Tag Archives: pest

Badger culling – Part four

11 Mar

This old chestnut has raised its head again. The Labour Party applied through the Freedom of Information Act to obtain advice that was given to the government by the group Natural England.

Natural England says that badger culling in the form that it’s going to take in the two pilots, could make the situation worse.

Previously, culling was done in a scientific manner -RBCT-Randomized Badger Culling Trial.  Large numbers of badgers were culled virtually simultaneously and this was sustained over a four-year period.  The way that the culling will be done in the new pilots may only disturb the badgers so that they move into other areas thus spreading disease and more cattle will be affected with TB.

Natural England concludes that even if the cull areas are expanded, it is unlikely that the existence of badgers will be in danger, but, they may eventually disappear from some areas.



Thank you to BBC.co.uk

Mr Fox and his not so friendly diseases

8 Aug

Hello again!

I thought I would continue the theme of talking about a different animal each week and about the current issues, particularly health issues, that are emerging.  I hope you are not eating your breakfast or lunch whilst reading this as some of what I am about to say is not very pretty.

‘Today’s Technician’ magazine published by the National Pest Technicians Association published a very interesting report last month about the diseases that foxes carry that may have lethal consequences for working dogs and in extreme cases, humans too.  Because of the explosion across Europe of the red fox population, a disease carried by foxes that is capable of killing hundreds of people a year may be brought to Britain.  Why?  It’s a direct result of the EU lifting restrictions on animal movements.

I really don’t want to sound like a scaremonger but at conference recently, Vic Simpson of the Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Centre in Truro outlined the threat posed by Alveolar echinococcosis (AE).  It’s caused by infection with a small tapeworm found in foxes and dogs.  They slowly multiply, typically growing for 10 – 15 years before diagnosis.  By this time, the liver is so badly and extensively damaged that more than 90% of patients die.  I must stress at this point, that this is very very rare in humans, but it can be transmitted to humans through water contamination and food ingestion OR by handling dogs or foxes that have picked up eggs in their fur.

The current situation in the UK is that so far, no disease has been reported and any dogs taken to Europe must be treated with a wormer 48 hours prior to their return.  The EU is pressing the UK from imposing any controls on animal movement and worming requirement Derogation expires in December 2011 which means, anyone coming into the UK from the EU can bring their dog, cat, etc…into the country untreated.

As with any parasite, once it is here, it is here forever.  Clearly, we will not be seeing any cases for at least 15 years but the question is, should we have a fox disease surveillance programme in place now in readiness, particularly with the rapid expansion of the fox population.  This is a question that only the government perhaps can answer.



With thanks to Today’s Technician (July addition) and Vic Simpson of the Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Centre in Truro.

Rats, pests and the Galapagos Islands

6 Jul

I recently read a very interesting article by Bell Laboratories in The Bell Report about rats at the Galapagos Islands.  Bell Laboratories were recently awarded the Wisconsin Business Friend of the Environment award for developing a bait used to eradicate invasive rats on the Galapagos Islands.

So many people assume that pest control is all about rat and mole catching and miss that pest control very much supports wildlife and the environment.

The Galapagos project was run by the Galapagos National Park Service with assistance from California-based Island Conservation, the Charles Darwin Foundation, the Raptor Center of the University of Minnesota and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.  Bell Laboraties developed a bait that would withstand the rigors of aerial application yet breaks down into inert components reasonably quickly.  A helicopter was equipped with a bait spreader basket that broadcast ten tons of a pelleted bait on several small islands and islets in the archipelago.  This was the first large-scale rat eradication project ever conducted on oceanic islands in South America and over the next 20 to 25 years, the project aims to eliminate invasive Norway rats, roof rats and house mice from this most delicate of ecosystems.

So, if you think that pest control is all about a man with his trouser bottoms tied up with string carrying a ferret, then maybe it’s time to think again!

How my little girl melted my heart…

24 Jun

Hello again

This week I’m sharing a really personal experience that happened just last weekend.  We have two young children and we are always showing them how things grow and why they grow – currently we have a fabulous crop of potatoes which are perfect just steamed and served with a little butter and sea salt.

Out of the blue, my 7-year old daughter asked if she could sell some at the gate, so she set up a table, wrote a sign, bagged up the potatoes and priced them at 50p a bag and then sat on a little stool in front of the house just waiting for passers-by.  There she remained for an hour and a half and sold 8 bags.  Initially, my little entrepreneur wanted to keep the money herself but she changed her mind.  She has heard me speak many times about Wymondham Star Throwers, a cancer support charity, that I actively fund-raise for continually and decided that she wanted to give the money to the charity instead.  I had to hold back my tears.  My young daughter is not only a budding entrepreneur, but she already understands the meaning of charity too….she melted my heart.


Charity support – my passion!

18 Jun

Hello again

This week I thought I would share my passion for charity fundraising with you.  I would imagine that generally pest controllers would not be associated with charity fundraising as pest controllers in general don’t have a particular ‘fluffy’ and perhaps caring image so I thought I would dispel a few myths!

The charity that I actively raise funds for is Wymondham Star Throwers.  It  is a not-for-profit, registered charity run entirely by passionate volunteers, dedicated to supporting and advising people in East Anglia who are affected by cancer, or are at particular risk of developing cancer.  It was started by Dr Henry Mannings to provide help to cancer sufferers who felt they have nowhere else to go or required advice on further management.

My latest exploit has been a very gentle darts competition and I am so determined to reach my goals, not only in business, but in charity too by a very much more strenuous rowing the channel across and back again, or its equivalent, even if the pain becomes almost too much to stand; such is my passion!

