How can we Help You

 

Types of pest

Bed bugs  /  Beetles  /  Biscuit beetles  /  Cockroaches  /  Fleas  /  Foxes  /  Garden Ants  /  Grey squirrel  /  Mice  /  Moths  /  Pharoah's Ants  /  Pigeons  /  Rats  /  Stored product moths  /  Contact pest control

Bed bugs 

Bedbugs are flat, oval shaped, bloodfeeding insects that are normally reddish brown in colour. This can change from almost pink to a more purplish colour before and after feeding. The adult bedbug is approximately 5mm in length, and has three stages in its life cycle, egg > nymph > adult. The bedbug has five growing stages and at each stage looks like the adult.

The mouth parts are well adapted for piercing and sucking. Bedbugs feed on human blood and only need to feed every 3 to 5 days. The adult bedbug may live between 9 - 18 months at normal room temperature of 18 - 20°C providing there is a host available. Generally, if room temperature is high, the life expectancy of the adult bedbug decreases.

At lower temperatures bedbugs become lazier in their movements and their growth will slow greatly. In this condition, they show good resistance to starvation. Both male and female have been known to survive a year without feeding.

Where and how do they live?

Bedbugs are more active at night, and infestations occur mainly in the bed-room and lounge areas. These insects need to be where a host is going to be, for an extended period.

If in the bedroom, they will come out at night while the host is sleeping, from hiding places such as the frame and headboard of the bed, behind any loose or peeling wallpaper, cracks in wood-work or plaster, from behind ward-robes or bedside cabinets.

In the lounge area, they favour soft furnishings and are often found around the arm joints of armchairs and settees. The bedbug feeds on the host by finding a bare patch of skin, through which it forces the feeding tube of its mouthparts, whilst at the same time injecting the host with its saliva. The saliva contains a chemical that prevents the blood from clotting. It is this substance that causes the itch and swelling associated with the 'bite'.

Although most people suffer irritation and loss of sleep through being bitten by these insects, some people appear unaffected. This can sometimes be caused by longterm exposure to an infestation where the body no longer ‘reacts’ to the insect’s saliva.

Why are they a problem?

The bite from this insect can be very irritating. If they are allowed to multiply unchecked, numbers could become such, that the host/s may become anaemic through blood loss, although this is rare.

How do they breed?

After feeding, the bedbug returns to its hiding place to digest its meal. It then mates; the female lays eggs that remain attached to her. The eggs are usually laid within the hiding place. During her lifetime the female can lay up to 200 eggs, at a rate of between 4-5 per day, depending on temperature and other environmental factors.

What can I do to get rid of bedbugs?

You will need professional help to get rid of these insects. In order to control this problem, the rooms where the host/s sleep, and lounge areas will need to be treated with insecticide. This will include beds, soft furnishings, and other areas where these insects are likely to hide.

When bedbugs come out from their hiding places to feed, they walk over the insecticide and die shortly afterwards. You should be aware that often it is necessary to remove or make holes in the material normally found under divan beds and lounge furniture, to provide an effective treatment.

It is also possible that the premises may need more than one treatment to control the problem. Redecorating, removal or introduction of new furniture should not be done for some time after treatment in order that any hatching bugs will walk over the insecticide and so prevent re-infestation.

What can I do to prevent bedbugs in my home?

If you are considering buying secondhand furniture, check it thoroughly before bringing it home. Tell-tale signs apart from seeing the insects will be spotting on the furniture, usually on the back of the item, or in or near joints of drawers. The spots are the droppings of the bedbug, if these are moistened they will smear when rubbed.

How we can help

Request a pest control service online

We will treat your home with an insecticide spray. You can help us by clearing furniture away from the edges of rooms to be treated and by removing any bed linen before we visit. A single spray treatment of beds, soft furnishings and surrounding areas will be made. All treated areas should remain undisturbed for four to seven days.

We aim to respond to all requests for service regarding bedbugs in domestic premises within five working days.

Chemical safety

Where a product is used to treat an infestation in your home, our officer will leave you with written information about the chemical. This also contains instructions on what to do in case of an emergency. All pesticides are applied by our qualified and experienced staff to ensure the safety of the public and to minimise damage to the environment.



Page last updated Jan 10, 2012 12:32 PM

Beetles 

These insects are an elongated oval in shape. The upper body is black or dark brown. They have short antennae with a club shaped tip. They are approximately 6.5-10.0mm in length and are the most common type of beetle to be found in a domestic environment. The larva is of worm-like appearance with body covered in very dense hair, yellowish brown in colour, with upper surface of the body dark brown.

Where and how do they live?

These insects are likely to live on dried animal remains and can also be a pest in food storage areas. If they enter your house, it is likely they will be found in the kitchen area living on food particles. The adults fly and normally get into your home this way. They do not like bright light and will often hide during the day, feeding at night. They like damp places.

Why are they a problem?

They are an unpleasant nuisance and if not controlled the population can grow large in a short time.

How do they breed?

After mating the female lays eggs in dark places. She will usually lay these near or in a source of food. The egg-laying rate is greatly increased if there is water available. The young will go through five to seven moults before becoming an adult. The whole process will take between 5-7 weeks depending on conditions.

What can I do to prevent beetles in my home?

Although it is difficult to stop these insects entering your home, you should ensure that your kitchen floors and the areas around fridges, cookers etc are kept as clean as possible.

How can I get rid of these beetles?

These insects are quite easy to control. You will need to buy a crawling insect spray available from most chemists or hardware stores. You will need to spray all skirting boards where they meet the floor. Spray around any heavy objects that cannot be moved. Please follow all directions on the product and ensure the room you are treating is well ventilated (open windows). Do not wash the floor for four days after treatment.

