Top 10 Australian Household Pests
This is one Top 10 Australian Household Pests list that’s guaranteed to have none of your favorites. When any of these species decide to move into your home, they may damage the structure, bring in filth, and deliver nasty bites and stings. But there are things you can do to discourage these pests. If they’ve already gained a foothold, you may need to call in the professionals for a proper eviction.
Types and Habits of Ants
Black House Ants are native to Australia and Asia. They’re very small, black ants. Outdoors, these ants nest under structures like logs and paving stones. They’ll build in wall cavities, electrical boxes, and roof voids when they come into your home.
Likewise, Coastal Brown Ants are an invasive species that has become very successful in Australia. They like to build their colonies in disturbed soil. This includes places like gardens, under paving stones, and along the edges of sidewalks and walls.
Prevention Tips for Ants
What’s the best way to discourage ants from coming into your home?
- Clean up food crumbs and spills as soon as you can.
- Keep all stored food in tightly covered containers.
- Wipe down sweets, such as jars of honey, before putting them away.
- Keep pet bowls and the area around them clean.
- Repair any plumbing leaks that may be leaving moisture in walls or on counters.
Control of Ants
Ant infestations are controlled with insecticides. If you just have a few ants scurrying across the kitchen countertop, you may want to try any of the sprays or baits that are commonly available.
If the ants have really gained a toehold, though, you’ll want professional action. A professional exterminator will choose the most effective insecticide for the type of ant that’s in your home. The treatment may also cover the yard for more lasting results.
Cockroaches are disgusting and stubborn house guests, but there are steps you can take for prevention and control.
Types and Habits of Cockroaches
If you have cockroaches in your home, they are likely to be one of three species: the German cockroach, Australian cockroach, or American cockroach. One of the things that makes cockroaches such successful pests is that they eat such a wide variety of substances. They eat our food, of course, but they also eat dead animals and animal waste, cardboard and glue, and even each other.
Prevention Tips for Cockroaches
If you want to prevent a cockroach infestation, focus on denying them food, water, and easy entrance.
You should clean up food spills and keep food tightly covered. Either cover your bins or empty them every day. Did you know that cockroaches use smell to find food? They do, so airtight containers are a must. You should also make sure there is no standing water in your home.
Any small openings can be entry points for cockroaches. They also like cracks and crevices inside the house. You can use caulk or spray foam insulation to fill spaces around under-sink plumbing, electrical outlets, doors, and windows.
Cockroaches like unfinished wood surfaces because they can deposit their eggs in the grain. Stain, varnish, or paint wood shelves and cabinets to seal them against roaches.
Control of Cockroaches
Can you attack a roach problem with do-it-yourself methods? Yes, but calling a professional exterminator is the best way to knock out a cockroach infestation quickly. It takes some expertise to know which products to use and where to use them most effectively.
There are a number of options that professionals may use. Baits are often quite effective. They kill the cockroach that eats them, then other roaches feed on its carcass and they die, too. Sprays and powders are other options that may be part of a multi-pronged approach.
If you have pets, you have probably had fleas. They’re a nuisance, but they can also transmit diseases. So. it’s important to eradicate them when they infest your home.
Types and Habits of Fleas
You’re most likely to have cat fleas in your house, but don’t let the name fool you. The fleas on dogs and people are also usually the type called cat fleas. Other types of fleas are found in Australia, but they’re much less common in the home.
Fleas live on the blood of animals. The larvae usually hide in crevices until they’re mature. They emerge when they’re ready to find a host. Fleas can transmit blood-borne diseases and parasites. They often infect dogs and cats with tapeworms, and they can transmit this to humans, too.
Prevention Tips for Fleas
The best way to prevent a flea infestation is to treat your pet. Your veterinarian can help you sort through your options and find the best preventive medication.
You should also vacuum often to collect any stray fleas or eggs that may have made their way into your home. Similarly, keeping your pet’s bedding clean is also a must. Try to find a pet bed that can be washed in hot water.
Control of Fleas
Eradicating fleas often means treating your pets, the interior of your home, and your yard. The interior of your house may need to be fumigated. You might also need to wash things like curtains, cushions, and human and animal bedding in the hottest water the fibres can take.
Your yard will probably need to be treated with insecticides as well. An insect growth regulator will keep the immature stages of the flea from developing into the biting adults.
Ticks are one of the more troubling household pests since they can carry diseases that are quite harmful to people.
Types and Habits of Ticks
There are about 70 species of ticks in Australia, although some of them have limited ranges. The most common is the Paralysis tick and the brown dog tick. Ticks feed on the blood of animals, and they transmit diseases through their bites.
