How Much Does it Cost to Pigeon Proof Solar Panels?

How Much Does It Cost To Pigeon Proof Solar Panels?

Due to the ongoing climate crisis, many households and businesses are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and positively impact the environment.

As well as saving the planet, solar energy can also be seen as a long-term investment to reduce energy bills that are forecast to continue to increase.

One significant downside to solar panels is their attractiveness to birds, particularly pigeons, as a site for nesting. Many birds in towns and cities around the UK have been drawn to solar panels to build their home.

Nesting in solar panels can cause permanent harm to the panels through structural damage. In addition, bird droppings are highly acidic, which can lead to corrosion as well as create a health hazard because of the mess.

Once pigeons have roosted, you can also experience damage to your roof, and your gutters can become clogged. Pigeons can be a nuisance for businesses, putting off customers and causing reputational damage.

This article will examine how you can pigeon-proof your solar panels to avoid the costs and damage caused by pigeon infestation.


To avoid attracting pigeons in the first place, you can take some easy steps to reduce the chance they will choose your panels to nest in.

Tidy up your garden – Remove piles of twigs and leaves that can provide bird nesting material.

Seal your bins – all pests, including birds, will be attracted to food waste if available.

Don’t feed the wildlife – It has become increasingly common for households to leave out food for the birds, hedgehogs and even foxes. Unfortunately, it will not only attract your desired visitors but also encourage pests.

Use low-key deterrents – It is relatively inexpensive to install a small bird deterrent like a bird of prey decoy to keep pigeons away from your home.

Simple preventative measures may not be enough to deter pigeons, so you may need the help of a professional to ensure pigeons do not take up residence under your panels.

How to Deter Pigeons from Nesting in Your Solar Panels

If you want to deter pigeons from your solar panels, you can use a company to install a bird control measure to help prevent pigeons from nesting.

Bird Netting

Netting is one of the most cost-effective and successful ways to pigeon-proof your solar panels.

The steel mesh easily clips to the underside perimeter of your panels, sealing off the area below.

It is low impact and solves the problem without being unsightly or interfering with the operation of your panels.

Bird Spikes

Ant-roosting spikes are another cost-effective deterrent for pigeons. They can be erected on a solar panel site to prevent pigeons from landing.

The spikes are not intended to harm birds. They simply prevent them from roosting and therefore nesting under your panels.

As well as being a cheap option, they also can be left in place for a long time.

Scarecrow Bird Dispersal System

Acoustic technicians and ornithologists have collaborated to produce bird dispersal systems that use startled cries to keep birds away.

You will need to use a registered distributor to install the system. It is a costlier preventative measure, ideal for offices or larger premises.

Bespoke Solutions

Where a potentially more significant problem exists, it is advisable to contact a specialist pest control company that can survey your solar panels and determine the best way to prevent pigeon roosting.

They can suggest measures to suit any budget and scale of problem.

Removal of Pigeons from Solar Panels

Obviously, prevention is a better idea than removal, but if you realise you have pigeons nesting under your solar panels, it is prudent to take action before damage occurs. You will know if pigeons have nested as you will hear them chirping and scratching around on the roof.

It can be inadvisable to remove pigeons yourself as it will involve accessing the panels on your roof. It is safer to contact a company that has experience in pest removal.

A pigeon-proofing service will include the removal of any dead birds and their nests from the solar panels.

Because of the mess caused, all affected areas must be thoroughly cleaned and treated for bird mites. All the residue from droppings will need careful removal to avoid causing damage to the panels.

Finally, preventative measures such as bird spikes or mesh should be fitted to avoid further infestations.

Choose a company that belongs to the British Pest Control Association (BCPA) and uses fully trained operatives who will be up to date with the latest regulations. You want the company to consider animal welfare and the environment when using chemical-based products.

How much will it cost to pigeon-proof your solar panels?

Several factors will determine the cost of removing and preventing pigeons.

Access – The cost will be less if your roof can be accessed safely with a ladder. Larger buildings may require scaffolding which will add to the overall cost.

Number of Panels – The number of solar panels will affect the pigeon-proofing price and will also determine the methods used.

Cost of Repairs – If your pigeon infestation has caused damage to your panels, such as electrical or wiring damage, you will need to factor in solar panel repairs. In addition, you may experience damage to your roof tiles and need to replace some.

