Guidance on Pests

Tenants are responsible for the removal of pest infestations within their homes or garden unless there is clear evidence that the pests have arisen because the Assocation has failed or neglected to fulfill its responsibility as Landlord (for example if a squirrel builds a nest in a roofspace because there are holes/gaps that need to be filled)

Where a Tenant does not deal with an infestation and as a consequence neighbouring properties become infested due to the tenants neglect, the Association will eradicate the problem and costs associated with this will be dealt with as a rechargeable repair.

Below is a guide and advice on how to deal with some of the most common household pests (it should be noted that some species may be protected).

Renfrewshire Council provide a pest control and eradication service for a fee – go to Renfrewshire Council Pest Control for information. Other service providers/contractors are available – see yellow pages.

Mice

Mice will move in to properties where they can get shelter, food and water. They normally move into dead spaces where they will not be disturbed. They are extremely good climbers with exceptionally sharp teeth.

They can do significant damage to building materials and have caused fire by chewing through cables. They use the same pathways and can be detected by the appearance of smear marks where their fur rubs against surfaces. They also leave fresh droppings or gnaw marks.

Prevention & Treatment: Do not leave food out overnight. Do not leave uneaten pet food over night. Remove all spillages. Empty waste bins frequently. Store food in rodent proof containers. Clear all refuse in the garden area. Sealing cracks (mice can squeeze through a gap down to 5 mm). Treat by trapping or baiting but do not leave bait down for extended periods.

Rats

Rats are a hazard to public health as they can transmit a number of potentially fatal diseases as well as bacteria, viruses and parasites. They will scavenge discarded food as well as scavenging in drains and sewers. They burrow into soil, compost heaps and under sheds etc. They can squeeze into small openings and have very sharp teeth.

They are generally difficult to spot due to their nocturnal nature and the sighting of a rat by day can indicate a significant infestation. Signs of an infestation consist of droppings, gnaw marks, runs and smear marks.

Prevention & Treatment: Ensure all drainage is in good condition.Ensure that refuse is not allowed to accumulate. Seal cracks in property. Suspend bird food or place it on tables and not the ground. Treat by baiting but this should be done by a specialist.

Birds & Squirrels

Birds and Squirrels can occasionally take up residence in roof spaces. You may only realise that you have birds or squirrels in your house if you see or hear them in the eaves or roofspace.

Prevention & Treatment: Make sure that all holes and gaps in the roofspace and eaves are blocked up. BHA will make arrangement to close over any access points into the building and will remove any squirrels or birds nests from within roofspaces.

Bats

Bats are a protected species. They are a flying nocturnal mammal. They eat insects and hibernate during the winter. They can get into buildings through very small space.

Residents must not attempt to remove/eradicate bats themselves. Please contact the Association’s Technical Team if you think you have bats.

Wasps

These are flying; stinging insects and are active from spring through to autumn. They collect food when out to feed others back at their nest. Wasps particularly like fruit such as apples, pears and plums. They often build nests in the eaves of buildings, roof spaces and chimneys.

The presence of wasps can be detected by the sound they make and by the appearance of a nest (it usually looks like a small bee hive). They should be dealt with as soon as possible as the nest can vary in size from 5 to 5000 wasps.

Prevention & Treatment: Prevention is difficult. Treating wasps can be dangerous and should be undertaken by an experienced person wearing protective clothing. Nests can be treated with a suitable insecticide and treatment is usually done the evening when activity is low.

Bees

Bees are flying, stinging insects active from February to October. They seldom sting unless provoked and live in small colonies of up to 150 insects. Residents may become aware of bees by the buzzing sound they make and the presence of a small hive.

Prevention & Treatment: Prevention is difficult. Treating bees can be dangerous and should be undertaken by an experienced professional.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches are an insect with large antennae and 2 pairs of wings. They can give off an unpleasant odour which can give people an allergic skin reaction. They like warm humid conditions where they have a source of food and shelter.

They are nocturnal and spend the day behind sinks and at the back of cupboards. Cockroaches are attracted to dirty kitchens so good hygiene is essential. You will probably hear them walking over surfaces but you are more likely to see them.

Prevention & Treatment: Prevention is achieved by maintaining high standards of hygiene to prevent them having access to sources of food. Cracks in buildings should be sealed. Cockroaches can be killed using an appropriate insecticide available from supermarkets/hardware shops/garden centres.

Ants

There are at least 41 varieties of ants in the UK. They generally nest out of doors but enter homes through small gaps in search of sweet foods. Black ants are the most common ants that enter the house and the main reason for this is that they are looking for food.

Prevention & Treatment: Good housekeeping is effective. Ant baits/insecticides of various types are available in shops/supermarkets. Treatment consists of applying a crawling insect insecticide at the entrance of the nest and where they enter the property to try and create a band of insecticide that the ants have to cross. Alternatively proprietary ant baits can be laid near nests.

Fleas

Fleas are tiny parasites that live off warm blooded animals. There are various species that live off different animals (e.g. cat fleas, dog fleas). There has been an increase in numbers in recent years due to pet owners neglecting to clean their pets bedding properly. An infestation of fleas in the home will lead to bites to the legs of residents, generally below the knee.

Prevention & Treatment: Prevention is difficult. Fleas can be treated and controlled by regular cleaning of the property with a vacuum cleaner. Carpets can be treated with a suitable, proprietary insecticide. Pets and their bedding material should be treated with suitable veterinary products.

Earwigs, Woodlice & Silverfish

Earwigs are dark brown about 14mm long, have wings but never fly and are normally active at night. These infestations are caused by vegetation close to entrances and can be prevented by good housekeeping. They are naturally occurring and most people are not even aware of their presence.

Woodlice are slate grey in colour and have 7 pairs of legs. They are a crustacean.

Silverfish are a slender shiny wingless insect about 10mm long and have 3 bristles at the end of their body.

These 3 insects all prefer moist damp places.

Prevention & Treatment: They are dealt with by removing the damp conditions and applying a proprietary residual insecticide.

Slugs & Snails

Slugs and snails feed on a variety of plants and decaying matter. They move by a muscular foot which secrete mucus to allow the animal to slide along. This later dries out and leaves the tell tale silvery trail. They are most active at night or on cloudy/wet days. They hibernate during winter.

Prevention & Treatment: Slugs and snail can be treated with proprietary treatment from your local hardware store. Residents should also try to identify how they are getting into the home.