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About Pests

There are various pests that can cause havoc for UK homeowners and business owners, and prove a health hazard to them, their families and work colleagues. Here we give you the inside guide on the different types of pests that can invade your home, workplace, or garden.

They might make cute pets but wild mice can be a huge problem in the home or at work because they like to live indoors. They can cause fires by gnawing through cables and damage insulation causing heat loss and costly replacement. And as if this wasn’t bad enough, mice also carry diseases including salmonella and a type of Leptospirosis. Mice can be a pest in residential areas but are mainly found in warehouses, shops and hospitals.

Blamed for the outbreak of the Plague in England in the 1300s, rats are a worldwide pest because they cause structural damage, spread life-threatening diseases, and compete against humans for food. There are two main types of rats that can be found in the UK, the brown rat (or common rat), which can be in buildings, sewers and other areas across the country, and the black rat (or roof rat), which is less common and mainly restricted to port areas.

Rats live alongside humans. They invade our buildings, eat our food, and, more worryingly, transmit potentially fatal diseases, such as Weil's disease and murine typhus, as well as carrying the salmonella bacteria. Like mice they can gnaw electric cables and consequently start fires, while gas and water pipes can be damaged when rats burrow underground.

Cockroaches carry various diseases, such as gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, typhoid, poliomyelitis, and salmonella, which make them a huge threat to public health. These pests are mainly found in commercial premises where food is produced or handled, like restaurants and canteens. However, they can also be found in domestic settings, such as kitchens and drains. Cockroaches will eat anything from human food to leather and wallpaper.

There are three main types of cockroach that can be found in the UK; the Oriental cockroach, which is black and found in cooler areas, the German cockroach, which is yellow-brown and lives in kitchens and canteens, and the American cockroach, which is red-brown and survives well in sewers and drains.

In the UK the common black ant nests outside under lawns, in decaying trees, under building foundations and in wall cavities in houses. Ants are very sociable insects that live in organised colonies controlled by a queen. The workers of the colonies will forage widely for food, following trails and congregating around the source of food. Ants like sweet foods the best so that is why they are commonly found in kitchens, storerooms and warehouses.

The other type of ant found in the UK is the Pharaoh’s ant, which is yellow-brown in colour, and commonly found in hospitals. These ants are more likely to spread infection than common black ants.

In the UK, the cat flea causes more than three-quarters of all flea infestations. These pests can be found in a cat’s bedding along with some commercial premises where stray cats make a home. Human and dog fleas are less common than cat fleas, and the majority of human flea bites actually come from cat fleas. Fleas carry both diseases, such as typhus and bubonic plague, and parasitic worms. However, fleas no longer pose a major disease threat in the UK but their bites are painful and irritating.

The common housefly can carry typhoid, cholera, tuberculosis, gastroenteritis and dysentery. These pests live amongst humans because they are interested in our rotting food and decaying household rubbish, which provides an ideal environment for laying eggs.

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