Pest Control in Summer

There is a lot to look forward to in summer – long school holidays, opportunities for days out to the seaside or holidays abroad. However, the one thing almost everyone unanimously dreads in summer is the arrival of insects and or potential pests, particularly in our homes. In this blog, we’ll look at the most commonly offending creepy crawlies and how to manage pest control in these hot months:

Ants

Ants have gained a reputation for sneaking in and stealing food. Although they are tiny and can only take a small amount at a time, where there is one ant, there are often hundreds more waiting to come into your personal space. They can bring in harmful bacteria with them and some breeds can damage wood or even bite you or your family. To get rid of them or avoid them coming in:

  • Sweep away any crumbs – ants won’t be interested in your property if there isn’t any food for them
  • Seal up any cracks in walls, window frames or doorways that ants -or other pests- could enter through
  • Look for where the nest may be outside and consider how you clear it. It is important to avoid the use of chemicals especially if you have children or pets, but a popular option is the use of hot water over the nest.

Flies

Houseflies are probably tied with wasps as the most notorious summer pests. While the threat of being stung by a wasp is frightening and for some even dangerous with allergies, flies can bring in various bacteria and diseases that can be spread onto food or other surfaces. They may also lay eggs, which in warm weather, can hatch within 24 hours, leaving you with maggots in your home or bins. To avoid flies leaving their mark on your home:

  • Always wash your dishes right after eating and put away any containers of food– don’t leave any food remains exposed
  • If you have cats or dogs who go to the toilet inside the house (such as in a litter tray) make sure to keep them clean, to avoid encouraging flies and them laying their eggs
  • Use a bin with a tight-fitting lid and make sure to always close it after use
  • Take out your bin bag as soon as it is full. Also ensure you keep it clean when you you empty it in case of spills or leaks.
  • Flies dislike the smell of certain plants, most notably basil, so keep a pot of it on your windowsill to deter them from entering your home

Fruit Flies

Smaller than the common housefly, fruit flies are still a big pest to have in your home, particularly because of how fast and rapidly they breed. They are also notoriously difficult to get rid of, once they have arrived.

  • Keep your kitchen clean – keep countertops clean, wash and put away dishes quickly after eating off of them and make sure to pull any food
  • As it says in their name, fruit flies like fruit – throw away any overly ripe or rotting fruit as soon as you find it. Ideally, put these remains in a scented nappy bag and tie it up so that these pests can’t identify or access your old fruit
  • Avoid wearing perfume – a strong sweet-scented perfume will attract fruit flies and cause them to follow you, so although it’s nice to have, try to avoid wearing it too often during these months

Wasps

Wasps are one of the ultimate summer pests. They land on your food, they fly in your face and seem to sting you at the first chance they get. However, contrary to popular belief, they do actually have a purpose: like bees, they can also pollinate, but more prominently, they are predators of other potential pests such as caterpillars, spiders and other insects, which they feed to their young.

However, their stings remain a worry especially for those that may be allergic to them, particularly because unlike bees, they can sting you as many times as they want. If you do get stung by a wasp or bee, the NHS website has advice on what to do: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/insect-bites-and-stings/, but if you are allergic to these stings, please ensure that you carry an EpiPen during their prime months: If you want to get control these pests, then:

  • Check your home in early spring for nests, which should be around the size of a golf ball. You can proceed to remove these from here, ideally with the help of professionals
  • Keep food tightly contained and tucked away – wasps are particularly drawn to sweet foods, so keep these out of reach
  • When eating outside, maybe during a barbeque plan ahead and ensure your food and drink is kept covered where possible.

Bees

Bees are wonderful creatures that do a lot of good for our planet, thanks to their vital habit of pollinating trees, flowers and other growing plants, including those that grow fruit and vegetables we need to eat. However, for various reasons, bees can be put in harms way if they arrive somewhere they possibly aren’t wanted. People may fear their stings (particularly if they are allergic to them) or mistake them for wasps. It is important to remember though that unlike wasps most bees will sting you unless they feel threatened.

If you want to humanely remove a bee from your property, here is how:

  • Keep your windows closed during the day to avoid a bee accidentally flying into your home, particularly if you have plants near a windowsill that they might be drawn to
  • If you have a bees nest on your property or inside the walls or chimney, call an expert to remove it, rather than try to remove it yourself

Spiders

Spiders don’t usually like to come into a property until early autumn, (just as its starting to get cooler outside). However, male spiders like to travel while female spiders tend to stay in one place all their life, so there’s no knowing exactly when one may choose to come into your property, visit or make it their home too!.

  • Keep your home clean and tidy – spiders like to hide in dark, cluttered spaces to don’t give them anywhere to have that option
  • Vinegar and citrus scents repel spiders
  • Remember spiders can also be your friends though as they will trap flies and other insects in their webs.
  • Most spiders in this country also offer very little risk of bites or allergic reactions

How to Store Food in Hot Months

To avoid any insects in your home at all, the best option is to ensure that you are storing all of your food away carefully, not leaving anything exposed:

  • Keep all raw meet well-wrapped so that their juices can’t contaminate other foods – this will also prevent flies getting to them
  • Check that packaging isn’t damaged before buying a food product – if it is, insects may have been able to sneak into it and had early access to your food
  • Keep storage cabinets cool so that any non-fridge food

The Advantages of a Survey

Whether you get a Level 2 or Level 3 survey based on your property type, a property survey is an excellent way to bring your attention to any potential issues, including a range of infestations. These infestations are usually mice or rats, but other pests as we’ve mentioned above, particularly wasps and ants, can also be identified. These pests can be identified through elements such as:

  • Smells
  • Eggs or droppings left behind
  • Evidence of nesting
  • Tracks
  • Physical damage caused by specific creatures

Depending on the type of infestation, the survey may recommend that you hire a pest control expert to deal with the problem.

Conclusion

In this blog, we have tried to make it so that you can control these pests as humanely as possible, but we understand that this may not always be possible. If something is flying in our face, our instinct is to bat it away and many people will crush an insect that is bothering them. However, please be mindful of the creatures you’re harming in the process, particularly when it comes to bees. Take some time to research different insects and their positive uses through different wildlife charity sites, such as The Wildlife Trusts and Buglife.

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