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Seasonal pest overview

year round guide to pests

Proactive pest prevention can help to guard against un-forecasted spend, reputational damage and loss of operational time. Understanding trends in pest activity mean that you can prepare and ensure that pests don’t threaten the success of your business.
2017 calendar
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As a thank you we will give you access to our 2017 calendar, featuring our 'pest of the month' and key seasonal trends when it comes to pest activity. 

Mark Williams, Head of Technical UKIE for Ecolab Pest Elimination, highlights some key seasonal trends for 2017 and identifies some top prevention and early detection tips.


The most common problem during winter is rodents, and the colder the winter, the higher the risk to your building as rodents try to find shelter. Rodents are excellent climbers and mice can squeeze through a gap the width of a pencil. Rodents are nocturnal creatures so look out for other indicators of their presence including gnawing, droppings, nests, scratching and a very distinct smell.


As spring arrives, wasps start to come out of hibernation looking to nest. It’s commonly thought that a cold winter will kill off many hibernating pests and reduce the potential risk later in the year, however when it comes to wasps this isn’t the case. In fact, it’s just the opposite, as a warm winter will encourage queen wasps to come out of hibernation early and, with limited nectar sources, they are likely to starve therefore reducing the population.

Birds can be a nuisance throughout the year causing building damage, creating an unsanitary and hazardous mess, whilst also posing a major health risk due to the many diseases they can carry. Pigeons start breeding in early spring and are seen congregating in large numbers, increasing the risk to your business, staff and the general public. Gulls generally become more problematic during late spring and summer when they are nesting, and are particularly defensive when there are young in the nest.


The warm summer days bring nuisance pests out in swarms. Fly and wasp colonies will be fully developed - this can cause high levels of concern, especially when it comes to wasps, creating an unwanted distraction for staff and customers. From mid-summer, wasps become an increasing nuisance as they switch from consuming protein to sugar, feeding and getting ‘drunk’ on fermenting fruit.

Summer also sees a peak in garden ant activity. For businesses dealing with food, infestations can lead to contamination. Flying ants can also cause some concern during summer - flying ants are young queens and males that engage in a nuptial flight in the mating season.  This phenomenon occurs in many colonies simultaneously when local weather conditions are appropriate creating a ‘flying ant phenomenon’. This, however, generally only happens once a year.

Bed bugs can appear at any time, however during summer there is heightened risk from greater guest traffic in hotels. It is impossible to prevent bed bug entry as they are carried in on luggage. Female bed bugs produce up to eight eggs per day, so just one bed bug can quickly lead to an infestation.


Autumn marks the start of breeding season for spiders, with males venturing inside in search of a mate. Generally spiders do not cause damage, but they can create fear amongst staff and customers. There are certain species that can bite so it’s important to look out for webs and egg sacs to ensure early treatment. There is also an emerging concern following recent sightings of false widow spiders suggesting that they are moving further north due to milder conditions. Previously they have only been seen in the southern UK.


In warm commercial premises it is cockroaches, stored product insects and flies that pose a risk throughout the year. These pests are commonly associated with unsanitary conditions and can pose a public health risk.

Consideration needs to be given to the uncertainty and risks presented by climate change. Increasing average temperatures enhance the sustainability and spread of pests. The major concern is that the south of the UK may become warm enough to support disease spreading mosquitoes – and this is something that we will be keeping a close eye on in the future. Harlequin Ladybirds, a non-native species that first arrived in the UK in 2004, are another pest species that are rapidly increasing in the UK (they are the most invasive ladybird species in the world). Not only can they bite humans, producing an allergic reaction in some cases, but they pose a serious threat to our 47 species of native ladybirds.


Taking a proactive approach by being armed with knowledge and advice from pest elimination experts to spot potential problems and put preventative measures in place is the best way to protect your business.

  • Repair any structural damage – internal & external
  • Seal all gaps in building structure, including around pipes and around doors
  • Keep windows and doors closed or screened
  • Ensure thorough cleaning procedures are in place
  • Practising strict waste management and storage is crucial
  • Operate strict food and drink hygiene, even when outside. (Never leave cans of soft drink unattended outdoors - wasps can enter unseen and sting the mouth or throat)
  • Use measures to prevent birds nesting and landing on roofs and ledges of buildings
  • Bird fouling can be hazardous, including slip hazard, so cleaning services to remove fouling is highly important
  • Staff trained to spot bed bug activity is the best defence
  • Early sighting and treatment can help prevent large infestations later in the year