How we can help

Request a pest control service online

We treat domestic premises for beetle infestation. An insecticide spray will be used around the boundary of rooms, at floor/wall junctions, in vents and ducts at floor level and behind equipment. The treated areas should be left for four days once treatment is complete. Please be aware that there is a charge for this service. We aim to respond to all requests for service concerning beetle infestation within five working days.

Chemical safety

Where a product is used to treat an infestation in your home, our officer will leave you with written information about the chemical. This also contains instructions on what to do in case of an emergency. All pesticides are applied by our qualified and experienced staff to ensure the safety of the public and to minimise damage to the environment.



Page last updated Jan 10, 2012 12:32 PM

Biscuit beetles 

The adult beetle is 2-3 mm in length, oval in shape, reddish brown in colour, with a dense covering of yellowish hairs. The young (larvae) of this insect look like a whitish maggot. When full size, they are approximately 5mm in length.

Where and how do they live?

If you find these insects in your home, it is likely that you have brought them in with an infested dry product. This could be any of the following: cereals and cereal products, pasta, spices, nuts, chocolate, dried beans, flour, rice, biscuits (including dog or cat biscuits).

Why are they a problem?

These insects will breed very quickly in the right conditions. The larvae can easily chew through packaging of other stored products and are very likely to spread to all the dried goods in your larder or food storage area. Any new products you buy of this type will also soon be affected.

How do they breed?

Over a period of about three weeks a single biscuit beetle will lay about 100 eggs. This will occur in the foodstuffs or surrounding areas. At normal temperature in 1-two weeks they hatch to produce very tiny active larvae, which wander about and enter packaging to infest the foods inside. Development from larvae to beetle takes between 2-5 months depending on conditions when the larvae will go through four moults.

They will then change to a pupal stage which will last between 9-18 days. During this time they will turn into an adult beetle. When the adult beetle comes out of its pupal case (which can take up to two weeks) it will move away from the food source and head towards a source of light (usually a window.) The adult beetle can live up to two months. During this time it does not feed.

What can I do to prevent biscuit beetles in my home?

There is no easy way to tell if any product you have purchased is infested when you bring it home. It is advisable to buy some air-tight ‘Tupperware’ type of containers, and transfer all your stored products into these as soon as possible after purchase, so that if a product is infested, the insects will not spread to other foods. Food stored in this type of container will be protected from infestation.

How can I get rid of biscuit beetles?

You will first have to identify which product(s) have introduced the infestation. Although by the time you have discovered there is a problem, it is likely other products will have been affected. It is probably safest to throw away all foods that could possibly contain these insects. Once you have done this you will need to completely clear your larder or storage cupboards.

The affected areas will need treating with a crawling insect spray, available from most chemists and hardware stores. Please follow the directions on the can and use in well-ventilated area (open windows). You will need to treat all the joints where the shelves meet the side and back, and where the cupboard joins the wall.

Also if there is a worktop below the cupboard, this should also be treated side and back where it joins the wall. You should leave this for two days. (Do not put foods back in the cupboard during this time). Then you will need to wash your cupboards out with hot soapy water. Once dry you can then re-stock.

How we can help

Request a pest control service online

We treat domestic premises for biscuit beetle infestations. An insecticide spray will be used in affected rooms and cupboards. The treated areas should not be cleaned for two days once treatment is complete. Please be aware that there is a charge for this service.

We aim to respond to all requests for service concerning biscuit beetle infestation within five working days.

Chemical safety

Where a product is used to treat an infestation in your home, our officer will leave you with written information about the chemical. This also contains instructions on what to do in case of an emergency. All pesticides are applied by our qualified and experienced staff to ensure the safety of the public and to minimise damage to the environment.



Page last updated Jan 10, 2012 12:32 PM

Cockroaches 

Cockroaches are large winged insects ranging from 12-30mm in length with long antennae. There are about 3500 different species of cockroach in the world of which the vast majority are tropical. The two most commonly found species in the U.K. can be distinguished by their size and colour: the Oriental cockroach is dark brown/black and ranges from 17-30mm whilst the more common German cockroach is lighter brown and smaller 12-15mm.

Where and how do they live?

Cockroaches are pests of warm indoor environments. They are frequently associated with restaurants, hotels, hospitals, prisons, and flats. Outdoors they may be found around drains, dustbins and on refuse tips. They are nocturnal insects and need a supply of foods with high water content.

Why are they a problem?

Cockroaches are potential carriers of germs, which cause disease in humans, e.g. dysentery and gastro-enteritis. They feed on faecal matter and rotting waste materials. Contamination occurs when they come into contact with food preparation areas, cutlery, crockery and food.

How do they breed?

The female cockroach produces up to eight purse-like egg cases at monthly intervals. The egg cases are thick walled and contain from 16-30 nymphs each. These nymphs (the small, transparent young insects) shed their outer skin 5-7 times as they grow to maturity. At room temperature this can take 4 months. The German cockroach carries the egg capsule behind her until the small wingless young are ready to hatch out some 2-4 weeks later. The Oriental cockroach deposits its egg case in a dark sheltered place. After about two months it splits open and the small nymphs emerge. These shed their outer skin 7-10 times before reaching maturity. The process takes 10 months to 2 years depending on temperature and food availability.

What can I do to prevent cockroaches in my home?

Ensure that your home is kept clean and food is stored in pest proof containers. It is common for dried food such as rice to become infested during storage in warehouses and shops, be aware when you are shopping and only buy from clean shops. All cracks, crevices and other building defects that could provide a dark enclosure for cockroaches in your home should be filled in and/or repaired. Pipework, if possible, should be boxed in or proofed as these areas provide an excellent hiding environment.

