One of the last things you’d want to receive a phone call from your tenants about at this time of year is an infestation of pests in your property. Daniel Neves, aka The Terminator, has his top tips for preventing pests:
Neves is a vocational biologist and founder of Inoculand Ltd – a London-based pest control company with a dynamic approach to preventing pests.
So, why did you decide to start up your business?
The idea for Inoculand hit me while I was working for Lambeth Council as a pest control officer. I was shocked to find out that a huge number of companies – and even councils – were using temporary solutions to pest control, rather than looking for a more permanent option. So without hesitation, I started strategizing and designing treatments to stop pests once and for all – and Inoculand was born!
Top tips for preventing pests?
If you’re refurbishing your property, whether you’re installing a new kitchen, bathroom or converting your loft or basement, it’s crucial you proof your property properly. This involves making sure there are no holes or cracks on the outside and inside of the home – including entry points for utilities and pipes. Remember, mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a 5p coin!
I recently worked with a couple who had spent hundreds of thousands renovating and extending their property – and it looked absolutely stunning. But unfortunately, the builder hadn’t pest-proofed it thoroughly. Fast-forward five months and, as a result of one through the floor, the house was rife with rats who chewed through wiring and even the pipes. The couple ended up spending a lot more money than they’d anticipated to get their home back.
How can landlords or property owners save money with pest control?
This question leads on nicely from my last point, because prevention will always save you money! Cheap DIY or quick pest control solutions will only work for a short amount of time, and they’ll end up costing more in the long run.
Take expanding foam as example; it’s used by many trusted companies to block holes to stop mice, but foam only covers the visible area, and rodents can chew through it quite easily. Mice-proofing at Inoculand involves fully sealing critical areas with wire wool, wood and sometimes even metal plates. This guarantees effectiveness for the long-term.
Baiting versus proofing?
As a biologist, I can vouch that rodent-proofing is the most ecological, cost-effective and long-lasting solution. But to be extra safe, I would advise carrying out a round of baiting before proofing the property, so you make sure that no pests are left inside! If you have to bait several times per year, consider proofing your property.
What kind of poison do professional pest controllers use?
Bait has to be as appealing as food to rodents. I recommend using only high quality bait – Sorexa D, a BASF product, is our starting point. Mice love it, so they’ll go for it even when other food is available.
Are older properties more prone to pests?
You’ll often find woodworm activity in old buildings, which can be a huge hindrance when you want to sell up. If you notice small holes scattered across the surface of timber or furniture, it’s likely you have woodworm. I’d recommend getting an expert in to eradicate the problem before the insects cause real structural damage to your property.
Don’t let the bed bugs bite!
Bed bugs are a big problem, especially for landlords! I get a lot of calls from exasperated landlords who tell me they’ve cleaned, thrown away the mattress, replaced it with a new one, and the tenants are still complaining they’re getting bitten.
If you’re lucky enough to have lovely tenants, don’t let pests drive them out of the property. Regarding bed bugs, the first thing I’d say is that it’s generally an unnecessary expense to throw away beds or bedding – especially as there’s a high chance that any new mattresses, box springs or beds you bring into the home will quickly become re-infested. The money to replace a bed or mattress might better be spent on hiring a professional who will get rid of the pests and inject a sense of confidence in the tenant too. When one tenant leaves, it’s advised you check the mattress once again.
Whether you’ve been hit by a pest infestation in your property or not, it is vital that you follow this advice for preventing pests – particularly as Christmas approaches!