Signs of bedbugs
Adult bedbugs are roughly apple pip size and may vary in colour. When fed they may appear red/ purple whilst hungry ones may appear opaque. Adults can be found in sockets, cracks and crevices, on curtains and along skirting boards or carpet edges.
Bedbugs are nocturnal creatures and will feed when humans are asleep at night. The bites will be red, slightly swollen, itchy and may appear in clusters.
Bedbugs deposit their faeces after every meal. This will appear as dark brown stains on bedding especially round the edges of mattresses and bed frames where they are mainly found. This will be more pronounced with heavier infestations.
Spots of blood may be found in bedding and is caused by bed bugs feeding or from crushing the insect.
To prevent an infestation
Store any suitcases and bags off the ground and away from your bed when staying at a hotel in the UK or abroad.
When buying second hand furniture thoroughly inspect it for insects within the seams, crevices and cracks.
Vacuuming mattresses and material areas will help reduce the number of insects and eggs. The bed frame and any bedroom furniture must be moved away from the walls and the whole room vacuumed. Ensure the vacuum contents are put in your outside bin.
The biscuit beetle is 2-3mm long and is dark-matt brown in colour. Biscuit beetles are often confused with furniture beetles or woodworm.
The source of the infestation should be traced. Any affected foods should be destroyed and a suitable insecticide used if necessary.
Carpet beetles can cause major damage to textiles or carpets.
Carpet beetles thrive in conditions where they remain undisturbed, for example, beneath carpets, skirting boards and in wardrobes. However, they do not present significant health hazards. In some cases, larval hairs can cause skin irritations to those exposed to large numbers.
The wandering habits of these insects mean they frequently infest wide areas, making them difficult to control. To begin with, the source of the infestation must be traced. This could be found in old nests, animal remains, wool based lagging, soundproofing, wool based furnishings, or debris that has accumulated between floorboards. All sources of infestation should be removed and burnt where possible.
Infestations are often the result of broken drains or building defects. Cockroaches can even be transferred between locations, for example by eggs or adults being within products purchased from infected shops.
If you suspect you have an infestation, watch for insects scuttling away to hide when you enter at night. Also you can use a torch to check behind units, refrigerators and cookers to look for cockroaches. Also look for faecal matter and redundant egg cases.
There are no definite signs of an infestation, but random studies have shown that mites are very common throughout Britain.
Very high standards of cleanliness have proved to have suppressed mites but not eliminate them.
Other species have been found in cereal-based meals, dried and tanned animal hides, mattresses and other domestic furniture.
A large number of people have been found to be allergic to house dust, the main cause being house dust mites, their bodies or their faecal excretions.
Infestations can spread quickly especially as a female can lay up to 50 eggs a day. Most eggs will fall off the pet and hatch wherever they are in the house, usually where the pet sleeps, Only a small number of the flea population in a house will be on the animal at any given time.
Flea eggs can remain dormant for long periods of time but will be stimulated by vibration and heat. When this happens an adult flea will emerge and seek food. This is why people can experience flea bites when they move into a property that has been vacant for a while.
How to get rid of fleas
By taking simple measures, you may be able to control minor flea infestations yourself:
Vacuum living areas including furniture on a regular basis and areas where pets sleep, ensuring you tip any vacuum contents into your outside bin.
To prevent an infestation, ensure pets are treated regularly for fleas. On Spot is a treatment provided by vets. Once applied to animals skin it will provide protection from fleas and other pests for up to two months. A vet should be consulted for the correct treatment of your animal.
Wash bedding and animal bedding in a hot wash regularly.
If you do find an infestation, you may be able to get rid of it yourself using special insecticide either from your local DIY shop or vet. The insecticide is usually an aerosol.
Keep floor space clear, to allow for thorough and effective treatment.
Vacuum all affected areas thoroughly (including cracks, crevices and the edge of carpets) and dispose of the contents into your outside bin, This will help stimulate any eggs/ fleas and help the treatment work better.
When using insecticide always refer to the product instructions prior to use and follow at all times. Ensure that all animals allowed into your home are treated.
Spray floors, carpets and underneath furniture. You should never spray anything that comes into direct contact with human skin, e.g. bedding and seating. Spray from the corner first and cover all the carpet evenly.
After spraying, do not vacuum for ten days, or more, if possible. This will allow the insecticide to continue working on any hatching eggs or remaining fleas.
If you require professional help, Pest Control contractors will treat your premises with an insecticidal spray which would then be left undisturbed for eight to ten days.
Usually, if you find you have a problem with flour beetles, the solution is straightforward: find the food that has the problem and discard it, then thoroughly clean the area and protect other foods.
Maybugs gather on the tops of buildings and in undisturbed ground and enter through open windows, doors or down chimneys.
Individual insects can be killed with insect sprays, but if large numbers are present, it may be necessary to use chemical or biological sprays i.e. insecticides to kill the larvae or to remove them by hand. Foraging birds and other diseases may decrease the population, but not as significantly. For chemical and biological sprays, ask at your local garden centre or a pesticide stockist.
Mealworms are typically used as a food source for reptile, fish, and bird pets. They are also provided to wild birds in bird feeders. They are high in protein and also commonly used for fishing bait.
In the household, they are attracted to cereals, flour and grain. To destroy an infestation, you must hoover out the area, bake the infested grains in the oven to destroy all stages of the larvae and then dispose of it in the rubbish bin. You may also want to spray an insecticide around the perimeter of your property to stop any further infestations and renew on a regular basis.
Psocids (pronounced so-sids) are common, household pests found in food cupboards typically feeding on dry powdery foods such as flour and sugar.
To prevent or get rid of the psocids, remove the affected food immediately and dispose of it in an outside dustbin, check everything else in the cupboard removing anything that may contain them particularly flour and other dried goods. Food in cans and bottles will still be all right but do check them for any insects that may be hiding (including under labels). Clean out all dust and crumbs from the cupboard effectively, making sure the cupboard is completely dry. Any objects you suspect may contain psocids or their eggs, which you do not want to throw away, can be placed in a sealed bag in a freezer for 24hrs, this will kill any psocids or their eggs.
Clean the cupboard thoroughly with water and suitable indoor insecticide and most, important, find the cause of the humidity and to cure it.
Silverfish inhabit moist areas, they can be found in basements, bathrooms, garages, cupboards and attics, under floorboards and sinks.
To get rid of silverfish, you may need to use insecticides to treat silverfish bought from most hardware stores and to reduce the moisture levels in your home.
Woodworm can cause serious damage to both internal & external timber as well as your home furnishings. If left untreated, they can seriously weaken timber leading to the eventual failure of the structure of a building.
If you spot any of the following signs you may have an active woodworm infestation:
- fresh exit holes with round with sharp edges and the walls of the holes will appear clean & fresh
- fine, powdery dust (termed as frass) around holes or underneath timbers
- weak and damaged flooring or wood in extreme cases a foot or chair leg going through the floor can indicate a more serious problem
- dead beetles collecting on sills or near timbers
If you think you may have a woodworm infestation, contact an authorised pest contractor for professional advice. If it is confined to a small area, it is possible to treat the problem with a chemical spray, found in DIY shops and garden centres, directly into the holes or to paint over untreated wood.
- inspect new or second hand furniture to see if there is an infestation before bringing it into your home
- try to keep rooms well ventilated to avoid moisture build up
- treat any new timber with chemical products or buy pre-treated products