Series following four female pest controllers. A family facing the nightly terror of a bed-bug infestation calls in Imogen, who takes a scientific approach to pest control.
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There could be unwelcome intruders...
It's a little one. It's all right, it's only a little one. It's OK.
..in your home right now.
We knew that they were here.
See all the blotches.
It makes me feel horrible.
They're the most despicable creatures that you could imagine.
Britain has 18 million feral pigeons.
Moth infestations have shot up by 75%.
They're coming out of the towels.
And rats are growing immune to poisons.
No word of a lie, probably 20 to 25 rats
on that grass in the middle of the night.
-The pests are coming.
There's no doubt about it, we've got an infestation.
On the front line...
We are at war with pests.
..four women are leading the fight.
I said, "I'm a rat-catcher."
Well, he nearly choked on his pint.
Working in a man's world, they're a force to be reckoned with.
Just pop it on over my face and you won't hear me again, OK?
I haven't had a rat escape my clutches yet.
Armed with specialist cameras for a close-up view of the enemy,
they use all their guile to solve each mystery.
Every case is like a detective story.
Who are you going to call?
It's time to start the eviction.
We feel we've not slept properly for days since we've seen them.
You're permanently itching,
permanently paranoid there's something there.
Life feels it's upside down at the moment.
My husband describes it as coming home to the house of horrors.
Charlotte is battling an infestation of bedbugs.
It's the latest case for Ladykiller Imogen.
I've got two degrees -
BSc from Manchester, MSc from Imperial.
In order to really understand the pest,
you have to think like the pest.
So I've come to investigate the bedbug problem at this property.
If you don't find every individual, you're going to be trapped.
You're going to have to treat the house over and over again.
The house has already had one pesticide treatment,
but now the bugs are biting back.
This has been a temporary bed for both myself and my husband.
Well, that's terrifying. If you haven't been able to sleep in your own bed
-because the bedbugs are biting you, that's appalling!
I'll just show you where it is.
Imogen wants to know how bad the infestation has become.
Bedbugs are most active at night, while we sleep.
I'm going to be looking for anywhere
where the little bedbugs can hide.
And we should be able to see them with the naked eye, like this.
Tends to be around the bed, the mattress, the frame.
They tend to go... Bedbugs like to be close to the host,
extract some blood, so that they can develop to the next stage,
the next stage of their life cycle.
The bedbug's total lifespan is around ten months.
They live on human blood,
and are attracted by our breath.
Bedbug dirt here, can you see here?
-It looks like black ink.
-That's our blood, then, isn't it?
-Would there be anything under there?
-There's one there.
That's a fully grown bedbug,
which is a nice dark colour.
It's probably quite well-fed.
It's just confirmed my worst fears that we've got them.
They come to clean houses, they come to dirty houses,
they're indiscriminate. They'll happily come to the rich, the poor,
the aged, the young. They don't mind,
they're happy to eat blood from anybody.
One, two, three.
There's one - can you see that alive one there?
Alive one there, going into the crevice there.
You see the dirt here, there's another one here.
Does it make you feel worse or better?
In some respects I was expecting you to find a lot more.
Bedbugs are wingless insects.
They're carried on clothing or luggage,
and can be picked up in any public place.
I presume the bedbugs came in on a handbag or a gym bag,
if you travel by Tube or underground.
And it's just unfortunate they've come into Charlotte's house, really.
Imogen takes a forensic approach to pest control -
any chance to study her subject is not to be missed.
So, in order for you to actually get a proper view of what I found,
I've linked up this camera to the computer.
-Can you look on the screen?
-Oh, it's horrible.
In people's beds... There's one running there, look.
-Shows you how fast they move, doesn't it?
Where's he gone? There. One is actually jumping
on top of the other, and I think he's actually trying
to have sex with her. She's trying to escape.
Actually, I think she's failed to escape, poor thing.
How many eggs would that female bedbug produce?
Well, in her lifetime, probably as many as 200.
-I suspect that we've only found a few of your bedbugs.
Bedbugs can travel around the house,
hidden in the tiny gaps in furniture,
skirting boards and plugs.
There may be more in the rest of the flat.
Rather than wasting my time turning over all the furniture,
I should get in a pest controller
who's faster, smarter and quicker than me, and happens to be male.
Come on, then, Alfie, let's go to work.
-So we'll start in this room.
Alfie the dog is incredible,
and he's been trained to sniff out bedbugs.
This way, Alf.
The female bug emits a pheromone to attract males,
which Alfie's sensitive nose can pinpoint in seconds.
So that room is clear.
With a well-trained dog like Alfie,
Imogen can check the entire house in a matter of minutes.
Definitely bedbugs in here, because he alerted.
-Good boy, good boy.
-Yes, good boy.
Claire is Alfie's handler. They work wonderfully together.
See, he loves it.
We start training them from a puppy
and then you train them on the scent.
Come on, then, Alfie.
And then you can fine-tune that and make the scent as small as you want.
Driven from her own bedroom,
Charlotte's been sleeping on the sofa bed in the lounge.
Alfie, let's go this way.
That, where he's stopped now, that will be an alert.
