Pests and bugs can damage your home, spread disease and cause allergies. Keep your household clean and free from a range of problematic pests with these simple strategies, and when in doubt – call an expert!
Also known as white ants, termites are notorious for destroying houses and making a serious negative impact on the value of your property. There are hundreds of different species of termites in Australia and, interestingly, most pose little threat to houses and buildings. It’s the minority that is responsible for more damage to houses each year than what is caused by fires, floods or storms.
If you are a homeowner, protecting against termites should be at the top of your priorities. Termites feed on cellulose, which is found in all plant material, and the species that eat wood come to your home looking for food. They tunnel underground from a nest that might be some distance away and sneak up into the structure of your home. If your flooring feels soft underfoot or your skirting boards crumble at a touch, then arrange a termite inspection immediately.
The thing to remember with ants is that the ones you generally see are the workers who are finding food for the queen and colony. To eliminate them, you need to find the queen.
Watch the ants as they trail from the nest to the food source (your home) and drop some baits in their path. The workers will then take this back to the nest and your problem will be solved. Spraying the nest with insecticide is also a good idea. You might want to think of yourself as Luke Skywalker flying through the galaxy to blow up the Death Star if that helps. Or you can just focus on following the ants and seeing where their nest is.
If you find rodent droppings around or discover gnaw marks, you should take immediate steps to solving your rodent problem before it gets out of hand. Rats are known to spread disease, damage property, contaminate food and to give your home a foul odor, especially if they die in the walls.
Rats are able to reproduce quickly and a small problem has the potential to develop into a serious issue within a short amount of time. If you have pets then attempting to poison the rodents might cause more harm than good, so try a range of methods before resorting to poison.
Fleas can be a horrible problem to have and are also quite embarrassing. The small bites they leave on your ankles can look unsightly, not to mention the disrupted sleep from the itching. The first thing to do if you have pets is washed them with flea shampoo and treat them with flea control. Vacuum your entire house, including all bedding and lounges. It’s also important to wash soft toys if you have them.
It will most likely take you a few weeks of regular, thorough cleaning to get your flea issue under control so have patience. If you have a yard and a pet that regularly romps around in it, then it’s also a good idea to spray the yard and control your flea issue around the whole of your property.
Summer in Australia brings with it many positive changes, and some negative ones, including cockroaches. There are a number of species of cockroaches in Australia and they can be hard to get rid of. Keeping a clean house, clear of food scraps, is a good way to persuade them to search for food elsewhere.
Baits, sprays, and bombs can be effective if you have a serious problem, or there are natural alternatives. Otherwise, attacking them with a rolled up newspaper or thong can be effective. They are generally nocturnal creatures, so if you see a lot running around during the day, it may be cause for concern as this can indicate overcrowding in their nest.
Silverfish are tiny insects with elongated, flat bodies that wriggle around in your home. They are pests and can destroy property but are not known to destroy property. They feed on paper, wallpaper, clothes, linen, and starchy foods they can find lying around. They also eat mold, dandruff and can survive for months without food. They can live for a long time, so if you discover them in your house, it’s a good idea to take measures to get rid of them, especially if you find them in your bedroom.
The smell of mothballs might remind you of your grandmother’s house, but why have people stopped protecting clothes against moths? Finding a hole in your favourite shirt can be upsetting and expensive.
Prevention is the best cure, so regularly vacuum all carpeted rooms and under furniture. Wash your clothes regularly and between seasons store clothes in a sealed bag. If you suspect you have clothes moths, then spray the affected areas with insecticide after having cleaned everything and monitor the space.
Keeping a tidy house is the best way to ensure you keep pest problems under control. So, do a weekly thorough clean and seek immediate help if you notice warning signs.