We do not provide a pest control treatment service but there are many local pest control operatives available.
We recommend you use a contractor who is a member of the National Pest Technicians Association, British Pest Control Association or a similar professional body to carry out any treatment work.
We will investigate large scale pest infestations and take enforcement action where appropriate, and will provide advice on the identification of pests.
Please take into account that there are many watercourses, ponds, fields, railway embankments and, of course, a large forest in the area, and it is unlikely that any external pest treatments will provide a permanent solution.
Rats are by far and away the most common pest that people contact us about. Although rats are unpleasant and carry disease, they are just another wild animal, and will not remain in an area in significant numbers without food and shelter.
The health risk from rats in the outside environment is quite small, and normal hygiene measures such as hand washing after gardening and other outdoor activities will be sufficient to prevent problems. Owners and occupiers of properties have a responsibility to make life as uncomfortable for rats as possible and in extreme cases legal action may be taken against them if they don’t.
Recent studies show that the urban fox population is not, contrary to popular belief, increasing, but that foxes are becoming more confident around humans. This is largely because many people put out food for them, encouraging them in the same way they put out food for birds.
We ask that people do not do this because of the nuisance problems that foxes can cause, but if you must feed them, remember that these are wild animals and their behaviour can be unpredictable. Feeding should be well away from the house, and hand feeding should not be attempted as it will encourage the fox to approach other people in search of food.
As well as the general guidance shown below, garden pets like rabbits and guinea pigs represent a food source for foxes, so hutches, cages and runs in the garden should be constructed so that the inmates are protected from predators.
There are commercial repellents available to help discourage foxes from a specific area and The Fox Project telephone 01892 826222) can be contacted for further help.
There are a number of things that you can do to make your property, and the area as a whole, less attractive to rats and foxes.
A touchy subject, this, as what looks like a wilderness to some is a paradise to others, and gardening for wildlife is becoming more and more popular. Always keep a look-out for signs of rats, such as burrows or droppings, and take action to deal with them if they are found. A wildlife garden need not be attractive to all wildlife!
Brambles present a particular problem as they provide a food source for rats, as well as foxes and other animals, and safe shelter for them. Please keep them under control and only allow a small area to be covered, no matter how much you like blackberries!
Rubbish and waste
Please make sure that all bins are properly covered and that the lids are fully closed. Rubbish, especially waste food, will attract other pests such as flies as well as rats and foxes. If you over-fill your bins and cannot close the lids, they will be able to gain access to an easy food supply.
Rinsing empty food cans and food packaging before putting them into dry recycling sacks also helps to make sure that rats and other pests are not attracted. In addition, the excess timber left over from that last DIY project, the old furniture that you haven’t quite got round to getting rid of, or even the old car engine that’s been awaiting restoration for ages, can provide shelter for rats, and should not be left out in the garden.
Food businesses have a responsibility to make arrangements for waste collection and to keep rubbish storage areas tidy, so that pests are not attracted. Action will be taken where a food business is not making appropriate provision for waste storage and disposal and controlling pests.
If you leave food out all the time make sure that any bird feeders you use are pest-proof. If you use an open bird table or put food on the ground for birds, don’t put out more food than they can eat in a couple of hours, and never leave food out overnight. Most of us enjoy seeing birds in our gardens, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t put food out for them, just be sure it’s only the birds you’re feeding!
Birds also need water, especially during hot summers and cold winters, but so do rats and other pests. Keep an eye open for signs of them around ponds, water features and even bird-baths. Rats will gnaw at wiring and plastic pipework, so could cause considerable damage to pond filtration systems.
Put pet food down where only your pets can get it. Pet food will attract rats, foxes and flies if left in the open. If you keep animals such as chickens, ducks, or even pigs at home, food for these animals must be kept secure to ensure that it does not attract pests, and should never be left out overnight. Feeding hedgehogs can also attract rats and foxes, and should not be done unless the food can be monitored at all times.
Rats may visit a compost heap if they are already present in the area but composting does not, in itself, attract rats. If rats or mice are nesting in your compost heap, this is a sign that the heap is too dry. Add water until it has the consistency of a wrung-out sponge.
If you are worried about rats nesting in the compost, use wire mesh to protect the base and sides of the heap / bin. Locate it in an area of your garden that is frequently used and walked past, such as by a washing line or next to a shed. If you compost in a busy area of the garden, pests will be less likely to want to nest there.
Cooked waste food should only be composted in bins specifically designed for the purpose.
Check your property
Rats and mice can get through the smallest of holes. Check that there are no gaps around pipes coming through outside walls and make sure that airbricks and ventilation grills are undamaged.
Beware of climbing plants around windows and at the eaves of the property, as rats are good climbers. This applies to any outbuildings as well as the main house. Garden sheds with raised floors, and timber decking, can also provide shelter and an undisturbed area for rats and mice, so need to be checked regularly for burrows, droppings and other signs of rodent activity.
Rats will use drains and sewers to move around an area, so look out for any burrows in the area of manholes and inspection chambers, which might indicate damaged pipes.