HOW TO GET RID OF BIRDS AND PIGEONS – SOLUTIONS?

Picture the scene… it is a warm summer’s day and you decide to dine ‘al fresco’, enjoying the afternoon sun and chattering with friends. But the peace and tranquillity is shattered by shrieking birds, dive bombing seagulls and pigeon droppings landing on the picnic table.

It is time to deal with the bird problem!  
Here at SOS Pest Control we have helped thousands of customers either completely get rid of their pest, or to control and manage the numbers so that damage and inconvenience is kept to a minimum.
Birds of all types, including pigeons, are common pests that people need help with and you will be pleased to know there are a variety of methods and treatments to do this, although some and more successful than others…

Why do birds and pigeons need to be dealt with?

Birds and pigeons cause numerous problems, the obvious being the droppings that can not only make your property, exterior walls and pathways unsightly, there is a far more serious problems…

  • Disease – although you may commonly associate salmonella with uncooked chicken, this can also be found in bird droppings, as well as listeria and campylobacter. Pigeons also transmit ornithosis to humans, the symptoms of which are commonly mistaken for flu.
  • Insects – bird nests are home to not just birds and their chicks, they are a hive of blood-feeding insects as well as harbouring little critters that can infest our homes, and use our clothes, soft furnishings and us as sources of food! These insects can carry disease too, making for some unpleasant diseases.
  • Safety – one of the biggest reasons why customers contact us to deal with birds and pigeons is the safety issue associated with excessive droppings, not just in terms of the disease that can be spread but also in terms of slipping.
  • Damage – we’ve already hinted at how bird droppings can make a building look unsightly, but droppings also damage the fabric of a buildings, as well as being foul smelling and generally unpleasant.
  • Aircraft damage – excessive birds around airport also pose a serious threat to planes and other aircraft, which is why most airports invest in teams to continual scare and manage the threat of bird strike. Known to have catastrophic effects, it is clear why birds and pigeons need controlling.

What about DIY solutions?

Like most things, there are various treatments and remedies available for you to buy from your local hardware store or similar, all that promise instant results with your bird or pigeon problem.
One such remedy is to buy a ‘scare owl’. Varying in price, these realistic looking owl ‘ornament’ is placed on the roof. Pigeons are scared of owls and, providing the owl is moved from time to time, many people say that this method has worked.

However, in all honesty, if you only have a few pigeons causing a nuisance then this may work but if you have a serious bird issue, then there is no substitute for calling in the experts.

What do the experts do?

Pest control experts are qualified and trained in all aspects of pest control and management. Not all pest control is about eradication; some animals need controlling, with their numbers keeping in check and birds are one of those pests.
Pigeons are well known as pests; in fact, ask any city centre manager and they will roll their eyes, telling you stories of how much damage pigeons cause in town and city centres across the UK.
Controlling and managing bird numbers is a marathon, not a sprint. Solutions need to be effective over the longer term and here at SOS Pest Control we use a variety of different methods.

Discreet bird scaring

In order to keep pigeons and other birds away from your building, you are not necessarily looking for a scarecrow and a loud gunshot blasting every 20 minutes. There are electrical bird scaring devices, such as Avi-Shock that scare birds away without harming them, or being noticeable.
Barely visible, this system is a track device that is install on ledges and buildings of roofs and delivers a small electric shock when birds land on it. Hence they fly away, looking for somewhere else to roost. Comparable to an electric fence for farm animals, this is an incredibly humane way of preventing birds and pigeons from landing on buildings and causing the unsightly mess and damage that they do.

Spiking

Look at larger buildings in a town or city, and you may notice a series of spikes on ledges and rooftops. Made from metal or plastic, these spike are designed to be installed where pigeons and birds land and perch; you will also see something similar on the top of lamp posts. These spikes are another form of humane prevention; no bird or pigeon will be harmed!

Netting

However, it is fair to say that not every customers, domestic or business, wants spikes on their rooftops and ledges, preferring for something more discreet and less noticeable. In this case, the answer may lie in bird netting. Gardeners of course, use such netting to protect fruit bushes and the like from birds, and the same principle is applied when placing netting on a building. The nylon netting is securely fixed and prevents all birds, including pigeons, from landing on the building, thus protecting it from damage. Incredibly effective, it also blends with the building, making it far less obvious. Many building, including domestic properties plagued by pigeons and birds often have this on their roof tops.
There are other solutions too, including culling but all pest control assignments of this nature need careful assessment by professional pest controllers, like SOS Pest Control, and the right treatment and control tactics deployed.

Are all types of bird a pest?

