New start-up independent pest control business based at Barmer, near Syderstone, flourishes

Andy Blacktopp and Tiffiny Chandler with terrier Nelly. Their new business Acorn Pest and Country services. Syderstone. ANL-151216-160513009
Andy Blacktopp and Tiffiny Chandler with terrier Nelly. Their new business Acorn Pest and Country services. Syderstone. ANL-151216-160513009

Experienced pest controller Andy Blacktopp has seen his business Acorn Pest and Country Services grow steadily since he branched out on his own last year.

Barmer-based Andy deals with a wide range of pests including rodents, squirrels, rabbits, moles, birds and insects in locations which range from domestic homes to large country estates.

He is assisted by his partner, Tiffiny, who has become something of an expert mole catcher, and his trusty terrier Nelly, whose speciality is rat catching – and sniffing out treats from customers.

Said Andy: “I have worked for national pest control companies for over 20 years and realised that there was a real need for a smaller, locally-based business that can offer a personal touch.

“Pest species are on the rise around the world and controlling them is vital for the health of the human race. All food industries are obliged to control pest species in areas such as grain stores, factories, shops and kitchens.

“But there is also a big need for pest control in a domestic setting.”

As his business, which he set up less than a year ago, has grown, Tiffiny stepped in to help. Said Andy: “We catch moles at many impressive places such as Walsingham Estate in the grounds of the old abbey and also at Houghton Hall in the deer park and grounds of the house. It is great to be able to spend so much time in the beautiful local countryside.”

At Houghton he can catch hundreds of moles over the winter. “Traditionally moles are most active in the winter, but the seasons have changed slightly in the last five years and now we can be busy all year. This is because we have seen wetter summers and worms, which moles feed on, have been getting up higher towards the surface.”

He said there are many myths about catching moles, such as putting smelly fluids down holes and items which would cause vibrations to disturb them, but in his opiniion the surest way is to use traps.

He has recently carried out bird-proofing at Walsingham Abbey gates. “I put up netting to prevent birds from roosting there. Their droppings not only carry disease, but can also cause damage to brickwork because it contains a mild form of acid.”

He works across Norfolk and also parts of North Cambridgeshire. “When I started working for myself, I did not expect to be as busy as I have been. A lot of my business is generated through referrals and people like the personal touch.”

Acorn Pest and Country Services can be contacted on 01485 576162 or 07725878712.