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While the UK sizzled in this summer’s heatwave there was some speculation that the country would be plagued by rats as a result.

rat

So is that the case? Does hot weather spell rat infestations? Not surprisingly a short spell of hot weather is not suddenly going to lead to a sudden, dramatic surge in the rat population.

The concern more specifically is related to rubbish and the greater incidence of food being thrown away as it goes off more quickly in the heat.

Rats, as it is well documented, are attracted to rubbish because it provides rich pickings for vermin scavenging for food.

As a result of the heat experienced this summer the speed at which food goes off has increased, particularly where fruit and vegetables are concerned.

Shorter shelf life for food encourages rats

So while rats may be having a field day tucking into discarded apples and carrots, which will ultimately strengthen them, they are also having to search for water.

In urban areas where food has become more plentiful it may well be that more accessible water supplies have dried up. So while conditions may be supporting the rat population on one hand they may also be hindering them on the other.

The summer months also traditionally sees rats heading outdoors into outbuildings and barns.

However, there is a suggestion that more rats have remained indoors, perhaps as a result of the heat, prompting reported pest problems to rise.

Rat infestations

Rather than the rat population suddenly increasing in the heat it is more likely that they are staying put to enjoy the spoils of our leftover fruit and vegetables.

If you are concerned about a rat infestation during the hot weather due to extra food rubbish the best course of action is to make sure that all bins close properly and to be extra vigilant when disposing of food.

Also take care to store food securely and keep kitchen areas clean – any food leftovers, stacked crockery and cutlery or dirty water can attract numerous vermin.

For advice on how best to deal with a rat infestation or what to look out for get in touch with the Pest Busters team today.


Pest Busters (Birmingham)

Highfield Farm, Middle Lane, Kings Norton, Birmingham B38 0DX
0121 695 9076
www.pest-busters.co.uk

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Of all the insects that can cause us to be on high alert for fear of getting bitten the horse fly continually creeps up the scale.

And it’s not without good reason, as many people unfortunate enough to have suffered a horse fly bite can tell you.

What is a horse fly?

Horse flies are large, stout flies that can be found all over the world. They are particularly problematic as the female seeks out blood from larger mammals – this includes humans, but also cows and horses.

It is here that the problem with horse flies becomes abundantly apparent. Flying from animal to human to animal they are brushed away as they suck blood, biting repeatedly and spreading disease.

Are horse fly bites dangerous?

Horse bites are certainly unpleasant – they can very quickly become painful and itchy. Some people can also experience nausea, dizziness and feeling hot.

It is very easy for the bites to become infected due to the nature of horse flies and it is advised to gently wash the area and to try to avoid scratching it and spreading any bacteria.

People can suffer an allergic reaction to horse fly bites manifesting in wheezing, dizziness, swelling and a rash. If you get bitten and suspect the bite has become infected or that you may be suffering an allergic reaction it is important to seek medical advice.

Avoiding horse flies

Unfortunately horse flies are part and parcel of enjoying the summer months and are prevalent near to meadows, areas where horses and cows are kept, and close to open water.

The good news for people who enjoy a few drinks in the garden at the end of the day is that horse flies are not fans of darker conditions and are generally only active in the sunlight.

To avoid being bitten the best advice is to wear long-sleeved light clothing and put in place general fly deterrents around the home such as fly screens on open doors.

For more advice on solutions to deter pest flies contact pest busters.


Pest Busters (Birmingham)

Highfield Farm, Middle Lane, Kings Norton, Birmingham B38 0DX
0121 695 9076
www.pest-busters.co.uk

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They’re everywhere at this time of year – as soon as you open a door to bring a bit of cool air into a stuffy kitchen there shortly follows that familiar buzz. We’re talking about flies of course.

fly

If you run a professional catering establishment flies can be the bane of your life at this time of year. There is little that puts potential café customers off adding a delicious blueberry muffin to go with their coffee than the sight of a fly (or two) climbing all over the display.

