In Australia some 3000 species of ant are known. They are one of the most successful groups of insect with nests that may contain tens of thousands of individuals. Ants make a nuisance of themselves by infesting kitchens and BBQ areas, short-circuit air conditioners, lights and power points and inhabit cavity walls resulting in unsightly waste and excavation mounds around skirtings and architraves. Such excavations are common along driveways, paths and paved areas sometimes leading to cracking and subsidence of the area. Many species can inflict painful bites resulting in localised swelling. While mainly seen as a nuisance pest their potential for disease transmission should not be underestimated with cases of dysentery, smallpox and salmonella having all been attributed to ants.
Cockroaches infest homes, schools, restaurants, hospitals and any building that has kitchens or storage areas. They destroy fabric and paper products by eating into it. They also leave behind stains and an unpleasant. Cockroaches are capable of transmitting bacteria that cause food poisoning. Eg Salmonella etc
A small cockroach most often found infesting commercial premises or the kitchens of residential homes. Producing more eggs per sac in a shorter time frame than any other common cockroach. This pest can rapidly take over, causing dishwashers, microwaves and fridges to break as they overwhelm motors and circuitry in search of warmth. German cockroaches transmit disease-causing organisms such as Staphylococcus spp., Streptococcus spp., Hepatitis virus, as well as bacteria that cause Typhoid and Dysentery. In extreme infestations they can also cause allergies and asthma for people with an unpleasant odour often apparent.
Wasps build their nests under eaves, porches, piers and other areas that are inhabited by humans. They are a nuisance pest most of the time. However, they can be quite aggressive and quick to sting. This poses a risk to a persons’ safety and therefore it is advisable to remove wasps from the immediate environment.
There is a wide variety of spiders found in Australia. Out of the thousands of spider species, only a few are actually dangerous to people. The most common ones are as follows:
- Red back spiders whose poisonous bites can be fatal to small children and the elderly.
- Funnel Web spiders are known for their highly toxic and are dangerous bite. It is advisable to seek medical attention as soon as you are bitten. These spiders may enter houses, tents and other dwellings.
- White Tail spiders have a painful bite which results in skin trauma and rashes.
- The Huntsman spider has a bite that causes pain and swelling around the bitten area only.
- The Trap Door spider bite causes pain and swelling.
These spiders usually crawl into clothing, shoes and toys that are left around too long. It is best to always shake out clothing, towels, sheets and shoes before you use them.
Silverfish are small silvery nocturnal insects that can cause a lot of damage to books and fabrics. They leave behind a yellow stain and gray scales and they chew holes into the items they destroy.
Carpet Beetles larvae feed on animal fibers like wool, hide, hair, silk, felt, leather and on foodstuffs like cereals and nuts. Therefore they easily destroy carpets, rugs, blankets and other household fabrics. This can be quite serious depending on the value of the assets destroyed.
Bed Bugs have made a huge resurgence as a pest since the turn of the century. While not certain why, part the reason maybe their apparent resistance now too many of the insecticides previously used in their control. Activity is usually first detected by disruption caused to the sleeping host. Bites may result in severe irritation and possible infection. Tell tale signs can include blood spots on sheets, dark patches near the edges on the underside of the mattress that may have a mouldy appearance and visual sightings of the pest ( oval shaped 4mm). A major problem for the hotel industry but increasingly finding its way to residential homes as it hitch hikes in travelers luggage.
Fleas have achieved pest status due to their biting habit. Any warm blooded animal may play host. Bites often result in infection that can result in the transmission of intestinal worm parasites or less likely but more famously bubonic plague and typhus.
Termites feed on wood, timber and anything that contains cellulose. They cause immense damage to wooden structures and to furniture. They are often hard to detect until it is too late. Please see our special termite page.
Bees are nuisance pests. They do not cause damage but they can inflict harm on humans in the form of stings. Sometimes, these stings can prove fatal where an anaphylactic reaction has occurred.
Rats and Mice
The presence of rats or mice is highly undesirable from the viewpoint of contamination, physical damage and disease transmission.
Rodents are responsible for enormous loss of food stocks either through direct consumption or contamination with faeces and urine. The need for rodents to constantly gnaw can result in damage to wiring that has resulted in fires. Rats and mice have been blamed for several serious diseases including Weils Disease, Trichinosis, Polio and Ringworm. Add to that list all the usual gastro intestinal bacteria they spread along the way.
Australia’s major urban pest species are pigeons, Indian myna, starling, sparrow and sea gull. Mynas, starlings and sparrows commonly nest in the eaves and valleys of buildings. As they return to the same nest each year the dry nest material builds up and can represent a fire hazard. Mites carried on starlings and mynas often result in what can be extremely irritable bites that may show as lumps or a rash especially on the arm of the buildings residents. Pigeons are the number one urban bird pest throughout the world. They live in flocks that continually return to established roosts often on ledges (including window sills, downpipes and air conditioning units)or the roof of a building that provides suitable protection. Droppings can quickly become substantial causing damage to structures, look unsightly, present a slip hazard in public areas and carry many diseases including Ornithosis, Histoplasma Capsulatum, Cryptococcus Neoformans and a host food poisoning organisms.