How to deal with pigeons

24 August,12 Leave a comment

HOW TO DEAL PIGEONS– call us on 01462 811 818 or 01908 761 761 / email


The feral pigeon (Columba livia var) and its by-products are very familiar to those involved in building surveying and maintenance, especially to those working in city centres.

These birds are very persistent and any effective control technique needs to be tuned specifically to that situation.

The Natural History of the Pigeon

The feral pigeon (Columba livia var) is descended from the wild rock dove which inhabits both inland and sea cliffs around the Mediterranean and along the West Coast of Europe. The feral pigeon stocks are derived from many different strains of escaped ornamental, racing and domestic stocks but tend to revert to a wild type of colouring and conformation. These birds are well adapted to survive in a modern city environment where the tall buildings provide habitats very similar to the cliff homes of their ancestors. Their natural diet is one of seeds and grains but they easily learn to exploit a large range of processed vegetable and animal products.

Given an adequate food supply the pigeon can breed throughout the year and a stable pair bond is formed.

Preferred nesting sites are dark enclosed areas simulating a cave or a crevice.

Two eggs are usually produced and incubation is shared. Three broods may be produced by a pair each breeding season and individuals may live as long as thirty years.

Problems Caused By Pigeons

Pigeon activity in and around a building may directly damage the structure as pigeons are capable of lifting roof coverings to force an entry, especially if these are already slightly displaced.

This activity can allow significant water penetration into the building and subsequent decay. More seriously, they block rainwater drainage systems with their faeces, feathers and other detritus.

This can cause massive water penetration and severe decay problems.

Nesting activity is particularly dangerous in this respect as pigeons frequently nest in hopperheads and parapet gutters causing complete blockage in a very short time

Pigeon detritus and especially pigeon faeces represent both an aesthetic and a public health problem.  Pigeon droppings quickly deface finishes both to the inside and outside of buildings.

he presence of feral pigeons and most especially their faeces represents a potential health hazard to employees and to the general public.

They are commonly carriers of a number of serious human diseases including salmonellosis, psittacosis and pseudo-tuberculosis. Their faeces provide an ideal environment for the growth of the organisms causing such diseases as histoplasmosis, aspergillosis, cryptococcis and listeriosis.

Dealing with such accumulations can be expensive and time consuming because of the protective equipment and procedures that may be required. Health and safety problems are also caused by the build up of faeces due to the slippery and unsafe footing it provides on walkways and ledges hindering proper maintenance.

Common Pigeon Control Techniques

Many techniques have been used for controlling pigeons  and include Food reduction, Poisons and narcotic baits, Trapping, Birth control and removal of nest sites, Shooting, Bird scarers, installation of netting,Sprung wires , Spikes & Repellent gels

If you have a suspected problem with pigeons or any other pest bird, visit us at or call us on 01462 811 818 / 01908 761 761

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How to deal with squirrels

24 August,12 Leave a comment

HOW TO DEAL WITH SQUIRRELS – call us on 01462 811 818 or 01908 761 761 / email

Origin and Occurrence of Grey Squirrels

The North American Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) was introduced into Britain between 1876 and 1929. It is mainly a resident of woodland, where it has replaced the native Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris). Grey Squirrels are commonly found in parks and gardens and are widespread throughout England and Wales, south of Cumbria, and also in local pockets in Scotland. They are absent from the rest of mainland Europe, except for small localised populations in Italy.

Grey squirrels are distinguished from red squirrels by their grey fur, smaller ear tufts and their larger, more robust build. Grey squirrels sit with their large bushy tail arched over the back. There are no wild Red Squirrels in Milton Keynes but grey squirrels can sometimes have a brownish tint to their fur.

Habitat and behaviour

Grey squirrels are common in deciduous and mixed woodland, they are also found in hedgerows, trees, parks and gardens. They live in a compact, spherical nest (drey), 30-60cm in diameter, with an outer frame of twigs, with dry leaves and grass moss and animal fur inside, normally built in the fork of a tree at a height of 2-15 metres from the ground. It is also common for them to nest in roof- spaces of houses and if here the nest is often formed from insulation material. They are diurnal, active from before sunrise to after sunset. The peak of activity is in the autumn. Their range covers 2-10 hectares.