Flies manage to get behind refrigerated glass displays, onto tables, and into the kitchen. Moving swiftly it is incredibly difficult to chase a fly out once it has decided to venture indoors.

Why are flies a pest?

Obviously, flies are a part of our natural world and play their part in the ecological system, but when they set up camp in a kitchen or café they become a problem.

Due to the huge amount of bacteria they carry around flies can pose a serious risk to health if they land on food. Landing on anything and everything, flies can pick up dangerous bacteria from faeces, rotten food and rubbish.

They then bring this bacteria with them into your catering establishment – and will transfer this to any food or surfaces they land on.

Diseases that usually affect the stomach are frequently associated with flies including salmonella, E. coli and Shigellosis. Food poisoning is the last thing any business wants to be accused of passing on so it is important to make sure food areas are protected from flies.

What can you do to protect your kitchen from flies?

The best solution to the problem of pest flies is to keep them out in the first place. A number of fly deterrent solutions are available to help keep pest flies at bay.

Fly screens that meet food hygiene standards can be fitted to doors and windows to help keep flies out while electric fly control units and fly papers can be used as an added precaution inside.

An outdoor flytrap or the use of insecticides are other options that businesses may want to explore to target pest flies.

It is also important to keep catering areas clean and tidy – make sure food is covered and cleaned away, bins are secure and that any drainage problems are dealt with.

Whether you run a hotel, restaurant, café or school canteen fly pest solutions are important to maintaining standards.

Get in touch with Pest Busters to find out how we can help.


Pest Busters (Birmingham)

Highfield Farm, Middle Lane, Kings Norton, Birmingham B38 0DX
0121 695 9076
www.pest-busters.co.uk

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wasp pest controlThe warmer weather is finally here and summer is just around the corner but that also means a return of wasps.

These buzzing pests can be a real problem if they make their home near you house or property presenting a threat of being stung.

While wasps are very much a part of nature and part and parcel of the warmer summer months there are some steps you can take to protect your home and family from these summer pests.

What attracts wasps?

As with many household pests discarded food is the biggest problem when it comes to attracting wasps. Sweet food and drink in particular attract wasps in the later months of summer but all food sources can contribute the problem.

To reduce the problem of wasps becoming a pest in your home this summer make sure you clear up after eating picnics in the garden, store rubbish carefully and keep your compost heap covered.

If you grow fruit in your garden take care to pick up fruit that has fallen onto the floor – as this will be particularly attractive to wasps in the later summer months.

Controlling how wasps get into the home is also worth considering, although no-one wants to spend summer with the doors and windows shut. Check for any holes or gaps in the fabric of your house that should not be there and consider using a fly screen to deter all flying insects.

A natural predator

Keeping wasps at bay in the first place is the best way to approach pest control, after all while a pest to humans, wasps serve an important role in nature.

Their aggressive nature, which makes wasps such a concern, is also what makes them an excellent predator that is very efficient at controlling pests that destroy plants and crops. Like bees, wasps also play their part in the pollination process.

Natural deterrents

Although there are obvious benefits to bees and wasps visiting your garden you may want to reduce the frequency of these visits, particularly if you have young children or have an allergy. Covering up and not wearing perfume is a good start to protect yourself from being stung.

There is some evidence that wasps do not like mint, wormwood and lemongrass so planting these could help to keep the number of wasps visiting your garden down.

Avoiding angering wasps in perhaps the most important consideration for families and gardeners as this will stop them releasing the pheromone that acts as a call to arms to other wasps by signalling a threat.

When dealing with wasps the best way forward is not presenting a threat and covering up food sources.

Should you find a wasp’s nest on your property, or believe that you may have one, you will need pest control advice.

Get in touch with pest busters to discuss any concerns you may have about pests in your home.


