Few things can ruin a beautiful summer’s day more quickly than an angry wasps nest, a swarm of hungry mosquitos or a colony of intrepid ants. Irritating, unhygienic and occasionally dangerous, pests cause a real problem for many households throughout the summer months.
If your picnics are being plagued by pests, or if insects are invading your kitchen, taking fast and definitive action is the best way to prevent an annoyance becoming a serious infestation. To help you keep your home insect free, here are Servest’s top tips for summer pest control.
Common summer pests
The most common pests seen in the UK summer months are wasps, ants, flies, and bees (both bumblebees and honeybees). Of these, the most dangerous are wasps and bees, though all types of infestation can cause irritation, inconvenience and hygiene issues.
How to prevent pests
Although getting rid of all of the potential pests from your local area is virtually impossible, there are some steps you can take to minimise infestations and prevent pests taking hold in your home or workplace.
As honeybees often like to nest in old chimneys, capping disused stacks is a great way to prevent them making themselves at home. This has the added advantage of also stopping birds from nesting in your chimney breast. However, swarms of bees can land just about anywhere and can often be found on plants, in trees or even on cars. If you’ve discovered bees buzzing around a hollow tree trunk at the bottom of your garden, the chances are it’s a hive or colony as they require plenty of space and tree trunks provide the perfect shelter.
Minimising outdoor clutter can go a long way to helping prevent bees from nesting in your garden in the first place. Unused household appliances or garden equipment left lying around are especially attractive to honeybees since they provide plenty of shelter for them to thrive.
A clean home is the most effective defence against ants. Cleaning down after cooking, sweeping away crumbs and quickly removing rubbish bags will all help to prevent attracting these tiny pests. Ants especially enjoy sugary food and will gather quickly if left over food or spills are not cleaned away. If an army of ants manages to invade your property, try sealing around skirting boards, door frames and wall and floor junctions to block their entry routes and cut off food supplies.
Much like ants, flies love to feast on waste and can become a real nuisance in the summer months. To prevent an infestation, ensure all food supplies are stored in cupboards and waste bins are thoroughly sealed. By cutting off their favoured food source of organic and moist materials, you’re also reducing their opportunities to breed. Sometimes keeping your house clean and tidy isn’t enough. Essential oils of basil and lavender have fly repellent and insecticidal properties which makes them an excellent and chemical-free fly deterrent. Installing screens on windows and doors can also help to prevent these little scavengers from entering your home and spreading germs.
Whether you experience a mild irritation or suffer a more severe reaction, the buzz and bite of mosquitos can plague your summer evenings. Mosquitos breed in stagnant water, and even a small amount of standing or slow moving water can produce a scourge of mosquitos. Broken or clogged drainage systems like gutters can create the perfect environment for mosquitos to thrive and should be the first place you investigate if a problem is encountered.
Where do pests nest?
Knowing where pests like to live can help you to spot infestations more quickly. During the summer months, check the loft, fascia boxes and bird boxes for wasps and bumblebees. Look in chimney stacks, hollow tree trunks and other spacious protected areas for honey bees and peer under paving slabs in your search for ants.
If you spot a nest, or notice a lot of insects coming in and out of your home, it could be a sign you have an infestation. If the insects are swarming around a plant or tree, it’s likely they’re simply feeding from the flowers rather than nesting.
When to call in the experts
If you’ve spotted a wasp nest or are having problems with flies or ants, it’s a good idea to call in the experts as soon as possible. Most insect infestations can be treated using insecticide dusts or liquids, allowing you to rid your property of its unwelcome residents quickly, easily and safely.
In general, it’s not worth treating bumblebees or honeybees unless they’re causing a real problem as they won’t sting unless provoked. In some cases beekeepers will even come and collect a swarm of honeybees to help pollinate crops and produce honey. With over 200 species of bees in the UK, 25% of which are endangered, it’s important to get an expert opinion to identify how to correctly remove and treat each species.
To find out more about pest control, or for expert advice, contact a member of Servest’s pest control team on 01223 836 086.
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