Your home should be a sanctuary, free from the nuisance of pests. To ensure a pest-free environment top tips include, sealing cracks and gaps, storing food properly, removing standing water, vacuuming and cleaning regularly, disposing of rubbish quickly, and good pet care.
The responsibility for pest control is set out below. A pest control service can be provided in very limited circumstances.
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Pest control responsibilities
Beyond Housing’s responsibility:
- Dealing with pests and vermin in communal areas
- Blocking access points for pests and vermin.
- Dealing with pests and vermin in your home
- Preventing infestations in your home
- Avoiding fly tipping and waste storage that could encourage pests.
Pest control advice
If you have ants, you may spot them moving to and from the nest looking for food supplies. Ant nests look like small piles of earth.
The best treatment for ants
- Pour boiling water over the nest or use a boric acid which you can buy from any supermarket or chemist
- Remove any food sources. Ants are attracted to food, so if you can remove any food sources from your home, it will help to deter them. This includes keeping food in airtight containers, cleaning up spills immediately, and taking out the trash regularly
- Use ant baits or traps. Ant baits and traps can be effective in killing ants, but it’s important to use them correctly. Follow the instructions on the label carefully, and be sure to place the baits or traps in areas where ants are likely to be found.
Bats are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
If you have bats, you may hear ‘chattering’ in the loft space or walls particularly in July and August and around dusk. You may also notice bat droppings which resemble grains of rice that will turn to dust with very little pressure.
What do I need to do if I have bats?
For more information, please:
- Bed bugs
Bed bugs are wingless insects, about 5mm long. They are red-brown and flat in shape and feed on the blood of humans. This makes them become rounder and turn red-purple.
A bite from a bed bug is painless at the time, however, later the skin will become irritated and inflamed. A small, hard, swollen, white welt may develop at the site of each bite which can occur in rows or batches of three or four. Bed bugs are not known to carry disease.
If you do have bed bugs, you will notice:
- Red bite marks on your upper body with blood spots on bedding and nightwear
- Brown excrement spots and white hatched/unhatched eggs.
Bed bugs are attracted to the heat source at night from body temperature so are not normally seen during the day. Any infested bedding and furnishings should be washed on a hot temperature.
If you have bed bugs, it’s always best to seek professional help. If you wish to try and deal with the bed bugs yourself then vacuum the mattress, base, headboard, skirting board and carpets.
Heat treatment is the most effective way, so if possible, steam clean everywhere.
Bees are not protected, though care should be taken because of their declining numbers and their proven importance in pollination of plants and crops. If you have an issue with bees, please visit the Cleveland Beekeepers website. They may ask you to send a photograph to them, so please try to do this before you visit the website. This will help them to identify whether it is a bee or a wasp. They will then be able to tell you what action is needed.
- Carpet beetles
Carpet beetles are between 2 – 4mm long and look like a small grey and cream ladybird.
The larvae are about 4mm long and covered in brown hairs, rolling up when disturbed.
They moult the cast-off skins as they grow, which could be the first sign of infestation along with bald patches on carpets near the skirting boards.
If you think you have carpet beetles, vacuum your carpets and upholstery regularly and check any gathered fluff in corners.
Lift carpets and underlay and clean the floor and carpet thoroughly. This is their main egg-laying area. Use insecticide to deal with the larvae, affected items should be sprayed with a product labelled for carpet beetle control.
A professional company will be more experienced in dealing with treatment.
- Cluster flies
Cluster flies vary between species and can be from 6 – 10mm long with distinctive stripes behind the head, short golden hairs on their thorax and a mottled light/dark grey abdomen.
Towards the end of autumn, they are often found in mixed swarms, hibernating usually in loft and attic spaces. Once the weather starts to warm again in spring then they will become more active.
You can buy treatments in the form of sprays, powders or mist. Follow the instructions on the packaging carefully and be mindful if treating attics or loft spaces of bats being present. Bats are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 so treatments should not be used if bats are present.
A private pest controller may be able to help for a fee.
A cockroach is usually between 10 – 23mm.
