Pest Control Guide NSW
The Complete Pest Guide For Home Owners in NSW
What is pest control?
Pest control is the process of managing or eliminating pests from spaces that humans occupy. Pests are animals, insects or any organism that people consider detrimental or irritating. They have the potential to damage property and spread disease. There are multiple methods of pest control that prevent or eradicate the presence of pests. Chemical pesticides and natural methods are are both used for pest treatment.
Why is pest control important?
Pest control is vitally important for the health of human life, for the safety of homes and other buildings and for agricultural production. A pest is capable of transmitting diseases such as Hepatitus A, Dengue, Salmonellosis, Gastroenteritis, Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, Trachoma, Murray Valley encephalitis virus.
Termites can cause structural damage that compromises the safety of homes. Rodents are destructive forces in agriculture, as they carry ticks and fleas that spread disease. Consumption or contamination by rodents affects 20% of the world’s food supplies. In many ways, pest management is a vital component to maintaining modern society.
Professional Pest Control Procedures
Professional pest control procedures start with the inspection. Licensed professionals are trained to visually look for signs that would indicate a pest infestation. Professionals search for signs of infestation in all areas of the house, building or property, including attics and crawl spaces. Inspectors look for evidence of:
-Pests that destroy wood, such as termites, wood-infesting beetles, carpenter ants, and fungus.
-Conditions that encourage pest infestations such as plumbing leaks or standing water.
-Evidence of pest presence, including dead insects, termite structures or damaged wood.
Based on the evidence the inspector finds, identification of specific pest infestation is made. Inspectors are trained to determine pest type through visual cues.
Inspectors analyse the infested area’s current conditions and what steps to take moving forward. Plans are made for eradication if necessary and assessment on whether structural components of property need to be rebuilt.
Treatment is administered on a case-by-case basis; various methods are used depending on the type and severity of the infestation.
A successful pest treatment is not complete without follow-up visits by pest professionals. Infestations can and do find ways to return. Monitoring ensures that if reinfestations occur, they will at least be manageable.
Do Pest Controllers Need to Be Licensed?
Pest controllers need to be licensed either with a Pest Management Technician License or a Fumigator license, or both, depending on what method of pest treatment the professional practices. Both licenses are issued by the Environmental Protection Authority.
Pest Management Licenses in NSW
Pest management technicians and employees of pest management companies are required by law to obtain a license.
Where and how to get a license
Pest management licenses are administered by the EPA.
Required in your application:
- Proof of completion of certification from a Registered Training Organization (RTO)
- A copy of your qualification from your RTO
- Form of identification showing that the applicant is of 18 years of age or older
- Two passport size pictures of yourself with good image quality
Requirements for receiving license include being over 18 years and a certification from TRO.
Applications are accepted through mail only to the Chemicals and Radiation Licensing Unit of the EPA.
What are pesticides?
Pesticides are any substance or combined substance used to kill or suppress pests. Pesticides can be naturally derived or chemically engineered. Pesticides can be composed of any number of substances, including living organisms such as Bacillus thuringiensis.
Common pesticides used in Australia
Some of the various types of pesticides include but are not limited to:
> Insecticides: insecticides kill or suppress insect infestations by poisoning them or keeping them from mating or eating. In Australia, insecticides are commonly used to treat insects such as locusts, moths, fruit flies and thrips.
> Herbicides: used in agricultural or home garden applications, herbicide glyphosate is used to subdue, kill or stop the spread of weeds or similar undesirable plants.
> Fungicides: fungicides are used to manage or eliminate funguses that may find their way onto trees, homes or food supplies, such as produce.
> Bactericides: these stop the spread of bacteria. Chlorine in swimming pools is the classic example.
> Rodenticides: rodenticides are used to kill rats and mice.
> Baits: used to kill or capture various types of animals and insects.
> Lures: lures can be food or chemicals to lure pests to pesticides so that they consume the pesticides.
> Repellants: rather than destroying pests, repellants keep pests away from a certain location.
Eco Friendly Pesticides
Non-chemical pesticide alternatives are also known as “biopesticides” and are composed of naturally occurring substances. Some biopesticides can be as simple as citronella candles used to keep mosquitos at bay or garlic oil used to keep aphids out of gardens. They also include substances derived from plants, animals, fungi and bacteria.
Biopesticides are beneficial because they are not only not harmful to human beings but they also target specific pests and don’t harm good animals and insects. Due to their higher prevalence, they are more widely available now than ever. Research continues to show the exceptional benefits of biopesticides and it’s only a matter of time before we see widespread implementation of them. The more scientists and farmers learn about them, the better we will be able to improve upon them.
In small-scale organic farming, biopesticides have been used for years to good effect. Only up until recently, however, have they been able to be used on a large scale basis. Conventional farming is now catching on to the idea. As demand increases at the consumer level for natural food products, more and more farmers are going to be demanding these types of non-chemical pesticide alternatives.