Show me. If you look, I can't move him away.
-He won't come with me.
He stopped here in his alert,
on the sofa where Charlotte and her husband have been sleeping.
I'm not sure where we're going to sleep tonight.
Something we've got to think about.
Probably somewhere else, a different location.
In you go. Come on, then, in you go.
Well, Charlotte's already had
a traditional chemical insecticide treatment.
It hasn't worked. It's happening over and over again,
and actually it's a waste of time doing chemical spray treatment.
We need to find out what works
and why the chemical sprays aren't working.
Imogen needs to find a more effective solution
to rid Charlotte of a problem that's spreading through her whole house.
I'd like to take some advice from experts
and come back to Charlotte on the problem
and suggest a solution for her.
They've eaten my shed floor.
They've eaten my hammock cushions
and all the inside foam.
By day, Cheryl runs a hair salon from her home.
Well, they're not little tiny things.
Big as cats.
I suppose it depends how big your cat is.
By night, she's plagued by terrors.
At one point, probably 20 to 25 rats
on that grass in the middle of the night.
I love rat jobs. All mine are rural,
but I've been called to one more in the city.
It's in the back garden so it should be nice and simple.
Self-confessed country girl Deborah
has a no-nonsense approach to pest control.
To me, I like to do things right, I like to do things well.
I don't like letting everybody down.
If only all god's creatures were this easy to control.
I mean, they've even started eating my wheelie bin.
Right here, that's their teeth mark.
I just come in hoping that I can make a difference.
How long have you been seeing rats here?
At least 11 years.
-That's a long time.
Cheryl's husband Jim has tried to keep track of the intruders.
Sometimes they'll come out and they sort of scoot back in,
-and you're never quite sure it's the same one.
-Have you noticed any holes or...
I see you have a convenient rat hole under the shed, there.
Bit of a labyrinth, you might say, underneath.
Rats are nocturnal.
By using infrared cameras,
Deborah aims to reveal their nightly routine.
-These are the images that we got from it, and they're quite good.
-Here he comes.
Oh, my word!
The UK has a population of over ten million rats.
But 95% of rats in the world
-will only live a year.
-I don't know why I'm freaked about them, really,
but it's not nice knowing that they can come up to your back door
and then they could be in your house.
But I don't like them.
Most people have phobias about something.
Rats carry a whole host of diseases,
including salmonella and E. coli.
Until she finds where they're living,
Deborah is powerless to keep them away.
Right, let's check the shed out.
This is the most common place for them to be living.
I would suggest that any men in Britain keep their shed
as tidy as they can, keep things off the floor.
Oh, we've got a dead rat.
It's very dead, there's no way anybody's going to revive that one.
I did find a dead rat in the shed,
which I have removed. He's very mummified.
-Oh, my goodness me.
That's awful. It looks like a stuffed one.
Yes, he's very mummified. He's been dead a long time.
I don't think they're living in your garden.
It's not just us, definitely. There are other places and houses
along here that are having a similar problem, if not a lot, lot worse.
Finding the source is the only way to stop the rats.
Deborah's investigation is only just beginning.
Hope they've gone for this afternoon.
Jan, who lives in Woodborough - really nice lady -
she's got an issue with wasps in her garden.
But she has informed me that she's got a garden party this afternoon.
Ladykiller Angela has been a pest controller for 12 years.
I'm like the third emergency service as far as I can see at the moment.
Oh, they're very active again.
I've got to try and get rid of this wasp nest within the timescale.
of four, three o'clock this afternoon,
which is quite worrying to me.
It's 1.20pm, so the pressure's on.
On Angela's pest control patch, Jan is one of her regulars.
-Oh, hi, Angela! How are you?
-I'm all right, thank you.
-Oh, I'm pleased it's you who's come.
It was unexpected the first time she came,
cos you don't think of a female pest controller.
I had mice in the garage, two wasps' nests,
and then last year she came out
when I had an infestation of wasps on my broad beans.
They're up there.
The UK has six species of wasp.
Like bees, the nest is reliant on one egg-laying queen.
-Look at them now.
-I know, it's cos the sun's out
-so they've woke up. That's what it is.
The wasps will defend their queen at all costs.
I'll go and get kitted up and get on with this,
because otherwise I'm going to get behind, aren't I?
The way I describe a wasp sting is like falling in nettles naked.
It proper hurts, and I mean hurts.
The wasp's sting contains a pheromone
that makes nearby wasps more aggressive.
It's the only pest I enjoy killing,
and I have no remorse in getting rid of it.
Cos after you've been stung, you just hate them more.
Well, the clock is ticking.
It's just one hour until the arrival
of the ladies of the Woodborough Cancer Research Committee.
This is a trigger-like gun on the end
and then I'm just going to put that into the entrance of the nest,
and then I'm going to fire powder in which contains a bendiocarb,
which will play havoc with their nervous system.
Well, they come out white when they're covered in the insecticide
so you know you've hit.
The toxic powder works its way through the whole nest.
They ain't happy, are they?
They're not happy. Oh, dear.
Do you want a hand moving chairs, and that?
