July 24, 2012 08:22 ET

HomeServe Research Shows Wet Weather is Driving Pests Indoors

HomeServe Figures Show Rise in Infestations Caused by Unseasonably Rainy Climate

WALSALL, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - July 24, 2012) -

Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this press release.

As Britain finally puts away the brollies after its wettest July for a century, the good weather may give an unwelcome boost to the UK's pest population which has been driven indoors by the climate in record numbers.

Figures from HomeServe, the home emergency experts, show a year-on-year increase in the numbers of wasps, hornets and rodents being removed from inside its customers' houses.

The good news for those who can't stand buzzing insects is that wasp and hornet populations have taken a serious hit in 2012 - but those that have survived the extreme weather conditions are making their mark a little closer to home.

Throughout June and July 2011, 89 per cent of all HomeServe pest control were for infestations inside the home, with just 11 per cent recorded as taking place outside the home - meaning that the nests were located in a garden or public space.

In 2012, the picture is very different. Since the start of June, 94 per cent of all HomeServe pest control callouts have been categorised as "internal infestations" as external pest complaints have more than halved.

And while sightings of wasp and hornet nests have declined, rodent sightings are at a high, as rats and mice reportedly flee their flooded nests and sewers for the drier climes found in basements across the country.

Whether conditions in your area are hot and humid, cool and dry, or rainy with sudden downpours, your weather directly affects pests and their activities. These conditions prompt pests to invade your home to seek three very basic needs - food, water and shelter.

Any short period of drought, extended rainfall or excessive heat or cold can force insects and other pests to invade buildings seeking relief from unfavourable weather conditions. Like people, pests are affected by extreme heat or lack of rain and will do what is necessary to survive.

And things may worsen with the current spell of good weather. While wet conditions create additional pest growth, a lack of rain can then lead to even more pest invasions as a lack of moisture outside drives pests inside homes to find water and shade.

To track just where infestations are at their worst, HomeServe is calling on followers of its @homeserveUK Twitter account to help develop a Rat Map. The company is calling on followers to tweet them if they've had pests in the home this year, what the animal interloper was, and the first half of their postcode, along the lines of "Had a wasp in the attic N7."

Further evidence of the changing nature of Britons' household pest problems comes as HomeServe announces its "Annoyance Index" for 2012 - following last year's "Fear Index", which ranked homeowners' fear responses to several common household pests. Spiders, proven to be the creepiest crawly in last year's survey, are some way further down the pecking order when it comes to the "peskiest pests".

The Annoyance Index: Britain's Peskiest Pests
% homeowners annoyed by pest
1. Slugs and Snails 64%
2. Flies 63%
3. Mice 59%
4. Rats 58%
5. Mosquitoes 56%
6. Moths 55%
7. Foxes 46%
8. Wasps 39%
9. Ants 29%
10. Pigeons 10%
11. Spiders 10%
12. Hornets 4%
13. Cockroaches 4%
14. Fleas 3%

2,000 UK adults took part in the survey, ranking the pests by how frequently they found them to be a problem and how annoying they found them, both in terms of damage to personal property and difficulty in getting rid of them. Slugs and snails, another species booming in the inclement summer, topped the list, with mice, rats and mosquitoes - another perennial problem in wet, humid summers - not far behind.

"These results illustrate exactly which pests are really bothering British homeowners this summer," said HomeServe spokesperson Emma Harvey. "We've seen an increase in callouts to homes this year compared to last, and cases like rodents moving in as a result of the recent weather are not uncommon. At HomeServe, we employ trained pest control experts who can help you to eradicate rats and mice, as well as a whole range of household pests including wasps and hornets, quickly and safely."

About HomeServe:

Every 1 minute a HomeServe engineer comes to the rescue of a British household.

HomeServe is a national emergency home repair service backed by a 24 hour claims handling and repair network.

HomeServe tradesmen are guaranteed to turn up on time, to hold the necessary qualifications to do the job at hand, to provide a price before they start the job and will even guarantee their work for a 12 month period afterwards. HomeServe also offers insurance cover for plumbing, drains, electrical wiring and gas central heating. It has over 7 million policy members in the UK and a further 3 million in the USA and France.

The 2011 Fear Index:
1. Spiders 67%
2. Hornets 65%
3. Rats 64%
4. Wasps 58%
5. Cockroaches 55%
6. Mosquitoes 51%
7. Foxes 49%
8. Mice 35%
9. Fleas 13%
10. Pigeons 13%
11. Slugs and Snails 12%
12. Moths 8%
13. Flies 6%
14. Ants 4%

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