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not cheap – training is costly, good equipment, uniforms, accreditations, insurances, communication systems and quality staff mean you should expect to pay an appropriate amount for your required number of visits. If a company says it can remove a wasp nest for £35, for instance – alarm bells should sound. It is likely that the staff are poorly trained, not paid a fair wage and the company may not be adequately insured.

Things to watch out for As the temperatures drop and your premises start to warm up, there is a danger that pests will start to try and invade. Naturally, most creatures will seek warmth and take advantage of any available heating source. Rats and mice are particularly good and finding their way into buildings and a mouse can get in through a gap the width of a pencil. The presence of rats around a premises, poses an immediate risk of contracting Leptospirosis. Left unchecked, an infestation will increase in size and extent and, once established, rats will explore their surroundings with enhanced confidence.

Pigeons actually carry more diseases than rats.

Cockroaches may also become more evident as winter approaches and they can easily be brought inside by staff or couriers on cardboard packaging. Pigeons will start to move in closer to buildings for warmth in winter so now is the perfect time to check your bird netting is secure and can cope with the season’s wind and rain.

Birds can easily become tangled and trapped in damaged proofing, which not only causes them distress but can lead to further damage to the netting. Holes in netting will also allow birds to get through and set up home. If birds are trapped, it’s important to retrieve them safely and minimise the stress caused to the animals. If the birds are dead, they require proper disposal by a registered company. Once any trapped pigeons have been removed, it’s important that repairs are carried out quickly and safely by a professional pest control company.

Ideally, when the netting was installed your pest control company should have offered an inspection contract. This means that it is the pest control company’s responsibility to regularly check the netting and make any necessary repairs. It’s worth checking your contractor has adequate insurance, health and safety procedures in place, are licensed waste carriers and are members of the British Pest Control Association as bird work can be very dangerous.

Pest controllers such as Cleankill use a variety of bird proofing techniques including installing nets, sprung wire systems and bird spike repellents to discourage the birds from landing on buildings.

With pigeons now breeding four or five times a year, compared to two or three times 20 years ago, their numbers are increasing dramatically. The problem is exacerbated by people feeding them and attracting them into town squares where they are fouling on pavements and buildings. If a gap in the netting goes unnoticed and a pair of pigeons gets through and into a roof space, in a matter of months there can be hundreds of birds living there and the floor will soon be covered with fouling, up to a foot deep.

Pigeons actually carry more diseases than rats; they nest on their faeces and attract mites. Nearly all pigeons carry bird mites; tiny insects that feed off the bird and makes humans itch and scratch. Pigeon fouling and nest materials also provide a home for many other insects such as clothes moths, carpet beetle and mealworm beetles. Pigeon fouling, when it is dry, is especially hazardous to humans as it creates airborne bacteria affecting anybody that may be susceptible to asthma and other breathing difficulties.

A service Cleankill offers that many other pest control companies don’t is pest awareness training. Giving staff formal pest awareness training is a win-win for facilities managers and it can also help towards CPD (continuous professional development). Contractors such as general cleaning and window cleaning companies should be included in this training as they need to be made aware of the hazards caused by bird droppings, particularly pigeon waste.

What should a pest control contract include? Normal pest control contracts for standard premises will include a minimum of eight inspections a year. Factories producing high-risk food or manufacturing pharmaceuticals will require more frequent visits. The inspections should include all common areas such as: plant rooms; basements; riser cupboards; car parks and landscaped areas - all of the areas where pests could harbour and reproduce undisturbed.

Cleankill has been solving pest problems for commercial and domestic customers since 2005. Using the most up-to-date pest control techniques and technology, the company keeps its customers pest free and makes sure it is at the forefront of the industry when it comes to the use of pesticides and non-toxic pest control methodology. The company has won many awards for being ‘green’ and for outstanding customer service. Top tips to help stop infestations:

• Inspect buildings for any new holes or openings • Arrange pest awareness training for staff • Change to night-time bin emptying • Check and repair any damaged bird netting


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