Please, if you wouldn't mind.
We've got about half an hour or so before they arrive.
All right. I don't like pressure, though.
When you get nice people out in the public, to me,
I actually like doing this job because I don't mind
helping them out with the extra bits like putting the tables out.
That's probably why I get on with some of my customers better.
She's very caring, and she goes that little bit more.
I'm melting in here today.
I don't how I manage to be a size 16. I should be a size 10!
Right, job done. I think they will be calmed down.
I just arrived in time for when the ladies arrive for the tea
so I'm quite chuffed about that, to be honest.
Thank goodness these wasps have gone and we can now enjoy the tea party!
The committee have made some cakes.
-What, Victoria sponge?
Nothing like a cream tea, is there?
This is going to be a really difficult job.
There are so many houses here.
In Southampton, Cheryl's and Jim's back garden has become a rat run.
Deborah is on the case.
The rats could be coming from anywhere
and I need to find that source where they're coming from.
I'm going to need to talk to all the neighbours.
The suburban rat likes to nest in overgrown or derelict ground
from where it can scout for food in our gardens and bins.
-I set traps, and I caught nine in a week.
-That's a lot.
-Yeah, it is a lot, yes. Yeah, two within an hour.
You don't mind if I have a look in the shed and just...?
Not at all, no, no, no.
We've got a perfect thoroughfare down here
where the rats can just run down the back of all the gardens.
It's a nice little run down here for them.
But I need to find the garden that they're living in.
Hello, my name's Deborah. Have you noticed anything at all?
Yes, we have. That's where we find where most of them are coming from.
OK. How regularly are you seeing the rats?
Oh, every week, you see them.
OK, and you're still seeing them at the moment?
Oh, yes, yeah, they're still around.
From what she's saying, I think we're getting closer
to the source of the rats.
I can smell them but I can't see anything.
I don't think we've found the source of the problem.
The bungalow directly at the back of us
that you can see there, it's certainly something that
I know when his mates were here we've often thought, possibly...
It could be a prime place. It might not be.
That house there looks like it could be a very possible one.
It's got a very untidy front garden,
where everybody else's is very smart and trimmed.
There's lots of places where they can hide in the front here
so it would be interesting to see if the back is the same as the front.
I don't think anybody is in.
I'd be very interested to get in there and have a look around.
I'm going to keep trying
and we'll see if we can get into that garden.
It's wet and smooth!
Lovely, isn't it?
They'll sit on the roof and wait and watch,
and as soon as you put the food out, they just come down.
We don't really want to harm them
but we've got to do something about it.
I hate to think anything is going to get the better of me.
Ladykiller Janet has been called to Newcastle
by the keepers of a city farm facing an aerial assault.
Pigeons are scavengers. They'll eat more or les anything that
they can get their little beaks on.
Pigeons are my pet hate.
I can see already you've got a few pest issues.
This is a pigeon problem.
Obviously feeding chickens wheat, it does attract pigeons.
Andrea and Rich have been battling the birds
since the farm first opened.
It's got to the point now, there's that many pigeons, they're not
bothered about the chickens and they will start coming down.
I think there's about 50-plus.
They are ingressing in, and quite cheeky about it.
But they're becoming less and less fazed of humans.
They don't even need to go to the city centre now for food
because they've got such a good source here!
And it's cost us quite a bit of money to actually
pay for the seeds and...
Yeah, because obviously you're not just feeding your chickens.
-You're feeding this pigeon population.
Janet has a hunch that there's more to this problem.
I mean, I like grubbing around because I were a grubby kid.
She's seen signs that that the farm has another uninvited guest.
It's like doing your detective work,
just to, you know, sort out what the problem is and everything.
More rat droppings.
Look at that. That is fresh.
So that tells me they're quite active underneath this floor.
It's just an ideal situation for them
because they've got somewhere to live and a source of food nearby.
And the rats are not vegetarians.
-There was a hole...
-In this door.
And it had been chewed to over three times the size overnight.
Now, I had ducklings in here.
In the morning, there was three in there and there was no sign of them,
not even feathers.
So it's an area that needs monitoring, really.
If you put food in for them inside overnight, to keep the pigeons off,
then you've got the rats. And vice-versa so...
Yeah, you've got a dual problem that's going on, haven't you?
To see what the rats are really up to at night,
Janet has installed surveillance cameras in the chicken coop.
I think you'll find it quite interesting
to see what's been going on.
They look so cute!
They're all starting to appear now.
The infestation is really bad.
And even though sometimes rodenticides are unpleasant to use,
it may be that's the way forward.
I prefer a slightly more organic way than poisoning the rats.
The farm promotes looking after animals
-and we don't like to hurt any kind of animals.
It's just working out now the best way to do it.
Janet can only offer advice.
The decision on a treatment rests with the farm.
We like to be green but, you know, rats, they are vermin
and, as much as they are a problem,
I want it to be done quickly and humanely as possible.
Poison is effective, but some consider it inhumane.
While the debate goes on, the problem goes untreated.
The problem is quite bad.
I think it's got out of hand
and it will take quite a while to control it.
Oh, look - beautiful view!
