Sniffer dogs bullseye bed bugs with 98%

Sniffer dogs bullseye bed bugs with 98% accuracy

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Why is my rat baiting not working?

Why is my rat baiting not working?

Not always quite so easy to get rid of me

Not always quite so easy to get rid of me

So you have got your tub of rat bait from B&Q and you have set out to deal with those pesky rats under the garden shed. Only problem is that it doesn’t seem to be working quite as well as you had hoped. So why is that?

• Neophobia – Common sewer rats (aka the brown or ‘Norwegian’ rat) exhibit a behaviour known as neophobia (an avoidance of ‘new’ things in their environment). How much bait avoidance can be put down to neophobia or a learned response such as bait shyness is debatable however, what it does amount to is that brown rats may well take time before they will trust new bait boxes or food sources. It is also due to this that continual re-siting of bating points may not necessarily be advisable.

• Positioning of bait points – having said that it is important to position it in the right place. These should be as close as possible to harbourage areas such as under bushes though securely and in such a way that non target species (e.g. birds or children) cannot reach. If it is not possible to place these directly within the harbourage area then placement should be along rat run areas may also be useful. You can identify these as flattened trails. Otherwise there is a good chance that the rats will not even be able to find your placed baits.

• Alternative food sources – One of the most common causes of failure in a control program is due to a failure to remove or block access to alternative food sources, making the consumption of the rodenticide more problematic.

• Developed resistance and inherited immunity traits – Continual baiting with sub-lethal doses of anti-coagulant baits can lead to a development of a level of tolerance that will allow some rats to survive doses that would usually be expected to kill. Over a period of generations where the rats encounter the same active ingredient those rats with a genetic pre-disposition to resistance are naturally selected to pass this on to their offspring leading in some cases to inherited immunity.

Of course there are a number of other reasons why an approach to rodent control may fail. These are some of the more common reasons found.

For free tips and information about pest control from industry experts including on how to combat some of the above issues feel free to sign up for a free hints and tips Newsletter from the Pest Ninja.

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All you ever wanted to know about bed bu

All you ever wanted to know about bed bugs but were afraid to ask

What are Bed Bugs?

Adult bed bugs are brown to reddish-brown, oval-shaped, flattened, and about 5mm to 7mm long and are clearly visible to the naked eye. Their flat shape however enables them to easily hide in cracks and crevices.

Bedbugs are most frequently found in dwellings with a high rate of occupant turnover, such as hotels, hostels, dormitories, apartment complexes and prisons.

Such infestations are not usually a reflection of poor hygiene or bad housekeeping but that a previous occupant had come into contact with them at some stage.

What do they do?

Bed bugs feed on blood and are one of the few parasites designed to feed from a human host in preference. A bed bug bite is often painless at the time but will later generally cause the skin to become irritated and inflamed.

Reaction among individuals to bites however varies greatly. It is thought that around 10% of people exhibit no reaction from bites although most will find large red bites on the torso. Cases of extreme reaction do seem to be on the rise however and may well affect as many as 20% of people.

Bedbugs are not currently thought to transmit diseases to humans although they are capable of carrying infectious material and of course their presence can be quite upsetting.

Where are they found?

Bedbugs only spend a limited time on the host and often hide during the day in dark protected sites, preferring fabric, wood, and paper surfaces which are fairly close to the host. For this reason a person exhibiting signs of bed bug bites will be unlikely to have the insects on them during the day. Bedbugs most commonly transport themselves to new locations within luggage.

During the day they can most often be found in seams, folds of mattresses and around the headboard. In heavier infestations they can also be found further from the bed.
Life Cycle

Female bedbugs lay from one to twelve eggs per day, and the eggs are deposited on rough surfaces or in crack and crevices. The eggs are coated with a sticky substance so they adhere to the surface. Eggs hatch in around 10 days, and nymphs can immediately begin to feed. They require a blood meal in order to moult and develop into the next stage. Bedbugs reach maturity after five moults. The adult’s life span may encompass 12-18 months and they are known to be able to survive for 12 months between feeds.

Some of the signs to look for

Live bedbugs and discarded skin moults may be found in areas such as under bed frames and in hems of curtains

Blood smears on sheets and bed frames shows there is an active feeding population.

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10 reasons to love and admire rats


These are my top ten reasons why I still retain a soft spot for our under-appreciated cousins (Weil’s disease aside). I just jotted off the first ones that come to mind but I would be interested in your personal favourites if you would like to share. (The more random the better)

  1. They can chew like a machine. Producing 7,000 psi and 6 bites per second pretty much anything below high tensile steel and it’s short work for these guys
  2. They are adaptable. The brown rat is thought to have colonized every continent in the world (except Antarctica – and frankly who wants to live there anyway!)
  3. They are always the first to know if the ship is about to go down
  4. They can make some of the toughest guys I have ever met jump on a table in a second
  5. They are like the proverbial anglers fish. They always get bigger the more the story is told. (‘they were the size of dogs!’)
  6. They have provided fertile ground for Banksy’s street art and graced many an upper middle class coffee table (only ironically though)
  7. The rat pack was the coolest group of ‘cats’ the 50’s and 60’s (if that’s not mixing animal names too confusingly)
  8. They provided part of the name for the seminal 70’s punk influenced band ‘the Boomtown rats’ (reason enough me thinks)
  9. They are intelligent, inquisitive and very adaptable. (basically just like humans but without the technology and the need for world domination)
  10. Okay sure they’re dirty, but they got personality. Personality goes a long way
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Pesky Pests to consider when going abroad


When the travel bug hits and the nights appear all too quickly it’s hard not to spend the dim days browsing the internet to see where our next holiday is going to be. The only problem with this is with a new country comes new pests.

