Dealing with pests

Last updated - 6 November 2017

Pests and vermin are insects and small animals in your home that can cause a variety of health and safety problems.
Any home can have a problem with pests or vermin, however careful you are and how often you clean your home. Prevention is better than cure.

Our policy states tenants take responsibility for pest control, except where point of entry has been proven to be as a result of a design fault or damage to the exterior of the property.

Follow three simple rules to reduce the chances of pests and vermin coming to stay.

1. Don’t let them in

Block up holes in the brickwork, roof, skirting boards and floorboards to prevent rats, mice and squirrels from getting into your home. Feel welcome to contact Genesis for advice on any help that we may be able to provide.

2. Don’t feed them

Keep your home clean, especially the kitchen. Clean surfaces and floors regularly to remove any traces of food. If possible, store food in sealed containers. Uncovered food can attract pests and vermin. Put rubbish out in sealed bags or bins. Always use a bird table when you feed garden birds. Putting bird food on the ground can attract rats and mice, as can putting cooked food in a compost heap.

3. Don’t make them comfy

Don’t leave old furniture, mattresses or other rubbish in your garden. These make a great place for mice and rats to nest.

Ask your local Council to collect bulky household waste or take this to the tip yourself. Try to keep your garden tidy too. An overgrown garden provides a good home for mice and rats.

Get advice about pests and vermin

Contact us to discuss any concerns you have about about pests in your home. We'll be happy to offer advice on how best to deal with the problem and any assistance that we may be able to provide.

You can also ask your local Council’s Environmental Health Department for advice on how to deal with pests and vermin. They may provide a pest control or pest identification service. Most Councils charge for these services but fees may be reduced for people who claim benefits.

A private pest control company can deal with your pest and vermin problem. Their fees will probably be higher than a Council’s fees.

Tips to deal with common pests

In-depth information on dealing with specific pests can be found on the British Pest Control Association website.

Below is a brief oversight of the basics that you’ll need to deal with vermin and pests in your home.

Mice and rats

Mice and rats spread disease through their urine and droppings. They can also cause damage to your home and furnishings and can chew through electrical wires, increasing the risk of fire and electrocution.

They are most active between dusk and dawn. It is often easier to spot signs of a problem rather than an actual mouse or rat.

You may be able to keep mice under control using traps or poison; you can buy this in most DIY stores. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using poisons or insecticides and keep them away from children and pets.

Problems with rats and mice can be caused by conditions in your neighbourhood such as rubbish in gardens or in the street.

If the problem is due to a build-up of rubbish in a neighbour’s garden, you can ask them to deal with the issue. If they rent their home, you can raise a complaint to their landlord about the matter.

If your neighbours or their landlord don’t deal with the problem then you can notify your Council’s Environmental Health department. They can serve a notice ordering that the problem is dealt with. If this is not complied with then the Council can arrange for any necessary work to be done to deal with the problem and charge your neighbours or their landlord.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches lurk in warm, dark, humid parts of homes, in areas around pipe ducts in kitchens and bathrooms or underneath cookers. They can cause food poisoning and other health problems, such as dermatitis and asthma.

You may need expert help to deal with cockroaches. Further information on cockroaches and how to deal with them can be found on the British Pest Control Association website.

Bees and wasps

Bees and wasps only become a problem if they build nests in the loft or eaves of your home or in your garden. Do not go near to, or disturb, a nest. Bees and wasps can swarm and may attack when disturbed.

If you have a problem with a bee or wasp nest in your home contact Genesis and we will be happy to provide you with advice on how to deal with this. If we are unable to help then we will advise you to speak to your Council. They may charge a fee to remove a nest.

If you have a honey bee nest in your garden then you may wish to contact the British Beekeepers’ Association. They may send someone who can remove the nest without killing the bees. Contact details can be found on The British Beekeepers Association website.

Bedbugs

Bedbugs live in bedding and mattresses, feed on blood and can leave nasty bite marks. Wash all bedding at 60°C and try to find an insecticide that’s safe to use on the mattress, headboard and other affected areas.

