Shrew mouse

Although, in terms of appearance, shrew mice look somewhat like the house mouse (Mus musculus Linnaeus), they are complete unrelated. House mice belong to the order of the rodents (Rodentia), whereas the shrew mice are part of the order of insect eaters Insektivora).

The most common species is the house shrew mouse (Crocidura russula Hermann}. In addition, we have the pygmy shrew, common shrew and field shrew in the Netherlands. Shrew mice have a very shiny coat and are often grey to grey-brown in colour, with a lighter coloured abdomen. However, darker species exist as well.

Typical for shrew mice is the tapering head with a far stretching snout, almost like a little trunk. The teeth of shrew mice differ greatly from that of the real mice; in stead of gnawing teeth, they have strong pointy sickle-shaped incisors and sharp molars suitable to crush insect armour.

The males have a strong smelling musk gland at the side of their body which is visible as a dark spot. Shrew mice can get 5 to 9 cm, depending on the species and have a hairy tail.     Lifestyle Shrew mice are fast, motile animals that are active both during the day and during the night, with resting periods. Because of their fast metabolism and their disproportionally large body surface, they burn food very quickly and they must eat almost constantly to stay alive. They feed mainly on small invertebrates, such as insects and insect larvae, worms, slugs, spiders and sometimes also with small vertebrates such as young mice.

Because of the large amount of insects and other harmful animals they eat daily, shrew mice are very useful animals for humans. Shrew mice often live in holes they dig, but they also use old mouse or mole tunnels. They prefer to a living environment with rough vegetation where they can find a lot of prey and shelters. In tough winters, many species can also be found indoor, as an exception. Depending on the species, shrew mice get about 4 to 6 young, 2 to 4 times a year.

Although shrew mice can be useful animals, they can cause smell and noise indoors (high pitched squealing and noise above ceilings). In addition, they cause contamination with their urine and droppings.

Prevention / control
The best method to resolve shrew mice issues is by making all cavities in the exterior walls mouse proof (smaller than 0.5 cm). Because shrew mice have to eat about half their body weight per day to survive and can’t go long without food, the nuisance will be resolved quickly.

Stone martens

Stone marten nuisance
The stone marten is a small, slender predator, as big as a cat, which looks a lot like the pine marten. The chest spot in particular helps identify them. In the pine marten it is almost yellow, in the stone marten it is clear white. The stone marten is an animal that likes to be near people. It likes to crawl in the engine space of cars that still have a warm engine, to find a warm spot and to gnaw cables and hoses, with serious consequences. Stone martens have a diverse diet: small mammals, birds, reptiles and fruit is what they like to eat.

Areas where stone martens and people live close together, nuisance can sometimes arise. The nuisance consists of noise and / or smell. Stone martens can make stumbling noises, as if there is a burglar in the house. In the nursing period, one can sometimes hear the young squeal. Stone martens use different resting places during the day. So the nuisance inst permanent. Just like cats, stone martens are housebroken animals. They have a fixed place where they leave their droppings. Places like this can cause bad smell. Sometimes stone martens damage pipes and cables in houses or cars. With their sharp teeth, they even gnaw through cables of hard plastic.

Stone martens are protected animals that shouldn’t be killed, captured or even disturbed. EWS can advise you on how to resolve your stone marten problem in an animal-friendly manner without violating the law.


They fly with their hands and they see with their ears
Bats are mammals that belong to the order of the Chiroptera. This Latin name literally means hand-wing and that’s correct; the wings of a bat are nothing else than extended hands with a flying skin between the fingers. Bats are the only mammals that can truly fly. Currently, there are about 1000 species of bats known worldwide. That is a lot; it means that a fourth of all mammal species on earth consists of bats. The majority of them are nocturnal animals and require special adjustments to be able to find their way at night and look for food.

There are fruit and nectar eating bats, insect eaters and even bats that hunt frogs, lizards and small mammals. In the tropics, where most species live, there are three species of vampire bats that parasite mammals (cattle and pigs) and birds, by making small wounds with their razor-sharp teeth and drinking the blood of the victim (which is not really affected by that). People are bitten occasionally.

