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Environmental health

Pest control

Update 8 July: We have temporarily stopped our flea and bed bug service due to pressures elsewhere. Please contact a private contractor who is BPCA or NPTA approved. 

Please note that there is currently at least a four week wait time for the remaining services. 

We will continue responding to emergencies, where there is a significant risk to public health, as soon as possible.

To enable us to process your request for the Pest Control service please provide a daytime contact telephone number. 

Our pest control service deals with pests on both domestic and commercial premises. Find out the charges and fees for this service as well as advice on how to deal with pests.

Use the information below to see if this answers your question. If you still require further advice or wish to request a treatment, use the online contact form below.

If you need pest control treatment urgently you can contact a private contractor who is BPCA or NPTA approved.

  1. Charges and fees




    Reduced fee

    Domestic premises









    Squirrel (in attics only)




    Wasps, hornets and bees




    Fleas and cockroaches (for 3 bedroom house)




    Fleas and cockroaches (per additional room)




    Bed bugs (for 3 bedroom house)




    Bed bugs (per additional room)



    Commercial premises

    All pests listed above with the exception of bed bugs

    £79.00 plus materials and VAT



    Bed bugs

    £90.00 per hour, plus materials and VAT


    The fee for commercial premises will be invoiced on completion of treatment.

    You may be entitled to a reduced fee if you receive:

    • Income support
    • Income-related employment and support allowance
    • Income-based jobseeker's allowance
    • Council tax support
    • Housing benefit
    • Working tax credit (with an income of less than £16,040)
    • Disabled person's tax credit (invalidity benefit does not apply)
    • Guaranteed Pension Credit
    • Universal Credit

    We will need to see proof of your benefits before any work is carried out.

    We also offer rodent control contracts to non-food commercial premises. For more information email us.

  2. Bats, snakes and badgers

    Although we cannot treat for these animals, information has been included to help you.


    All species of bat and their breeding sites or resting places are protected. It is an offence for anyone to intentionally kill, injure or handle a bat, disturb a roosting bat, sell or offer a bat for sale without a licence. It is also an offence to damage, destroy or obstruct access to any place used by bats for shelter, whether they are present or not. All enquiries regarding bats should be made to the Bat Conservation Trust on on 0345 1300 228.


    All native species of snakes are protected by law and it is an offence to kill or injure any snake. For further advice, contact Natural England.


    Badgers are also a protected species. Badger advice can be obtained from DEFRA or the Somerset Badger Group on 07850 604585.

  3. Bees

    We do not routinely undertake the destruction of their nests unless there is an imminent risk of injury to people in the vicinity. Bees are generally not aggressive unless handled or their nests are disturbed. The advice of the Environmental Health Service is that in most circumstances bees can be left well alone and do not need to be destroyed.

    The British Beekeepers Association can help you find out what kind of insect you have and therefore what to do about it. 

    Do you have a swarm of bees?

    Bee Identification Chart

    Bumblebee Conservation Trust

    Bumble Bees

    Most people can recognise these large furry bees. Bumble and solitary bees are unlikely to sting unless they are handled or their nests disturbed. Bumble and solitary bees die out after summer and only the females survive by finding a suitable resting place, ready to start new colonies in the spring.

    Bumble bees will often make a nest in holes in trees, or possibly by excavating in soft sandy earth. Some bees prefer to make their nests in suitable cavities in buildings, and will even excavate soft mortar from brickwork to make their individual nests. The nest is essentially a ball of grass and moss with wax cells inside it. The number of bees in the largest bumblebee nest does not exceed several dozen. Others will make their nests in sandy domestic lawns. They are sometimes mistaken for Honeybee swarms but bumble bees do not swarm. The beekeepers listed below are unable to help with Bumble Bees.

