We’re never alone, even when we are alone. Your home may be scrubbed from top to toe, but scratch the surface and there are a myriad of creepy crawlies that share our space with us.
Fortunately, most of them are pretty harmless, and as long as you maintain adequate standards of hygiene you can co-exist with them quite happily, rarely even realising that they are there. However, if a property is neglected and in need of attention, then there are probably a myriad of insects and bugs and infestations that, if left untreated, can cause serious damage to the fabric of the property, and to the health of its inhabitants.
We’ve identified some of the most common for you, and highlighted ways in which you can overcome their presence and secure your property as an infestation-free environment.
Woodworm – which are really beetles
Woodworm are actually the larvae of woodboring beetles, and there are a wide range that have different tastes and life cycles to make sure that any and every type of home can be affected at any time.
If left untreated, woodworm can weaken the integrity of timber structures, which could in time cause them to collapse.
Although woodworm are not in themselves harmful to humans, there are two nasty parasites linked to them that can cause swelling of the skin and severe rashes. Theses parasites – sceroderma domesticum and pyemotes ventricosus – are actually must more damaging to the larvae themselves, paralysing them and then laying their eggs on top of them!
To detect if you have a woodworm infestation, check the surface area of your timber. If it is full of holes about a millimetre across, then that is a sure sign that woodworm have made their home there. It may not necessarily indicate their current residence, and you should call in the experts.
Carpenter bees – handle with care
Carpenter bees love to burrow into old, dead timbers, whether old dead tree trunks or the wooden trim on older structures. They create perfectly formed holes that look like drill holes, but which are actually quite damaging to the timber.
Due to the increasingly endangered nature of our bee populations, you want to make sure that carpenter bees are dealt with in a way which preserves them rather than destroys them. A good beekeeper will happily come and remove the bees for you without killing anything.
Silver fish are tiny wingless insects that scuttle from dark place to dark place. Although not dangerous, they can trigger allergies, or cause respiratory issues. The silverfish scales, which it sheds naturally, contain a protein called tropomyosin. Combined with other allergens, and the silverfish droppings, this could prove an irritant to someone with allergies.
More worryingly, they do cause significant damage to buildings, and items within the building. Signs of a silverfish infestation include feeding marks, such as holes and notches, yellow stains or scales, and tiny black pellets which are its droppings.
Our constant night time companions – bed bugs
Let’s finish on a bug that will truly make everyone’s skin prickle with disgust – bed bugs. They share our beds with us, and at night suck on our blood, leading to a number of health issues, including skin rashes and allergic reactions, as well as the psychological impact of knowing that you are sharing your private space with this invisible interloper.
You can get rid of bed bugs by using pesticides approved for inside application, and making sure that you clean and vacuum your bedroom on a regular basis. If the problem persists, call your landlord, or contact a pest control expert.