rat in a bin

Pest control in Reading for the summer of 2022 

It’s a typically English thing to make comment and complain about the weather; it’s a fact that we as a nation are obsessed with it and rightly so as we have an unpredictable maritime weather system, no BBQ, picnic or festival can be arranged without checking weather forecasts for the preceding few days, and several times on the day in question. 


Well, this year has been especially hot and dry and memories have been rekindled of 1976 although I was ten back then so a very different summer altogether, but this weather has had a knock-on effect for pest control Initially the early warmth gave the wasp populations a boost and so we saw a lot of early activity and nests that grew rapidly in size. Our busiest months for wasp treatments tend to be in July and August, this year it was centred on June. August actually saw callouts for wasps tail off as we went through the month with just a few calls each day at the end of the month, something which we’d expect in September. 
A lot of the wasp nests that we treated had new Queens being produced in July, meaning that many of these have finished worker production and have now started to die out. This behavioural change maybe due to the exceptional dry period and that fact that all insect species have been affected by a lack of water. 
Looking at vegetation we can see that fruits and berries are smaller than normal and dropping from the trees much earlier this year, likewise a lot of vegetation such as nettles that supports a wide range of insect life died off due to the drought meaning less food for the wasps. 
The physical size of the wasp nests has been reduced as well and I wonder if this may lead to fewer Queen wasps emerging which could impact next year when we’d expect to see a reduction in numbers so far fewer nests? 


We have seen a lot of requests for moth treatments and flea treatments this year which I suspect is done to climate change; warmer winters means that far more of these insects survive to breed again in the new year = pest population growth 101.  
Wool has become cheaper to the point where many farmers have composted the material rather than sell it as the transportation cost of diesel alone makes it unviable, is this the end of the wool carpet? 
clothes moth

Bed bugs 

Another clear anomaly this year has been the increase of bed bugs; now that lockdown is behind us and we can travel pretty much as we did before the pandemic, we are seeing a rise in requests for these treatments right across the County. Whether we’re travelling to further destinations or just more people are travelling to the same areas, bed bug treatments are definitely increased this year. 
bed bugs


2021 saw a cold damp spring and this meant that many oak trees failed to pollinate; these majestic trees are wind pollenated and this type of spring washes the pollen out of the air. What this meant for squirrels was that the winter was a hard one with few stores of food, the knock-on effect to that was they missed their first breeding season in late winter / early spring.  
We usually get a lot of calls for squirrels in lofts between February and April, when a say lots we can be taking traps from house to house, and they’ll not be returned to the store until June. This year we had eight cases of squirrels which is a massive reduction; as cute as they are squirrels will shred all the loft insulation, fill the loft with faeces and gnaw through electric wiring. Out of the three rodent species that we deal with they are the most destructive and truly a pest. 
This year has been good for acorns on the larger more established oaks and so I’d expect to see a return to normal for spring, in fact as I write this blog, we’re seeing young female squirrels starting to enter lofts as they establish their territory in readiness for the breeding season, which if we get a mild winter will probably start in January around the Reading area. 


Lastly rats, we have seen a fairly steady demand for rat treatments across the area and if anything, the weather has had little to no effect on these animals, overall the occurrence of rats is increasing year on year.  
A hot, dry summer will not reduce the rat population of Reading as they are gifted scavengers and will find food and water with little problem.  
The only thing that has happened is that they’ve stayed out of peoples lofts due to the heat, trust me as I decided that in the middle of the heatwave it’ll be a good idea to order a skip, clear out the loft and re-insulate it.  
I suspect this will now change as we go into cooler, wetter weather and if they have been breeding through the summer then numbers are going to be up this year. 
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