You may contact Genesis for further advice on how to deal with bedbugs. If we are unable to offer any assistance then you would need to speak with either a pest control company or your Council’s pest control service who may be able to help.

Fleas

Fleas from pet cats and dogs don’t spread disease but flea bites can be itchy and uncomfortable for you and your pets.

To deal with fleas, treat your pets, bedding, furniture and carpets with flea sprays or powders. If you are unsure of which type to use, you may wish to speak to a vet for advice on the best ones to use.

The RSPCA has a very helpful webpage with more information which may also be useful.

Ants

Ants don’t pose a health risk. If you discover ants in your home, try vacuuming them up or tackle them using an ant spray or powder which you can purchase in most DIY stores.

Treat the nest if you can find it. You may be able to locate it by following the trail of ants. If you can’t reach the nest, treat all entry points to your home (doors, windows and drains). The ants should carry the insecticide back to their nest.

Squirrels

Squirrels can cause damage in your loft or roof spaces. They can tear away insulation and cause damage to pipes and any items stored in the loft. They can chew through cables and wires, causing a risk of fire and electrocution.

To prevent squirrels getting in, use wire mesh to block any holes and make sure any missing bricks or roof tiles are replaced. If you require help with this please speak to Genesis and we’ll be happy to advise you on any assistance that we can provide.

Crushed up mothballs placed around your loft can also help deter squirrels from entering.

Please be aware that red squirrels are a legally protected species. You can be prosecuted for killing, injuring or capturing a red squirrel or destroying its shelter. However, grey squirrels are not a legally protected species.

Dust mites

Dust mites live in mattresses and bedding. They can make your condition worse if you suffer from eczema, asthma or any other breathing problems.

Dust mites prefer warm, humid environments. To keep them under control, wash your bedding regularly at 60°C and try to keep your bedroom cool and well ventilated.

Further helpful information for tackling dust mites can be found on the Allergy UK website.

Moths and carpet beetles

Carpet moths and carpet beetles damage woollen carpets or rugs in your home. You can buy ‘killer kits’ to tackle them from any pest control company.

Tiny holes in your clothing could be a sign that you have an infestation of clothes moths, particularly if found in clothes made of wool and silk. It is the larvae that cause the damage. Adult moths cannot feed on fabrics.

You can buy moth traps and place them in any wardrobes and cupboards where you store your clothes. Washing all of your clothes will kill the eggs.

Hide beetles

Hide beetles live under cookers or fridges and feed on food scraps. They aren’t a health risk but can cause damage by boring holes in plaster or wood.

You can tackle them by cleaning any infected areas thoroughly and treating with an appropriate insecticide.

Silverfish

Silverfish live in damp environments, such as bathrooms. They don’t pose a serious health risk, but they can swarm if they’re not dealt with.

You can purchase insecticides from DIY stores which will kill them. You should also keep your kitchen and bathroom cupboards clean and dry to prevent their return.

FAQs
Should I take precautions if my home is fumigated?

All pets, including hamsters, tropical fish and caged birds must be removed from the premises for approximately 3 hours.

All unwrapped food, for example fruit, bread, the sugar bowl, milk jug, butter dish, etc, must be stored in your cupboards or the fridge.

Your TV and other electrical equipment must also be covered.

You should not enter any rooms that have been fumigated for at least 3 hours.

Will insecticide stain my carpets and furniture?

No, it will not cause any staining. Once the insecticide is dry it might leave a white residue which will dust off.

Can I ignore a rodent problem?

No. With the many diseases rats carry, it is not acceptable to allow rodents to multiply.

If my pet eats bait what should I do?

Take it to a vet immediately. If treatment has been carried out by a contractor you may have been given a poison form which advises you what to do if your pet has eaten any poisons.

After treatment, when can I remove a wasp nest?

Don't move it for at least a week. The queen wasp will be dead in about 15 minutes but the nest can take anything between 2 and 3 hours to die completely.

If a wasp nest is left, will it be used again?

A wasp nest is seasonal and will not be re-used.

Will my pet be harmed if they eat a dead rodent?

It is highly unlikely that your dog or cat would be harmed. Your pet would have to have eaten a substantial amount of dead vermin before being affected.