Pest Control News

Friday, 10 July 2020

Black Garden Ants

Black Garden Ants


There are thousands of different species of ant across the world. In the UK, we have around 50 different species. Everyone is familiar with what an ant ‘looks like’, however very few people know that there are so many different types. The most common species you are likely to come across is the Black Garden Ant.

Black garden ants, as their name suggests, are black or dark brown in colouring. Worker ants are around 4mm in length and queens can be a large as 15mm in length. They have 6 legs and 2 antennae. They are quick moving and resilient. They have jaws to attack predators or defend their nest, although their jaw is not strong enough to pierce human skin. They are more likely to run away from you.

Workers are responsible for maintaining and building the nest, as well as foraging for food and looking after the larvae once the eggs hatch. The queen’s only role is to produce as many eggs as possible. Males are not typically produced until later on in the summer season so they can mate. Their life span is pretty short, as after mating, the males will die.

Ant typically enjoy warm climates; this is why we do not have many species in the UK that can survive the outside elements. Though the garden ant is the hardiest of our native species, they will typically nest where there is the most sunshine during the summer days. You are likely to find ants nests in your garden, under paving slabs, under decking, and sometimes even under your grass. Colonies can reach up to 15000 workers if left undisturbed in a prime location, and a good consistent source of food.

Food is extremely important to ant colonies, not only to keep the worker force strong, but also to maintain the queen so she is able to lay as many eggs as possible. Worker ants are great at foraging for new and exciting food sources. They are able to leave prominent trails for other worker ants to follow in order to gather as much food as possible for the colony. Ants are not particularly fussy in terms of what they eat; insects, dead ants, high protein foods. They also have a sweet tooth. They prefer sweetness, so nectar and fruits are top picks. 

For the summer months, there is nothing better than having your windows and doors open to enjoy the warm weather. But it is important to be mindful that this invites ants into your home. This is why it is good practice to make sure to mop and clean up any spills as soon as they happen, keep kitchen sides and floors clean and tidy too. Make sure to clean out your bin regularly and throw away any old or rotting fruit.

Don’t suffer in silence. If you think you have an ant problem, please give us a call today!

Monday, 29 June 2020

Top 5 Summer Pests

Top 5 Summer Pests


We are currently going through a heatwave set to continue over the next few weeks with high temperatures which means that summer pests are well and truly out and about. 

There are many different pests that emerge when the weather gets warmer. Below we have picked the top 5 that you are most likely to see at the moment;

Ants- will enter your home through open doors and windows like most other pests. Ants in particular are foraging for food and are attracted to sweet food sources. Kitchens are the most likely place to see ants. Interestingly, they leave a trail to communicate with others in the colony where good food sources can be found. 


Wasps- may have nests in many different locations-under decking, in the ground, in trees, in a roof or even a wall cavity…if you are finding wasps in your home the chances are there is a nest nearby. Wasps are pretty likely to sting you, so we highly recommend calling in a professional if you have a nest that needs removing. 


Flies- houseflies and bluebottle flies are just two of many different types. Both are common during the summer months, finding food sources and locations to lay their eggs. Bins are a prime location for flies, so it is good practice to keep your bins cleaned on a regular basis and keep lids tightly closed. Make sure that bags are tied tightly and if possible, kept in the shade. Flies can transfer all sorts of bacteria so keeping your home fly free is very important.


Moths- with the heat that we have been experiencing in the UK recently, it may have accelerated the reproductive cycle of clothes moths. It is not the adult moths that cause damage (although they can be annoying flickering by the ceiling light) but the larvae. Once they hatch, the larvae feed on clothing, curtains and bedding. This in turn damages items by the holes they create. If you see more than 5 adult moths in the home, then you may have a moth infestation.


Hornets- although they can look like wasps, they are typically bigger in size. They also are more brown/reddish in colouring compared to the bright yellow and black of the wasp. Due to their larger size, the sting of a hornet is typically much more painful because of the amount of venom they can release. Interestingly, hornets are less aggressive than wasps and will only attack if they feel their nest is in danger.



Remember, we are always on hand to help with any pest problems. Just give us a call!

Monday, 8 June 2020

The Differences Between Bees & Wasps (& Hornets)

The Differences Between Bees & Wasps (& Hornets)

Most of us across the UK have been enjoying some of the most beautiful weather over the past few weeks. Such warm and dry weather means that insects such as bees and wasps can be seen out and about more and more. Spring marks the time where the queen bees and wasps look for a suitable nesting place in order to begin laying eggs.

