When it comes to controlling pests such as mice and rats, you need well-trained, experienced staff with a thorough local knowledge.
Look no further than Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s own in-house team.
Based near Ravenscourt Park, the Pest Control department is a tight-knit, reliable and trustworthy crew offering a professional service at a competitive price and boasting more than 60 years’ expertise in the specialist field between them.
Stephen Hare, H&F’s Pest Control Manager, said: “We’re an experienced team; we’ve been around quite a while! We know the area.”
The team has been busier than ever during lockdown, with the warm spring and summer contributing to a rise in rodent activity.
“It seems to be a consequence of a run of mild winters as well as the effects of the pandemic,” said Stephen. “We’ve certainly had more sightings of rats.”
The good news is, the crew is equal to the task. “We have the local expertise, and we’re locally based,” said Stephen. “Other teams come and go, but my team is well-established, and morale is good.
“We know the particular problems and issues faced by residents of the borough, and our knowledge is second to none when it comes to dealing with pests.”
With the latest equipment and most effective products, the council’s pest controllers are also highly competitive when it comes to pricing jobs.
A course of pest control treatment for mice, for example, costs £121, a firm price which covers three separate visits to the affected property.
If several neighbours are affected by the problem, discounts can be given. Stephen explained: “If we’re parked up at the property, and the chap upstairs also needs help then we can offer a 10% discount, or if – say – a landlord or landlady needs treatment for several flats at the same location.”
Stephen, who was born and grew up in Acton, estimates that between 60 and 70% of work in a typical week is tackling mice.
After that, rats and bedbugs vie for second and third place on the list of H&F borough’s most common pest problems.
The bedbug issue is one that has been a surprise to the council’s pest control team. “I’m not sure why bedbugs are still such a problem because in lockdown you’d expect the opposite if people follow the guidelines and stay at home,” said Stephen.
“It seems to be a particular problem in west London, as I’ve talked to pest control colleagues in other parts of the capital, and their bedbug rate isn’t especially high.”
Bedbugs are not attracted to dirt, but crop up regularly in buildings with multiple occupancy such as blocks of flats, hostels and hotels.
To tackle the pests, the council team turns up wearing full protective gear and uses an insecticidal spray after the householder has stripped bedsheets and blankets.
As with all treatments, the H&F team provides detailed information in advance, to maximise the effectiveness.
With years of experience dealing with inquiries, the council’s call centre is an important advice centre in its own right, equipped to give assistance to householders. Preparation guides help residents get ready for the experts’ visit.
Wasps are a seasonal pest from summer through to October, while another on the pest list, pharaoh ants, are a tropical non-indigenous species which thrive in warm, centrally heated conditions. “They’re not like your normal common garden ants,” said Stephen. “They can be a nuisance.”
The council’s fleet of three pest control vans is based at the Clockwork Building at the Great West Road end of Beavor Lane, between Ravenscourt Park and the river in Hammersmith.
Pest Control lists many businesses as contract customers in the borough, tackling problems as they arise at – for example – restaurants, law offices, estate agents and hairdressers.
Timed appointments are offered throughout the week, and in the case of rats and mice, pest controllers always revisit premises to ensure the treatment has been effective and to collect any unused pesticide to minimise risk to children or animals.
Want to read more news stories like this? Subscribe to our weekly e-news bulletin.