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Barron Pest Control

All pests eliminated humanely and discreetly.

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Snaring Rats

Posted on October 17, 2012 at 7:50 PM Comments comments (77)
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A job last week gave a perfect opportunity to set some snares for some troublesome rats which had taken to raiding a clients chicken pen. I had already taken several 3/4 grown rats in Mk 4 Fenn traps but there were tracks in the mud & droppings which indicated there were some larger specimens lurking about.
Snared rat There were several well defined runs leading across the lawn from the flower beds to the hen's run and it was here that I set several brass snares on plastic fence stakes.
 Adult rats are very wary of anything new in their territory & will often avoid traps and bait stations for several weeks but this is where  the use of traditional technology comes in. As the rat breaks cover & dashes for a quick feed in the hen run along his normal path, he runs into the snare, which he hasn't spotted due to his poor eyesight and before it realises what's happened he's whipped up into the air and strangled, quickly & humanely.
 The snares need to be set on whippy sticks or the like, because if the rat's feet were on the ground, or if there was anything nearby to climb on, as per normal "rabbit type" snares Ratty would be able to gnaw through the snare wire or cord and make good his escape.
Snared rat on a whippy stick.Snared rat. In this instance I used electric fence stakes to spring the snares but I prefer to use ordinary hazel sticks - very springy & freely available in any hedgerow. I tied the brass snare to a large fishing swivel & this in turn is tied to the end of the whippy stick (or fence stake). A small hazel peg with a panel pin driven into it is pushed into the ground at the side of the rat run and then the whippy stick pushed into the ground at roughly a 45 degree angle and the stick bent down to ground level and the snare set in place across the rat run, secured by the fishing swivel on the panel pin peg - hard to describe but easy to do in practice.
 If set correctly the results can be large, adult rats brought to book, which might otherwise have taken several weeks to catch up with using ordinary traps or anti coagulant bait - very satisfying for the client, as well as being environmentally friendly.

Squirrel in the bathroom

Posted on September 21, 2012 at 1:17 PM Comments comments (49)
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 The lousy weather of mid summer gave way to a few mediocre days when it didn't rain all day and I had a few calls to deal with wasps but I'd say I'm around 80% down on wasps compared to last summer.
 Moles have carried on their operations near to the surface, due to the weather & the ground being so damp, indeed several clients have suffered multiple mole infestations, where I've trapped several only to be called back some weeks later to get rid of more.... very frustrating for me and the clients.
 This week I've had two instances of squirrels getting into people's houses. The first one a cat apparently chased a young squirrel into the client's house through an open kitchen door, it went straight through the kitchen and into a downstairs bathroom, where it holed up under the bath. Despite best efforts for a non fatal outcome after two days it was still perched on the water pipes behind the bath panel, growling at all comers, the house occupants were too scared to use the bathroom and "Tufty" had out stayed his welcome .... a well placed pellet from an air pistol resolved the situation.
 The second job the client rang to say they'd just come back from holiday and thought a rat had gotten into the house while they were away, there had been a lot of fruit eaten from a fruit bowl, gnawing to different items in the house & droppings everywhere.
 I arrived at the property and  quickly deduced that a squirrel was the probable culprit, due firstly from the droppings but then to the damage done to the curtains and the amount of disruption that occurred to ornaments, vases etc.
 The animal had been in every room which had had the door open over it's week long stay and it was eventually tracked down to the children's playroom, but it bolted from there into the kitchen, where it too managed to get into the most inaccessible place possible,in the back of a cupboard.
 In it's panic the squirrel got the top of a baby's feeding bottle stuck around it's neck like a surgical collar so again the decision was taken that a fatal finish was the only way to end the drama, as to chase the animal out of the house with the plastic ring around it's neck would have condemned it to a slow, lingering end. Again a fatal shot from the air pistol brought the drama to a close.
 The animal had been seen outside the property while the owners were loading the car prior to going on holiday, it must have slipped unseen into the house before they'd locked up and left and survived all week on fruit.

