active during the day, ceasing activity at dusk and overnight.

Have you seen an Asian hornet?

Remaining vigilant and taking action quickly is essential in order to protect the honey bee and other species. Although in the winter months, our bees and wasps hibernate, mated queens will spring into life come the warmer weather of spring – and the Asian hornet queen is no exception.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Bedbugs on a Plane!

Bedbugs on a Plane!

At SOS Pest Control, not only do we deal with bed bugs, we write about them too. So you can understand why we were intrigued by the headline ‘British Airways Apologises for Bed Bug Infestation’.

How Bed Bugs Travel

Bed Bugs are tenacious creatures, able to adapt to all kinds of environments, providing there is a welcome course of food close by – in other words, a blood meal from a human or a warm-blooded animal.
It has long been known that the bedbug travels by clinging on to clothing and bags thus, it is no surprise to a pest controller that bed bugs hitch a ride on planes, trains, trams, taxis, or any other mode of travel or transport.
Mainly active at night, bed bugs on a plane couldn’t believe their luck with passengers ‘trapped’ in the cabin for nine hours, in this case, with passengers flying from Canada to Slovakia. The plane was full which meant that the travellers who spotted the creepy crawlies were unable to move to other seats.
The warmth and humidity of the cabin would be perfect for bed bugs too. British Airways say that bed bugs on a plane are rare but that they do monitor their aircraft regularly.

Can Bed Bugs be Prevented?

Bed bugs are, like other pests, attracted to where there are humans. They find us by searching not only for body heat but carbon dioxide, a sure sign that a human is in the vicinity.
They are hardy bugs too with adults able to live up to 12 months between a blood meal. And they can withstand high and low temperatures too, so a cold wash of your bed line might not the doing the trick.
In other words, avoiding bed bugs may not be possible but being forewarned and understanding what to do when you spot one can make the difference between an infestation and a small problem effectively dealt with…
#1 When travelling, check for bugs
Adult bed bugs are oval and flat in shape, reddish brown in colour. They move fast and can be difficult to catch but you may see the adults scuttling about. If you do see them, you will need to either hot wash your clothes, bedding, bags etc. or if that is not possible, the items will need to be put in the deep freeze for a few weeks – this kills the eggs, as well as adults.
#2 Act quickly
The key when you first come across a bedbug problem – or think you have a bed bug problem – is to act quickly. One or two bed bugs on a plane or in a bed will quickly become several hundred bed bugs. And getting rid of these bugs, especially an established infestation, is hard.
#3 Deep clean, chemical, temperature

Bed bugs don’t go away on their own and this is why the aircraft will probably have undergone a particularly rigorous clean. The treatment sounds simple enough – a deep clean, the use of an insecticide and the application of heat or severe cold – but this process may need repeating several times.
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