Managing Director Paul Cooper Answers Your Pest Control Questions

The longest day of 2022 is now behind us and, while we celebrate this lovely weather, it remains important to make sure your home is protected from pests.

This month, I’m going to answer some of the pest questions I’m most often asked.

What pests should I be wary of as a homeowner in the UK?

Unless we have them as pets, we are lucky that we don’t have things like black widow spiders and poisonous snakes in our homes. The truth is, most of our common household pests are ones like fleas, bed bugs, mice, rats, clothes moths, wasps and cockroaches. While these things can be unpleasant, they aren’t necessarily harmful. Some can spread nasty diseases but, in the main, they are a nuisance rather than a threat.

If I had to pick out the pest that we get the most calls about and which is the biggest problem, I would probably say rats.

Can I prevent a pest infestation?

There are things you can do to stop pests being a problem in your home. The first, and most important, is good housekeeping. If you keep your home clean, make sure all food is stored in sealed containers and rubbish is collected in bins with lids, you will be going a long way towards dissuading pests from entering your home. After all, why should they risk entering a home with little in the way of rewards when a neighbour will probably provide a delicious banquet?

Secondly, you can proof your home against a variety of pests such as rats, mice and pigeons. To do this safely you are advised to seek expert advice and use professionals with access to specialist equipment who can access drains and roof spaces.

Where am I most likely to find pests?

Even though we may be scared of them, pests are usually more scared of us. Therefore, you’ll often find pests in sheltered areas like attics, behind cupboards and in garden sheds. Most pests don’t want to be disturbed and so they go to the places we visit least.

Of course, there are those pests that ‘love’ us and want to be near us and the things we wear. As the name suggests, bed bugs are often found in and around your bed because they need access to a food source – us! You’ll also often find clothes moths in our clothing, carpets and other soft furnishings. It’s not unusual to find the source of an infestation under your wardrobe, which has not been moved since they day you placed it in your bedroom.

Do I have an infestation?

If we take the broadest definition of pest as meaning insects, all homes have a pest problem. No house is without flies, spiders, etc. For some people, this is a problem, but in the main these are just a part of life.

Of course, sometimes a fly infestation can be symptomatic of another problem – for example, a dead pigeon or rodent in a roof space – that will need to be investigated

The best indicators of whether you have a pest problem are things like scrabbling noises at night, droppings in food cupboards and garden sheds, or gnawed cables. It you find evidence of an infestation, such as gnawed cables which could cause an electrical fire, don’t hesitate to get professional help to deal with the problem.

Am I in danger?

Depends on the pest. As I said, most UK pests are a pain rather than a threat, but they can make your life unpleasant and this can seriously affect your mental health.

A story from my own life does show, however, that you can be in danger. I used to have a fishpond with an electric fountain that was wired to the mains with the cable buried in the ground. One night, a fox dug it up and dropped the live cable end into the pond. It killed the fish, and nearly killed me when I went to scoop them out with my bare hand. Luckily, I saw the cable in time.

An unusual story but a good example of why we should take all pest problems seriously.

Can I do it myself?

Obviously, I’m going to suggest you always use a professional pest control company and here’s way:

Recent legislative changes mean most DIY treatments are half the strength of professional products. There is also a maximum pack size (300g) for amateurs; compared to a minimum size of 3kg for professionals. This means DIYers often don’t use the correct dosages and this is creating a problem of resistance among pests. In response, people are using greater dosages of poison, which is bad for us and the environment.

A professional will know where to target treatments, making sure they can’t be easily accessed by children, pets or wildlife. They will also have the right equipment to do a job safely – the right ladders, protective equipment, bait boxes, etc.

Finally, a professional pest controller will see things that you won’t. They will carry an inspection kit – torches, knee pads, screwdrivers, flexi cameras, etc. – to help them get into places you wouldn’t necessarily think about. For example, you may be trying to rid your premises of rats yourself but why does the problem keep returning? What you haven’t realised is that you could prevent the problem with a simple bit of proofing – saving time, money and reducing your impact on the environment.

If you have a pest problem in your home, call us on 020 8430 4133 to arrange a consultation.