Pest control – looking out for unwanted visitors14/09/20
Pests, such as insects and rodents, can cause problems in houses of any age. But they can be a particular problem in older properties, especially in rural areas, or ones that have been left empty for a long time. The longer invaders are allowed to stay in properties, the more damage they can do, so it’s important to address the problem as quickly as possible, once it has been discovered.
Pests in residence
There are many different kinds of household pests to look out for in the UK, with several varieties of rodent and insects being the most common. Unoccupied homes and outbuildings are particularly vulnerable to rodent infestations, and the fact that they can multiply unchallenged can quickly lead to serious problems and major damage to the property.
If the house or building is occupied, you may actually hear mice or other rodents in the roof space, or across a ceiling – running, scratching or even squeaking. This means they have gained access to the interior of the house somehow, often via guttering, under eaves, through small holes or cavities, or via fascia boards.
Even if you don’t hear rodents, they might still be present, so there are some useful signs to look out for. The most obvious is probably their droppings, which are small and dark. These black pellets can be found on the floor, but also in places like cupboards, garages and attic spaces. They are a health hazard and should be disposed of before any further action is taken. Nests are another big giveaway and rodents will often use paper or cardboard they have found in your garage or outbuildings. Unexplained bits of shredded paper or cardboard lying around are a sign they are on the premises.
Rodents and insects can cause major damage to your property, including making holes and gnawing on timber, furniture and even electrical wiring. Mice and rats also leave an ammonia-like smell, which resembles urine. You can try addressing the problem with baits, poison and traps, but if these fail a professional will need to be called in to tackle the problem.
Insects that can cause damage to property include types of beetle, ants, slugs, bedbugs and cockroaches. These all leave signs behind them as well. You may encounter stains or eggshell husks, or there may even be many dead insects of the same type – bluebottle or other flies, for example – which means there is a fair chance they are in residence. Insect trails where they use regular routes can sometimes be seen. Depending on the level of infestation, a professional might be needed here too, if shop-bought insecticides or treatments fail to remedy the problem. This is certainly true for wood-boring insects, as the timber will need to fully doused with a recognised treatment. For both rodents and insects, after any treatment, it’s worth proofing your house to make sure your unwanted visitors don’t pay you another visit.
Houses that have infestations of whatever type can be cured, but spotting tell-tale signs during a survey will minimise the problems you might inherit. If you’re seeking a survey of your house, or are looking to make a purchase, then contact one of our experts today for a professional appraisal.