There isn’t a month of the year when pests don‘t pose a problem in one form or another. Nesting seagulls and pigeons are an issue in March/April time, then it’s the wasps turn to make a nuisance of themselves in the summer months. Once the weather turns, out come the rats and mice as we head into the colder months. You never know when you might experience issues with pests such as rats, mice and nuisance birds but if you do, it is important to have an effective pest management strategy in place. As April is pest management month, we thought we would take this opportunity to look at the steps you can take to protect your home or business.
In this article we will look at:
- Identifying a pest problem – nuisance birds, wasps and rodents
- Dealing with a pest problem – effective pest management
- Preventing pest problems – prevention is better than cure
Identifying a Pest Problem
A key part of pest management is identifying the issue in the first instance. You may not even know you have a problem initially. There are some key signs with each pest that you should look out for
Noise – squawking in the early hours of the morning while you are asleep, or noticing an unusual level of bird noise outside your commercial premises is a sign that you might have nuisance birds. Of course, it could be coming from a neighbouring property. In this case, you need to make sure that they don’t take up residence on your property next.
Droppings – you step outside your door to notice that your car, or the exterior of your property, and that of the neighbours is covered in bird excrement. The more you see, the closer to home that the problem is. Not only is it unsightly and unpleasant, it can also cause damage to paintwork and it carries disease. If you do have a build up of bird droppings, or guano to give it it’s official name, you should consider professional cleaning to get rid of it.
Areas to check for nuisance birds
There are some key areas where nuisance birds like to build their nests, these include:
- Solar panels
- Chimney stacks
- Roof ledges
- Window ledges
Essentially, they like somewhere up high, away from predators, where they can nest and raise their young!
IMPORTANT – IT IS ILLEGAL TO INTERFERE WITH THE NEST OF BIRDS IN THE UK. Act before it is too late and they move in on your property. There are preventative measures available which will stop them nesting in the first place.
Wasps tend to come later in the summer, or at least they make their presence felt during those lat summer months. When they are busy building their nests during the early summer months, you won’t see them in the same numbers, or as aggressive as they get later in summer. You see, as their nest runs out of food, they venture out looking for it. This is when they start swarming around you when you are trying to eat al fresco or enjoy a pint in the pub garden. They will also eat fallen fruit which has become fermented, leading them to be intoxicated and more aggressive. Wasps nests can be identified by the following:
Noise – if you can hear a low buzzing like a humming sound but aren’t quite sure where it is coming from, you could have a wasp nests. Sometimes in the loft space, at other times in a tree in the garden. Wasps like to find uninterrupted spots close to a wood source so that they can build their nests away from danger
Disturbed wood – this may seem strange but if you notice damage to a fence panel, a wooden beam or tree bark, this could be a sign that wasps are nearby using this wood to build their nests. They chew it up and mixed with their saliva, it forms a paste that the wasps can use to build their nest.
Sight – Probably the biggest giveaway is the sight of wasps in your home, place of work or around your property. One wasp is probably nothing much to worry about but if you are regularly seeing them then this could be a sign that there is a wasps’ nest in the vicinity.
Areas to check for wasps nests
Carefully check the following areas to see if there is any evidence of a wasp nest:
- Outbuildings – sheds, garages, summer houses – under the eaves, in the roof space etc.
- Trees – holes in trees in the garden, old tree stumps, etc
- Bricks – a whole in a brick is a common place for wasps to fly in and start building their nests.
- Loft spaces
IMPORTANT – DON’T TRY AND DEAL WITH A NEST YOURSELF AND BE CAREFUL. While you might have identified a nest, don’t try and remove it yourself, call in the experts that know what they are doing.
Rats and mice start to make themselves known once the weather turns, usually around October time when the temperatures drop. These prevalent pests will find their way in through the tiniest holes and gaps to find a nice warm, dry spot to shelter and nest. They are looking for a food source and somewhere non threatening – what better than your home or business kitchen? But how do you know if you have a rodent problem?
Noise – in the dead of the night when you are woken up by a scratching sound that you can’t quite pinpoint! Often rodents find their way into the wall space or under the floorboards or they could be overhead. You will hear them scratching as they are nocturnal.
Droppings – another surefire sign that you have a rodent. Don’t mistake it for the family hamster – they will leave a small trail of droppings, or you will find a pile of them if you are near their nest. Rat and mouse droppings cause disease so you want to get shot of that rodent ASAP.
Damage – rats and mice love to chew so you may discover wires which have been chewed through or areas where they have chewed through wooden beams or similar.
Sight – You may see something scurrying across the floor out of the corner of your eye, you might even see one around the exterior of your property. Don’t freak out – it will be more scared of you – instead call an expert to come and remove it. Don’t just assume you have one either. Where there is one, more will follow and then, if they mate, you will soon have a much bigger problem.
Areas to check for rodents
Rats and mice are agile creatures so it may be difficult to pinpoint exactly where the rodents are nesting but check the following areas:
- Loft spaces
- Under floorboards
- Old cupboards that are unused
- Outdoor animal feed stores
- Food bins
IMPORTANT – RATS AND MICE CARRY DISEASES AND CAN CAUSE HIDDEN DAMAGE. If you suspect you have a rodent sharing your property, call in the experts.
Dealing with a pest problem – effective pest management
Once you are confident that you have a pest problem, or if you need a little assistance to confirm your suspicions, then you need to take action to address the problem. It’s a little more tricky with some pests than others. In the case of a rodent, you can call up your local pest management company and ask them to send someone out. They can then identify where the pests are and seek to eradicate them.
Birds including seagulls and pigeons
In the case of birds, it is actually illegal to disturb the nests and you are pretty much stuck once they have made their own. You then have to wait for the young to fledge their nests. There are bird scaring tactics to encourage the birds to move on – hawking is an effective measure but you can’t remove nests.
Dealing with a wasp nest is a case for the professionals. If you try to disturb one yourself, you risk getting stung. Some people are actually allergic to wasp stings – this can cause anaphylactic shock which, in the very worst cases, can be fatal. It is a much better solution to call a pest management expert that is experienced in dealing with the removal of wasps and their nests.
Rats and mice
Specialist pest eradication measures need to be carried out to get rid of rats and mice. There are DIY measures but we would advise against these as they are often ineffective and you end up paying more on various solutions in the long run. Much better to have the problem dealt with quickly and efficiently.
Pest prevention is better than cure
The best form of domestic or commercial pest management is prevention. Preventing pests from becoming a problem is far easier, and less costly, than dealing with them once they have invaded your property. Here are some tips for effective pest prevention:
Identify areas that would make a good nesting spot – chimneys, solar panels, ledges etc and then arrange for them to be bird proofed. Preferably before nesting season. Bird spiking and netting will make the area inhospitable to birds as they fail to land on any of the flat surfaces.
If you see any brick holes, old tree hollows and the like, fill them in. If the wasps can’t gain access, they can’t build their nests.
These flexible creatures can find their way in through even the smallest of spaces – pipes, gaps between bricks, drains, holes in walls etc. Be sure to cover up any access points (even those that look really small). Rat and mice will look for a source of food so if you are storing animal feed, keep it in closed containers, clean up any spillages and keep your bins contained! The less reasons you give a rat to come close to your property, the better. Exercise good hygiene and keep the pests at bay.
If you need any help with any aspect of pest management, then we are on hand to deliver our expertise and the benefit of our experience. Whether you are a domestic customer or a large commercial organisation, we are small enough to care and large enough to cope. We have a team of pest management experts that will go to great lengths to help and assist you with pest prevention and management. Give us a call on 01752 929292 today.