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Common British pests and advice on how to get rid them.



cartoon angry looking bug
             
COMMON PESTS

When Summer arrives so do the ‘creepy crawlies’,
presumably these differ depending on where you live, below are some common British ones
and how they should be treated (my apologies to all animal lovers).


Garden Ants

ant

These are attracted by sweet foods but are generally harmless.

  • Cinnamon is said to repel
    ants.
     

  • If you can locate the ants’ nest you can use an ant
    powder or spray which will do the trick.
    If the nest cannot be found, see if you can identify where they are entering the house and
    the run they are using – it is amazing how they seem to use the same thin route.  
    Place some powder or bait outside in this run.  MAKE SURE IT IS OUT OF REACH OF
    CHILDREN AND PETS. 

     

  • If this is not possible try putting some water in an
    empty jam jar, make sure there is some jam on the edge of the jar and this may tempt some
    of them for a swim.
     

  • Apparently ants never cross a chalk line, so get out
    your chalk and draw a line wherever ants tend to march and see for yourself.
     

  • If you can find the
    entrance to the nest pour in boiling water.  This will only
    eliminate any ants present.

We had a
nasty infestation of Ants in our Garden, they were even found in the
house. We tried lots of Powders, Sprays and Jellies but non were
successful. My aunty then told me to find the main entrance to the
“Ant House” then empty a load of Thick Bleach down the entrance
hole, leave for a couple of minutes then add a full kettle of
“Boiling Water” I did this and we have never seen anymore Ant’s,
this was over 15yrs ago now, so it does work.

Jacqui Petrella

Nests are notoriously hard
to find without spending hours tracking down ant trails and following them back to the
nest, however, there is a simple method where you literally ask the ants to sign their own death warrant! Poisoned ant bait attracts ants to what they believe to be food, who will in turn take quantities back to the nest to feed the rest of the colony and will wipe them out from the inside. However, the problem is that ants can be very fussy and will change their tastes to suit the needs of the colony throughout the season so you may need to try various ant
baits
before finding one that is
effective.


Bedbugs

These live in crevices, loose wallpaper, beds etc. and feed, at night, on human blood!

The best way to deal with these little monsters is to
contact your local authority pest control.


Bees

These are not harmful unless provoked, trapped or you are unfortunately in their line of
flight.

Best not to attempt to remove yourself, contact the
experts, details of which can be found in libraries, local authorities etc.*******

If you have bees in a chimney, light a fire in the
grate and this should remove them safely and harmlessly.

Some bumble bees are endangered species.

 

******** 
I have been sent the following by Tom
Varley

I keep a few bees and I
thought you might like to know that The British Beekeepers Association has
a list of beekeepers who will collect swarms.******

Also, from my own
experience, rather small looking bees wandering around inside a house
early in the year are nearly always solitary bees.

*****  The British
Beekeepers Association now has a facility whereby you can locate
your nearest swarm collector
or beekeeping association.

I have been
brought to task for including bumble bees as “pests” as not only
are they endangered but deserve protection not extermination. 
Natural England are trying to help save this species, for further
information visit


http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/file/68016

 


Booklice

If booklice are found in cupboards these can be
eradicated by  using a hair dryer on a hot setting.

These little devils feed on microscopic moulds found on the glue of bookbinding as
well as damp surfaces and food.

Ventilate and dry any infested areas, obviously
discarding any contaminated food.
The area can be treated with insecticides for ‘Psocids’, however, always read the
instructions very carefully.


Carpet beetles

Mottled ladybird like pests.  The Larvae, known as woolly bears, eat wool and damage
natural fibres.  They leave holes similar to that of moths.

Vacuum all fluff from cupboards, carpets etc.,  
Spray mothproofer or carpet beetle killer between floorboards, under carpets and into any
crevices. Remove any old birds’ nests from the eaves and/or loft.  Clean affected
clothes, blankets etc. 


Clothes moths

It is the larvae which are white with brown heads, that damage blankets, wool carpets,
clothes etc. the adult moths do not harm at all.

They attack natural fibres
having a special liking for cashmere etc.

Clean woollens and store in suitable bags. 
Take out an shake on a regular basis.

