To help households out, the team at Cleanipedia analysed more than 430,000 pest observations in UK homes from the past decade on iNaturalist (the biodiversity database) , to discover the most commonly reported insects — plus where you are most likely to find them.
Not sure how to stop these pests invading your space? Here’s everything you need to know…
6 common house pests in the UK
1. Clothes moths
Clothes moths are pests that can destroy materials including wool, fur, silk, feathers, felt, and leather. While most moths won’t attack your clothes, there are two species that are prone to strike at these natural fabrics: the case-making clothes moth (Tinea pellionella) and the webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella), both of which are around 1cm long.
Got a moth infestation? One way to protect your clothing is to get your hands on moth repellant products for the home. From anti-moth storage bags to purifying air sprays, the are lots of ways to keep the pesky creatures at bay. Clothes moths are most likely to invade the home in June, so it’s always best to be prepared.
Much like their name implies, carpet beetles will sometimes invade carpets, particularly those made of thick wool. While they are best known for exposing threads from beneath the carpet, their larvae can eat holes into natural fibre items like wool, silk, and feathers. Carpet beetles are more prevalent in May.
A few ways to deter them include avoiding nature fibres in rugs and carpets, and opening drawers as they don’t like natural light.
Cockroaches can get into your home through a number of ways. Drawn to clothes stained with human sweat, food stains and laundry starch, cockroach waste can leave unsightly dark brown stains on fabric that can only be removed with bleach.
You are more likely to find cockroaches in January and August. You can easily keep them at bay by repairing any plumbing leaks and sealing cracks near doors and windows. If you are unsure of how to deal with an infestation, always seek the help of an expert.
‘At less than an inch in length, the silverfish is a tiny menace to your wardrobe,’ explain Cleanipedia. ‘They love chowing down on protein-packed fibres like cotton, silk, and linen, and are attracted to clothes with food and bodily fluid stains.’ Keep an eye open for silverfish in January and May.
While these curious critters prefer hotter environments, they relish on nibbling natural fibres rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and sugar. Keep a look out for them in hot, moist areas — such as boiler rooms or near water tanks. If you have these pests in the home, be sure to watch out for yellow stains on linens. Summer is primetime for these insects.
6. House crickets
House crickets, also known as acheta domesticus, can be easily identified by their light brown colour and the three dark bands across their heads. ‘The tiny house cricket has an oversized appetite for natural and synthetic fabrics, posing a disaster to not only clothes (preferably sweat-stained) but carpet and upholstery too,’ advise Cleanipedia. ‘They tend to roughen fabric as they feed and pull fibres loose.’
You’re likely to find them entering your home in July, thanks to the warmer weather.
How to clean surfaces and areas of the home that have been invaded by bugs
Alice Shaw-Beckett, Head of Content at Cleanipedia, explains: ‘After a bug infestation, you’ll be inclined to make sure any surfaces and areas they’ve touched are thoroughly cleaned. To do this, create a mixture of ½ cup of vinegar, ½ cup of water, 1 tsp lemon juice, and 5-7 drops of essential oil in a spray bottle.
‘This creates a natural all-purpose cleaner. Spray down all surfaces to eliminate any bacteria from the bugs and wipe with a microfibre cloth. Be sure to steam clean any carpets, floors and upholstery, as well as washing your bedding.’
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