Breeding Habits

Females produce a litter of usually three young in the spring or late summer (or occasionally both), after a gestation period of 42-45 days. The average litter size is 3 or 4 and the young are weaned after 10 weeks and are independent at 16 weeks.


Although the squirrel is omnivorous the diet is mainly vegetarian, eating the seeds of most broad- leaved and coniferous trees, they feed on acorns, tree shoots, flowers, nuts, fruits, roots and cereals. They bury surplus food 2-5cm below the soil or in tree hollows. When available birds eggs, young nestlings, grain, fungi, buds and young shoots and the inner bark layers on trees are also eaten. They feed at ground level, more so than red squirrels, and together with their ability to digest acorns, (which red squirrels cannot digest), they have tended to displace red squirrels in areas of woodland where the two have come into contact.

Signs of Damage from Squirrels

The most common damage caused by grey squirrels is the gnawing of tree bark, which occurs mainly during the months of May, June and July. Squirrels will also cause damage by robbing birds’ nests, taking fruit in gardens, digging holes in lawns, uprooting of bulbs and also causing damage to electrical wiring and insulating material when they gain access into attics and roof-spaces.

Controlling Squirrels

We use traps or cages to capture squirrels and then take them away. It should be noted that during certain times of the year we may not treat for squirrels as they have young and these will be distressed and may suffer if the parents are captured.

Prevention of Squirrel Problems

Squirrels most commonly gain access to roof- spaces by way of overhanging branches from trees and/or a missing or displaced roofing slate or tile. If overhanging branches are to blame, they should be cut back to a reasonable length from the building. Missing roofing slates or tiles should be replaced, but first make sure that the squirrels are out of the roof-space.

If you have a suspected problem with squirrels visit us at or call us on 01462 811 818 / 01908 761 761

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How to spot cockroaches

24 August,12 Leave a comment

HOW TO SPOT  COCKROACHES– call us on 01462 811 818 or 01908 761 761 / email

What do cockroaches look like?

Cockroaches are large, robust insects with whip-like antennae and two pairs of wings. The most common species in Britain are the German and the Oriental cockroaches.

The German cockroach is smaller, 10-15mm long, and yellowish brown in colour. It can climb vertical smooth surfaces.

The Oriental cockroach is the larger of the two. The adult grows to about 24mm long and can be shiny, dark brown to black in colour. They can climb rough surfaces such as brickwork and will congregate around water sources.

What threats or dangers do cockroaches carry?

They can carry and spread food poisoning organisms such as Salmonella, E-coli and Typhoid. They can also be responsible for lung disorders similar to asthma.

If food premises are affected by cockroaches it represents a serious risk to food safety and in some circumstances can lead to compulsory closure of affected premises by Environmental Health until the infestation is eradicated.

What conditions do cockroaches like?

Cockroaches like to avoid daylight and hide in cracks and crevices. They eat almost anything, including cardboard, and come out to forage at dusk and early evening. They thrive at temperatures of 20-35 oC.

They need access to water and are mostly found in kitchens and toilets, e.g. behind cookers or in laundry baskets, at the backs of drawers, behind peeling wallpaper, etc. They move along water pipes and air ducts.

Tower blocks are particularly vulnerable to infestation because of the ease with which cockroaches can move through the building. The design of buildings and the materials used in their construction can allow cockroaches to spread.

How do I keep Cockroaches away?

Good hygiene is essential in preventing or limiting infestation and it is vital to deny cockroaches food, water and shelter.

Dishes should be washed promptly. Food should be stored in tightly sealed containers. Work surfaces should be kept clean, making sure all food scraps and crumbs are cleared up. Rubbish should be kept in containers with tight lids and rubbish bags properly sealed when moved outside.

