Feature articles

20 August 2021

Ask the technical team August 2021


Field mice, bait box tampering, relocating wasps and reporting misuse of amateur pesticides are tackled in this issue of Ask the BPCA technical team.

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


  • No rodenticides in the UK are authorised for field mice
  • Relocating wasp nests can be tricky and dangerous
  • Bait boxes shouldn’t be tampered with, but your client may not be breaking any rules by doing so
  • Misuse of rodenticides can be reported.

Subject: Field mice in food production

Our client’s site has field mice outside, close to a high-risk food production area. What can we do?

The first task here is to assess the necessity of control. If you and your customer feel that action needs to be taken because of the high risk of ingress and food hygiene breaches, then you have some essential things to remember and consider.

Firstly, no rodenticides in the UK are authorised for use on field mice (of any species), only Mus domesticus, the house mouse. Your options are:

  • Change the environment to deter the mice (harbourage, cover, foliage, etc)
  • Housekeeping – remove food sources and attractants
  • Proofing – sealing holes that may allow ingress, gaps under doors, etc.

If these steps are not enough, you may consider the safe use of a break back trap programme (subject to an environmental risk assessment).

Subject: Bait box tampering

A client on a food site has put a note in our bait box to ensure that we’re checking them when we say we are. When challenged, they say they are required to do their due diligence and check that we’re doing our work correctly. Are they allowed to do this? How do I tell them to leave the boxes alone?

I am not sure you can. From a legal point of view, it may be debatable whether accessing a box like that, for a non-professional, is legal or not. After all, they are not using the contents of the bait box, they are just inspecting it.

You may feel that it is your property and so unauthorised access is ‘trespassing’.

However, I’m sure the customer will be unhappy at this suggestion; it may be better to talk to them to find out why they have chosen this method, then possibly educate them on the fact that you are not just a ‘box checker’.

You may also want to discuss your baiting strategy in detail, including your schedule for checking the bait boxes and explain what you’re doing to reassure them.

Subject: Relocating wasp nests

A client has asked me to relocate a wasp nest, and I’m considering offering it as a new service. How do I do it safely, and where should I put the nest?

Relocating them is possible figuratively but, in practice, it often goes wrong. When dealing with Vulgaris germanica, a few problems may be:

  • Nest structure - a wasp nest is fragile when of considerable size and (from experience of removing dead nests) it is hard to move them without severely damaging the integrity of the nest
  • Wasps will not take kindly to relocation – they will attack, and this could put you and others at risk
  • Where will you relocate it so that it is not putting anyone else in danger? A small, new nest may be easier to detach into a jar and relocate somewhere safe. If you have a larger established nest then relocating it will upset the worker wasps’ flight paths and cause confusion – this could result in increased activity and danger to those close by.

These are the things to consider but ultimately it is your decision whether you do it at all.

Subject: Misuse of amateur pesticides

I’ve spotted a member of the public doing something dangerous with rodenticide, and I want to report it. Who do I report it to? Can CRRU do anything?

Amateur-use rodenticides are not something that CRRU has involvement in. They can only deal with professional pest management, farmers, gamekeepers and local authorities.

If you suspect misuse of rodenticides from a member of the public, then you should report it to the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS).

Are you a BPCA member with a technical question?

Get in touch...

01332 294 288

Source: PPc104

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