Flaming June

Posted on July 1, 2012 at 1:48 PM Comments comments (17)
What a total washout "Flaming June" was, days on end of torrential rain & gale force winds. The wet weather has kept moles active near the surface and I have had steady work trapping moles since the spring.
 Rabbits have been breeding like..... rabbits. I caught nearly 30 in one unfortunate lady's garden recently but this is just "firefighting", the time for serious rabbit control is during the winter months when serious inroads can be made in the breeding population.
2 for the price of 1. A pair of squirrels caught in a Fenn trap which was set in  Squirrels continue locally to make serious nuisances of themselves despite the wet weather. They are susceptible to cold, wet weather & will spend rainy days tucked up in their dreys but as soon as the sun comes out they come out as well to make mischief. I had a "first" recently with squirrels, catching two youngsters in one Mk4 Fenn trap which I had set to apprehend a family that were wreaking havoc in the roof of a local office.
 The flooding appears to have driven quite a lot of rodents (especially rats) into buildings earlier than usual, if the amount of "Rat Jobs" I have at present is anything to go by. Night after night of rats running riot in your roof space is not condusive to a good night's sleep but they can usually be sorted out reasonably quickly with a mixture of traps and anti-coagulant bait.
 This time last year I was treating several wasp nests a day, so far this year I have treated one and that was just the queen and a handful of workers, not a big, active nest by any means.
Bumble Bees are in serious decline and should not be harmed. I have lost count of the number of people who have rung me to say they've got wasps, these have invariably turned out to be either masonry bees, bumble bees or feral honey bees and I have talked them out of a fatal treatment. Contrary to popular belief bees aren't protected but they are in serious decline and if possible they should not be harmed. I have re-located several bumble bee nests, when leaving them where they were wasn't an option but one lot was dug out by a badger after anyway.
 Hopefully summer proper will soon be with us and all the buzzing, biting critters will be out in force.... but I'm not holding my breath.

Rabbits & Myxomatosis

Posted on March 30, 2012 at 8:57 PM Comments comments (61)
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A cage trapped rabbit, garden near Bath.I have had several rabbit jobs recently where the rabbits had been causing havoc in client's gardens eating newly sprouting plants and excavating holes in carefully tended lawns. I've had quite good results with cage traps set in the feeding areas and Fenn Mk6 traps set in the burrows. This happy state of affairs, for me at least, is soon going to end locally as I've seen several dead & dying rabbits while I've been out with the dog in the last week or so. Indeed only this morning the dog pounced glee fully on an infected rabbit, proudly retrieved it and then looked at me in disbelief as I threw it on top of the hedge for the buzzards, after having put it out of it's misery.
 And a miserable, pitiful end it surely is, rabbits with myxomatosis suffer from swellings to the connective tissue around the eyelids, nose and genital regions. Their eyes often swell up so much that they can't see in the later stages of the disease and they lose their way from the burrows allowing them to fall prey to any passing predator.
 Myxomatosis first reared its ugly head in Britain in 1953 after a French doctorcarried out experiments on his estate in France andinfected rabbits escaped. There were initial attempts to stamp the disease out but it soon spread countrywide on its own and with artificial help from landowners releasing infected rabbits (a practice which was made an offence in 1954). The initial outbreak in the 50's killed an estimated 99% of several hundred million rabbits within two years and changed the face of the British countryside forever.
Rabbits with myxomatosis suffer swellings around the eyes
 The virus seems to come around every 2 or 3 years and depending on its strength or the rabbit population at the time, it has varying impacts on rabbit numbers, sometimes almost total wipe out, other times the rabbits recovering quite quickly.... and rabbits being rabbits, they are soon back up to good numbers. The disease is spread in Britain by the fleas which infest the rabbits and their burrows, passing the virus from rabbit to rabbit in the close confines of the warren. From infection it takes fully susceptible rabbits 11 to 18 days to die from the most virulent strain, however some rabbits always seem to survive an outbreak and these can pass immunity on to
Dead rabbits litter the countryside during a myxomatosis outbreak.
their young.... I hope there are a few that make it through this time & the numbers are soon back up to the levels where they need control ( if not some ferrets might be facing redundancy).

Handling live rats.

Posted on March 9, 2012 at 11:52 AM Comments comments (20)
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Rat in a rabbit burrow, fields near Bath While out this morning checking rabbit traps I bent down and picked up what I thought was a dead, 1/2 grown rabbit caught in a Fenn Mk6 trap, imagine my surprise when I pulled out of the burrow a very lively, fully grown rat. I dropped it quicker than the proverbial hot potato and then administered the "last rites" with a heavy stick from the hedge. Luckily I usually wear gloves when setting traps and Roland wasn't able to give me nip, due to being caught firmly in the trap but it goes to show everything might not be what it seems and you shouldn't take things for granted!

