Wasps and rodents on the rise in warm weather
It is looking like a bumper year for pests, with the heatwave providing perfect conditions for wasps, rats and mice to thrive, according to industry experts.
Call-outs to members of The British Pest Control Association have increased for wasps as the warm weather brings extended opportunities to feed.
And while typically reports of rats and mice tend to drop in the summer months, the association says there’s been no slow-down in the number of call-outs to tackle rodents too.
Kevin Higgins, BPCA Technical Advisor, said: “As the warmer weather takes hold, the number of call-outs for rats and mice usually drops, as the rodents move away from the warmth and shelter of homes and outbuildings to outdoor environments.
“However, this year we are seeing no evidence of that, with our members saying that call-outs to deal with rodents are continuing in the summer months.
“It seems they are staying indoors in commercial and domestic properties and the volume of calls being received is highly unusual for this time of the year and while we cannot be sure exactly what the cause is for this, it is something we are looking closely into.
“One theory is that there is a good deal of fruit around this year due to the warm weather and that rats and mice don’t have to travel as far as usual to feed.
“Regardless of the weather this year, we were already expecting increased activity with wasps.
“In fact, earlier this year in April, before the warm weather took hold, BPCA had already suggested that this summer could be a bumper year as their numbers traditionally rise and fall in a two-year pattern, and our records show the UK was inundated in 2016, followed by a distinct lull in numbers in 2017.
“However, now the warm spell has had an impact, and the numbers are rising significantly, exceeding initial expectations.
“This early abundance of fruit in the fields and gardens gives better feeding conditions in which they can thrive. Wasps get giddy on the fruit, it makes them slightly inebriated, and this is when they are most likely to sting.
“Usually this is at the end of the season, but the climate conditions are bringing that forward. If this weather continues, the wasp season will extend, and that could mean a bumper year for 2019, as conditions allow for more queens to thrive in the nests.”
The technical team at BPCA keeps a watching brief on the UK pest population, sharing information and best practice with its members to ensure the public are protected.
Mr Higgins added: “We’d urge the public to be pest aware this summer as the unusual weather makes an impact on their numbers.
“Wasps, rats and mice can be a real nuisance, and a public safety issue too.
“At this time, the value of effective pest control is critical to offer protection in our homes and businesses.
“A professional pest controller can help minimise pest activity with a range of techniques.
“They will have the technical knowledge and access to a range of professional treatment options which are not available to the public.
“People can also take some protective steps themselves. For rodents that includes making sure all waste food is in sealed bins with closed lids.
“It’s also a good idea to look for gaps or holes around pipes and cables entering buildings and make sure they are adequately sealed. Bear in mind that if you can get a pencil in to the gap, the rodent can enter as well.
“With regard to wasps, be particularly careful when children have ice cream or lollies as they are attracted to these.
“And it’s also advisable to keep a sting remedy to hand but, if nothing is available, cutting an onion in half and placing that on the site of the sting can help.”
The BPCA website contains further advice on wasps, rats and mice at bpca.org.uk/PestAware.
To find professional controllers in your area visit bpca.org.uk/find