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Pest and Vermin Control

Basildon Council does not provide a pest and vermin control service to domestic homes or business premises and will only respond to reports of pest and vermin problems in specific circumstances.

Pest and vermin problems in a place that is not your property

Under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 the occupier or owner of land must keep their land free of rats and mice.

Basildon Council  will only respond to reports of pest and vermin problems in specific circumstances. However, if you see rats in a park or on other land that is not your property you can report it to Basildon Council who will investigate.

Pest and vermin problems in your home or on your property

Under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 the occupier or owner of land must keep their land free of rats and mice.

Basildon Council does not provide a pest and vermin control service to either council or private tenants, or to the owner occupiers of domestic homes or business premises.

This means that in normal circumstances, dealing with pests and vermin on domestic or business premises is the responsibility of either the occupier or the owner of the premises.

Dealing with pests and vermin: options and advice

If you are experiencing a problem with pests and/or vermin the following basic information and advice should help point you in the right direction.

The following sections cover the more common pest and vermin species you are likely to encounter and each section offers basic advice on the options available to deal with them.

Please bear in mind: The following advice is not intended as a guide to extermination methods. In many cases prevention and proofing (stopping access) against pests and vermin may be safer and more effective than the use of deadly poisons and traps etc.

Dealing with a pest or vermin problem yourself (self-treating)

Before you choose self-treating as an option you must also consider the following:

  • Are you allowed to interfere with, or kill, the animal you consider to be a pest? Some animals are protected, see below.
  • If you use poison for rats and mice can you be sure that other animals or people will not be harmed? You must follow all the instructions and precautions included with the packaging.
  • If you use a trap can you be sure that other animals or people will not be harmed? Making sure traps are covered or inaccessible to other animals is important, follow all instructions and research how to use the trap safely.
  • Will you be  capable of dealing with something you have caught that is either dead or alive?
  • If you use an insecticide (fly and wasp killers and ant powders etc.) can you be sure that other animals or people will not be harmed? As an example fish are highly susceptible to insecticidal poisoning. You must follow all the instructions and precautions included with the packaging.
  • Do you really need to use poisons or insecticides? Can you find out how or where the pests or vermin are getting into your property? Can you make a repair or an alteration to make access impossible for pests and vermin?

Calling in a professional to deal with a pest or vermin problem

If you are not confident you can self-treat pests or vermin safely and effectively, then call in a professional. Choose one with accreditation to, or membership of, either of the following organisations:

 

Advice on dealing with pests and vermin which may be encountered in and around the home

Dealing with rats

Self-treating: OK for minor infestations - For further information see  pdf icon Pest And Vermin Control Advice - Rats And Mice [114kb]

Using a professional: Recommended for large infestations. A professional pest controller will:

  • understand the extent of the pest problem you are faced with
  • assess all of the risks and choose the most appropriate control methods
  • recognise signs and possible causes that an amateur may miss.

Dealing with mice

Self-treating:  OK for minor infestations - For further information see  pdf icon Pest And Vermin Control Advice - Rats And Mice [114kb]

Using a professional: Recommended for large infestations. A professional pest controller will:

  • understand the extent of the pest problem you are faced with
  • assess all of the risks and choose the most appropriate control methods
  • recognise signs and possible causes that an amateur may miss.

Dealing with fleas

Self-treating:  OK for minor infestations, however self treating may only have limited success.

Using a professional: Recommended for large infestations. A professional pest controller will:

  • understand the extent of the pest problem you are faced with
  • assess all of the risks and choose the most appropriate control methods
  • recognise signs and possible causes that an amateur may miss.

Dealing with bed bugs

Self-treating:  Not recommended. It is very difficult for an amateur to solve this problem.

Using a professional: Recommended. A professional pest controller will:

  • understand the extent of the pest problem you are faced with
  • assess all of the risks and choose the most appropriate control methods
  • recognise signs and possible causes that an amateur may miss.

Dealing with wasps

Self-treating:  Possible but not recommended. Self treating may have limited success. There is always a risk of aggravating the nest and putting yourself and your neighbours in danger of being stung. In rare cases a single wasp sting can cause anaphylactic shock which can be fatal. For further information see  pdf icon Pest And Vermin Control Advice - Wasps [79kb].

Using a professional: Recommended. A professional pest controller will:

  • understand the extent of the pest problem you are faced with
  • assess all of the risks and choose the most appropriate control methods
  • recognise signs and possible causes that an amateur may miss, such as the difference between wasps and the many species of bees.

Dealing with cockroaches

Self-treating:  Not recommended. It is very difficult for an amateur to solve this problem.

Using a professional: Recommended. A professional pest controller will:

  • understand the extent of the pest problem you are faced with
  • assess all of the risks and choose the most appropriate control methods
  • recognise signs and possible causes that an amateur may miss.

Dealing with urban grey squirrels

Self-treating:  Self-treating for urban grey squirrels may have only limited success.

