Feature articles

26 November 2020

Ask the technical team December 2020


Proactive squirrel control, multiple rodenticide usage, test and trace 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


  • The grey squirrel is a common pest to look for in the colder weather
  • Two different rodenticides in one bait station may not comply with label requirements
  • Insect ID services are useful for technicians struggling with a specimen
  • A Covid-19 test and trace procedure isn’t required, but it’s good practice to have one.

Subject: Winter squirrel control

Which pest species can I proactively advise my customer about?

With the onset of lower temperatures, some pests which are not already hibernating or overwintering will seek to find an alternative to the harsh reality of UK winters!

One common invader into homes is the grey squirrel, via faults in the soffits and fascias of buildings.

Let your customers know if there is a risk of this occurring by pointing out things like damage to these areas of the roof, overhanging branches (allowing squirrels to jump onto the roof), shrubs growing up the side of buildings and any other area that may allow easy access.

Prevention is better than cure but if you have to treat a squirrel problem with pesticides, you must read the label. Poisons for grey squirrels (warfarin) can only be used internally. Live capture traps or kill traps will help you remove unwanted squirrels. Remember to see the BPCA guidance and codes for using such traps –

Subject: Mix and match rodenticides

Can I use two rodenticide products in one tamper-proof bait station?

A popular question with several answers. The short version is ‘no’ but here are the longer answers:

  • Product label – the way the label describes how to administer the rodenticide (directions of use) does not mention that it is correct to ‘mix’ different products in the same box, so it could be a problem.
  • Application rates – the label will mention application rates; different products may have different application rates and recommendations. Mixing products may not fully comply with the label of each product in this regard.
  • Reporting – in terms of marking where and what is in your toxic baiting points (on customers’ sites), if there are two different products or actives in the box then it is difficult to properly report on this without confusion. How do we track what’s in the box correctly? If two different actives are in one box, how would an untrained eye identify each in the case of an emergency?

Subject: Insect ID

What do I do if I’m having trouble identifying an insect?

Insect identification can be a big challenge, as we come across so many species and many look similar. Some of these will be public health insects and some just beneficial insects wandering in from the garden. To ensure your customer receives great service, it’s important that you know what you are facing so that you understand what needs to be done.

Although members of the BPCA technical team are not trained entomologists, we can offer a level of identification assistance. However, on occasions, it is necessary to pass specimens on to a trained entomologist for further investigation. Speak to your suppliers, as they may be able to offer you this service.

We also run an insect ID course, for pest technicians who are looking to build their knowledge of insect pests –

Subject: Test and trace

Is it the law for all businesses to have a test and trace policy in place?

Currently, there is no requirement for trades to have a test and trace system. However, BPCA believes it’s good practice to implement a procedure to help stop the spread of the virus and protect your staff and clients.

We’ve written some guidance that should help you if you’re considering putting together a test and trace procedure.

It’s available to everyone, not just BPCA members, as minimising the spread of Covid-19 is everyone’s job.

For more information and to download the guidance, visit 

Are you a BPCA member with a technical question?

Get in touch...

01332 294 288

Source: PPC101

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