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 Quick Facts

UK is currently experiencing a huge increase in pest population:

 Brown Rats are increasing 39% year-on-year
 House Mice are increasing 12.5% year-on-year
 Summer Rats are increasing 69% year-on-year
 Bed Bugs cases increasing 40% year-on-year

What does this mean:
A average Londoner is no more than 14 metres away from a rat (last year 18 metres).
Despite tonnes of poison being laid out annually, more than 70 million brown rats are now estimated to be scurrying around Britain, more than one for every human.

Pest Information Centre – Everything you need to know about the pests

Here is some information on common house pests:

  • Bed Bugs
  • Fleas
  • Cockroaches
  • Flies
  • Bees
  • Rodents


The wingless bed bug, Cimex lectularius, is a notable bloodsucking parasite of humans so well-adapted to humans that its bite is nearly painless. The bed bug is in the insect order Hemiptera and is a true bug.

Developmental Stages

1. Eggs - Bed bugs lay one to five eggs a day over a period of two to 10 months, producing about
200. They deposit the 1 mm white eggs intermittently each day in protected places near their hosts’ sleeping quarters, cemented to bedding or in cracks. The eggs hatch in one or two weeks, depending on temperature.

2. Nymphs - Tiny and colorless at first, nymphs undergo five molts, each resembling the adult form and each requiring a blood meal. Each blood meal takes about three to 10 minutes, during which the nymphs inject saliva containing an anticoagulant. The nymphal period can last for several weeks under favorable conditions to as long as a year when temperatures and host availability are low.

3. Adults - Adults are 1/5 inch long, 1/6 inch wide and reddish-brown in color. Their flattened oval bodies are well-adapted for hiding in narrow crevices. The head bears a pair of four-segmented antennae and piercing-sucking mouthparts that fold to lie between the first pair of legs.


Bed bugs are found on the bed clothes and possessions of infested individuals. They commonly
occur in such places as seams of mattresses, inside mattress coils, cracks in bedsteads, bedside furniture, dressers, wallboards, wood paneling, door and window frames, behind pictures, under loose wallpaper and in rooms near host sleeping areas. A heavily infested house has a distinctive odor. Some people are very sensitive to bed bug bites while others are hardly aware of them. Immediately after feeding, bed bugs defecate the semisolid, sticky remains of the last meal, a good clue to their presence. Humans are the preferred host, but bed bugs will feed readily on poultry, mice, rats, some song birds and other animals.

Detection and Control

Look for bed bugs by inspecting their harborage, usually in and around bedrooms or sleeping
areas. Camping and sleeping equipment, outdoor animal sheds and coops are alternative sources of infestation.


Fleas are members of the order Siphonaptera, named for their mouthparts and wingless condition. Worldwide, more than 2,200 species of fleas parasitize mammals and birds. Fortunately, humans encounter only a few of these species, the most common being the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis), dog flea (C. canis), human flea (Pulex irritans) and oriental rat flea (Xenopsylla
cheopis). Fleas are medically important because of their irritating bites, abundance and ability to transmit diseases. The oriental rat flea is the primary vector of bubonic plague and murine typhus. Dog and cat fleas are intermediate hosts of tapeworms that can infest humans if accidentally ingested.

When the pet is removed from the environment, such as during a family vacation, a large population of hungry adult fleas may accumulate. When hungry, adult fleas tend to lose their one-track desire for the pet’s blood and will then attack any warm-blooded animal, humans included.

Fleas most often bite people on the legs and ankles; characteristically, two or three bites in a row.
A small, red spot with a light-colored center appears where the mouthparts entered the skin. Irritation, itching and rash are caused by salivary secretions that the flea injects during feeding. The typical human reaction to a flea bite is a small, hard, red, slightly raised, itching spot. Usually there is no swelling. Some bleeding can occur, particularly if the bite is scratched. Cats and dogs scratch and bite themselves constantly when heavily infested. Their coats become soiled and roughened, and their skin is irritated as a result of a flea infestation.

Developmental Stages
Under normal conditions, the entire life cycle of cat fleas may be completed in as few as 20 to 35
days. Flea production may take place indoors year-round, while outdoor production is limited to warm weather months.

There are four stages in the life cycle of fleas: egg, larva, pupa and adult.