There are thousands of different species of wasps and bees. The most common species of bee to be confused with the typical wasp is the honeybee.

·      Both are of similar size, with the wasp sometimes being a little larger
·      Wasps tend to have yellow legs, whereas honeybees’ legs are brown
·      Bees have lots of tiny hairs on their bodies which makes them look ‘fluffy’ whereas wasps have smooth bodies
·      Wasps’ colourings are typically bright yellow and black compared to bees which tend to be yellow/orange and black/brown
·      Honeybees and wasps both will sting you if they feel threatened
·      Honeybees will die after stinging you due to their stinger detaching from their bodies
·      Wasps are able to sting people multiple times and are considered to be aggressive

Another stinging insect to be on the lookout for is the hornet. Hornets can be much larger in size compared to bees and wasps, some growing to over 5cm in length. Their colourings are different too, they tend to have very little black on their bodies and a range of browns, reds, oranges and yellows that make up their markings. Their legs tend to be a reddish brown in colour too.


We always suggest calling in a professional if you think you have a bee/wasp/hornet issue. They can become very aggressive if they feel threatened, or if they think their nest is under attack. They will sting you to protect themselves which can cause some serious health issues. We make sure to wear all the correct protective equipment and are able to deal with the issue efficiently and effectively every time. 

Friday, 29 May 2020

Bees

Bees

Bees are very important to our ecosystem and this is the time of year that you could see a lot more of them. The queens are starting to wake up and are going on the search for pollen, nectar and a safe location to start building a hive. Bees really are wonderful, from doing a waggle dance to inform other members of the hive where the best flowers are, to their big bodies and little wings which make them look like they should not be able to fly, to their production of delicious honey. Bees are key, and we must do our best to look after them. We will always look to rehome a bee nest with local beekeepers wherever possible. Interestingly, there are a few different types of bees in the UK; the Honeybee, Carpenter Bee and Bumble Bee. 


Honeybee
Honeybees are super sociable and can live in huge numbers. A honeybee hive can survive for many years and are typically located in trees or lofts. Honeybees can be confused with wasps as they look the most similar. However, honeybees tend to have a fluffy looking middle and brown legs, compared to the smooth body of the wasp and their yellow legs. Honeybees can and will sting you, although they would only do so if they feel threatened. If you are stung by a honeybee, they will die afterwards due to their stinger detaching from their bodies. They are usually yellow/orange/brown in colouring.

Carpenter Bee
Carpenter Bees solitary bees. They will typically source a good nesting location in wooden objects by burrowing down creating holes to form a suitable nesting ground and lay their eggs. Unlike other bee species, these bees will birth, look after and feed their young themselves before they are old enough to leave the hive. Interestingly, carpenter bees are used for commercial pollination now due to them being so good at it. 

Bumble Bee
The bumble bee is the easiest species of bee to recognise. They have large round bodies that tend to look fluffy. They are the typical yellow and black striped colours and are a very sociable species. They tend to build their hives underground, however they have been known to build nests in loft spaces and underground. Unlike the honeybee, if a bumble bee stings you, it can do so more than once. 

Sometimes it is hard to differentiate between bees and wasps, so please feel free to give us a call. We can most certainly help and offer advice. 

Friday, 8 May 2020

Coronavirus & Pest Control

Coronavirus & Pest Control


Not sure if our customers are aware, but pest controllers have now been added to the list of key workers provided by the government. 

For us, we are business as usual but with a few adjustments. Our priority is, and always has been, the health and safety of our staff and our customers. In order to keep everyone safe, we are ensuring that our team have the appropriate personal protective equipment to be able to complete their jobs efficiently and effectively. In some circumstances, we appreciate that some individuals may be shielding and/or self-isolating, and we will treat each enquiry and job individually in order to agree the best course of action for everyone. 

We also understand that circumstances change, and we will do our very best to be flexible with timings and bookings as the month of May goes on. 

Please, if you have a pest problem, do give us a call. We can most certainly help you and make sure you and your home/business remain pest free for the foreseeable future. 

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Bird Control & Proofing

Bird Control & Proofing

Bird Control is an extremely important aspect of our jobs. Not only are birds’ noisy pests, but they are carriers of diseases which are harmful to humans. Their nesting habits can damage buildings. Their droppings are unsightly, can cause damage if left, as well as causing slip hazards! 