The overall cost can range from £300 upwards, although a roof spike alone may be far cheaper. If you want a full service that includes nest removal and installation of reliable preventative measures, you will undoubtedly pay far more.

Preventative measures should be installed professionally to pigeon-proof each panel and ensure your solar panels will be free of pigeons and other pests. A complete service will ensure that pigeons and their nests are removed and the area is thoroughly cleaned, removing all evidence and debris associated with the infestation. You can also expect the surrounding areas to be decontaminated.

Overall, the benefits of pigeon-proofing far outweigh the cost of repairing your valuable solar panels.

If you have solar panels and want to pigeon-proof them, get in touch with us at EWS today. We have over 15 years of experience in pigeon-proofing and protecting solar panels.

What Does A Rat’s Nest Look Like?

What does a rat’s nest look like?

If you suspect you have some unwelcome visitors in your home or business, it is best to establish whether they have moved in. Rats are one of the most unwanted pests because of the damage they do and the diseases they carry.

You will know that you have a rat infestation if you can find a rat’s nest either inside or outside your property. But how can you distinguish a rat’s nest from other animal habitats?

Here, we will examine the features of a rat’s nest that make it stand out and discuss where you are more likely to find one.

How can I recognise a rat’s nest?

In the UK, rats look for places to nest that are warm and safe. Significantly they require easy access to food and water as they don’t like to travel further than 500 feet from their nest.

Unlike other rodents, such as mice, rats require a separate water source to survive.

Rat nests can often be mistaken for a bird’s nest, especially if they are built up in a roof’s eaves. However, the materials the rats use differs from bird nests, which are usually made solely from leaves and twigs.

Rather than just natural materials, rats like any soft things they can find around your premises. This means their nest can also be made of paper, fabric, card or insulation.

They are excellent scavengers and can shred materials with their incredibly sharp teeth. They aim to provide a soft, warm space for their young.

Where might I find a rat’s nest?

Rats can build a nest either inside or outside your property. They may even make a burrow to go in and out freely.

In the UK, you will find two main species of rat.

Black rats nest in lofts and cavity walls thanks to their superior climbing abilities.

Brown rats (also called Norway rats) often choose burrows outside or drainpipes or gaps to enter a building at ground level.

What do rats look for to build a nest?


In winter, rats are drawn inside to look for warmth. They value both heat and dry conditions and will venture inside if outdoor conditions are too cold or wet.


Rats like to hide away to avoid being discovered. They want undergrowth or dark corners to protect their young.


Rats value being close to a food source, so they don’t have to travel too far from their nest. This cautious behaviour is known as neophobic and is one of the reasons that rats can evade capture.

They can eat up to 30g of food every day, and they also need up to 60ml of water a day. Food sources such as storage, waste and natural vegetation are a draw for rats.

Where do rats build their nests?

Indoor Rat’s Nests

Indoor rat nests can be hard to find even if you have identified their presence from droppings or damage to property. They choose quiet areas that are well hidden.


Rats are often drawn into lofts that humans rarely visit, making them a perfect hidey hole. They are usually warm and filled with potential nesting material such as insulation. Storage containers make great hiding places for a rat’s nest.

Cavity Walls

What better way to hide from humans than to build your nest inside a wall. You may only know they are there if you hear them scurrying about at night.

Cavity walls provide the perfect space for rats to roam around the building, and they can gain access to other areas like a kitchen by gnawing through the wall and making a hole.

One problem with this is that they can cause damage to pipes and electrical cables as they chew through them, which can cause a fire.


Warehouses provide the ideal environment for rats to build a nest. Usually spacious and filled with containers, there are plenty of dark corners for rats to hide.

If the warehouse is used to store food, it will be even more likely to draw rats in as they will have easy access to food. Dripping pipes or leaks will also attract rats as they are a potential water source.


Not many houses in the UK have basements, but drain rats love to enter through pipework and build a nest between boxes or crates. Where basements are used in commercial buildings as storage, rats can easily find resources to build a nest.

Outdoor Rat Nests

Outdoor nests are common due to rats being able to forage for food. There are many areas, and buildings outside that will attract rats.


Garages provide some warmth and security while often storing excess food as an overspill from the kitchen. Many garages are connected to the house by an internal door which may have gaps that will provide access for rats.

Sheds or Outbuildings

Sheds provide some warmth and security and are less exposed to humans. There are usually many hiding places amongst the tools and lawnmowers for rats to build a nest.

