Moths

Adult moths (the flying ones) do not eat anything at all, the females lay eggs after mating and it is the larvae that hatch from these eggs that do all the eating!  Moth larvae are beige/cream coloured and they look like tiny maggots (case bearing clothes moth) or dark brown and hairy like a caterpillar (common clothes moth).

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“Clothes” and “Carpet” moths are the same thing.  These “textile moth” feed on anything that contains natural fibres – including: wool, hair, fur and feathers – favouring the softest and most natural fibres such as cashmere and merino.

Insecticide

using insecticide is the most common way of controlling these moth, this involves using chemical compounds of various kinds and with different delivery systems, for example: an aerosol spray to kill the flying moths, an insect powder to kill the larvae – both contain the same type of insecticide but are delivered in different ways: one with fine liquid particles and the other on dust particles.

A professional pest controller has access to some more potent and longer lasting versions of these chemical pesticides as well as a few more that are not available to the general public, but the active ingredient, or toxic element is virtually the same.

Treatment of a house or flat using these insecticides relies on the insect, at whichever stage in its life cycle, coming into contact with the toxic element of the compound in a high enough concentration to kill it.  So for a chemical treatment to be most effective the insecticide needs to be sprayed, pumped or blown in and on as much of the property as is practically possible.  If the treatment coincides with a fitted carpet being replaced then access is made possible to the floorboards and under the floor – this will make a treatment more successful, not only because insecticide can be deployed under the floorboards, but it also gives a chance to get rid of all the eggs and moth debris that will be under the carpet.  However, excellent levels of control are still achievable with insecticide without removing a fitted carpet.

 

What’s involved in a Chemical treatment for moth?

  1. First is the most underrated tool in every household when it comes to the control of moth: The vacuum cleaner.
  2. Spraying the carpet or floorboards with a residual insecticide in the case of the removed fitted carpets
  3. Using the insecticide dust where possible
  4. Using a state-of-the-art device to create a very fine aerosol of insecticide (like a fumigation)in all the effected areas of the property
  5. Setting up of moth monitoring traps in every area of the property.

This would be the first part of a moth treatment program using insecticides.  A few weeks of monitoring (checking numbers of moth in the traps) would follow and then further spot treatments in areas where high numbers are still being recorded.  These further treatments would involve some of the elements of the first visit but would be less costly than the first treatment as there should be no need for vacuuming, and they should only be required in specific areas of a property rather than throughout.

Pros and cons of Chemical control

Advantages:

  • Immediate reduction in the numbers of moth and larvae
  • Toxic environment created that will continue to kill moth and larvae that emerge after the initial treatment or have managed to survive it.

Disadvantages:

  • Introduction of a potentially hazardous substances into human environment
  • Efficacy of treatment depends on delivering the insecticide to all areas of a property – which is not always practical (roof voids, under floors and stairs etc )
  • Not considered a safe treatment for clothing so is not a complete solution for moth in wardrobes (although can be part of a treatment).

 

FAQ:

1. Where did the moth come from? The kinds of moths whose larvae feed on textiles (clothes, carpet, fur, hair, feathers) most commonly get into properties through hitchiking on clothes and furniture or rugs that might have been brought in.  They will also travel short distances between properties, especially across the hall or up the stairs in properties that share common hallways and stair wells.  It is also believed that they will find their way through the structure of properties, so under floors, or through lofts and eaves from an infestation in the neighbouring building.  These moths love the dark and unlike larger moth species are not attracted the light, these are not the ones coming through the windows at night and bashing into the light bulbs!

2. We don’t have fitted carpets but still moth, why?  We often find that in a property that has a history of moth infestation in the carpet, even after this main source of food has been removed the moth are still evident.  The reason is that whilst the moth are often mainly feeding on the carpet where their larvae and eggs are visible, they will also be under the floors and skirting living on any detritus that may contain keratin. this could be human or pet hairs, dust (much of which is our skin particles), rodent carcasses, insect carcasses even discarded fabric may be under the floors.

3. Will replacing our wool carpet with synthetic solve a moth problem? Synthetic carpets are completely man made and so have no natural keratin containing fibres in them and are therefore immune to moth.  However, if the previously moth infested rooms are not treated, the moth eggs and even larvae will still be present and may find their way to other sources of food such as clothes.