Water spills should be mopped up and all water leaks should be repaired.

Remove any clutter where cockroaches might live.

Mend any holes and cracks in walls and seal openings around pipes, remove paint and loose wallpaper and replace broken tiles.

How do I get rid of cockroaches?

Eradication of an infestation is a professional job, if complete and permanent removal of cockroaches is to be achieved. If you have a suspected problem with bed bugs visit email, visit us at or call us on 01462 811 818 / 01908 761 761

If cockroaches appear in a block of flats, treatment is needed throughout the block to eradicate them.

If cockroaches are found in a terraced or semi-detached property each neighbouring property should be contacted too because cockroaches can travel between several buildings and treatment will be needed in each of the affected properties to be effective.

If you have a suspected problem with cockroaches visit us at or call us on 01462 811 818 / 01908 761 761

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How to spot carpet beetles

24 August,12 Leave a comment

HOW TO SPOT CARPET BEETLES – call us on 01462 811 818 or 01908 761 761 / email

What are Carpet Beetles?

Carpet beetles belong to the Dermestidae, a family of Coleopterans that are commonly referred to as skin beetles. Other common names include larder beetle, hide or leather beetles, carpet beetles, and khapra beetles. There are approximately 500 to 700 species worldwide.

Carpet beetles can cause major damage to textiles or carpets. The following advice will help you recognise carpet beetles and control any infestation in your house.

Description of the carpet beetle

There are several species of carpet beetle prevalent in the UK. The most common species are the varied carpet beetle and the furniture carpet beetle. In both species, adults are normally between 2-4mm in size, and have a varied pattern of white, brown, and yellow spots or scales on their back.

Mature larvae are approximately 4-5mm in size, and have a series of dense tufts of bristles and hair located on each side of the rear end of the body. These bristles give rise to their common name of “woolly bears”.

Preferred habitat and life cycle of carpet beetles

Carpet beetles are a major pest to textiles, with their success strongly attributed to central heating systems as these ensure stable temperatures, and wall-to-wall carpeting, which allows breeding to occur undisturbed. The continued success of industrial moth treatments removes the challenges presented by the moth to the carpet beetle.

A female carpet beetle normally lays approximately 40 eggs, which take just over two weeks to hatch. The larvae will live and feed for a period of 7-10 months. Following this, the larvae then turns to pupa and an adult beetle will emerge approximately one month later. Adults, however, will normally only live for a period of 2-6 weeks.

Preventing and treating carpet beetle infestations

Small infestations can be dealt with using a general purpose crawling insect spray or powder, available from chemists, hardware stores or garden centres.

We can treat by spraying all infected areas with a specific insecticide – call 01462 811 818 / 01908 761 761 or email

Larval forms of the carpet beetle can cause considerable damage to keratin-containing products such as wool, furs, leather, silk and dried animal remains. Occasionally, food products of animal origin will also be attacked, such as cereals and fibres.

Carpet beetles thrive in conditions where they remain undisturbed, for example beneath carpets, around skirting boards, and in wardrobes. However, they do not present significant health hazards, but they are potential vectors of anthrax. In some cases, larval hairs can cause skin irritations to those exposed to large numbers.

The wandering habits of these insects means they frequently infest wide areas, making them difficult to control. To begin with, the source of infestation must be traced. This could be found in old nests, animal remains, wool based lagging, soundproofing, wool base furnishings, or debris that has accumulated between floorboards. All sources of infestation should be removed and burnt where possible.

Insecticide treatment is vital where infestations are intensive. This will ensure that all larvae are killed.

If you have a suspected problem with beetles visit us at or call us on 01462 811 818 / 01908 761 761

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How to spot an ant problem

24 August,12 Leave a comment

HOW TO SPOT AN ANT PROBLEM – call us on 01462 811 818 or 01908 761 761 / email

Types of Ants in the UK

There are about 50 species of ant found in the UK. Two species are commonly found as pests in buildings:

The Black Garden Ant has a black segmented body, the workers are up to 5mm in length and the queen is 15mm long and brown in colour.