In the Netherlands, we have 19 species of bats, although a number of them have grown rare. All Dutch species are insect eaters. A special adjustment of – mainly the insect eating bats – is the so-called echolocation. During flight, the animals are constantly producing ultrasonic sound. This sound, that people can’t hear, reflects off of all objects that the bat runs into and are then sent back to the ears of the bat. Based on this information, the bat can easily find its way back in utter darkness and is even able to localize and capture its prey (insects).
A common misconception is that bats are blind. Almost all bats have great eye sight, however are very near sighted. All Dutch bats get just one or – very rarely – two young per year. The trade-off is that bats can get very old, about 20 to 30 years. Most Dutch bats hibernate, just a few species go to warmer regions, just like birds.

Bats in the house
A number of bat species likes to use buildings for hibernation or to raise their young. In the latter case, we call this a maternity colony. A maternity colony consists of a group of female animals that jointly use an area to give birth to their young and to nurse them.
In general, the maternity colonies are the colonies that cause nuisance in buildings. The nuisance usually consists of noise, caused by the consistent chirping that often starts hours before they fly out and contamination of facades, cars etc with bat droppings. In most cases the use of buildings by bats s very seasonal. The bats have very different requirements for an area used as a maternity colony than on their winter quarters (hibernaculum).

Bats do not cause any damage. They won’t gnaw on anything and as far as we know, they don’t spread any diseases. Bats can be carriers of rabies however, but a bat that has rabies won’t go crazy and won’t bite without reason. Should you be bitten by a bat or you held a bat when you have a wound on your hand, you should get a rabies shot from the general practitioner.

Bats and the EWS
Bats are an endangered species and it is forbidden to kill, capture or even disturb bats. Moreover, bats are very useful animals that eliminate huge amounts of insects every night. Then why call a pest control company like the EWS when you have a bat situation? The EWS has the knowledge and experience to advise you on how to reduce the bat nuisance without harming the bats or violating the Law.

Black rat

The black rat is blue grey to black in colour. The abdomen are lighter to yellow white. There are colour varieties as well (Alexandrian rat). The animal has a tender build with a pointy snout with large eyes and ears. The tail is considerably longer (20 – 25 cm) than the body (15 – 23 cm). The weight of an adult black rat is about 150 -250 grams.

Black rats are still very common. They are great climbers, which is whey they are common in high buildings. They feed on many products, with a preference for grains, seeds and fruit.

They have a rapid development; the females reach sexual maturity after about 3 months and can have up to 10 birth cycles with 6 – 10 young each in a period of 2 years. The average life expectancy is 2 years.

As described above, this rat species prefers to be in the immediate vicinity of people and their buildings, supplies and waste. Black rats are notorious spreaders of diseases; the plague in the Middle Ages was transmitted to people by rats and their fleas. They can also transmit various diseases in intensive livestock farming. They contaminate and damage supplies and because of their urge to gnaw (for instance cables) they can cause short circuit, leakage and machine failure. For that reason, black rats are undesirable in the direct vicinity of people.

Proper architectural provisions, such as properly closing doors, narrow ventilation openings, one can keep rats outside. Good hygiene (storage and removal of waste, tidy storage of products, regular cleaning of areas etc) is important to prevent the presence of rats.

After a thorough inspection of and around the object, bait depots are installed at strategically chosen places. In these bait boxes or crates, toxic bait is placed. The rodenticides used, approved by the Dutch College Toelating Bestrijdingsmiddelen are so called anticoagulantia (anti-clotting agents). These various toxic substances are available as ready to use bait or in the form of liquid concentrates. With the help of these liquid substances, PPD exterminators compose the most appealing bait, suitable for application under specific circumstances. These baits should be offered at least several weeks to cause death. After 2 to 7 days of absorption, death occurs after 7 to 14 days.

A preventive approach, being frequent inspection of the terrain, building and stored products, can prevent issues. Always pay attention to the architectural state of the object and the hygiene in general.

Bed bug

These insects are common across the globe. They live in buildings and are parasites to warm-blooded animal, that often feed on the blood of humans. When bed bugs exist in great numbers in an area (Such as a bedroom) they excrete a characteristic scent.