  • The only self-treating option available will be by the use of traps specifically approved for the use against grey squirrels
  • It is illegal to release a trapped grey squirrel and it must be humanely killed
  • Drowning is not an approved method
  • There are no poisons approved for amateur use against squirrels
  • It is illegal to use rat or mouse poisons for squirrels
  • In parts of the country where the native Red Squirrel is present there are further restrictions on what control methods are permitted as well as when and where you can use them.

For further information see, Natural England - Urban grey squirrels.

Using a professional: Recommended. A professional pest controller will:

  • understand the extent of the pest problem you are faced with
  • assess all of the risks and choose the most appropriate control methods
  • recognise signs and possible causes that an amateur may miss.

Dealing with black ants

Self-treating:  OK - For further information see  pdf icon Pest And Vermin Control Advice - Common Black Ants [10kb].

Using a professional: A professional pest controller will:

  • understand the extent of the pest problem you are faced with
  • assess all of the risks and choose the most appropriate control methods
  • recognise signs and possible causes that an amateur may miss.

Dealing with tropical ants (Such as Pharaoh Ants and Ghost Ants)

Self-treating:  Not recommended. It is very difficult for an amateur to solve this problem. Tropical ants are very complex and require specialist knowledge to deal with. Using normal ant killers will have no long term effect, in fact because of the nature of these insects, the use of a normal ant killing product may even have a negative effect. If threatened this type of ant will break nests up and move elsewhere in order for the colony to survive. They will have multiple nest sites.

Using a professional: Recommended - A professional pest controller will:

  • understand the extent of the pest problem you are faced with
  • assess all of the risks and choose the most appropriate control methods
  • recognise signs and possible causes that an amateur may miss.

 

Advice on dealing with wildlife species which are sometimes considered to be pests and vermin

Dealing with bees

Self-treating:  Not recommended. Killing bees should always be avoided. There are many types of bees, both social and solitary, all of which play a vitally important part in our ecology.

  • Honey Bees and Bumble Bees are social bees who live together and in general they are not aggressive
  • Solitary Bees such as Mining, Masonry and Leaf Cutter Bees work as individuals. Much of their time is spent laying eggs in holes they have made made or found. Solitary bees sometimes choose a place to lay their eggs very close to other bees of the same type. This can give the impression that a large nest exists, but this is not the case.
  • Solitary Bees are not dangerous.

Using a professional: There should be no need to call a professional pest controller. Local Bee Keepers will collect swarms of honey bees if they are accessible and will give good advice.

Dealing with foxes

Self-treating:   Ok - but you must only use humane fox deterrence methods. For every person that considers the fox to be a pest and not welcome on their property, there will be another who likes to watch and feed them. There is little more you can do other than to discourage them from visiting your property. For more information on humane fox deterrence methods see The Fox Project website.

Using a professional: Not recommended. Removing foxes from an area will most likely only have a short term effect as another fox will almost certainly take over the territory. Professional Pest Controllers may in certain circumstances consider removing foxes however this can be expensive.

 

Advice on dealing with protected wildlife which is causing a problem

IMPORTANT: When dealing with protected wildlife you must be aware that killing or disturbing protected species or damaging their breeding and resting places is committing a wildlife crime for which you can be prosecuted by law. Breaking these regulations can lead to a stiff financial penalty and even a prison sentence. For further information see:

Dealing with birds

Self-treating:   Not recommended - All wild birds are protected by law. Some bird species can be removed under certain conditions, but how, when and by whom this can be done is subject to strict legal regulations. Breaking these regulations can lead to a stiff financial penalty and even a prison sentence. For further information see:

Using a professional: Only permitted in certain circumstances. A professional pest controller will:

  • understand what they are dealing with and know the legislation governing the removal of wild birds
  • assess all of the risks and choose the most appropriate control methods.

Dealing with badgers

Self-treating:   Not permitted - All Badgers and their setts are protected by law, (a badgers underground home is called a sett). Badgers can be controlled under certain conditions, but how, when and by whom this can be done is subject to strict legal regulations. Breaking these regulations can lead to a stiff financial penalty and even a prison sentence.

Using a professional: Only permitted in certain circumstances. For information on the regulations governing the control of badgers see:

Dealing with bats

Self-treating:   Not permitted - All bat species and their breeding or resting places (roosts) are protected by law. Bats can be controlled under certain conditions, but how, when and by whom this can be done is subject to strict legal regulations. Breaking these regulations can lead to a stiff financial penalty and even a prison sentence.

Using a professional: Only permitted in certain circumstances. For information on the regulations governing the control of bats see:

Dealing with snakes

Self-treating:   Not permitted - Reptile species such as adders, grass snakes, slow-worms and smooth snakes are all protected by law. Although it looks like a snake, a slow-worm is actually a legless lizard. Snakes can be controlled under certain conditions, but how, when and by whom this can be done is subject to strict legal regulations. Breaking these regulations can lead to a stiff financial penalty and even a prison sentence.

To identify any snakes, lizards or other reptiles you come across, see:

Using a professional: Only permitted in certain circumstances. For information on the regulations governing the control of reptiles see:

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