Most of us would not flinch if we saw two ladybirds on a nice afternoon as there are some versions of “bugs” that we can actually tolerate.
As kids and I am sure even some adults still play with Ladybirds as they fly around and innocently land on your arm, but are these bugs dangerous at all?
Not really and the most you can really expect is an infestation during winter that will annoy you rather than harm you.
Now a year ago in London, we faced an infestation that made pest control a necessity…or at least you would think so.
Enter the bed bug!
Bed Bugs Pest Control
Higher temperatures had increased the infestation simply because it shortened reproductive cycles and pretty much every city in the world is exposed to beg bugs, so they are certainly not exclusive to London.
Here is an article about the bed bug from the University of Minnesota, so you can see the problem is truly worldwide!
Bed bugs require pest control specialists wherever you are and the recent infestation in London was not confined to say one home, a dingy bed, and breakfast and even affected five-star hotels.
The problem with the recent infestation is the social stigma attached to reporting of having bed bugs which of course, only increases the issue.
Bed bugs — a close-up
First of all, let’s take a look at what these lovely little creatures do — in simple terms, these suck your blood.
Yes, think of them as mini “draculas” who simply need to eat (suck) your blood to keep them alive and they can obviously stay in your bed, but also in furniture and travel in luggage!
They are slightly international in this way as they have been known to travel in suitcases!
So I doubt you will want to be as close to the creature to be able to identify it like in the picture, but that is what a close-up looks like.
It doesn’t look too nice close-up, does it?
Bed bugs are not fatal as explained in this article from the NHS, but there are rare occasions as with anything, where reactions to being bitten can prove more serious, such as when breathing becomes affected due to having a reaction to being bitten.
Symptoms of being bitten include:
- a burning painful sensation
- a raised itchy bump with a clear center
- a red itchy bump with a dark center and lighter surrounding area
- small red bumps or welts in a zigzag or a line
- small red bumps surrounded by blisters or hives
There is, however, one other problem and some people can have absolutely no reaction to being bitten, but yet remain “infested.”
So the first thing to do if you suspect that you have been bitten by bed bugs or have them in your home or anywhere else is to call pest control.
Please do not be embarrassed about calling pest control and at pest exterminators in London, we have seen it all regarding bugs and pests so please call us if you have a problem and we operate 24/7 and 365 days of the year, plus we are extremely helpful, friendly and strangely passionate about pests and bugs!
How pest control deals with bed bugs
The treatment for beg bugs requires firstly an inspection to make sure that the extent of the infestation is known and then a treatment plan where we can make sure they are removed completely, with the least amount of disruption and quickly.
There are two key treatments:
- Using heat treatment to make sure in simple terms that they cannot survive
- Using insecticides to make sure the heat treatment has worked
This combination treatment is the most effective and there are certain steps you can take before we arrive and after we have gone.
We will also ensure that we come back after 2 weeks and this is because sometimes some of the creatures will survive and re-breed.
We have a detailed article describing everything you need to know — Bed Bug Control London, so take a look.
If you have any problem with bed bugs or any pests then we are just one phone call away:
0800 772 3262 OR FROM YOUR MOBILE — 0203 633 2693
Higher temperatures and ever-changing global weather conditions mean that bed bugs will be part of life, especially in large cities like London.
Learn to understand the symptoms of bed bug infestation and realize that as a person, you can be “infested” yet display no symptoms or reaction.
Bed bugs are relatively harmless although, like all bites from any creature, some can prove dangerous.
They can, however, be treated quickly, efficiently and with a minimum of disruption.
If you have any concerns with bed bugs or any other pests then simply call:
0800 772 3262 OR FROM YOUR MOBILE — 0203 633 2693
Once again, please don’t feel embarrassed about having these little creatures as they do not discriminate in relation to potential targets.
There is definitely something strange going on with our weather patterns here in the UK and we have just experienced the hottest ever July this year and much as I love the heat, I am now thinking about when I lived in Dallas, Texas and the other things that extreme heat bring with it — snakes, spiders, bugs and where pest control was a routine event for homeowners.
Should we now look at preventative pest control in the UK as a result of our weird temperature fluctuations?
That lovely little creature in the image above is a brown recluse spider, which can be found in the USA and especially in Texas where I lived for ten years. We were always vigilant when it came to looking out for these little creatures, especially with 3 young children at the time as their bites do have the capacity to prove fatal in some cases.
Here is a recent headline from one of our national newspapers:
BRITS are being left in excruciating agony because of life-threatening false widow spider bites, whose flesh-eating venom has left victims permanently disabled and even ended their lives.
