Rats can transmit many diseases to humans, including Salmonellosis and Weils disease.

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1 Pest facts and tips Rats Rats contaminate food and water and can cause extensive damage to buildings and equipment especially where food is handled or stored. They can gnaw through wood and enlarge masonry openings to gain entrance into buildings. In the construction of their nests they can destroy all types of materials and can cause fires by chewing through insulation cables. Rats are year-round pests. Under certain conditions they can survive outdoors all through the year. However, activity and indoor migration increases as the weather gets cooler and outdoor food and water sources decrease. Rats are most active during the evening and remain so until the middle of the night. If food and water are scarce, or in the case of large infestations, rats become active during daylight hours. Outdoors rats burrow into the ground. Indoors, nesting can occur in double walls, between ceilings and floors, in any closed in areas, or anywhere rubbish is allowed to accumulate. If not controlled, an infestation of rats will rapidly increase. Rat droppings - roughly the size and shape of sultanas - near food sources are the most common indication of an infestation but any evidence of gnawing, rub marks, tracks, burrows, nests or damage to stored products are all indications of their presence. Rats will invade almost any premises. However it is the presence of unsanitary conditions that encourages their activity. Rats will live in any situation that provides food, water and shelter. They can live in loft spaces, wall cavities, under floor boards, compost heaps, grass banks and sheds. A rats favourite food is cereal products although they will eat almost anything, including each other. Rats can transmit many diseases to humans, including Salmonellosis and Weils disease. Tips for spotting a rat problem Spotting a problem with rats in a food premises should be easy due to the characteristics associated with them: Scratching noises coming from wall cavities, under floors and in loft spaces. Holes may be seen outside of your premises such as under sheds, they will often be accompanied by heaps of earth and debris. The fur of a rat is very greasy and dirty. When they rub against a surface such as a wall a dark patchy smear will be left Rats are slightly incontinent and leave faeces were ever they go. Even with a small infestation there will be plenty of droppings scattered around. Droppings are spindle shaped, approx ¾-½ inch long and often found on the runs frequently used by the rats. Rats front teeth never stop growing so they must gnaw to keep them at the correct length. Due to the need to gnaw they are capable of causing a great deal of damage to: Food packaging and containers Wiring Pipes Skirting boards Doors and door frames Tips for avoiding rats To help prevent rats infesting your property: Waste should be prevented from accumulating. Seal all openings to the outside, including wood around doors and windows; repair masonry and seal openings for utility lines, conduits, and drains. Put kitchen rubbish into dustbins rather than in plastic bags. If plastic bags must be used only put them out on the day of collection. Make sure all cans and containers saved for recycling are washed to remove food residue.

2 Avoid feeding the birds, or only put out small amounts at any one time. Collect and remove windfall fruit and place in sealed composter. Avoid putting food waste straight on to compost heaps. Mice Mice are a pest because they suffer from and carry many diseases which can be spread to humans. They can spoil large amounts of food by contaminating it with their droppings and urine and through gnawing. They can also cause serious damage to property by gnawing woodwork, pipes and electric cables. Mice will live anywhere, above or below ground, indoors or outdoors, as long as there is a supply of food, water and nesting materials. Mice can squeeze through cracks as small as 5mm. Their favourite food is cereal products although they will eat almost anything that humans eat. They will gnaw and rip through packaging to get to food. Mice carry infestations that are hazardous to both humans and domestic pets. they carry include Trichinosis, Typhus and Weils disease. Tips for spotting a problem with mice Mice activity is very similar to that of rats and should be easily recognised: Scratching noises coming from wall cavities, under floors and in loft spaces. Mice are totally incontinent and leave faeces were ever they go. Even with a small infestation there will be plenty of droppings scattered around. Droppings are spindle shaped, approximately ¼ inch long and often found on the runs frequently used by the mice. Holes may be seen outside of your premises such as under sheds, but mice will gather and nest in any area that provides them harbourage above and below ground level. Mice gnaw anything and everything. For this reason they are capable of causing a great deal of damage to: Food packaging and containers Wiring Pipes Skirting boards Doors and door frames Tips for avoiding mice Look out for droppings - roughly the size and shape of a grain of rice - and damage caused by gnawing. Avoid leaving food exposed and make sure it is kept in containers with close fitting lids. Remove all unwanted articles and general rubbish from yards, alleyways or gardens to discourage rodents building nests. Seal all gaps or holes to prevent mice entering a building. Put food for birds on a bird table or hang it where mice can not reach it. Flies Flies can live for 2 to 3 days without food. If they were not controlled around the world, they could cover the whole planet 18 inches deep in one season. There are many species of fly in the UK, but those that occur in the largest numbers and cause the most concern are: House Fly Cluster Fly Fruit Fly House Fly The common house fly - Musca domestica - is one of the most common of all insects. It is distributed worldwide and in just 2 weeks, one fly may lay more than 1000 eggs. The eggs are laid in any form of warm organic matter such as, animal excrement, kitchen refuse, lawn clippings.

