Just like humans do, rodents and pests seek warmth and shelter as the chilly winter days take hold. Common winter pests include rats, mice, spiders, cockroaches, fleas and bed bugs. As well as causing unease, damage and inconvenience, these pests can pose a danger by spreading disease and contaminating food. They may also introduce other problems such as lice, fleas and ticks.
So how should you deal with these pests? Take a look at our advice below!
Rats tend to settle in basements, near rubbish and sewers or indeed anywhere where they are unlikely to be disturbed. They possess very strong jaws that can gnaw through a variety of materials, including plastic and piping. In addition, they can spread diseases such as cowpox, rat-bite fever and jaundice.
Find out more about signs of rat infestation in your property
- Keep gardens and property tidy. Don’t provide rats with convenient places to hide.
- Don’t leave food lying around. Store it in tight glass or metal containers.
- Don’t forget about the risks posed by pet food and bird seed. Clear away all food and store it safely.
- Rats are attracted to rubbish, so make sure they don’t have easy access to discarded food. Store rubbish in robust metal bins.
- If you’re using compost heaps, avoid putting food in the compost. Otherwise, rats will swarm to it.
Most people encounter mice in their homes at some stage. These small pests like to gather in basements and attics. Indeed, they’ve been known to cause electrical fires by chewing on wires in ceilings and attics. And they can spread diseases such as tapeworms and salmonella.
Find out more about signs of mouse infestation in your property
- First, check for signs of mouse activity. These include nibbled food, gnawed wires, torn paper and mouse droppings.
- Because they are so flexible, mice can squeeze in through tiny holes and cracks. Seal any cracks or holes in your property using steel wool or caulk.
- Don’t give mice hiding spaces. De-clutter your basement and attic, and store boxes on shelves.
Finding cockroaches in your home or business can be very distressing. As known carriers of diseases such as Salmonella, Dysentery & Gastro-enteritis, exposure to this pest also poses significant health risks. Increases in eczema and asthma have even been linked to cockroach droppings.
The most common cockroach found in homes is the German cockroach. These pests usually enter the home hidden in bags, boxes and second-hand purchases. They congregate where they can find food and moisture. As well as spreading diseases, cockroaches can trigger allergic reactions in some people.
Cockroaches are very tough insects and their ability to breed rapidly makes professional treatment essential to control any infestation. Only expert products and solutions are powerful enough to eliminate all stages of their lifecycle.
Find out more about signs of cockroach infestation in your property
- Keep your property clean. Clear away any crumbs or spillages. Don’t leave discarded food lying around. And clean up all pet trays every night.
- Keep your property tidy. Cockroaches seek refuge in clutter, such as stacks of newspapers and discarded boxes.
- Carefully store away food. Cockroaches will hunt out food, so don’t make it easy for them!
- If you are unable to eradicate the cockroaches yourself, consult a professional pest control company.
Bed bugs can strike in the winter as well as the summer. Bed bugs have become a significant problem in Ireland and around the world. Most people have never seen a bedbug, and until recently, most people have never had a problem with bed bugs. They thrive in holes and crevices, and of course bed clothes. They are easy to spread and difficult to treat, resulting in a rapid growth in the number of bed bug outbreaks. Many people still associate bed bugs with public places such as hotels or cinemas, not realising they can be easily transported into your own home.
There has been a recent resurgence of bed bugs in homes biting people at night. It is widely thought that this is related to a global increase in international travel (bed bugs are known to travel in luggage or clothing).
Find out more about signs of bed bug infestation in your property
- Keep the bedroom tidy. This will make it much easier to spot a bed bug infestation.
- Wash and dry all clothes regularly, using hot water.
- If you see bed bugs, you can try to vacuum them. However, this is unlikely to complete erase the problem.
- When visiting other homes, don’t bring clothes or furniture if you can avoid it. This will help prevent the spread of bed bugs to other properties.
Fleas are a common problem in homes, especially those with pets. You may discover a problem with fleas even if you do not have pets, if previous owners of your property kept cats or dogs. In Ireland, fleas are driving residents hopping mad as pest cases rise by 121% this year as compared to 2015.
As parasites, the greatest concern about the presence of fleas in your home or business comes from their bites. Although these are not painful, they can result in an uncomfortable itch or rash. Your pets could also develop allergies to flea saliva.
Find out more about signs of flea infestation in your property
- Before you do anything else vacuum carpets, furnishings, cracks in the floorboards and upholstered furniture. This will not only get rid of adult fleas, but also their eggs and larvae. The larvae feed on adult flea faeces and other organic matter, which collects in things like carpets and rugs. Removing this source of food is an important step.
- Empty your vacuum cleaner very carefully away from the house because the fleas will still be alive.
- Groom your pets regularly with a flea comb and wash their beds every week (ideally at 50°c or above).
- If your pet is scratching or biting its fur you should talk to your vet. They can recommend the best flea sprays or powders to use to treat your pet.
Many spiders are harmless, but they can cause distress to some people, especially sufferers of arachnophobia. However, some spiders are venomous and can pose a real danger. Spiders thrive in undisturbed spaces, building their nests in garages, attics, basements and closets.
Find out more about signs of spider infestation in your property
- If you think you have been bitten by a spider, seek immediate medical advice.
- Spiders may gain entry to property via tree branches. Be sure to trim your garden, and keep walls and roofs clear from overhanging limbs.
- In order to get rid of spider eggs, you’ll need to carefully vacuum your property. Don’t forget to vacuum the dark, neglected corners of your property.
- Use plastic containers for clothes and shoes. If any items aren’t used frequently, they may become a nest for spiders!
Professional Pest Control
While DIY prevention and action will help you control many infestations, there will be times when you simply have to call in pest control experts. They have the equipment, knowledge and skills required to deal with your problem.
If you have a pest problem, contact Rentokil for a FREE survey.