The commonest species that invades UK houses is the Black Garden Ant, which is actually very dark brown. The worker ants, which are likely to enter properties when foraging for food, are 3 to 5mm in length.
All ants have the main divisions of the body (head, thorax and abdomen) distinctly separated by very narrow waists. They also have a sharp elbow joint in their antennae
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A once common pest of slum dwellings, the incidence of bed bugs is now much reduced by improved standards of hygiene. They still occur with some regularity, particularly in multi-occupancy buildings with rapid resident turnover, such as hostels, holiday camps and blocks of flats.
The adult bug resembles a small brown disc, about 3.5mm long - the size of a match head. It is wingless but the legs are well developed and it can crawl up most vertical surfaces, e.g. bed legs.
Bedbugs also produce a characteristic unpleasant smell.
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The variegated Carpet Beetle is 2 to 4mm long, like a small, mottled brown, grey and cream ladybird. The related Fur Beetle is black with one spot on each wing case, and there is a rarer Black Carpet Beetle. The larvae are small (about 4mm long), covered in brown hairs, and tend to roll up when disturbed.
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There are several species of clothes moths, all of them characterised by folding their wings tent-wise along their backs. The adult Common Clothes Moth is 6 to 7mm long with pale, plain golden-buff wings fringed with hair. The rarer Case-Bearing Clothes Moth, is duller and has three dark brown spots on each of its wings.
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Sometimes confused with black beetles from the garden, cockroaches are distinguished by their very long whip-like antennae, flat oval bodies and rapid, jerky gait. The adult German cockroach is 10 to 15mm long. The Common or Oriental cockroach is 20 to 24mm long. They are rarely able to survive out of doors in the British climate, but thrive around the heating ducts and boiler rooms of large centrally heated buildings e.g. hospital, bakeries, hotel and restaurant kitchens, laundries and blocks of flats. They cluster around pipes, stoves, sinks, especially in humid areas.
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Small (2mm) wingless insects, flattened side to side, red-brown with backwardly directed spines and legs designed for jumping.
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"God in his wisdom made the fly and then forgot to tell us why" (Ogden Nash).
A family of two-winged polluters that is, too often, tolerated within our homes.
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A family of very small (about 3mm) flies with prominent red eyes, fruit flies are characterised by a slow hovering flight in which the abdomen hangs down.
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The adult house mouse is small and slender – about 1-2 inches long, excluding tail. It has large ears, a pointed nose and small eyes. The tail is as long as the head and body combined. Its fur is usually a light grey or brown.
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A small, tropical species of ant, the pharaoh ant is light yellow with a darker abdomen. It has a characteristic ‘double waist’. The workers are 2mm long, with the larger queen being 3-4mm long.
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The feral pigeon is descended from the rock dove and is well adapted to life in an urban environment. The dependence of the feral pigeon on man for food has led to it becoming a serious pest.
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Rats are various medium sized rodents. "True rats" are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans are the black rat, Rattus rattus, and the brown rat, R. norvegicus. Many members of other rodent genera and families are also called rats and share many characteristics with true rats.
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Five species of gull commonly occur in the United Kingdom, but only 3, the Greater Black-Backed (Larus marinus), the Lesser Black-Backed (Larus fuscus) and the Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) are regarded as pests and can be killed under the General Licence.
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The starling is a bird which is commonly seen in both urban and rural areas. This species has a distinctive distress call.
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Wasps are very well-known – large, conspicuous buzzing insects with yellow and black striped, wasp-waisted bodies, 10-15mm long. They have a sweet tooth at one end and a painful sting at the other.
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