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I was recently called out to deal with an issue of clothes moth larvae that had damaged an heirloom rug of great sentimental importance to a homeowner. The owner of the establishment had been away on vacation during the Spring only to return to find her favourite rug had been devoured by clothes moth larvae.

Clothes moths (Tineola bisselliella) is common throughout Ireland. Traditionally it is associated with many natural animal origin products especially woollen fabrics, fur, feather and leather products. Fibres are bitten off and loose ends discarded, thus destroying much more commodity than is consumed.

Adult female lays up to 160 eggs during a 2-3-week period amongst fibres of suitable material for the larvae. They emerge at temperatures above 10°C and begin to spin silk forming a mat or tent like structure. During the spring they hatch in 4-10 days to give an active, white translucent larva. This grows up to 10mm in length and the head becomes darker in colour.

Each larva constructs a smooth-lined tunnel by weaving the silk in amongst excreta (frass) and particles of substrate. The resulting camouflage serves as a home throughout the larva development period. The caterpillar emerges at night to feed and returns to the safety of its web tunnel by day.

The breeding temperature range is 10°C to 30°C and around 70% humidity is ideal for the species. Development is dependent on the quality of food

material. The move away from fibres and furs of animal origin to synthetic fabrics has seen a decline in the severity and frequency of occurrence in recent years. However other species of insects have filled the gap particularly the carpet beetle and fur beetle.

Much can be done in the home to prevent damage occurring. Keep woollen clothes scrupulously clean. Moth damage occurs where food stains, perspiration or urine stains have occurred. Cleaning carpets regularly with a vacuum cleaner particularly in areas covered by heavy furniture such as a sideboard or piano. A residual moth proofer spray should be used in these areas. Where carpets are being fitted it is wise to spray the underside of the carpet around the edge of the floor before a carpet is fitted.

Moth larvae cannot exist in bright light and good ventilation. A good old-fashioned spring-clean by regularly airing stored blankets, furnishings and other woollen products out of doors on fresh sunny days. Give them a good shaking and brushing or shaking before folding and putting away.

Upholstered furniture is sometimes a good reservoir of moth infestations as larvae prefer to feed in dark secluded areas. Removing the covering from the bottom of the chair, followed by a thorough spraying with a residual pyrethroid insecticide can be effective against larvae control. Look for carpet damage in corners and secluded hard to reach areas. Good hygiene is essential and the use of a vacuum cleaner to remove larvae. Where there are valuable fabrics at risk then specialist moth control is required in the use of pheromone traps and monitors to detect early presence of adults. Contact ecologica.ie for more information on (086) 812 0435.

Mervyn Walsh, Field Biologist

Ecologica Environmental

Gulls (Laridae) are medium to large-sized, long winged, conspicuous birds that often occur in large flocks or colonies. Gulls nesting on buildings, mainly in coastal but often now in towns inland, has increased markedly in recent years. Nest sites include private houses, hotels, large warehouses and factories. They will fly great distances for food, often at landfill sites especially during the winter, sewage outlets or agricultural land. Other food sources include scavenging from urban and commercial food waste. Once a breeding site is established the gulls will return to it year after year. They don’t go away, you know!

There are six species: herring gull, lesser black-backed gull, great black-backed gull, black headed-gulls, common gull and Kittiwakes. They start breeding when five years old and can live for up to 25 years. Eggs are laid in April or May with up to three eggs being laid at two to three-day intervals. Incubation takes 28-30 days. The young can make their first flight at about 10 days old but do not leave the nest area until after five to six weeks’, so the breeding season extends to August. A single brood is the norm, per season but if eggs are removed or destroyed they can relay several times a year in a season.

If you have had them before, then act rather than ignore it as they return to the same location every year. Seagulls that hatch on a roof will return at three years old and nest in the same spot they were born. Allowing them to establish a nesting colony on a building is bad practice. Ignoring one, followed by another can lead to exponential population growth and big repair costs. Nesting birds are noisy, aggressive and cover the surrounding area with their guano, which corrodes paint and etches into

cladding coatings. Nest debris blocks roof drainage systems causing flooding risks. Gulls are inquisitive by nature and will pick at wiring, insulation and roof coverings causing further building degradation. Seagull guano presents a health and safety hazard, with slips, trips and falls. Their guano carries many transferable diseases to humans. Gulls are most aggressive when they have young in the nest. Employers and landlords have a duty of care to staff, tenants and third-party visitors to provide a safe working environment.

There are a variety of proofing systems against gulls e.g. netting, parallel wires, spikes, sprung wire systems, daddi long legs and specialist anti-bird chimney cowls are available from Ecologica from €40. Gulls are very heavy birds so appropriate heavy-duty equipment and techniques are required. Any proofing on nesting areas needs to make sure that birds cannot land nearby and drop nesting materials onto a nest site and build up a nest through the proofing. Roof nets are increasingly being used to protect large roof areas from nesting and loafing gulls.