If they are a nuisance and cause damage, then yes any bird can be a pest but, it is important to seek professional advice regarding any bird or pigeon issue. This is simply because some birds are protected and in order to manage their numbers, or prevent them damaging your property, only certain methods should be used that do not harm the bird in any way.

Choosing the right pest control company

If you have a problem with birds, whether that is sparrow, pigeons, seagulls, starlings or any other bird, getting the right advice as well as the right company to complete the job correctly is important; it will leave you relatively bird-free as well as better off in the longer term, without expensive damage to repair.
Dealing with birds inevitably means working at height, another reason why it is probably best to leave it to the experts. Here at SOS Pest Control we are not only professional pest controllers, but competent and efficient at working at height, all the current health & safety laws and regulations as well as being experts on bird behaviour.

Don’t take chances! Get the experts in and enjoy eating ‘al fresco’ once again!

How Do I Identify A Wasp Or A Bee?

HOW TO IDENTIFY A WASP & A BEE?

Common to all areas of the UK, many people live in fear of the warmer weather knowing it will bring with it wasps and bees. With people fearful of the sting they can deliver, it pays to know about these insects and their habits so that you can avoid this painful occurrence. The wasp and bee identification guide below can also help you diagnose if you have a problem with wasps or bees.

Wasps

Many people believe that wasps play no part in ecology but this is doing them a slight disservice. Compared to bees, wasps play a smaller part but it is an invaluable one nevertheless; if you are a keen gardener, you will know the damage that smaller insects such as aphids can cause to crops and plants. Wasps feed on these smaller insects, making them, to a certain extent, a gardener’s friend. It is their nasty stinging habit and their late summer aggression that make wasps unpopular.

Are wasps all the same?

As you chase a wasp around your living room attempting to swot it, you have probably given little thought which species of wasp it actually is. In the UK, there are 7 species of wasp, all similar looking, but differing in size and pattern. Essentially, their body shape is the same: wasps have a tapered abdomen, a defined waist and are coloured yellow and black. The hornet is the largest wasp but no mater what species they are, they can all deliver a nasty and unwelcome sting. Wasps, unlike the bee can delivery many stings and are not limited to one.

Life cycle

Wasps do not live forever; in fact their life cycle is quite short. The mated queen hibernates through the colder winter months, emerging into the warm sunshine of April and begins her mission to find a place to nest.

Have you noticed ‘shredding’ on cardboard and other ‘soft’ items in outbuildings at this time? This could be the queen as she finds suitable material from which to build her nest. Once she is comfortable in her new home, she starts the process of laying eggs, feeding the emerging larvae on insects (hence crops and plants in the vicinity will be insect-free!). Once the first workers emerge they take over all aspects of building and maintaining the nest, including finding food, while the queen rests and lays more eggs.

Colony size

Here in lies the problem – not only is hosting a wasp nest or colony in your home, garden or outbuilding an unwelcome prospect for many people, it can be the sheer size of the colony that causes the main issue.

It can soon swell in size, with 20,000 wasps buzzing in an out their nest, all looking for a local and reliable food source or building materials. If there are not too many insects left around, they look for sugary food. Anything that smells or tastes sweet is welcome, hence fruit, sweet drinks like soda and squash, rubbish bins, etc… our food becomes their target. This is when they can become a nuisance, buzzing into the home. Being worker wasps they tell their colleagues, who then visit the same area to take as much of the food source as possible.

Keep wasps at bay!

Sometime, our habits can encourage wasps to seek food in and around our homes. Make sure waste food is either composted or binned if rotting and that food is covered or put away.

Bins lids should fit firmly, as with compost heaps if they are close to the home. Do NOT attempt to handle the wasp nest!

Are they a threat?

Many people fear them but, if left alone, the wasp nest can be left for the summer, vacated in the autumn and then simply removed but this rarely happens.  It would also mean that you place yourself and family at risk of stings, so is not advised.

Wasps do not like to be disturbed, taking an aggressive stance if they think their nest is under threat of attack. Any perceived threat is met with determination and force from the wasps and it is this that many of us fear.

A single wasp can sting many times but, the consequence is that their internal organs are destroyed and they die within minutes of delivering their final sting. They also will attack in swarms, so upsetting one wasp can lead to being stung several times by several wasps.

How to stay safe around a wasp nest

Wasps are aggressive and do not like their nest being disturbed; if you suspect you have a wasp nest, call us today for a professional wasp nest removal service.

Bees

People tend to have a more favourable viewpoint of bees, even though they can still deliver a nasty sting, although they rarely do so. Over the years, ecologists and environmental campaigners have highlighted the plight of the bee. Insecticides used to increased crop yields have had a detrimental effect on the number of bees. Being efficient pollinators, their declining numbers has led some people to be concerned about how we can produce crops and food in the future.