3 The eggs are laid in clusters of about 100 and hatch within 24 hours into maggots, pupation takes place 4 to 6 days later and the adult fly emerges after about 3 days in ideal conditions. The adult fly rarely lives for more than a week or 2. The house fly is black and about 1/4 inch long its body is covered with fine hairs and bristles which readily pick up dirt particles. The sex of a house fly can be determined by the distance between their eyes - females are wider - and the female is usually larger than the male. Cluster Fly Cluster flies are the species of fly most often found in large numbers in roof spaces during the autumn, winter and early spring. Generally the flies arrive in the autumn. They land on warm, south facing walls and retreat indoors until after the winter. They usually end up in the attic, however when flat roofs, wall tiles or weather boards become obstacles this is when the flies may be found in bedrooms, light fittings etc. Fruit Fly Fruit flies look like very tiny house flies. Large numbers may occur for example where a piece of fruit has become over ripe, especially if it is left lying in a neglected space. They may also occur in large numbers from sources such as: Old beer and wine bottles containing a few drops and being stored for recycling/re-use Beer/wine making buckets/containers Materials kept for composting Kitchen areas left permanently moist and where there is organic contamination e.g. waste traps, sink units etc. All flies are capable of transmitting diseases to humans. They have been shown to carry Salmonella and other organisms which cause Typhoid Fever, Cholera, Dysentery, Tuberculosis, Anthrax, Opthalmia as well as Parasitic Worms. Tips for controlling flies The best method of fly control is good housekeeping. Mechanical methods of control are preferred in food premises these include screening to windows and doors, air blast doors, U.V. light traps and the good old fashioned fly paper. Chemical control measures are available to kill fly larvae and the adult insects. Great care should be taken when using any form of chemicals near food. Wasps Wasps are 'social' insects, living in nests in the ground or in buildings. In late spring the queen will start to make a nest in which to lay her eggs, and by August this nest could be as large as a football and contain perhaps 2000 wasps. Towards the end of the summer a generation of perfect males and females are produced who will leave the nest to mate. The new queens hibernate for the winter then start nest building the following spring. The original nest usually dies when the weather gets cold. Wasps will not normally return to a nest that has been used before. Ants The Garden Ant has become a nuisance because of its foraging habit. It is particularly attracted to sugary foods, but does not pose a health risk to humans. Found throughout Britain nesting in gardens and around buildings the Garden Ant often enters premises in search of food. The garden ant nests outside but may become a pest when it forages for food. Food contaminated by ants should be discarded but the insect is usually only of nuisance value. Control depends on the destruction of the nest using insecticide sprays, dusting powder or baits. Tips for avoiding ants To avoid ants indoors ensure that sugary foods are kept in sealed containers and all food spillages are cleared immediately.

