Pests and what to look out for

RATS (Various colours)

Rats pose a significant health risk to humans and our pets. Common diseases carried by Rats include Salmonella, Weil's Disease, E.coli, Cryptosporidiosis and Tuberculosis. Rats also carry Fleas, Mites and Ticks and can cause acute allergic reactions.


Appearance: Black or brown, seven to 10 inches long, with a long tail, large ears and eyes, and a pointed nose with smooth fur.


Habitat: Nests inside and under buildings, or in piles of rubbish or wood. Excellent climber that can often be found in the upper parts of structures.


Diet: Omnivorous, but shows a preference for grains, fruits, nuts and vegetables.


Reproduction: Becomes sexually mature at four months, producing four to six litters per year that consist of four to eight young each. Lives up to one year.



Mice invade your home seeking food, water and warmth. Without proper mouse control intervention, one pair of mice may produce 200 offspring in four months. Contamination Each mouse can contaminate much more food than it eats.


Appearance: Small and slender, three to four inches long, with large ears, small eyes and a pointed nose. Light brown or light gray. Droppings are rod-shaped.


Habitat: Nests within structures and burrows. Establishes a "territory" near food sources that are generally 10 to 30 feet from the nest. Inquisitive, but very wary. Excellent climbers.


Diet: Omnivorous, but prefers cereal grains.


Reproduction: Prolific breeders by two months of age. Can have litters as often as every 40 or 50 days, with four to seven young per litter. Live up to one year.



Cockroaches can wreak havoc on your home. To win the war in cockroach control, here are some things you should know. Cockroaches can enter your home in many different ways, from the outside through cracks and crevices, vents, sewer and drain pipes. We even bring them in on products like grocery bags, boxes, purses and on our person.


Ideal environment: Your home is an ideal breeding ground for most species of cockroaches. With plenty of food, warmth, water and nesting sites, they can remain active all year round.


Reproduction: Cockroaches reproduce quickly. For every one you see there can be many, many more hiding and multiplying behind your walls.


Evasiveness: Because Cockroaches are nocturnal, if you've seen one, you probably haven't seen them all. The few cockroaches you see by day could mean they were likely forced out by overcrowding; a possible sign of severe infestation.


Allergies/Asthma: The dust created by cast-off Cockroach skins, dead bodies and droppings can aggravate allergies, especially in children and sensitive individuals.


Do-it-yourself ineffectiveness: Cockroaches are better at hiding than you are at finding them, and their eggs are naturally protected from insecticides. Without special equipment, materials and know-how, cockroach control can be a losing battle.



Being stung by a Common Wasp or Hornet (a larger member of the wasp family) is very painful. It can also be life threatening to the one in thirty people who are allergic to stings and may suffer anaphylactic shock. However, it is possible to reduce these risks by taking sensible precautions when outdoors and ensuring that Hornet or Wasp nests are properly treated or removed.


Appearance: Wasps and Hornets can be identified by their alternating black and yellow body segments. They have a distinctive side-to-side flying pattern and can be mistaken for Bees, although their bodies lack the hair and rounded abdomen of the Bee.


Habitat: These social Wasps live in colonies that may contain a thousand insects at a time. Hornet and Wasp nests are made from chewed wood pulp and saliva, giving them unmistakable papery walls. A queen will start to build a nest in the spring, beginning with a nest about the size of a golf ball but as the first batch of workers hatch to take over nest building the size of the nest increases rapidly. Wasps will build nests anywhere with shelter and easy access to the outdoors, often in domestic housing, making use of attics, wall cavities, roof spaces or under the eaves of buildings.


Diet: Adults live through one season feeding on caterpillars, grubs and other insects. They also enjoy nectar and sweet substances such as fruit and tree sap. Wasps are also attracted to garbage and other human foods.


Attacks: Both Wasps and Hornets are very protective of their nest and their stings can be painful. Equipped with lance-like stingers without barbs, both Wasps and Hornets are capable of stinging repeatedly. The risk of being stung is particularly high towards the end of summer. Resultantly it is preferable to destroy a Wasps nest earlier in the year before Wasps become more aggressive.



Bed bugs are becoming more and more active across the globe. Over the last 5 years there has been a significant rise in the number of recorded Bed Bug incidents in all parts of the world.


Appearance: Bed Bugs are flat, reddish-brown, oval insects about 3/16-inch long or the size of an apple seed. Swollen and reddish after a blood meal.


Habitat: Cracks and crevices including mattress seams, sheets, furniture, behind baseboards, electrical outlet plates and picture frames. Often found in hotels, where they can travel from room to room and in visitors' luggage.


Diet: Feed on blood.


Reproduction: Females can deposit one to five eggs a day, and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in a lifetime. Under normal room temperatures and with an adequate food supply, Bed Bugs can live over 300 days.


Danger signs: Live insects. Small blood spots on bed sheets. Faecal pellets. Cast nymphal skins and a distinctive sweet & sickly smell.


Potential harm: Customers can be bitten, Bed bugs move around easily but are difficult to treat and any Bed Bug infestation can quickly reach an epidemic level if not treated in a professional way.



A common problem in homes particularly for those with cats or dogs. Fleas are also frequently found when moving into a home that previously had pets. While Fleas can transmit disease, in this country it is rare. Instead, the primary concern is the distress that Flea bites cause to people and pets.


Appearance: Small, wingless, about 1/12- to 1/6-inch long. Covered in spines with piercing mouthparts.


Habitat: A parasite that attaches to a host.


Diet: Larvae feed on organic debris, particularly the faeces of adult fleas, which contain undigested blood.


Reproduction: Eggs are not attached to the host. Eggs will hatch on the ground, in nests, carpet, bedding, upholstery or cracks in the floor. Most hatch within seven to fourteen days.




Grey squirrels were introduced to Britain in the late 1800s, and their adaptability has allowed them to successfully populate much of the country. They are now a common wildlife species in urban areas and mixed woodland.


Habitat: To breed, grey squirrels need a safe and secure site to build their nest, often called a Drey, where they can escape predators, bear and raise their young, sleep overnight and escape inclement weather. Usually the nest is constructed in a suitable tree, but other sites can be used.


Threats: When squirrels enter a loft space, they can cause structural damage by tearing up loft insulation for bedding, chewing timbers, pipework and stored items, and posing a fire hazard by stripping insulation from electrical wiring. They may also be noisy, and if they drown in uncovered water storage tanks, may contaminate the water supply. Problems in the garden are more annoying than dangerous.



Birds problems can pose health risks to humans and be an annoyance. They can spread diseases such as Ornithosis and Salmonella. Deface buildings with their droppings and foul areas which can become slippery and hazardous.


Birds can also cause damage to vehicles and buildings with their acidic droppings as well as encouraging secondary insect infestation of their nests and nest sites.