There are…

24 species of bumblebees, 225 species of the solitary bee and just one type of honeybee

Bumblebee Conservation Society

The ecological importance of the bee

It is estimated that third of the food we eat depends on pollination and with bees far outnumbering other pollinators around the globe, their importance is obvious. Not only do bees pollinate our food crops, they also pollinate food fed to cattle and sheep.

The bumblebee – the perfect pollinator

In recent years, the bumblebee has been used commercially in the UK as a pollinator of crops, the bumblebee is the insect people assume lives in beehives.

Queen bumblebees hibernate separately during winter, much like the queen wasp, emerging in the early spring, flying around looking for suitable nesting sites. Rarely do they encroach into our homes, preferring instead the warmth and ready food supply in the compost bin or disused birds nests etc. Rearing small offspring initially, they become social from this point forth with the second batch of offspring are much larger. From this point on, these gentle creatures spend their days, flying clumsily around the British countryside, pollinating crops with their vibrating bodies.

Delightfully rotund and furry, they are the gardeners and farmers’ friends.

The honey bee

Honeybee’s are the bees that can alarm people the most as they live in groups, a solitary honey bee will not last long on its own. They prefer old, decayed trees, hedges, roofs, soffits and facias and chimneys as their nesting sites and they have the ability to swarm.

Despite the noise, the swarm is magnificent in display, but stay away and call SOS Pest Control to asses a bee removal service. Depending on the type of bee and location of the nest bee’s will normally be relocated and not destroyed as they are of such high importance to our ecology.

Many people mistake them for wasps but honeybees have light tan coloured bandings to their abdomens and live in large colonies. These are the insets you will see visiting flowers for the sweet, sugary nectar. They convert this nectar to honey, so that the colony can survive the winter.

Honey is not the only product these bees make; beeswax is also a product we use as polish, as well as in cosmetics and the food industry. Tradition was that church candles were always made from beeswax.

However, honeybees do sting; after all, they have a large colony to protect. If disturbed, they will sting so take care approaching the hive and give us a call to discuss.

What causes a swarm?

As the colony numbers swell, the queen must alleviate the overcrowding. To do this, she flies out of the hive, taking some worker bees with her to start another hive somewhere else.

The solitary bee

With over 250 species in the UK of this type of bee, it can be nigh on impossible to identify which one you are looking at!

Some types exhibit different habits; for example, some tunnel into sandy soil or into the soft mortar on buildings, whilst other seek out existing holes ad gaps in buildings, trees etc.

However their life cycle will all follow a similar pattern…

They lay their eggs, covering it in a ‘cell’, with pollen. The larvae, on hatching from the egg has the pollen as its only food supply and from this, it pupates and emerges the following year. The males appear first, waiting to mate with the females who appear some time later. The females, once mated, carry on this act of crating cells but the males, now they have served their purpose, die within a few weeks.

Looking similar to honey bees, the solitary bee tends to nest near other bees, in what are known as ‘villages’. They can arrive in places in clusters and many pest controllers, like us, receive calls of bee swarms, only to find these solitary bee clusters.

Like other bees, they are invaluable pollinators but can sting if handled roughly.

Both bees and wasps have their part to play in ecology, although we assume that bees play a more important role. Either way, having them nest near or in your home or workplace is no laughing matter. Never attempt to handle or remove a nest or hive yourself; the consequences can be painful at best, fatal at worst.

If you suspect you have a bee or wasp problem please give us a call today as we can help provide expert and friendly advice on treating the problem.

How Do I Get Rid Of Fleas?

HOW DO I GET RID OF FLEAS?

Possibly one of the most annoying enemies of the modern-day pet owner, fleas can be a real nuisance as well as incredibly difficult to get rid of.

Unfortunately, many of us are still wracked with embarrassment to ‘admit’ our homes have fleas and so delay calling in the expert services of a professional pest controller. Shop bought remedies and some natural remedies can sometimes work, but unless you know the lifecycle of the flea, as well as generally being armed with knowledge, you may find that these remedies simply keep the numbers down, rather than freeing you of fleas! Not treating fleas effectively and quickly inevitably means one thing: trouble.

Understanding the flea lifecycle

In order to be rid of fleas from both dogs and cats, as well as your home, you need to break the life cycle of the flea – and then deal effectively with the remnants…

There are 4 stages to the life cycle consisting of eggs, larvae, pupa and adult, with environmental factors such as temperature and humidity contirbuting to the success rate of the cycle. The whole cycle can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months. The optimal temperature for fleas is 21° and 70% humidity.