4 Mites Mites are similar to insects but the adults have 8 legs. The naked eye will only detect them by their movement and they appear as coarse dust. Infestation may occur in a number of foods including flour, cheese and smoked meats and they have a preference for damp conditions such as poorly ventilated store rooms. Tips for avoiding mites They will taint food and may cause dermatitis. Drying and high temperatures will control them. Fleas Fleas have adapted throughout evolution to a life spent hopping on and off mammals. In Britain the most common flea is the cat flea which readily bites cats, dogs and humans. Only adult cat fleas live on the animal. Young fleas do not bite and live off debris found in or near the bedding of the host. If no host is immediately available, a young flea will not emerge from the chrysalis, but can wait for up to a year, only coming out when the vibrations of a mammal are felt. Therefore, the complainant need not necessarily have a pet to suffer with fleas. Tips for avoiding fleas Tablets for adding to pets' food, and/or insecticide powers or sprays can be used on your pet and its bedding, or a collar can be worn by the pet, to help prevent infestation. Cockroaches Cockroaches are smaller than rodents but they are quite large insects. They are nocturnal so are not as easy to identify. The 2 main species of cockroaches found in England are the German cockroach and the Oriental cockroach. The German cockroach prefers warm, moist environments, particularly heating systems in large buildings. It can swim, fly, climb smooth surfaces easily and hide in inaccessible places. The Oriental cockroach is found mainly indoors in heated buildings like hospitals, hotels, restaurants, prisons and blocks of flats. It is sometimes found outdoors around dustbins and rubbish tips. It is dark brown to black in colour, very shiny, and has long flexible antennae and a flattened body. It cannot fly or climb smooth surfaces but can move very rapidly. The female cockroach can produce up to eight purse-like egg cases each month each of which can contain up to 30 eggs. Cockroach nymphs emerge from their eggs after 2-4 weeks - up to 6-12 weeks for oriental cockroaches. The nymphs are like the adults but smaller and lighter. The nymphs take some months to mature. Cockroaches will feed on almost anything including faecal matter. Germs can be spread from the body of a cockroach or from their droppings. Tips for spotting cockroaches Cockroaches are quite large for an insect so you are more liable to see them compared to other types of insects, particularly if you switch the light on at night you may see them scurrying for cover. Dead cockroaches and discarded egg cases will be evident in areas that are difficult to clean such are behind and underneath equipment. A favourite place to seek harbourage is around refrigerator and freezer motors and/or compressors, as they are dark and not readily accessible. Cockroaches leave small dark brown/black marks on surfaces near their harbourage or where they are feeding. Cockroaches can carry dysentry, gastro-enteritis, typhoid and food poisoning organisms. Contamination occurs when the cockroaches come into contact with food. Bed bugs Even in the cleanest of properties bed bugs can survive. They are frequently brought back from overseas holidays, wrapped up in suitcases. They usually feed at night when people are asleep. During the day they hide in crevices in walls, headboards, behind wallpaper and pictures, where parts of a bed are joined

5 together around slats, around the tufts of mattresses and in the bed clothes. They are brown and ovoid in shape. When full of blood the body becomes swollen and changes to dark red in colour. Carpet beetles Infestations of carpet beetles can originate from birds nests attached to the outside of houses. The larvae subsist on the nest lining and then manage to crawl into the loft of a house under the eaves. From here they can crawl into the house itself, frequently using the hot water system, as they seem to prefer warm conditions. Airing cupboards are a favourite place for an infestation. Tips for avoiding carpet beetles To help prevent beetle infestation remove birds' nests from your house. Some carpet beetles seem to be becoming resistant to modern insecticides and can be difficult to eradicate. Psocids (booklice) Psocids (or booklice) are common, harmless household pests that live in dry, powdery type foods. They do not like the light and prefer to live in dark, humid places such as the folds of packaging inside kitchen cupboards. In ideal conditions they can rapidly increase in number. They feed on microscopic moulds and mildews which can flourish there. Smaller than a pinhead, they live for about 6 months. Psocids are small, 1 to 2 mm, light or dark brown insects which frequently cause complaints in food establishments. They commonly infest flour, grain, chocolate, nuts and meat products and are normally brought into food premises with packaging materials. Since they will feed on moulds and yeasts, good ventilation and dry conditions are necessary to control them and residual insecticides may be applied. Tips for avoiding psocids To avoid psocids keep your dry foodstuffs in a cool, dry, well ventilated place. Clean out cupboards regularly and make sure everything is completely dry before you put anything back. Keep the kitchen well ventilated, especially when cooking, using appliances or even just boiling the kettle. If condensation forms on windows or other surfaces you are encouraging mould growth on which these pests thrive. To get rid of psocids throw away any foodstuffs and packaging affected. Treat the affected area with a good household insecticide, cleaning out the whole area and dry well. Foodstuffs in packets can be stored in jars, tins or other airtight containers. Inspect your food cupboards regularly and try to avoid condensation forming in the kitchen. Always store dry foods in a cool dry place. Silverfish Silverfish are nocturnal, silver coloured, insects around 10mm long with 2 long antennae on the head. They are frequently found in food premises and although of little health risk should be controlled through good housekeeping. Residual insecticides may be used. Foxes The red fox is common in most rural and urban areas. It consumes a wide range of foodstuffs including small mammals, birds, carrion and fresh fruit. They are mostly nocturnal animals, but for much of the year they live above ground using piles of materials or the spaces below garden sheds and other buildings for cover. They build underground dens in the early spring for breeding purposes and cubs remain with the female until they disperse in the autumn. The presence of droppings or urine in gardens can be worrying but health risks to humans are minimal. Pets and small mammals, such a rabbits, and poultry are at risk, but there is lack of evidence that foxes attack cats. Tips for avoiding foxes To deter foxes keep vulnerable pets, etc in secure housing. Preventing access to dustbins or refuse bags will help reduce attraction to the area. Bats (protected species)

