There are two types of ants that are commonly found throughout Britain:
- the Garden ant
- the Pharaoh’s ant.
Treatment and control measures
Good housekeeping and maintenance.
Ensure kitchen areas are clean and food stored properly.
Cupboards, shelves and work surfaces that may have sweet substances on them should be thoroughly cleaned with hot, soapy water to remove any traces.
Food containers such as jam jars, treacle tins, etc should be tightly closed after use and the lid thoroughly cleaned.
Treating the nest.
The nest is normally found outside but can occasionally be inside a cavity wall or even below floorboards. Identifying and treating the nest is the key way to prevent ants from entering a property. The nest can be located by following the worker ants.
The nest can be treated by using boiling water or a suitable insecticidal dust or spray, which is approved for use against ants, There are a number of products on the market, which are available from DIY stores, garden centres and chemists. These products contain the same active ingredients as the insecticides used by professional pest controllers but are not as strong. Please ensure that you follow manufacturer’s instructions when using the product.
Treating access points.
The place/s where the ants are gaining access should be established and a suitable insecticide used around that area. It is likely that ants will be gaining access from around skirting boards, cracks in the floor, wall or around windows. The insecticide should be placed in such a way that any ants entering the room are forced to come into contact with it.
Once again, only insecticides that are approved for use against ants should be used and the manufacturers instructions and safety precautions must be followed carefully when using the product.
You must be patient when using insecticides against ants as these are often not the ‘knock down’ type which have an immediate effect, such as a fly-spray. The poison acts by the ants taking it back on their bodies to the nest. For this reason, you will continue to see ants for some days but the numbers should decrease.
Eliminate damp, moist conditions found in sub floor spaces and along house foundations such as leaking gutters and drainpipes. Seal gaps around doors, windows, pipes and other points of entry, proofing air vents with insect screening mesh, especially at ground level.
Earwigs are attracted by light. It may help to reduce outside lighting at night. Ensure trees and other foliage is pruned so that it does not touch the house and never allow heavy ground cover to grow near vegetable gardens.
Use gravel and ornamental stones around the foundations of the house.
Earwigs present no health hazards and can be swept or vacuumed away. Indoors they eventually die as there is little for them to eat.
Traps can be laid outside near shrubs and fences. A rolled up newspaper or piece of tubing with ½ inch of vegetable oil or fat is very attractive to an earwig. Check the traps in the morning and shake the earwigs into a bucket of soapy water before disposing of them. Continue this until no further earwigs are caught.
Identify the main routes used to enter premises. Liquid or powder treatments are available to treat harbourages and generous applications should be made around the points of entry - doors, steps and window sills. Crawling insect aerosol should be used for indoor treatment and should be applied to areas used by the insects - porches, hallways, garages and outbuildings. Spring and summer are the best time to apply treatments.
Repainting brickwork and removing accumulations of vegetable debris will limit, but probably not overcome, their presence. The latter should be complemented with the use of a crawling insect powder suitable for garden application and applied to those areas most likely to offer harbourage. A good tip is to sprinkle some powder on small areas of dry earth in the garden and cover the areas with a board. Leave for a few days and reapply once more.
Flies can cause a health-risk through spreading disease. Some flies carry organisms from the food material which they feed on.
Flies commonly enter the home in the summer months and can either be ‘swatted’, trapped on sticky-flypapers or sprayed with a fly-spray aerosol. When found in large numbers, measures must be taken to control and prevent them.
If using an insecticide, always ensure you follow the instructions carefully.
- Do not spray while children or pets are in the room
- Do not spray in places where children or pets will have contact with them
- Cover fish tanks to prevent the spray from entering the water
- Clean exposed surfaces and wash hands immediately.
Pest control is not usually required for these beetles and it is rare for a home infestation to occur. They are themselves a pest control and widely recognised as ‘good for the garden’.
Firstly, if it is within the home, you will need to find the food source i.e. the body of an animal which should be thrown away, all wrapped up, and the area cleaned with a strong disinfectant. Maggots leave their food source and can be found up to 20 – 50 feet away, so clean a large area surrounding where most maggots were found. It is important that the food source is moved as you will only get further maggot infestations.
Maggots can also be found on live pets, especially those who live outside and any pets suffering from an injury or open wound. You will need to wash your pet and then apply a water based pet spray, found in most pet shops, to kill off any remaining maggots. Do not use an oil based spray, as this will only irritate your pet’s skin.
Maggots in bins - you can spray the area affected regularly to stop the odour of rubbish which attracts the insects. You will need to be careful that maggots don’t start migrating as they can then be found within your house under furniture or carpets. A quick way to clean your bin of maggots, is to leave the lid open for birds to feed on them.
Mosquitoes can carry some of the following diseases:
- yellow fever and dengue fever
Ways in which to protect yourself from mosquito bites include; insecticides, nets and repellents which can be found in most outdoor shops, chemists or supermarkets.
After being bitten, you can apply ‘Aloe Vera’ which cools the symptoms of itching and swelling or to put on a cold compress. If more severe symptoms develop such as headaches, sickness or aches, contact your doctor immediately.
When outside, the best way to avoid bites is to wear long sleeved clothing and apply insect repellent regularly. Another way is to try to keep doors and windows closed from dusk. There are also products on the market to catch the insects.
Moths are a nuisance, but don’t pose a risk to human health.
- inspect clothes or materials for signs of moths or their larvae
- stored clothing should be in sealed bags or boxes
- hoover regularly
- good general hygiene as moths are attracted to organic dust
- seal points or cracks in walls and skirting
- add cedar oil or other insect repellents or strips to cupboards and drawers to repel the moths and larvae
- hoover the affected area thoroughly
- remove any damaged clothing or materials
- using insect sprays in wardrobes, drawers, in wall cracks and around carpets and skirting boards (available from DIY shops and garden centres)
Spiders are attracted to places which can provide plenty of food (usually meaning other insect pests).
Treatment if they are inside your home
Treatment of a spider infestation once they are in your home can be done either by trapping, spraying, dusting or through the use of repellent materials. Spraying of the affected areas can give quick results. You will need to keep any pets or children away from the treated areas until the spray has dried.
There are also aerosols which can be used instead of a spray, better if being used on cracks or crevices. Dusting acts in a similar way to sprays, but can be safely applied to light switch covers and walls. This product is also more suited to use in lofts, where sprays will soak into insulation and joists. The dust will provide longer protection as it will stay in the surface. It also allows you to protect a larger area.
Traps can be set by doors, windows or air vents where you see lots of spiders. This will help to get rid of unwanted guests. Regular removal of webs will also discourage spiders.
Termites are also called ‘white ants’ and are feared because of the damage they can cause to properties. A termite colony can be up to 60,000 strong, but they will be easy to spot. To stop an infestation you will need to destroy the King and Queen of the colony.
There are two ways of treating an infestation:
By using liquids; laying a chemical liquid to prevent termites entering and leaving the property, meaning they die off
Baiting; putting food out soaked in chemicals, usually buried underground, so that it’s carried back to the nest and kills the colony
Please contact an authorised pest contractor if you see any ‘white ants’.