Busy times mole catching.

Posted on March 3, 2012 at 7:03 PM Comments comments (36)
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Moles taken locally from farmland near Bath Since the weather warmed up the moles have been active. This is the time of the year when the females come into season and the males are out and about looking for love. Clients will ring complaining that they have molehills in their gardens etc. and that they've never had them before as the male moles are persistant chaps and will burrow under walls, fences, hedges etc in their hunt for a mate, sometimes tunneling up to 100 yards in a 24 hour period.
 I have been catching plenty of moles recently not only on local farmland but a pub beer garden, local sports fields, a graveyard, school playing fields, private gardens and stables to name but a few. Farmers don't like moles in fields for silage because the soil from the molehills can contaminate the silage when in storage and when the cattle eat it they can get food poisoning. Moles can't be tolerated in a sports field as the tunnels and hills make the playing surface dangerous, as anyone who has twisted an ankle will agree. Moles in equestrian fields aren't usually tolerated either as thetunnels and hills can cause horses to stumble and fall - indeed the death of William III was attributed to a mole after the King died from injuries sustained after falling from his horse in the grounds of Hampton Court in 1702.
Talpex trap on left, Duffus trap on right, Trapline trap in front, Mendip moles - middle. My preferred traps are the "Duffus" or "Half Barrel" type, when these traps are set there is nothing visible above the ground, unlike the "scissor" type whose handles stick up above the ground and seem to go "walkabout" if set in areas with public access. Another advantage of the Duffus type is that they can catch a mole at both ends, especially at this time of year when the moles are on the move ..... you get two for the price of one! Another trap I use frequently, mainly for "tricky" moles that have been made trap shy, often clients attempting to trap the moles themselves, is the "Talpex" trap which has avery strong spring and can be set in either shallow or deep runs. Another  trap I use quite regularly is the "Trapline" which is a smaller trap, very usefulfor under large tree roots and next to garden paths and patios.
Two in one - Two moles caught in a Half Barrel Trap near Frome Somerset
 With the use of strychnine banned in 2006 for the poisoning of moles and the use of gassing tablets having ever more restrictions placed on it, the future for "Traditional Mole Catching" looks to be quite rosy, as its enviromentally friendly and, in my opinion, the most humane way available of controlling mole numbers.

Spring is in the air.

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 4:11 PM Comments comments (31)
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 After the Arctic conditions of last week its good to get out & get on with some serious mole trapping. Last week the traps I had out were set solid in the ground with no hope of any moles springing them and then when there was a slight thaw it snowed, the traps got buried and I couldn't check them anyway. Hopefully no more severe frosts & plenty of mole activity.
Young rabbits make ferreting difficult. Baby rabbits have made ferreting operations difficult now, they will either skip through the nets and knock them down or the ferrets find them in the nest, make a feast of them & then lie down for a snooze... not ideal if the client is expecting a big bag of rabbits.
Caught this tail less rat after seeing his tracks in the snow around the hens pen.  The snow last week revealed an unwelcome guest still visiting our hen's pen, when I let them out the morningafter the snow I noticed the tell tale star shaped footprints of a rat coming from the woodpile & into the hen's run. Another Mk 4 Fenn trap was duly set, under some roofing slates and today the culprit was apprehended, minus his tail.
 Last night the last of the ice thawed in our pond and when I shone a torch in last thing at night there were several frogs floating on the top, getting ready for their annual orgy .... a sure sign that Spring is coming.
Rat damage to mouse bait stations.These mouse bait stations have been gnawed by rats to get at the bait inside.
I took them from one of my service contracts last week ..... no profit on that job !!!

