PEST CONTROL GUIDE - f

Foxes

Many people are concerned about foxes affected by mange. A scruffy looking fox is not necessarily an ill fox. When moulting in spring, foxes look quite rough but this does not mean they are mangy.

They are typically found in woodland and open country, but their presence in urban areas is increasing. Red foxes are opportunist feeders and eat insects, earthworms, fruit, berries, wild birds, small mammals and scraps left by humans.

Red foxes are primarily active at dusk and night. They are solitary, but they very occasionally group together in a pack. Foxes forage alone in different parts of their territory, which may extend from 25 to 5,000 acres, depending on the habitat.

Faeces and urine mark territories. Reproduction Vixens come into heat once a year for one to six days. They give birth to four to seven cubs in a den (also called an earth), after a gestation period of 51-53 days. The cubs are weaned after seven to nine weeks, and become sexually mature after a year. The number of cubs and the time of year in which the vixen gives birth depends on food availability.

Fruit Flies

A family of very small (about 3mm) flies, some with prominent red eyes, characterised by a slow hovering flight in which the abdomen hangs down. All are associated with rotting fruit and vegetables or fermenting liquids. One species breeds in sour milk, for example, in the residue of forgotten milk bottles.

Fungus Beetles

A general term for various very small (3mm) beetles that feed on moulds in ill-ventilated, damp buildings.

Fur Beetles

An oval black beetle 4-6mm long with a white spot on each wing case. Grubs are about 6mm long, with a tuft of golden hairs on the end of their bodies. They can often be detected by their cast-off skins as they moult. Grubs feed on fur, hair, skins, feathers and wool and may damage upholstery.

Furniture Beetle

A small brown beetle, 2.5-5mm long, that is the adult form of woodworm. Emerges from infested wood between May and September, especially in June and July, leaving round exit holes 1-2mm in diameter.

Furniture Mite

A tiny speck of “living dust”. If the dust gets up and walks away from you, it is Furniture Mites. About 0.5mm long, with eight tiny legs, they infest certain types of upholstered furniture – especially vegetable fibres in damp conditions. May cause an allergic reaction in sensitive people.