Cellar fungus

The cellar fungus often grows in areas with moist or wet conditions such as groundwork, rising damp or leaking sewer systems or roofs. The cellar fungus grows rapidly and affects both softwood and hardwood. Wood species of sustainability class I are not affected, class II rarely. Because of the consistently high humidity in crawling spaces, these areas are easily affected, as are roof structures in case of leakage.

The spores of the cellar fungus sprout quickly in favourable conditions, after which the fungal threads, called hyphen, penetrate the wood. These hyphen have a diameter between 0.0005 and 0.005 mm and are not visible to the naked eye. Initially, the hyphen are white. On the wood surface, mycelium, entangled hyphae are rarely formed. In some places, for instance under linoleum and behind plinths, a thin degradation can be visible similar to that of dry rot. If mycelium develops on the surface of wood or stone, this only consists of thin hyphen of 1 to 2 mm that branch out in a fan-shaped manner and that look like roots or vines and have a dark brown to black colour. Fruiting bodies are rarely found in buildings. Initially it consists of an ochre coloured thin plate of about 3 mm, which later turns olive brown, with an irregular shape, covered with small nodules. It may vary in size from several centimetres to over 50 cm in diameter. The edge remains yellowish white. The spores created by the fruiting body, are dark brown, oval and very small, with a length of 0.008 to 0.0013 mm and a diameter of 0.005 to 0.009 mm. They spread through the airflow or insects, which completes the cycle.

The cellar fungus is family of the brown rot inducing fungi. The degradation of cellulose and hermicellulose, destroys the walls of the wood cells. At first, the wood has a dark discolouration that can turn almost black in an advanced stage. Characteristic are the cracks that run in the fibre direction of the wood. This is often visible in smaller wood, such as in windows and frames, whereas in larger wood, such as beams cracks will also be visible, perpendicular to the fibre direction, causing cube-shaped elements similar to the damage caused by dry rot, but less sharply defined.

Internal deposits
Another important characteristic of the cellar fungus is the interior deterioration of the wood, in which a thin layer of 3 to 4 mm of healthy wood remains in tact at the surface. Even in an advanced stage, often just a small deviation and discolouration of the surface is the only signal that the wood has been affected by cellar fungus. For non-experts, the cellar fungus is hard to identify.


Cellar fungus

Not only because of the germination of the spores can wood be affected by cellar fungus, but also by hyphen of previously inflicted damage. Cellar fungus affects wood with a moisture level of 40 to 60% with an optimum of more than 50% In 21 degrees it develops the fastest, and in 35 degrees it still shows minor growth. In 0 degrees the growth stops, but even -30 degrees won’t kill it. For a treatment against cellar fungus or other fungi, please contact the EWS.

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.


Moles live in tunnels under the ground. The mole frequently seeks out water to drink and his path often runs from the waterside into the land. In meadows, the mole tunnels are often very close to the surface. This is partly determined by the moisture level. The reason for this is that a mole feeds on worms and insect larvae. In dry circumstances, the worms are deeper, due to which the mole digs deeper. In moist circumstances, the worms are close to the surface, as then is the mole.

Moles have a fairly large territory. A backyard of about 150 square meters will have about one or two mole residents. The number of molehills don’t say anything about the number of moles.

Trying to drown the mole by flooding the tunnels often has the opposite effect. The amount of moisture increases the amount of worms, which attracts more moles.

The plant Imperial Crown has roots that secrete an odour that repels the mole. The effect is not really significant. The same goes for other control measures, such as fish heads in the ground, sulphur smoke patterns or beer bottle in the tunnels. Research has shown that even the so-called mole repellents, that use ultrasonic sound have almost no effect on moles.

Prevention with traps
Dig a frequently used tunnel open carefully so that it doesn’t collapse. Remove the crumbs from the tunnel. Shove a live trap to both sides of the tunnel, not directly under the hole. Cover the hole in such a way that it doesn’t let in any light, otherwise the mole will notice the changed circumstances and he will no longer use the tunnel, rendering the trap useless.

