Termites (White Ants)
Termites are small, soft-bodied, social insects that feed on wood, grass, dead leaves, bark, humus, fungi or the dung of herbivores. They are commonly known as white ants, but are not related to true ants. They are actually part of the cockroach family.
There are over 2300 species of termites of which about 350 occur in Australia, and of these about 12 damage sound timber.
Termites are active in nearly every residential block, although not all damage timber.
Rodents are the most common mammals in the world, both in numbers and species. Australia has more than 60 native species and are rarely a problem in the urban environment. The introduced species – sewer rat, black rat and the common house mouse are the species that cause most distress in our homes and buildings.
Spiders come in many varieties and sizes, venomous and non-venomous and are one of the most commonly known household pests.
It is not uncommon for spiders to ingest their own web daily to recoup some of the energy used in spinning. The silk proteins are thus recycled.
The breeding cycle of most spiders is mostly 12 months, and only produces one egg sac per female. This egg sac is produced in early to mid autumn with the spiderlings emerging in spring/summer.
Cockroaches are insects, of which about 30 species out of 4,500 total are associated with human habitations. About four species are well known as pests. They are prolific breeders with each mature female able to produce 3 -4 generations of egg casings per life span and each egg casing holding between 10-40 eggs per casing. Cockroaches are considered pests because research has shown that they can carry human diseases, bacteria, parasites and can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks to those who are sensitive or pre disposed.
Hard Shelled Insects (Arthropods)
One estimate indicates that arthropods have 1,170,000 described species, and account for over 80% of all known living animal species eg – millipedes, slaters, beetles, centipedes etc
Arthropods are characterized by their jointed limbs and cuticles. The rigid cuticle inhibits growth, so arthropods replace it periodically by molting.
Millipedes, Scorpions, Slaters, earwigs, centipedes feed on leaf litter and vegetation decay and are more noticeable in the warmer months but are present all year round. Best time for treatment is in Autumn (breeding season) and Spring (hatching season).
There are approximately 3000 different types of ants known in Australia. Ants are social insects that live in more or less permanent nests. Colony sizes vary enormously and are mostly located in soil, wood, leaf litter and among rocks.
Some ants are regarded as ‘nuisance’ pests in and around buildings, causing small mounds from their excavations on balconies and around skirtings and architrave bases, and in extreme cases undermine paving causing sinking.
Bees and Wasps
Bees and Wasps are part of the “ant” family, and only approx 10% of the vast number of species are found in Australia.
These insects are actually helpful to us as they are responsible for the extensive pollination of our flowers, crops and native plants.
However, in a domestic situation, they can be a problem. Whether it is due to them forming hives/nest in chimneys, wall cavities, roofs, pergola roof peaks, and in gardens or just causing a risk of stinging people that may be highly allergic, while in your garden.
Fleas are small, very specialized parasitic insects and there are 2380 known species worldwide and only approx 90 species represented in Australia. Adult fleas are blood suckers, the majority feeding on mammals eg dog, cat.
Possums are nocturnal native animals and out of the many species only 3 species that like to take up residence in houses. They are the Brushtail, the Ringtail and the Sugar Glider. All of these have been found in roofs, wall cavities, linen presses and laundry cupboards. They normally leave the roof after dark and arrive back around dawn, hence people often think they have a possum in the roof but really they have rodents and examination of the droppings will confirm what is in the area.
Pigeons build relatively flimsy nests from sticks and other debris, which may be placed in trees, on ledges or on the ground, depending on species.
The domestic pigeon was originally bred from the wild Rock Pigeon, which naturally inhabits sea-cliffs and mountains. Feral pigeons find the ledges of buildings to be a substitute for sea cliffs, and have become adapted to urban life and are abundant in towns and cities throughout much of the world.