Now headlines are here to sell newspapers and the media does love to add a little excitement to our lives, but is there actually something to it, or is it just sensationalism?
Living in the UK, I never gave much thought to spiders, but since returning from the US, just a few years ago, I started to hear a spider that really did give me the creeps as the name was similar to another spider in the US called a black widow and it was the first time I heard about a false widow here in the UK.
These spiders are sensationalized here in the UK and that is because we don’t really talk about them and to be fair, they have been here for a while, so why all of the fuss?
It is because there are more of them and we are hearing about people being bitten and the nasty experiences that go along with it. For me, the very fact that the name is similar to the spider above, whose bite is extremely dangerous, my levels of concern has certainly been raised.
As I said, pest control is routine in the US and I feel it will start to become more and more important here in the UK and we will start to think about prevention, rather than the cure, just as I did in the US.
Pests in the UK
Now that we have taken a look at spiders and the weather, let’s look at some of the most common pests we have to face here in the UK and here is a definitive list.
Reading through the list there is nothing shocking about any of them, except for the spiders, snakes and for me, bed bugs, but we are all familiar with those creatures, so although we are concerned about the false widow spider for example, until we have an experience with one or talk to someone who has, the concern levels will not be high.
The real concern for me and you have to remember I have lived in a very hot climate for many years, so I am probably a little more cautious than most, is the changing climate.
You can debate all you want about global warming, but for me, our summers and however long in duration are getting warmer and we are experiencing more dramatic weather changes, so I for one, am going to be more prepared about the issues of pest control.
If you want to take a look at pest control strategies, then take a look here at the British Pest Control Association website.
Don’t go DIY on pest control
One thing I did learn in Dallas, was not to try to do your own pest control.
It’s a tempting offer when you walk through all of the stores and see the kits you can buy to get rid of say scorpions, but you can end up doing more harm than good.
Now I have a personal experience with a scorpion as did my 9-year old son, some years back as we were both bitten and fortunately they were not the deadly ones and despite giving me a feeling of being slightly drunk, I recovered with no ill effects and amazingly, my young son had no ill effects whatsoever.
But the point here is that I needed specialist help and this is where I met James, our new and friendly “bug man” who now came out with an arsenal of equipment to dispose of these very deceptive creatures.
Scorpions have the ability to “play dead” and flatten themselves so it is easy to get caught.
Looking through the definitive list you can see that there are far more creatures to think about other than spiders and remember that rats are a big problem too.
Rats can pretty much chew through anything and can be the cause of serious damage to houses and let’s not forget that they are here in abundance.
There are also more and more examples of foxes wandering into people’s homes and in some cases biting people and not surprisingly as the nature of living in today’s world sees us pushing them out of the countryside into urban areas.
Then we have bees and wasps who although seem relatively harmless but can cause potentially fatal reactions from the stings — you know this of course, but what I am trying to tell you here is to get professional help. I’ve seen an example and again in Texas, where someone tried to remove a wasps nest and ended in the emergency room having been stung badly and they had no history of being allergic to being stung, but it was the multiple stinging that harmed them.
Pest control strategy
It seems funny to think of having to have a strategy for pest control, but if you think about it, then why not?
I have to keep coming back to Texas because I can give you an idea of how things work in a place where there are threats from pests, so we have two periods every year, where good old James would come out and spray the inside and exterior of the house.
Now I can hear you all talking about chemicals and the potential dangers, but you have to weigh that up against the real threat of having a creature in your house that could potentially kill you.
The entire house was sprayed inside and out, along with the main bushy areas outside and this gave us protection from all of those unwanted things that you did not want to meet anywhere in your life, let alone your house.
In the UK, we have a much-reduced risk compared to the US, but I believe, with the changes in weather, that things will start to be different as I pointed out earlier and it is logical to assume that as our climate changes, then we will see a change in the creatures that live in it.
I would look seriously at what could happen, rather than what we have here today. I don’t want to be accused of “scaremongering,” but I think that being prepared is a far better option than not. I recently heard of someone who was attacked by the only venomous snake we have here in the UK, an adder. The person was walking through a path in some woods and disturbed a snake that was probably hiding or even injured and got bitten.
The attack was not fatal, but the person suffered a lot of tissue damage during the process and remember, as we disturb the countryside, we will force these creatures to move out of their natural habitat.
In the US, there are many kinds of venomous snakes and you simply learn to respect and live with them — you have no choice and here in the UK, we rarely see them, but I believe we will see much more and thankfully, you don’t hear of many snakes appearing in the gardens of UK houses…not yet anyway.
