Also known as “thunder-flies”, very small (1.5mm) insects, black with narrow hairy wings. They feed on plant sap and on humid summer days they may occur in huge numbers on window sills and getting into clothing and hair.
An agricultural pest, they are only a nuisance in domestic premises. They have been known to trigger fire alarms by collecting in large numbers inside smoke detectors.
Closely related to the mites, but much larger and reliant on vertebrate blood. They are occasionally brought into the house on domestic animals and can be picked up by humans after walking through long grass in an infested area.
Ticks are implicated in the transmission of Lyme disease and medical advice should be sought if a rash appears at the site of a bite. Remove them with a twist to avoid leaving the mouthparts in the skin.
Small, blunt-nosed rodents which occasionally enter buildings, but which normally live in outdoor burrows. Not regarded as a household pest, the water vole is a protected species.
Large, conspicuous buzzing insects with yellow and black striped, wasp-waisted bodies, 10-15mm long. They have a sweet tooth at one end and a painful sting at the other.
The queen wasp is larger (20mm) and she hibernates over winter, making a nest in the spring in which to lay her eggs. She feeds the grubs on insects until they develop into worker wasps, three to four weeks later. Workers, all sterile females, forage for over a mile in search of food. One nest may produce 30,000 wasps in a year.
At their peak in August and September with the youngsters reared, the workers turn to the sweet food they prefer and become a nuisance wherever this is available. If annoyed or threatened, wasps will sting and the best remedy – after removing the sting with a clean finger nail – is to apply an anti-histamine. Some people react violently to being stung with several dying each year.