A pest infestation often comes as a surprise, we clean and maintain our homes and it is upsetting when something goes wrong. Most people react when they find an issue, however, there are things you can do to prevent a potential pest issue and signs to be on the lookout for.
Inside your home, there are hotspots for certain pests.
Rats & Mice
Rats and mice live almost entirely alongside man, and our homes can make the ideal environment for them. Lofts, roof spaces, cavity walls, and flooring voids are places often supplying safe harbourage to rat and mice infestations.
Common signs to look out for are droppings in or around the loft and roof space, scratching, or scurrying under the floor or in walls.
There are some things you can do to help prevent rats and mice. Airbricks, small holes in brickwork, and open drainpipes can all provide access for rodents to your home. Airbricks can be meshed over, holes should be filled in and pointing repaired. Drains can be capped and rodent-proof valves fitted. Bins should always be kept closed or lidded as they can provide an opportune food source. Open water tanks in lofts and leaking taps can provide an easy water source.
Defects in roof tiles, soffit boards, and facias allow access for nesting birds. Though commonly these birds are not pests the damage caused to your property when they access these spaces and also the insect pests that live on their nest can be big issues. If a bird has nested the hole must not be filled in until the chicks have fledged and all birds have left the nest. The best approach is preventative. Have a thorough look around the roofline for any holes, slipped tiles, vegetation overgrowing the rood, and proof sufficiently.
Wasps are a well-known pest, they can give you a nasty sting and in extreme cases of anaphylactic shock can cause death. Once a nest has been established in the height of summer a wasp nest can contain 5000 wasps. There are some things that you can do to help prevent wasps and keeping windows and doors closed will prevent a wasp from finding easy access to your home. Keeping bins closed and sealing food away will mean wasps aren’t attracted to these food sources. You are best to check for nests regularly in early spring, often about the size of a golf ball they are usually found in your shed or garage, in wall cavities, lofts, and under eaves. Cluster flies return year on year to the same site to nest and hibernate. Populations can grow to large numbers and become a nuisance in spring when they wake up and look for ways to leave the house.
Cluster flies are so-called as when you see them they appear to “cluster” together. These nest sites can be long term and therefore when a housing development has been built on a nesting site the flies will return and take refuge in the new loft spaces of the houses. As with any insect infestation the sooner you can deal with the problem the better. It is a good idea to keep doors and windows closed when the weather cools.
A common misconception is that you only find bedbugs in dirty places. Bedbugs and their eggs can be spread and brought into your home often on luggage, bags, second-hand furniture and clothing, they are not fussy whether you keep a clean house, an infestation given the right conditions can quickly take hold.
Unfortunately, prevention is limited, bedbug infestations are often spread through bad luck! There are some things that may help, however. If staying away from home, check the room for signs of bedbugs. If you find any thoroughly check your belongings before returning home. It is also a good idea to check any second-hand furniture items before you bring them home for signs of bedbugs and their eggs.
Signs of fleas include pets itching and scratching frequently, you may see the fleas jumping on the carpet or soft furnishings, and you might also have bites on your skin. Just because you don’t have any pets doesn’t mean you can’t have a flea infestation, the eggs can lie dormant for unto 18 months so if you’ve just bought your home have a good look around. Fleas are most active in the summer months as they thrive in warmer temperatures. Usually, fleas on your animals can be controlled with veterinary supplied medicine however if you find a flea problem in your house it can require professional treatment.
Pet beds should be checking for any signs of eggs and also washed on a hot cycle regularly. It is a good idea to check soft furnishings and carpets, fleas will avoid high traffic areas so don’t just focus on the open carpet areas.