1. Eggs - Flea eggs are smooth, oval, whitish, about 1/50 inch long and visible to the naked eye. The eggs hatch in two to 14 days, depending on environmental conditions.

2. Larvae - Newly hatched larvae are wormlike and whitish; when mature, they can be up to c inch long. Larvae lack legs and eyes and have chewing mouthparts. Fleas pass through three larval stages and are fully developed within eight to 24 days.

3. Pupae - Before entering the inactive pupal stage, the fully grown larvae spin silk cocoons. They incorporate debris particles that camouflage the cocoons in their natural surroundings. Each larva then pupates within its cocoon. The pupa, initially creamy white, gradually darkens to a brownish color.

4. Adults - Adult fleas are small, wingless insects, approximately 1/16 to c inch long. They are dark reddish-brown to black, with the mouthparts of both males and females adapted for puncturing animal skin and sucking blood. The third pair of legs is modified for jumping. Some species breed continuously, needing only a month or so to complete a generation, whereas others have but one generation per year.


Most flea species infest smaller animals, such as rats, mice, rabbits, moles and bats, but some are
parasites of larger animals and birds. Most are specific in host preference. They are very sensitive to temperature and humidity. The adult flea, even while still in the cocoon, recognizes the presence of a potential host by the host’s body heat and odor and by vibrations. This is one reason fleas often attack people returning home after vacation or when new occupants move into quarters formerly occupied by people with pets. Eggs are usually deposited onto the skin or hair of the host pet, from which they drop onto the pet’s bedding, carpet, rugs, mats, etc. Thus, the greatest concentration of eggs is where the pet spends the most time. The fertilized adult female flea lays two to 14 eggs after each blood meal, producing as many as 800 eggs in her lifetime.
The slender, whitish, sparsely bristled, legless larvae are often found in floor cracks, rugs, carpets
and animal bedding.

Detection and Control

In addition to families and pets, several species of urban and rural wildlife support flea
infestations, including chipmunks, ground squirrels, opossums, raccoons, coyotes and prairie dogs. These sources might need to be considered when control efforts seem to be only partially successful. Pets are always aware of the location of wildlife habitats in their own backyard. As soon as they are released they run to these places to investigate. This behavior facilitates flea reinfestation of clean pets.

Close inspection of indoor and outdoor pet areas may be required to detect even high flea
populations. Typically, fleas need warm and relatively humid conditions to thrive outdoors. Favored pet feeding, sleeping or resting areas, such as pet beds or blankets, kennels, doghouses, under bushes, in crawlspaces, etc., are natural flea harborages.


Cockroaches have plagued mankind since the beginning of recorded history. Not only can
cockroaches live with us, they live around us in both urban and rural areas. Even cockroaches that do not necessarily thrive under the same living conditions as house-dwelling species will wander in from the outdoors through convenient openings in walls, windows and doors.

Small populations of house-dwelling cockroaches may not be obvious, as they prefer to hide in
cracks and crevices during the day and forage for food and water at night. Cockroach numbers can easily grow, however, creating large populations in relatively short periods of time. Even small cockroach populations can create problems for humans. The problems that cockroaches cause may be classified as either aesthetic or health-related. Aesthetically, cockroaches produce objectionable odors, leave behind their cast skins and feces, and result in disgust and/or embarrassment for homeowners. Health-related problems caused by cockroaches include asthma and allergies, especially for children living in inner cities where high cockroach populations are endemic and up to 35,000 cockroaches might infest a single apartment.

At such density, cockroach feces and body parts are abundantly present as allergens. Cockroaches are also potential mechanical vectors of disease and have been shown to be capable of mechanically harboring the pathogens that cause leprosy, urinary tract infections, conjunctivitis, pneumonia, wound infections and food poisoning. Pathogens may be spread by oral or fecal contact, or by cockroaches walking across surfaces or through foodstuffs. Given the opportunity, cockroaches will also feed on human tissue, secretions and hair, resulting in direct contact with humans and possible direct transmission of pathogens.

Developmental Stages

1. Eggs - Female cockroaches of all species produce egg capsules (oothecae) that may be carried
within her body or extrude from the tip of the abdomen. Depending on the species of cockroach, egg capsules may be glued to surfaces such as walls, or inside furniture, or they may be held until
immediately before hatch. Egg capsules are usually 1 mm to 1.5 mm long and may contain 12 to 48 eggs. Depending on species, the egg case may take several days or weeks to hatch.