A couple of the more serious diseases they carry are Flinders Island Spotted Fever and Queensland Tick Typhus. Ticks typically crawl up vegetation and wait for a suitable host to pass by. When you or your pet brushes against this vegetation, the tick drops on.
Prevention Tips for Ticks
Your goal is to prevent a tick from ever making contact with you or your pet. The following steps can help.
- Trim grass, flowers, and shrubbery around the house and along walkways.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, slacks, and boots when you’re in environments where there are likely to be ticks.
- Use a repellent on clothes and exposed skin surfaces.
- Treat your pets with approved tick-repellent medications.
Control of Ticks
Knocking down a tick infestation usually involves the treatment of the yard with insecticides. A type called pyrethrum is often the treatment of choice of professionals. Anything you do to decrease the moisture in your yard and increase the amount of sun that penetrates to the ground is also helpful.
This includes things like removing dead leaves and grass, watering less, and mowing often. If you live in an area that attracts bandicoots, keeping them off your property is a key strategy for tick control. Bandicoots are a common host for Paralysis ticks.
Bed bugs are becoming more common in Australia. This has led to the Australian Environmental Pest Manager’s Association developing the Bed Bug Code of Practice to guide efforts to control these pests.
Types and Habits of Bed Bugs
The common bed bug and the tropical bed bug are the types you’re most likely to find in your home. They’re usually found in sleeping areas, but they will spread if the population is large. Bed bugs usually remain hidden during the day and emerge during the early morning hours. They depend on blood meals to complete their life cycles and reproduce.
Prevention Tips for Bed Bugs
If being chewed on by bugs when you’re sleeping doesn’t appeal to you, consider taking the following preventive steps.
- Check your room for signs of bed bugs when you travel.
- Inspect your luggage closely as you unpack when you return home from travel. Check it outside if this is feasible.
- Avoid bringing secondhand upholstered furniture into your home.
- Cover your mattress with a cover that is designed to be impermeable to bed bugs.
Control of Bed Bugs
Professional pest control experts may use chemical treatments, heat treatments, or both to eradicate bed bugs. Chemical treatments are used on items or areas that can’t be easily heated. This includes walls, floors, and furniture.
Heat treatment may be used on items that can be put in containers and heated. This includes any personal property that can withstand heat, like books and clothing. Unfortunately, some items may have to be discarded because they can’t be effectively treated. So, be prepared for this.
Rats and mice gnaw through your property and spread disease. Their large size does make them easier to spot than insect pests, though, so you can get an early start on control.
Types and Habits of Mice and Rats
The scurrying of little feet you hear may belong to house mice, Norway rats, or roof rats. None of these are native to Australia.
House mice will often live in attics and walls, while roof rats, as their name suggests, live under the roof. Norway rats may live in your home, or they may live outside and just come in looking for food.
Prevention Tips for Mice and Rats
Keeping rats and mice out of your home is a matter of sealing entry points and making food and water unavailable.
- Store food in sealed containers.
- Keep rubbish bins covered with tight lids.
- Keep areas around pet bowls and bird feeders free of spilled food.
- Avoid letting debris pile up outside where it can provide cover for rodents.
- Seal openings around pipes and cables with caulking or steel wool.
- Repair holes or gaps in the roof.
- Cover drains with metal screens.
Control of Mice and Rats
There are several methods of rodent control that professionals may recommend if you have an infestation of rats or mice. Taking steps to keep the rodents out by sealing all access points is the most permanent option.
Traps and baits may be used to kill rodents that are already in your home. Chemical rodenticides are available, although some aren’t suitable for residential use. Some combination of all these methods will likely produce the best results.
Silverfish don’t transmit disease, but their eating habits can make them quite destructive. If they’re chewing up your property, you’ll be thinking about eradication.
Types and Habits of Silverfish
There is only one common species of silverfish. But it is found throughout six continents. Silverfish are nocturnal creatures and prefer damp places. Consequently, you may find them in basements and closets.
These insects like starches and sugars. This means that they will eat books and papers, carpet and clothing, and sugar and coffee. They may also contaminate food.
Prevention Tips for Silverfish
The best way to prevent a silverfish infestation is to decrease the humidity in the areas where you find them. The first step is to make sure you don’t have plumbing leaks that are keeping the area perpetually damp.
You can also try to increase the airflow in damp locations and use a dehumidifier periodically to dry the space. Checking boxes of books or paper that you bring into your home is always a good idea, too. Empty the box outside and look for silverfish before you bring the items inside.
Control of Silverfish
Do you just see the occasional silverfish? If so, you can use a common household insecticide spray to kill them. You may also put bundles of clothes or papers in plastic bags and leave them in full sun for a couple of hours to kill the adult silverfish and their eggs.