Her bedbug job in south London has led Imogen to travel to Wales.
I've come to Tintern in Monmouthshire
to meet an expert in bedbug behaviour and management.
Charlotte's definitely got bedbugs in her bedroom and her living room.
She's already had an insecticidal spray treatment
and the bedbugs returned.
They're persistent little creatures.
Hopefully he'll have the answers for me.
Oh, wow! Is it safe to come in without protective clothing?
Hey, it is, yeah, it's fairly safe, yeah.
Dr Richard Naylor has been studying live bedbugs for over 15 years.
He might just have some answers for Imogen.
They can't live without feeding.
I have to feed them myself. In fact,
I have to feed some now, so I can show you how I do it.
Oh, OK. That will be interesting.
As you can see here, some pots of bugs.
They're really packed in. There's a couple of hundred.
And I just strap them to my arms.
These pots have a fine mesh on the bottom
so the bugs can't escape. They can feed through the mesh.
I've fed tens and thousands of them
-and my immune system has stopped responding.
Bedbugs find blood vessels under the skin
with their long, piercing mouth-part.
Pressure from the vessel fills the insect with blood
in around four minutes.
You are experimenting on yourself?
After 15 years of doing it, it feels completely normal.
Do you think you'll be partially bedbug by the time they've...?
Perhaps so, yeah!
They look like they're really feeding well there.
OK, they look like they're about done now.
As you can see, it's left my arm looking a little bit red.
So in my work in north London, I've been having a frequent problem
in call-backs. Why do you think I'm failing?
-Are you using an insecticide?
Well, what we are seeing is the insecticides resistance
is becoming a really big problem.
I set up a little experiment.
I'm just going to put ten bedbugs into each of these dishes
and these dishes are all lined with filter paper
which has been treated with an insecticide.
One dish holds modern-day bedbugs.
The other, a colony bred in isolation since the 1960s.
So what I expect to see tomorrow is that these will have died, and if
these haven't died then I know there is a problem with my experiment
and then the question is, have the newly-collected bugs died, or not?
-Oh, good morning Imogen. Come in.
I'm just taking a look at our experiment.
The insecticide is a neurotoxin so it affects their nervous system
and it tends to paralyse them.
And I'm happy to say that they look very sick today.
They're either dead or dying, for the most part.
But not so with the modern-day bedbug colony.
They're actually very happy.
They're running around. They'd live on here indefinitely, I think.
So this is the same formula of insecticide that I use.
-And they're still alive.
-They are, yeah.
So that's why I feel I've been doing a job
that's been a failure, a waste of time. That's really depressing.
So the insecticides don't work. What is the hope for the future?
People are already using heat treatments, steam and vacuuming,
and these kind of, kind of physical treatment options
are impossible for bugs to evolve resistance to.
The experiment used one kind of pesticide. Although new ones
are being developed, this time Imogen's mind is made up.
Well, I feel quite depressed by my meeting today.
Therefore, with Charlotte's bedbug problem,
I'm going to go back to Clare, who manages Alfie the dog,
and ask her to arrange a heat treatment.
-Has he become a dad?
-Yeah, he's got eight pups now.
I want to keep one, but my husband won't let me.
-You need to keep one.
-I might say to him,
if you don't let me keep a pup, we need to have another baby, then!
That's a good idea!
Angela's joined Janet in Newcastle to call on Rich at the city farm,
where the rat infestation is now a far bigger concern
than the pigeons.
I think Rich, I think he comes from farming stock, by the sounds of it.
-So he knows what the craic is, then.
-Yeah, he does.
But he doesn't like things to be killed.
As much as I don't like rats,
I don't particularly want to poison them.
I would rather it was done quickly and humanely.
Rats that eat poison die of internal bleeding over several days.
Janet and Angela know it's an unpopular option at the farm.
I do kind of get this.
But it's vermin and they've got to understand that,
at the end of the day, that vermin can carry disease as well
for their animals. That's it.
Sited between a river and a railway line
the farm is the perfect spot for rats,
providing food, water and a warm place to stay.
And then here, this is where t'compost heap starts.
And you can see where they're running through.
-He's having a good root round up there.
-Oh, my God.
-It's all underneath here!
-They've had a takeaway, look.
The rat problem is still as bad. We caught one yesterday.
-Oh, Jesus. Rats' nest. JANET!
We've got a rats' nest here love.
Working dog Alfie can smell rats long before anyone sees them.
He's trained to catch and kill them.
He's having a good dig there.
Good lad! Ooh, good lad!
I told you there was one there! He doesn't lie!
We'll go and get a bag for this one.
-That one rat there, and how rapidly that could have bred.
And how quickly just that one's gone.
One pair of rats can produce a colony of over 2,000 in one year.
They've just been allowed to take over too much, haven't they?
Yeah. Because of the fact that they don't really like
using rodenticide, but you can't let it get like this.
It's a public area, is this.
-It's the only way to gain control back.
Rodenticide is proven to be effective against large populations of rats.
For Janet, this is the only solution.
-Hiya! You OK?
The population size is so bad,
-I mean, we've seen lots of evidence today, haven't we?
