A brief guide to Seasonal Pests
What Do I Do If I See A Swarm Of Bees?
Don’t Panic, bees in a swarm are universally in a good mood. They cannot easily sting even if antagonised as they have gorged themselves with honey and cannot get their bodies into the best position to sting. If the swarm is not causing a nuisance then leave it, gradually the bees will cluster in a bush or tree and remain there for up to 3 days. During that time scouts will be sent out to look for a new home, the only problem may be they will choose your chimney so put your fire/ heating on low and enjoy their visit. If the swarm is a nuisance then the please contact us for more info, or see our helpful links to the British Beekeepers Association.
How Do Beekeepers Catch A Swarm?
A swarm is actively looking for a home, so if the beekeeper puts a nice hive with perhaps some old honey comb in it close to where the swarm has settled, then it is easy to persuade them to take up residence. Normally a few bees are dropped into the hive and they then ‘fan’ their scent to the other bees once it has been ‘approved’. It is a dramatic sight to see a swarm ‘marching’ into a new hive.
Bees already in residence perhaps in a chimney or old tree must be removed with their honeycomb containing the young grubs and the queen. If the bees cannot be reached then the beekeeper is helpless and the council or local pest control can destroy the colony.
Apart From Honey Are Bees Useful?
Yes very, the pollination benefit of bees is calculated to help the economy by millions of pounds per annum. Certain crops yield up to 25-40% more if efficiently pollinated and farmers in some areas of the world pay beekeepers to put hives into their fields and orchards. In the USA alone bees pollinate about ten billion dollars worth of crops per year (1997). In addition to pollination, bees produce wax for candles and Royal Jelly. During the Middle Ages one of the most important jobs in an Abbey was the Beekeeper, as a huge quantity of wax was constantly required for the ceremonial candles.
What time of year do wasps build nests?
Wasps do not normally swarm in clusters the same way as honey bees do. The only timethat they will appear to swarm is when the nest has either been treated or the entrance has been blocked and the foraging wasps are trying to get back into the nest. Wasp will swarm feed, but this is not the same as a honey bee swarm. Swarm feeding is where scout wasps find a food source, then go back to the nest and report their findings, recruit backup in an effort to try and dominate this new source of food and defend against wasps from other colonies. If you find yourself with a cluster of what appear to be wasps, it is most probably honey bees. When honey bees swarm and relocate, they normally choose a tree branch or other object to land on, the entire swarm will cluster together around the queen.
Why do I have a wasp nest every year?
If you end up getting a wasp nest every year, there is no particular reason for this apart from the location is a good one for them to build their nest. If you live in a house with an old roof, there will be many entrances for the wasps to use, and the tiles will be old with gaps between them. New houses are not impervious to wasps, but the lack of available entrance points reduces the chances of having a nest.
What time of year do wasps build nests?
Despite common beliefs, wasps and hornets NEVER reuse an old nest from a previous year. They always build a new one. Occasionally they will build onto the side of an old nest, but they will not use the old one. Wasps start building a brand new nest in the spring. This happens when the overwintered queens emerge from hibernation. Once these new queens emerge from hibernation they find a suitable place to build a new nest. This activity starts as soon the weather is warmenough and the frosts have all but finished. The nest starts off small and there is only the queen, but as soon as she has laid eggs and these have hatched and gone through the development stage and emerged as adult wasps, then these workers take over the nest building process.
GARDEN ANT, BLACK ANT
Black ants are commonly found throughout the UK, and although they nest outdoors, they are often found inside. Ants range in size from 1mm to 52 mm and colours can vary; most are red or black.
Are very dark in colour, and are usually 4mm in length. During the summer, winged females and males are reared in underground nests. Occasionally they will swarm from the nest and mate,and on returning to the ground the males soon die. The females lay their eggs and spend the winter in hibernation. In favourable conditions the queen ant and her colony may survive for several years.
Are yellow-brown in colour, and only 1.5mm - 2mm in length. Unlike black ants, swarms of pharaoh ants only mate inside their nest.
Where do ants come from?
Ants may build nests on trees, though most are found in the ground, under stones or logs, inside logs, hollow stems or even acorns. You could find ants nests in dry earth around plant roots. The sand used in house foundations, garden paths and patios forms a good site for the queen ant to start a colony, as sandy soil in particular may attract colonies. Nests are increasingly being found inside the walls of properties (cavity walls, for example). Ants are social creatures, and live in colonies containing workers (infertile females), males, queens and grubs (larvae). Ants mate on the wing, so the "flying ants" are either males or immature queens. Once a colony develops it can be difficult to get rid of.
Why do ants come indoors?
The ants found indoors are usually worker ants, which are foraging for food for the queen and the grubs. They have found that buildings inhabited by humans are a good source of provision, particularly sweet or sugary items. Pharaoh ants are found where food is available. They will eat almost anything and can easily get in to unopened packages. Pharaoh ants trail each other and are attracted to greasy or fatty foods, meats, sugary foods, and other dead insects. Because of their eating habits, they can contaminate food by wandering over it.
