Many people don’t like to discuss their infestation problems but Sarah Beeny bravely tackled the often hushed-up topic of pest control in her new Channel 4 Help! My House is Infested programme last night.
Beeny kicked off by outlining how rats are soon predicted to outnumber humans by 3-1 and even more worryingly, 20% of household fires are attributed to rats gnawing on electrical cables. Bed bed infestations have increased by 500% and a third of all UK homes have had some sort of infestation.
I’ve suffered two flea infestations, and roughly a third of my friends have called in a pest control agency to deal with mice, rats or Glis glis. One of the driving reasons behind this blog is to raise awareness about pest control. It’s no use sweeping the horrible subject under the carpet because as I’ve found out from personal experience, it will not go away!
The first house Beeny visited was infested with bed bugs. A bed bug infestation is not connected to hygiene. Unlike rats, mice and cockroaches who flourish off leftovers, bed bugs need a blood feed. Here at Rentokil we’ve treated bed bugs at luxury five star hotels, smart apartments, public transport and cinema’s. International travel is largely to blame for the bed bug increase in the UK, so if you do travel, check the room first and take precautions such as keeping your luggage in the bath overnight.
For many people it’s the psychological aspect of an infestation which is the hardest to deal with. Tania, a homeowner and mother to five looked worn out and emotionally drained as she described how she checked the kids during the night to find bed bugs feeding off her children. The upstairs room was so badly infested the family was reduced to sleeping in one room downstairs. Beeny called in the most effective treatment in the UK – a heat treatment. By heating the home up to 50◦C both eggs and bugs are killed, even those hiding deep with crevices.
Another property Beeny visited was infested with rats. Gagging from the stench of ammonia, she relayed how rats and their offspring could create a 3000 rats a year. The owner said he knew the infestation was bad when urine ran down a light pull cord. Enter the professional rat catchers who baited rats in the loft and concealed the entrance point – an unused drain.
“To check if you have rats or mice,” said Beeny, “leave out a biscuit. If the whole biscuit goes, you have rats. If the biscuit if nibbled and there’s droppings, you have mice. Mice are nibblers and rats are hoarders. Rats will drag the whole biscuit away and take it to the nest.”
Next stop was a moth infestation. As Beeny chatted to the home owner holding up nibbled knitwear, a moth flew past. Beeny quickly caught it. A pest control expert peered at it, “a common clothes moth,” he declared. A search of the flat revealed eggs and maggots in packets of food. The flat was treated and a follow up inspection revealed moth corpses – the sign of a successful treatment.
With a wealth of well-trained licensed pest control companies in the UK no one needs to suffer an infestation. Make sure you act quickly at the first sign of an infestation. The British Pest Control Association member lists details of fully trained professionals such as Rentokil.