When placing tunnels, please keep in mind the waterside. In flower gardens, place the traps at the edge of the lawn, where the grass begins, because in the lawn it can cause a lot of damage.

Prevention with pills
Prevention with pills that contain phosphide can only be done by professionals with special training. The gas pills are inserted into the ground with a so-called gun. Enough concentration of the gas must build up in the ground. This can only be done if:

The terrain is not adjacent to a developed area. There is a 10 meter distance requirement; the terrain is not entered for a period of three days; the weather conditions permit. The soil cannot be to wet because that could cause flash fires. The soil can also not be to dry, because it would prevent the gas from building up.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB)

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is an agricultural pest native to China. The BMSB spreads across the world through vehicles and containers and damages crops, fruits and ornamental trees. That is why the Quarantine Departments of Australia and New-Zealand are taking measures against the BMSB. Incoming goods should be treated against the insects during the high-risk season. This season concerns goods shipped between September the 1st and April the 30th (these dates included).

Appearance, lifestyle and spreading

The scientific name for the brown marmorated stink bug is Halyomorpha halys. As the name says, the bug is brown and belongs to the stink bug-family. Like other stink bugs, the BMSB is shield-shaped. An adult BMSB is around 17 millimetre long. The stink bugs got their name because they have scent glands on their body, this scent smells like coriander. The reason stink bugs have this smell, is because it protects them from being eaten by lizards or birds. If something so much as touches the insect, it relieves the scent.

The BMSB feeds on plants, vegetables and fruits. They feed by sucking, this means that they pierce their food with their proboscis (an elongated ‘nose’). This causes a lot of damage to the plant they are feeding from. The adult bugs live several months to a year. At the end of summer, the insects have to find shelter for surviving the winter. They do this in dry and dark places. Places such as houses, but also moving places, like vehicles and containers. This is a problem, because this way the insect can rapidly spread across the world. This results in damage to plants and trees around the globe.


Due to the spreading and the damaging effect of the insect, Australia and New-Zealand have taken measures. Incoming goods have to be treated against the BMSB during the high-risk season.

There are two methods to treat cargo against the bug. The first is fumigation, the second is heat treatment (this is also bio treatment). At EWS, we offer both kinds of treatment.

Grain weevil

The grain weevil (length 3 to 5 mm) is part of snout beetle family (Curculionidae), which, with over 45000 described species is most likely the largest family through the animal kingdom. The front part of the head has grown into a sort of trunk in all species, with a little mouth at the very end. On both sides of the trumpet snout you’ll find a club shaped antennas that are bent like an elbow.

Te grain weevil, also known as the granary weevil originally wasn’t part of our fauna, but was introduced to our area long ago with the grain trade. In the Netherlands they exist in grain storages and kitchen supplies. Contrary to its family members, the rice and maize weevil, it can’t fly, but it is great at walking. Its feed consists of grain (mainly wheat and barley) but it also eats products containing starch such as dry dog food, birdseed, peas, macaroni, vermicelli etc.

The female drills a hole in grain or something similar with her snout and lays an egg in it. She then closes up the hole with secretion product that has the same colour as the grain. This way, she can lay two to three eggs per day. The eggs hatches a larvae that eats the grain from the inside. After about four weeks it pupates within the shell of the grain and the adult beetle drills its way out. Because of this, the grain contains less nutrients and it is contaminated with the beetles, larvae and their droppings.

Prevention & Control
The use of pesticides is not necessary in the fight against grain weevils, plus it is very undesirable in the kitchen. Affected supplies must be disposed of and the trash bag should be taken out immediately. Cabinets and boards should be properly vacuumed and cleaned. Insects can survive in food residue left behind in seams or cracks for a long period of time. Check the other supplies and store them in properly sealable cans or pots, so that new contamination is no longer possible.