PEST CONTROL GUIDE

Bluebottle

The Bluebottle is a large buzzing fly with shiny, metallic blue body, 6-12mm long.

One Bluebottle can lay up to 600 eggs, which in warm weather will hatch in under 48 hours and produce maggots which can become fully developed in a week. These maggots burrow into meat or carrion as they feed on it, and then pupate, often in loose soil, for about ten days before emerging as adult flies from the brown pupal case.

Bluebottles, like other flies, are often found around refuse tips, rotting animal matter, dirt and dustbins. They commute from filth to food, and carry bacteria on their legs, feet and bodies.

Booklouse

These fast moving, minute, cream-coloured or light brown insects, only 1mm long, occur in small numbers in many premises. There are several species, known collectively as Psocids. All have soft bodies. Very few species have wings. They are not related to the parasitic lice (see Lice).

Sticky, pearl-coloured eggs are cemented to damp surfaces and, instead of a larval stage, the insect matures through four recognisable nymphal stages, taking about a fortnight in total.

The adult booklice are believed to feed on microscopic moulds that grow on the glue of book-bindings or on damp cardboard, damp food (especially cereals) or on the surfaces of plaster, leather or wood inside buildings.

They can occur in huge numbers in new properties where the plaster is still damp. One species of booklouse produces an audible tapping noise by banging its abdomen against paper or wood.

Brown House Moth

The commonest of the so-called clothes moths, with characteristic golden-bronze wings, flecked with black, folded flat along its back. The adult is about 8mm long and prefers to run rather than fly.

The related White Shouldered House Moth has mottled wings with a white head and “shoulders” where the wings join the body. Eggs are attached to fabric on which grubs will feed. The larvae are creamy-white caterpillars with brown heads.

They grow up to 18mm long, feeding on wool, hair, fur, feathers, cork or debris from food such as dried fruit or cereals, and are common scavengers in old birds’ nests, from which they may enter buildings.

The caterpillars spin silken cocoons in which they pupate. The life cycle takes several months to complete. Only the larval stage feeds, as a general scavenger as well as a textile pest.

Brown Rat

The common or Norway rat, also known as the sewer rat. May weigh half a kilogram and measure 23cm long, exclusive of its tail.

Colour varies from brown to black but this species is distinguished from the true Black Rat by its small size, small blunt muzzle and its tail being shorter than its body length.