How can I get rid of cockroaches?

It is likely you will need professional help to eradicate cockroaches. You should establish whether your neighbours also have a problem. Treating one property in isolation is rarely effective - adjoining properties and blocks may need to be treated at the same time. It is important for you to take immediate action when you spot cockroaches in your home as they can quickly spread to your neighbours.

How can we help?

Request a pest control service online

We aim to respond to all requests for service concerning cockroaches within five working days. We treat domestic premises for cockroach infestations, for which a charge may be levied. Usually, an insecticidal gel is used around the boundary of rooms, at floor/wall junctions, in vents and ducts and behind equipment. The treated areas should be left as long as possible. Follow up treatments will probably be needed to destroy any new nymphs as they emerge from their eggs.

If you have a problem with cockroaches and there is already a private pest control contractor treating your block do not call us. If you are a council tenant you should contact your estate manager. Private tenants should contact their landlord or an environmental health officer. Where 15% or more properties in a block become infested it is our policy to recommend that the whole block be treated.

Chemical safety

Where a product is used to treat an infestation in your home, our officer will leave you with written information about the chemical. This also contains instructions on what to do in case of an emergency. All pesticides are applied by our qualified and experienced staff to ensure the safety of the public and to minimise damage to the environment.



Page last updated Jan 10, 2012 12:32 PM

Fleas 

Adult fleas are 2mm long, wingless and vary in colour from greyish to dark brown. They are well adapted to their way of life - their ‘armour’ makes it almost impossible to squash them, and their narrow body allows them to move around very quickly among hairs or feathers. Their back legs are highly developed enabling them to jump considerable heights. The three most common types of flea in the U.K. are the cat flea (the most common in Britain), the dog flea, and the human flea (vary rare).

Where and how do they live?

Fleas live exclusively on blood from warmblooded animals, and although they have a preferred host, e.g. cat fleas prefer cats and dog fleas prefer dogs, they can be found on and feed from other animals and people. As well as being present on the host, fleas are often found on the host’s bedding. Problems can occur when cats or dogs are removed from a house as the fleas left behind have no choice but to move to people. Whilst cat and dog fleas cannot breed without their preferred hosts, they can live for several months on a diet of human blood.

Why are they a problem?

Fleas are known to carry disease and can also be responsible for the transmission of parasitic worms such as dog tapeworm. In the U.K, however, fleas are not generally responsible for the spread of infection but can and do inflict unpleasant bites on their host. Flea bites will be seen as a tiny dark red spot surrounded by a reddened area. The bite will irritate for a few days. In some cases people become extra sensitive to them.

How do they breed?

Fleas pass though three stages before emerging as adults. Flea eggs are too small to be seen with the naked eye. They are laid in a variety of locations which include the fur of the host or in its bedding. The eggs hatch in about one week into small legless larvae, which feed on a mixture of dead insects, skin particles and the droppings of the adult flea. Flea larvae like to live in dark humid places such as carpets and animal bedding. The larvae then pupate, and after about three weeks, adult fleas hatch in response to vibrations made by a passing host. The complete life cycle will normally take four weeks but could take longer at low temperatures.

What you can do to prevent fleas in your home

To prevent the introduction of fleas into your home you are advised to provide your pets with flea collars or add an anti-flea supplement to their food. There are a few of these products available which can be purchased from your vet. They will also be able to advise you on the one most suitable for your pet. Regular vacuuming and cleaning of carpets is also a good way to stop fleas breeding in your home.

What you can do to get rid of fleas

If possible try to identify the source of the problem. In many cases this can be traced to a family pet. If you suspect the source is a pet you should consult your veterinary surgeon who may confirm your suspicions.

Treatment for pets may involve the use of an insecticide aerosol spray or powder, or a product to add to your pet’s food. Your vet will explain where and how to use the product and this may include treatment of the animal’s bedding. Thorough cleaning of floors and floor coverings with a vacuum cleaner is also recommended. Empty the vacuum cleaner after use and spray inside the cleaner or any new bag used with a fly or crawling insect spray to kill any fleas collected.

f you feel that the infestation is small and can be localised it is possible to treat infected rooms yourself with a specialist product (available from your vet), or any general purpose crawling insect spray available from hardware stores or local chemists. It is important that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

How we can help

You can contact our Pest Control Office on 020 7974 5976 between 8.00am and 5.00pm weekdays. If you have an extensive flea infestation we will treat your home with an insecticidal spray. You can help us by clearing furniture away from the edges of rooms to be treated and by vacuuming the carpets before we visit. A single spray treatment of carpets, soft furnishings and rooms with bare floorboards will be made and all treated areas should remain undisturbed for four to seven days. You should be aware there is a charge for this service. We aim to respond to all requests for service regarding fleas within three working days.

Chemical safety

Where a product is used to treat an infestation in your home, our officer will leave you with written information about the chemical. This also contains instructions on what to do in case of an emergency. All pesticides are applied by our qualified and experienced staff to ensure the safety of the public and to minimise damage to the environment.



Page last updated Jan 10, 2012 12:32 PM

Foxes 

How we can help

Our pest control section does not directly deal with fox related problems. However, if you contact us we can provide advice and may be able to give more specific information about controlling your problem.

Contact pest control

The history of urban foxes

Foxes first colonised our cities in the 1930s. At that time land was cheap, and large areas of semi-detached suburbs were built in the period leading up to World War II.

Foxes then colonised other, less favourable, urban areas, and are now found in all parts of London right down to the city centre. They are still most abundant in parts of the city where 1930s semi-detached or detached housing exists, here foxes attain densities several times of those seen in rural areas.