Beware opened bags of compost that provide a soft, warm nesting place. If you keep pet food in a shed, ensure it is in a secure metal container.

Outbuildings for storage in commercial premises often have food and water sources with many dark corners.


Many gardens are very attractive to rats. There are plenty of spaces for them to hide in and build a nest.

Rats often build under sheds or decking, behind compost heaps or in overgrown areas. Brown rats often dig rat holes and create burrows where they make a nest and store food.

The garden is also an excellent food source for rats. The compost heap, vegetable patch, bird table, berries and rubbish bins make perfect food supplies.

There are also plenty of water sources such as ponds, water features, fountains, bird baths and drips from hosepipes.

If you think you have rats, it is vital to act fast by calling a registered pest controller to avoid damage to your property and the spread of disease. They will assist you in controlling a rat infestation and instigate prevention measures to ensure they do not return.

What Happens If You Disturb A Rat’s Nest?

What happens if you disturb a rat’s nest?

“You are never more than 6 feet away from a rat” may be an urban legend. Still, it is estimated that approximately 3.5 million rats live in the UK, according to environmental and wildlife experts. So, what happens if you disturb a rat’s nest?

It is bad enough if you spot a single rat scurrying along but realising you have an infestation is a significant threat to any home or business. Rats live in large groups with their nests hidden away.

Unfortunately, a rat infestation will increase the risks of spreading diseases, health issues and property damage.

This article explores what to do if you discover and disturb a rat’s nest. It will show why calling out professional pest controllers is sensible to remove the problem and look at ways to prevent future rat infestations.

What to do if you disturb a rat nest?

If you come across a nest, you can be fairly sure that rats will live there. Whether inside your home, garden or business premises, you have a problem.

The problem with a nest is that the population of rats living there will be significant, and there may be more than one nest.

Removing a rat’s nest is not something that can easily be carried out yourself. It will take more than setting a few traps to eliminate the issue. It is far better to call a professional pest control firm for help.

Why is a rat’s nest such a big problem?

What happens if you disturb a rat’s nest? Discovering a rats’ nest is a problem because it signifies that you have rats living there. If the nest is in your home, garden or premises, you will have a rat infestation.

A rat infestation is a serious pest control issue with implications for your health, employee health and public health.

Here are some reasons why a rats’ nest is a major issue.

  • The size of the rat population

The population size will depend on the type of rat. The Brown rat has 5 to 15 rodents per nest. There have been as many as 100 in a single nest in some cases.

Indoor nests are usually restricted to between 5 and 10 rats; however, you may find a colony with multiple nests made up of mature and young rats.

  • Rats Breed quickly

Each female rat can produce up to 40 babies per year. Their short reproductive cycle means they can conceive within 48 hours of giving birth.

A small infestation can grow into a large colony quickly if not adequately dealt with.

  • Rats are loyal to their home

Once rats have established a nest, they will often return even if it has been disturbed. They choose their homes wisely, and once they have taken the trouble to set them up, they will usually stay put.

  • Danger to Health and Property

Rats are destructive and cause lots of damage by chewing and burrowing. They carry many diseases that can affect human health, and they leave faeces and urine in the environment.

How do you recognise a rat’s nest?

A rat’s nest may look like a bird’s nest at first glance. Some will even be found in roofs.

Unlike a bird’s nest, they are not made of twigs and leaves. Instead, they are usually made from soft materials such as paper, card or cloth that the rats have found.

You are also likely to see visible burrows or holes in any overgrowth alongside the nest. You may notice a strong unpleasant smell.

If you are unsure whether the nest belongs to rats, you can hunt for other signs that you have an infestation. Rats like to chew, and you may see electric cables, furniture legs, insulation or food packs that have visible chewed areas.

Rat droppings are quite distinct from mouse droppings as they are noticeable larger, about the size of a raisin.

Pets are often the first to be aware of rats. They may try to get to a nest or scratch around dark areas in the garden at night.

If you suspect you have a rat’s nest, it is worth clearing out any clutter and looking for gaps where they could enter your property. It is vital to seek help from a professional early to prevent the problem from getting bigger.

Where will you find a rat’s nest?

Rats nest both inside and outdoors. They like to be near a food source as they generally only travel between 300-500 feet from their nest.