They've got that area there, which is
so, you know, nice for them, it's like a four-star hotel.
The population you've got at the moment,
-it's not at an acceptable level, is it?
-No, not really.
We need to use rodenticide,
because it's really your only solution to the problem.
I know it's not what you want to hear.
I mean, I'm not 100% on it,
but if it needs to be done, then that's the route we'll have to take.
We don't like putting pesticides down anywhere.
We don't like using chemicals on the farm,
but, at the same time, we've got to manage this problem.
This is mainly what I use for rats.
So what I'm going to do is load it up with block bait.
This is a lockable station. That stops other species getting in.
She's the expert at the end of the day.
And if that's the only way, then that will have to be the way.
Come out, girls, come on, come on, come on.
It is a bit of tough love, you know?
And it's the only option that we've got to get it under control.
Oi, monkey! Go away!
We're on the same wavelength.
We both had similar backgrounds.
Angie worked with her father on a farm, you know,
I worked with my dad.
Most people like looking through, you know, clothes catalogues!
But I don't, I actually get excited
looking through a pest control catalogue!
And we just rub off along each other nicely.
-Are we on it?
-Yeah, we're on. Job's a good 'un.
One, two, three, lift!
Well, today, having taken advice from one of my heroes
in the bedbug world, we're going to do a heat treatment.
We're going to raise the temperature within Charlotte's flat
up to 60 degrees.
Claire has offered to show me
exactly how they do the treatment, so I can learn.
I can learn how to do it.
And this is where the air will come out from.
Every insect will have a thermal death point.
Bedbugs is 46 degrees Celsius.
Treatment will work, as long as you get up to
the temperature that kills them.
The customers have had to leave the premises.
Oh, wow, look at that!
What a set-up!
-This is the boiler.
And the boiler will heat up the hot water,
push it through these pipes that will go up into the house,
and then that will heat up the radiators.
Should have brought my gardening gloves with me to put on.
Break my fingernails.
It's seen as more of a male role, because it is physically demanding.
Good thing I did all that rowing at university!
Turn it up there, that's it.
There we go!
Each room in turn is sealed, to contain the heat.
They're not a bad pest, they're just the pest that feeds from blood.
Because they come into your bed and they invade your privacy,
and your bed is where you relax,
it makes you feel really uncomfortable.
It's your personal space, and, yeah,
-you feel... people will feel actually filthy, don't they?
They feel contaminated in some way.
Now it's a wait, as the house is heated to a temperature
that's fatal to bedbugs, and kills them wherever they're hiding.
This is worse than steam, this heat.
This is...permeates every pore, doesn't it?
It's dry heat.
Yeah. It's really unpleasant.
They must be really resilient, these bedbugs.
I mean, it just proves what a hard individual they are to get rid of.
Women like Imogen and Claire make up just 6%
of the UK's pest control workforce.
I'm sure you get it, when you're going in the...
you're slightly less capable, because you're female.
It's not that people say things, I wouldn't say.
It's just sort of a certain look they give.
They're a bit surprised when a woman turns up at the door.
"Do you really know about the pests?" sort of thing, yeah.
For the treatment to be fully effective,
the house is heated overnight.
-Ready to go in?
-Yep, let's go!
we're at the end of 24 hours of heating this property.
So the only thing living in here now is us.
Just! Thank goodness!
Imogen is now hoping that these south London squatters
have had their eviction notice served.
Yeah, the beauty of this treatment is, every stage of the life cycle
will have been exterminated.
I'm happy to be home.
I'm not looking forward to making the bed up and all those jobs,
but it's been a success.
I feel tired, hot, relieved to be at the end of these bedbugs.
I mean, extreme pests call for extreme measures.
See you, then. Mind the bedbugs don't bite!
Part of the bedtime routine after you've had a wash,
cleaned your teeth, got your nightwear on...
..and then I go on the moth hunt.
There's one on the wardrobe.
Ann has been suffering
with an unwanted house guest for four months.
I've never been obsessive about things like this...
Right, these are some moths that I've caught.
..and I actually feel that I'm getting a bit obsessive.
And then just down from it is one of the larvae.
Pest controller Angela is on the case.
I'm not sure of the extent of the damage that's been done yet,
so we'll have to have a look at the level of infestation we're looking at.
My little friend is just about to scarper
but I've got him!
Textile moth is quite a popular pest now in the UK.
It's quite persistent as well, if left untreated.
They've had a right little munch at that, as well.
And once the damage is done, it's done.
Baby wipes are great.
Over the past five years,
the number of pest control calls to deal with moths has risen by 75%.
-How do you do?
-Nice to meet you!
-Hi! Please come in.
Adult moths love the dark.
It's here they lay batches of up to 100 eggs.
Oh, yeah, they've had a really good munch down there, haven't they?
The hatched larvae feed on natural fibres.
See, summat people don't do on a regular basis
is obviously pull the bed out, which I do,
and I can't be bothered because it's hard work, isn't it?
But you can see all the damage.
It's the silk wrapped up with the carpet fibres all mixed in.
It's actually the stage where they go into a pupa,
and that's when the moth, you see them emerging.