Fox foraging for food

For most towns and cities, the fox population reached its carrying capacity (i.e. the maximum number of animals the habitat will sustain) many years ago. Contrary to popular belief the population is stable, with no significant increases or decreases.

Are you troubled by foxes?

Foxes in an urban area can cause a range of reactions amongst residents, some loathe them others love them.

This website deals with some of the problems caused by urban foxes and gives some practical advice on how to alleviate or possibly eliminate any such problems. You can then decide on how much time and energy you wish to invest relative to the scale of the problem.

Are urban foxes different from rural foxes?

No, they are the same species, very often the same animals.

Foxes born in London do move to other areas while other foxes living outside the city will commute into the edges to feed at night.

Urban foxes are no less healthy, smaller, more mangy or less fit than rural foxes.

Why can't the foxes be caught and “returned to the countryside where they belong?

There are several reasons to consider:

A widely held misconception is that foxes belong in the countryside but not in urban areas. Foxes are very adaptable animals, the same species are found in all habitats from the artic to desert regions.

Another misconception people think, moving a wild animal to a new area, release it, and it will instantly settle down and live happily ever after. Nature isn't like that, releasing animals in a new area is a very tricky operation.

The territory may not be vacant, so the animal will wander widely in a strange area looking for somewhere to live. Since it does not know the area, it will not know the danger spots or best feeding sites. Invariably the animal will die fairly soon, it would far more humane to have killed the fox rather that dump it in a strange area.

Dumping animals like this is clearly inhumane, such action could an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Finally, many people do not want foxes released on their land because displaced foxes do not know where to hunt and they are particularly likely to cause greater problems to farmers by killing fowl.

What can I do about foxes living under my house?

This is a rare but serious problem that must be dealt with immediately. If foxes can get under houses, they will find the nice dry warm environment ideal, and often have their cubs in such situations.

It occurs most commonly in older houses, which have large spaces under the floorboards, and old metal air vents to provide ventilation.

The metal air vents may have rusted away, allowing the foxes easy access. The space under the floor is divided by walls with small gaps in them to allow air to flow, and so this design allows the foxes access underneath to the whole house.

The problem can be worse in the breeding season, if cubs are born under your house. At night the cubs chase each other round and round under the house, screaming at each other.

  • do not to let your air vents get into a bad state of repair
  • if the foxes have got in, you can arrange for a pest control company to lift your floorboards to drive the foxes out,
  • this can be time consuming, difficult, disruptive and an expensive operation, its much better and cheaper to maintain your air vents.

Do foxes attack people?

Until recently there has been no evidence to suggest that foxes pose a significant risk of attacks on people. The incident where two children were attacked in their bedroom was a very rare occurence and should not be seen as normal fox activity. If you have foxes are in your area then consider these simple precautions:

  • do not leave windows and doors open making it easy for foxes to enter properties and,
  • do not to leave babies in prams unattended.
  • hand tame foxes that have been encouraged to enter gardens for feeding could potentially enter properties undetected.
  • if a fox is cornered, it may attempt to bite in self-defence. If you find a fox trapped in an outbuilding or similar situation, do not approach it or try to pick it up. Leave it an escape route, and it will be away as soon as it feels safe.

Foxes seem to be less wary of young children, and may actually try to play with them.

Do urban foxes have rabies?

No. Rabies was eliminated from this country in the early part of this century, and Britain is currently one of only a few countries without rabies.

Will foxes kill any other of my pets?

Unlikely, providing that you take good care of your pets. Most people interviewed said that for a long while the foxes left their pets untouched even though it would have been easy for the foxes to have taken them at any time. Pet killing is most frequent in the late spring / early summer when foxes are rearing cubs.

  • do not leave your pets in the garden unsecured at night,
  • make sure that their hutch or shed is solidly built,
  • the hutch or shed should be secure, preferably with a lock that cannot be knocked open,
  • any wire on the hutch should be of strong weld mesh, securely nailed down, and not chicken wire, which foxes can bite through,
  • if you live in an area where foxes frequent your garden, its up to you to take simple precautions to safe guard your pets

Discourage foxes from using your garden

If you decide that the presence of foxes in your garden is genuinely unacceptable there are ways of discouraging them, although none are foolproof.

You can try a suitable propriety animal repellent. A range of products are available from garden centres, hardware stores and DIY stores:

  • use only approved products and use them in accordance with the manufactures label
  • the law does not permit the use of non-approved products which can be very dangerous to other pets such as cats and dogs. Prosecutions can result against anyone who is found using such non-approved products
  • your local store should be able to provide you with the correct advice on the most suitable products to use.

These products are approved for use to deter foxes:

  • Scoot
  • Catapult
  • Ready to Stay off
  • Johnson's Clear off
  • B&Q Animal repellent
  • Curb Garden Pack.

Note: All these products contain Aluminium ammonia sulphate.

Important note: Any chemical used as a repellent is covered under the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 where it states that "only approved chemicals may be use".



Page last updated Jan 10, 2012 12:32 PM

Garden Ants 

Worker ants are the ones most likely to be seen. Males and females are produced at certain times of the year. The so-called flying ants have wings and are common on thundery days in the summer. The workers, about 2-5mm in length, are black/brown in colour. The females and males are larger in body size and are about 6.5 - 10.00 mm for the female and 3.5 - 4.5 mm for the male.

Where and how do they live

Garden ants generally nest outdoors in sandy soils but travel widely in search of food. They become a pest when they enter homes in search of food; they are particularly attracted to sweet substances. Garden ants become a nuisance because of their foraging habits. They walk across unpleasant and dirty areas during their search for food. They are therefore thought of as unacceptable in our homes.