Rats will build a nest at any time of year. In the summer, they prefer to forage for food outside, but they are drawn inside in winter. They may build a burrow between the inside and outside of a property.

  • Outdoors

The two things rats prefer are shelter and food. They find areas where they will not be easily found or disturbed.

Rats often make their nests near buildings or sheds with plenty of overgrown vegetation to hide them. They often seek out rubbish bins or vegetable patches where they can find a plentiful supply of food.

You may spot holes near a rat’s nest about 2-5 inches deep.

  • Indoors

Indoors, rats may make a nest in a loft or inside cavity walls. Warehouses are another place with plenty of dark corners and containers to hide in.

Rats will often choose to be close to food and water, so near kitchens or staff rooms is a common location.

You may notice holes gnawed out as an entrance in a wall. As they only come out after dark, you may be unaware of their presence until long after they have grown in population.

What should I do if I disturb a rat’s nest?

Rats are aggressive rodents that can bite or attack if provoked. As they carry diseases it is best to leave them alone and seek professional help. If you come across a suspected rat’s nest, it is crucial not to disturb it.

Rats are unlikely to leave the nest without treatment and control provided by a pest controller.

How can I remove a rat’s nest?

You cannot remove a nest until you have eliminated all the rats. Depending on the situation, this can be done by using traps or poison.

Once you are confident that all the rats are gone, you begin to remove the nest. Indoors it is essential to ventilate the room adequately to ensure you are not exposed to pathogens that can cause disease.

First, you must use bleach to clean and sanitise the nest. Protective gear must be worn during this process.

The surrounding areas should also be treated with bleach to remove any bacteria or pathogens that have contaminated the space. The nest can be placed into a thick contractor bag and put in an outdoor bin.

Thoroughly clean the area with disinfectant to ensure it is left thoroughly sanitised. Dispose of protective and cleaning materials in the outdoor bin.

It isn’t easy to eliminate all the rat population and remove the nest safely, especially if it is in an awkward area. Professional pest controllers have training and experience to ensure they do the job correctly.

It is best to put in place prevention measures to ensure you do not get another infestation by clearing clutter, sealing waste bins, and blocking up holes and gaps where rats have entered the property.

At EWS Group, prevention and pest control is our core business. Our trained specialists will take care of your rodent infestation and implement recommendations to ensure your property remains rat free.

Can You Get Cockroaches in the UK?

Can You Get Cockroaches in the UK?

The thought of cockroaches may make your skin crawl, and they are incredibly unwelcome guests, but can you get them in the UK? This article will explain the different cockroach species in the UK and advise you about the dangers and the ways to eliminate them from your home or premises.

Spotting a cockroach scurrying across the floor is a sure warning that you have more. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to get a cockroach infestation under control.

Globally there are 4,600 species of cockroach, with five that are known as pests. The most common cockroaches in the UK are the Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis) and the German Cockroach (Blatella germanica).

Why do we need to control cockroaches in the UK?

To Manage Health Risks

Cockroaches are dangerous pests as they present a health risk to humans. They carry many organisms such as salmonella, staphylococcus and streptococcus that can cause food poisoning.

They are drawn into buildings to forage for food and water, and as they move about, they will expel partially digested food and leave faeces behind. As cockroaches enter via sewers and drains, they will cross-contaminate every item they encounter, including your surfaces, food and utensils.

To Protect your Reputation

A cockroach infestation can instantly damage your business brand and reputation and expose you to expensive legal action.

Businesses in the food and drinks industry are particularly exposed to the danger of cockroach infestations. Customers will almost certainly complain if they were to spot an invader.

With social media reviews vital to success, a negative review can quickly affect a business.

The financial hit can also be very damaging as Environmental Health Officers will issue fines or enforce legal action if infestations are not managed adequately.

What cockroaches can be found in the UK?

Of the 4,600 different cockroach species globally, you will mainly find two in the UK.

The most common cockroaches found here are the Oriental cockroach and the German Cockroach. Less commonly, you may come across the American cockroach or the Brown Banded cockroach.

Whilst the German cockroach is the more common species, we usually think of the Oriental cockroach when we picture one.

Why do cockroaches invade properties?

Cockroaches in the UK prefer to be inside our homes or premises to avoid cold weather. You rarely see them outside.

The German cockroach prefers a higher temperature and humidity, so they are drawn to appliances with warm motors, such as behind your fridge.

Oriental cockroaches prefer to inhabit cooler, damp areas such as drains.

