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Pest Problems in the Colder Months

  • 26th January 2022
  • posted in: Advice

You may not think you’ll run into many pests in the colder months - wasps, gnats and bees fly off and bugs scurry away, leaving you safe for another year. But as it starts to get colder, insects and animals like rodents may seek warmth and shelter in your home.

If you’re squeamish and want to protect yourself from any encounters, here’s a number of pests that could be paying you a visit this Autumn/Winter.

Early Autumn Spiders

September is actually known as spider season in the UK, typically ending by the first week of October. The spiders come into the warmer indoors for their mating season. While you may encounter spiders most times of the year, September is when they are the most noticeable.

Most of the spiders seen are males coming into hunt for females. Female spiders wait for the males indoors, usually found in their webs, in garages or windowsills.

Peppermint spray is said to be a spider repellent, but the truth is it’s not very effective. The best way to prevent spiders is to discourage them. Make sure you keep a clean house by regularly vacuuming top to bottom, including vacuuming up or dusting away any webs you see. Keep clutter to a minimum inside and outside, basically anything that could provide shelter for the spiders like firewood piles or plant pots.

To go the extra mile and make Autumn arachnophobia free, you can fill in any gaps or cracks that spiders can get through, like in doors and in-between walls. You can also invest in dedicated spider catchers, which are long handled grabbing devices, for a humane way to get those arachnids out of your home.

Spider season is relatively short lived and shouldn’t become too much of a pest problem. Most spiders in the UK are harmless. But if like some people, you are particularly freaked out by spiders, you now have the knowledge to lockdown your home and create a spider-free zone.

Mice and Rats Seeking Warmth and Food

Due to a lack of natural food outside, mice and rats can enter homes and other buildings. They can squeeze through some very tiny gaps and may even be caught out and brought in, dead or alive, by your cat or dog.

Commercial buildings make ideal safe spaces for rodents as lots of unguarded food supplies are left in the empty buildings overnight. Rats and mice are a year-round problem, but Winter escalates their need for warmth and sustenance, so businesses will want to stay vigilant during these times.

Silverfish

Silverfish are insects that live in damp and humid places; they can become more noticeable indoors in winter due to the rise in central heating which then provides more opportunity for moisture and condensation. Because of this, they are commonly found in bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry rooms – areas with water that aren’t frequented as much as living rooms.

You may notice the tiny creatures wiggle across a tiled floor or even poke out of a plughole. They thrive in damp, dark, and isolated areas, like pipes and cracks in walls. This makes them difficult to locate, unless you’re lucky/unlucky enough to catch one scuttling across the bathroom floor.

Similar to spiders, prevention is the cure with silverfish. Discourage them by fixing any leaky pipes, as well as keeping things clean and well ventilated, so your bathroom or laundry room doesn’t become too humid and inviting for the bugs.

They feed off starch, cellulose and sugar, items used in both food and materials, so you may find them amongst books, wallpaper, and damp laundry. Keep any dust and food that they could feed off to a minimum by regularly vacuuming or cleaning areas like floors and carpets that collect this food debris.

You’ll also want to make sure your cereal, pasta and oats are properly sealed to avoid the trauma of finding them living and feasting away in amongst these foods.

Wasps and Hornets

Whilst most wasp and hornet drones die out in the Autumn, the queens do not. Instead, they hibernate over Winter by finding somewhere warm, dry and safe. Queens usually head for attics or sheds; they will chew up wood and use it to start building the first parts of the new nest. The queen will then start to lay eggs to grow her new colony.

One single queen will go unnoticed by most people during these cold months. But it can then come as a shocking surprise when a nest of wasps or hornets that’s been slowly building since Autumn seems to suddenly appear in the Spring.

Dead Animals

Unfortunately, not all animals survive the Winter. Some don’t find warm salvage or struggle to find food and perish. If you find a dead animal in your garden, especially something relatively large like a fox, it’s best to deal with the problem as quickly as possible to prevent the spread of any diseases.

Some dead animals may not be as easy to find, and may be first noticed by an unpleasant smell. Animals will often try to find somewhere safe to hide shortly before they pass away, they may even manage to get under your house, depending on your property’s set up.

Foxes especially are becoming more common to see as their population continues to grow, with local councils no longer offering dead fox removal.

For safety reasons, it may be best to call on a professional when it comes to the removal of dead animals. A professional is equipped to locate small animals like rats and mice, as well as quickly, humanely and discretely dispose of dead birds, squirrels, and foxes.

General Prevention

Whilst knowing specific things such as likes, dislikes and routines for each pest is useful, the method for preventing most of these pests is largely the same.

Seal up any cracks, holes, and access points. Keep a good routine when it comes to cleaning, so there’s no bits of food that these pests can sniff out. Regularly check any unused or usually hidden spaces like corners behind chairs to identify infestations early.

Keep food waste bins well sealed and as far away from your property as possible (i.e., at the end of your drive, if you can).

Pest Control When You Need It with Able Group

If you’ve done everything you can to prevent pests and are still being plagued by them, it might be time to call out a professional. Able Group provides quick solutions at a time, and season, that suits you.

Whether you’re invaded by rodents in Winter or that hornets nest makes itself known in Spring, we are always here to take your call.

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