Whilst we appreciate the wonderful British wildlife and of course we are always respectful towards the rules and regulations with regards to wild birds, the nesting of birds in and around our homes or businesses can cause some real issues. We can help alleviate these issues by implementing bird controlling and proofing by means of netting and spikes for examples. These deterrents can prove very useful in getting rid of your bird problem. 

When birds find a preferred nesting location, their numbers can jump up very quickly and soon a couple of birds can become a colony! Their nests are typically made up of any materials that are accessible like hay, hair, straw, leaves, twigs etc. Being typically opportunists, their diet is also a variation. Nests can be found in guttering, under solar panels, in chimneys, in the roof…just to name a few. A dry location is a good location as far as nesting preferences go. 

As we are spending more time at home during this very strange time, you may be more likely to notice birds attempting to build nests or have taken a liking to your property. We are still working hard to help you become pest free, so if you think you have a bird problem, please just give us a call, we can help! 

Whilst respecting the Government guidelines with regards to social distancing and protecting our members of staff and our customers. 

Stay Safe!

Monday, 6 April 2020

Pest Control During Coronavirus Lockdown

During this very strange time, we wanted to take a moment to reach out to our customers, current and new, to say we are here for you. 

Here at SOS Pest Control, we are still business as usual. 

We understand the continuous need to protect your home and business from the threat of pests. Our team's and customer's health and safety is paramount and we are keeping within the government guidelines in relation to social distancing wherever possible. 

Pests are not aware of this pandemic and may now be even more prevalent as we spend more time at home, producing more waste. This waste is a great attraction for rats, mice and foxes (just to name a few).

Please do give us a call if you have any pest problems, we can most certainly help. 

Stay Safe.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Moths

Moths


There are over 2000 species of moths in the UK but only a few of them are considered pests. This is because clothes or carpet moths in particular lay their eggs on natural fibres like cotton or wool or even stored food products for their larvae to feed on. Which in turn can cause some considerable damage. Moths in general do not pose any risk to our health unlike some other pests, but they are important to our ecological system. 

What they look like

The most common moth you are going to see in your home or business premises is the house/carpet moth. They are typically brown/grey/yellow in colouring and approximately 7mm in length. Interestingly, adult moths usually prefer to scuttle across surfaces compared to flying. The adults’ main purpose is to reproduce. Once they have mated, the females will lay eggs (up to 200 of them at one time) onto a suitable food source. The eggs hatch into extremely small larvae (they look like very small caterpillars) and it is the larvae that cause all the damage to items of clothing, bedding and carpets. 

What they eat

These types of moth larvae are attracted to the keratin present in natural fibres such as cotton and wool which means there are few items in the home that are safe from these pests. Stored bedding, duvets, rugs, clothing, upholstered furniture….the list could go on. 

Signs of a moth infestation

·      Holes in items of clothing or upholstered furniture
·      Small caterpillars on fabric items
·      Silken web-like cases
·      Adult moths crawling on items

Where can you find them

Moths like locations that are dark and undisturbed to lay their eggs. Stored clothing are prime targets for moths to lay their eggs. So places like lofts, under beds, in the back of the wardrobe are all great places for moth larvae to feed without interruption. Cleaner items are less likely to be attacked, so if you are thinking or storing any fabrics, then it is good practice to wash, dry them and place them in an airtight sealed container. Try and keep your home clean and tidy by hoovering regularly and keeping any stored items to a minimum where possible. 



Remember, if you think you have a moth problem in your home, just give us a call. We can help!

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Carpet Beetles

Carpet Beetles


Carpet Beetles are not a pest problem that is talked about very often. They may be small pests, but they can certainly cause considerable damage.

Carpet beetles are very small, only about 3 mm long. Like many insects, there are different stages of development. The first stage is the egg stage. These are similar in size to the adults and are brownish in colour. The larvae are strange looking. They too are brown in colouring but are covered in hairs that look like bristles. The final stage is the beetle stage. They are oval in shape, can vary in mottled patterns and colourings including, brown, black, white, orange and yellow. They can fly too so are easily able to move from room to room. 

Like most pests, the warmth and easy access to food are the main reasons why you may find them in your home. Carpet beetles can be found anywhere in the home really. They are typically attracted carpets (as the name suggests) as well as to natural fibres; so furniture covers, down pillows and duvets, fur coats, hats, scarves or rugs are all prime targets for carpet beetle larvae. When the larvae eat, they will focus on one area at the time rather than move around the source leaving random holes, like moths for example.  Carpet beetle adults will always lay their eggs close to potential food sources but also in locations that are dark and less frequented by humans. Loft spaces, storage boxes in the garage, bedding put away under the bed etc are all preferred locations. Don’t forget to inspect the seams, zips and cuffs of clothing before packing them away.