Do ants just live on human food?
Worker ants are scavengers and collect seeds, nectar, and even dead insects to take back to the nest. They also prey on greenfly, blackfly and other small insects, even caterpillars, so cannot be considered to be all bad.
Do ants do any harm?
Although it is unpleasant and a nuisance to find a large number of them in your home, black ants do not transmit any serious diseases. However, you should remember as well that the ants may have travelled through unpleasant or dirty places during their foraging and before entering your home. This means that they can taint any food, making it unsuitable to eat.
How do I prevent an infestation?
- Do not leave food uncovered if accessible to ants, but if they have contaminated food, dispose of in the dustbin (wrapped first to prevent it smelling in the warmer weather)
- Do not feed wild birds or other animals to excess - the food will attract unwanted pests e.g. ants
- Store food and household waste in sealed containers/bins
Things you should know about house Flies!
- The life expectancy of a fly is eight days to two months.
- Flies belong to the Order Diptera. There are 16,000 species of flies in the northern hemisphere.
- Flies plague every part of the world except the polar ice caps.
- One pair of flies can produce more than one million offspring in as little as six to eight weeks.
- As many as 33 million microorganisms may flourish in a single fly's gut, while a half-billion more swarm over its body and legs.
- Flies spread diseases readily because they move quickly from rotting, disease-laden garbage to exposed foods and utensils.
- A fly deposits thousands of bacteria each time it lands. This capability is due, in part, to the fact that house flies are quite setaceous or "hairy".
- For every fly seen, there are an estimated 19 more hidden from view. This means humans don't even see 95 percent of flies present at an infestation.
Usually gray, less than 1/4-inch long with four black stripes on the thorax.
They prefer corners and edges or thin objects to rest on. Indoors, they rest on floors, walls and ceilings during the day. Outdoors, they will rest on plants, the ground, fence wires, garbage cans, etc. Night resting places are usually near sources of food and 5 to 15 feet off the ground.
Wide variety of food, including human food, animal food and carcasses, garbage and excrement.
House fly eggs are laid in almost any warm, moist material that will supply suitable food for the larvae. The female begins laying eggs a few days after hatching, laying a total of five to six batches of 75 to 100 eggs. In warm weather, eggs hatch in 12-24 hours.
More than 100 pathogens associated with the housefly may cause disease in humans and animals, including: typhoid, cholera, bacillary dysentery and infantile diarrhea.
- Sanitation is the most effective and important step in controlling flies. All outside trash areas must be kept clean. Garbage should be drained and wrapped in plastic bags before being placed in trash receptacles or dumpsters outdoors. By placing garbage in bags, odors will be reduced, therefore attracting fewer egg-laying flies. (Reduce attractive odors by routinely scraping out and thoroughly cleaning food residues from containers.)
- Use garbage cans with tight fitting lids lined inside with plastic bags. Locate the garbage cans or trash receptacles as far away from the house or building as possible to reduce nuisance flies nearby. Dispose of waste at least twice weekly at a regular landfill, by incineration or burying in the soil.
- Eliminate all potential breeding materials such as rotting straw or mulch, manure, garbage and animal excrement. Avoid damp pet foods left outdoors for several days. Eliminate carcasses of dead animals and birds. Any potential breeding material should be spread out thinly in the field and allowed to dry to prevent fly development.
- Dispose of piles of old, wet, lawn clippings, leaves, manure stacks, old wet hay or straw bales and other such debris. Waste piles can be covered with black plastic which will heat the organic matter, destroying fly development.
Adults are about 1/8-inch long, have red eyes and a tan thorax. The abdomen is black on top, gray underneath.
Adults are strong fliers and have been known to travel as far as 6 1/2 miles within a 24-hour period. Populations tend to build during the summer, becoming very abundant at harvest time. Indoor, drosophila is frequently active at all times of the year.
Ripened fruit and vegetables. Fermenting products.
Larvae develop in moist areas where organic material and standing water are present. The entire life cycle lasts 25 days or more depending on the environmental conditions and the availability of food.
Drains should be the initial inspection sites when encountering an infestation. The adults are often seen flying in areas located away from the source of infestation.
Rodents can enter a building through almost any opening or crack of about 12mm for a mouse and 25mm for a junior rat, It is important to inspect for rodent droppings especially in undisturbed areas such as pantries, under floor boards sheds garages and along walls. Rodent droppings most often cause allergic reactions in human beings, but can also cause disease, including the potentially deadly Hantavirus. More frequently however, rodents serve as vectors, carrying bacterium such as salmonella on their bodies. Rodents can contaminate all food sources, kitchen surfaces and equipment. A pest control professional can offer their expertise and knowledge of rodent biology to best protect your health and rid your home of any rodent infestation before.
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