It’s not at all pleasant when you first experience the realisation that you might have some kind of pest problem at home. Perhaps you are laying in bed when you hear scampering noises above you, or maybe someone in the family spots a suspicious bug or develops some unexplained itchy spots. It’s a mixture of the heebie jeebies, embarrassment and not quite knowing what you need to do.
With the full range of critters that the UK has available, and warmer, wetter weather all the conditions are ripe for unwanted visitors. It happens to many people. The key is to respond quickly to the signs.
Rats and mice are the big ones. Not the biggest rodents, but the pests many of us think about and dread most. Their size is such that they are small enough to find many ways in and hide away, but large enough to leave plenty of evidence and problems behind. As to ways in, unfortunately they are adept at getting through holes much smaller than you’d imagine – 5 to 7mm for a mice, and not much bigger for a rat.
How can you sure its rats or mice? Firstly, you may see or hear them. Then of course you may find droppings – brown rice like deposits, slightly larger and rounder for rats. Both also leave a smell of urine. Rats and mice are also likely culprits for chewed containers or electrical items. In fact, this can pose a real danger. Rats have long teeth that need constant gnawing down and they chew indiscriminately on wires and the like, which can cause electrical issues or fires in the worse case. And as we all learned in history lessons, rats (and indeed mice) can spread diseases and E-coli, amongst others, is not something you want running around your home.
So if you’ve identified the problem, how do you deal with it? Most commonly people will try a few traps, especially if the issue is confined to a loft. But then you have to deal with the remnants, often repeatedly and this might be particularly distressing if you have children into Danger Mouse! Mark Stanford a London pest control expert from Empire Pest Control says, “You can try using traps for an initial problem but you then have to deal with dead animals around the home which can be hard for kids.” Poison is another common option, but equally nasty to deal with and potentially dangerous if you have children or other animals around. Rodents are prolific breeders, so you want to be sure they are removed fully and quickly. An expert will comprehensively remove the problem and help to ensure it does not re-occur by taking preventative measures.
Night, night, don’t let the bed bugs bite
Have you ever wondered what might be living in your mattress? Bed bugs are a genuine issue and one that is increasing in the warming UK. How do you know you have bed bugs? They are tiny creatures and you are unlikely to see them. Tiny dots of blood on your bedding or groups of bites on your skin are key signs, or even tiny brown bug droppings. By the time you notice their presence, their population may have grown to considerable numbers. Contrary to the myth, they don’t favour unclean habitats and the good news is they don’t spread diseases, but their bites can be incredibly itchy and uncomfortable and even cause an allergic reaction.
They are transported from one place to another on fabric such as luggage, bedding or furniture. They are incredibly sturdy and difficult to get rid of on your own as they are resistant to pesticides and can live without a food source for a long time. So if you are unfortunately enough to experience these intruders then you really are best calling an expert to deal with the situation professionally and comprehensively. You want to be clear that you have fully removed this bug for good.
Getting fleas to flee
Another bug that we dread is fleas. This one can comes with a bit of a stigma, but any pet can bring them in. It is a good idea to check your pet regularly and to ensure they undergo appropriate preventative treatments.
Fleas are small, but big enough to be seen and they jump in a distinct way. They can spread diseases to animals and even possibly humans, although this is not a great problem in the UK. These pests live in warm, damp environments such as pet beds or carpets and they bite. How will you know you have them? Either by seeing them or by experiencing the itchy bumps on your skin. If they do get into your carpets, they will need to be treated by a professional to ensure all larvae are removed. After a single feed fleas will lay over 100 eggs which may well fall off the ‘host’ onto the surrounding environment. So be sure to do all you can to avoid these and be vigilant on pets so you can response quickly if they start to appear.
No one wants bugs and pests in their home, but the key is not to mess around if you suspect anything is present. A local professional can deal with the problem and give you peace of mind as well as advice on preventing future re-occurrence, rather than leaving you worried they are still around. So, unless you are sure you can resolve the issue yourself, leave the heebie jeebies to an expert!