2. Nymphs - Cockroach nymphs undergo gradual metamorphosis and may go through eight to 13 molts before they become adults. Nymphs are usually very similar in appearance to adults, except that they do not have fully formed wings. The time required from hatch until the final adult molt may range from just under two months to as long as two years, depending on environmental conditions and cockroach species.

3. Adults - Adults of many species of cockroaches possess wings, although not all of these are
actually able to fly. The longevity of adult cockroaches depends on both the species of cockroach and various environmental conditions. As a general rule, the larger the cockroach species, the more long lived it is.


Most cockroach species display negative phototaxis, moving away from light sources. They
prefer to forage for food, water and mates during the hours that begin a few minutes after sunset and end shortly before dawn. Generally, female cockroaches with egg cases and small nymphs tend to stay within hidden harborage areas. Males and large nymphs are usually the most active cockroaches and are therefore seen more often by humans. Their ability to adapt to a variety of conditions and to thrive in commerce leads to infestation by being transported in grocery sacks, boxes and a wide variety of carriers. Cockroaches have evolved into a laterally compressed body shape that allows them to fit into relatively small cracks and crevices, and they have legs that are well-adapted for running.

Cockroaches will react to slight puffs of air by darting forward, running away from the air source.
This defensive mechanism aids in protecting cockroaches from predators. Cockroaches are omnivorous and can subsist on a wide variety of possibly unlikely food sources. It has been documented that cockroaches eat garbage, fresh or decaying food and food scraps, hair, leather, skin, dead animals, dry plant materials and some paper products. However, cockroaches can go for long periods of time without either food or water. Their ability to subsist on a minimum amount of resources, combined with their great mobility and tremendous fecundity, greatly enhances their survival ability in both urban and rural environments.

German cockroach (Blattella germanica).

Approximately 80 percent of a German cockroach population consists of nymphs. The remaining 20 percent is approximately evenly divided into adult males and females. Of the females, a large proportion of them will be gravid and will be secluded in harborage areas. Nymphs of all stages are black in color with a light brown band around the outer edge, as well as down the middle of the back. The length and breadth of the band will vary in size, depending on the age of the nymph. Adults are approximately 1.6 cm in length. Both males and females range in color from
light to dark brown, with the female somewhat darker than the male. Both males and females possess wings and have two black lines extending down the pronotum, or upper back area

German cockroaches, with rare exception, are found within human structures. They prefer to frequent kitchens and bathrooms where a constant source of water is usually available. The cockroaches will remain hidden during the day in areas behind appliances, under sinks, in cabinets and behind baseboards. However, German cockroaches are not limited to occupying specific areas. In hospitals, they have been found in the hollow metal legs of food service carts and within bed railings. They can become a problem in food service and equipment areas in commercial establishments such as restaurants and supermarkets. At night they will leave the safety of their harborage areas to seek food and water.

American cockroach (Periplaneta americana).

This cockroach is a large species, measuring approximately 3.8 cm in length as an adult. The nymphs are patterned dark reddish-brown and yellowish brown and do not possess wings. Adult males and females are very similar in appearance, with the female having a somewhat wider and more rounded abdomen than the male. Additionally, an egg capsule is often seen protruding at least partially from the abdomen of the female, further aiding in identification. Males have two sets of thin, pointed appendages (cerci and stylets) at the tip of the abdomen, whereas females
have only one set of cerci. Both male and female American cockroaches are a uniform dark brown to reddish-brown, with a dark yellow band encircling and dividing the pronotum.

American cockroaches tend to breed in cool, damp, dark locations such as sewers, basements and gutters, and they readily infest commercial establishments where food preparation occurs. They can become established in homes by entering through conduits such as plumbing or sewer lines, or migrating from basement areas. Once established within a home, American cockroaches will thrive, given access to food, water and preferred temperatures. Females produce approximately one egg capsule per week and will glue the capsule to any available substrate. Egg cases have been found on ceilings, in furniture, along baseboards and in cabinets. After the nymphs hatch, the split egg case will remain glued in place, providing evidence that cockroaches were present. Close relatives include the brown cockroach, smokybrown cockroach and Australian cockroach, all associated with harborage in plants but capable of building sizeable populations in dwellings.

Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis).

Oriental cockroach nymphs are very dark brown to black and are sometimes referred to as “black beetles.” Male and female adults are distinctly different in appearance. Adult females resemble large nymphs but have venation in the wing pads that is not present in nymphs. They have a much broader, rounder abdomen than do males. Additionally,
males possess wings, whereas females do not. Although the males do have wings, they are relatively short, not extending to the abdomen. Neither male nor female oriental cockroaches are capable of flight. Oriental cockroaches prefer much cooler temperatures than those found in the southern regions of the U.S. Therefore, oriental cockroaches are primarily pests of northern regions. They are usually found in large groups, either in houses or outdoors. When found in homes, they tend to congregate in dark, damp basements. Once established, they can and will move upward into a home via water pipes. Females deposit their egg cases near food sources. Females carry egg cases up to five days before depositing them. Egg cases may take up to two and a half months to develop, depending on environmental conditions.

Detection and Control

When cockroach populations are small, detection by the homeowner or apartment dweller usually
occurs at night during cockroach foraging periods. However, when moderate to large infestations are present, cockroaches may forage during the day or harbor in open areas, making them readily observable. Cockroaches are also detected because of the frass they leave behind, such as fecal material and hatched egg cases. They are also noticeable by the very distinct odor produced when present in large numbers. To determine the location of hidden harborage areas, pest-control technicians use flashlights and flushing agents to pinpoint the exact sources of infestations.
Specific control measures vary by species, but for all cockroaches integrated pest management
(IPM) is the most effective method for control or elimination of an infestation. The elements of a
successful IPM program include identification, sanitation, exclusion, trapping/physical removal and chemical treatment.


The order Diptera, the flies, is one of the largest and most dynamic orders of insects. Adult insects in this vast order are characterized by having only one pair of wings and one pair of halteres, which are small knoblike structures located behind the wings. Mosquitoes (see Chapter 3) are also in this order. Because of the large number of pests in this group, flies are often referred to by family name, for example, Tabanidae for horse flies or Calliphoridae for blow flies.
Flies create some of the most common public-health insect problems. Important around the world
as vectors of major diseases such as sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis and typhoid fever.

Development Stages

1. Eggs - Most species of flies lay eggs, but a few species, such as flesh flies (Sarcophagidae), retain
the eggs in the body and give birth to larvae. Flies are very specific in selecting oviposition sites. Such
selectivity causes many females to oviposit at the same site, for example, many filth flies oviposit
preferentially on manure. This mass oviposition results in large egg clusters and concentrations of larvae
in isolated spots instead of uniform distribution throughout the breeding media.

2. Larvae - Larvae of most flies are thin-skinned, legless, cylindrically tapered maggots with a pair
of mouth hooks at the tapered end and a pair of breathing spiracles at the blunt end. Larvae can be
identified to family and sometimes to species by the characteristic shape of the posterior spiracle. The
mouth hooks are used primarily for tunneling. Larvae are able to eat solid food only after it has been
liquefied by being predigested externally with secreted enzymes. The larvae, after reaching full
development by going through several instars (usually three), migrate to a drier habitat if the medium is
too moist and enter a prepupal state in which they cease to feed before actually pupating. Larvae of most
species will burrow about an inch into the soil to pupate. This burrowing ability is well-developed. Larvae
of certain species can easily tunnel to the surface when buried under 1 to 4 feet of soil.

3. Pupae - During the prepupal stage, the larval skin contracts and hardens into a protective shell for
the fly developing within. This shell, called a puparium, is usually capsule-shaped and brown. The fly,
after undergoing metamorphosis, escapes the puparium by breaking off a section at one end of the
puparium. House flies and most larger filth-inhabiting flies escape with the aid of an inflated balloonlike
sac, called a ptilinum, that protrudes from the frontal portion of the head between the eyes. This sac,
which is used to apply pressure to break the puparium, is withdrawn into the head after use. Newly
emerged flies have shriveled wings and are usually pale and soft-bodied. They do not acquire their typical
colors and shape until they have had sufficient time to dry and harden. The soft-bodied condition of
newly emerged flies aids them in working their way through crevices in the soil. Newly emerged flies can
easily reach the surface after being buried under 1 to 4 feet of moderately packed soil.

