2018: A year in pests

Rat numbers have been rising inexorably across East Anglia and beyond for a number of years, accordi

Rat numbers have been rising inexorably across East Anglia and beyond for a number of years, according to Command Pest Control Picture: KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/PA - Credit: PA

Peter Meaney of Command Pest Control at Preston St Mary, near Bury St Edmunds, explains the facts behind increases and decreases in a number of common pests last year – including a big rise in wasp numbers


Wasps - Credit: Simon Parker


There was a huge increase in wasps in 2018, which just not expected after a really low number of wasp nests reported in 2017. No one really knows the reason, especially after a cold snap in February, and a rather strange weather pattern during the rest of the year. The Beast from the East brought the heaviest snow in some parts of the east for 30 years, with February the coldest in the region for 22 years. March was the wettest since 2008. June was the driest since the early 1960s and July the second hottest summer on record, with October joint sunniest.


They have been steadily increasing in numbers for many years now. Generally we think to climate change and an abundance of food. The lack of harsh sustained cold weather means their numbers have not really been culled. We were hoping after a cold February that there would have been a reduction but this is not the case.

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Over the last five or so years we have seen a general explosion in mice in all areas and again climate may be a factor in their increase. We have been recording mice in some premises where there has never been issues before.

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Cluster flies

We saw a decrease in these overwintering flies last year and their appearance is in the spring and autumn. The cold February may have had an effect on them.

Saw toothed grain beetles, grain weevils and foreign grain beetles

In 2018 we saw a general increase but this is due to the wet March and then very warm summer months – conditions they thrive in.

Harlequin ladybirds

2018 was a normal year for these insects and there was not a noticeable increase over other years.


We appeared to deal with fewer than normal flea complaints in 2018. This is strange considering the very warm summer weather when we would have expected high numbers of reports.


2018 was a normal year for these insects with no real alarming numbers recorded.

Clothes moths

Again year on year there seems to be a large increase in their numbers and 2018 was no different. Not only carpets but wool clothing is attacked by the larvae of these moths and the destruction can be alarming to domestic clients.

Carpet beetles

There were small increases with these insects but not a significan increase. When they do become established, control can be difficult.


We don’t actively control bees unless they are a high risk to health, such as around a school or nursing home and if there was a possibility of people being stung. Sometimes they come down chimneys and enter rooms and then there is a high risk of stings. We always either contact a bee keeper or give bee keepers’ details to clients to see if they can remove the nest or swarm before considering treatment.

Garden ants

2018 was a normal year for these insects but there were no major reports.