Any area with food could attract cockroaches so you may find them in the boiler rooms of centrally heated buildings. Bathrooms and laundry rooms also attract them.

How can I tell if I have cockroaches in the UK?

Spotting a cockroach is an obvious sign that you have an infestation, but you may not ever see one as they are nocturnal creatures. Instead, it would be best if you looked for signs they have moved in.

  • Faeces
  • Egg cases
  • Skins
  • A foul odour
  • Damage to food packaging

If you come across any of these signs, you should immediately contact a pest management professional.

What does a cockroach look like?

It is essential to be able to distinguish a cockroach from a beetle.

Cockroaches have long antennae with flat, oval-shaped bodies. A German cockroach is a light yellow/brown, while an Oriental cockroach is a shiny black/ brown colour.

The German cockroach is smaller, between 10 and 15mm long, while the Oriental is between 20 and 24mm long.

Young cockroaches (nymphs) are smaller versions of adults. The nymphs shed their skins until they reach adulthood. An adult German cockroach will produce over 30 nymphs at a time while an Oriental cockroach produces 16-18 nymphs.

An image of a UK cockroach

Are cockroaches indestructible?

Cockroaches are primitive animals that even plagued the pre-historic cave dwellers. They have evolved to survive in the harshest of conditions.

  • Cockroaches can withstand radiation doses up to 10 times higher than a human.
  • Cockroaches can survive without a head because they do not use their mouths for breathing.
  • They can squeeze into gaps that are a quarter of their size by flattening their exoskeleton.
  • Cockroaches run at 1.5m per second, hence their eerie scuttle.
  • They will resort to cannibalism without a food source, but they need a water source to survive.

You can see why they are not an easy pest to eliminate.

How can I control cockroaches?

Prevention is always better than cure, so if you suspect you have or are at risk of cockroaches, you should employ a professional pest control company.

While there are some simple measures that you can take to reduce the chance of getting cockroaches in the first place, it is particularly crucial to be proactive if you are a business that stores or prepares food.

  • Clean all surfaces and dispose of food waste securely.
  • Wash up utensils and equipment.
  • Secure your waste and ensure it is disposed of regularly.
  • Clean behind fridges and ovens.
  • Seal any small gaps where cockroaches could enter.
  • Remove water sources by repairing leaks and drips promptly.
  • Clean new equipment to remove any cockroaches that are hitching a ride.

Therefore, do not neglect these measures and ensure that all staff are trained to follow your hygiene and health policies. A slack approach will allow cockroaches to enter and breed, causing your business expenses and damage.

How can I get rid of cockroaches?

If you suspect you have cockroaches, you should take prompt action. As cockroaches are also hardy little survivors with a rapid lifecycle, it is recommended by the BPCA that you employ a professional contractor who will have the skill and training to tackle the job effectively.

They will use a systematic science-backed approach, starting with assessing your problem to find the source of the infestation.

Their certified technicians will choose an appropriate control treatment, including bait, gels or powders, and sprays depending on what they determine will be the most effective route.

A schedule of visits may follow this up to ensure that the problem is controlled long term.

How often should pest control be carried out?

Nobody really likes talking about pest control and yet putting a regular programme in place is the one thing that will prevent your business from having a pest problem. If you are concerned about keeping pests away from your premises (and you should be), you might wonder how often pest control should be carried out.

This article will explain the factors that determine how often pest control should be carried out on your premises.

The honest answer is that it will depend on a few different factors, and they are best assessed by a pest control professional. They can carry out a survey and make recommendations about the frequency of visits required to keep pests away.

So, what kind of thing influences how often you need pest control? A professional will consider the type of pests, season, premises, industry, and current infestation level.

What factors determine how often pest control should happen?

At EWS, our IPM (Integrated Pest Management)service technicians will devise a pest control program based on a site survey and risk assessment. We offer services that could be one-off, annual, quarterly,  monthly, or even weekly depending on the need.

Whilst residential properties are more likely to need a one-off series of visits to contain an infestation, commercial premises should consider investing in a preventative schedule. A schedule could not only eliminate a problem but will put in place effective preventative measures.

The following factors will help us recommend a programme that will be the most successful in controlling and preventing pests on your premises.


Some pests are a problem seasonally, and there is no point in doing a monthly visit for this issue. Instead, we recommend a schedule to prevent their return, such as an annual visit.