How do they breed?

Garden ants mate in flight when winged males and females swarm in July. The black clouds of ants you see in the summer are actually garden ants mating! After mating the male dies and the female loses her wings and buries herself in the soil over winter. In late spring the female lays eggs which hatch into white larvae (young) in three or four weeks.The larvae are fed by the queen, and when fully grown pupate. The worker ants which emerge from the pupae, feed new larvae and the queen. The life cycle is complete in two months and, in good conditions, nests will continue for many years.

What can I do to prevent garden ants in my home?

Keeping sweet, sugary foods covered and ensuring work surfaces are clean will help discourage garden ants.

How can I get rid of ants?

First try to locate the position of the nest by watching the ants as they enter and leave the house. They will tend to follow set trails back to the nest. Nests are usually found outside, in sandy soil, especially under paving slabs or walls. The only visible sign is often a scattering of very fine soil around the entrance hole. You will need to use a suitable ant nest destroyer. Most garden centres, hardware shops or chemists will stock a range of suitable products.

Make sure you follow the instructions carefully. Where it is not possible to find the nest, try to find out where the ants are getting into the house and seal up any unnecessary cracks and openings. Decorator’s filler that dries to a flexible rubbery texture is often better than a filler that dries hard. Do not be tempted to block airbricks, which are essential for preventing dampness.

How we can help

Request a pest control service online

We treat domestic premises for garden ant infestations. An insecticide spray will be used around the edges of affected rooms.The treated areas should not be cleaned or vacuumed for four days once treatment is complete.Please be aware that there is a charge for this service.We aim to respond to all requests for service concerning garden ant infestation within five working days.

Chemical safety

Where a product is used to treat an infestation in your home, our officer will leave you with written information about the chemical. This also contains instructions onwhat to do in case of an emergency. All pesticides are applied by our qualified and experienced staff to ensure the safety of the public and to minimise damage to the environment.



Page last updated Jan 10, 2012 12:32 PM

Grey squirrel 

The grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is an animal that originally came from North-East America, and was first recorded in this country in the 1820s although they were not released in the wild until 1876.

Length of the head and body of the squirrel are 25cm with the tail adding an additional 20cm. They moult twice a year. The winter coat is grey, with a yellowish brown mid dorsal stripe.In summer, the coat takes on a more reddish tinge especially on the sides.The tail is grey and has lighter colour tinges.

Grey squirrels have very good eyesight, even in dim light and have a well-developed sense of smell and hearing. Their weight ranges from 300-700 Grams, and in natural surroundings they can live 7-8 years.

Where and how do they live?

They prefer to live in woodland, parks, and gardens, but can and sometimes do invade houses if the opportunity is available.

Their diet mainly consists of nuts and seeds, flowers, buds of trees, pine cones. They will however also eat animal food items such as bird's eggs, nestlings, and frogs. The majority of their diet in urban areas comes from food put out for birds, or deliberately put out for them.

Why are they a problem?

In urban environments they are mainly a problem because they have found access to, and are using a loft or attic area to nest in.

Apart from the noise, which is usually at it's worst in the very early morning they must continually gnaw to keep their teeth (incisors) down. If nesting inside, they could gnaw the timbers in your roof space or loft, but may also chew through electrical cabling, causing inconvenience and a potential fire hazard.

How do they breed?

Grey squirrels have two breeding seasons per year, and most breeding occurs in December-February, May-June of each year.

Females can have two litters per year one from each breeding season. Average litter sizes range from 2-3 individuals; the winter litter is generally smaller than the summer litter.

Female Grey squirrels do not usually produce young until they are approximately 15 months old, whilst the male becomes sexually active at 10-11 months.

What can I do to prevent squirrels entering my home?

Where grey squirrels enter roof spaces the best control method is proofing, for example, by blocking gaps and holes with tightly wedged wire netting (e.g. at eaves and soffit board level).

Lopping tree branches within 4-5 metres of roof spaces will also help prevent squirrels entering roof spaces, as they are able to jump up to 3 metres from tree to tree. A metal sleeve may protect mature trees.

How can I get rid of squirrels?

Grey squirrels can be caught in baited cage traps throughout the year, both indoors and in the open.

Any trapped grey squirrel must then be destroyed in a humane manner, as current legislation does not allow grey squirrels to be released back into the wild (Destructive Imported Animals Act 1932 and Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981).

Other methods may be used to control grey squirrels, such as shooting, dray poking, spring traps and poison baiting at certain times of the year, but in these instances a professional contractor should be employed.



Page last updated Jan 10, 2012 12:32 PM

Mice 

The house mouse (mus domesticus) is the most common species found in London. Sometimes field mice also enter houses in the late autumn when conditions get colder. The adult mouse weighs less than 25 grams and has brown to grey fur on its back and grey to white underneath; it has large ears in relation to its body and small feet. Its tail is thin and the same length as its body.

Where and how do they live?

Although mainly house visitors, nesting under floors, and within wall cavities, mice may live outdoors for all or part of the year. Mice are more active at night. They are good climbers and can squeeze through gaps as small as 6mm. This means they can quite easily enter our homes. They need less water than rats, and can usually find enough moisture from their food.

Why are they a problem?

Mice are a health hazard. They are responsible for spreading diseases, eat food intended for humans, and ruin it with their urine, droppings and fur. Mice can also cause damage to buildings by gnawing through woodwork, wires, pipes and household items.

How do they breed?

A mouse can live about nine months to a year, during which time a female may breed up to ten times. The average size of a litter is six. Breeding occurs throughout the year but especially in the spring and autumn.

How can I get rid of mice?