Pest Busters (Birmingham)

Highfield Farm, Middle Lane, Kings Norton, Birmingham B38 0DX
0121 695 9076
www.pest-busters.co.uk

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antsThanks to the cooler British climate, ants are not too much of a problem in this country – however when these small black critters make their way indoors they do so in numbers.

During those brief months of summer when the sun breaks through and warms our streets and homes, ants can still be a problem. In fact, it would be unusual not to spot an army of ants at some point.

What you don’t want though is those summer visitors to make their way inside, as once they have found a source of food and shelter ants can be difficult to get rid of.

That tell tale sign of a line of black ants heading along the kitchen wall or into the conservatory is the first sign that action is needed.

What attracts ants?

Ants are attracted to food in general, and water, but most of all they cannot resist the lure of sugar. So that lemonade the children split and left to dry in the kitchen is exactly the sort of welcome ants are looking for…

It’s not only kitchens that become an unintended home for ants though, they can also find their way into all other parts of the house as they hunt for food by squeezing through the tiniest spaces.

And once they are in, ants are notoriously hard to get rid of as they leave a scent trail to encourage other ants to follow.

How to prevent ants getting into the house

As with all household pests, good hygiene is the best starting point to deter unwanted visitors. Be scrupulous when dealing with food waste, keeping crumbs off the floor and wiping up spillages while also maintaining a clean kitchen area.

Part of the trick is keeping pests out in the first place by sealing any nooks and crannies that ants and other pests can squeeze through. Check doors are not cracked, windows are sealed properly and any broken brickwork or woodwork is fixed.

Are ants a health hazard?

Ants are not a health hazard in themselves, but they can cause health concerns if they have access to – and crawl over – a food supply due the risk of contamination. The ants that make their way into your house could have been anywhere and walked over anything, they could then transfer potentially harmful bacteria onto your food.

With this in mind an ant invasion needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.

How to get rid of ants

Killing ants one by one is unlikely to solve the problem as more ants will continue to follow the trail. The area affected and their route into the house will need to be cleaned thoroughly to remove the trail. If you can, locate the nest and clean back to that point.

There are DIY solutions on the market that act as ant deterrents, however, as with all household pest problems it is best to call in pest control experts who can deal with the problem safely and speedily.

In the case of a large ant invasion professional help will certainly be necessary. For advice on dealing with ants contact Pest Busters.


Pest Busters (Birmingham)

Highfield Farm, Middle Lane, Kings Norton, Birmingham B38 0DX
0121 695 9076
www.pest-busters.co.uk

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Do you think cockroaches are only likely to trouble you on holiday? You might want to think again…

cockroachesSurprising as it may seem cockroaches can be a problem in the United Kingdom. There is no doubting these infamous insects prefer a more temperate climate but some hardy species of the cockroach family are happy to tough it out in the colder reaches of Europe.

There are two main types of cockroach found in England – the German cockroach and the Oriental cockroach.

While the sight and sound of an intrusion of cockroaches is certainly responsible for the general dislike and fear they are greeted with it is their capability to spread disease that people should be most concerned about.

These insects feed on just about anything, shedding their skins and spreading droppings as they go. As such the risk of contamination is high – and their very presence can trigger allergies and asthma.

Where do cockroaches live?

The Oriental cockroach can withstand outside temperatures so there is a chance this could be found in refuse area, but otherwise cockroaches generally head for shelter.

Areas with moisture are particularly popular such as kitchens, bathrooms and pipe work as well as basements.

Once they have found a place to make their homes cockroaches can multiply quickly, laying eggs that can produce up to 50 cockroaches in a short time. This is why cockroaches are seen as such as serious pest.

Signs to look out for:

  • Smell – cockroaches cause an unpleasant smell
  • Droppings – these look like ground coffee or can be cylindrical
  • Shed skin

As cockroaches thrive in such large numbers of you spot one, it is likely there are more so the first step is to try to spot more.

In the unfortunate event of discovering cockroaches in your property call in pest control experts immediately as the problem will only get worse.