DIY Pest Control
Do-it-yourself pest control is not something to without the proper knowledge and research of the basics. Pest management can be a complicated process and without proper preparation, you could be putting yourself or your family at risk if you’re misusing pesticides. That being said, with the proper precautions, anyone can learn how to do minor DIY pest control as long as they prepare wisely. That being said, large-scale pest infestations should be left to the professional exterminators.
The National Pesticide Information Center stresses the importance of taking a few things into consideration before going out and buying a bunch of different pesticides and equipment.
First and foremost, the pest must be properly identified. Pest removal techniques are very specific to each pest; even subspecies of certain species may react to a pest control strategy completely differently. It should go without saying, but read any product labels before proceeding with any DIY pest control project. Don’t under any circumstances mix your own pest chemicals or other products. Commercially available products have been researched and tested in controlled environments.
The main benefit you get from doing your own pest control is the cost savings. In-home DIY pest control can be done for around a quarter of the cost one might pay for professional pest treatments. The drawback is obviously that most people don’t have the resources, tools or knowledge for assessing and dealing with a pest infestation. With many pest infestations, it can be difficult to find the source of the problem and with DIY pest control you won’t always have the required special equipment needed.
The main benefit you get from doing your own pest control is the cost savings. In-home DIY pest treatment can be done for around a quarter of the cost one might pay for professional pest services.
DIY Pest Control Equipment
A good place to start and have on hand at your home if you run into a pest problem is to have this basic equipment:
- Residual insecticide
- Insecticide dust
- Paper cockroach traps
- Large sprayer
A sprayer is a good tool to have as you can use multiple different types of pesticides in them and they can be used as a preventative method and for eradication. They can be used for several different types of pests.
Common Pests in NSW
There are various types of pests that make their presence known in Sydney and the wider areas of New South Wales. Some of the more common ones include:
> Termites: there are more than 350 species of termites native to Australia, 20 of which can cause damage to wood structures.
> Silverfish: from the serpentine insect family, silverfish can become more than just a minor nuisance. They feed on any household items made of starch or cellulose, meaning that books, paintings and photographs are all susceptible to to damage by silverfish. Infestations of silverfish can be prevented by vacuuming, dusting and eliminating any standing water because they feed on dust and thrive in dark, damp places. Silverfish can be killed using pesticide spray but in instances of large-scale infestations, professionals may have to assess to the situation.
> Ants: ants are social creatures that build and live in nests. Their nests can actually help the soil and many ant species are beneficial to the environment. Some even destroy other types of insect pests, such as termites. Ants however can become a nuisance in the home and find a way into houses through cracks, fireplaces and walls. Ants thrive in the sunny Australian climate. The way ants can be dealt with is to track down their entry point, seal it off, clean up counter surfaces as they are attracted to sugar and make sure any food is sealed away.
> Cockroaches: cockroaches are a serious problem as they harbor diseases that can easily be spread. Cockroach infestations are best left to the professionals but removal starts with identifying areas in which they could potentially be using as shelter.
> Bed bugs: bed bugs are insects that feed on blood and grow to around the size of an apple seed as adults. Bed bugs live in cracks and crevices of furniture such as mattresses and sofas. To avoid bedbugs, pay attention to what you bring into your house – any new furniture should be thoroughly inspected. To get rid of existing bed bugs, remove any clutter from the premises. This makes it more difficult for them to hide, and you can clearly spot them. Also, when washing your clothes or linens, wash them on the highest temperature possible.
> Ticks: ticks are blood-sucking insects commonly found in wooded areas. They have preferred hosts but they will generally feed on any available blood source so they find their way into houses by biting humans, dogs and cats. The best way to deal with ticks is to get preventative treatment for any pets and wash your hands and use tweezers without breaking the body of the tick to avoid diseases upon removal.
Choosing a Pest Expert
To find a good pest expert, a quick Google search is a good start. Take note of the professionalism of the pest professionals’ sites and look to see if they have any testimonials. Some may have won awards for their expertise in pest prevention or customer service. Narrow down your options to a few choices and search for their reviews on sites with unbiased reviews such as trustpilot.com.
Large national or international brands are often safe bets because their training tends to be at a high level. Their standards will dictate that their on-site pest technicians will have a high level of competency. However this is not always the case. The best source is always word of mouth. If someone you know can vouch for a companies services then you are one step ahead. In the end, the choice is a highly personal one. Whatever company that puts you at ease and provides not only expertise but also a helpful attitude is the right company for you. If the company can do all that and do it within your budget, even better.
Pest control is a broad subject that ranges from DIY projects to professional pest removal. There are numerous pests that in some way cause harm to human life, and there has been a human answer to deal with each type. Some pests, however, evolve very rapidly, thus making them very difficult to deal with. Humans will never be able to completely eliminate pests from our lives, as they are part of the ecosystem – completely removing one type of pest from existence is impossible but if it were it would have drastic negative consequences. Pest control will always be an ongoing struggle but with new technologies it will always keep improving and being redefined. If one thing is for sure, it’s that the pest management industry will continue offering jobs and career growth for the foreseeable future.