You might want to call a professional if you have so many silverfish that they’re causing significant damage. The professionals will use sprays and foggers to treat the areas that the silverfish are calling home.
You may find spiders fascinating or horrifying, but you probably don’t want them infesting your home. The dangerous types, especially, need to go.
Types and Habits of Spiders
There are about a dozen types of spiders that are considered household pests in Australia. Half of them have bites that are painful, poisonous, or both. They include the following.
- Funnel web spider
- Redback spider
- Mouse spider
- Blackhouse spider
- White-tailed spider
- Northern tree spider
The rest are simply nuisances if there are too many of them in your house or garden. The list of harmless spider folk includes the following.
- Garden wolf spider
- Garden orb spider
- Daddy long legs
- Huntsman spider
- Trap-door spider
It’s impossible to make general statements about the habits of spiders. This is because they occupy so many niches in the environment. It’s up to you to decide if a particular type has topped your threshold and needs to be eradicated.
Prevention Tips for Spiders
You’re fighting a losing battle if you want to keep spiders completely out of your house or garden. They’re rather sneaky, and some of the most dangerous live in concealed burrows.
One thing you can do is strive to keep your home free of other types of insects. This removes a food source, so your house will be less tempting to spiders. In addition, you may also want to keep your outdoor spaces free from debris that would encourage spiders to move in.
Control of Spiders
Control methods depend on the size of the problem. The occasional spider, even if it’s one of the dangerous ones, can be squashed or sprayed with an insecticide. Web-building spiders can be discouraged by repeatedly knocking down their webs.
If you have a fear of spiders, or if you have too many spiders to deal with yourself, you can hire professionals to eradicate them.
There are few insect species that cause more damage to homes than termites. When you have these in your home, you need to get rid of them quickly.
Types and Habits of Termites
There are three types of termites that create problems for homeowners. They are: subterranean termites, dampwood termites, and drywood termites. Firstly, the subterranean termites. They build their nests underground and send workers out to find wood. They’re the most common and most destructive type of termite that is found in homes.
The drywood and dampwood types live within the wood they’re consuming. Lastly, the dampwood termites. They are only a minor nuisance since they will leave if you repair whatever is causing the wood to be wet.
Prevention Tips for Termites
When you consider how much damage termites can do, it’s worth taking the time for a few preventive steps.
- Eliminate water sources around your home. This includes leaking pipes and runoff.
- Remove lumber and firewood from around your house. It provides cover and nesting sites for termites.
- Vent crawlspaces and other areas under the floors. This makes them less attractive to subterranean termites.
- Use timber that has been treated to resist termites for your outdoor building projects.
- Extract stumps and dead trees from your grounds.
- Apply chemical barriers around your home during or after construction.
Control of Termites
What if the worst happens and your home becomes infested with termites? Don’t hesitate to call for professional extermination. The exterminator may use a combination of baits and chemical barriers to control the problem.
Bait stations are placed around your home to attract termites. The termite takes the bait back to the nest, and the bait kills the termites that eat it. A chemical barrier is applied around the perimeter of your home. It kills the termites that are present and helps prevent re-infestation. The chemicals used are safe for pets and people.
Wasps are particularly dangerous because of their ability to swarm and sting. You shouldn’t try to battle a large wasp infestation by yourself.
Types and Habits of Wasps
If you’re having problems with wasps, they’re likely to be either paper wasps or European wasps. Paper wasps are the less aggressive type. They build small nests under eaves or branches.
European wasps are aggressive when they’re disturbed, and their large nests may have as many as 100,000 wasps. Many nests are underground, but they also build in walls and under roofs.
Prevention Tips for Wasps
The best way to prevent problems with wasp nests is to catch them early. Small nests are easier to remove, and they won’t have dangerously large numbers of wasps in them. Check corners and under eaves for early signs of wasp activity.
Keep outdoor bins covered so the wasps won’t be attracted to them. Also, keep doors and windows closed or screened. If you have an ongoing problem with wasps building nests on your home, you can spray insecticide on the eaves and other places that wasps find attractive.
Control of Wasps
If you have a single wasp that’s trapped in the house, go ahead and use an insecticide spray to kill it. It won’t like this much, so be prepared to back away. If you need to eliminate an entire nest of wasps, call a professional. Professionals spray wasp nests to kill the inhabitants. You will need to leave the nest in place for a couple of days to make sure all the wasps are dead before you remove it.
When you look at this list of household pests, you may doubt if you ever want to go home again. Poisonous spiders, stinging wasps, termites that eat your house, and skittering mice are enough to keep you awake at night.
But it’s okay. You can go to sleep. A few preventive measures will really make a difference in the chances that your home will become overrun with pests. If the worst happens, you can contact pest control experts to evict your unwanted guests.