Conkers (horse chestnuts) can
also be used to repel clothes moths.  Just dry them out and then
place them in wardrobes, chests of drawers, coat pockets and on carpets
and the smell will deter moths from laying their eggs.  

Spray
fabrics/carpets with a mothproofer and put a repellent in wardrobes and cupboards.

 

cartoon pupa


Cockroaches


Like to live in moist, warm, dark places. They eat any sort of food but contaminate
more than they actually eat and can, therefore, cause serious food poisoning.

If you can find the source and they are not too
prevalent, a spray insecticide may do the trick.  If the infestation persists call in
the environmental health officer.

Home remedyWARNING
KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN AND PETS

Mix together 2 tablespoons
household borax, 1 tablespoon flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons of cocoa
powder.  Put a small amount of the mixture in tiny unsealed
containers e.g. bottle caps etc., and place where cockroaches are known to
congregate.

Another way of
using this recipe has been sent in by a site visitor –

To make it
easier to work with and to prevent spillage make into a ball of dough and
let it dry out.  The ball can then be sited under the refrigerator,
oven, cupboards, shelves etc., and can be moved and replaced when
cleaning.  

This gentleman
has also come up with a novel way to disguise this mixture – get a piece
of hollow plastic fruit, cut a hole in the side and place the ball of
dough inside – can then be put on a shelf etc. WARNING – this could be
more attractive to children though so ensure it is well out of reach of
tiny hands.


Fleas

These are commonly caught from cats and birds, with August/September being the worst
months.  Larvae are sometimes found in soft furnishings used by cats.

Wash cats’ bedding and dust with flea powder.  
Clean throughout the house and spray with flea killer aerosol.  Treat animals as
instructed by Vet.  Search for and remove any birds’ nests in eaves and loft.

Tips sent in
by Joe – a regular visitor

My oldest grandson lives
with me and has asthma and I am limited on the use of sprays and powders
to control fleas. Instead I place a flea collar in the vacuum cleaner bag
and vacuum often…..and there is a trick I use with great success.

At night I place a
shallow bowl of water under a bright night light. The next morning there
are many fleas floating in the bowls. I don’t know if it is the heat of
the bulb or the light that attracts them but it works for me.


Flies

Carry and spread gastoenteric illness and food poisoning as well as being extremely
irritating.

Keep food covered and bins scrupulously clean.  
Spray dustbins after emptying to kill eggs and maggots.  The use of fly spray or
impregnated strips can deter the flies but these can cause discomfort to people with
respiratory problems.


Flour moths,
beetles or weevils

Feed on flour, cereals, stored food, chocolate, dried fruit and nuts.

Clean out infested food.  Clean and dry the area
well.  Storing supplies in closed, plastic containers can help. 

Mice

Use fruit and nut chocolate for bait
instead of cheese.

Bait can be placed in a milk bottle or
similar jar, which should be place on a ramp (with the neck higher than the base).  
The mouse will then go in to feed but will not be able to get back out.  The captured
mouse can then be allowed to go free in a more suitable area (well away from the house).

Ensure any holes large enough to insert
a ball pen in are filled, as mice can use these to enter the house.

When trying to catch mice, site traps
horizontally around the edge of the room.  This will then be effective whichever way
the mouse runs.

If you don’t know where the rodent is
coming from, sprinkle flour on the floor around the area and it will then be evident from
the footprints.  A tray containing lard or solid fat can also do the trick.


Nick
Wareham
of
www.surreycleaningsolutions.co.uk suggests the following:-


Cat litter makes excellent rodent
deterrent.

1) Identify those areas outside your
house where rodents may enter e.g. drains, gaps in walls, gaps under doors.

2) Get some cat litter that has been
urinated in by a cat (it should not smell since cat litter has built in
odour control)

3) Place sufficient quantity in the gaps
identified in step 1 above to close off the gaps

4) The rodents (e.g. mice, rats etc) will
identify the odour and not want to enter the building since they will view
it as a location where there is a predator i.e. a cat.


Tony Scorah
has contacted me to advise he has used a plug in sonic device in his
garage to great effect.


A. Lee
has also been kind enough to send in another solution which has proved
effective – “We have learned (the hard way no doubt)
that mice don’t like the smell of peppermint, so if you put peppermint oil
on a cottonball and put the cotton ball(s) in areas that are affected, the
don’t like it so they stay away. Plus it smells wonderful. The only bad
thing is that you need to change the cottonballs periodically. maybe every
couple months.”

