Categories
Spiders

How to Spot a False Widow Spider

Around our houses, we may find different types of insects. Some of them are more dangerous than others, some like black widows. You may be surprised that these insects can appear near your house, and even see them in your house. However, once this happens you really must make sure is that type of arachnid, since there are copycats to what black widows are. This group is formed by different species of insects that have similar characteristics that resemble one of the most venomous arachnids in the world.

We’re going to help you spot the small differences and details in order not to panic when you find out that there are these kinds of bugs in your house. Remember, some spiders are very dangerous, so it is a great idea to hire pest control companies in London to deal with it.

What do Black Widow look like?

First, you need to know how does a Black Widow look like. Regarding size, they are small, depending on the gender, usually females are a bit larger. Their main characteristic is that they have an hourglass shaped ventral surface, typically red. Males can also have several red stripes along their bodies. They’re usually brown when they’re starting to develop, but once their grown they have a shiny black colour which stands out.

What do False Black Widows look like?

You must know that it is not only one type of spider, but these are formed by a group of them. However, most of them have basic similarities that can make you think these are real black widows. Regarding colour, they all are brown or black, reaching up to 32 mm (size of a small fingernail) including their legs. As black widows have an hourglass on their abdomen, these types can also have markings like that, but rather having a shape, they have white or lighter bands around them among other special markings that each individual species has. Sometimes you might not even find them at all since some of them fade or are just missing, especially in grown adults. Also, their behaviour might vary between species. Here we have the most common species you’ll find in the UK

Noble False Widow (Steatoda Nobilis)

Steatoda Nobilis

It is one that share the most resemblance with a real Black Widow. They can reach up to 32 mm, including their legs and are oval shaped with a very shiny look to it. Instead of having red markings, they have cream markings on their abdomen and their legs are reddish or orange.

Another of their characteristics is that they don’t tend to have nests around your house, but they tend to create webs for them to catch their prey, which really contributes to humans as pests like mosquitoes are their favourite meal, which decreases the chances of getting diseases by their bites.

In terms of behaviour, they will try and get to the highest place possible and there start hunting their prey. It is very uncommon to see one of them near humans as they’re not interested in them. Nonetheless, they can inflict a painful bite when they seem to be cornered, squashed, or must act upon an aggression they’ve received. If you get one of their bites, it is not going to be dangerous at all, you might only need to use some ointment and try to cover the bite. Use ice packs to reduce the swelling. You might feel a little bit of pain and some itching, but nothing out of the ordinary.

False widow spider (Steatoda Paykulliana)

Steatoda Paykulliana

This one look pretty like a real black widow as they have a very scandalous band on their abdomen almost identical to the red hourglass shape on a black widow’s, but this one is bright yellow. Sometimes the pattern can be orange, red or white. They’re very little as they reach up to 13 mm in length and if you find them in the UK is because they have been imported from the Mediterranean as they aren’t a very common species. They tend to hide under rocks and not live near humans.

Cupboard spider (Steatoda grossa)

Steatoda grossa

These types of false widow spiders have taken over the UK. It is common to find them in houses, especially in places that are dark and damp. Sometimes, they might hide under furniture or low corners to find insects they can hunt and keep on feeding. Also, it won’t attack humans as they’re docile and only focus on their prey. Regarding appearance, they stray away a little from what a black widow looks like. They reach up to 10 mm and on their abdomen, they tend to have markings though most of them are missing or faded in the darkest specimens.

Rabbit Hutch spider (Steatoda bipunctata)

Steatoda bipunctata

They can measure up to 7 mm and have a white band that goes from their thorax to their abdomen. This line is difficult to be seen in male specimens as it can be very light or can be missing in female specimens. Their favourite places to live are in dark areas such as pet houses, tree trunks, debris found in gardens, among others. In those places, they like to hunt and create some webs to trap their prey. They’re harmless to humans, so you won’t be in danger if one of them bites you.

False widow spiders vs Black widow spiders

Their main differences come in terms of appearance. If you see that there is a spider in your house, check if it is really a black widow before you do something about is as it might be a false one. Black widows are larger and darker than false widows. They’re brownish and have special markings that state a difference.