4. Adults - With a few exceptions, adults have in common the single pairs of wings and halteres.
Many flies have lapping-sponging mouthparts that require all solid food to be liquefied before ingestion.
However, many other species are blood feeders and have various specialized piercing-sucking
mouthparts adapted to their needs. In some groups both sexes feed on blood, whereas in others only the females do so. They use the protein for egg production. Flies have from one to several generations per year and exhibit a wide variation in this parameter, dependent on species and environmental conditions.

Bionomics and Habitat

Flies in the genus Musca (family Muscidae) have long been known as transmitters of filth and
disease. Flies alight upon and frequently eat almost any kind of filth. Then, being strong fliers, they may
visit human food or walk over the face, eyes and lips of infants or sleeping adults, shedding bacteria and
other pathogens as they go. Because of their sponging mouthparts, these flies can take only liquid food
and typically dissolve solids either in saliva or regurgitated stomach contents. They have a keen sense of
smell, a thirst for most liquids and are capable of flying up to 20 miles in a day. They are a nuisance in
homes, dairies, stables, poultry houses and other animal buildings, particularly under unsanitary

House fly (Musca domestica)
House fly causes complaints in residential and commercial areas near sanitary landfills, poultry farms, dairies or other sources of rotting organic matter of plant or animal origin that attract oviposition. It breeds primarily in garbage and fresh, accumulated, wet poultry and dairy manure and occasionally in carrion.
Breeding in household garbage containers can be a source of house fly infestation if garbage pickup is less than twice weekly. This fly enters homes freely and is highly attracted to fresh food.

Although house flies are opportunistic breeders, they are specific in selecting a suitable microhabitat for oviposition. Thus, they may not breed uniformly in accumulated manure but are found clustered in large aggregations in isolated wet spots. Breeding at dairies often occurs in wet, accumulated manure under fence lines of cattle pens but generally not in individual cow dung pats. Knowledge of these preferences is helpful when control is required. House fly maggots hatch and pass through three developmental stages during a three- to five-day period before migrating from the moist area and changing into an oval-shaped, reddish-brown pupa. The adult fly develops and emerges after about a week or less. At summer temperatures the life cycle may be completed in seven to 10 days, and the adult may survive for several weeks.

This rapid development accounts for the great increase in house fly numbers that occurs when breeding sites are available during warm weather.

Adult house flies have stout grayish-colored bodies about ¼ inch in length and one pair of clear, unmarked wings.
They are most numerous around areas where animals are kept, especially during the summer months, but are aggressive foragers and visit a wide variety of habitats. They are commonly seen resting on posts, walls and ceilings around lights, or searching for food from various organic sources.

Lesser house flies (Fannia spp)
Along with house flies the lesser house flies, Fannia spp., are generally the most prevalent flies found within the home in certain parts of the U.S. Fannia canicularis males hover in midair in the center of a room or enclosure, lending the name “hover fly” to this group, and are persistently annoying. Oviposition occurs in a wide variety of animal manure and decaying materials. The larvae live in decaying vegetable and animal matter including human excrement, animal manure and rotting grass piles. Duration of larval development averages seven days during the summer, and the entire life cycle can be completed in 15 to 30 days under favorable conditions. Fannia larvae have been known to cause myiasis in humans. In addition, food contamination can occur as a result of their association with filth.

Face fly (Musca autumnalis)
The face fly, Musca autumnalis, looks very much like the house fly and lays its eggs in the open on fresh cattle manure pats, where the larvae develop. This fly’s life cycle takes about two weeks. Unlike the house fly, face flies are pests of cattle in pastures during the warm months. Their mouthparts can rasp soft tissue and cause ocular damage in livestock. They transmit pinkeye and annoy cattle to the point of bunching, which causes economic losses. Face flies are facultative blood feeders and will quickly leave cattle to feed on blood in wounds on humans. In the fall they migrate to houses, where they pass the winter. During warmer days in late winter and early spring, some may come out of their hiding places in attics and walls and appear in windows, particularly on the south side of structures.


