FEATURE: A day in the life of a pest control officer

Sevenoaks pest control officer, Mark Evans with News Shopper reporter, Fiona Simpson.

FEATURE: A day in the life of a pest control officer

Mark Evans and senior pest control officer, John Felgate holding a wasp's nest.

First published in News
Last updated
News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

Once described on TV as having one of the 'worst jobs in Britain', Sevenoaks District Council's 'pest buster', Mark Evans, gave FIONA SIMPSON the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a pest control officer.

News Shopper:

The idea of facing rats, mice cockroaches and fleas on a daily basis might leave some people running for the hills, but the buzz of a wasp nest or a trail of mice droppings don't phase Mark Evans, who has been battling the region's bugs for more than a quarter of a century.

Mark started out working for a private pest control team and joined forces with senior officer, John Felgate around 25 years ago.

The pest control team deals with up to 20 different jobs a day and in the summer months the majority of these are wasps and hornets nests with up to 10,000 insects per nest.

News Shopper:

He said: "I like to get out and about, no two days are the same.

"The biggest wasp nest recorded measured more than six feet high, five feet wide and had about a quarter of a million wasps living in it.

"Wasps nests normally just take one visit.

"With rodents it normally takes three visits to get rid of them but it could take four or five - we never leave a job half done, we will persevere until the problem is solved.

"Squirrels are the worst - we had one case were they had gotten up into the roof of a house and chewed through the plastic water pipes so that when the owner got back the house was completely flooded."

Call Sevenoaks District Council on 01732 227000 or e-mail direct.services@sevenoaks.gov.uk

A day in the life of a pest control officer

10.30am Decked out in protective head and body gear, Mark takes me to a house in Saxon Place, Horton Kirby, following reports of a wasp's nest in the porch roof .

Poking a small tube through a hole in the nest, Mark blasts them with a poisonous powder to kill them off - but not before they get a bit angry.

"I'd stand back if I were you," Mark warns, as hundreds of wasps fly out of the hole and attack him.

He explains: "Wasps and hornets tend to head butt you first to warn you to leave them alone before they sting."

News Shopper:

11.30am We tackle another wasp nest in Azalea Drive, Swanley.

This time the nest is slightly smaller and tucked inside an air brick at the back of the house.

Mark wipes out the nest in little more than five minutes.

News Shopper:

2pm The afternoon sees us hunting mice in the kitchen of a local business in New Ash Green.

After a short hunt we find droppings and a hole in the wall cavity just big enough for a mouse to squeeze through.

Mark explains mice can fit through a hole just big enough to poke a pen through.

3pm We make our way to the back of the building and find several holes around gas and water pipes as well as a broken ventilation fan.

After a chat with the company's handyman, we decide to block up the holes with wood and poly-filla.

3.30pm Mark uses tamper-proof boxes containing a wax-block bait laced with poison to tackle the mice. He then arranges a contract with the business to keep any further pests at bay.

Job done.

News Shopper:

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