The Infestation Renunciation

The common troubles with pests in facilities across the UK

Every building attracts pests, and in order to stay compliant, very strict health and safety guidelines must be followed at all times. Cockroaches, flies and rats are the most common critters sharing our office space in the UK, but Britain is also home to more than 30 mosquito species – with the Asian Tiger Mosquito being the most worrying – and plenty of feral pigeons, who carry diseases like travelling baggage!

The Culprits

The Common Fruit Fly – Drosophila melanogaster

These little guys tick multiple boxes on the No-No checklist. Noisy, irritating and extremely unhygienic, flies contaminate food, work surfaces and equipment as they move between food sources. 

Fruit flies can lay up to 500, and once-hatched, their larvae will feed directly on over-ripe or rotting food and fermenting liquids (like sour milk). It also takes just 7 days for those little larvae to become fully-fledged fruit flies themselves. 

How do I stop them?

Infestation takes place quickly, which is why cleanliness is so critical. Cleaning staff should be provided with a full cleaning schedule which covers floors, windows, ceilings, workspaces and eating areas. This schedule should be regular, continuous and monitored efficiently. Waste should be removed regularly; and if bins are overflowing, waste should be removed at once. 

Fly screens and sustainable fly control units are extra precautions which can go a long way. 

The German Cockroach – Blattella germanica

Funnily enough, the favoured haunt of the German cockroach is inside your kettles – so watch what you’re putting into your tea mugs! Signs of habitation are easier to see that the insects, so look out for:

  • Black or brown cylindrical droppings
  • Unpleasant odours lingering in humid areas
  • Brown, irregular shaped smear marks
  • Shed skins

One pair of cockroaches can produce up to 10 000 offspring in a year. That’s 27 a day, more than 1 every hour. Your office could have a new cockroach by the time you finish reading this. They are known to carry salmonella, dysentery and gastroenteritis; so identify and rid yourself immediately. 

How do I stop them?

Constant vigilance is your automatic first step. Clean your coffee machine, kettle, teapot (etc.) as regularly as possible, sweep and clean surrounding areas and dispose of waste efficiently. 

On top of that, there are sprays that you can keep handy, gel baits and dusting powders; all of which are safe to use and limited in their ability to damage your work environment. 

The Asian Tiger Mosquito – Aedes albopictus (and mosquitoes in general) 

A small black-and-white biting machine, the AT-Mozzie is known to carry deadly diseases like dengue fever and chikungunya. Eggs and larvae were found at different sites in England in 2016 and 2017 – so the threat remains! 

In general, though, mosquitoes are an annoyance and are considered just as pesky as other pests. 

How do I stop them?

Collected water attracts mosquitoes, so the best first step is audit and acknowledge any and all areas where water collects and possibly stagnates. These will be breeding sites and should be regularly cleaned out. 

The feral pigeon – Columba livia domestica

Found everywhere, the common street pigeon is many people’s greatest annoyance. Not only are they the self-proclaimed transport extraordinaires for diseases and parasites, their guano are acidic and can corrode metals, stonework and brickwork. Their guano is also home to a large collection of unworthy pathogens like ornithosis, listeria and E. coli – to name a few. AND – when dry – their guano can become airborne and lead to respiratory problems like psittacosis and the cryptococcus fungus. 

How do I stop them?

All UK bird species are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; meaning that a trusted pest control specialist is necessary to control this issue. However, there are programmes to train and educate internal staff on the correct cleaning methods and which equipment to use. 

Rats and Mice – Rattus & Mus

Finally, we have our rodents – assured by mutual silent agreement to be the absolute worst of all pests. These can be the most damaging pests in a work environment; spreading disease and coming with a built-in gnaw-reflex which they love to use at every opportunity. 

Part of their biological programming is to keep their teeth manageable – a feat which requires consistent, eternal chewing. This presents a major fire hazard in terms of cabling and electrical equipment. 

How do I spot them?

Rodents come with a strong smell of ammonia, and are noisy creatures – always scrabbling and scurrying about. In terms of droppings, rats excrete up to 40 dark, pellet-shaped droppings per day, while mice produce about 80 oval-shaped droppings. Rats excretions are much larger than that of mice. 

How do I stop them?

Ensure that all food is sealed and stored properly at all times. Utilise tupperware, sealed bags and so on when doing so. Regular checks should be made around the building to spot obvious holes in the facility. These should be sealed efficiently; using caulk, wire wool, metal kick plates or cement. 

Prevention is always better than a cure

This adage holds true for pest control in facilities too. Instead of having to deal with the horrors above, the best thing an FM can do is prevent infestation occurring at all. At all times of the year you should be alert for the early signs of infestation. With proper schedules and maintenance plans though, infestation should be a low-priority issue. 

However, some general advice for year-round infestation prevention:


This is a time for rats and mice as they look for adequate shelter in the colder months. They are excellent climbers and can squeeze through a gap the size of a penny. 

  • Repair all structural damage during winter, external and internal. Pay close attention to gaps which could provide invitations to rodents. Seal these gaps sufficiently. 


Birds and flying insects use spring as their launching platform to bring misery and pestilence amongst humanity. 

  • Keep your eyes open for early warning signs. Manage all waste very strictly. Take measures to ensure that birds cannot land or nest on your facilities or premises. Watch out for slip-risk areas to do with bird droppings. Have sufficient cleaning services ready and waiting. 


This is the season of disaster! Insects are in full swing and every animal is out and about looking to make the most of the sunshine. 

  • Be extra cautious with food waste and food-related hygiene. Enforce washing of hands and disposal of food with severity. Clean everything thoroughly and regularly; ensure that your cleaning schedules are adhered to efficiently. Train your staff to look out for infestation signs!


Spiders seem to favour the post-summer season, but as with the others, vigilance is key. Other critters will be looking for excuses to shack up in your facilities!

  • Seek advice from pest elimination experts!

How can Voltix Services help me?

Voltix Services is a fully-fledged facility maintenance service provider and consultancy, with expertise in compliance, legislation and common practice in a wide range of fields. Voltix Services offers Estate Management as a primary service, and has the professional expertise to assist you with any pest or infestation queries or concerns that you may have. Get in touch today.