Thought for today is on the Mosquito. Found in most all regions of the world save for Antarctica. We’re pretty lucky here in the UK given the only real threat that mosquitoes pose to us is an extremely itchy bite and a distraction to an otherwise enjoyable picnic.

Other countries aren’t quite so fortunate however and diseases such as Malaria, Yellow Fever and Dengue Fever are a serious problem. It’s estimated that mosquitoes transmit diseases to more than 700 million people annually in Africa, South America, Central America, Mexico, Russia and much of Asia. They kill more than twice as many people in the average year than motor vehicles, which considering the way that some people drive is a pretty impressive statistic for such a gangly looking little blood sucker.

If you’re be visiting any of the warmer countries where mosquitoes are a significant vector of disease then you should take the following basic advice.

• Wear long sleeves if possible. Try to cover as much exposed skin as you can.
• Apply a mosquito repellent on your arms, legs and even clothing on a daily basis.
• When using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and then repellent. Repellent should be washed off at the end of the day before going to bed.
• Mosquitos are most active from dusk to dawn so take extra precautions during these hours
• It is important to choose where you stay carefully. Try to stay in air-conditioned or well-screened accommodation. If necessary (places where disease like malaria is common) even sleep under an insecticide treated bed net.

If you are interested to know more about pests or the world of pest control then check out my personal website or my professional profile on

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Urban foxes – Friend or foe

Urban fox

There have been debates as to whether urban foxes pose a threat to the human population. Particularly in light of some horrifying recent fox attacks noted in the press (which is not helping their PR at all!) It is important to remember though that this is very unusual as they rarely attack humans.

More commonly foxes cause a nuisance digging in gardens and routing around domestic rubbish bins. With the amount of food lying around our towns and cities it’s hardly surprising we’re seeing them more and more.

Reports of foxes killing pets may also be exaggerated in my opinion. The most common pets at risk are rabbits or chickens as this is regular prey for them in rural areas. Occasionally a pet cat might be killed by a fox but they are certainly far less danger to pets and children than motor vehicles. If you do have concerns regarding foxes keep your pets inside at night and use anti-fox repellents for your garden.

Foxes can also carry diseases, most commonly mange, but this is unlikely to affect humans or pets. In the event of a dog has contracted mange it is easily treatable by a vet once diagnosed. Foxes are really more of a pest rather than a serious threat. If you want to discourage them from entering your garden and potentially causing problems for you and your neighbours the easiest (and simplest) ways to do this are below:

  1. Keep all domestic waste in wheelie bins or closed containers.
  2. Put your rubbish bags out on the morning of collection.
  3. Do not leave food out for animals e.g. cats, dogs, rabbits, etc.
  4. Keep poultry and pets securely housed.
  5. Tidy up rubbish and bramble patches (those are used as daytime refuges).
  6. Use commercially available deterrents to stop foxes leaving droppings in your garden.
  7. Make sure there are no entrances underneath your house/sheds. Voids can be protected using heavy-duty mesh (weld mesh).

Without our leaving food for him fantastic Mr Fox will certainly find other areas to hunt and thrive and hopefully remain a part of the natural order without causing too much of a nuisance.

If you are interested to know more about pests or the world of pest control then
check out my personal website
or my professional profile on

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5 Best excuses for not addressing a significant potential pest risk

Having been in this business for a while I reckon I must have heard most of them but here are my 5 personal favourites. I would be interested if anyone has any good ones I may have missed (that they have heard or made).


  1. ‘They don’t belong to me, they belong to next door’ – Always a personal favourite of mine. Unfortunately as life would have it, pests don’t differentiate between properties and will often venture into yours leaving you with responsibility for them as well. (In an ideal world I like to imagine them wearing little collars, perhaps with a small inscription ‘if found lost please return to number 27 Acacia avenue only’ whilst mother rats scold there offspring not to venture over into next doors garden).


  1. ‘There’s no point of doing it if next door won’t do anything’ – I’m going to play devil’s advocate here. If you also share a poorly ventilated gas fire with next door then you should also stand on your principles there as well. After all why should you spring the extra bucks to get a decent carbon monoxide detector?



  1. ‘We’ve always had ‘em. You’ll never get rid of ‘em’ – Always spoken with a heady mix of both authority and defeat. I never argue with this one since the aim is not to exterminate the poor creatures from the face of the planet. Far from it. In fact you will generally find the paradoxically. Often pest controllers have more contact and love for nature certainly than your average Joe, and I feel that prevention is better than cure. If you put in place the requirements so that pests have a hard time entering your property you never have to worry about getting rid of them.


  1. ‘I haven’t seen too many lately’ – In fairness I do have some sympathy with the logic here, but when you bear in mind that creatures like rats, mice and cockroaches are not only card carrying nocturnal they have also pretty much made their niche in the last few hundred years. That niche is called ‘live off that wasteful creature mankind for the free food but stay out of his way because otherwise he gets pretty grumpy’. It’s hardly surprising that by the time some pests do get seen by our heavy footed human occupants it is generally because our underworld friends have grown so much in population that they don’t even care anymore if they are getting seen.


  1. ‘They’ll only come back again’ – Well I guess that depends on what environment you create. Mother Nature is always ready to slip in and take up the slack, but a bit like number 3 surely that doesn’t mean that we can’t make things better and safer. I must admit I do feel the same way about washing my car though sometimes. Aaaah, what’s the point. It’s only going to get dirty again anyway isn’t it? That’s what car washes are for though.

If you are interested to know more about pests or the world of pest control then check out my personal website or my professional profile on


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