Autumnal pests – which are common and how can you prevent an infestation in your care home as told by Sophie Thorogood, Training Manager at Pelsis Group.

As we dive further into autumn, temperatures can begin to fluctuate more, and the rain becomes heavier and more common.

This change in weather can lead to a change in the pests we begin to see, which is important to prepare for if you’re looking to prevent any infestations harming your business and your residents.


The main pests in this category are mice and rats, who are forced inside to seek shelter and food during the cold snaps.

However, poor waste management can help make a property more attractive to them. It is essential to make sure bins are properly sealed shut, food containers in kitchens don’t remain open and leftover food isn’t left out as these can be very appealing to rodents.

Another autumn rodent pest is the squirrel. Interestingly a common cause of infestations in care homes is when residents have grown of fond of feeding animals.

Mix these together and you have squirrels that are accustomed to people and will enter the residents open room windows in search of food.


A key pest in this category that you will need to look out for is the wasp.

During September and October, wasps no longer hunt insects to feed the larvae within the nest. Instead, they feed on high sugar foodstuffs and fallen fruit.

The fruit begins to ferment with the sugars turning to ethanol and the wasps that feed on this are essentially drunk, which is why they become aggressive. Again, poor waste management, i.e., waste compactors and bins being left near doors and unclosed will always end up attracting wasps.

Despite thought by many as just as summer pest, ants can still be active in the autumn. Preventing poor food storage management is a good measure against infestations.

Just doing the basics of keeping surfaces clean and clear is vital to preventing an infestation. Ants will gather and form trails where fruit or something sweet has been left, as will flies and wasps.

Lastly, bed bugs which are present all year round may see an increase in late summer and autumn as people return from vacations and inadvertently bring them back with them and introduce them to different places they visit.

These are insects that will cling to clothing, suitcases, books and furniture as modes of transport. They are capable of spreading quickly throughout the property once they have landed in search of a meal or spread inadvertently via a bed linen trolley which may be going from room to room.

Staff pest awareness training, inspection of incoming belongings and monitoring devices will help to prevent widespread infestations. Washing clothes which have been brought in with new residents at 60°C will kill all life stages of insect.

As we enter autumn, following the above guidance can help prevent infestations of some of the season’s most common pest. Having permanent monitors in key locations will also help to control activity quickly and detect pest activity that would normally go undetected.

But your action should be coupled with regular inspections by a pest control company. They can provide bespoke advice on proofing, housekeeping and storage of material.