Protect yourself

To keep cockroaches out of your property it is wise to keep your house clean and in good repair. As applies to all household pests, be vigilant when dealing with food scraps and make sure they are promptly cleared up and thrown away into a closed container.

Make sure small entrance to the home such as broken brickwork, tiles or seals are repaired and keep kitchen areas clean – including floors.

If you are concerned you might have a cockroach infestation at your property get in touch with Pest Busters today.


Pest Busters (Birmingham)

Highfield Farm, Middle Lane, Kings Norton, Birmingham B38 0DX
0121 695 9076
www.pest-busters.co.uk

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Good neighbours can make all the difference when it comes to a happy home – but what if your neighbours are pests? Yes we mean real pests –what if sitting on the other side of the garden fence is a colony of rats, a wasp’s nest or an out of control insect infestation?

mouse in hole in wall

Obviously if the concern is in your own home dealing with a pest problem is far more straightforward and can be dealt with on your terms.  The best choice in the event of a serious infestation is to call in pest control experts, however, if the problem is at your neighbour’s home that is not something you can force them to do.

Check they know there is a pest problem

So where does that leave you? Hopefully your neighbour will also not want to share their home with pests so it is best to raise the issue with them politely. Let them know that you have spotted rats in their garden, or are concerned there could be a wasp’s nest.

In the case of rats it could be that a lone rat has been spotted in the garden looking for food. However, if multiple rats have been spotted there is a good chance they are making their home in the garden.

There is every chance that if your neighbour is aware of the problem they have already taken advice, if they were not aware, hopefully once the issue is flagged up they will call in pest control experts.

Time to call in the council

However, some neighbours can be awkward about domestic issues. If you meet with resistance and are absolutely sure your neighbour has a rat problem that is not being dealt with you need to contact your local authority, which should send an environmental health officer to inspect.

This also applies to wasps nests, although this may need to be in a position where it is considered a danger to people.

In the case of rats coming into your home when you believe the source of the infestation to be a neighbour, this also needs to be dealt with by the home owner as regardless of what measures you take, if you fail to tackle the source of the pest problem it will persist.

If you have any concerns about a pest problem contact Pest Busters today.


Pest Busters (Birmingham)

Highfield Farm, Middle Lane, Kings Norton, Birmingham B38 0DX
0121 695 9076
www.pest-busters.co.uk

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Many household pests are attracted by dirt – more specifically food waste – so a good way to keep bugs at bay is by blitzing the house with a new year super clean.

wasp spray

While most people don’t relish the thought of cleaning the house, it is essential to maintain a certain standard of living. The key is to keep on top of things by getting into a few good daily habits – then making it a once-a-year mission to complete a ‘deep clean’.

Here are our top tips for a new year clean to keep pests out:

 

Make a clean kitchen a top priority

Kitchens hold a big attraction for household pests with all that food being stored, crumbs left on the floor, a water supply and the potential for damp. Use the new year to get rid of unwanted food and to wipe down the inside of cupboards used for storage.

Make sure the cooker and microwave are spick and span and free of food debris then tackle the floor. Vacuum around corners, into crevices and behind bins to get rid of any dropped food then thoroughly mop the area.

Use the opportunity to check the seals on your sinks are in good working order and will not allow access for any pests and fix any leaks – damp areas are havens for some pests.

Floor any potential pests

Carpets can be a great hiding pace for food crumbs and household pests. While the floors probably get vacuumed regularly this is the time to leave no stone unturned.

Pull the furniture out, vacuum behind the TV and use attachments to target dust and mites that might be hiding out by skirting boards or on curtains.

Flush out bathroom germs

Like the kitchen, bathrooms have the potential to provide a damp haven for pests. Clear out under the sink and give every surface a thorough clean then double check for leaks or broken seals.

Blitz the bedroom

No-one wants to think of bugs visiting their bedrooms so keeping the area scrupulously clean is the way forward.

