Pest Education A-Z
A guide to the numerous pests that can cause an infestation.
Our pest management services are based on the philosophy that Truly developed many years ago. He found that customers wanted a thorough, reliable and convenient service performed by someone they knew and trusted. Truly realised that these services must be done in an environmentally conscious manner. Our customers do not want pests or the irresponsible use of pesticides to negatively impact their surroundings.
Each of our programmes utilises preventive and corrective measures to ensure long-term pest management. These measures include:
Treatments performed by highly trained technicians
Long-lasting products that are low in toxicity
Concern for the customer's human environment including the physical structures in which people work and live
Procedures based on pest biology
Use of innovative equipment
The commonest species that invades any property is the black garden ant, which is actually very dark brown in colour. All ants have the main divisions of the body (head, thorax, abdomen) distinctly separated by very narrow waists and have a sharp elbow joint in their antennae. They are highly organised social insects. It is the foraging worker ants that invade buildings in search of food. These are from 3 to 5mm in length and are attracted to sweet food items, which they take back to the nest to feed to the larvae and queen.
The ant eggs sold for aquarium fish are actually the pupae. Flying ants are the reproductive males and females. These mating ants are winged and have a nuptial swarming flight during only a few days in July or August. Mating takes place in the air and the female then seeks out a nest site where she stays for the winter, laying eggs the following spring in order to start up a new colony.
A common pest once associated with unhygienic surroundings is now prevalent due to increased travel and therefore spreading the bedbug from country to country. These bugs still occur with regularity, particularly in multi-occupancy buildings with rapid resident turnover such as hostels, hotels, holiday camps and blocks of flats.
The early stages of the bedbug (nymphs) are hard to detect with the naked eye making it hard to identify an infestation with the naked eye before biting occurs. The adult bug resembles a small brown disc, about 3.5mm long - the size of a match head. It is wingless but the legs are well developed and it can crawl up most vertical surfaces such as the bed legs.
The elongated eggs are cemented in cracks or crevices close to the hosts (which for bedbugs are humans). The young resemble the adult and grow by moulting. Each nymph stage needs one full meal of blood before it proceeds to the next stage. Fully-grown bedbugs can endure starvation for up to a year in some cases. Contact our team for effective bedbug treatments and control measures.
The bluebottle is a large buzzing fly with shiny, metallic blue body, 6-12mm long. One bluebottle can lay up to 600 eggs, which in warm weather will hatch in less than 48 hours and produce maggots which can become fully developed in a week. These maggots burrow into meat or carrion as they feed on it, and then pupate, often in loose soil, for about ten days before emerging as adult flies from the brown pupa case. Bluebottles, like other flies, are often found on refuse tips, rotting animal matter, dirt and dustbins. They commute from filth to food and carry bacteria on their legs, feet and bodies.
Sometimes confused with black beetles from the garden, cockroaches are distinguished by their very long whip-like antennae, flat oval bodies and rapid, jerky gait.
The adult German cockroach is 10 to 15mm long. The common or oriental cockroach is 20 to 24mm long. They are rarely able to survive outdoors in the British climate but thrive around the heating ducts and boiler rooms of large centrally heated buildings such as hospitals, bakeries, hotel and restaurant kitchens, laundries and blocks of flats. They cluster around pipes, stoves and sinks, especially in humid areas. The German cockroach carries its egg case, a small brown purse-like capsule until the 30 or more nymphs are ready to hatch from it. The oriental cockroach deposits its 13mm long egg capsule on packaging, sacking or in suitable dark crevices before the 16 or 18 nymphs hatch.
Cockroaches grow in stages - from nymph to maturity in six to 12 months for the oriental cockroach, but only in as many weeks in the case of the German cockroach. Both species eat any sort of food and are most active after dark, from their inaccessible harbourage, to forage, contaminating food and food utensils or food preparation surfaces as they go. They taint food with an obnoxious smell and may be carriers of various diseases, including serious food poisoning.
Small (2mm) wingless insects, flattened side to side, red-brown with backwardly directed spines and legs designed for jumping. All adult fleas are parasitic on warm-blooded animals. Larval stages live in the nest of the host and feed on skin, feathers and most importantly, the blood-rich faeces of the adult flea. When fully grown, the larvae spin well camouflaged silken cocoons. When fully developed, the adult waits within this until it detects the vibrations caused by a potential host. Only then does it emerge.
The complete life cycle takes about a month in the summer. Adult fleas feed on blood. Their bites can cause intense irritation around the central bright red spot. Different people react differently to a bite, both in terms of degree of reaction and time taken to react. The cat flea is by far the most common species of flea and readily bites humans. The human flea and the bird flea are next in importance. Dog fleas are rare, although other species may become temporarily attached to dogs.
A family of very small (about 3mm) flies, some with prominent red eyes, characterised by a slow hovering flight in which the abdomen hangs down. All are associated with rotting fruit and vegetables or fermenting liquids. One species breeds in sour milk, such as in the residue of forgotten milk bottles.
The common housefly and the lesser house fly are the most widespread household flies. The adult is 7-8mm long, grey with black stripes on the back, with a single pair of veined membranous wings. The large compound eyes take up most of the head and are wider apart in the female than the male of the species. The smaller, lesser house fly, rejoicing in the scientific name Fannia canicularis, is the one that cruises around light fittings, abruptly changing direction mid-flight. The housefly has a sticky pad on each of its six hairy feet and these enable it to walk upside down on ceilings or crawl up windows.
Houseflies complete their life cycle of egg, maggot, pupa and adult in a week during warm weather. The eggs are laid in batches of about 120 on the rotting organic matter and the legless white maggots burrow into this food until ready to pupate in loose soil or rubbish. Houseflies may transmit a wide range of bacterial diseases.
The house mouse and sometimes the long-tailed field mouse seek the warmth and shelter of buildings for nesting sites and food. Their presence is usually detected from their dark-coloured droppings or damage to stored foods in the larder, packaging or woodwork.
Mice become sexually mature in eight to ten weeks and a pair may produce eight litters, each of 16 young, in a year. Multiply those and you arrive at a horrifying number of mice! They climb well and can squeeze through very small gaps. These nibbling creatures have a compulsive need to gnaw in order to keep their incisor teeth worn down to a constant length. Electric cables, water and gas pipes, packaging and woodwork may all be seriously damaged by mice - many instances of electrical fires and floods have been attributed to them. They contaminate far more food than they consume and they are capable of carrying many diseases, particularly food poisoning. The average mouse deposits 70 droppings in 24 hours and urinates frequently to mark its territory.
Mice are erratic, sporadic feeders, nibbling at many sources of food rather than taking repeated meals from any one item. They do not need free water to drink as they normally obtain sufficient moisture from their food.
Large, conspicuous buzzing insects with yellow and black striped, wasp-waisted bodies, 10-15mm long. They have a sweet tooth at one end and a painful sting at the other. The queen wasp is larger (20mm) and she hibernates during winter, making a nest in the spring to lay her eggs. She feeds the grubs on insects until they develop into worker wasps, three to four weeks later. Workers, all sterile females, forage for over a mile in search of food. One nest may produce 30,000 wasps in a year.
At their peak in August and September, with the youngsters reared, the workers turn to the sweet food they prefer and become a nuisance wherever this is available. If annoyed or threatened, wasps will sting and the best remedy - after removing the sting with a clean finger nail, is to apply anti-histamine. Some people react violently to being stung with several dying each year.