Legal Requirements

In the food industry, some regulations dictate the kind of programme required to keep your premises safe for public health.

To show that your business is complying with the law, we will put in a regular programme of visits to inspect your premises and carry out pest control. The auditing body(s) will normally prescribe the number of visits required, and EWS will also carry out a pest risk assessment to recommend a suitable schedule. 

Warehouses are sites that need regular pest control programmes as many potential hazards will encourage rodent infestations. Although food will increase the attraction, any warehouse can be at risk of damaging wires and containers.

Setting up a regular schedule of visits can also save money in the long run and benefit health and safety.

Size and Type of Infestation

An infestation of flies will normally require fewer visits than an infestation of rats or cockroaches.

Flies can be dealt with by removing any potential harbourage sites and installing adequate prevention solutions to reduce the likelihood of a future problem. The products should have an annual maintenance check to ensure they continue to be effective.

Even a small rat problem can grow into a large one if left uncontrolled. Rats’ ability to reproduce every three weeks means a population can multiply very quickly.

Once an assessment has been made, there will need to be bait set, and these will need a regular visit to maintain. Measures should be taken to prevent their return, so it is sensible to implement a regular program to keep any potential infestation under control.

Special Considerations

Some environments are more hazardous when it comes to pest control. It may be that the surroundings increase the probability of pests such as a row of food premises that could easily cause infestations to spread like wildfire.

Other premises house vulnerable people, such as in care homes and hospitals, where waste disposal, food preparation and storage increase the likelihood of infestation.

It is vital to have a regular control programme to reduce the chances of spreading bacteria and diseases where vulnerable people might be exposed.

How often should a pest control technician visit commercial premises?

If your premises are vulnerable to infestation, then a regular visit from a technician will help you control and prevent pests that may be detrimental to your business.

If your premises do not have a history of infestation, you can have reduced visits to comply with regulations. If any signs of invasion are found, visits can be temporarily increased.

A rat problem may be ongoing due to the constant flow from a large population in the area. Frequency can be altered if prevention becomes successful or increased when an infestation becomes more of a problem.

A monthly contract will typically enable your premises to carry on unaffected with regular bait and management.

Cockroaches are another pest that requires a monthly contract as oriental cockroaches can flood from underground, requiring quick action. German cockroaches reproduce extremely rapidly, so regular monitoring is essential to prevent an infestation from becoming a huge problem where a pest risk analysis .

How often should a pest control check be done in residential properties?

A residential property will often require one-off pest control if the householder spots a pest problem. Often, it will not require a regular contract as a technician will usually be able to identify the issue and eliminate the infestation.

If the cause of the problem is dealt with, there will usually be no need for more visits. However, there can be an issue if the source of the problem cannot be resolved.

For example, if a neighbour is resistant to resolving a rat infestation, you may suffer from continual issues.

Other ongoing problems can be caused by mice who continually make new holes to enter your home or moth populations that have been neglected and require annual fumigation to prevent further damage to clothes and furnishings.

In these cases, you may want to create a regular programme to keep your home free of pests.

How do I find out how often pest control should be done?

If you are concerned about pests, the best way to ensure you eliminate a problem is to contact a certified pest controller. At EWS, we have trained specialist technicians who keep updated with UK legislation.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch to organise a rapid assessment of your pest problems.

How To Control Pests in the Food Industry

Pests are a nightmare for any business involved in handling food. As well as being a risk for spreading disease and damaging your property, they can cause reputational damage to a business. This article will explain the best ways of managing pests and how to control pests in the food industry.

Looking after public health should always be a priority for the food industry to protect the wider community and improve customer experience.

In extreme cases of poor pest control, you may even find yourself subject to prosecution and closure.

Therefore, it is a vital part of any food-related business to ensure they follow the correct procedures to control pests and prevent infestations.

Pest Control Management in the Food Industry

Whether you are the owner of a small takeaway, a restaurant, a large hotel or a food processing unit, pest control is crucial to keeping your staff, customers and community safe. Rather than relying on pest removal, it is better to focus on management.

Pest control involves three basic strategies that apply to any size food business.

  1. You need to try and stop pests from being introduced to your site.
  2. It would be best if you altered conditions to discourage their presence.
  3. You must lessen their ability to survive should they enter your premises.