By the time that happens, the damage is done.
Oh, God, the carpet's gone!
It's threadbare, innit? Definitely.
Yeah. You just start to think, "Where are they?
"Where are they coming from? How am I going to get rid of them?"
And you almost go into, like, panic mode.
Yeah, I understand totally.
Angela has come armed with a specialist camera
to put Ann's obsession under the microscope.
That's what's in your carpet.
-What, is that on the bed, then?
I'm sorry to deliver this,
but obviously you've got a pretty big moth problem.
Oh, that's what they actually look like. Oh, no!
Like out of a horror film!
I actually feel quite traumatised by it.
-It's not a problem, don't worry. I'll get rid of the problem.
That's what you've got to remember, I will get rid of this problem!
It's an infestation, and you just think, well,
how many other people have got it, and just don't even realise?
What's going on here? I can't even dress myself today.
Ann is asked to leave, while Angela treats the house with insecticide.
It's a bendiocarb.
It basically messes with the nervous system of the insect.
The affected moth is unable to reproduce
and the infestation is contained.
This insect can hide anywhere, in cracks and crevices.
Angela concentrates the treatment in places
usually missed when vacuuming.
This is where moth larvae, when left undisturbed, can get to work,
with devastating results.
Well, I'll give Ann a ring,
and then arrange to come back in about ten days' time.
-Hello, Ange, how are you? Come in!
-I'm all right, thank you.
Right then, how have the moths been?
One was back last night!
It was up there.
And this wardrobe, you can shift it.
It looks like a permanent one to me, I thought it was fitted.
Yeah. But you can shift it.
Well, there was a lot down there, initially,
but there doesn't look like there's anything like...
You see, I'm chuffed to bits, I am, at the moment.
I really am. This is where it was horrendous.
This was a really bad room for them, I noticed that.
And especially around the bed area, it was really...
I was really upset at what damage they'd done to your poor carpet.
So, you know.
The next step is to do another treatment on the property,
but as far as I'm concerned, we've pretty much nailed it.
Absolutely delighted. I mean, I think Angela's done a fabulous job.
It became HER problem, not my problem any more.
I mean, it's just...Something so small can do so much damage!
-Hiya, Dad, it's only me.
-Oh, hello, Janet.
Janet needs help to work out how to protect
a Newcastle city farm from attack by pigeons.
-I've rung you, cos I need to run a bit of stuff by you.
She's seeking advice from one person who knows more than her.
It's good advice from him.
What he's said is to actually put a net over.
Janet worked with her father for 27 years, until his recent retirement.
I always get good advice off my dad,
because it's like second nature to him.
So I'm glad that I've rung him.
When things get busy, Jim's still on hand to help.
Cos everybody keeps asking about you, you see.
And they keep saying, "How's your dad doing," you know?
And I think they think you've dropped off t'planet, sort of thing.
It does me dad good to come out on site.
He don't want to do a long day,
so I tend to take him more to the local work what we have.
And he enjoys it as well.
-There, that's yours.
I told her, when she wanted to go into pest control,
I says, "Come on, then. I'll show you how to do it."
All right, over here to t'office.
I mean, we rub off on each other really, really well,
cos we've spent so many years working together.
So there were that one that went there, and there's one at the door.
Funnily enough, once they saw what we were doing,
they thought she were getting better than me.
It's just been like old times, we've had a really, really good morning.
This is where I got a bucket of piss thrown on me!
I really do miss working with me dad because of the relationship
what we had together, and we work well together.
Are you proud of Janet?
Always have been. Since she were born.
-Nice to meet you, finally!
At the city farm, Janet's taken dad Jim's advice, and called
a local father-and-son team
to install a net above the chicken coop.
Let me get up here.
What we'll do, we'll see if we can get it
-straighter over the top of this.
What I'm looking at
is how these pigeons are watching what we're doing.
Think it'll definitely solve the pigeon problem.
They will try to find their ways in,
but I think they'll find it pretty difficult.
-That's looking good, though.
-I mean, the pigeons are hungry already.
Well, they've been watching.
Working with Keith today, I've had a really, really good day.
I can't wait to tell me dad about him, actually,
and say I've been working with a man today that, you know,
reminds me of you, when me and you used to work together.
Hi, Andrea! You all right? Yeah?
It's like being in a little tent!
-I know! What do you think?
It's definitely going to solve the problem.
Yeah, well, I think so, because I've been watching 'em
and they are very bemused about it, cos they're now wondering
how they're going to get some food tonight.
They've come down, and they're looking and thinking
"Hmm, what we are going to do, what are we going to do?"
So, yeah, I'm really, really pleased with it.
When Janet told us about the netting, I just thought,
"Well, what a simple idea." I wish we'd thought of it before, really.
Because, you know, we don't want to hurt the pigeons, we don't want
to do anything that's going to, you know, cause them any stress.
Job well done.
People think that pest control is all about killing things.
But, as you can see, there's lots of other methods.
The last time I was here, there was one garden that I couldn't get into,
and it looked very unkempt.
In a Southampton suburb,
residents are being plagued by rats,
and Ladykiller Deborah is right on their tails.