The adult insect has a strongly flattened, oval shaped, almost round body. The front wings are only potentially present and there are no rear wings. The females are about 4.5 – 8.5 mm long, the males are somewhat smaller on average. Bed bugs are read-brown in colour; when they have just consumed a blood meal, they are dark read and the abdomen is swollen.

Development and lifestyle
During the day, bed bugs hide under loose carpets, in all kinds of cracks in walls, window sills, furniture, beds, mattresses, behind loose wallpapers, in curtains, and even in switches and outlets of the light, shoes and garments, however mainly in the vicinity of the headboard of a bed. The eggs are stuck in the cracks of furniture, beds, walls, garments etc with the help of a water-soluble secretion. At room temperature, the eggs hatch after 15-22 days; after about 1.5 month the insects are mature. Except on people, they also parasitize on warm-blooded pats and lab animals and birds. At15 – 18’C the animals can survive over 6 months without food. When they get hungry they can travel relatively large distances looking for hosts. At a temperature below 15°C they hibernate, in which they can survive freezing temperatures for a long period of time. A heat treatment at temperatures exceeding 45°C for half an hour kills all stages of these bed bugs.

Bed bugs spread to adjacent houses via cracks and seems in walls or via pipe ducts. However they also spread via luggage, transport of used furniture and the use of scrap wood from buildings with bed bugs. In bed bug control, these aspects must be kept in mind. The result of their lifestyle is that, when the inventory of the house to be treated, as well as clothing, bedding etc, isn’t handled carefully, bed bugs can be spread easily. After detecting bed bugs, these goods should not be removed from the house of the area to be treated, before control measures have been taken. The pesticides should not come into contact with, for instance, toys. Toys must be stowed way prior to the control measures. When treating cabinets, toys can be packed in plastic bags. The control measures for these insects can best be carried out by professionals such as the EWS.

First it must be investigated to what extent the bed bugs have spread to adjacent buildings. After this inventory, the EWS can proceed to draw up the control plan (order of the treatment, control method to be applied and permitted substances etc) and the information provision to the parties involved. All nooks and crannies of beds, walls and floors as well as bedding and mattresses located in areas where bed bugs are found, must be treated with a permitted substance that leaves a residue (active substances such as deltamethrin, permethrin or cyfluthrin) after which the treated areas cannot be entered for two hours. After the control measures, the bedding must be washed or cleaned otherwise. Residents of the cleaned areas must be alert to bed bugs and must alert the PPD as soon as they are found. It is recommended to have checked after several weeks whether the treatment has led to a complete result and, if necessary, a follow-up treatment is required.


In the hot summer, especially in July/August, wasps can be a great nuisance to us. This almost always involves the German wasp (Paravespula germanica F.) or the common wasp (Paravespula vulgaris L).

In a well-developed wasp population, there can be 5000 individuals or more. Wasps can sting when cornered or when their nest is disrupted. Some people are so sensitive to wasp poison that they have to consult a doctor.

Wasps are bright yellow / black and slim. The workers are 10 – 15 mm. in size, whereas the queens are about 20 mm long. A striking characteristic is the so-called wasp waist.

These wasp species belong to the socially living insects. In the spring, the queen makes a nest, usually in the soil or on other shielded places, in sheds, wall cavities, hollow walls, under the roof etc. In the nest, the queen lays her eggs. This results in the larvae and after the pupate phase, the workers emerge.

The workers are female, infertile and provide the cleaning/maintenance/protection of the nest, and care for the larvae and provide food.

The queen remains in the nest to lay eggs. In August / September male wasps are born and subsequently new females, which are fertile (queens). They leave the nest to mate. The male wasps die almost immediately after breeding. The young fertilized females seek a sheltered place for overwintering to found a new colony in the spring.

Around October, all residents of the nest die. The old nest will no longer be inhabited.

Wasps need carbohydrates, sugars from nectar fr instance, honeydew; pulp and the juice of ripe fruits, liquid sweet food and sweets, such as lemonade, syrup etc.

For proteins, they will consume other insects, such as flies, mosquitoes, caterpillars, harvestmen, etc.

Wasps are useful animals, they provide the pollination of flowers and capture a lot of annoying and harmful insects. If the wasps do not pose a risk for people and pets they do not need to be exterminated.