The Garden Ant is found throughout Britain and will nest in soil, lawns and close to buildings. It is the only native British ant which regularly enters houses in search of food, although they do not normally nest indoors.

The Pharaoh’s Ant is a smaller species; the workers are only 2mm long, the queen 5mm long and both are yellow in colour.

Along with the similar sized and shaped, but blackish, Argentine ant they are of tropical origin and can only live in heated buildings in the UK.

The Pharaoh’s Ant requires a warm environment and has adapted itself to life in large heated buildings such as hospitals, hotels and flats.

What is their significance?

The Garden Ant is a nuisance because of its foraging habit but it does not spread disease. Garden Ants are attracted to fatty or sugary food.

Pharaoh’s Ants are of greater significance as they carry harmful germs which they pick up when feeding on decomposing food, faecal matter and when coming into contact with drains and hospital dressings. They are a particular problem in hospitals and are difficult to eradicate.

What is their lifecycle?

The Garden Ants mate in flight when winged males and females swarm between mid July and mid September. After mating the male dies and female loses her wings and buries herself in the soil over the winter.

In late Spring the female lays eggs which hatch into white larvae in 3-4 weeks. The larvae are fed by the queen and when fully grown pupate. The worker ants which emerge from the pupae feed new larvae and the queen. The life cycle is complete in two months and in favourable conditions the nest may persist for several years.

In contrast the Pharaoh’s Ant develops several colonies within each nest and many queens. As the old nest becomes overcrowded new colonies are formed by eggs and larvae carried by adults and workers.

The life cycle is the same as that of the Garden Ant but the Pharaoh’s Ant, which favours heated buildings, is not affected by seasonal changes. The ants’ ability to form many colonies make them very difficult to control.

How can they be controlled?

There are several measures you can take to control Garden Ants:

Identify and destroy the nest using boiling water or a proprietary insecticidal dust or spray around the nest and opening in buildings.

Ensure that sugary foods are kept in sealed containers and all food spillages are cleared up.

An infestation of Pharaoh’s Ants must be professionally treated.

If you have a suspected problem with ants visit us at or call us on 01462 811 818 / 01908 761 761

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How to spot a bed bug problem

24 August,12 Leave a comment

HOW TO SPOT A BED BUG PROBLEM – call us on 01462 811 818 or 01908 761 761 / email

What are they?

Bed bugs are small wingless insects, usually around 5mm long, with flat, oval bodies. They are active at night when they feed on blood. They are light brown – becoming darker after feeding. During the day they hide in furniture, the seams of mattresses, cracks in walls, etc.

How do I know if I have bed bugs?

You can sometimes see adult bugs in bedrooms near the skirting board or the edges of the bed or headboard.

Bites can cause a hard white swelling which can be irritating and sometimes painful. They are not known to carry any serious illnesses but can cause sleep loss and general poor health.

You might see blood spots on bed sheets (which are from the bugs, not from the bites).

How do they get in to a property?

Bed bugs cannot fly so they crawl around and into buildings, or can be transported by luggage, clothing and furniture. It is wise to check any second-hand furniture thoroughly before bringing it into your home in case it is infested with bed bugs.

What should I do if I have them and you live in a tenanted property?

If you think you have bed bugs you should tell your landlord straight away. You should also call us on call us on 01462 811 818 or 01908 761 761 or email

Bed Bugs – What to do before treatment

A pest control company will tell you what you need to do before a treatment, for example:

Vacuum all floors and upholstered furniture and then throw the vacuum bag away in an outside waste bin;

Wash all bed linen and clothing (including clothing stored in drawers and wardrobes) on the hottest wash possible.

Clear out everything from the room that is to be treated.

Furniture / beds can stay, but everything else needs to be cleared from the room.

After the treatment, people are not normally allowed back into the treated areas straight away; your pest controller will tell you when you can go back in.

