Pestwatch Critter of the Month of September – Fleas!

This months Pestwatch article is about Fleas, not a favourite visitor – but fascinating none the less!

Firstly lets look at their importance in evolution, by introducing disease they eliminate the sick and weak from animal populations, ensuring only the strongest survive to pass on their genes to the next generation. Talking about turning a negative into a positive!

The more negative aspect of fleas is that they are ectoparasites, living on warm-blooded animals, feasting on skin, and the faeces of the adult flea (nice!).

There is no evidence that fleas actually spread disease in humans however flea bites can cause irritation which can vary from person to person.

Flea infestation on animals can cause irritation and distress by repeated itching, scratching and chewing.

As a dog owner myself, fleas are often at the forefront of my mind especially in the summer months, so what can we do to protect ourselves from these blood sucking parasites? Firstly we have to understand their lifecycle of pupa, larvae, nymph and adult to make sure that every stage of their development is tackled.

For dog/cat fleas each of these stages will need treating. There are many powders/sprays on the market for your home, the key thing is that everywhere is treated, from bedding to floors, to carpets. Sometimes the only way of doing this is by using a smoke bomb containing Permethrin, these are available for amateur use however Pest Controllers are able to access stronger formulations.

The best way is to avoid fleas altogether, keep your pets’ anti parasite treatments up to date, use citronella anti flea based shampoos and sprays. Wash bedding at least weekly on a 60 degree cycle, and always hoover in all the cracks and crevices in your house. Empty your hoover container outdoors to prevent fleas sitting in your bin waiting to re-enter your home!

If you have a flea problem that you cannot treat yourself please contact us to discuss at The Pest Project 07712737346

Squirrels in the loft? Prevention is always better than cure.

October is the time of year for squirrels; they can be seen everywhere frantically burying their nuts and acorns around the gardens to see them through the cold winter months.

Someone told me that squirrels are just rats with great PR! This much is true. There is nothing more endearing than watching squirrel Nutkins frolic across the fence and admire their acrobatics, however when squirrels get into our homes, especially our loft spaces, their need to keep blunting their incisors constantly (they never stop growing) can lead to them chewing through everything including electric cables and just generally sounding like they are tap dancing wearing clogs to the rooms immediately below.

So, here are some tips for a squirrel free loft this winter.

  1. Cut back all tree branches around your property, squirrels can jump approx. 2m to get to a roof of choice.
  2. Remove trellis and ivy from the walls of your house, this is like a climbing frame for squirrels and rats, don’t make it easy for them.
  3. Block all gaps and entrances around your loft space, fill gaps and entrance holes with wedged mesh or metal plates. Wood is too easy for squirrel’s strong incisors to gnaw through.
  4. Remove all food, leave the bird feeder for a while or ensure the area is kept clear and bird food bought indoors at night.
  5. For tree protection, close fitting metal sheets can be bought to protect them from the insistent gnawing.

If you need advice about squirrel control/prevention please do not hesitate to contact Ali at The Pest Project on 07712 737346 for a free friendly chat.