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Your 2017 guide to year round pest prevention

24 January 2017

Many businesses are in the process of planning for 2017 and a proactive pest prevention element will guard against un-forecasted spend, reputational damage and loss of operational time. Understanding trends in pest activity means that you can prepare and ensure that pests don’t threaten the success of your business, explains Mark Williams, head of technical UKIE, Ecolab Pest Elimination.

Looking for a cosy winter home

Top tips: 

  • Repair any structural damage – internal & external
  • Seal all gaps in building structure, including around pipes and around doors

Spring into action

As spring arrives, wasps start to come out of hibernation looking to nest. It’s commonly thought that a cold winter will kill off many hibernating pests and reduce the potential risk later in the year, however when it comes to wasps this isn’t the case. In fact, it’s just the opposite, as a warm winter will encourage queen wasps to come out of hibernation early and, with limited nectar sources, they are likely to starve therefore reducing the population. 

Top tips: 

  • Early sighting and treatment can help prevent large infestations later in the year
  • Practising strict waste management and storage is crucial
  • Use measures to prevent birds nesting and landing on roofs and ledges of buildings
  • Bird fouling can be hazardous, including a slip hazard, so cleaning services to remove fouling is highly important

The summer buzz 

The warm summer days bring nuisance pests out in swarms. Fly and wasp colonies will be fully developed - this can cause high levels of concern, especially when it comes to wasps, creating an unwanted distraction for staff and customers. From mid-summer, wasps become an increasing nuisance as they switch from consuming protein to sugar, feeding and getting ‘drunk’ on fermenting fruit. 

Summer also sees a peak in garden ant activity. For businesses dealing with food, infestations can lead to contamination. Flying ants can also cause some concern during summer - flying ants are young queens and males that engage in a nuptial flight in the mating season. This phenomenon occurs in many colonies simultaneously when local weather conditions are appropriate creating a ‘flying ant phenomenon’. This, however, generally only happens once a year.

Top tips: 

  • Operate strict food and drink hygiene, even when outside. (Never leave cans of soft drink unattended outdoors - wasps can enter unseen and sting the mouth or throat)
  • Ensure thorough cleaning procedures are in place
  • Keep windows and doors closed or screened
  • Strict waste management and proofing can help prevent ant infestations
  • Staff trained to spot bed bug activity is the best defence

Autumnal advice

Look out for:

Noble false widow spider.

Top tip: Thorough and regular cleaning is the best defence

Prepare, protect, prevent

Consideration needs to be given to the uncertainty and risks presented by climate change. Increasing average temperatures enhance the sustainability and spread of pests. The major concern is that the south of the UK may become warm enough to support disease spreading mosquitoes – and this is something that we will be keeping a close eye on in the future. Harlequin Ladybirds, a non-native species that first arrived in the UK in 2004, are another pest species that are rapidly increasing in the UK (they are the most invasive ladybird species in the world). Not only can they bite humans, producing an allergic reaction in some cases, but they pose a serious threat to our 47 species of native ladybirds.

Taking a proactive approach by being armed with knowledge and advice from pest elimination experts to spot potential problems and put preventative measures in place is the best way to protect your business.