Dealing With Pests
Pests in your home are unpleasant and can cause a variety of health and safety problems.
Our policy states that tenants take responsibility for pest control, including vermin removal (rats or mice in the dwelling), wasp/bee’s nests and disinfestation, except where point of entry has been proven to be as a result of a design fault or damage to the exterior of the property.
Any home can have a problem with pests or vermin, however the more careful you are and how often you clean your home, will help to keep them at bay. Prevention is better than cure. Follow these simple rules to reduce the chances of pests and vermin coming to stay:
Don’t let them in
If you see holes in the external fabric (brickwork, roof, fascia, soffit) of the building that are not part of the design, please report the defects to us. However, over growing trees or shrubbery is your responsibility to maintain. Internally, if there are holes in skirting boards and floorboards, it may mean that there is an entrance point already made externally or they have set up home via a back door or windows being left open. All types of pests are simply looking for food or a bed for the night, and this can be managed.
Reporting external defects to us will prevent rats, mice and squirrels from getting into your home. That said, if it’s not down to the fabric of the building, it is your responsibility to manage it. Any external nests or swarms are also your responsibility to manage and remove. Please feel welcome to contact us for advice on any help that we may be able to provide.
Don’t feed them
Keep your home clean, especially the kitchen. Clean surfaces and floors regularly to remove any traces of food. If possible, store food in sealed containers. Uncovered food can attract pests and vermin. Put rubbish out in sealed bags or bins, take care that all split bags are double bagged and not just dumped, especially within communal bin stores. Always use a bird table when you feed garden birds. Putting bird food on the ground can attract rats and mice, as can putting cooked food in a compost heap.
Don’t make them comfy
Don’t leave old furniture, mattresses or other rubbish in your garden. These make a great place for mice and rats to nest.
Ask your local council to collect bulky household waste or take this to the tip yourself. Try to keep your garden tidy too. An overgrown garden provides a good home for mice and rats.
Get advice about pests and vermin
You are welcome to contact us to discuss any concerns in your home about pests. We’ll be happy to offer advice on how best to deal with the problem, and any assistance that we may be able to provide.
A private pest control company can deal with your pest and vermin problem. However, their fees will probably be higher than a council’s fees.
Below is a brief overview of the basics that you’ll need to deal with vermin and pests in your home.
Mice and rats
Mice and rats spread diseases through their urine and droppings. They can also cause damage to your home and furnishings, and can chew through electrical wires, increasing the risk of fire and electrocution.
They are most active between dusk and dawn. It is often easier to spot signs of a problem rather than an actual mouse or rat.
You may be able to keep mice under control using traps or poison, which you can buy in most DIY stores. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using poisons or insecticides and keep them away from children and pets.
Problems with rats and mice can be caused by conditions in your neighbourhood such as rubbish in gardens or on the street.
If the problem is due to a build-up of rubbish in a neighbour’s garden, you can ask them to deal with the issue. If they rent their home, you can raise this issue with their landlord or if it is our tenants, then contact us.
If your neighbours don’t deal with the problem, then you can notify your council’s Environmental Health Department. They can serve a notice ordering that the problem is dealt with. If this is not complied with, then the council can arrange for any necessary work to be done to deal with the problem and charge your neighbours.
Cockroaches lurk in warm, dark and humid parts of homes, in areas around pipe ducts in kitchens and bathrooms, or underneath cookers. They can cause food poisoning and other health problems, such as dermatitis and asthma.
It is likely that you may need expert help to deal with cockroaches.
Bees and wasps
Bees and wasps only become a problem if they build nests in the loft or eaves of your home or in your garden. Don’t go near to, or disturb a nest. Bees and wasps can swarm and may attack when disturbed.
If you have a problem with a bee or wasp nest in your home, contact us and we’ll be happy to provide you with advice on how to deal with this. If we’re unable to help, then we will advise you to speak to your council. Note that they may charge a fee to remove a nest.
If you have a honey bee nest in your garden, then you may wish to contact the British Beekeepers’ Association. They may send someone who can remove the nest without killing the bees.
Contact details can be found on The British Beekeepers Association website.
Bedbugs live in bedding and mattresses, feed on blood and can leave nasty bite marks. Wash all bedding at 60°C and try to find an insecticide that’s safe to use on the mattress, headboard and other affected areas.
You may contact us for further advice on how to deal with bedbugs. If we’re unable to offer any assistance, you would need to speak with either a pest control company of your council’s pest control service who may be able to help.
Fleas from pet cats and dogs don’t spread disease but flea bites can be itchy and uncomfortable for you and your pets.
To deal with fleas, treat your pets, bedding, furniture and carpets with flea sprays or powders. If you are unsure of which type to use, you may wish to speak to a vet for advice on the best ones to use.
The RSPCA has a very helpful webpage with more information which may also be useful.
Ants don’t pose a health risk. If you discover ants in your home, try vacuuming them up or tackle them using an ant spray or powder which you can purchase in most DIY stores.
Treat the nest if you can find it. You may be able to locate it by following the trail of ants. If you can’t reach the nest, treat all entry points to your home (doors, windows and drains). The ants should carry the insecticide back to their nest.
Birds generally use buildings for nesting or roosting and not as a source of food, so access to the property needs to be managed. Pigeons cause more of a problem with regards to their droppings. We look at all kinds of proofing works, but we’re also looking at a longer, natural solution (birds of prey) rather than culling.
Squirrels can cause damage in your loft or roof spaces. They can tear away insulation and cause damage to pipes and any items stored in the loft. They can chew through cables and wires, causing a risk of fire and electrocution.
To prevent squirrels getting in, use wire mesh to block any holes and make sure any missing bricks or roof tiles are replaced. If you require help with this, please speak to us and we’ll be happy to advise you on any assistance that we can provide.
Crushed up mothballs placed around your loft can also help deter squirrels from entering.
Please be aware that red squirrels are a legally protected species. You can be prosecuted for killing, injuring or capturing a red squirrel or destroying its shelter. However, grey squirrels are not a legally protected species.
Dust mites live in mattresses and bedding. They can make your condition worse if you suffer from eczema, asthma or any other breathing problems.
Dust mites prefer warm, humid environments. To keep them under control, wash your bedding regularly at 60°C and try to keep your bedroom cool and well ventilated.
Further helpful information for tackling dust mites can be found on the Allergy UK website.
Moths and carpet beetles
Moths and carpet beetles damage woollen carpets or rugs in your home. You can buy ‘killer kits’ to tackle them from any pest control company.
Tiny holes in your clothing could be a sign that you have an infestation of clothes moths, particularly if found in clothes made of wool and silk. It is the larvae that causes the damage. Adult moths cannot feed on fabrics.
You can buy moth traps and place them in any wardrobes and cupboards where you store your clothes. Washing all of your clothes will kill the eggs.
Hide beetles live under cookers or fridges and feed on food scraps. They aren’t a health risk but can cause damage by boring holes in plaster or wood.
You can tackle them by cleaning any infected areas thoroughly and treating with an appropriate insecticide
Silverfish live in damp environments, such as bathrooms. They don’t pose serious health risks, but they can swarm if they’re not dealt with.
You can purchase insecticides from DIY stores which will kill them. You should also keep your kitchen and bathroom cupboards clean and dry to prevent their return.