Use of bio-acoustic call systems to disperse gulls from large areas such as marinas and factory roofs have been found to have some effect. The award winning autonomic laser bird dispersal systems which are ideal solution for many commercial premises as they are silent and produce immediate results. Our hawk kite bird scare kit from €170 deters birds from crops, grass areas, roofs and landfill areas offering deterrence protection up to 400m² of surface area. Predator birds e.g. harris hawk – are used at live sporting events for keeping gulls away are very effective and an environmentally friendly solution.

If you are losing business revenue, resources or people due to a seagull infestation, be pro-active, save your business goodwill and call Ecologica for a site survey and environmental risk assessment.

Mervyn Walsh, Field Biologist

Ecologica Environmental

Feral pigeon (Columba livia) have adapted extremely well to life in an urban environment. However the presence of birds can bring many public health risks in terms of diseases which can be passed onto humans.

There are more than 110 pathogens (8 virus, 55 fungi, 41 bacteria, 6 protozoa) reported to affect birds. These zoonoses can be broadly divided into air-borne, food-borne or insect-borne.

Air-borne disease agents can be either pathogenic micro-organisms or dust. Causative agents that can be inhaled and the symptoms exhibited include:

* Chlamydia psittaci – bacteria found in the viscera of infected birds. It is excreted in the faeces and found in nasal and eye secretions, thus contaminating the birds’ feathers, faeces and nesting materials. Human infection is called ornithosis and symptoms include chills, fever, sweating, severe weakness, headache, blurred vision, pneumonia and possible death.

* Histoplasma capsulatum – fungus found in accumulated bird droppings. Most people are unaware of it, but it can lead to

hospitalisation and even death. Symptoms include fever, chest pains, cough, pneumonia and meningitis.

* Allergenic particles – an allergic condition known as bird fanciers flu (extrinsic alveolitis). Occurs in people exposed to airborne antigens in dust inhaled from bird infested areas. Acute can lead to flu-like symptoms of fever, chills, muscle ache, cough, breathlessness. Symptoms are evident four to eight hours after exposure to the allergen and can last for up to a week or more.

Food borne disease organisms known to be carried by birds that can be ingested include:

  • Salmonella spp.
  • Escherichia coli variant 0157
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Vibrio cholerae

Birds have many blood-feeding parasites that lie in their nests and can bite humans. These include: martin bug (Oeciacus), bird mites (Dermanyssus spp) and pigeon flea (Ceratophyllus columbae).

The presence of birds in your home or commercial business presents a serious health hazard to people. From July 2017, under the Housing Rental Standards Regulation 2017, landlords or management companies now have a responsibility to tenants to ensure premises are free of pest species – birds, insects & rodents – thus ensuring a disease and pest free living environment. Contact Ecologica.ie today for site survey & environmental risk assessment on (086) 812 0435.

Mervyn Walsh BA(Hons), HDip.EnvMgt, MRSPH

Harmonix® Monitoring non-toxic paste and hypoallergenic bait from Ecologica Environmental.

Ecologica Environmental in keeping with its ethos of eco-friendly pest control management with minimal environmental impacts are now providing an innovative non-toxic and hypoallergenic bait containing oats instead of wheat for proactive monitoring of rodent activity as part of its Integrated Rodent Management (IPM) programme. With its full traceability day and night, It is also free from the big 8 food allergens including wheat and is HACCP certified, making is suitable for use within the food industry.

Harmonix® monitoring paste developed by Bayer Environmental Science, can be used in and around homes, food manufacturing, industrial, commercial, agricultural and public buildings. It can also be used in vehicles around ports, airports and railway stations and in open areas e.g. public parks, waste dumps and sewer systems.

Each individual 10g bait sachet is placed in a tamper proof Rotech® bait station. A key benefit of this eco-friendly product is that it is safe to use in proximity to children and non-target animals including pets, farm animals and wildlife. It provides early detection of the presence of rodents, near locations of entry to human premises or preferred locations of harbourage, runs or nesting sites. Harmonix® monitoring bait will not decay and will keep it palatability over time.

Post follow-up Inspections should include signs of consumption of the bait, like gnawing marks but also droppings which will be more visible thanks to a red dye in daylight and a glowing bright blue dye in black-light. When early signs of consumption, replace immediately with a non-toxic bait e.g. Harmonix® bait or Rascal® non-toxic wax block/gel and a Rotech® trap in a tamper proof bait station. The acceptance of the non-toxic bait by rodents will be optimised because rodents will have become accustomed to it as a food source.