Cockroaches live in large numbers and give out an odour of almonds. They hide in cracks around sinks, drains, cookers and extractor fans.
Germs can be spread from their body or droppings coming into contact with food causing food poisoning, so keep food sources away and in sealed containers.
It may be better to get a professional treatment from a pest control company, however, gels, sprays or traps can be bought online.
The most common types of fleas are cat and dog fleas, spread by jumping onto a host (dog or cat). The stages of fleas can vary from two weeks to eight months, going from eggs to larva, to pupa then adult.
You can treat minor infestations yourself. Thoroughly vacuum your whole house and steam clean areas if possible. Insecticides can be brought from chemists, vets or pet shops. However, it is recommended you leave rooms unvacuumed for at least 14 days after applying insecticides.
As part of your usual welfare routine for your pets, use flea collars, powder and/or drops. To prevent infestation, regularly wash and clean your pets’ bedding.
Regular vacuuming, washing and cleaning pets’ bedding will help prevent infestation.
By eating the roots of lawns, small plants in garden borders and vegetable plots, some crane fly larvae (leatherjackets) can cause damage. After a wet autumn, they are frequently more numerous because damp conditions are better for the survival of eggs and larvae.
In lawns, flowerbeds, and vegetable plots, leatherjackets can be treated biologically. Steinernema feltiae or S. carpocapsae, which are irrigated into the soil or turf, are these harmful nematodes. The nematodes enter the leatherjackets’ bodies and spread a bacterial infection. They should be applied carefully because they are not just effective against leatherjackets and might also have an impact on other soil-dwelling insects. The soil must be well-drained, moist, and at least 12°C (54°F) for the worms to be productive. To prevent larvae spreading out from “hot spots” in the lawn, it is best to focus your efforts on the turf along the edges of the affected areas. However, the soil can already be too damaged by the time it is discovered.
Mice are small rodents with grey-brown fur, usually less than 90mm in length.
If you have mice, you will notice mice droppings everywhere, particularly in your kitchen on the floor or in cupboards.
Mouse urine has a strong smell of ammonia, so you may become aware of this, along with signs of bite marks, tracks, burrows, nests and damage to stored food.
The recommended way of dealing with mice is by using mouse snap traps in boxes. All traps must be placed with the welfare of other wildlife in mind.
Rats will invade almost any premises, although unsanitary conditions encourage their activity. The most common sign of an infestation is rat droppings near the nest which could be in lofts, attics and cavity walls.
You may also notice loud scratching noises at night as rats are most active during the evening though may become active during daylight hours if food or water is scarce.
The recommended way of dealing with rats is by using rat traps in boxes which must be placed with the welfare of other wildlife in mind.
It is not recommended to use poison due to the misuse of poisons affecting wildlife and pets.
Silverfish are cigar-shaped, silver-grey, wingless insects about 12mm long, found in damp areas, mainly in kitchens and bathrooms. This may indicate damp conditions which need attention. Correct any persistent dampness and spray with a household insecticide or insect powder labelled for the control of silverfish.
Wasp nests can be found anywhere. Wasps go into hibernation in winter and the nest will be the size of a small ping-pong ball and could be found in lofts, fascia boards, eaves, air bricks, sheds, compost bins, in the ground and at the base of bushes.
It is advisable to use a pest control company, though you can treat wasps yourself.
Treatments are available online or at garden centres and supermarkets and consist of wasp powders, sprays and a wasp foam nest destroyer.
Woodlice are usually found outside, where they tend to live in damp areas, cool conditions of vegetation, the bark of rotting wood and the underside of rocks and slabs. Woodlice in the house is usually caused by an overflowing garden that builds up around the perimeter of your home.
To deal with this start by stripping back the garden, remove dense shrubs and plants around your home. We also recommend removing any bark from flower borders and planters, clearing the area of decaying wood or move log piles away from the house.
If you have woodlice in your house, a woodlice smoke bomb is an effective way to treat an area in one swoop. The insecticidal smoke is very good at getting to places you might not think to treat yourself and also areas with restricted access.