There are things you can do to control pests (insects or animals causing harm or nuisance) on your property.

You can:

You can be fined or imprisoned if you cause unnecessary harm to any animal.

Controlling pests yourself

You can:

  • only trap or kill permitted animals
  • use permitted methods to kill animals
  • only use poison to kill the pests it’s intended for - this will be written on the packaging
  • only use traps that have been approved for use with the species you want to control - you must follow the instructions for use

You can’t use the following control methods for any wildlife:

  • self-locking snares
  • bows and crossbows
  • explosives (other than legal ammunition for a licensed firearm)
  • live birds or animals, known as ‘live decoys’, to attract pests (unless you have a licence)

It’s an offence to keep or release some wild animals, eg grey squirrels - you must kill them humanely if you catch them alive.

Get advice

Get professional advice if you don’t know:

  • which animals you’re permitted to trap or kill
  • how to use control methods (eg traps and poisons) correctly

The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) also lists what you can use to control specific pests.

Protecting habitats

It may be an offence to disturb, damage, destroy or prevent access to any place a species uses for:

  • shelter or protection
  • breeding

It’s an offence to disturb or destroy bats, or any place they’re living (roosting), even if it’s inside your home.

Protecting other wildlife from harm

You must protect other animals from traps or poison you put down for pests by:

  • placing lethal traps under cover or so that other animals and birds aren’t caught
  • preventing wildlife from eating poison you’ve put down

Apply to catch or kill protected wildlife

You need a wildlife licence if you want to kill or catch some species in ways that would usually be illegal.

You can sometimes get a licence to get rid of a protected species living inside your home.