I'm coming back, today, to see
if I can get in there and have a chat to the homeowner.
With any luck, I can get in and have a look around the garden,
because I think it could be the source of the problem.
Not sure if I heard something.
-Hello, my name's Deborah.
-I'm a pest controller.
-Nice to meet you.
I'm just in the area. I've been called out by one of
your neighbours, because they've got a problem with rats in their garden,
and I'm just going round all the neighbours, just to see.
I want to find the source of the problem,
and I just wondered whether you'd allow me to have a look
in your garden, and just see if there's anything in your garden
-that might shed some light on it.
-Thank you very much.
OK, you're quite overgrown here.
Is that window permanently open?
No. Well, during the summer it is, yes. Both of them.
OK. Because it would be nothing for a rat to run up here,
-and go in through there.
No problem at all.
If you want to go in and have a scrabble around, feel free.
Rod's been living here with his wife for the last 38 years.
Looking at this, you should have a huge rat problem in here.
-But I can't smell anything.
I can't see any evidence.
Truth of the matter is, if you can't cope with it,
you don't cope with it.
And so I just shut it off. I don't see it.
Obviously, I fall over the rubbish.
-Have you ever had any rat activity in the rest of the house?
All this, all of this is this year's growth.
None of it's earlier.
The garden got on top of you a bit this year.
Well...both I and the wife have had illness.
I had what you might call an episode while cutting down the trees.
So I thought, "I'd better go and see the quack."
He shocked me and said he thought I had a heart attack.
Dear, oh, dear, it don't half cut you down to size.
Got a lot of clatter in here, but, um...
-All good stuff!
-I trust you!
It might look like clutter to a lady, but it's all good stuff!
This is a good, solid shed, though. It's made from shiplap.
-It's not like this other thing, which is featheredge.
Now this one'll be more interesting, won't it?
You're not going to get in there, are you?
It absolutely stinks of rat activity.
-There's droppings all over the place.
You've got a lovely piece of insulation in here,
which I think they're quite enjoying.
-And that, as you can see, has been quite nicely chewed.
Yeah, yeah, well, mice tend to do that sort of thing as well.
-Yeah, that's a little bit bigger than mouse, though.
It's quite possible there's rats in there.
I just want to see if we can help this guy to clear up this problem.
If there are any rats in here, they're going to run
straight down into everybody else's gardens,
so they're going to have more of a problem before we can improve it.
We've got a lot of work to do in here.
How would you feel about us coming in
and cutting all this back down for you?
I can't. So I suspect you can't.
-Is it something we could try and...
At the moment, he's a little bit apprehensive. He doesn't know me.
So, let's keep our fingers crossed,
and with any luck he'll let me come back.
We'll get some skips in and really clear this place up,
because this is the source, and without dealing with the source,
everybody else is still going to have a problem.
-What's he doing?
-He's wedging me in.
Pissing men drivers. All the same.
A month ago, Angela and Janet
put down rat poison at the Newcastle city farm.
Today, Phase Two of their campaign.
And you're ready for action, aren't you, Alfie?
You know something's kicking off today, yeah?
And he looks like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth!
What we're going to do is move the compost heap today.
It is giving them a really good source for cover,
and obviously there's food in there as well.
We think the rats are living in there
and hopping across over to the farm.
By moving it, we're going to disturb them.
Angela's dog Alfie is trained to catch
and kill the rats that run away.
He's going to smell nice tonight again, isn't he?
He's going to have his work cut out today.
We could lose some today because it's just such an area
that they can bolt to, but we'll just have to see how he reacts.
The compost heap is thought to house hundreds of rats.
I tell you what, Janet, it don't smell healthy up here. Jesus!
See, I think they're going to be on the top, aren't they?
I - what they'll do is, rats always do it, I've noticed on most
rat jobs where I've moved stuff, is they sit to the last.
They really do.
I should have bought a deckchair and just sat down and waited.
He's not as bothered as what he was last time here.
Nowhere near. Me and Janet put them rat boxes here,
and I'm sure that they would've kicked in and done the job.
-To be honest.
-How's it going?
I reckon you've bleeding nailed 'em with the bloody poison.
The rodenticide has worked even faster than Janet
and Angela could have hoped.
I said to Richie, if we don't move it,
it's just going to get absolutely hammered in winter with rats,
because it's warm.
I tell you what we've noticed today, we've not had much rat activity.
-At all, have we?
-It's definitely dropped off.
Yeah. I've only seen one since you were last here.
-Right. So that's good.
-And that was down on the water on the...
-I can live with them, them living down there, yeah.
I'm really, really chuffed with the result
that we've had from this place. It's, you know, more visually
seeing them running during the daytime, like they were doing.
So Richie's happy and that's all that matters, at the end of the day.
The work that they have done, I mean, it's a vast improvement
from what it was.
And we've always tried to control a little bit,
but, you know, sometimes you need experts in.
So, it's been good.
You never know what's going to happen with pest control,
but with the treatments that we've been using,
we've been really successful, so this is it.
Every day is different, every job's different as well,
and this has been a good one, and a really, really good result.