Cold Weather Pest Control

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 3:24 PM Comments comments (32)
Moles are active during frosty weather - but traps can freeze solid. Mendip Mole, humanely trapped by Barron Pest Control.Write your post here.
 The colder weather of the past week or so has influenced what can or can't be done in the way of pest control. The severe frosts have made mole trapping next to impossible with the mechanisms on my preferred 1/2 barrel traps being frozen solid and the moles not triggering the traps, however I  did take a particularly "tricky" mole  from a client's garden today which fell to a "talpex" trap after eluding capture for nearly a fortnight - very satisfying.
 The frosty weather is continuing to drive rats and mice indoors and I've had several calls this week to deal with nocturnal "noises in the loft."
Bright winter days bring out squirrels - like these caught by Barron Pest Control in a garden in Bath On the dry, cold days squirrels are active. Contrary to popular belief they do not hibernate but they are susceptible to cold, damp conditions. When its wet and windy they'll be tucked up in the warm in their dreys but dry sunny days see them out foraging for the nuts they stashed in the autumn. As with rabbits taking out any breeding stock at this time of year will save having to deal with whole families of young and adolescent pests later in the year.
Rabbits tend to bolt more freely on frosty mornings - like these taken by Barron Pest Control from Somerset farmland. Frosty mornings have always been considered best for ferreting operations, the rabbits usually bolt more freely than in wet or windy conditions saving problems associated with the ferrets killing their rabbits and lying up.
 Even though the temperatures have plummetted lately at night I was attacked in a loft the other day by an angry queen wasp, who buzzed angrily round my face, attracted to the light on my head torch - a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.

Garden Pest Control

Posted on January 15, 2012 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (21)
Rat caught in a Fenn trap, Stratton on the FosseWrite your post here.
 Even Pest Controllers can get an unwanted influx of nasty visitors. We have a pair of feisty hens in or garden which give a steady supply of fresh eggs but the price to pay for having fresh eggs is having to deal with a steady supply of fresh rats.
  Our garden has a wall at the bottom which backs on to open farmland, the rats are active along this wall all year round, always on the lookout to exploit a food source, whether its food from a bird table, anything edible put into a compost bin, uneaten poultry food or simply waste that people throw over garden walls.
Rat in a Fenn trap, Stratton on the Fosse
 To combat this I have Fenn traps almost permanently sited against the wall and usually take 20+ foraging rats a year. This morning I took this fine specimen from a Mark 4 Fenn trap sited under a roofing slate. Any that are taken care of now will obviously be prevented from breeding and establishing colonies later in the year.

Ferret Goes AWOL

Posted on January 10, 2012 at 5:59 PM Comments comments (65)
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Last Friday morning was nice and frosty, a perfect opportunity to deal with some rabbits for a local client.
The little jill ferrets soon had a brace of rabbits out of a burrow in an old compost heap with no problems.
A Somerset rabbit caught in the meshes of a We moved on to another burrow in a thick, old hedge. I soon had the "Masterhunter" Quickset Longnets erected around the set & entered the pair of jills and stood back to await developments.
About half an hour later the albino jill popped her head out of a bolt hole, I went to pick her up and she ducked back into the burrow but she soon showed again at the hole she'd gone down to start with. I picked her up & noticed clumps of rabbit fur stuck to her claws, the pair of them had obviously been in close combat with subterranean rabbits.
 I put the little white jill back in the carrying box and got out Smudge, a huge male polecat or "hob" and popped him into the burrow hoping he'd drive the other jill from her kill.
 After anther half an hour or so Smudge reappeared on the surface, I tried to pick him up but he was quite agitated, tail fluffed out and claws covered with rabbit fur - still no sign of Jenny, the missing jill.
 I caught Smudge, boxed him up & tried whistling for Jenny, they'll usually come to a whistle if they think they're going to be fed but to no avail. Reluctantly I blocked the holes up,
took down the nets and went home for a cage trap.
 When I got back there was no sign of Jenny having dug her way out, so I paunched one of the rabbits and put the steaming intestines on top of a bed of straw in the bottom of the cage trap, set it carefully and buried it in the mouth of the burrow,I had to leave Jenny to her own devices as the hedge was too thick to try and dig her out and I had mole traps to check before it got dark.
 I went back the next morning before going to the pheasant shoot and dug the trap out - still no sign of the missing ferret.
I reburied the cage, fearing the worst, perhaps the rabbits had burrowed into an old mine shaft, we were near a dis-used pit, maybe Jenny had taken a fatal kick to the head....
 Sunday morning and none of the holes showed  any sign of the AWOL ferret having dug her way out and as before the cage was empty I put some fresh bait in the cage & re-buried it as we had a football match to go to. Nothing again Sunday night.
 Monday morning armed with a spade and Smudge, complete with a locator collar & new batteries, I returned to the burrow to try & find out for sure what had happened. Still no sign of a breakout, I pulled the buried cage trap out of the burrow mouth and as I did so it tipped to one side as a bleary eyed little polecat ferret stretched and yawned none the worse for her  weekend away.
 Jenny the Jill polecat ferret who went AWOL for the week end.
Jenny after going "Absent Without Leave" for the weekend.