A wasp sting can be painful. A worker will sting when the nest is about to be disrupted, when she is cornered or when you are in her flight path.

Place fly screens in front of open windows and doors;
Close waste bins and containers;
Prevent appealing food
Close holes/cracks in the winter
The wasps will always look for another way out and this may very well be inside your house.

When the wasp nest poses a threat, it can be exterminated by applying so-called wasp powder in the entrances and exits of the nest. This can be the opening of the nest, but also in the exterior wall of a building, such as ventilation openings of the hollow wall or holes near window frames.

The workers come into contact with the powder and take it into the nest through hairs and / or legs. This eventually kills the queen and all others, which will free you of the wasps.

You can do this yourself.
Please keep in mind that wasps are active during the day and can sting you. They will become particularly aggressive when one touches the nest. The best thing to do is to apply the power during dusk or during cool weather. Try not to stand in the flight path.

You can have it done for you.
The professional exterminator of EWS will come to your home and will check what treatment will be most effective. Based on this diagnosis, he will treat the nest. You will be given the guarantee that the nest is treated in a responsible manner and that this treatment works.


Like to be with your pet
Almost every dog or cat has a couple of fleas. Sometimes you will hardly notice it, but in hot weather, a flea can get thousands of offspring in four weeks, which will all start looking for food: blood! A flea plague in the house is almost always caused by the cat flea, which loves to drive its teeth in dogs or other pets as well.

The female puts her small white eggs in the basket of the pet or on the floor. The larvae that come from the eggs seek shelter in seams or cracks or under the edge of the carpet. The larvae eat organic material, which exists in dust. The larvae make a cocoon of their own saliva. After 8-14 days, the adult flea comes from its cocoon. Curious is that the if the cocoon remains absolutely undisturbed, the flea will remain in the cocoon, in a sort of sleeping state. This can last an entire year. This explains the massive attack of fleas when a building has been uninhabited for a long period of time or after a vacation when the house is entered by people or animals. An adult flea feeds on the blood of pets. The flea is a true jumping athlete, sometimes up to 30 cm. Sometimes the flea accidentally jumps on humans, which leads to skin irritation. It bites, but is picky, because it doesn’t like our blood.

How to get rid of them?
Try to keep your pets free of fleas. Animal welfare can advise you. The vacuum cleaner is the best weapon against the flea plague. Vacuum seams, cracks, but also along the plinths. When you leave the house for a long period of time, for instance because you’re going on a holiday, make sure to vacuum the house thoroughly and to destroy the contents of the dust bag. The nest or beds, mats or rugs but also the baskets of the pets should be cleaned and / or dusted frequently. You can also hang mats or rugs in the sun.

When the flea plague in your house persists, you can call the Plagen Preventie Dienst (PPD) to take care of it. In this, you are asked to thoroughly vacuum before the appointment. If you have an aquarium, you must shut down the air pump and cover the aquarium. The entire house is given an anti-flea treatment. You and your fellow residents and pets must leave the house for a period of two hours to avoid any health risks. If you return after two hours, you must properly ventilate the house. Open all windows and doors against each other. Do not vacuum for a couple of days to allow the agent to do its work. Before you enter the house again, make sure to free your pet of fleas as well.


Sleepless nights because of buzzing mosquitoes that love to drink your blood, are not uncommon in the Dutch summers. The result: itchy mosquito bites that can cause nasty skin irritations and sometimes even diseases. Mosquitoes are active during the times you would like to sleep: at night. The females are attracted by the perspiration on your skin and sting. Ammonia at the place of the sting reduces pain and itchiness. The males will not bother you, they mainly feed on plant juices.

Mosquitoes are the most common pest in your house from the early spring to late fall. The mosquito larvae develop in shallow and stagnant water. They multiply at lightning speed and are mainly during the summer a huge plague for everyone. The fertilized females overwinter in basements and in other shielded, moist places.

In all places where what remains longer than a week, mosquitoes can develop. Make sure these places are dry, including buckets, flower pots, gutters etc. Repair leakage. Keep windows and doors closed at night or fit them with insect screens. In ponds, use fish as the natural enemy. During the day, properly ventilate the rooms. Rub bare skin with mosquito repellent.

