Rats, mice, squirrels and insects can spread disease and cause damage to both homes and food. These pests can become an even bigger problem in the summer months, but there are a number of ways to deal with them.
Preventing and controlling pests in your home
If you find rats in the communal areas of any of our sites, please inform us so that we can arrange to have them removed. This includes stairwells and hallways in blocks of flats, communal lounges in sheltered homes, loft spaces and outdoor communal areas such as car parks, bin stores and playgrounds.
Rats in your home
If you find rats inside your home, please inform us immediately so that we can advise on the best course of action. If the rats are in your home as a result of a building flaw, then we will be responsible for treating the issue.
Examples of building flaws include:
- Damage to roofing or roof tiles, creating an access point into the building.
- Holes in exterior walls, creating access into the wall cavities.
- Damage to pipework, allowing access into your home via the plumbing.
If there is no building flaw that has contributed to the pest problem, then the pest treatment will be your responsibility. This means that you can select a contractor of your own or we can arrange for our contractor to attend to the issue if you agree to repay the cost of this.
If you have rats in your garden it will be your responsibility to have them removed.
Rats will usually be attracted by a food source or shelter in your garden/outdoor area and may then move into your home. The worst thing you can do is nothing, as pests such as rats will rarely ever leave of their own choice. There are several things you can do to prevent rats and other pests from being attracted to your home:
Most rats and mice love an urban garden with a bird feeder. Roughly 20% of birds feed from commercial bird feeders ends up on the ground and is very attractive to pests such as mice and rats.
The home farmyard
Animals, such as chickens and rabbits, attract rats and mice to your home like a magnet. If you keep either in your garden it won’t be long before they have to share their food with unwelcome lodgers.
Composters, bins and waste
If rats can get access into composters and bins then they will not only be attracted by food but also use the bins to live in, due to the damp, warm environment. Keep your bin lids closed at all times and arrange for a bin to be replaced if it becomes damaged.
When sheds become rotten at the base, or are standing on bare soil, they attract rats and other pests seeking to use the shed as shelter.
Rats drink a lot of water for their size. If you have bushes or a rockery around a pond to provide cover then you may inadvertently be providing a convenient watering hole.
If you see any external holes or believe rats, mice or squirrels are gaining access to your home please call us and let us know. Pests looking for a warm place to sleep can use any external holes to get in and cause havoc.
Rat Bait Boxes
To help us treat rats we sometimes place bait boxes in communal areas. These are often filled with food that rats and vermin are attracted to, such as grains. However, they do sometimes contain rodenticides, which can be poisonous to humans and other animals.
A rat bait box
It is important that these boxes are left alone.
Please keep an eye on your children in communal spaces, and make sure they know not to go near rat bait boxes, for their own safety.
If you think you or a family member may have ingested poison, call 999 immediately.
Ant spray or powder can be bought in most DIY stores and some supermarkets. 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, drains etc.). The ants should carry the insecticide back to their nest.
Bedbugs live in bedding and mattresses and can leave nasty bites. 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.
Bees are not technically classed as pests. Honeybees must not be killed as they’re a protected species by law, but they may be rehomed with a local beekeeper. If you think you have a honeybee swarm, please contact the National Beekeepers Association which provides help and advice, as well as information about your local beekeeping organisation.
Wasps only become a problem if they build nests in the loft or eaves of your home, a cavity wall space, or in your garden. If you have a problem with a nest, please get in touch with us. Don’t go near to or disturb a nest. Bees and wasps can swarm when they feel threatened and may attack when disturbed.
Fleas 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.
Cockroaches can 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. You may need expert help to deal with cockroaches.
Further information on cockroaches and how to deal with them can be found through the British Pest Control Association.
Dust mites live in mattresses and bedding. They can make your symptoms 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.
Tiny holes in your clothing could be a sign that you have an infestation of moths, particularly if found in clothes made of wool and silk. It is the larvae that cause the damage - adult moths do not feed on fabrics. You can buy moth traps and place them in any wardrobes and cupboards where you store your clothes. Washing all your clothes will kill the eggs.
Carpet beetles can damage woollen carpets or rugs in your home. You can buy kits to tackle them from homeware/DIY stores.
Who to contact
If you have pests in your home, or if you are in any doubt about what to do for any pest problem, please contact us to make us aware of the problem, and so that we can provide advice on what to do.
Red Kite helps tenants with pest control if they live in one of the following locations and the pest is a communal issue:
- Sheltered schemes
- Blocks of flats
- Communal areas such as play areas, car parks etc.
To report a pest control issue if you live in one of the locations listed and the problem is in a communal area, email email@example.com or call 01494 476100 with the following information:
- The precise location of the pest (address, postcode, inside/outside, whereabouts)
- The type of pest
- Your contact details
- Any additional information you think may be helpful to us.
For pest control in our general needs homes, please contact Buckinghamshire Council who provide treatment for rats for free, and charge for other pest control. To book this service, visit www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk or call 01494 421734.