Got a Listed Building in Herefordshire – Having a Problem With Pests?
This week we’re looking at Pests in Historic Buildings whether the property is a Residential Home or a Charitable or Private Business Venture.
We are asking ourselves: Why is prevention the key to Pest Control in listed buildings?
Our Top 3 Answers to this question are:
Prevent buildings and collections being damaged by pests
Resolve any problems before they reach crisis point
Target control measures to avoid wide-spread chemical treatments
Our top tips for implementing a pest management program in a business or charity:
Identify key staff
Train your staff to recognise the signs of pests
Make sure your key staff can prioritise areas that need addressing
Establish preventative pest management systems and controls
Know when to call in the professional pest controllers before a pest problem damages your building or collections
Do you own or run an historic building whether as a residential, business or charitable entity?
So what can listed building owners or managers do on a practical level?
Keep pests out by proofing the property, for example by installing chimney cowls and bird spikes or mesh covers
Deny pests harbourage, food and water
Make sure you can recognise the main species of pest and be aware of the issues or damage they can cause
Have in place a pest management programme which includes regular monitoring
Improve your overall environment by carrying our regular maintenance
Maintain good housekeeping and hygiene
Review your strategies regularly to see how they can be improved
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
Seek advice and guidance from a professional pest controller – they’ve usually seen it all so will be best placed to advise you on what works and what doesn’t and, if they haven’t come across the problem before they will have access to expert knowledge and tried and tested solutions.
What sort of pest issues do listed / historic buildings experience?
Damage to materials including animal skins, fur, feathers, vellum, wool, parchment and hair. This may include items such as soft furnishings, furniture and collections that might include items such as costumes, dolls, rugs, curtains, taxidermy mounts, paintings and books to name just a few.
Older buildings can contain dust and mildew which are ideal for some pests. Often, large historic buildings are difficult to keep clean which may also encourage pests.
Older, larger listed buildings can be costly and difficult to maintain leaving them open to pests, particularly larger pests that can more easily access them such as birds and rats.
Other problems that create ideal environments for pests include:
Blocked chimneys and fireplaces
Gaps between walls and ceilings
Empty and unused spaces such as under storage or display cabinets
Material linings on boxes and door strips such a felt and wool
Old wasps’, bees’ and bird nests (often in attic spaces and eaves)
Old ventilation and heating ducts
Unused rooms, cellars, tunnels and secret spaces
Furniture with hidden cracks and crevices
A word on Bats
Bats are quite often found in historic buildings. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 provides protection for all species of bat found in the UK.
This means that it is ILLEGAL TO KILL OR DISTURB BATS IN THEIR ROOST.
If you have bats in your property you must consult a professional pest controller or the Bat Conservation Trust for advice.
To sum up, owning an historic building usually comes at a high price – don’t allow pests to increase your costs.