Wasps - Vespula vulgaris
Wasps can be regarded as generally useful insects, helping to control
other pests and cleaning up dead insect carcasses. They can even act
as pollinators, but in general they are regarded as nuisance pests and a
threat to health. Many people have a genuine phobia against them, in
some cases, with good reason.
Wasp stings may be unpleasant to most of us, but to some they can
prove fatal. The ability of these social insects to inflict multiple stings
means that for certain individuals, they can kill. Insects are no respecters
of rank, the first recorded instance of a fatal wasp sting was the death of
King Menes of Egypt in about 3000 BC.
Ideally, nests should be treated early or late in the day when wasp
activity is at a minimum and the nest is likely to contain a high
population of workers. The application of an insecticidal dust in and
around the entrance of the nest with a dust applicator is effective
treatment and returning workers will carry dust further into the nest.
Brown rat - Rattus norvegicus
House Mouse - Mus Domesticus
Rats and mice have been pests since time immemorial and have
resisted all attempts to eradicate them. This is hardly surprising, given
that they are highly adaptable, omnivorous creatures with tremendous
reproductive potential, acute senses and a high degree of athleticism.
Moreover, as recent studies such as the National Rodent Survey in the
UK demonstrate, their numbers are not diminishing.
The costs attributable to rodents in both financial terms and in human
suffering are enormous and rat and mouse control is rightly given a
high priority by local authorities, businesses and householders.
Rats and mice are found wherever there is food and shelter. The
availability of such resources dictates population density.
In ideal conditions, a pair of mice can produce more than 2000
offspring per year and a pair of rats 200 per year. Their gestation
period is only 21 days and therefore population explosions can
occur when effective control is not implemented.
Fleas - Ctenocephalides Felis
Normally fleas are associated with cats and dogs, however, they can be found on all sorts of warm-blooded animals including rabbits, squirrels, rats, ferrets, mice, chickens and other birds, and, of course, humans.
Fleas feed on the blood of these animals and while they lay their eggs on them, the eggs are not sticky and will fall off usually somewhere in the vicinity, like a pets basket or onto carpet in the home.
There are many different types of flea, but the most common are the cat flea, the dog flea and the human flea.
Fleas are not a major spreader of diseases, although they definitely can disseminate bacteria and were responsible for transmitting the bubonic plague from rats to humans. It’s their bites that are irritating and a cause of some distress to those suffering from them whether they be human or animal, sometimes for up to two weeks after the flea has fed on them.
For every flea seen around the home, there are many more in various stages of development and a household product available over the counter will not necessarily treat each of these stages.
Cockroaches - There are two main varieties of cockroach found in the UK, the Oriental cockroach and the German cockroach. The German cockroach is around 17mm in length and a light brown colour with two dark stripes on the shield behind its head. The Oriental cockroach is the larger of the two at approximately 25mm in length and is usually a dark reddish brown in colour.
Being nocturnal, cockroaches avoid daylight and like to hide in cracks, under floorboards or behind cookers and cupboards, coming out at night to forage.
They can scuttle through extremely small gaps and move along water pipes, cable runs and air ducts. Their predilection for using sewers and drains as a thoroughfare and then inhabiting our homes means they transmit diseases with ease. They can carry dysentery, salmonella, gastro-enteritis and typhoid.
Cockroaches are also associated with skin diseases and allergic reactions such as dermatitis, rhinitis, bronchitis and asthma. In order to deter cockroaches, it is essential to maintain good hygiene, especially in food preparation areas. Cockroaches also like moist environments and need access to water. They can live for a month without food, but only a week without water, therefore all water spills should be cleared up and leaking pipes repaired immediately.
Cockroaches are one of the oldest creatures on earth and are remarkably tenacious and resilient so it’s not surprising that these are difficult creatures to eradicate without calling in the professionals.
Bed Bugs - Cimex hemipterus
The situation regarding bedbugs in the UK has been well reported in recent years. In short, they are a problem!
There are two common species that feed on humans, namely Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus.
Cimex lectularius is the cause of most domestic complaints, and is
known as the common bedbug.
Adult bedbugs are oval, wingless insects, which are about 5-7 mm long. Bedbugs have piercing mouthparts formed into a proboscis, used to pierce the host’s skin.
Both male and female bedbugs take blood meals and are thus
equally important as pests. Blood provides them with the proteins
necessary for their survival and for the production of eggs in
females. They normally prefer human hosts to fulfil their blood
requirements, but in the absence of people, bedbugs will also feed
on a variety of other hosts, such as rabbits, rats, mice, bats, poultry
and other birds.
Bed bugs will spread throughout the house and when rooms are treated it is best to treat adjoining rooms and rooms above and below.