What can I do to get rid of pests in my home?

Berwyn Evans and David Cross of Rentokil advise how to deal with unpleasant rodent and insect infestations that can damage your property

TODO alt text

Woodworm

Woodworm infestations aren’t caused by worms but by wood-eating larvae or grubs that hatch from the eggs of different species of beetle – the common furniture beetle being the most prevalent in the UK. 

What are the signs of woodworm?

The beetles lay their eggs from April through to September, typically on or just under the surface of wooden items, such as floorboards or antique furniture, though they can also infest modern laminate flooring and flat-packed items. 

The larvae feed on the wood, causing serious structural damage by boring tunnels in the timber, and cosmetic damage in the form of circular adult beetle exit holes. Look out for bore dust, or frass, caused by emerging beetles. They instinctively head towards the light, so you might spot them around loft hatches or near windows. 

How to get rid of woodworm

DIY products are readily available to treat infested furniture, including woodworm killer solutions that are suitable for use on tables and chairs.

In the case of a severe infestation or particularly delicate antique furniture, advanced technologies can help, such as Controlled Atmosphere Technology (CAT), which involves using inert gases in a controlled atmosphere to eliminate all life stages of the insects, including eggs and larvae, while leaving no harmful residues. 

When repairing antique furniture that has suffered woodworm damage, it is best is to seek advice from restoration specialists.

Rodents

how to get rid of pests

(Image: © real homes)

Rats and mice are likely to come into properties seeking warmth and food, and to escape rising water levels in rivers or sewers.

What are the signs of rats and mice?

  • Very strong ammonia stench
  • Audible srabbling noises
  • Grease marks on walls and skirting boards as they brush against them
  • Foot and tail prints in dusty areas, such as basement or attics
  • Rats leave dark, pellet-like droppings, while mice droppings are smaller and spindle shaped 

Rodents can damage property with their persistent gnawing, and contaminate surfaces and foodstuffs due to pathogens in their faeces and urine. They can also transmit Weil’s disease (Leptospirosis), Rat-bite fever and Salmonellosis. 

How to get rid of rodents

To deter them, ensure food waste is properly sealed and stored. Fill holes in the exterior of your property with wire wool, caulk, metal kick plates or cement. If you spot a rodent in your home, contact a pest control surveyor for advice. 

There are a number of targeted treatments, or rodenticides, safe for use in the home. If the pest dies in a cavity wall or under your floor, rodent odour neutralising products can mask the smell.

Moths

how to get rid of pests

(Image: © real homes)

Wardrobes and closets provide an ideal habitat for hungry moths. The UK has four species of moth that can commonly be found in homes, and they each have their own material preferences – meaning their larvae cause slightly different damage to fabrics and materials.
 

Top tip

Keep spiders at bay by cleaning away their food source of dead flies, woodlice, millipedes, centipedes and other crawling insects. Remove webs.

  • Common clothes moth larvae cause irregular-shaped holes in fabrics.
  • Case-bearing clothes moth larvae create smaller, more regular-shaped holes.
  • Brown house moth larvae tend to prefer animal-based materials, such as feathers and leather.
  • White-shouldered house moth larvae scavenge on a wide range of food, so are less damaging to textiles.

What is the solution to moth infestation?

There’s a large range of DIY moth products that are designed to contain small infestations, such as sprays, balls and traps that can be hung in wardrobes to help protect your belongings. 

For larger infestations, try a solutions such as Rentokil’s Moth Population Control Assist, a pheromone treatment that breaks up their reproductive cycles