Pest control is not often discussed in the UK, even though it is an essential part of keeping the food industry safe. Large businesses will invariably be operating a pest control system, yet this is rarely advertised publicly as a positive.

This lack of open communication often leads to smaller businesses neglecting the area of pest control until it is too late, despite prevention being far more straightforward than a cure.

Operating an effective pest control system and removing the stigma is a great way to ensure that the UK’s food industry is pest free.

Pest Control and UK Law

Food businesses must ensure that food is safe and not harmful to health or unfit for human consumption. Pest control is an essential aspect of this obligation.

The regulatory framework in the UK lays down food hygiene requirements for the food sector. The law governs food premise layouts along with required hygiene practices to avoid contamination and effective pest control.

The main guidelines that must be followed are:

It is essential to understand that business owners themselves have responsibility for ensuring that correct practices regarding pest control are followed. Employing a pest control contractor is the best way to show compliance, but it is not enough on its own to show that a business has observed due diligence.

In addition to the general guidelines that involve pest control, some additional standards must be met in the food manufacturing sector.

These standards are based on risk assessment, emphasising risks to public health and the environment from inadequate pest control.

Many businesses have a poor understanding of the law and their responsibilities regarding pest control. Proprietors need to acquire pest control contractors that cover all elements of the guidelines.

Cutting corners on pest control can prove to be damaging. A fully comprehensive service will be the best way to ensure that all sections of the guidelines are covered.

Pest Control Measures for the Food Industry

How To Control Pests In The Food Industry

Product Storage

It is vital to inspect all produce delivered to your premises to look for evidence of any pest infestation. Your stock must then be stored in a way that means it can be regularly inspected.

A common mistake is to store produce in corners or against walls which allow infestation that is hard to detect.

Pest Prevention

The most crucial part of pest prevention is to have a system that protects your premises from pests. Stopping them from entering is the best way of controlling them.

There are some simple strategies, including reducing door gaps to less than 5mm to stop rats and mice from getting in. You can also add fly screens on windows and doors to prevent flies and a fly killer inside that will contain any that do get in.

For food manufacturers, it may be preferable to use a glue board system for fly killing. Whatever method you use, you should ensure fly killers are serviced in Spring before the fly-filled summer months.

You can use a HACCP (Hazard Control and Critical Control Point) process as a valuable way of reducing your risks. For example, if you can evaluate the type of fly infestation and find the source, you may be able to eliminate the root of the problem.

Waste Disposal

Effective food disposal systems are essential to avoid attracting pests. Ensuring that staff follow an agreed policy is necessary.

Disposal of food in suitable, secure storage and regular collections are excellent ways to reduce the attraction for pests such as rats, mice, pigeons, seagulls, and insects.

There are significant rat infestations in many parts of the UK due to resistance to rodenticides and poor control. There is also a requirement to reduce the use of some rodenticides to reduce harm to the environment.

Effective waste disposal will benefit the environment as it will discourage unwanted pest visitors that may break through your controls and infest your premises, requiring more pesticides.

Community Control

The problem with a pest infestation is that they could migrate between premises once they are in an area. Therefore, all the food premises within the community need adequate pest protection and prevention.

Environmental health teams have the power to enter and inspect premises to protect the wider community.

Hiring a Pest Control Contractor

When choosing a pest control contractor, it is important to consider their ability to carry out the work professionally to show you have complied with your due diligence responsibilities.

Look out for companies that:

  • Use certified specialists
  • Have up to date knowledge about UK legislation
  • Undertake regular training
  • Focus on safety
  • Commit to caring for the environment and preventing damage
  • Abide by strict industry codes of best practice

How to Get Rid of Rats in a Warehouse

Discovering a rat infestation in a warehouse is not just a problem for food contamination. Rats can also affect your premises by causing damage and possibly creating a fire hazard. This article shows you exactly how to get rid of rats in a warehouse – from prevention to pest control.

If your warehouse is part of the food industry, you must adhere to the UK regulations covering pest control. Prevention is better than cure as an infestation can lose your business money and even lead to it being closed by environmental health.

If you suspect that you have unwelcome rodent visitors, you must take immediate action.

Why are rats a problem in a warehouse?

You should never ignore a rat problem in a warehouse. Your business could be severely affected along with the health of your staff, customers and the wider community.

Rats cause many potential problems:

Disease: Rats are responsible for spreading a wide range of diseases. In the UK, one of the most common is Leptospirosis, commonly called Weil’s Disease. The condition is spread by an infected rat’s urine and blood. It can contaminate soil and water.