Bees play an important pollination role in agriculture. For decades entomologists have been
including a strong statement about the protection of bees in their insect control guides and pest
management programs. However, when bees become a threat to public health or the welfare of domestic animals, they must be dealt with differently. Honey bees are more likely to require such action than are bumble bees and the solitary bees.

Developmental stages. Bees undergo complete metamorphosis, passing through the egg, larval
and pupal stages to the adult. Eggs, larvae and pupae are nurtured in cells within the hive by worker bees. The social order can be quite complex, being dependent on physiological influences of both worker and queen bees. Queens control whether the eggs are fertilized and develop into females (workers) or unfertilized and develop into males (drones). Virgin queens take flight and mate. After about three days, they begin to lay eggs.

Honey bees (Apis mellifera)

Honey bees are about ½ inch long with a fuzzy light brown to black appearance, with striped brown and black abdomens. They are typified by their moderate size, hairy eyes, the ability of the workers to sting only once, pollen baskets on hind legs of workers and the strict caste system in which the queen performs no duties other than egg laying. They are considered to be the one of the most beneficial insect species because they pollinate plants and produce honey and beeswax. Because they sting in defense of the hive or nest, however, honey bees become pests when colonies are in the wrong location. The life cycle of honey bees differs from that of hornets and wasps. After the mating flight of new queens, the old queen leaves with a number of workers (a swarm) to start a new hive. Only one of the fertile new queens is able to return to the old hive where she begins laying eggs. Developmental time and longevity in honey bees varies with each caste and among races (European, Italian, African, etc.). After emergence as adults, honey bees continue to develop reproductive organs (queens, drones) and to mature into queens, drones and workers. A single queen may lay 1.5 million eggs in her three- to five-year life, and may have as many as 100,000 offspring living at one time, although in a typical colony there will be one laying queen, 20,000 to 60,000 workers, and 100 to 300 drones.
Wild colonies of honey bees nest in existing cavities such as hollow trees, whereas domestic bees
are housed in manufactured hives. Unlike other bees and wasps, the honey bee may occupy the same nest from year to year. The queen and many workers survive the winter in the nest. At various times new queens are produced, resulting in the old queen and a number of workers leaving the hive to “swarm” in search of a new home. Swarming is the natural means of honey bee dispersion. A new honey bee colony is established after a swarm leaves an established colony to seek a new location. The swarm flies from a few to several hundred yards and lands on a low-hanging tree limb or other structure. From there, scout bees seek out a suitable area to establish a new colony. Swarms may stay in their temporary location from a few hours to a few days. During this time swarms may be hived by beekeepers.

Bumble bees (Apis mellifera)

Bumble bees of the genus Bombus are robust and densely covered with black and yellow hairs (setae), the pattern of colors varying with species. They range from about ½ to 1 inch long.
Bumble bees are social insects, nesting in existing cavities, usually on or in the ground. They often use abandoned mouse and bird nests or anything containing cotton or other soft materials. Only fertilized queens survive the winter. In the spring, the new queen finds a nesting site, partially fills it with dry grass or moss, adds bee bread (a mixture of pollen and nectar) and then adds eggs. She cares for this first brood until the new workers take over all of her duties other than egg laying. Bumble bees seldom enter structures and do not behave very aggressively except in defense of their nest. They normally are a nuisance only if they have built a nest close to human activity.

Control of bees
When bees colonize an area frequented by humans or domestic animals, they
become a pest or health risk. At such times they must be removed or eliminated. Bees that need to be removed fall into two categories: swarms and established colonies.
Bee swarms. A swarm of honey bees is a temporary inconvenience that may last a few hours and
then move away as soon as the bees find a new home. Only in unusual situations will a swarm remain to build a comb and not move from a cluster site. Honey bees in a swarm are usually gentle because they have stomachs full of honey. If left undisturbed, a swarm will locate new quarters and often disappear as quickly as it appeared. In the past, local beekeepers collected swarms to put into unused hives, sometimes charging a nominal fee. Capturing swarms is relatively easy because bees are not defensive when swarming, and this was a common method of obtaining bees by hobbyists and commercial beekeepers.

Capturing wild swarms is not recommended for those who aren't familiar with the habits of bees and don’t have the proper protective equipment.


