How a second Covid lockdown effects pests in Bracknell
Posted on 10th November 2020 at 07:18
Pest control in Bracknell through the Covid-19 lockdown
Yet another national Covid-19 lockdown is underway to try and curb the spread of the virus, we had a new sanitised version of normal life for just a couple of months where we could go out and mix with friends and family in pubs and restaurants, sadly now all in the past.
But what does this constant change to human behaviour mean for those pests that live off our largess? Rats, house mice and the feral pigeon all survive because of us and have adapted to live with us. For these pests, their regular food supply was suddenly cut off back in the first lockdown and they had to change their habits and territories to take advantage of new supplies and opportunities.
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Rats and mice in Bracknell
For more information on rats click the button to visit the Bayer website on the Norway rat
Information on the lifecycle of the house mouse is avaialble from wikipedia
Waste food taken out to restaurant kitchen bins and from offices and commercial buildings stopped overnight in March with the first lockdown and we saw a rapid adjustment by the rats as they moved from the town centres into the surrounding residential areas within days. In Wokingham we had several cases of rats inside kitchens and in lofts which affected properties that were just a stone’s throw from the High Street, and these occurred within a week of lockdown.
Rats, house mice and feral pigeons are scavengers who metaphorically, feed from the kitchen table; in the case of the rodents they find different ways into our homes either from underneath using a faulty drainage system to gnawing their way in straight through the wall from the outside. Once inside they are looking for warmth and food, the usual thing that happens is that they head for the kitchen where they can pick up scraps of food from the floor or they may well get into a cupboard where food is stored and boom!
The Covid lockdown bought out the worst in human nature and for many that was fear combined with the herd mentality, on both lockdowns people hoarded supplies especially toilet paper which has nothing to do with the illness but once this behaviour starts its hard not to go along with the rest of the population because of the fear associated with letting your family down by not providing enough. Even if its toilet rolls!
This reaction to Covid by us has given pests a bonanza of opportunities; we all saw the newspaper reports showing overflowing bins contained out of date meat and vegetables that had be to be thrown away on the first lockdown. A treasure trove for rats and feral pigeons as these pests will eat just about anything that they can, rats are able to eat human and dog faeces so an out of date cauliflower must seem like an banquet to a hungry rat.
Another opportunity which is coming to light now as the weather cools down is the hoarding of food; many people have put aside a little food for a ‘rainy day’ in light of the shortages earlier in the year. Essentially this is prudent behaviour and we are seeing a lot of food items being stored in lofts, sheds and garages all over the area – these are not the ideal places to keep food. For one its largely out of sight and left unchecked, dry pasta, rice and cereals all keep for months so once stored away they are just being left alone, until the rats and mice find them.
We have already been out to properties in Bracknell that have had a rat infestation and found ripped open cereal boxes in the loft; the owners of the house were unaware that they had visitors until the second lockdown when they went up to retrieve some food stuffs only to find rats had beaten them to it.
Rats are natures ultimate opportunist, and many people will not realise that they’ve had a visit from a nosey rat until something happens to make its presence known. We routinely visit domestic properties where the occupant reports hearing sound for a couple of weeks, what we actually find is that they’ve had a long term rat infestation in their loft with the resulting electrical cable damage, deposits of droppings and damage to stored items. The rat or rats in question may not have lived in the loft but they’ve sure visited it, marking their territory as they go and with the introduction to stored food items now, they’ve moved in for good.
Visit our pest page on rats to find out more about these opportunist pests
Pigeon pests in Bracknell
For more information on pigeons click on this link to Pigeonpedia
We normally associate feral pigeons with town centres where they hang about benches and pedestrian areas feeding from wellmeaning people and eating leftover takeaway foods, with the lockdown and the town centres becoming virtual ghost towns these enterprising birds have left their town centre roosts and moved out into the housing estates.
The growth of domestic rooftop solar panels gives feral pigeons an ideal roost; underneath the panels it is dry, safe and warm – most of the solar panel systems will be on the south facing section of the roof which is the warmest part. All day sunlight strikes the panels and the surrounding tiles heating up the area which retains some degree of warmth long into the night.
Pigeons will build their nest on the panel support bars that sit in rows, here they are protected from predators and the weather – what better place to bring up young pigeons?
Along with the noise of the birds and the stink from the build up of guano on the roof, you will have to content with feathers, nest debris, eggs and even dead birds.
Whether its rats, house mice or feral pigeons a second lockdown is definitely a change to our behavioural patterns, and we will see these pests adapting to follow suit. So, what can you do to stop these pests in their tracks?
To fin out more about our pigeon control in Bracknell, visit our pigeon control section under OUR SERVICES
Autumn pest prevention in Bracknell
For commercial customers check out our rodent monitoring guide
The first thing anyone can do at this time of year is to take stock of the autumn environment; those fallen leaves clogging drains and building up down the side of the house? Sweep them up and get rid of them, rats and mice will easily gnaw through a plastic air brick and these are usually fitted just above ground level within easy reach of these rodents. Clearing debris away means that you’ve removed the cover that these rodents always seek and you can see for yourself if there is either accidental damage to the plastic or in fact, they have been gnawed at already.
Again, another autumn project is to check the shed, dry and relatively warm inside sheds make another ideal place to find rats and mice hunkering down for the cold weather. Usually this is not too much of a problem, but we are seeing people storing food supplies in sheds this year and so a potential food source bringing rats closer to our homes.
We have mentioned the fact that rats and mice are opportunists, and they will use overhanging vegetation and climbing plants like ivy and wisteria to gain access to roofs. Most roofs are built with the purpose of keeping rain out of the interior, when you think that a mouse can squeeze through a gap the thickness of your little finger and a full grown fat can get through a space the size of your thumb, climbing plants provide an ideal route into the interior of your loft.
Stored food items even if its dog food needs to be kept in a secure container when placed in remote places like garages and sheds; that plastic air tight box might be great for keeping feed dry and fresh but it offers little resistance against a rats jaws. Rats and squirrels are both equipped with teeth that are harder than cast iron and as the teeth grow out from the root, they can wear the edge down and it will continue to grow.
I have seen rats gnaw their way through a red house brick in a drain before, it may take time but these animals will persevere and gain access eventually. A few hours spent in the garden, the garage and the shed could save you from a rodent infestation, the associated costs and the hassle of having vermin in your home.
What to do if you have a mouse or rat problem in Bracknell
If you discover that you have a rat, mouse or squirrel problem in Bracknell, don’t put off calling out a professional pest control company. Ideally you want to use one that will investigate the cause of the problem and offer a service where they can seal up the entrance point. Many will just want to put down rodenticide and do that over three or even just two visits – this approach won’t keep you pest free for long. If you have vermin inside your property, the most important question is “How are they getting in?”
Here at Bracknell Pest Control our approach is exactly that, we investigate and carryout drain surveys to determine the entrance. If we can seal it up then we will, if the fault is within the drains and out of reach we can direct you to reputable experts in the drainage repair field. We use humane breakback traps to physically remove the dead animals and we won’t use poison, often leaving their rotting carcases within the building.
We do pest control!
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