 Also, remember that they’re not aggressive towards humans and won’t attack unless they have been cornered or squashed, though black widows will be always vigilant towards humans and are very venomous, which their lookalikes are not, the worst thing that can happen is to get an allergic reaction.

Categories
insect

Biting or Stinging Insects in the UK and How to Prevent a Bite or a Sting

Around the UK there are different types of insects. Some of them can be seen during the day, outside your house and others inside it. Most of them share similar characteristics and some are way different from others; however, they share an important thing: most of them bite.

Being bitten by an insect is not pretty. Regularly, bites are not as dangerous as we think they are, but they are quite painful depending on the insect that gives you one. We’re going to talk about all the insects that are found in the UK which can give you an unpleasant surprise with their bites and learn how to prevent them.

Biting insects

There are several insects that sting or bite in the UK. We’ll mention the most common ones.

Ants

Ants are everywhere. You can find them inside your house, in your backyard or garden in big colonies looking out for food. Most ants don’t bite, as they’re just trying to forage, but some of them like fire ants do bite, and it is quite painful; however, these are small insects, and they don’t have strong toxins, so it is not as though your skin will fall, it is more of an itching or burning sensation in the area that surrounds the bite.

Fleas

Parasitic insects that seem very common in the UK are fleas. They jump very high and can jump their way into their host. They tend to look for animals as their main source of food; however, they sometimes can use humans in their search for an appropriate host.

You might feel a bit of itching, blister, or a rash in the area where you were bitten. Specially since they like to bite in clusters of three, so they might be together. If you’ve seen that your pet has fleas, then make sure to check up on your legs, ankles, or feet to see whether you’ve been bitten.

Bed bugs

These insects live in the darkest places around your house and near your bed. They can go from host to host like fleas, and they live off your blood. They’re parasites and like to bite their prey at night when they’re sleeping. It is quite common to find blood stains near places they have fed.

They do not have a particular pattern of biting, they generally do it in zigzag or scattered around. You will feel itchiness and discomfort in the areas where you have been bitten, the most common areas where you can find bites are arms, legs, neck, and face.

Ticks

Sometimes they might be found in pets as they live off blood, but that doesn’t stop them from biting you. They’re small, and they will crawl over your skin until they find the perfect place to bite you. These insects are very dangerous as they’re capable of transmitting diseases like Lyme disease which it turns out to be serious. Their bites aren’t as dangerous, you will have a rash, itchiness, and pain in the area where you were bitten.

Horseflies

A horsefly is not as common as a normal fly; however, they have a very painful bite that feels as though you are being ripped by their mandibles. They can’t transmit diseases though, so you don’t have to worry about that. You will feel discomfort and the area where you were bitten will be swollen and red.

Mosquitoes

One of the insects that kills more people around the world is the mosquito. This insect can fly and will bite you to get your blood as their meal. They’re visible to the naked eye and if you are in a place where there are a lot of them around you, be careful. They can transmit malaria, which is one of the most dangerous diseases in the world and can lead to death, among others, of course. Furthermore, they’re common all over the world, and their bite is very noticeable, as you might have a lump and redness around the area where you were bitten.

Wasps

Wasps do not bite but they sting. These animals are common around summertime so getting stung isn’t very rare. When they sting, you’ll start feeling a sharp pain in the area, it might be harsh at the beginning, but it will come down as time goes by. It is crucial to know if you’ve been stung as many people are allergic to wasps and can get a serious reaction from it.

Bees

These insects are like wasps. They leave their sting once they’re done with it and proceed to die. If a person that is allergic to these insects gets stung, it might cause a very harsh reaction and that person is in serious peril. Also, each time you get stung, symptoms will change and become worse. Symptoms go from having a rash, pain, swelling around the area and redness.

How to prevent a bite or a sting

First, most of them are flying insects so having nets in your window panels, so they can’t enter your property or any rooms. Another thing you can do is to cover your legs with long sleeved trousers, so you can avoid fleas and ticks, high boots are also recommended. Getting rid of bugs is the best solution so, hire pest control services London and the can help you.

If you are outside and see a bee or a wasp, try to stay calm and not move or try to kill them because they might get angry. Of course, it is necessary to get help if you’ve been stung. Also, if you wear strong scented perfumes, body lotions, deodorants, or any other products for your skin, this might attract insects so try to hide it as much as possible.

