- Investigation of complaints relating to pests
- Treatment of infestation by insects
- Treatment of premises for rodents
- Disinfection of premises in respect of infectious diseases
- Disinfection of articles in respect of infectious diseases
- Laboratory Identification of insect pests
Pests such as cockroaches, rats, mice and fleas are found in all societies and know no boundaries. The Agency's Pest Control Operatives are dedicated to their control and use the latest environmentally friendly pesticides and techniques to exterminate them when found. Great care is taken to ensure that only the intended species is exposed to the pesticide. When poison bait for rodents is used, tamper proof containers designed to prevent access to it by non-target species such as dogs, cats or birds are used. The main sewer system is continuously being treated for rodents as part of an ongoing program and other areas are treated as the need arises.
During the warm spring months it is sometimes necessary to carry out an anti-mosquito campaign to reduce their populations. This requires a slow systemic search through an area looking for bodies or containers of stagnant fresh water which may be allowing the mosquito larvae to breed. Contrary to popular believe they do not breed in refuse or sewage and since they can fly about 2km in still air a breeding site at one end of town may affect persons at the other end.
Common household pests found locally
Periplaneta Americana: American Cockroach usually associated with sewers and drains and damp dark undisturbed environments. Do not live in domestic premises but may enter when their normal habitat is disturbed.
Blatta Orientalis: Oriental Cockroach usually found in old wooden floors and old buildings. Not very common locally.
Blatella Germanica: German Cockroach or Steam Fly common in kitchens.
Calliphoria Vomitoria: Blue bottle blow fly.
Musca Domestica: common house fly.
Culex Pipiens: blood sucking mosquitoes found locally. Only the female bites.
Ctenocephalides felis: Flea - blood sucking
Cinex lectularius: Bed Bug - blood sucking
The control is firstly exclusion by various rodent proofing techniques in buildings and premises, and secondly elimination by the use of traps or poisons. This is carried out only by trained operatives.
The agency only carries out pest control treatments in His Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar premises.
The Agency is not responsible for the culling of animals and birds. However the Agency organizes and supervises pigeon culls conducted by a third party as part of the Avian Flu Control Strategy of Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar's Civil Contingency Committee.
Bees and Wasps
These are not pests under the public health definition but nevertheless can cause distress and concern in some situations. It is common in late Spring for bees and wasps to swarm which can be intimidating as they can set up a temporary camp somewhere nearby, such as a tree branch, fence post and even on cars and motorbikes. In almost all cases the swarm will take off again within a day or two to occupy a most suitable permanent home elsewhere. Bees are a valuable insect and are endangered so we'd always recommend exploring all other avenues before considering eradication. Below is a step by step guide to assist you:
- Leave them alone - Bees don't cause any problems to your property, and nor are you in danger of being stung if they are left alone and unprovoked. After the summer season the bees will go away and not return to the nesting site the following year. Therefore if at all possible always leave bees nests alone to thrive as their presence is actually beneficial for gardeners and their crop.
- Relocation - If a bees nest is outside or underground then there shouldn't be a reason to really move it. In more conventional and accessible places such as bushes, trees and sheds, then we will try to relocate the nest. Only if the location of a nest is dangerous and removal not possible, should the next step be an option. Wasps due to their aggressive nature are difficult to relocate.
- Eradication – Only considered as a last resort and must be done by a trained professional pest controllers.
Every spring we receive calls from concerned persons who have sighted large hornets. Due to some alarmist and misinformed television programs they fear an invasion.
The largest hornet in the world is the Japanese or Asian Giant Hornet, Vespa mandarinia. This lives only in the far east and is not the “killer” one. It measures 45 millimetres, a wingspan of around 75 mm (3 in), and a stinger 6 mm long.
Smaller is the European hornet, Vespa crabro, also called Giant Hornet or the Brown Hornet is medium sized but even then is only 25 mm long. Though still alarmingly large with a yellow face, it is not aggressive but will defend nest if threatened and can sting without warning. Found in the area.
Smaller is Vespa velutina, the Asian Hornet which is also known as the Yellow-legged Hornet or Asian Predatory Hornet, indigenous to Southeast Asia. It is of concern as an invasive species in Central Europe because it affects Honey Bee colonies . The nearest it has been found to us is in Northern Spain and Portugal. It is not spreading south across Spain as the climate is too dry.
The Oriental Hornet, Vespa orientalis is found in Gibraltar, Southern Europe and Asia for the past couple of years. It is of no special concern though its appearance is quite striking.
Note that the Oriental Hornet is not the same as the Asian hornet. In any case the “killer” status is to honey bees, not humans. However all hornets and wasps can be aggressive if threatened and should be given a wide berth.
Another species that has caused concerns is the Asian Tiger Mosquito, Aedes albopictus. It was known to be in Europe since the 80s with a spread to Southern Spain in 2016 and in 2017 it was first found here. It breeds in small containers of water where the female lays the eggs which then hatch into a swimming larvae, pupae and then a flying adult emerges. The female hunts for a blood meal so she can produce the eggs for the next generation. They fly low and slow and rarely can be heard. However they normally bite during the daytime and usually go for the legs to cause a considerably itchy welt. Biting is very aggressive and determined. They are smaller and darker in appearance to the typical mosquito and can transmit certain tropical diseases. Since these are not found in the area at present there is no immediate concern. We still however monitor their spread and populations. The advice given to the public in a press releases can be found below under 'Useful Links'.