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Nuisance from Insects

Every year, the Council receives a number of complaints about insect infestations, particularly during the summer and autumn months. There are many different types of insects which can cause nuisance and these can arise from a variety of different sources. Complaints regarding flies, for example, are particularly common in rural areas where there are poultry farms, stables and piggeries, which provide an abundant supply of manure in which they can breed.

Local Authorities have a duty, to take reasonable steps, where practicable, to investigate any complaints of nuisance.

If you require our help please contact us.

Tell us:

-    Your Name, Address, and a contact telephone number

-    The address or premises that the insects originate from

-    A description of the type of insect

-     Whether this problem is a single event, or occurs regularly

-     When the problems started, or if a regular occurrence typical problems times

-    The nature of the problems which the insects are causing to yourself.

We will advise you of the reference number of your report, which you should quote if you contact us again about this matter.

Legal Controls on Insects

The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, amended the statutory nuisance provision of section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, so as to include insects emanating  from relevant industrial, trade or business premises. However, complaints of insects arising from agricultural land may be excluded, unless the source of the insects is from buildings upon the land.

The Council often receives complaints regarding insects from domestic premises. As indicated above, insects emanating from domestic premises are not specifically covered by the statutory nuisance regime. Any problems caused by insects from domestic premises may, however, be dealt with under another part of section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990; namely, ‘any premises in such a state as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance’. This might be appropriate if, for example, the state of a domestic dwelling was such that it encouraged an infestation of insects that constituted a nuisance to neighbouring dwellings.

Upon receipt of a complaint, the Environmental Protection Team will undertake an investigation of the alleged nuisance, to determine whether it is a statutory nuisance under the provisions of section 79 of The Environmental Protection Act 1990. If a statutory nuisance is found to exist, an abatement notice would be served to restrict, prohibit or abate the nuisance.

For a statutory nuisance to exist, the insects must pose a health risk, or, have an impact upon the use of a premises.

Initially complaints would be investigated by the Borough Council`s Pest Control Team and advice would be given on the control of nuisance insects, but, it should not be assumed that killing insects is necessarily the most appropriate way to cease or abate a nuisance. If the activity and conditions attract, or provide breeding conditions for insects to such an extent that they constitute a statutory nuisance, then it is the activity and conditions which should be addressed

It should be noted that there is a difference between insects arising from an activity on a relevant business, trade or industrial premises, and the natural occurrence of insect populations. Also, there are no objective levels at which a statutory nuisance exists or may be caused, but guidance regarding what kind of situations may give rise to complaints are given with the DEFRA guidance which is available to download, below.

Likely sources of insect nuisance

-    Poultry houses/farms (buildings on agricultural land are not exempt)

-    Sewage treatment works

-    Manure/silage storage areas

-    Animal housing

-    Stagnant ditches and drains

-    Landfill sites, refuse tips and waste transfer premises.

The vast majority of insect species do not cause a nuisance, but are essential components of biodiversity and maintain ecosystems through pollination, soil, maintenance and other functions.  There are, however, a number of insect species which, in sufficient quantities, can cause nuisance. Some insects may also pose a public health risk, even though they may not be regarded as a public health pest in terms of environmental legislation, or a risk in animal husbandry. Such insects include mosquitoes (Culicidae), house flies (Musca domestica Linnaeus) and lesser house flies (Fannia canicalaris (Linnaeus). Refer to our Pest Control pages for further information on the control and treatment of insect pests.

Some of the methods used to  control insect populations are described within the Defra Publication `Statutory Nuisance from Insects and Artificial Light`, which is available for download below. Additional practical measures that can be adopted to assist in the control of insects at domestic premises, are:-

-    Compost green waste

-    Keep refuse bins well sealed at all times

-    Place organic waste into the bin just before collection

-    Regularly remove droppings from animal housing such as rabbit hutches, chicken coops and dog runs/kennels

-    Always close water butts, as it stops mosquitoes laying eggs.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a large number of flies in my house, so many that I cannot go into some of the rooms?
Initially try and identify a source to the flies and use appropriate control measures.  Guidance is given within our pest control section of the website, or contact us.

There has been some manure spreading next to my house, now I have a large number of insects in my property, what should I do?
Unfortunately, insects arising from agricultural land is exempt from the legislation, therefore no formal action can be taken to resolve the matter. However, insects usually disperse within a reasonable timescale following manure spreading.  If you consider the insects are from agricultural buildings, then contact us, we may be able to investigate and take action to resolve the matter

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