News > Halloween Horrors

Halloween Horrors

Contributors:

Melissa Osborne

With a heritage property, you might be likely to encounter a few ghosts or ghouls but what might give you the biggest fright is the unseen critters lurking in the shadows…

The deathwatch beetle

Deathwatch beetles tend to infest old timber, especially if it suffers from fungal decay. The female lays between 40-80 eggs and, once hatched, the larvae chew their way through the wood leaving behind tunnels. They eventually emerge from the wood, leaving tiny holes.

The easiest way to see if your property has them is by checking for small holes in the wood, fresh dust or frass (faecal residue).

Did you know
The tapping sound of the deathwatch beetle has been associated as a harbinger of death – in silent bedside vigils for the dying, the sound of tapping could be heard coming from the rafters.

Cluster Flies

An odd fly here and there isn’t an issue, but the cluster fly likes to hibernate in volume in your home over winter, a warm cosy waterproof spot is just what they need. They don’t cause any direct damage, but they can attract other pests that do. A natural solution is to introduce spiders, the long-bodied cellar spider is a predator of these pests.

Did you know
According to folklore, flies are also seen as harbingers of death, and are considered as its companion.

Mice

Love them or hate them, house mice are impressive climbers and can squeeze through holes that are 6mm, meaning they have access to everything in your property. Their teeth continuously grow, so they must gnaw regularly which can lead them to chewing your furniture or even wiring. They can cause a lot of damage to a property and leave a strong urine odour on top.

There are many tried and tested methods to deal with mice – a nice solution is to adopt a cat and set them the task of hunting down the mice for you.

Did you know
Apparently, you can predict the weather using a mouse tail, if its short, warm weather is on its way. A bushy tail signifies a harsh winter. So, get checking those tails.

Moths

They can have a devastating impact on a period property, infesting closets, floorboards and nibbling away at the priceless tapestries, carpets and artwork.

With the size of some of these historic houses, tacking this problem can prove very difficult. Trying to avoid chemical solutions, scientists have introduced a microscopic wasp that will hijack the moth eggs, which in the long term will halt the moth’s reproduction process. With the wasps measuring 0.5mm, this is a tiny solution to a huge problem and even better, the wasps only live for 2 weeks.

Did you know
According to folklore, because moths come out at night, they are seen as witches or as messengers of the dead. It’s actually the larvae that cause the problems, whereas the adult moth is really beneficial, feeding on nectar and therefore pollinating plants.

If you have a heritage property and you feel there is something lurking under your floorboards, we might not be ghostbusters, but we can help solve your bug problems.

If you have a heritage building or problem in your listed building that you think we could help with, contact Melissa Osborne on 07725 630 452 or at melissa.osborne@tridentbc.com.

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