Commensal (domestic or urban) and sylvan (wild) rodents occasionally are targeted for control measures. These rodents not only have the potential to be annoying and to cause structural damage, but they also threaten human health. Three species of urban rodents, Mus musculus (house mouse), Rattus norvegicus (Norway rat) and Rattus rattus (roof rat), create the principal rodent problems.

House mouse

The most common household rodent is the house mouse, which resembles the roof rat in that they both have large ears, pointed muzzles and slender bodies. The house mouse is a small, slender, dusky-gray rodent with a slightly pointed nose; small, black, protruding eyes; and large, scantily haired ears. The adult mouse can be distinguished from a young roof rat because the head and feet of the mouse are distinctly smaller in proportion to its body size. Adults weigh ½ to ¾ ounce and are 2½ to 3½ inches long in head-and-body length. The hairless tail is 3 to 4 inches long. The feces are c inch to ¼ inch long and are rod-shaped.

House mice are considered among the most troublesome and economically important rodents in the U.K. Although house mice are commonly found living in man-made structures, they are also well adapted to living outdoors, being common inhabitants of grassy fields and cultivated grain crops. These wild populations often move into buildings when weather becomes severe. House mice have poor vision and are color-blind. Mice use their sense of smell to locate food items and recognize other individual mice. House mice have acute hearing and readily respond to unusual noises as a means of detecting and escaping danger. However, they become accustomed to repetitive, ordinary noises, and as a result, their activities may be more visible than those of rats. An important sensory factor is touch. Mice use the long, sensitive whiskers on the nose and above the eyes as tactile sensors. The whiskers and guard hairs enable the mice to travel easily in the dark along runways close to walls.

House mice feed on a wide range of foods, although they seem to prefer cereals over other items.
In particular, most mice favor the germ of grains. As supplemental diet items, mice often show preference for foods high in fat and protein, such as lard, butter, nuts and dried meats. House mice are sporadic feeders, nibbling bits of food in various locations throughout their range. Peak feeding periods are at dusk and just about dawn, but, because of their small size, mice must feed several times during a 24-hour period and thus are active day and night. They normally range 10 to 30 feet from the nest, which is often lined with soft materials such as cotton or paper and may be built in walls, cabinets, upholstered furniture or other convenient spaces. Urine and droppings mark the trail for others. Unlike some rats, mice are poor swimmers.


Two types of urban rats are broadly distributed, the Norway rat and the roof rat. The Norway rat (synonymous with brown, dump, barn, sewer, gray or wharf rat) is a burrowing rodent. The Norway rat has a blunt muzzle, small eyes and short, close-set ears. Its fur is coarse and usually brownishor reddish-gray, with whitish-gray hair on the belly. Its nearly naked, scaly tail is dark on the top and light on the underside and is shorter (6 to 8½ inches) than the combined length of the head and body (7 to 10 inches). Adults weigh 12 to 18 ounces. The feces are capsule-shaped and about ¾ inch long. Norway rats can be found in warehouses, farm buildings, houses, sewers, rubbish dumps, woodpiles and building foundations. They are good climbers and can reach a distance of 13 inches while standing on the ground and jump 24 inches vertically. The Norway rat has relatively poor vision but keen senses of smell, touch, taste and hearing. The sense of touch is served by long whiskers on the snout. The home range is often 100 to 150 feet. Norway rats are mainly nocturnal, but they may be active in undisturbed places during the day. They feed on virtually anything edible.
The roof rat (black or ship rat) is somewhat smaller and is a more agile climber. It has several color phases, a slender body, prominent ears and large eyes. Roof rats have large, membranous ears and sharply pointed muzzles. The unicolored, nearly hairless tail (7½ to 10 inches) is usually longer than the head and body combined (6½ to 8 inches). The adult weighs 8 to 12 ounces, and the feces differ from those of the Norway rat in that they are about ½ inch long and spindle-shaped. Serious pest populations of roof rats are confined along the southern and western coastal areas of the country.

Normally rats and mice are nocturnal, so recognition of various signs is necessary in determining
population levels. Some of these signs are burrows, gnawing activity, fecal droppings, runways, rub marks, tracks and carcasses. Reproduction, mortality and movement into and out of an area determine the potential size of rodent populations, whereas physical environment, food, shelter, water, predation, parasitism and competition control the actual population size.