There are a few things you can do to prevent an infestation;

·      Make sure to hoover regularly- pet hair is a real attraction to carpet beetles
·      Keep your home clean and tidy, paying particular attention to the carpet by skirting boards and behind furniture
·      If putting any clothing, pillows, duvets in storage, it is best practice to get them dry cleaned and store them in sealed bags or boxes


Don’t forget, if you think you have a carpet beetle infestation please give us a call. We can offer advice and treatment to help you be pest free!

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Top 5 Pests To Be On The Lookout For This Month

Top 5 pests to be on the lookout for this month


Below we have a quick overview of the types of pest that you are likely to encounter this month.

Squirrels

Grey squirrels are a common problem this time of year. Now is a great time to make sure any potential entry points to your home are proofed sufficiently. Broken roof tiles or holes in insulation are key access points for squirrels. They will also cause some considerably destruction to any items you keep in your loft, tearing up boxes etc. They are very noisy pests, especially in the early hours of the morning, so if you hear such noises, we strongly suggest you give us a call.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches can be encountered any time of year, however during the winter months, they are more common. This is because they are not well equipped to living outside when the weather is cold. Although they like moisture in their preferred surroundings, consistent rain that we have been having recently may urge them to find more drier conditions. If you see one cockroach, chances are there are many more close by. Cockroaches do not like light, so mostly active during the night. Your kitchen or bathroom are great locations for cockroaches due to the readily available moisture required for their survival and access to food sources. Interestingly, cockroaches are not picky when it comes to food. They will in fact each one another if necessary!

Foxes

Foxes are wonderful to watch in nature. Typically very shy, they tend to avoid human contact where possible. As laws have been implemented with regards to poisoning foxes, our preferred option is trapping. They are attracted to your property most likely due to food sources being available to them. There are many things we can do to help proof your property against foxes, so give us a call and we would be happy to help.

Rats

Rats are a pest problem in the winter. They like warmth, food and water (like us humans) and will find suitable locations to build nests and have babies. This can be in your garden shed, garage, under decking…just to name a few. They have very strong teeth so chewing their way through wood, plastic and even soft metal is not a problem. Any small holes in bricks, vents or decking are all weak spots that will allow rats to gain access. Rubbish bins also offer a variety of food for them. We can not only rid you of you rat problem, but we can offer proofing solutions, so you never need to worry about the problem again.

Mice

Mice, like rats are typically a problem during the winter. They are able to squeeze through the smallest of gaps to gain access to your property. They require; warmth, food and water to survive. Your home offers all these in abundance, so it is no wonder why they like to move in and stay. You may even find them in the walls as climbing is no issue. Mice are very curious creatures and like to explore their surroundings. They will shred materials to make nests and scratch and gnaw their way through a variety of materials.


Whatever your pest problem, we are on call to help. We will make sure to get rid of pests efficiently and effectively, whilst offering advice and proofing solutions for the future. 

Friday, 7 February 2020

Rats & Mice in Your Home? We Can Help!

Rats & Mice in Your Home? We Can Help!

Rodents can be a problem all year round. Typically, we receive the most calls and enquiries to deal with rats and mice between the months of November – February. Both rats and mice can cause some considerable damage if left unattended, not to mention the health implications that come along with a rodent infestation due to the diseases they carry. 

Firstly, it is important to differentiate between rats and mice. Rats are typically larger than mice, in length and weight. An adult mouse is likely to have a smaller head and smaller feet than a baby rat. Rats have long, hairless tails whereas mice have shorter, more hairy tails. The colouring of both rats and mice is similar although some rats can look black in colour to the eye. 

Things to look out for
Secondly, it is important to look for sure signs that you may have a rodent problem. These can include but are not limited to;

·      Hearing noises?
o   Rats and mice will rip up materials like insulation and cardboard to make nests. Mice in particular are very curious so will venture throughout your home to find food and new nesting spots so you may hear them in the wall cavities, under floorboards or even in the loft. Both rats and mice will scratch and gnaw too which can be noisy!
·      Droppings?
o   Droppings are a sure sign that you have an infestation. Rat droppings are typically constrained to one particular location-once they have made a nest and have made themselves at home, they very rarely look to move to a different location. Mice however, as mentioned above, like to roam and find new locations to nest and feed, so their droppings are more likely to be spread out in many different locations. 
·      Gnaw marks?
o   In order to enter your home, rats and mice are able to gnaw their way through a multitude of materials to gain access. Brick, metal, wood, plastic…they are able to get through pretty much anything. 