More
information can be seen here.

Mosquitos, gnats
and midges

Females feed on blood, biting mostly at dusk.  Eggs are laid in stagnant water.

Door and windows can be screened and
repellents can be used on skin.

Clean out guttering, bird baths, water butts etc. as
these are ideal breeding sites.

With regard to
mosquitoes etc., breeding in water butts. Apply some cooking oil (avocado
smells the nicest in my humble opinion) to the surface of the water in the
butt. This prevents the larvae breathing through the surface film and kills
them off before they hatch into the airborne biting form.

Simon Caldow

Before
publishing this very useful tip I queried whether he knew if it would have
any adverse affects if the water  is used for other purposes? 
e.g. if the water was used to wash down a patio or  drive whether the
oil content would stain the stones or if used to water plants could this
affect some of them?

He kindly
responded as follows:-

I’ve only used the water
from the butts for watering plants, so don’t know about the other uses.

I got this trick from my
Grandfather more than 40 years ago and his and my vegetables were and are
the envy of all around.

I would think that the
fact that the water is taken by a tap at its base of the butt means that you
would normally be removing the water from under the oil. I’ve never noticed
any significant oil in the water drawn off from the tap.

As always I need to
stress at this point that we cannot guarantee results, any remedy is
undertaken at your own risk.

 

Silverfish

These are harmless but their presence may indicate dampness.  They feed on glue
and starch in paper and bookbindings.

Eliminate damp by checking for leaky plumbing,
condensation, rising damp etc.  Insecticides for crawling insects will kill them.

Slugs and Snails

Jill Young says she has
found the ultimate eco-friendly answer to slug and snail infestation in her garden, which
is 100% safe for pets and garden wildlife.  It is called SLUG-X and can be purchased
online at http://www.thetinpot.co.uk.

Julie Fegan says
that if you wipe a ring of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) around a plant pot the
slugs won’t crawl over it to eat your plant.

Lydia Dorsey has sent us
this innovative homemade remedy – she saves tuna fish cans and buries them so that the top
is level with the ground, fills the can with beer and, apparently, the slugs crawl in,
drink and die.

Mr. Jim Walmsley
is concerned that if the containers are placed level with the ground then
not only will you kill slugs and snails but you will, at the same time,
kill the beneficial beetles who may wander into the trap.  This would
be bad for your garden as well as for the environment.

Once again
a site visitor has come up with a solution to this problem. 

My suggestion is to place
several very thin twigs or dried flower stems (collected from deadheading)
with one-end-in-and-one-end-out of the container. The beetles can use
these as a rescue ladder, but the slugs are too heavy. Since I started
doing this I have found very few dead beetles in the traps whereas before,
sadly, several would have drowned.   Rachel


Riverside
Garden Centre
have suggested this very innovative and eco friendly
solution to the problem.

To protect prized
plants and foliage from the onslaught of slugs and snails with a more
organic approach, cover the soil around the base of the plant with hair
(ask the barber nicely when you next go for a haircut…yes there is the
risk that he will find you weird!). The invertebrates will not be able
to crawl over this and this negates the need to use pesticides and is
safe for other wildlife

Wasps wasp on twig

At their worst during August and September but die naturally by the end of Autumn.

Attracted by sweet food and drinks.

Stay still and they will soon go away.  If you try
to swat them this can cause their friends to come and help.

Trap with jars partly filled with water, jam and a drop
of washing up liquid, covered with a punctured paper lid.  Individual wasps can be
destroyed by a proprietary wasp or fly killer.
Seek advice from environmental health department or pest control company before tackling
wasp nests.

Woodlice

Woodlice like moisture and, therefore,
if you sprinkle talcum powder around any infestation this should get rid of them.


Woodworm

This is the larvae of the common furniture beetle.  They cause holes 2mm in
diameter in the surface of wood and can cause structural damage in timbers and furniture.

Small infestations can be treated with two generous
coats of woodworm killer.  Furniture can be treated by injecting the fluid into some
of the holes with an applicator.  Large outbreaks should be treated by a pest control
company.