So I would call up your local pest control operator and ask them what the current risks and threats are in your area to determine what type of pest control strategy you need to develop.
Remember you can always research the information before you call them and after they leave, but in all seriousness, I believe that pest control will become a highly in demand over the coming years here in the UK.
The ever-changing weather conditions will definitely change the dynamics of the creatures that live in them.
In the UK I believe we will see more and more venomous creatures in our environment simply because we are “heating up” and it will be a natural development.
I live in South Wales, having returned to my Mother’s homeland from the USA and here is an interesting article that I have found from Wales Online talking about 7 potentially dangerous creatures that can be found in the UK.
It is interesting reading and we have to be more vigilant than we have been to say the least.
Living in the US was an eyeopener for me and my family as we simply had to respect the fact that there were many creatures that live in close proximity to your house that could actually kill you, so you learn to respect that.
When my children came back to the UK, they were amazed as to the fact we could leave the doors and windows open and they could roll around outside on the grass without fear and also play in the woods.
Something they would not have dreamed of doing in the US.
And now we come to bed bugs…
By: Neil Franklin
One of the things that can make you feel uneasy inside your own home is to discover you have pest problems.
You not only have to think of where the cause of the problem is, but also check whether the issue has spread elsewhere around the house.
Here are easy tips to help you get rid of pests in your home;
The greatest way to keep pests away is to prevent them. I know, you might say you already have the pests. But preventative measures will help the problem from increasing, and eventually, remove the existing pests.
Rodents and unwanted bugs can be kept away from the house by repairing and keeping clean.
Unsightly elements that a house has like leaky pipes, old or unsealed garbage, as well as food residue, attract pests. They can also come to your home from overgrown plants, crack, firewood piles and debris nearby. First all, tidying up will assist in keeping pests out, and cleanup will make your house less hospitable to the current invaders.
Water and Vinegar Spray
If the problem is ants, try water and vinegar spray for them. Mix approximately one part vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle. See where the ants enter the house by tracking them to find their trail. Spray where they enter from and along the door, windows and/or baseboards. Go to the trail and entirely spray it.
This process will kill the sprayed ants and also destroy their scent trail. Watch for more ants then spray wherever you sight one hang out. Sit for a while before you wipe out dead ants by use of cloth then repeat when more ants appear.
Repeat some few more times in the first week even if they do not turn up right away to keep them in control.
Is the vinegar not enough to have the job done? Make a homemade bait to keep away pests from your house. Instead of purchasing a costly trap, make sugar and borax mixture and keep in small containers. Put them in the paths of the ants and allow them to feast.
The ants will send the mixture back to their colony to share and kill more ants. This procedure will take a few days as some more ants come to take the mixture back to their place of hiding.
Depending on the type of ant and time of the year, the ants might be in need of fatty foods, therefore, a better bait could be peanut butter. When the sugar fix is not reacting, try a mixture of Borax with something oily or fatty.
You may be scratching your head if you are not an organic gardener. Diatomaceous earth is made up of phytoplankton fossilized remains in powder form. It is harmless to mammals, non-toxic but lethal to bugs. Other farmers feed their animals with it to keep off pests while some persons have it in their diet due to a variety of potential health benefits.
Sprinkle food-grade (not for swimming pools kind) diatomaceous earth in corners and baseboards – anywhere bugs stay. Use enough to have a good dusting but avoid piling up the powder as the bugs will crawl on top of it. It might take days to take effect but will eventually get rid of the bugs in your house.
It looks too simple but when you have small little gnats flying around your home, your plants might be the issue. Fungus gnats like moist soils and will gladly have babies in potted plants.
An easy path to do away with these small insects is to make your plants be dry completely on the surface then water them. This will cause the larva to die and prevent new gnats from maturing. Ensure there is good drainage for your plants and clean up the standing water. Not only is this technique a solution to gnat problem but also beneficial for your plants.
Check Where You Go
Pest can come in even when all the necessary precautions are taken inside a house. You might go to a store which has roach problems and carries them back in a bag. Bedbugs might have attached themselves to a suitcase in a hotel that you stayed at. You could also purchase yard-sale furniture which has termites or spiders. During winter your home could be a warm environment for pests to live in the cold days. These are called “occasional invaders”.
Inspect your body and belongings after going outside to ensure no pests sneak to your home. This way, you will be in a position to prevent them from going to places like your closet and bed. A quick shower immediately after coming back from rural areas can help get rid of ticks.
Take these steps to safely remove or prevent an infestation. Still, need some help?
It might then be time to reach out to a professional who knows clearly what to do like a pest control company.