Detection and Control

Several specific signs are associated with rodent infestation:
• Urine - House mice urinate at intervals along well-used runways, occasionally creating small mounds (urinating pillars) that consist of a combination of grease, urine and dirt that fluoresces under ultraviolet (black) light.

• Smudges or rub marks - Dirt and oil from the fur of the rodent may sometimes leave smudge marks on pipes and beams. Smudge marks left by rats are much more conspicuous than those produced by house mice.

• Gnawing marks - Sawdustlike wood chips are produced by the gnawing of house mice and rats around baseboards, doors, windows and frames, and kitchen cabinets. Recent gnawings on wood are light in color, darkening with age. The size of the tooth marks left in the wood can help distinguish the presence of rats or mice.

• Droppings - The age of the droppings (Figure 8.2) indicates whether the infestation is current. Old droppings are dry, gray and crumble easily when pressed. Fresh droppings are dark and moist. Droppings are most numerous along runways, near burrow entrances and at feeding sites.

• Pet excitement. - Pawing and excitement of cats and dogs can indicate the presence of rodents. Pets respond most commonly when the premises have been invaded only recently.
• Odor - Rodents produce characteristic odors. With experience, the musky scent of house mice can be differentiated from those produced by rats.

• Runways - Rats and mice are creatures of habit and will travel the same pathways between their shelter, food and water sources. Outside these appear as packed earth paths; they are also evident in dense vegetation. Indoors, runways are usually along walls, under boards, behind stored objects and similar places.

• Tracks -Fresh tracks are distinct, old ones faint. Tracks are more easily seen by side illumination with a flashlight than by direct light from above. Tail drags, as well as footprints, may show up. A smooth patch of flour or talc laid down in a runway may show activity.


Quality Control & Satisfaction Guarantee

For quality control and your reassurance, we are full members of UK’s Pest Control industry’s trade bodies Our membership with these organisation means, our business is fully insured and complaint with all the relevant UK legislations. Our services, treatments and communication are governed by trade body’s code of conduct therefore as a customer you can rest assured that you will be receiving the highest possible customer service with guaranteed customer satisfaction and best pest control results.

 24 hr Expert Advice from Senior Surveyor on  079 4387 5884
 Buzz of the Month
 Our Rodent poison baits now come with a special 'Mummyfying Agent' that helps to prevent dead corps from decomposing and creating bad smell. Ask our staff for more details
 We now offer FREE Risk Assessment with all rodent treatments
 Our Cockroche treatment now guarantees 100% Eradication within First Treatment!

 GO GREEN! Rodent Pest Proofing Service Now Available - permanent solution to your rodent problem and it's poison free!

 HomeBuyers Pest Control Survey - Due to popular demand from our customers, we have now launched UK's first HomeBuyers report that looks into any existing or future pest control problems that a property may have. It is one the most useful service and one that can potentially save thousands of pounds and a lot of future stress from dealing with pest control problems. Speak to our staff for more details.

 Safety First
 In homes with young children and pets, we use 'Temper-proof' bait boxes that can not be opened without a key
 Full COSHH (Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulation) assessment is undertaken before commencement of all treatments
 All pesticides that we use are approved under The Control of Pesticides Regultion 1986
 For added peace of mind our services are covered by £10m public liability insurance

 Infestation of Week
 This week we have been called out to treat this flat in Central London, where an elderly gentleman lives.
 There were in excess of 5000 eggs and 500 live bed bugs found crawling around the place.
 The bed sheet and duvet was covered with eggs and bedbugs as it can be seen from the pictures below :

 Leading Edge Technology
 At Pest Control Solution, we always thrive to be ahead of competition and deliver better services for our customers
 With this in mind we have now invested in some of the finest pest control technologies in the industry
 We are now able to use state of the art technology to get under the skin of the pests like rodents to understand their individual behaviours and treat them in shorter time and much for effectively - some of our new products include:
 Motion Detector video cameras – to record and trace movements of the rodents at night – understand, where they are coming in and what they are doing and how many are there
 Snake cameras to look down holes in walls and under the floor – to locate nests, dead carcases etc.


Contact Us Services Recent Clients
Please telephone or email us with any questions that you may have about pests, our treatment services or to book an appointment with our Pest Control technicians.

Email Address :
Principal Surveyor : 079 4387 5884
Office Telephone :  0800 619 0055