Pests news from BPCA

25 February 2021

Ask the technical team March 2021


Rats next door, rodent carcass disposal, woodworm treatment and insect identification are all covered in this issue of Ask the BPCA technical team.

Ask the technical team anything if you are a BPCA member pest control questions answered


  • Local authorities are empowered to investigate when rodents are causing problems between neighbours
  • Rodent carcass disposal should be done in line with legislation and best practice even though options have dwindled
  • To survey woodworm in a structure, you need to have good knowledge of what and how to inspect, as not all timber is easily accessed
  • Getting assistance to identify a pest species helps you plan better treatments and aids CPD.

Subject: Rat problems in neighbouring properties

What can I do if I have a rat problem in a domestic property which is being worsened by the building next door?

Encourage your customer to speak to their neighbours, to try to solve the wider rat issue together. If this is not possible you should try to work with the local authority (LA) to find a solution.

The Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 (PDPA) states that LAs have to keep their districts free of rats and mice (so far as is reasonably practicable).

This is a statutory duty of any LA, which has enforcement officers to deal with this when complaints occur.

These officers have the power to investigate and serve notices on landowners and occupiers to control the rodent infestation, whether it be in a domestic or commercial property.

(Tracking gels or dusts can help you prove any rodent activity that is being shared with the neighbours!)

Subject: Best practice for dead rodent waste disposal

What is the best route for disposing of rodent carcasses?

Disposal of dead rodents was straightforward at one time, as most LA waste sites or hospitals with incinerators accepted the carcasses.

These options are fast disappearing for various reasons, and so it’s become necessary to have clearer disposal routes which preclude conflicts with current waste guidelines.

Domestic sites – small infestations (no more than around six bodies) may be managed by double bagging and disposal via the domestic system. Make sure your customer is happy to use their bins for this purpose.

Commercial sites – carcass disposal should be traceable (by yourself via a licenced incinerator contractor). Carcasses can be temporarily stored frozen to prevent decomposition. The options are:

  • Local authority waste sites – becoming increasingly difficult in some areas
  • Pet crematoria – the governing body for these sites confirms they can take small amounts, assessed by weight. They cannot take large quantities as planning regulations approve them primarily for the disposal of companion pets
  • Commercial waste contractors – many are willing to help, but you might need to do some research. BPCA members can get a discount with Waste Management Facilities.

Subject: Woodworm treatment and training

What’s the best way to treat woodworm (Anobium punctatum)?

The woodworm beetle of Anobium punctatum is significant because, given the right conditions, it can infest a wide variety of timber products, including structural building timbers, furniture and wooden ornaments.

Unchecked infestations can lead to severe structural weakening and eventually total collapse.

To survey such structures, you need to have good knowledge in what to survey and how, as not all timber is easily accessed and you need to be sure to ‘get it all’!

You should gain the right training to deal with woodworm. If it’s not something that you deal with often, you could sub-contract to a fellow BPCA member that has the relevant skills, using the Contract Sharing Network.

Also, the Property Care Association (PCA) is a good source of information on the topic.

Subject: Insect identification and treatment

Insects are present but I can’t identify them, should I still carry out a generic treatment?

Short answer: no.

Let’s say you have larder beetles but treat them as variegated carpet beetles. You will not gain control as you are not targeting properly or offering correct hygiene recommendations.

There is also a legal reason: how do you know which insecticide you can legally and effectively use? Labels will state which insects can be treated and so you need to have identified it before choosing your insecticide.

Not identifying is unprofessional and so you should seek help to identify the pest; there is no shame in doing so and it’s good CPD!

Employ a consultant or, if you’re a member, send the technical team an image.

Are you a BPCA member with a technical question?

Get in touch...
01332 294 288

Source: PPC102

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