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Insects

Wasps

Wasp | Hinton Pest ControlSpring is when the queen wasp looks for a site for a new nest as she does not use the old nest from a previous year. The queen starts the nest by chewing wood or bark to make a type of papier mache. At this stage, the nest is only the size of a golf ball and may be attached to the branch of a hedge, the ceiling of a porch or a rafter in a loft etc, where she will lay her first 10-20 eggs. The eggs hatch and turn into the familiar black and yellow striped wasps. These wasps forage for food and begin to enlarge the nest. By late summer, the nest may contain 10,000 wasps and be the size of a football. Some nests can be even bigger.

All these wasps are sterile female workers and their job is to attend to the queen, maintain the nest and bring back food for the young wasp grubs. In late summer a few male wasps and new queens are hatched. These mate and produce fertilised queens. As the cold weather approaches, the activity in the nest reduces, the female workers and males die, and only the fertilised queens survive. These queens look for a safe crevice to spend the winter and hibernate. In spring, they emerge to start the life cycle over again.

Unlike bees, wasps do not make honey. Instead the adult wasps feed on sweet substances such as nectar in flowers and on fruit. They also kill large numbers of insects which they take back to the nest to feed the young. At this stage, wasps are a beneficial insect as they are part of nature’s control of many insects in the garden. They are also so busy collecting food for their young, that they are not normally a problem. Wasps will however, defend the nest aggressively if it is disturbed or threatened, so you should leave eradication to a pest control technician who has protective clothing and specialised insecticides.

As autumn arrives, the queen stops laying eggs and a large number of wasps find themselves with less and less work to do. It is at this stage that wasps become a nuisance as they search for sweet food and enter buildings looking for jam, sugar, soft fruit etc. This is when they are most likely to sting.

The old nest consists of a fragile papier mache shell and contains only a little debris and the remains of any unhatched eggs. It does not smell or cause any damage. If the nest is outdoors, it will dissolve in the wind and rain. Indoors, the nest will slowly crumble to dust. It is not necessary to remove the old nest. If it has been treated with insecticide and you do want to remove it, wait for at least one week after the treatment.

Cluster Flies

Fly | Hinton Pest ControlThe adult is about 6mm long and has distinctive golden hairs on the thorax (chest) area. The flies live outdoors and the adults feed on nectar from flowers. The fly lays eggs in damp soil and rotting leaves and when the eggs hatch, the larvae hunt and destroy earthworms before hatching into an adult fly. They do not breed indoors and they are not thought to carry any diseases. However, in the autumn, the flies look for shelter and will hibernate over winter. They will shelter in lofts and sometimes will invade the living space of a house.

The big problem is that they tend to invade in large numbers. Another problem is that although they may go unnoticed in autumn, if their “lodgings” warm up during the winter, the flies may emerge and cause a sudden problem. The other bad news is that the flies tend to return to the same property, year after year. The good news is that although you may have invasions of cluster flies every year, control is easy for a pest control technician through the use of smoke generators, powdered fog generators or by using a low pressure spray.

Cockroaches

Cockroach | Hinton Pest ControlThere are four main types of cockroaches, all with prolific reproductive cycles. Some prefer kitchens, bathrooms, or bedrooms whereas others prefer basements and sewers. They require food, water, warmth and shelter. Infestations are invariably larger where sanitation is poor.

Cockroaches live in clusters and rarely travel more than a few feet from their living clusters when foraging. They actively seek darkness and take advantage of cracks and crevices, only emerging to forage for food and water. This means that infestations can be difficult to control by chemicals that require direct contact, however, your pest control technician will thoroughly treat all refuges that appeal to cockroaches.

Fleas

Flea | Hinton Pest ControlAlthough it may not be something you wish to openly discuss with your friends or family, fleas are reasonably common and can turn up even in the best of homes. The good news is that your pest control technician can get rid of them effectively. There are about 60 different species of flea in Britain and many of these are associated with particular animals such as dogs, cats and birds. Most flea infestations in houses are cat fleas. The life cycle starts with a female flea laying eggs, not usually on the animal but normally on the floor or in the animals’ bedding area. The eggs hatch into larvae within 2-3 days and feed on any debris available. After about 3-4 weeks the larvae spin a silk cocoon before emerging as adult fleas.

It is important to realise that killing the odd flea seen jumping or dusting pets with flea powder will not bring an infestation under control. The answer is to have a full survey and treatment of the whole house. Your professional pest control technician has access to a range of insecticides which are far more effective than those on sale to the public. In addition, to minimise the risks of a pet bringing more fleas into the home, it is advisable to contact your vet for further information about on-going flea treatment for your pet(s).

Ants

Ant | Hinton Pest ControlAnts are attracted to the home by food availability and can pose health and hygiene risks as they find their way into open food packets, overflowing bins, pet food bowls or even simply crumbs on a work surface. The eating habits of children and young people can increase the risk of ant infestations when food lands on the floor or that half eaten sandwich concealed in a teenager’s bedroom is discovered only by the trail of ants leading to it!

The Pharoah’s Ant is one of the two main types of ant in this country and tend to feed and live in drains and sewers, consequently they pose a greater health risk than the common Garden Ant. The Pharoah’s Ant is approximately 2mm in length and yellow in colour whereas the Garden Ant is approximately 5mm in length with a black segmented body. Your pest control technician will be able to effectively treat the ant invasion in your home and explain how you can help prevent their return by removing other sources of food around the home.