So, maybe the image of pest controllers should be reviewed; we don’t all have our trousers tied with string at the bottom and carry a ferret, neither do we walk about looking like something out of Ghostbusters (well, not all of the time anyway).  We care about our environment passionately (that word again) and pest control is all about protection, nurture and care – just the same as in charity support.

Kitchens at risk by new Argentine invaders!!

10 Jun

AbateDon’t panic Mr Mainwaring!  We are not just about to have a re-run of the Falklands War.  Our kitchens and patios are under attack as we speak by an aggressive little army of no less than Argentine ants.  What on earth is an Argentine ant and is it so different to our common or garden ant that always seem to march around the back door.

These little critters just love the warm weather that we are having and are very happy living indoors, particularly in your kitchen cupboards or under your cooker and they just love our common garden ant…so much so that they will attempt to wipe out our indigenous ants; grrrr.  I’m sorry to say as well that the usual sprays and powders may just make the situation worse if you find these marching through your kitchen and they will need to be treated by pest management – some insecticides may even make the colony even bigger as in the mediterranean coast, where one stretches for almost 4000 miles…yes, I did say, 4000 miles; incredible. 

So as a bit of a warning, if you do have these in your home or garden, please do not use the proprietary sprays and powders as the situation will just be made worse and you could see the trail extending way beyond your garden gate!

The power of social media – even in pest management!

4 Jun

Well what a week it has been and as the title says, mostly due to the power of social media. Last week I blogged, tweeted and pattered about our amazing contract managing the bird control at St George’s Chapel in Gt Yarmouth, a listed building and all the challenges that it presented with dealing with English Heritage, RSPB and architects to name a few.  Following on from that blog, the phones have been ringing of the hook from all areas of the UK including Surrey, Lancashire and Essex.  We have also been contacted by a major regional building company to speak to them about future contracts too; the power of social media!

At first I was generally sceptical about blogs and Twitter as it was something that was out of my comfort zone, but since using it consistently and regularly and engaging with others for a bit of chit-chat, my profile has risen considerably and the added bonus is of course, is that it’s free! 

So taking off my ‘grumpy old man’ head, I am a convert, albeit a fairly recent one and I intend to continue using social media for the foreseeable future to entertain, advise and engage with and meet other people.

Listed buildings and birds

28 May

You may ask what on earth listed buildings have to do with pest management.  Well, quite alot really.  Listed buildings such as churches and chapels have endless issues with birds and then subsequent problems with the fabric of the building.

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as protecting office blocks from pigeons, gulls etc…as there is endless involvement with English Heritage, National Trust, RSPB and architects too – in fact, the system that we use at Abate took ten years before it was approved by the RSPB, but the system can barely be seen which makes it ideal for these gorgeous ancient buildings.

Our latest project is St Georges Chapel in Gt Yarmouth in the historic King Street area; a wonderful chapel that is undergoing a major project for change of use to an arts venue.  I will keep you up-to-date with the progress and post some photos along the way too – it really is an exciting development.

So pest followers, I think that’s enough for now and I will be back again very soon with pest stories and recipes and the more serious stuff too!

Bird Proofing Norwich

Recession rabbit stew anyone?

19 May

Well, after the rather serious blog last week, I thought I would post something that is both informative and useful for all of you who are expertse in the kitchen.  So, rabbit stew anyone?  This doesn’t mean that I run around all day shooting rabbits as that is just not the case, but if any gamekeeper is reading this…

Rabbit stew is tasty and nutritious and extremely economical and once you get over the fact that it is NOT bunnykins you are eating, I promise that you will love it!  So, give it a try – you will fall in love with it and will be looking at lots of different ways to enjoy rabbit.  Here it is…


2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp groundnut oil
1 rabbit, jointed
100g plain flour, seasoned
250g unsmoked bacon, sliced
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 sticks celery, finely sliced
2 tbsp cider vinegar
200ml sweet cider
2 bay leaves
large bunches thyme

Heat the butter and oil in a large casserole. Add the bacon and fry until its fat runs. Roll the rabbit pieces in seasoned flour and add to the casserole to brown on all sides.

Add the onion and celery to the pan fry until the onion is soft. Dust in a little more flour and stir.
Turn up the heat and add the cider vinegar. Allow to bubble up, then add the cider and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook gently for about 1 ¼ hours, until the meat is very tender.

Remove the meat from the pan, and boil the juices until reduced to the consistency you would like.
Take the pan off the heat and add the meat back into the sauce with the bunch of thyme. Let it sit in a warm place for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse before serving.

So there it is….why not try it with a lovely glass of dry white wine; hmmm.

Friday 13th, pest control and environmental health

13 May

Well, I will start with a little information about what I do at work – so this is the serious bit! It’s all about balancing ‘best practice’ with statutary requirements and what the EHO actually thinks!

Generally it is good practice to have pest control at your premises, however, it is frowned upon by the Environmental Health Officers if pest control is not in place.

How much damage to your business and reputation would you have should a pest problem occur or a rat be seen by the general public? You risk being fined by the EHO and prosecution by the general public; up to £20,000 per offence and it does happen on a weekly basis.

So, a pest control package where we place a rodent and insect monitoring programme in place and carry out 8 visits per annum, spread out approximately 6/7 weeks apart is better than ‘best pratice’. Why? For your peace of mind.

The benefits of a pest control package are that you are covered by due diligence. As long as you have acted on the advice given by your local technician regarding housekeeping, proofing and stacking, you have proved you are taking a course of action. The chances of any prosecution is absolutely minimal, minimal risk of any pest being seen by the general public and shows consideration and care for your business. Is it worth taking a risk? Probably not.

We offer a free site survey  where a field surveyor can carry out a detailed inspection of your premises, highlighting any pest activity, proofing and housekeeping issues that might affect levels of pest control.