4. Do we need to vacate the house after an insecticide treatment? The insecticides are dangerous whisst they are being applied, but once dry are deemed safe by the highest standards.  The sprays that are applied to the floorboards or carpets are in a water based formulation so usually within an hour of the trreatment rooms are safe for people and pets.  The fumigation type treatment requires rooms to be left vacant for at least 1 hour after the treatment.

5. Is it safe for children and pets? Yes, all of the products are rigourously tested and have clear instructions as to how and where they can be used.  no bedding, clothes or childrens’ toys will ever be directly sprayed with inseciticide.

6. Can I do it myself? There are myriad procts available form hardware stores and online that are for moth control, and most of them do have a place in the overall strategy for getting rid of an infestation, unfortunately they often give an exaggerated impression of how effective they will be and how easily control will be established.  The reality is that most of what you can buy as a non-professional is based on what the professional will use (although isecticides are lower strength), but without sufficient instruction on how to use it.  Added to this is the fact that most people really only attempt to do something about the moth problem when it has already got quite bad, which of course makes it even harder.

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Mice

Despite being very cute to some the House mouse (mus domesticus) carries nearly as many diseases as the Brown rat.  They are territorial and mark their territory like other mammals, with urine, which if it happens to be in your cupboards or on the kitchen surfaces is very unpleasant. 

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Like all rodents they are pathological gnawers and are said to be the cause of many house fires causing short circuits by eating through wires – even if they don’t cause a fire they will leave you with an electrician’s bill to repair the damage.

Our treatment: 3 visits over 28 days

Our treatment program comprises the 3 visits and includes interior proofing (blocking up small holes and cracks). In our experience this is almost always enough to get rid of a mouse problem in a domestic dwelling.  However in a small percentage of cases more than 3 visits are required,  these subsequent visits would be charged at a lower rate.  Any carpentry or exterior work such as covering ventilation bricks or grills with mouse-proof mesh, or blocking up holes with concrete will be charged per hour + materials.

Frequently asked questions:

Why do I have mice? House mice are adventurous and territorial and in attached properties will easily find ways into neighbouring properties, usually under the floors or through the attics/eaves spaces.  Once in they can usually then find small holes to get into our living spaces, if they find food there then their numbers can increase very quickly.  Often it is an unnoticed box of cereal or rice in the back of a cupboard or cellar that they might be raiding for some time before it is discovered and all we see is more mice sneaking about.  So even clean homes get mice, but it doesn’t take much to feed them, even the crumbs left by young children for instance can be enough to see an increase in the numbers…

Wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) are generally a garden dwelling species but will take up residence indoors, sometimes brought in by a cat or wandering in through an open door or window – they are less dangerous in terms of diseases but bigger than house mice and capable of considerable damage by gnawing – these mice can be caught live and released.

I don’t like the idea of poison, can you use traps? Unfortunately mice are surprisingly intelligent and whilst you will catch some members of the population with traps, rarely will you catch them all… The poison generally used in rodent control is slow acting and so even the smart mice do not recognise it as a threat and will keep eating it until they are all gone.

How long does the poison take to act? Within a few days of eating it most mice succumb, but the unknown factor is that it has been recorded to take some mice as long a two weeks to start taking the bait(poison).

Is it dangerous for my children and pets? Rodenticides are dangerous to all mammals.  However safe use of rodenticides is top of our list of priorities, and it rarely interferes with the efficient eradication of the mice.

Where do the mice die and will it smell!? Mice are often nesting under the the floor, perhaps below the kitchen or the under stairs cupboard, and they will usually return and die there as they succumb to the poison.  It does not take many days for a mouse carcass to decompose and dry out so smells do not last long and are only detectable in a small number of cases.  If you are unlucky enough to be one of those cases, it is more often than not a very localised smell, maybe when you open a particular cupboard for example and Proton can help with the odour control after the treatment.

Will the mice come back? Of course in attached properties it is possible that mice can return, but in our experience the odds are not increased just because you had the problem once –  for instance if you hadn’t had mice for the 5 years before this problem (and you get rid of them) then there is no particular reason to expect them for another 5 years – there are of course exceptions to this and sometimes it can be a good idea to talk to neighbours and see if they are suffering from a rodent infestation.  Loca ground works for building developments, especially basement digging, can disturb rodent nests and territories and cause movement to neighbouring properties.

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Rats

Rats are a pest that very few of us are able to tolerate living in or near our environment. Like mice, they do an enormous amount of damage to property and stored food as well as carrying a number of diseases potentially fatal to man.

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Treatment: 2-3 visits, over 14 days (approx).