    Solitary Bees

    There are several families of bees which are solitary by nature, but the commonest group are frequently called mining bees. They closely resemble the honeybee, although the individual species differ in colouration. One of the best-known species is the tawny mining bee, which has a thorax and abdomen richly covered in dark tan coloured fur. Each individual bee will make a nest in a suitable position in the ground, often sandy domestic lawns. There may be individual nests grouped closely together, taking advantage of the ease of excavation in the light soil. They sometimes cause minor nuisance until they disappear in mid summer. They cannot successfully sting humans. The beekeepers listed below are unable to help with Solitary Bees.

    Mason Bees

    Their colouration is very similar to the honeybee. They prefer to make their nests in suitable cavities in buildings and will even excavate soft mortar from brickwork to make their individual nests. Although harmless in all other respects, the damage to soft mortar in older properties may be quite severe over several seasons. Their stings are usually unable to penetrate human skin. The beekeepers listed below are unable to help with Mason Bees.

    Honey Bee

    Honey bees are the only type of bee that will swarm. A swarm is identifiable literally as a football sized (or sometimes larger) ball of bees, as can be seen in the picture above.

    A swarm will often move from place to place until they find a suitable nesting place. If a swarm has settled on a chimney it is advisable to light a smoky fire if you are able to do so to discourage them. If bees enter your property you should contact the council for urgent advice.

    Where a swarm of honey bees has settled outside for more than about half an hour, you can contact a beekeeper who will often come and remove the swarm for you. Details of local beekeepers, who will collect a swarm, can be found on the British BeeKeepers Association website. You can contact a beekeeper who is closest to your area.

  4. Fleas

    Update 8 July: We have temporarily stopped this service due to pressures elsewhere. Please contact a private contractor who is BPCA or NPTA approved. 

    We can treat premises that have an infestation of fleas. We cannot treat any animals directly and if necessary you will need to take advice from your vet.

    The two most common species are the cat and dog flea. Adult fleas are 2-7mm long and brownish in colour. Their bodies are compressed from side to side and they have large hind limbs for jumping.

    All fleas live exclusively as parasites on warm blooded animals and although they have a preferred host, both the cat and dog flea can also be found on and feed from other animals and humans.

    As well as being found on the host, fleas can frequently be found in the hosts' bedding. Cat fleas are by far the most common accounting for 75 per cent of all flea infestations. The flea population reaches its peak in September. Flea bites will be seen as a tiny dark red spot surrounded by a reddened area.

  5. Rats

    The adult common rat may weigh from 100-500g and has brown fur on its back and grey underneath; its tail is shorter than its head and body.  The common rat is the most abundant and widespread species and can be found anywhere that offers shelter and food, including sewers.  Rats are active mainly at night but may be seen in search of food and water during the day.  The life expectancy of rats is around one year during which a female will typically breed up to 5 times.  The average size of a litter is 7 to 8 young.  Breeding occurs throughout the year but especially in the spring and autumn.

    Rats are a major hazard to health.  They spread many forms of disease, some of which can be fatal to man such as Weils' Disease.  They may eat food which is intended for human consumption and they often damage much more which has to be discarded.  Through their gnawing habit they also cause considerable structural damage to woodwork, water pipes, electric cables etc.


    If rats are nesting and breeding on your property and you want to destroy them you may wish to consider one of the following options:

    • We can carry out rat treatment for a small fee.  If you would like use our service, click the report button below
    • You can treat the rats with rodenticides which can be purchased from most hardware stores or agricultural suppliers and always follow the manufacturers advice.  Take particular care over the location and quantity of rodenticide used. Where possible remove any food supply to which the rats have access prior to and during treatment.  Such sources may include excess bird food and food waste in compost heaps.

    If the Council is treating on domestic premises we will expect co-operation from the occupier.  This may mean no feeding of birds for the duration of the treatment or specific instructions regarding the rodenticides etc.

    If any rats have gained access to your property we would advise you to consider having at least one smoke detector fitted at the top of the stairs/hallway if you don't already have one, as rats may damage wiring hence the potential risk of fire.

