Rats Underfoot

The surveys that we undertake as a result of rodent activity have increased over the last few years. Generally, these jobs come to us from recommendations made by pest control technicians after they’ve done a site survey, but we also get enquiries directly from the general public through our website.

It’s a given that rats live in our main sewer systems and the connecting pipes are easy paths for them to follow and explore. We all know what they’re looking for and once they find it, they can settle in and usually survive safely. While it’s fairly easy for rodents to find these tiny paths, it’s not so easy for the professionals to find the rats or even prevent them…

Click the image to the left to read the full article, written by our Director, Mick Grant, as a feature for the BPCA (British Pest Control Association).

Dominic Littlewood, ‘Bad Builders – Bang to Rights’ Episode 3, February 2015

In the February of 2015 we were involved in the filming of Dominic Littlewoods’ ITV series ‘Bad Builders – Bang to Rights’. The series involved rigging houses with secret cameras to catch rogue tradesman and bad builders bang to rights. We helped Littlewood in catching a suspected rogue drainage company in the third episode of the series.

This involved us going to a rented property in Leatherhead and cleaning and checking over the complete drainage system for defects. Once we had proved the system was satisfactory, we set a trap by blocking up an external drain with some cooking fat, silt and general debris and allowed water to overflow and create a flooded area to the side of the house. The work involved to resolve the ‘blockage’ was a simple manual job that could be done in minutes and at minimal cost.

Several concealed cameras were set up at the property and an actress called out the suspected drainage company, acting as the homeowner. The company would then be tasked with evaluating our laid-out trap, so that we could analyse how they performed.

This company attended and diagnosed a blocked drain and carried out some jetting and cleaning works, which generated a cost. However, they were acting suspiciously towards the end of the job and became more inquisitive to the point they discovered one of the hidden cameras. They made some comments upon finding it was recording and they were filmed removing it and taking it with them as they left the site!

The production company took it up from there and managed to get the equipment returned.

Once this chain of events had occurred, we went back to site and along with the presenter, Dominic Littlewood, sat in a van viewing the events on screens and made comments on the whole process…set up as though we were viewing it in real time.

You can watch the episode we were featured in using the link below, we appear nearer the end of the episode:

Sarah Beany, ‘Help my House is Infested’, March 2011

In March 2011 we were involved in the filming of Sarah Beany’s Channel 4 consumer series ‘Help my House is Infested’. The filming involved us attending a property in Hatch End that over the three years previous had been suffering with high-level rodent activity. This was a real life case-study, and we were working alongside a pest control engineer (Jim England) whilst the whole process was being filmed. The premise behind this was to give the general public an insight into how this type of problem is tackled, what skills were involved, and the options available to provide a resolution. Time consuming investigations and surveys were completed to find the source, although the actual content for the program was edited and reduced quite considerably.

We concluded that the rats were entering the house via redundant pipes leading into a concealed manhole chamber under the floor in the kitchen. This also had an Aga cooker on top, so accessing the manhole was not possible without a great deal of disruption and cost.

The solution was that we installed a liner through this chamber (a pipe within a pipe) to shut off access to these redundant pipes, eliminating the need to expose the chamber.

This program was very informative and gave a good account of a typical investigation and solution to resolving rodent activity inside a property.

Dog Rescue

In October 2005 we were called out by a local RSPCA officer to attend to a call they had received to rescue a Jack Russell Dog that had got stuck in a pipe. ‘Skipper’ had been out walking with its owner and had chased something which disappeared up a 300mm SW outlet or overflow pipe discharging into a pond.

The RSPCA and the fire brigade had been trying for some time to retrieve Skipper without success. When we arrived on site Skipper was 30m up the line facing forwards and couldn’t turn round, we were unable to trace the line to any manhole or access points it ran towards a car park and then a large grassed area in excess of 150m. From the pond end we got a camera up to the rear of Skipper and could see that he was squashed. He was unable to stand up in the pipe or turn round and and there wasn’t any safe way of pulling him out. As well as this he was an old dog and practically deaf.

The pipe was traced and a mini digger, supplied by a local, was used to excavate to the point where he was, however whilst all this was going on we were also calling Skipper from the pond end and he began to move back towards us. This was helped by the fire brigade who supplied man after man doing wolf whistles and calling his name. He came back a good 15m and then seemed to stop, probably at this point exhausted. But after trying several other methods, dog food, rattling biscuits and a little water flowing through the pipe we then got the camera up past him and pulled it back bringing Skipper with it.

He was eventually retrieved and quickly wrapped in a blanket…..he was very dirty, wet and cold and seemed quite bemused by all the attention. It was a long process with plenty of helpers, the RSPCA, fire brigade, local councillors and us and it was a successful result in the end. According to his owners Skipper slept for 48 hours after his ordeal and was very wobbly at first but is now back on his feet, although a little cautious.

It made quite a change to be involved in something like this and we were glad to see him safely out in the end.

This event also gave us quite a lot of publicity with articles in both “Drain Trader” and the “Watford Observer” along with a certificate from the RSPCA.