Tell tale signs of rats are: their droppings which are black and oval, sometimes tapered at the ends and up to 1cm long;  also look for gnawed wood, plastic and rubber.

Eradicating rats is as much about removing their access and food source as it is about poisoning or trapping them. After a survey of the probelm we will advise on a course of action and treatments to eradicate rats from your environment, and wherever possible stop them coming back!

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Bed Bugs

The control of bed bugs is best done using a combination of heat and insecticide, followed up with careful monitoring and if needs be repeat treatments. From our experience the use of heat in control of bed bugs is essential because not only will heat destroy the bedbug eggs which are the most normal cause of re-occurrence of the problem. But also, when insecticide alone is used the bedbugs eggs will survive and it can take up to 80 days for the bedbugs eggs to hatch in that time the efficacy of the insecticide would have worn off and new bedbug nymphs will emerge and start and restart the infestation.

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Can I do this myself? 

There are many do-it-yourself options available for bedbug control. This can give the impression that it is something that you not only can but should be able to control yourself. From our experience, this is not the case and often where people have attempted to use insecticide and other treatments themselves, they fail to get full control of the infestation and in fact cause it to disperse more widely through their property.

Obviously a thorough bedbug treatment is time-consuming and therefore relatively costly.

Bedbugs normally arrive in domestic and commercial bedrooms by hitch-hiking on another person or in their luggage.

In the early stages of a bed bug infestation the nest will be confined to the bed or sitting area into which they were first introduced or where there is most regularly a person (or pet) sleeping.

If an infestation is reported at an early stage it is usually much easier to gain complete control. If an infestation is more established, the bedbugs may have spread to different areas of the room: often they are found behind pictures, in curtains, in curtain rails, cracks in the ceiling and so on. And if left unchecked, the infestation will also spread to different rooms in the building.

The First Visit

On the first visit for treatment, the pest control operative will attempt to establish where the main point of infestation is in the room and immediately carry out a heat-treatment. This will involve the complete dismantling of the bed where possible in order to be able to access all the joint and cavities where the bed bugs can nest.

 

The next stage is to apply the residual insecticide to the previously heat-treated areas. And insect desiccant into the cracks and crevices. Finally the room will be fumigated to draw out any remaining bedbugs into the insecticide has just been deployed.

Do I need more than one visit?

When using only insecticide there will be a very high chance that you will require multiple visits to gain control of an infestation. Insecticide does not kill bedbugs instantly. Nor does it kill the eggs – so newly born nymphs may appear after the first insecticide treatment. In addition to this, some strains of bedbugs have developed genetic immunity to certain insecticides. And it is not possible to know this until the place has been treated and bedbugs have survived. For these reasons, a minimum of a second visit will be essential.

Do I have bedbugs because my room is dirty?

There is no connection at all between hygiene and the presence of bed bugs. They simply require warm-blooded animals to feed on.

 

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Cockroaches

There are 2 main species of cockroach that have made themselves at home in the UK: the Oriental cockroach and the German cockroach (not actually from Germany). The adult Oriental cockroach is brown and 15-20mm long, and the adult German cockroach is dark brown and 10mm long.

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Treating an infestation of German cockroaches is relatively straightforward once we find where they are hiding! They tend not to stray far from their nest sites and can usually be eradicated along with their eggs. After an initial survey and treatment at least one follow up visit is recommended and depending on the scale of the infestation, that may be enough.

With an infestation of Oriental cockroaches the treatment is often slightly more complicated. This species travel further from their nest sites so can be harder to track down, they also have an annoying habit of leaving eggs concealed which can then hatch after a few months and give rise to a second infestation. So if the initial survey detects Oriental cockroaches the initial treatment must be followed up with monitoring program for a few months after to ensure they are completely eradicated.

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Ants

Ants in a domestic situation don’t pose a health risk but they are a real nuisance when they invade our homes. The ant that we are most familiar is the Garden, or Black Ant and whilst this normally requires one treatment to eradicate, it may take a day or two for all the stragglers to disappear but should be effective for several weeks.

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Other pest ants that cause a problem in the UK are the Pharoah’s Ant and the Ghost Ant. These are tiny tropical ants that thrive in heated buildings and can pose a serious health risk if left unchecked.

DIY TIP: ants will only make a habit of visiting your home if they are finding something to eat – keeping surfaces clear of uncovered food and sugary deposits will make your home less welcoming to these pests.

