Sweeping up cockroaches in Andratx earlier this year. | Michels


The fourth analysis of pests in Spain's regions by Rentokil finds that the Balearics is one of the regions most affected by cockroaches. These account for 35% of infestations across Spain, but they are at their worst in Murcia, where they represent 53%, while in the Balearics they are 47%. (These numbers are based on calls to Rentokil.)

Signs that cockroaches are about, apart from actually spotting them, include stains on kitchen surfaces or unpleasant odours. Though they are not directly harmful, they can leave microorganisms which can cause food contamination and the spread of bacteria such as salmonella.

Milagros Fernández of the national association of pest control companies says that there is no firm definition of a "plague" of cockroaches, as the level of risk they pose varies according to where they may appear. In a machinery storeroom, for example, they would not be considered a risk, but in health-care environments they most certainly would be.

After cockroaches, it is termites which are the pests that Rentokil had to deal with most last year, with rodents in third place. Termites are more common in the north of Spain because of the climate and the amount of wood used for buildings. They can cause structural damage and can be problematic for historical buildings and works of art.

Other infestations are as might be expected: bedbugs, wasps, birds, flies, fleas and ants. Gardens are also susceptible to pests, such as aphids and scale insects.