You can attempt to get rid of mice yourself. Most garden centres, hardware shops and large chemists will stock a suitable range of poisons and traps. It is very important that you follow the instructions carefully. Or you can get a professional pest control company to carry out the treatment for you.

How we can help

Request a pest control service online

If you have problems treating mice, we will visit and carry out a survey to advise on the best control measures. This could mean that we have to visit and treat a number of nearby homes at the same time, (block treatment). If poison baits are used, they should be left undisturbed. We will return to check these, and refill them if necessary. They will be removed when you no longer have a problem.

If you have a problem with mice and there is already a private pest control contractor treating your home or block, do not contact us. Contact either your estate manager if you are a council tenant, or an environmental health officer if you are an owner-occupier. Where more than 15% of properties in a block have problems with mice, we recommend the whole block be treated as one programme.

We aim to respond to all requests for service concerning mice within three working days. There is a charge for individual treatments, and we do charge for all block treatment work.

Chemical safety

Where a product is used to treat an infestation in your home, our officer will leave you with written information about the chemical. This also contains instructions on what to do in case of an emergency. All pesticides are applied by our qualified and experienced staff to ensure the safety of the public and to minimise damage to the environment.



Page last updated Jan 10, 2012 12:32 PM

Moths 

The adult clothes moth has a body length of between 6 and 8 mm, with a wingspan of 9 to 16 mm. The upper wings are buff, nearly golden in colour. Both pairs of wings have fringed edges. The larva which resembles a small maggot, is yellowish white in colour with a very small brown head.

Where and how do they live?

The female clothes moth will choose to lay her eggs in dark, quiet areas within the home. Places such as under beds, under furniture, and in clothes/material left or stored open in lofts or wardrobes. An adult moth lives for about 2 - 3 weeks.

Why are they a problem?

Clothes moths can do a great deal of damage to your carpets, clothes, and furniture. They normally eat natural fibres like wool and cashmere etc although they will eat man-made fibres if nothing else is available. If untreated an infestation can quickly cause damage to furnishings and clothing that can be very costly.

How do they breed?

The adult female will lay between 70 - 100 eggs which are small and white and difficult to see. After a few days the eggs hatch, and the young (larvae), will start to feed, often, they will spin a fine tube around themselves. This tube becomes covered in scraps of material/droppings from where they are living and give the young protection. Once the young have eaten all they need, they will go into a pupal stage. (This is a shell like covering where the young will develop into adult moths).

The development from egg to moth depends greatly on temperature, quality of food, and moisture in the air and could take anything up to a year. In perfect conditions the total lifecycle will take about 63 days.

What can I do to prevent clothes moths in my home?

It will be difficult to stop moths entering your home, as it is probable in the first instance they have come in through an open window. You can do certain things which should stop any likely infestation building up and ruining your clothing or furniture. The female will lay eggs in dark, rarely disturbed areas of your home. When you clean your home, make a point of moving items every few weeks, such as beds, or furniture that may have gaps underneath, chests of drawers etc. Vacuum these areas as thoroughly as possible. By doing this you will remove eggs that may have been laid, you will also be able to see if an infestation has just started, and you may be able to treat this area and stop the problem before it spreads.

Also try not to keep material or clothes on top of wardrobes or in loft areas for long periods of time. If you do need to store, make sure items are secure either in suitcases or wrapped in plastic bags or plastic sheeting. It is possible moths may found around bird or mammal nests. Therefore these possibilities should be checked, if searching for a source of infestation.

How do I get rid of clothes moths?

If the problem has been found at an early stage, you may be able to deal with this yourself. You will need to buy a crawling insect spray, available from chemists and hardware stores, and treat the infected area. Please follow all directions on the can and make sure that the room you are treating is well ventilated (open windows). Please ensure that you check all other areas of this room for moth activity. If the problem is in more than one area, it is likely that you will need professional help in controlling the infestation.

How we can help

Request a pest control service online

We treat domestic premises for clothes moth infestation. An insecticide spray will be used in the affected rooms with all carpets and soft furnishings treated. The treated areas should not be cleaned or vacuumed for four days once treatment is complete. Please be aware that there is a charge for this service. We aim to respond to all requests for service concerning clothes moth infestation within five working days.

Chemical safety

Where a poison is used to treat an infestation in your home, our officer will leave you written information about the chemical used. This also contains instructions on what to do in case of emergency. All poisons are applied by our qualified staff to ensure the safety of the public and to minimise damage to the environment.



Page last updated Jan 10, 2012 12:32 PM

Pharoah's Ants 

The workers of this species of ant are only around 2mm in length (female) with the queen being larger at about 3-4mm long. The males are around 3mm. They are a light yellow colour with a darkish abdomen.

Where and how do they live?

Pharaoh’s ants are usually found indoors. They need warm temperatures to breed and are therefore found in warm, centrally heated buildings and are increasingly found in domestic premises.

Why are they a problem?

Pharaoh’s ants carry germs from dirty places to clean food, and for this reason are a public health pest. The fact that they are difficult to control also poses problems.

How do they breed?

Pharaoh’s ants’ nests are centred on a queen. She lays many thousands of eggs over a period of up to two years. During the development of the nest many more queens may be produced and, at times, males may also appear. In two to four weeks the eggs hatch into tiny larvae (or grubs) which are fed by the sterile female worker ants.

In a couple of weeks the larvae change into pupae - a resting phase. This resting stage lasts from two to four weeks before the young ants start to emerge.

What can I do to prevent pharoah's ants in my home

The worker ants become a nuisance when they search for food in our homes. They are able to communicate the location of food sites to other workers, and it is common to see long narrow trails of ants moving to and from the food source. It is also common for the ants to seek out water for drinking; often taking them to sink wastes or drains.