  6. Mice

    Mice can be found in buildings as they seek the warmth and shelter for nesting sites and food. 

    Signs of mouse activity include:

    • Mice droppings - often black, rod-shaped and 3-6mm long. Fresh droppings will be soft and moist. Each mouse can leave approximately 80 droppings per day. Common places to find mouse droppings are under the kitchen sink, around central heating boilers and in roof spaces.
    • Smear marks - dark grey marks left on surfaces by repeated contact with the oil in mouse fur. 
    • Nests - mice gnaw continually on materials such as wood, carpets, paper, pipe cables and furniture. Check for damage to foodstuffs in cupboards.

    For more information or for help to remove mice, use the report it button below. 

    If you decide to carry out the work yourself, you can buy amateur use poisons and traps from a hardware store or garden centre. 

    Warning: When using rodenticides, always follow the instructions on the label and, importantly, search for and dispose of any dead rodents in a safe manner.

  7. Seagulls

    Most people will acknowledge gulls as an integral part of the seaside and coastal environment. However, it is apparent that more and more gulls are moving into built up areas to nest. 

    Gulls are very resourceful and highly intelligent creatures. They are also very social and often form large colonies. While there are many species of Gull, only herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls nest in suburban areas in any significant number. Some people find gulls can cause nuisance through noise, mess and damage by picking at roofing materials or blocking gutters with nests. Gulls can also be aggressive if they feel that they or their young are under threat, or if their nest is disturbed.

    Gulls are protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. This makes it illegal to intentionally injure or kill any gull, or to take, damage or destroy an active nest or its contents. However, the law recognises that in some circumstances control may be necessary. Action can be taken to prevent the spread of disease, to ensure public health and safety or to prevent serious damage to agriculture. Any action taken must be in accordance with the terms of a General Licence issued by Natural England.  Further information can be found on the general licences page on the Natural England website.

    Under European legislation, there is a requirement to demonstrate that there is a likelihood of serious damage before any action is taken to remove birds. European legislation also requires non-lethal measures to be considered. Nuisance (such as noise) or damage to property are not legitimate reasons to kill gulls.

    Discouraging gulls can be very difficult. You can help by not actively feeding gulls and by using physical barriers to prevent nesting. For specific advice you will need to contact a specialist gull proofing company. 

    Further information can be found from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, their briefing note and press release.

  8. Ticks and lyme disease

    Ticks are tiny blood sucking parasites that live in woodland and grassy areas. They are often found in tall grass, where they will rest at the tip of a blade so as to attach themselves to a passing animal or human. The tick will usually drop off of the animal when full, but this may take several days.
    Ticks have a harpoon-like structure in their mouth area that allows them to anchor firmly in place while sucking blood. Pulling a tick out forcefully may squeeze the contents of the tick back into the bite and often leaves the mouthpiece behind, which may result in infection.

    Most tick bites are harmless but, occasionally, the tick carries a small bacterium which can cause Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a serious infection and it is recommended that you see a doctor as soon as possible as the infection can cause serious illness. The disease might show itself as an expanding reddish, round rash in the area of the bite. Usually this will occur within three to thirty days of a bite. Early symptoms may resemble flu with swollen glands near the site, mild headaches, aching muscles and joints, and tiredness. If you suspect that a tick has bitten, inform your doctor. Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics and the earlier it is diagnosed, the better.

    Lyme disease

    Most tick bites are harmless but, occasionally, the tick carries a small bacterium which can cause Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a serious infection and it is recommended that you see a doctor as soon as possible as the infection can cause serious illness. The disease might show itself as an expanding reddish, round rash in the area of the bite. Usually this will occur within three to thirty days of a bite. Early symptoms may resemble flu with swollen glands near the site, mild headaches, aching muscles and joints, and tiredness. If you suspect that a tick has bitten, inform your doctor. Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics and the earlier it is diagnosed, the better.

    What do I do if I have been bitten by a tick?