Bacteria: Rats carry a wide range of bacteria that can cause cross-contamination in a warehouse, mainly if food products are being stored. They are thought to be the most significant cause of Salmonella infection in humans.

Damage: Chewing, nesting, urination and faeces will all cause potential hazards to your premises. Rats may cause damage to expensive products and storage containers with their incredibly sharp teeth. It is not uncommon for them to chew through electrical wires, a potential fire hazard.

Reputation: A rat infestation can lead to ongoing problems in your supply chain if your goods are contaminated or damaged. You could lose customers if this is linked to a problem in your warehouse.

The big issue with rats is that they have a very short life cycle, meaning they breed quickly. If you ignore one rat, you will probably have a severe problem within a few weeks. To be clear, rats can produce more than ten young every three weeks, so you ignore them at your peril.

What are the signs of rats in a warehouse?

If you suspect that you have rats, you must quickly sort out the problem. However, you need to know what signs to look for in your building.

Observation is your biggest weapon in spotting rats. You may notice droppings, see tracks on the floor, or damage from gnawing. You may also hear rats gnawing or smell their urine.

Unless your warehouse is manned at night, you are unlikely to see an actual rat. They are nocturnal creatures, so it is rare to spot one during daylight.

A daytime sighting is a concern since it could indicate a severe infestation or a disturbed nest.

Rat droppings can tell you a lot about your infestation. Try and inspect the droppings to gauge the size of your suspected pest population.

  • Rat droppings are between 10 and 12mm long compared to mice droppings, which are around 4mm.
  • Different size dropping could indicate a growing population of adults and young.
  • Shiny, soft droppings are fresh and suggest that you have live rats on the premises.
  • If the droppings are in one area, it could indicate the presence of brown rats as they often create a dedicated toilet area.
  • One rat can produce 40 droppings a day, so doing a rough count will indicate the size of the rat population.

How do I get rid of rats in my warehouse?

There are two crucial elements to controlling a rat infestation. To get the best result, you will need to tackle elimination and prevention.

Elimination of Rats

To eliminate rats, you will need to use chemicals or traps. There are different varieties available, but rodenticides should be used with caution.

Some rat colonies have become immune to rodenticides, and professionals will be able to evaluate the situation.

Rats are clever creatures, so they are often hesitant to approach traps when placed in their environment. Professionals will know how to set traps in a carefully designed plan.

Pest control specialists will inspect and monitor the traps whilst keeping a record to adapt and evaluate their effectiveness. Black rats love to climb, which means inspecting rafters and roofs as part of the control.

Another aspect of elimination is to remove the elements of the environment that could be harbouring the rats. Waste, rubbish, and old pallets will attract rats and give them places to hide.

A water source is another important part of the environment that attracts rats. Without water, they cannot survive, so remove any leaks or drips that the rats could be using.

Prevention of Rats

If you do not want rats to return to your warehouse, you need to come up with a plan to keep them away. All staff must consistently follow policies for rodent control to be effective.

Keep premises clean: Cleanliness and tidiness are excellent ways to discourage rats. Ensure that any food waste is disposed of securely and frequently collected to remove a source of attraction.

Develop a policy for clearing up spillages immediately to remove any potential water source for rats and fix dripping taps and leaks.

Keep doors closed: An open warehouse is an invitation to a rat. Consider investing in automatic doors that will ensure your warehouse is not left exposed. At the very least, ensure that any potential entry points are not left open unnecessarily.

Packaging: Inspect any food packaging in the warehouse for damage as this will create an entry for rats. They can squeeze into the tightest spaces, primarily when driven by hunger.

Repair packaging or discard damaged food and drink items to prevent access to any food sources.

No food policy: Discourage staff from eating in the warehouse as crumbs and discarded food will attract rats. Provide a sealed-off room for food breaks and encourage cleanliness.

Zoning: Zoning is an effective way of managing pest control. Sealed off areas are far easier to keep isolated and secure from a rodent infestation than one large open area. Use high-speed closing doors in food preparation areas to keep rodents away from temptation.

Hire a pest control company: The best way to eliminate and prevent rats in a warehouse is to hire professionals to deal with the problem. You want to choose a company that uses highly trained certified specialists to ensure that your rat problem is dealt with effectively.