Make sure food is stored in pest proof containers, eg plastic containers with close fitting lids, and keep work surfaces as clean as possible which will help to discourage pharaoh’s ants.

How can I get rid of pharoah's ants?

Pharaoh’s ants are extremely difficult to get rid of. You will need professional help if you have an infestation.

How we can help

Request a pest control service online

Treatments will consist of the laying of specially prepared bait stations. You should resist the temptation to try and treat yourself with insecticide sprays. We are glad to help and advise you if you have a problem with pharaoh’s ants.

Treatment for this insect is normally undertaken on a block control basis as treatment for individual flats or rooms will be not be effective. If you are a council tenant and you are having a problem with pharaoh ants you should in the first instance contact your estate manager.

If you are private tenant or an owneroccupier you should contact your landlord. Pest Control will make a charge for block treatments of this insect. Any programme of treatments will need to be authorised by the owner or the landlord.

Chemical Safety

Where a product is used to treat an infestation in your home, our officer will leave you with written information about the chemical. This also contains instructions on what to do in case of an emergency. All pesticides are applied by our qualified and experienced staff to ensure the safety of the public and to minimise damage to the environment.



Page last updated Jan 10, 2012 12:32 PM

Pigeons 

Feral pigeons (Columbia livia) are about 33cm in length and weigh up to 560g with an average of about 350g. Their plumage can vary considerably, through blue-grey, various 'blues' and 'reds' to chequered types and almost pure black. Most types have double black wing bars.

Feral pigeons are found worldwide and throughout Britain, mainly in urban environments, where they depend largely on man for their food supply.

Where and how do they live?

Its living habits often bring the pigeon into conflict with man. They can nest and roost on the smallest of ledges and horizontal surfaces. The birds tend to create mounds of droppings in these sites. This not only mars the appearance of the buildings but also has an acidic damaging effect on the structure.

The same fouling regularly occurs on footpaths creating a slipping hazard. A nesting site can contain extreme depths of pigeon fouling that has crusted solid over the years, with many dead and rotting carcasses amongst it. This in turn, could cause secondary problems from insects and mites entering an attached property.

Why are they a problem?

Feral pigeons build their nests in or on buildings and other structures like bridges. Fouling of these structures is inevitable. This is not only unsightly but may also have a destructive effect as the acidic droppings can erode the surface of stonework. Gutters and drainpipes may become blocked, leading to flooding and associated problems. Millions of pounds worth of damage is caused each year to civic and other buildings from feral pigeon droppings. There is also the risk that pigeons could carry diseases that are harmful to man.

How do they breed?

Feral pigeons are capable of breeding throughout the year, with the peak occurring between March and July. Nests are built in or on buildings and other structures, normally on ledges or in hollows or under eaves or on girders. Young birds become independent after 30-37 days and between 4-9 broods (average 2 birds per brood) may be reared during a year.

What can I do to prevent pigeons nesting on or around my home?

Pigeons have proved very successful at adapting their roosting sites to our buildings and due to mans love of feeding birds and careless disposal of food wastes, the birds' can breed profusely in the knowledge that food is bountiful. Unfortunately the nature of birds in large numbers creates noise, dangerous waste and sometimes damage.

It can be detrimental for the birds, due to a regular conflict with man, the diet of rotten waste they are exposed to and infectious breeding sites for feral pigeons. These feeding sites also encourage them away from their natural environments and sources of food. So, the most important things to remember are:

  • Please do not feed pigeons.
  • Do not put your refuse out earlier than the night before collections.
  • Take care when disposing of unwanted fast food and snacks - use the bins provided throughout the borough.

How can I get rid of pigeons?

Destruction of birds will not remove problem numbers, culling alone will only allow increased breeding opportunities and incursion of vacated territory, by other birds.

The removing or limiting of food sources will not, as may be thought, cause birds to starve but will greatly reduce breeding and may cause birds to move back towards natural environments and food sources. This and prevention of roosting sites is by far the best and most humane method of preventing birds achieving a pest or nuisance status. There are a number of devices, which can be fitted to ledges and windowsills to keep birds off.

How can we help

Request a pest control service online

Although the pest control section does not directly deal with pigeon related problems. If you contact us we may be able to provide you with more specific information in controlling your problem, if your circumstances have not been covered in this leaflet.



Page last updated Jan 10, 2012 12:32 PM

Rats 

The common rat (rattus norvegicus), also known as the brown rat, is the species most commonly found in London. The adult rat is a thickset creature. It weighs from 100-500 grams and is typically 200-270 mm long. Its fur can be various colours ranging from black through to white, but they are most commonly grey. Its tail is shorter than its head and body.

Where and how do they live?

Common rats are widespread in both city and country areas, and can be found anywhere offering shelter and food. Over 80% of rat infestations in London originate from sewers. Rats are efficient burrowers forming holes which average 100mm in diameter. Sometimes a complicated tunnel system with several openings is produced.

Typically, such a system can be found around the outside of buildings, in embankments, rubbish tips, overgrown gardens. Rats, by nature, are generally most active at night, but may be seen searching for food and water during the day.

Why are they a problem?

Rats are a major public health hazard. In the U.K. today there are many rat-borne diseases, examples are Weil’s disease (a rare infection which starts with influenzalike symptoms which can be fatal) and salmonellosis (a food-borne illness causing diarrhoea and vomiting). Rats cause structural damage By their gnawing and burrowing activities. Electricity cables and lead pipes are easily gnawed, and fires have been caused by rats gnawing through cables.

Rats can burrow under foundations of buildings and damage drains and sewers. They eat and contaminate human food. Their wasteful habit of discarding partially eaten food, means more food is destroyed than consumed. They contaminate food with their droppings, urine and hair.