Bed Bugs

Bed Bug | Hinton Pest ControlDue to an increase in foreign travel, bed bugs are becoming more common. Humans and animals are a target for bed bugs. A small, flat, reddish coloured insect of about 6mm in length, they hide during the day in crevices in furniture, bed frames, skirting boards and at night they come out to feed. They feed on human blood but will also attack pet animals. The signs of bed bugs are bites on the body (some people can get a severe allergic reaction), little black dots on wallpaper near the bed (bed bug faeces) and cast skins, which look like empty bed bugs.

Bed bugs are easily transferred from one house to another in furniture, bedding, clothing or luggage. They need a little warmth to breed, so they will not develop in very cold rooms or outhouses. However, they can live for up to a year without food, so even furniture that has been in a cold room for several months can come alive when the heating is turned up. Simply spraying around the bed with a can of insecticide will not remove the infestation. We will carry out the most suitable treatment, which will usually be to spray the walls, furniture and skirting boards in affected rooms. Do not vacuum floors or wash walls / skirting boards for 2 weeks after we have sprayed. You will be asked to prepare the room prior to our arrival and our pest control technicians will advise you on the preparation.

Be wary of buying second hand beds or mattresses.

Textile or Carpet Insects

Carpet Damage | Hinton Pest ControlThis section covers both carpet beetles and carpet moths both of which are destructive in the home.

The larval form of carpet beetle are roughly 4–5mm in length. The body is covered in a pattern of alternating light- and dark-brown stripes. The body is usually wider at the back than at the front and also bears 3 pairs of hair tufts along its rear abdomen that can be used for self-defence. The larvae of the carpet beetle is a common household pest. Adult beetles usually lay their eggs in air ducts, in closets, under furniture, or under floorboards. Once hatched and until they pupate into adults, the larvae hide in dark, undisturbed areas and feed on organic material. The larvae are thus responsible for the damage of various items, such as furniture, clothing, blankets, furs, and carpets. Infestations can be prevented by regular vacuum cleaning, dry cleaning and airing clothing outside. Signs of an infestation include the presence of damaged articles, molted larval skins in dark areas, and an abundance of adult beetles near windows.

Both adults and larvae of carpet moths prefer low light conditions. If larvae find themselves in a well-lit room, they will try to relocate under furniture or carpet edges. Handmade rugs are a favourite, because it is easy for the larvae to crawl underneath and do their damage from below. They will also crawl under mouldings at the edges of rooms in search of darkened areas where debris has gathered and which consequently hold good food.

The eggs hatch into larvae, which then begin to feed. Once they have finished larval development, they pupate and emerge as adults. Adults do not eat; rather, males look for females with whom to mate, and females look for places to lay their eggs. Once reproduction is done, they die. Contrary to what most people believe, adult moths do not eat or cause any damage to carpet, clothing or fabric. It is the larvae which are solely responsible for this, and which spend their entire time eating and foraging for food.

Honey Bees

Honey Bee | Hinton Pest ControlAll bees are tremendously useful insects to our environment and honey bees have the additional skill of making honey. We go to great lengths to ensure that eradicating bees with insecticide is a last resort. If you have honey bees we will not kill this nest off unless it is posing a particular risk to human safety and even then we have to be very careful not to harm any non-target species – honey bees are known to “rob” stored honey from dead nests and are therefore susceptible to the same insecticides that may have been used to kill the nest in the first instance. When the pest control technician is on site, they will be best placed to give an opinion as to whether or not treatment is appropriate and will be able to advise you accordingly. Hinton Pest Control Ltd offer no guarantee that we will accept bee work.

We will always try to relocate a free-hanging swarm if they pose a threat to the public and work closely with our local Bee Keepers’ Association. If you notice that honey bees have moved into your chimney, lighting an open fire (log burner or coal fire) and creating smoke may persuade them to relocate without injuring or killing the bees within 48 hours of their arrival. Honey Bees remain in their nests year round and will store their honey in their nest to feed the colony over winter.

Bumble Bees

Bumble Bee | Hinton Pest ControlVital pollinators of crops and wildflowers, bumble bees are particularly effective with tomatoes, as their buzz frequency releases large pollen loads. All Bumble Bees form small colonies, visiting flowers as far as 2km away to feed on the nectar and gather pollen. The pollen coats the bee’s hairy body and is then combed into a pollen basket. Usually, only the queens survive the winter, so there’s no need for Bumble Bees to store large quantities of honey in the hive. Of the 250 known species, 24 are found in the UK but only six of these are a familiar sight in our gardens.

A Bumble Bee nest is very different to a wasp nest or a honeybee nest as they tend to be ground dwelling insects. We actively encourage people to live with these docile bees who will only be temporary residents in your property. Bumble Bee colonies leave their nests early-mid summer when the last of their young hatch out; they will not be damaging your property and they are unlikely to return to the same location next year.

If bumble bees pose a threat to the public and it is possible to relocate them (i.e. in a bird nesting box) we will do our best to relocate them but again, Hinton Pest Control Ltd offer no guarantee that we will accept bee work.