CONTROLLING PESTS: Find out which methods you can use and which ones you cannot. The United Kingdom has laws protecting some wildlife species.
As a rule, pest control means getting rid of insects or animals that cause harm or create a nuisance. But, there are some simple things that you can do to help control pests on your property.
First, you can contact your local council. Check to see if they provide pest control services (they may charge a fee). They will often get rid of common pests such as mice and bedbugs in your property.
Council authorities use experts who can guide you to which pest control service to use. They can also provide tips on preventing an infestation. Failing that, you can choose to hire a professional pest controller yourself.
Note: Causing unnecessary harm to any animal can result in a fine or imprisonment in the United Kingdom.
Pest Control Laws UK
The UK controlling pests laws mean the public can only:
- Use poisons to kill only the pests that it they are intended for. The packaging of the animal poison will state these limitations.
- Trap or kill permitted animals using permitted methods to kill those animals.
- Use animal traps approved for use with the particular species you aim to control. You must follow all instructions when using an animal trap.
UK pest control laws do not allow the use of any of these control methods for any wildlife species:
- Self-locking snares, bows, crossbows, and explosives (excludes legal ammunition for a licensed firearm).
- ‘Live decoys‘ which are birds or animals used to attract pests (unless you have the correct licence).
Note: Keeping or releasing some wildlife animals is an offence in the United Kingdom. Examples include grey squirrels. The law says you must kill certain wildlife animals using humane methods if you catch them alive.
Expert Advice on Pest Control: BPCA
British Pest Control Association lists methods that the public can use for controlling pests on a property.
But, it is wise to seek professional advice if you are not sure about:
- Which particular animal species the law allows you to trap or kill.
- The proper use of pest control methods (e.g. poisons and animal traps).
Protecting Animal Habitats
Some species use domestic areas for shelter, protection, and breeding. In some cases, it is an offence to disturb, destroy, damage, or prevent animal access to such places. For example, the bats protection law means you must avoid harming bat species unless you get a licence.
Note: It is against environmental laws to disturb or destroy bats even inside your home. This also applies to any place they live in for roosting.
Protecting other Wildlife Species from Harm
Using animal traps and poisons can also harm other wildlife species. Thus, you must use methods to protect other animals from your traps or pest poison. This includes:
- Using methods to prevent wildlife from eating pest poison that you put down.
- Placing any lethal traps under cover or in such a way that other animals and birds do not get snared.
Licence Application to Catch or Kill Protected Wildlife
Getting rid of a protected species living inside your home often requires a licence. But, you need to get a wildlife licence to kill or catch some wild animal species. This is most relevant if the method of killing them would usually be illegal.
- Pest Control Information: Check if your council can help you with professional pest control services.
- Report a Pest Problem: Contact your local council to report a pest problem with common pests. Council authorities can help you remove bedbugs, rats, mice, and wasps from your property.