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Mosquitos

The control of mosquitos is not a high priority in Britain thanks to our climate, but there are times in the year when it can be desirable. There are sophisticated systems available that trap mosquitos, whilst expensive, these are the only solution to reducing their numbers outdoors.

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Proton makes this equipment an affordable method of mosquito control ideal for an event or short period of time – we will hire and install the systems for you.

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Wasps

Wasps are a familiar part of a British summer and to most are a no more than a nuisance but to some represent a serious health risk. A wasp nest in your house or place of work is another matter and must be removed.

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Removing a wasp nest is usually a very straightforward procedure for our operatives and will only require one visit.

We can also help you with nuisance wasps around an eating or drinking area with wasp traps.

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Birds

All birds are protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act but some can be controlled when there is a good reason to do so.

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There are a number of birds that can become a pest in different circumstances. Often it is the fouling of birds that is a serious problem as it is very unsightly and in high concentrations very toxic to humans. Birds’ nests are also a breeding ground for beetles and moths whose larvae can make their way into our environment and then do to damage textiles and clothes.

Sometimes the noise of birds becomes so serious a problem that it justifies control – this usually applies to Seagulls.

In some cases birds can become a problem because of their scavenging and territorial behavior.

The best method of controlling birds in our environment is to prevent them being able to settle and nest where they will become a nuisance. At Proton we offer various solutions to help you do this from the familiar spikes and netting to the latest discreet electric shock systems.

It is sometimes necessary to remove individual birds by trapping or shooting, at Proton we offer a discreet service for these situations.

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Foxes

Foxes in the urban environment are an increasing problem with no proven solution.  Foxes cause damage to property, carry fleas, injure and kill pets and on occasion cause injury to children.  If foxes in your garden are becoming a problem and deterrents do not work then they can legally be removed.

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At Proton we offer a discreet and efficient service for the removal of urban foxes, please call us for details.

Read an article form The Saturday Telegraph featuring Proton here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/10991110/My-foxes-are-shot-and-so-is-my-conscience.html

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Squirrels

Squirrels can be a very pleasant addition to a garden scene, but can also be a very destructive pest. Being rodents they gnaw continuously and this can cause significant damage to property. Squirrels are inquisitive and intelligent, they will explore roofs of properties and often nest in roof spaces. This can become a serious problem.

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To remove squirrels from a roof space should only take a couple of visits from a Proton technician, and it will then be essential to block up the access that the animals have been using.

Controlling squirrels in woodland or gardens can also be undertaken by Proton – contact us to discuss your needs.

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Rabbits

In small numbers rabbits are generally tolerated as part of the landscape in Britain, but a large population of them can cause huge financial loss to commercial interests.

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At Proton we offer a rabbit control service. In some cases rabbit proof fencing can be a very effective method of control. Sometimes it is necessary to remove the rabbits which is done discreetly, usually at night. After a FREE evaluation of any situation we will develop a strategy and pricing structure to suit your needs.

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Moles

Moles are a nuisance in gardens and an expensive problem for commercial interests.

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Controlling moles is an ongoing problem for areas that are effected by them because there is no way practical way to prevent them from taking up residence on your land. At Proton we favour trapping over gassing for the control of moles, partly because when a mole is trapped you know you have got it, also because the gas used to kill moles is also potentially fatal to humans.

Moles are very intelligent and can be challenging to catch but at Proton we think we’re smarter so we will agree a price before undertaking to catch your moles, regardless of how long it takes us!

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Flies

Flies are of course a nuisance but also a very serious health risk, especially in a food preparation areas.

Fitting an Electric Fly Killer (EFK) is an essential in any food preparation area, at Proton we supply and fit EFKs or test your current system.

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TIP: Bulbs that emit UV light may still appear to be working because they are “on” but may not actually be producing light at a frequency that attracts flies. They need to be tested every 6 months and replaced at least every 12.

Fly screening windows is another very useful method of keeping flies out.

Fruit flies

These are the tiny slow moving black flies that thrive on overripe fruit, fruit juice, most things sweet and some species even like milk.

The best way of controlling these is good housekeeping, but where they have become a problem numbers can be reduced quickly and traps set to keep the population under control. 

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Beetles

There are many types of beetles that are a serious problem in commercial and domestic situations. It is essential to correctly identify the particular species that is causing the damage.

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At Proton we have links to experts at the British Pest Control Association and other professional organizations to assist us in correctly identifying insects and developing the appropriate strategy for eradication.

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