Key Benefits of Harmonix® Monitoring:

  • Non-toxic bait for an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme.
  • Ideal for use in the food industry due to hypoallergenic formulation – contains oats instead of wheat. Fully HACCP International food safety certified.
  • Free from the big 8 food allergens including wheat
  • Enables rodent tracking day or night.
  • Ideal for trapping control strategy with minimal environmental impact with no primary or secondary contamination.

For further information on Harmonix® or other non-toxic Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programmes contact: Ecologica Enviromental (086) 812 0435 or visit ecologica.ie

 

These regulations require landlords of rented houses (including flats and apartments) comply with meeting certain minimum living standards. The standards relate to structural condition, sanitary facilities, storage, laundry, heating and lighting, ventilation, safety of heating systems, fire safety, refuse facilities and pest control. The regulations came into effect on 1st July 2017.

In summary they relate to the following:

  • S17:4(1) structural condition – a house to which these regulations apply (hereinafter referred to as “the house” shall be maintained in a proper state of structural repair.
  • S17:4(4) Where necessary, “adequate provision shall be made to prevent harbourage or ingress of pests or vermin.
  • S17:11 The house shall have access to suitable and adequate pest and vermin proof refuse storage facilities.

The presence of pest species in a rental accommodation or commercial premises presents a serious health hazard to people. Under the housing rental standards, landlords and management companies have a responsibility to tenants to ensure premises are free of pests – birds, insects and rodents – thus ensuring a disease-free living environment.

Birds, insects & rodent pest species of concern

The presence of birds can bring many public health risks in terms of diseases which can be passed onto humans.  There are more than 110 pathogens or diseases that can be transmitted to humans by birds reported to affect birds. These zoonoses can be broadly divided into air-borne, food-borne or insect-borne. Air-borne disease agents can be either pathogenic micro-organisms or dust. Causative agents that can be inhaled and all can represent a risk to human health.

Some notifiable diseases to the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine include for example:

  • Avian Chlamydiosis (aka Psittacosis)
  • Newcastle disease
  • Paramyxovirus of pigeons
  • Avian Influenza

Other more common diseases include E. coli 0157, Salmonella, Bird Flu H5N1, MRSA, Listeria, Staphylococcus Aureus and bird mites & fleas.

Researchers at Penn Sate College of Science in the US found that common houseflies carry salmonella, e-coli and even bacteria which lead to stomach ulcers and deadly sepsis. There message is clear: “Don’t eat food if a fly lands on it, as they carry more bacteria than previously thought”. Common housefly are widespread and found wherever suitable breeding conditions exist, usually rotting, fermenting or at least moist organic material, preferably of a high protein content. Houseflies are frequently found in association with humans either indoors or taking advantage of other activities. Houseflies can transmit intestinal worms, or their eggs are potential vectors of disease such as dysentery, gastroenteritis, typhoid, cholera and tuberculosis. Other insects of concern are cockroaches, bed bugs, mites, fleas, garden ants, silverfish and wasps.

Rodents: rats and mice, carry over 45 different types of diseases that can contaminate, water, food and the environment. Rodents can cause food losses to stored food and food production supply chains causing damage to packaging and contamination from urine or faeces. It only takes one mouse in a property, which can produce upwards of 125 faecal pellets and thousands of micro droplets of urine in just 24 hours.

 

For an environmental risk assessment of your rental property contact Ecologica Environmental on (086) 812 0435. We will provide advice to safeguard your property and tenants thus ensuring compliance with the housing rental standards and environmental health regulations.                                                    #PeaceOfMind4U 😊

 

Mervyn Walsh, Field Conservation Biologist

Ecologica Environmental

Support of critical electricity infrastructure is becoming ever more important. At the same time, a growing number of businesses, including hospitals, hotels and even entire villages, rely on remote independent microgrids for their power supply. QINOUS is a Berlin-based renewable energy storage specialist and provider of smart energy storage solutions. It has recently started using Novec 1230 Fire Protection Fluid from 3M in its systems as its fire protection solution…Read More

I sometimes receive calls from people who tell me they have something in their attic, they are too scared to see what it is, and would I mind taking a look. If you find it difficult to sleep during a hot summers night, it is even harder when you have wildlife scrabbling around in the attic or crashing around on your roof. To know how to deal with it, you need to identify it.

There are a few likely culprits most likely to invade your roof space:

Birds – seagulls nest on flat roofs and will continue to do so because they are site faithful. Jackdaws frequently nest on unprotected chimney tops and use attic spaces if there is voids to ingress. Pigeons nest colonially under the eaves, in the roof or on ledges. Summer migrants such as swallows, swifts or house martins nest under the eaves or in roof voids. Starlings and house sparrows will also nest under the eaves or in lofts too. Occasionally mallards, kestrels or peregrines will nest in urban centres on flat roofs, windowsills or ledges of apartments.