If you have a suspected problem with bed bugs visit us at or call us on 01462 811 818 / 01908 761 761

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How to spot a flea problem

24 August,12 Leave a comment

HOW TO SPOT A FLEA PROBLEM – call us on 01462 811 818  or 01908 761 761/ email

Occurrence of Fleas

Fleas are very common, and often carried by a range of domestic pets at some stage during their lifetimes. Adult fleas are parasites and live off warm-blooded animals. Different species of flea live off different animals.

Most of the common domestic pets, such as cats or dogs, are at risk from fleas. This is especially the case in the summer months and in warm environments such as centrally heated households. As fleas can remain active all year round, it is important to have an understanding of the flea life-cycle and the problems caused by fleas.

How to recognise fleas and flea infestations

There is a range of different types of flea, each preferring a different host e.g. cat, dog, or human. The following are common to the UK:

Cat flea
Dog flea
Rabbit flea
Tropical rat flea
Hedgehog flea
Bird flea
Mole flea

They range from 1-8mm long and are normally brownish in colour. Flea eggs are approximately half a mm long, pearly white in colour, and laid on a pet or in their bedding.

You will probably be alerted to the existence of fleas due to your pet constantly scratching itself, or you may develop skin irritations or reactions to bites.

The existence of fleas can be confirmed by the identification of flea droppings, which are small and black in colour. These normally contain dried blood, and are often found in clusters next to the skin.

If you do have a pet, they are easily spotted in light haired animals by brushing back the hair. However, in dark coated animals it may be better to comb the animal over a sheet of paper onto which the flea droppings will then fall.

To identify whether these black objects are in fact flea dropping, simply add a few drops of water to them. If they are flea droppings, they will turn red.

Habitat and life cycle of fleas

Typically, adult female fleas will jump onto their host (your dog or cat for example) while it is outside. These will then feed on the host, and once in your home they will begin to lay eggs. Generally, these are laid in pet fur or bedding, but soon drop off into dwelling areas such as baskets or carpets. A female flea is capable of laying as many as 400-800 eggs, usually in batches of up to 20, during its lifetime (approximately 2 years).

Depending on temperature, these eggs will hatch within 2-16 days. The emerging larvae are active, hiding from light and feeding on dust and flea droppings. It takes between 7-10 days for each larva to fully develop. From this, the adult flea then takes another 10-17 days to develop, under average conditions. When the adult flea emerges, it will begin to actively seek a blood meal, and the lifecycle begins once again.

In humans, fleabites can produce an allergic reaction. The typical symptoms to a flea bite are a small red spot 5mm or so in diameter. In sensitive individuals, the response can be worse and the bite intensity itchy.

Preventing and treating for fleas

PPM provide a treatment service to spray a specific insecticide for fleas.

Since fleas, at various stages of their development, can be found both on and off the animal, complete flea control should involve treating domestic pets and dwelling areas.

In order for you to achieve best results, the following must be carried out:

All floors and upholstered furniture should be vacuumed to remove animal hair, organic debris, flea eggs and pupae.

Particular attention should be given to the areas where pets have been allowed to roam and rest, such as under furniture, under chair and sofa cushions, cracks and crevices in floors and along walls.

The vacuum bag will contain flea eggs and pupae so should be disposed of immediately in an outside waste bin.

All articles such as clothes, linen and toys should be removed from the floor so the entire surface can be treated.

All tile and concrete floors should be swept and washed or vacuumed.

Any cats and dogs should be treated for fleas and with an animal insecticide recommended specifically for that purpose.

Pet bedding should be destroyed or washed in hot soapy water to destroy immature and adult fleas.

Do not vacuum for at least 10-14 days after treatment. This will give the insecticide a chance to eliminate all stages of flea infestation and growth.

Fleas may be observed for a few weeks after treatment due to new hatching, and so elimination of fleas should not be expected for this length of time.

It is important to treat your animal for fleas once the house has been treated, advice on suitable treatments can be given by your vet.

If you have a suspected problem with fleas visit us at or call us on 01462 811 818 / 01908 761 761

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