Sort out unwanted clothes and secure anything that will not be used for sometime in a sealed bag to avoid carpet beetles. Clear out under the bed and vacuum thoroughly then give the mattress the same treatment to send any undesirables on their way.


Pest Busters (Birmingham)

Highfield Farm, Middle Lane, Kings Norton, Birmingham B38 0DX
0121 695 9076
www.pest-busters.co.uk

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insect eating foodTiny bugs sharing our Christmas treats? It’s not something that we like to think about but it could be a problem all the same as insects can infest stored food.

Being aware of the problem and knowing how to spot the signs of stored product insects is the first line of defence – and will hopefully help you to keep those Christmas treats all to yourself.

Being alert to the signs of stored product insects will allow you to take early action and nip the problem in the bud before the insect infestation spreads.

What insects are found in stored food?

In the United Kingdom stored product insects are generally beetles weevils, silver fish and moths.

Most of the insects are minute with beetles and weevils measuring around 3-4mm, flour mites are just 0.5mm, while moths can be up to 9mm.

These little critters are brought into warehouses, factories and bakeries inside bags of grain and flour.

However, they can also be found in products such as nuts and dried fruit.

They can be a serious problem if found in a commercial operation as infected produce will need to be thrown away. Business owners will also need to thoroughly clean the area – and apply insecticide to ensure the insects have been removed – this should be done by a professional pest control firm.

Within the house stored product insects cause similar problems albeit on a much smaller scale. At the sight of a brown fleck moving in your flour, holes in packing, damaged food or silken webbing in the kitchen it is time act – and quickly.

The faster the response to stored product insect infestations the easier the situation will be to manage and to contain the amount food affected.

What to do

Remove all affected food – this could be sugar, flour, breakfast cereals, dried meat and dried fruit. Follow up by comprehensively cleaning the entire cupboard, including cracks and joins. Make sure the kitchen is as clean as possible.

A pest control company will be able to ensure the removal of insects and can treat the affected area.

For advice on tackling insect infestations contact Pest Busters.


Pest Busters (Birmingham)

Highfield Farm, Middle Lane, Kings Norton, Birmingham B38 0DX
0121 695 9076
www.pest-busters.co.uk

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Carpet beetles – they sounds like pretty serious invaders, but if you are picturing substantial shiny black visitors think again.

carpet

Measuring just 3mm – these textile-loving insects are miniscule and coloured white and black.

On account of their tiny stature, they are also incredibly difficult to spot.

Should you be unlucky enough to suffer an infestation of carpet beetles it is far more likely that you will notice the signs of your unwelcome visitors before you manage to spot a carpet beetle itself.

These small insects make their way into homes through unsealed entrances – think drafty window seals, open doors and settle down to work eating away at (more than likely) your soft furnishings.

A common household pest

Fans of natural fibres, carpet beetles feast on textiles for the protein keratin and are a common household pest.

Adult carpet beetles are mainly active through the summer from May to August when they will lay their eggs – usually under skirting boards, in wardrobes and under furniture.

When these eggs become larvae they will hide away, munching away on whatever textile is at hand – be that your carpet, furniture or stored blankets or clothing.

Tell-tale signs that carpet beetles have made themselves at home in your house include holes left in materials, faeces, and shed skins. They can also cause skin irritation similar to that caused by bed bugs.

Take action

The best way to avoid an infestation is to pack clothes away carefully in air tight bags and to maintain a clean home – vacuuming regularly.

Should you discover an infestation, vacuuming the area thoroughly will help. However, carpet beetles can be very difficult to get rid of so consider calling a pest control expert in who can treat the area with insecticide.

If you are concerned you may have a problem with carpet beetles contact Pest Busters.


Pest Busters (Birmingham)

Highfield Farm, Middle Lane, Kings Norton, Birmingham B38 0DX
0121 695 9076
www.pest-busters.co.uk