How do they breed?

Life expectancy of a rat is approximately nine months to one year, during which time a female will typically breed five times. The average size of a litter is between six and ten. Breeding occurs throughout the year, but especially in the spring and autumn.

What can I do to prevent rats in my home?

Ensure your premises are in good repair - seal any gaps around pipes going through walls, repair broken air bricks, check and repair defective or faulty drains and never leave drainage exposed or manholes open for long periods. Deny rats food and water, clear up spillages of food thoroughly, and dispose of waste responsibly. Bird food can easily support a family of rats, so use a bird table with a rat proof support.

Rats need to drink on a regular basis, so ensure water is not allowed to gather in such items as seed trays and flowerpots etc. Eliminate shelters and breeding areas clear areas that may offer shelter, or nesting materials such as piles of timber or any areas of garden that are overgrown.

How can I get rid of rats?

You will need professional help in controlling rats. Their ability to burrow, climb and jump, and the speed with which they breed, make them difficult for you to treat on your own.

How we can help

Request a pest control service online

If you have a problem with rats in or around your home, we will visit and carry out a survey and carry out the most appropriate control measures. This may include the laying of poison baits along rat runs or in drainage systems. The baits must be left undisturbed and will be examined by our officers when a return visit is made. We aim to respond to all requests concerning rats within three working days.

Chemical safety

Where a poison is used to treat an infestation in your home, our officer will leave you written information about the chemical used. This also contains instructions on what to do do in ce emergency. All poisons are applied by our qualified staff to ensure the safety of the public and to minimise damage to the environment.



Page last updated Jan 10, 2012 12:32 PM

Stored product moths 

There are two main types of moth that attack your dried foodstuffs:

  • Mediterranean flour moth and,
  • the Indian meal moth

Although there are slight differences in their life cycles the route of infestation and control methods remain the same.

Mediterranean flour moth:
(Ephestia kuehniella) Adult moth is a pale-grey colour approximately ½ inch long. The wings are marked with two indistinct black zigzag lines. Hind wings are a dirty white.

Indian meal moth:(Plodia interpunctella) Adult moth is Approximately ½ inch long. Has bronze coloured wings. The front half of the forewings is a greyish-white colour and the lower half is a rusty red-brown.

The young (larvae) of these insects look like a whitish maggot, when full size they are approximately 5 mm in length.

Where and how do they live?

If you find these insects in your home, it is likely that you have brought them in with an infested dry product. This could be any of the following: cereals and cereal products, pasta, spices, nuts, chocolate, dried beans, flour, rice, biscuits, (including dog or cat biscuits).

Why are they a problem?

These insects will breed very quickly in the right conditions. The larvae can easily chew through packaging of other stored products and are very likely to spread to all the dried goods in your larder or food storage area. Any new products you buy of this type will also soon be affected.

How do they breed?

Over a period of about three weeks a single Mediterranean moth will lay between 200-600 eggs. The Indian meal moth between 50-350.These will be either in the foodstuffs or surrounding areas. At normal temperature in 1-2 weeks they hatch to produce very tiny active larvae, which wander about and enter packaging to infest the foods inside. When these moths are ready to pupate, they will leave the food source and search for a location to spin a cocoon around itself. It is during this time to are likely to see the larvae on the walls of the kitchen heading toward  a corner of the ceiling. Development from larvae to moth takes between 30-40 days depending on conditions. The entire cycle takes about 6 weeks and there can be 4-6 generations per year. The adult moth lives up to two weeks.

What can I do to prevent stored product moth in my home?

There is no easy way to tell if any product you have purchased is infested when you bring it home. It is advisable to buy some air-tight 'tupperware' type of containers, and transfer all your stored products into these as soon as possible after purchase, so that if a product is infested, the insects will not spread to other foods. Food stored in this type of container will be protected from infestation.

How can I get rid of stored product moth?

You will first have to identify which product(s) have introduced the infestation. Although by the time you have discovered there is a problem it is likely other products will have been affected.

It is probably safest to throw away all foods that could possibly contain these insects. Once you have done this you will need to completely clear your larder or storage cupboards. The affected areas will need treating with a crawling insect spray, available from most chemists and hardware stores. Please follow the directions on the can and use in well-ventilated area (open windows). You will need to treat all the joints, where the shelves meet the side and back, and where the cupboard joins the wall. Also if there is a worktop below the cupboard, this should also be treated side and back, where it joins the wall.

You should leave this for two days. (Do not put foods back in the cupboard during this time). Then you will need to wash your cupboards out with hot soapy water. Once dry you can then re-stock.

How can we help?

Request a pest control service online

We treat domestic premises for Stored product moth infestations. An insecticide spray will be used in effected rooms and cupboards. The treated areas should not be cleaned for two days once treatment is complete

Please be aware that there is a charge for this service:

We aim to respond to all requests for service concerning biscuit beetle infestation within five working days.

Chemical safety

Where a product is used to treat an infestation in your home, our officer will leave you with written information about the chemical, this also contains instructions on what to do in case of an emergency.

All pesticides are applied by our qualified and experienced staff to ensure the safety of the public and to minimise damage to the environment.



Page last updated Jan 10, 2012 12:32 PM

Contact pest control 

Complaints

If you are not satisfied with the service you receive please contact pest control

You will receive a response from us within ten working days.

If you are still not satisfied please visit how do I complain about a council service?



Page last updated Jan 10, 2012 12:32 PM

Today I want to...

  • Apply

    Apply for services


  • Report

    Report online


  • Book

    Book services online


  • Request

    Request services online


Related Information

Bookmark & Share