Silverfish are small wingless insects that feed on carbohydrates such as starch and sugars. They can damage products such as paper, glues, carpets, cotton and linen products, and starch-based treatments applied to other fabrics (wool and silk are protein-based fibres).

Termites can invade buildings through the ground with no obvious signs to the untrained eye and cause damage to the structure and fittings for years until it reaches a critical point. They can be hidden inside walls, floors, roofs or behind paint on woodwork.

In termite prone areas, regular termite inspections are important to detect them as early as possible and prevent further damage to property. There are signs to look for to detect the presence of termites and measures you can take to stop them coming onto your property.

Rentokil offers a range of treatment options to get rid of termites and technical solutions to protect property from termites.

Triatomine bug
The triatomine bug, also known as the assassin bug and kissing bug, is a pest in Central and South America, where it infests low quality housing. These large insects come out of hiding at night to seek a blood meal from the sleeping inhabitants. They carry the chagas disease parasite which infects millions of people and causes thousands of deaths.

Textile pests
Textile pests can be found in products of animal origin including wool, silk, animal hair, leather and feathers. They can damage products such as clothing, carpets, upholstered furniture and tapestries. The pests include moths and many beetle species that feed on the protein keratin that is found in animal products.

Woodworm is a general term used for many types of beetle whose larvae or adult forms bore into wood. The adults lay their eggs in cracks and crevices of timber and after hatching the larvae burrow into the timber.

A small number are pests of structural timber in buildings and can cause serious damage if left untreated. They can also infest wooden fittings and products, such as tool handles, toys and picture frames.


Mites are a highly diverse group with many species that are parasites of plants and animals. A relatively small number are regarded as pests for causing diseases in humans and domestic animals — including bees — and for infesting food products.

Grain or flour mites are important pests of cereals, and dried fruits and vegetables. Diseases caused by mites include scabies and asthma — which is caused by particles produced by dust mites.

Scorpions are rarely a problem for homeowners and businesses as they prefer to stay in shelter during the day. All scorpions sting, which can be painful and cause swelling, but is usually harmless. Only a few species worldwide have toxic venom that could be fatal. They can enter buildings through gaps and cracks or are brought inside accidentally when they have sought shelter in, for example, firewood.

Of the many thousands of spider species worldwide very few cause problems for humans. The main problem is unsightly cobwebs that are considered unacceptable around homes and businesses, as well as people’s fear of spiders. In temperate countries they may seek shelter in houses in autumn as the temperature drops.

Ticks are picked up by pets and people from walking in infected areas outdoors, especially where there is long grass and vegetation. They carry several diseases, the most common of which is Lyme disease, which occurs across the northern hemisphere. There are also several other . Many small mammals and deer are hosts of ticks and maintain them and the diseases they carry in the environment.

There are several measures you can take to reduce the chance of picking up ticks. When you have a tick it is important to remove it properly, so that you don’t make it regurgitate into the bite or leave mouthparts behind, both of which can increase the chance of getting an infection.

There are three types of human louse, the head louse, body louse and crab louse. Head lice can be passed from person to person by close contact and infest anyone with hair. In developed countries they most commonly affect children.

The body louse is the same species as the head louse but lives mainly in clothing and is spread by close contact with someone infested, or infested clothing and bedding. These are generally more of an irritant than a danger, causing itching and distress.

Both can carry the serious diseases epidemic typhus, endemic/murine typhus, and relapsing fever, which tend to break out in poor living conditions such as caused by war and famine.

The crab louse is a distinct species from the other types and is spread by close contact. It is usually found in coarser body hair, such as pubic hair and eye lashes. This is also more of an irritant than a danger.

Processionary moth
The caterpillars of these moths can cause extensive defoliation of trees. They are also a public health hazard because their long hairs contain an irritating chemical that causes rashes and occasionally more severe allergic reactions. This can occur from touching the caterpillars and from loose hairs blown in the wind.

The Oak processionary moth is native to southern Europe but has migrated northwards to Germany and the UK. The Pine processionary moth is native to southern Europe and North Africa. Careful removal of caterpillars and pheromone traps to catch adults are used to prevent outbreaks.

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