Dog tick

The dog tick originates from Africa, but is now very common in the tropics and sub tropics, such as in the Mediterranean. The species is also very common in the United States of America (brown dog tick). In our country they were imported in the sixties with dogs. This tick species clearly prefers dogs and is not able to sustain itself with humans. In the Netherlands, their life cycle is entirely indoors.

Imago: 8 legs; red brown colour; about 8 mm long in engorged state and they blue grey in colour. Nymphs: 8 legs and red-brown, dark grey in engorged state. Larvae: 6 legs; blue in engorged state.

Incomplete metamorphosis Egg stadium: eggs are dropped in seams and cracks of ceiling by the female tick after fertilization. These ticks tend to crawl upwards. A female can drop 1000-3000 eggs in her lifetime.   Larvae stadium: after 19 to 60 days (Depending on temperature and humidity) small, 6-legged larvae come out of the eggs. These larvae are actively on the lookout for food, and attach to a dog as soon as they get the opportunity. In 3-6 days, the larvae fill themselves with blood, after which they drop themselves and hide in cracks and seams.   Nymph stadium: after the blood meal, the larvae moult in 6-23 days into 8-legged nymphs. After several days of inactivity, the nymphs attach to dogs and engorge themselves with blood for a period of 4 to 9 days. After this blood meal they leave the host and hide.   Nymphs moult in 12 to 29 days into adult ticks after the food intake.   Adult ticks are very active when they are disturbed. They look for a host, attach themselves to them and stay there for 6 to 50 days. After a blood meal, the egg production is initiated in the female. Lifespan up to several years.   Hunger period up to 200 days.

Dog ticks almost don’t exist in the free nature in our country, but they do exist where dogs live. In the Netherlands, they can survive in heated buildings. In houses: hidden in seams and cracks of walls, behind plinths, under facades, ceiling edges. Food: blood of dogs; sometimes these ticks live on rats and mice.

In exceptional cases, the dog tick can choose people as its host. This tick species can transmit diseases in different parts of the world (from dog to dog); these illnesses include the rickettsioses with which people can be infected as well.

Mainly via the dog, which can easily pick up the dog tick in objects where it is hiding. Also during vacation around the Mediterranean Sea, in caravans, tents etc.

Frequent inspection for the presence of ticks on or near the dog. After detection of these ticks, the veterinarian should be consulted.

There are substances on the market to eliminate ticks on dogs, based on propoxur among other things. In houses where these ticks are found, the house – after inventory of the object – should be sprayed with substances based on deltamethrin, permethrin or cyfluthrin. The attic should not be forgotten in this. Inspection after the extermination action is desired; if necessary, a second treatment can be initiated. In addition, the objects visited by the dogs must be inspected.

Dust mites

The dust mite is very common in the Netherlands in houses, company buildings etc. Until about 1900, the dust mite was only found in tanned hides, but since the sixties, they are also often found in house dust, mattresses and upholstered sofas and chairs.

The dust mite feeds on flakes of human skin. A temperature of 25 degrees is ideal for the dust mite, so the invention of central heating and home insulation benefit it greatly. In addition, 50-75 % humidity is desired. Usually, the dust mite exists in a house in acceptable numbers. Depending on the above-mentioned factors, these numbers can grow significantly however.

In recent years, we have learned that a great portion of the increase of allergic reactions in people (such as asthma) is caused by the dust mite. Mainly the droppings and moult skin of the dust mite cause this. About 10% of the population is hypersensitive to the dust mite. Allergic individuals may suffer from eczema.

It is important to keep the humidity below 50% This is very unpleasant for the dust mites. They dryer (humidity) must have a drain that goes outside. In addition, furniture and upholstery should be as dust-free as possible. The room must be ventilate frequently and organic materials in mattresses, insulation areas and flooring must be limited where possible.

With the help of a test available at the pharmacy, it is possible to detect dust mite, as well as where the largest concentration is and whether control and / or prevention is necessary.

Pesticides usually have no lasting effect against dust mite. However, mite control can help manage the population, which reduces the nuisance to a minimum. The most important is however to carry out the prevention measures after the control measures. This helps you manage toe population after it has been reduced to an acceptable size.