Freaky flea fact…

A female flea cannot lay eggs until after its first meal; starting within 35 to 48 hours of the initial feed, she will go on to produce over 2,000 eggs in her life time (which is on average 2 to 3 months).

Stage 1: Eggs

The femal adult flea cannot begin to lay eggs until she has consumed her first blood mean from a host (such as your dog or cat or wild rodent in your garden). This blood is nectar to fleas, signaliing they can now reproduce the small white eggs that will cause you and your pet so many problems! You can spot the eggs as they tend to be laid in ‘bunches’ on your pets fur. In one day, an active adult female can lay 50 eggs.

However, this is not the worst of your worries. These eggs fall off the pets to allow for effective dispersal of them through the environment, hence landing on your carpets and other soft furnishings; in any flea infestation within a home, eggs represent about 50% of the population.

With the environmental factors critical to the eggs development, they can hatch at a fast rate  (2 days) or they can take two weeks to mature. Warm temperatures and a higher humidity significantly increases the hatching rate of these eggs – no wonder they love our warm, central heated homs or a nice summers day.

Stage 2: Larvae

True flea fact

They have no wings and move around by jumping

The second stage of the lifecycle is the emergence of the blind larvae; avoiding daylight these tiny things develop over many weeks, eating the ‘dirt’ of adult fleas as they pass by, along with any other kind of organic matter that happens to land near them.

White, almost translucent and legless, they are less than a ¼ inch in length. Again, depending on environmental conditions, they can spin their cocoons within 5 to 20 days from hatching, leading them into the third stage of the life cycle: pupae.

Stage 3: Pupae

This is the final developmental stage of the process before the adult flea emerges. The cocoon protects the pupae for several days, sometimes weeks, before the adult emerges; if the conditions are not right, they can stay in this state for months – or a year!

The outer coating is sticky and they can hide deep within the fibres of a carpet, for example, and so light vacuuming or sweeping does little to remove them. This casing can also protect them from chemicals and neither will they emerge until they sense a potential host nearby – such as carbon dioxide or vibrations from you, your family or pets.

Stage 4: The Flea

And then the lifecycle starts all over again, with the female adult fleas searching for their first meal, rendering them fertile.

If fleas were the size of humans…
… they would break the long jump record by 970 feet!

Effective treatment depends on breaking this cycle

Professional pest controllers understand the life cycle of the flea and can offer quick, effective treatments but there are some hints and tips that you can follow when you first spot the problem…

The number one weapon is your vacuum cleaner!

Many of today’s modern vacuums have exceptional suction power and so vacuuming the affected rooms, along with the furnishing and curtains is a great way to start. Don’t forget to vacuum the pets beds too.

However where many people go wrong is that they leave the contents of the vacuum in it – empty your machine each time you hoover.

But vacuuming alone will not rectify the problem.

Flea fact…
One of the oldest species on earth (they have been here over 100 million years), the new fleas emerging from the safety of their pupae have 7 days to find their first blood meal… or they die.

You will need to treat your home and pets with chemicals known as insecticides. Many people fail to read the instructions correctly and therefore the effectiveness of these treatments are greatly reduced.

It is also important that you treat your home and pets on the same day, as doing one and not the other is a futile exrcise. Any treatment you use in the home needs to combat the eggs, larvae and emerging adults and there are many different treatments available on the market. Many people tend to be miss the less obvious places too – make sure you treate all the nooks and crannies within a room, and don’t forget about under the bed and the sofa and all the cracks under the skirting boards.

But, many people are frustrated to find that within a  couple of weeks they still have fleas so what they think has been a successful treatment of a flea problem in the home, is actually a far cry from a successful home treatment. This is down to fact that in the pupae stage, the flea is not affected by insecticides or water. If you see ‘new’ fleas within a few weeks, you will need to treat your home again and again until the fleas are gone.

Treating your pets

Ensuring your pets are flea-free will be of great benefit to your home, but also to their own comfort. Flea bites, we know as humans, can be itchy and uncomfortable, therfore treating your pet as soon a possible will retore their comfort levels.

Another flea fact…
Female fleas – always bigger than the male – can consume 15 times its own body weight in blood IN A DAY!

The best person to consult for animal flea treatment is your vet, who can recommend the latest in flea treatments.

A common problem?

Any home, business or property can be affected by fleas. Like any pest control problems, calling in the local, professional pest controller is a sure fire way of getting the problem dealt with quickly and effectively. Highly trained pest contollers use commercial grade chemicals combined with their knowledge of successful flea treatments and advise. SOS Pest Control offer a guaranteed flea removal service within one to two treatments, please call us today to discuss.