Mammals – Grey squirrels often build nests in the insulation in attics. Rats and mice of course too can co-exist with humans but tend to be nocturnal where squirrels can be heard scampering around during the daytime. Both rodents and squirrels can chew cables and cause a lot of damage resulting in costly repair bills. Bats generally roost under tiles or felt and in ventilation ducts. Foxes can gain access to flat roofs or sloped roofs by climbing fire escapes or walls leading onto roof spaces. Old derelict offices or warehouses tend to be occupied by foxes as they provide a haven for the vixen to raise her cubs.

Insects – It is quite common for wasps to ingress during the summer period into people’s homes and build a hive. Similarly, in September each year cluster flies’ ingress into attic spaces to hibernate over the winter months when they flee outdoors with the arrival of spring sunshine.

Birds are protected by law when their nests are being built or are in use. However, they are only temporary visitors and most people enjoy their presence without disturbance. To prevent jackdaws nesting in your chimney every year it is best to purchase an ABR chimney cowl from Ecologica. It is difficult to prevent nesting gulls from returning each year unless you put netting on your roof. Roof eaves can be proofed with one metre lengths of Ecologica roofing comb protecting ingress against sparrows, starlings, rats which can be adjusted to suit any profile of roof tile. Ventilation systems or air bricks can be proofed with aluminium vent proofing grills or superior quality UPVC and stainless-steel mesh which is ideal for proofing against mice, bats and wasps. The latter can be mounted using screws or strong adhesive.

Pure copper knitted wire mesh 125mm is excellent for proofing voids against rats, mice or birds. Environmentally friendly, it will never rust and will not leave rust stains on brick or wood. It is made to cram into tight spaces, it is difficult to remove, and it is very hard for rodents to chew through. This knitted copper mesh has lay flat wires, which gives it a very tight and grippy final structure. An alternative is rodent proof woven 1mm stainless steel mesh which is great for airbricks.

Mervyn Walsh, Field Biologist

Ecologica Environmental

This case study is about the use of 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid to protect one of the UK’s most powerful supercomputers, the ARCHER computer at Edinburgh University.

About the case study:

3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid was installed in a SAPPHIRE system from Johnson Controls, to protect the UK Research Data Facility which houses the ARCHER system at Edinburgh University. The ARCHER system is a world-class supercomputer, capable of processing one million billion calculations every second! Sustainability was a key driver for the selection of clean agent, and installation was challenging, with the containers having to be installed between the air conditioning units at the side of the building

Click here to download the report

This white paper compares the use of 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid to inert gas extinguishing systems across 4 key parameters:

  • Performance and speed of extinguishing
  • Safety of people
  • Total cost of ownership
  • Sustainability

Click To Download the Report

Clearwater Technology Ltd, the nationwide provider of water, air and hygiene management, has today announced the launch of Pureox 3500, a new generator system for the purification of water using Chlorine Dioxide (ClO2). The Clearwater Pureox 3500 ClO2 Generator guarantees water purity in domestic, drinking and process water systems by preventing the build-up of microorganisms and Biofouling within the system.

Offering the safest, purest and most stable method of producing Chlorine Dioxide onsite, the Clearwater Pureox 3500 range of generators ensures all Chlorine Dioxide generated is used at the point of application. The generator optimises the conversion reaction to ensure that the Chlorine Dioxide being produced at its purest.

Thanks to its unique and innovative sequential, batching system, the Clearwater range of ClO2 generators overcome various drawbacks typically associated with two-pack Chlorine Dioxide generators. The Clearwater Pureox 3500 system is particularly effective against Biofouling (Sessile Bacteria) and Legionella, Pseudomonas and Cryptosporidium among many other pathogenic microorganisms. (Planktonic Bacteria).

“Pureox 3500 represents a significant leap in chemical dosing for water systems,” said Karl Wharton, Managing Director, Clearwater Technology. “This exciting addition to Clearwater’s innovative range of products and solutions will benefit customers across all verticals, from disinfection and sterilisation in healthcare to cooling towers and process water in food and beverage and manufacturing facilities, to any domestic or commercial buildings, the unique, sequential, batching system will provide easier and more efficient generation and dosing of the purest Chlorine Dioxide possible.”

The Clearwater Pureox 3500 range is one of a kind in that it ensures optimum strength (to BSEN12671), optimum dilution, optimum stability and optimum conversion through the innovative delivery of batched quantities of Chlorine Dioxide. The system includes built-in service software which stores service and treatment information for up to three years.

Pureox 3500 requires lower chemical concentrations making them easier to dose while achieving 98% Conversion efficiency. The Clearwater system is also WRAS compliant which is a requirement for many systems in the UK that carry or receive water from the public mains water supply.