Plants in your garden may attract insects so be careful when you’re manipulating them and try to remove rubbish and water from your premises, this can stop them from coming near your home.

Categories
Squirrels

How to Get Rid of Grey Squirrels in Loft or Attic

Squirrels are rodents that people consider are cute. When you see them in your backyard or near you, you do not feel threatened or have a negative thought; however, these are called invasive pests, and you don’t want them near your roof, loft, or attic as they will have a negative impact.

What’s the negative impact that they have? First, they’re invasive, and they go all the way in destroying your furniture, gnawing on wood surfaces making sure that they end up being unusable, and more so, contaminating potable water kept inside tanks with their stools and urine. It is not nice to find out about this situation, so when you know something has been going on, it is time to act and avoid dealing with the trouble much further.

Signs that there are squirrels in loft or attic

If you want to know if there are grey squirrels in your loft or attic, the first thing that you need to know about is their behaviour. They tend to be more active at night and will do almost everything before sunrise. So, if you hear stumbling and loud noises at night, you might probably need to check it out. Also, if you have done some investigating by yourself, you might find some droppings around areas they have visited, however, you have to make sure they are squirrels’ droppings as most of them look like other rodents’.

Another way to know if they have been visiting you, is constantly spotting them around your garden, fence, or just near places that they can use to get to the loft or attic. Also, sometimes they will peel trees’ bark, so make sure all trees around don’t have any damage to them.

How to get rid of grey squirrels in loft or attic

Once you are sure that you are visited constantly by these pests, you must get rid of them as fast as possible. You want to avoid having them at home as you have seen how destructive they can be with things. There are different ways to get rid of them. We’ll talk about the most effective ones, but it is better if you get help from a pest control company near you.

Squirrel Repellent

Regarding repellent, there are many ways in of sending squirrels away, even though some of them may not linger enough to work for a long time. For example, one of the most effective ones is ammonia. This has a strong smell and soaking a towel with it for a while and then putting it in the spot where they nest will have them go away as soon as possible. However, sometimes, it is used with other repellents to cover each other weaknesses and maximise their results.

If you don’t have ammonia at home, there are others like peppermint oil, mint scented cleaners will also work as rodents have very sensitive sense of smell and won’t come near spicy smells. This is a natural solution but remember that sometimes it might not be as effective as other ways.

Turn on the lights you have in your loft or attic

As we have said before, grey squirrels are active at night, so having a light inside your attic or loft can really make the difference. Most of them feel uncomfortable if there is a light that exposes them to their natural predators and might not want to return if they seem vulnerable. If you have found a dry, which is the name of their nest, it is effortless to find a lamp or put a light directly to it, which will deter grey squirrels from it as they won’t likely stay and start looking for another shelter.

Make sure your attic or loft is noisy

When you think of it, if your house is infested by grey squirrels, they are going to make sure you hear loud noises in your attic or loft. Ironically, if you start making loud sounds in the place, they are staying you’ll scare them off because they dislike it. And not only that, is that they will think that there are people inside and will be forced to bail and go to another place. Of course, you don’t need to turn it up a lot, if they can hear it in the attic or loft, it is fine.

Remove nests you see

Another way of keeping them away is to remove any nests that you see. Some of them might be on trees near your loft or attic, and they seem to get there by climbing trees. Make sure there are no animals living in it before destroying it because birds can also use it. Once it is destroyed completely, squirrels will not get to it.

Use traps to catch them

The last resource to get rid of grey squirrels in loft or attic is the use of traps. Remember that some of them are humane and don’t kill the animal but trap it, so it might be better that way. However, you need to see a specialist that can tell you whether it is legal or not to set a trap. If you have spoken to them, then proceed to select the trap. It is better if you pick one where the squirrel can live.

Pick the best bait for them, in some cases peanut butter is the best bait since it is not solid enough for squirrels to grab it and move it, so they will have to go and get inside the trap. Also, it is important to think about the position where it is set, it is better if you put it near the hole, it enters, so it can be trapped quick. You must make sure you look over the traps because if the squirrel is trapped for a long time, it can basically die.

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