Do you know Rod, who's at the back there?
No. No, I don't.
In Southampton, Deborah's updating Cheryl
on her ongoing rat investigation.
How often do you get together with your neighbours
-or talk to your neighbours?
-We don't, really.
We're all busy working, you know.
Deborah suspects the rats have made a home in Rod's garden.
The good news is that he's now agreed to let her clear it up.
-How are you this morning?
-A bit bleary-eyed.
Ready for a clear-up?
That would be good.
I was acutely aware that I may have caused all my neighbours
these problems with the rodents.
I was embarrassed at the thought that that is what had happened.
It's going to be a very big day, today.
I've hired in three gardeners to come in and help.
But there's so much to do,
we're going to be lucky to get it all done.
Rod, how do you feel about us getting rid of the glass?
-It's a lot of glass.
-Yeah, I know.
Very difficult, so, you know.
There's some serious rat faeces in there.
Rats contaminate everything they touch.
Half of them carry the fatal Weil's disease.
What did you want to keep the football for?
-Kids to play with.
-OK, I want you to bear in mind...
-Rats continuously urinate.
-While they're urinating,
they are walking and they've got a long tail.
That urine will get wiped onto the football.
Can you see all those brown marks? That's what that is.
Enough said! Bin.
So, all of these bags of books.
-You're saving that, are you?
If you're using them, they have been urinated all over.
My nose isn't so good.
Do you think it's got nasties in there?
I wouldn't. I Really wouldn't.
-I take your advice.
With plenty still to do,
one of Rod's neighbours, Dave,
has offered to help out.
-How'd you do?
-Oh! You live over the back somewhere?
I live...the house with the roof windows in.
Oh, right! Right.
We've lived here 35 years,
and I've never seen him, let alone met him before.
That's pretty shattering, really, because he's only just there,
isn't he, just over that fence.
Yes, it's nice to meet Rod,
and I was only too pleased that we could help him...
sort the problem out.
Cheryl and her son Nathaniel are also lending a hand.
Have you met Rod?
-No, I haven't. Pleased to meet you.
Hi, I'm her son, Nathaniel.
-Dave's the name, or Brucie.
I live in that house there with the roof windows in.
Oh, hello, Dave. Yeah, I'm your neighbour.
-You're my neighbour? Which side?
-Down that way.
-Oh, you're from the bank.
-I am, yeah.
-Pleased to meet you.
-Pleased to meet you, after all these years.
Eugh. I've got a body!
-Oh, well done!
Right in the bottom of the shed, there.
And I've also found where they were coming into your shed.
There's a lovely little hole in the corner here,
where they've chewed up through the bottom.
So, actually, if we could remove this shed, it'd be even better
because they're all probably living underneath it.
This will save you a job later.
Guys, we're going to move this pagoda down.
-Which way are we going to go?
-What are we actually...
-Up, I think.
Yeah, I don't think this one's going to come up.
The thing I really like is that the neighbours have come together,
none of these guys even knew each other before.
They're all now chatting and they've got a communal problem.
It's going to be so much easier to deal with.
Two, six. Heave!
It's the modern way, isn't it?
When I lived in a village when I was younger, everybody knew everybody.
These days, we lock ourselves in our own little boxes
and never get to know the people next door, really.
-Yeah, some of the neighbours I wouldn't even know
if I passed them in the street. I wouldn't.
Sincerely, I wouldn't. I know one now.
Looks a bit clearer, doesn't it?
It looks a bit different, doesn't it?
It's now a big open space,
so rats won't want to run across here quite so much.
I think we've gone a long way to sort of clearing up
the source of the problem here.
It's made me tired just watching you.
You know, I just take one look at it before I think,
"I can't do that," you know. Walk away.
Leave it. Forget it.
It's very easy to forget problems.
I think we'll actually clear this problem up,
and it's never been cleared before.
So I think by doing this, it'll get sorted.
Well, it's true what they say, isn't it?
If you want a job done, get a woman at it,
cos she's a brill, she is a brill girl.
These damn moths.
They have been driving me to distraction.
This is quite serious.
-Oh, my goodness me.
-That's a lot of rats, Will.
I hate the thought of them running up your trouser legs, ugh.
-Good lad, get on it!
-They just make my skin crawl.
We have something in our belfry.
They're most certainly honey bees.
I've never actually removed a bee colony before, so, uh,
let's see how it goes.
Series following four female pest controllers as they do battle with Britain's most common household pests. Infestations of bed bugs, rats, clothes moths and more are making life a misery in homes across the UK. The ladykillers use specialist cameras to provide a scary close-up of the pests for the homeowners and to help find the best way to get rid of these unwelcome intruders.
A family facing the nightly terror of a bed-bug infestation calls in Imogen, who takes a scientific approach to pest control. Her research reveals what is making the modern bed bug a tougher menace to control than ever before, and she comes up with an ingenious solution to rid the long-suffering family of their parasitic intruders.
Elsewhere a case of rats in a smart suburban street leads Deborah on a hunt to find whose garden is harbouring the pests, with surprising results. And a city farm has double trouble with pigeons and rats.