How to stop them entering your home

Proofing against rats and mice is very important, we are pretty sure you would rather make your house rodent proof than have to deal with an actual infestation. Here are some tips about what you can do;

·      Regularly check the outside of your home for any holes or potential entry points around waste pipes or vents etc. If there is a gap larger than half an inch, then it is highly recommended to block these to deter mice from entering (they are able to squeeze through the smallest of gaps).
·      Check the roof for loose tiles.
·      Check seals around windows and doors, any holes should be filled.
·      Make sure to keep your garden well maintained, even during the winter months as overgrown shrubs and grass can offer shelter to rats and mice. Also, it is important to keep trees and bushes trimmed and away from windows and doors, as they can act as a steppingstone, so to speak, for rats and mice to climb and gain access to your property. 
·      Remove any pet food from the floor once your pet has finished as the smell will attract rats and mice.
·      Be sure to place all food waste in a bin with a tight lid away from any doors to your house to avoid attracting rats and mice and make sure to clean it regularly. 
·      Be mindful of any ‘easy access’ points such as waste pipes attached to the side of the house and guttering as rats and mice will use these to climb.


If you think you may have a rat or mouse problem in your home, we are on hand to help! Whether you need us to deal with an infestation or if you would like to proof your home against these pests, please give us a call. 

Monday, 20 January 2020

Noises In Your Loft? It Could Be Grey Squirrels

Grey Squirrels


It is that time of year again where we need to start talking about squirrels. Although we typically think of squirrels as pests in the springtime, they are also prevalent in the winter. This is because they, like most pests, look to find shelter from the cold, wet weather. Hear scratching or rustling in your loft? Chances are, it could be squirrels!

Squirrels may indeed look cute, but actually they are extremely destructive. Not only to items in and around your home, but also to the environment. Grey squirrels are not native to the UK and they pose a great risk to our red squirrel population. They strip trees of their bark, ultimately causing them to die. Grey squirrels will also raid birds’ nests to eat their eggs.

Grey squirrels are just smaller that a 30cm ruler. As you would expect, they are predominantly grey in colour with a white underbelly. Their tails are long and furry (although not a fluffy as our red squirrels) and can vary in colours; from grey, orange, black and white. They typically will build their nests in trees, in a hole or in branches against the trunk. They like to be high up. 

If you do hear that rustling in your loft, then squirrels may have managed to gain access to your home. They could have done this in many ways. If there is ivy growing up the side of your property or dense foliage from trees and bushes, these provide great step ladders to your roof space. As mentioned earlier, grey squirrels are destructive, and this is not limited to just the outside world. If they are able to gain access, they will tear up insulation, strip electrical wires and chew on any available wood. If that wasn’t bad enough, they are really noisy! Chances are they will disrupt your sleep as they are typically most active during the early hours of the morning. 

Prevention is better than a cure, so if you think you have any potential entry points in your roof, then may we suggest getting in touch with us today. We can offer advice and our services to help you be squirrel free this winter. 

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

SOS Pest Control would like to wish all our customers, old and new, a very Happy New Year! We are so grateful for your business and look forward to another great year ahead in 2020.

CALL US NOW ON :
ASHFORD
01233 210782

CANTERBURY & WHITSTABLE
01227 389563

DOVER
01304 508334

FOLKESTONE & HYTHE
01303 201493

GRAVESEND
01474 878927

MAIDSTONE
01622 829269

MEDWAY
01634 799188

SWALE
01795 883217

TUNBRIDGE WELLS
01892 731230

TONBRIDGE & SEVENOAKS
01732 590169

MOBILE
07879 473298
Call us now on :

Ashford
01233 210782

Canterbury & Whitstable
01227 389563

Dover
01304 508334

Folkstone & Hythe
01303 201493

Gravesend
01474 878927

Maidstone
01622 829269

Medway
01634 799188

Swale
01795 883217

Tunbridge Wells
01892 731230

Tonbridge & Sevenoaks
01732 590169

Mobile
07879 473298