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Pest Identification

 

Brown Rat “Common”/ “Sewer” (Rattus Novegicus)

Generally brownish-grey in colour with paler underside. Their tail is shorter than their body and is nearly always darker on top. Their snout is blunt and their ears are small and furry. They are large, robustly built animals with an average weight of 340g. Their life span is on average, between 6 and 12 months and in that time they can have a maximum of 7 litters consisting of 8-12 young. Droppings are blunt spindle shaped, with an average length of 1½- 2cm. They are usually found in groups. The brown rat is a burrowing animal and will live outdoor or indoors and in rural or urban environments. They are frequently sited around landfill sites, railway embankments and sewers. They have very good climbing and swimming skills. All brown rats show a cautious reaction to the new objects. They are omnivores but prefer cereals and have a strong need for water. They rarely venture far from their nest site in search of food (660m in the case of adult males). 

Black Rat “Ship” (Rattus Rattus) 

The black rat has a black or dark brown body with a pale sometimes white underside. Their tail is thin and longer than their whole body. Their snout is pointed and their ears large, translucent and furless. They are sleek, graceful animals with an average weight of 300g. Their life span averages between 6 and 12 months and in this time they can have a maximum 6 litters consisting of 6- 10 young. Droppings are pointed sausage shaped with an average is length 1½cm. The black rat is a non burrowing creature and is rarely found in sewers. They have superior climbing skills. They are omnivorous with a preference for fruit and vegetables. Like the brown rat they are cautious of new objects. 

House Mouse (Mus Domesticus)

The mouse is small brownish-grey with a thin tail which is much longer than the whole body. Their snout is pointed and their ears small with fine hairs. They have a small, slender appearance with an average weight of 25g. Their life span is on average between 6 and 12 months and in this time they can have a maximum7 litters consisting of 5-6 young. Droppings are pointed, thin spindle shaped with an average length of 5mm. The house mouse rarely burrows and has good climbing skills. Like the brown rat they can be found both indoors and outdoors and in rural or urban environments. They are omnivores with are preference for cereals. Their behaviour is erratic. 

 

Fleas - you will probably experience bites on the lower leg areas

Description

Adult fleas live exclusively as parasites of warm-blooded animals, like cats and dogs. Cat fleas are responsible for 75% of all flea infestations. Cat and dog fleas will feed from humans usually when there are no animals around, but this is not their first choice. Life cycle The flea eggs 0.5 mm long are pearly white, oval and slightly sticky and generally found on the hair, bedding or clothing of the host. The threadlike larvae (1.5 mm) hatch in approximately a week and thrive in dark humid places. After 2-3 weeks they grow to 5mm long and spin their cocoons for pupation. Fleas formed in cocoons may ‘overwinter’ at this stage but emerge by the stimulation of vibration, usually of the host. This is why attacks sometimes take place when a property has been left empty e.g. when a house is for sale, or the host returns from holiday. In favourable conditions the life cycle is normally completed in 4 weeks. Fleas can only lay eggs after taking blood from the host animal. Why you may have fleas and not have an animal 1. In the summer month’s fleas can survive outside and be carried into the house. 2. Visitors may have animals and transport fleas into your home. 3. You can visit other people with animals and transport fleas back to your house. 4. Moving into a property, you could inherit a flea problem from the previous occupier.

 

Bed Bugs - the first sign is bite marks very much like a mosquito bite

Description  Hemiptera ("half-winged" true bugs)

Characteristics: two pairs of wings normally present; mouthparts piercing and sucking, forming a beak, or rostrum, normally held under body. Metamorphosis usually incomplete, with egg, larval, pupal and adult stages. Family: Cimicidae. Flat, oval insects, with very short, functionless forewings; hind wings absent; rostrum lies in a ventral groove; tarsi 3-segmented; exclusively blood-sucking. Species characteristics and host/habitat Common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) Adults, 5 mm long; reddish-brown in colour, becoming purple after feeding; well-developed antennae; prominent, if simple, eyes; feet clawed so can climb rough but not smooth surfaces; ratio of head width (including eyes) to length of third antennal segment usually greater than 1.7. Host/habitat: The principal host is man, though other warm-blooded animals can be parasitised. Found in human habitations throughout the world. 

lAs bed-bugs cannot fly, they must either crawl or be passively transported in clothing, or more probably in luggage, furniture, books and other objects used as harbourages. Their ability to withstand many months without feeding increases their chances of surviving such transportation and the insects' very wide distribution throughout the world demonstrates their success. Any household can be invaded by bed-bugs, but it is likely that infestations will only become established in premises with low standards of hygiene. Bed-bugs are therefore generally associated with poor, crowded and unhygienic conditions. Most bed-bugs infestations are to be found in domestic premises, usually in the bedrooms. Both juveniles and adults live similar lives, hiding away in cracks and crevices for most of the time and coming out at night, usually just before dawn, to feed on the blood of their sleeping hosts. Their hiding-places will be close to where their hosts sleep: in the bed frame or the mattress; in furniture, behind the skirting, behind the wallpaper -anywhere that affords a dark harbourage during the daylight hours for these nocturnal creatures.

 

Wasps ( Vespula (Paravespula) vulgaris)


Description Several species of wasp exist in the UK, but the most plentiful are the Common Wasp and the German Wasp, both of which are widely spread. Both species nest under ground or in cavities of trees, walls and buildings. Wasps have a narrow waist in the middle of the body. The needle like sting possessed only by females is near the tip of the abdomen. Workers are smaller than queens and never lay fertilised eggs. Male wasps, which are also smaller than queens develop from unfertilised eggs laid by queens or workers.
Wasps are regarded as nuisance pests or a threat to health

 

Hornets (Vespa Crabro)

The ‘hornet’ is our largest species of social wasp with queens averaging around 3cm in length.Over-wintering queens emerge in April and nests are initiated, usually in hollow trees or similar cavities, in May with the first workers appearing around June. New queens and males emerge from the nest September-October, mate and disperse, with the males dying and the newly-mated queens seeking over-wintering hibernation sites. Back at the nest, which may persist into November in mild years, the old queen and remaining workers eventually die-out. 

 

Ants

More than 9000 different types of ant are found worldwide and range in size from 1mm to 1cm long. Ants are social insects, and their colonies can be very large, containing many thousands of individuals of different castes. These include flying queen ants and fertile males, who mate in the air during a very short breeding season of a few days in July or August. The queen returns to the ground and removes her wings, rejoining her old nest or starting a new colony.

Worker ants tend the larvae and pupae until they emerge as adult ants. They seek out sweet foods for the queen and larvae, and in doing so often infest properties. Garden Ants are the most common type to cause a problem, and occasionally the smaller Ghost Ants which are attracted to heated buildings. Infestations of Pharoah’s Ants (smaller than garden ants and red/light brown in colour) are being increasingly seen in blocks of flats. They love the communal central heating system, plentiful water supply and availability of food, but can pose a risk to health by transmitting the germs that cause food poisoning. Good hygiene is essential and professional pest control must be brought in to eradicate the colonies.