Threats: Unfortunately mice can spread bacteria and diseases like listeria and salmonella, often through their excretions. They like to mark their territory and with a high metabolic rate their excretions are plentiful! Being small they can easily get around and contaminate surfaces. They can also gnaw through your property - including piping, wiring and electrics.
Signs: If you don’t see mice directly, droppings can be a key sign. Mouse poo looks like dark brown rice. Mice can leave a strong smell of urine too. You may hear scampering noises and see shredded materials for nesting.
What to do: Act quickly. Mice breed rapidly. You will need to select whether to use traps, baiting, or rodenticides; it can be very unpleasant. This is why it’s a good idea to call in a professional such as Empire Pest Control. Experts can help ensure you prevent new comers as well as getting rid of intruders already there.
Prevention: All food should be sealed away. Ensure you dispose of rubbish in secure bins. Avoid clutter. Seal any potential entry points especially easy around pipes, windows, doors and frames.
Threats: The health concerns are similar to those for mice, but with more potential diseases. They are also more likely to cause notable damage. Their teeth grow continually and they are constantly looking to wear them down. Again wiring and piping etc are at risk, and in the worse case, they can cause fires and floods.
Signs: At a foot long, rats leave more evidence - larger excretions, more damage, more smells and grease marks.
What to do: Act very quickly! Follow the guidance as above for mice, but you should definitely consider calling a professional. Rats are harder to trap due to their more cautious nature. Decomposing rats have an incredible stench and can be a health hazard.
Prevention: As for mice or see the BPCA for more advice.
Threats: The biggest threat comes from stings. Wasps can be aggressive and sting repeatedly. Their stings are very painful, but not a serious issue unless you have an allergy. If you have children you may be more concerned about there presence. A nest can contain thousands of wasps.
Signs: Usually you will see or hear wasps. If you can see a nest, it’s worth checking online to be sure of exactly which type it is (there are a few types of wasps, plus hornets and bees).
What to do: Don’t try and get rid of a wasps nest on your own, it can be complex. Keep your rubbish well away from it, and be aware that even at the end of the season woozy wasps can be a particular problem. Wear shoes and encourage children to be calm around wasps (good luck!) If it’s close to the house or causing a problem, once again, call an expert to remove it.
Prevention: Seal any areas or cracks where nests could be built. Light the areas and check them regular through wasp season. Make sure your rubbish is not exposed.
Threats: The good news is that bedbugs don’t cause diseases and allergic reactions to their bites are incredibly rare. However, they have a taste for blood and their bites can be really uncomfortable and itchy.
Signs: Bites on your skin - small white or red bumps often in clusters. Small spots of blood on your bedding, or even poo spots. The bug itself has a flat oval red-brown body with six legs and is about 5mm long. The NHS has a guide to help you identify them. They can also be found in clothing, furniture, and behind pictures and wallpaper.
What to do: It is incredibly difficult to get rid of bedbugs on your own - they are resistant to pesticides. It’s best to call an expert or your local council. Nonetheless you should boil-wash any bedding and clothing that could be affected and vacuum frequently and thoroughly.
Prevention: Regular vacuuming and vigilance are the best you can do.