    Do not panic, but remove the tick as soon as possible. It is possible to remove the tick yourself but it is recommended that you always seek advice from your doctor.
    Remove the tick by grasping it close to the skin with a pair of tweezers (or tick remover - available from veterinary surgeries). Apply gentle pressure, twist anti-clockwise and pull upwards. Do not squeeze the body of the tick or attempt to remove the tick through burning or chemicals. Save the tick in a sealed container in case you develop symptoms later. If the tick is accidentally pulled apart and the head remains in the skin, there may be a risk of infection from other microscopic organisms. This kind of infection is not related to Lyme disease but can still be unpleasant. Consult a doctor if infection occurs.

    Public Health England leaflet gives further advice and it is recommended that you always seek advice from your doctor. is a useful toolkit to download.

    The Public Health England 'Tick Toolkit' is a useful toolkit to download.

  9. Wasps and hornets


    Wasps can be beneficial in a garden as they will eat insect pests. However, they can be quite aggressive and will come out to investigate if you get too close to their nest.

    If you have a nest you may consider one of the following three options:

    • You can leave the nest alone if it is not really causing you a problem. Wasps' nests will die off in the first frosts of autumn and will never be re-colonised.
    • If you feel confident, you can treat the nest yourself. If the nest is in a hole, under tiles or in an air brick, a wasp nest destroyer puffer pack can be used. If the nest is hanging in a hedge or garage and is clearly visible, a wasp nest destroyer aerosol should be used. Do not use a puffer pack for a hanging nest. These products are available from most hardware stores or garden centres. Always follow the safety and environmental instructions. Please note, where the nest is in a roof space and bats are present or likely to be present, Natural England must be consulted before any treatment is carried out.
    • We can treat the nest for you - use the report it button below.


    Hornets are relatively rare and are usually only found in southern England. They are banded in yellow and brown and slightly larger than the common wasp. While not aggressive when encountered far from the nest, they will vigorously defend the nest if provoked. They have a painful sting and can cause anaphylactic shock to persons with an allergy to wasp venom, a condition which can be fatal.

    Because the hornet is rare the nest should not be destroyed unless absolutely necessary. We can treat the nest for you but if you decide to treat the nest yourself special precautions must be taken; your body must be completely covered, wear long gauntlet style gloves and suitable headwear that covers the face. Further advice will be available with the poison used.

    Please Note: Wasps and Hornets do not swarm. If you have a swarm it will be bees.

    For advice on Asian hornets and what to do if you spot one, refer to the government website.

  10. Brown tail moths

    The council does not provide a treatment service for Brown Tail Moths or their caterpillars but this page is provided for advice.

    The incidence of Brown Tail Moths and their caterpillars has increased over recent years. The caterpillar is a voracious eater of vegetation and can cause significant damage to trees and shrubs.  The caterpillars are also covered in small barbed hairs which can irritate the skin, in some cases severely.  Some people may even suffer a type of asthmatic reaction.  If you come across these insects you should avoid contact.  Minor skin irritations can probably be treated with proprietary products.  For more serious or persistent reactions you should seek advice of a pharmacist or GP.

    The caterpillar is a blackish grey colour with tufts of ginger brown hairs and two orange spots near the tail.  The moth has greyish white wings with a brown tail. In winter months the caterpillars hibernate in silky greyish 'tents' usually found at the tips of branches.

    Life Cycle

    The caterpillars emerge from their 'tents' to forage for food around May/June as the weather warms. They may return to  their tents in te evening or during bad weather.  They emerge again in September/October and their feeding may cause the leaves at the top of trees and bushes to turn brown. In winter they stay in their tents and these become very visible as the leaves drop.


    Infestations can be DIY treated or a private pest control contractor can be used.  If DIY treating, precautions should be taken including protective clothing.  Chemical products may be purchased from hardware stores and DIY stores and any instructions should be carefully followed.  Further advice on suitable products can be provided by our pest control officers if required.

Report a pest

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