6 Bats are a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act It is illegal to kill, injure, capture, or disturb them. It is also illegal to obstruct access to, damage or destroy bat roosts. A roost is any structure or place used by bats for shelter or protection. Bats do not make nests nor cause structural damage. They sometimes hang free but prefer to creep into cracks and crevices. Bats are most often found in houses between May and August when they gather in maternity roosts. Mother bats have one baby a year and move away when the young can fly and feed themselves. They have usually left the roost by September. Their droppings make excellent fertilizer. How pest control affects bats The control of other pests such as wasps, flies and rats may unintentionally affect bats or their roosts, so care should be taken when controlling pests in an area where bats are, or known to have been, present. For more information contact The Bat Conservation Trust Squirrels The grey squirrel has long been recognised as a pest in woodland areas, but now sometimes becomes a problem in homes. It can cause serious damage by gnawing cables, structure and other materials such as insulation and can create a lot of noise in lofts and roof spaces. Tips for avoiding squrirrels Careful planning and timing is required to get rid of squirrels, so it is better to avoid attracting them in the first place. Avoid putting out food for birds in your garden and cover any holes which could give them entry into your loft. Japanese Knotweed Japanese knotweed was introduced into the UK in the nineteenth century as an ornamental plant. It is now a problem throughout Europe because it grows much larger - up to 3 metres high - and more vigorously - underground roots can extend up to 7 metres - here because the pests and diseases that control it in Japan are not present. Red/purple shoots appear in spring and grow rapidly. The canes are hollow and are patterned with purple speckles. Leaves are bright green and grow in a zig-zag pattern up the cane. The plant dies off in the autumn/winter but the canes remain standing and can take up to 3 years to decompose. Early treatment to eradicate new infestations is recommended. Knotweed canes can be disposed of in your own garden by composting, once the stems have dried and are dark brown in colour, or by carefully burning to make sure the whole plant is destroyed. New plants can grow from the nodes of pieces of stem left in the soil. Tips for removing Japanese Knotweed To eradicate knotweed use a herbicide containing glyphosate. The plant carries the herbicide down to the roots and destroys the rhizomes as well. Late summer and autumn appears to be the best time to do this. Always follow the instructions provided on the label. Wear suitable protective clothing and dispose of the packing appropriately. It can take up to 3 years of treatment before the plant is eradicated completely. Responsibility for control of knotweed usually rests with the landowner or tenant of the land. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 / Wildlife - Northern Ireland - Order 1985 it is an offence "to plant or otherwise encourage" the growth of Japanese Knotweed. This could include cutting the plant or roots and disturbing surrounding soil if not correctly managed. Any Japanese Knotweed polluted soil or plant material that you discard, intend to discard or are required to discard is classified as 'controlled waste' and should be accompanied by appropriate Waste Transfer documentation - use link to 'Duty of Care' in the 'See Also' box for more information. Japanese Knotweed should be disposed of in a licensed, lined landfill site. Be sure that you notify your waste haulier that the waste to be removed contains Japanese Knotweed. You should also contact the landfill site several days before any material containing Japanese Knotweed is taken there to allow a suitable area to be prepared for its disposal. Further information is available from the Environment Agency invasive species section.

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