home & Garden

Fri, 30 Nov, 2018Over60

The top signs that it’s time to call the exterminators this summer

The top signs that it’s time to call the exterminators this summer

Everyone has their own tolerance when it comes to insects and pests in the home. Some people consider one cockroach scurrying across the kitchen floor as nothing to be alarmed about, while others baulk at it.

Pest controllers around the country are busiest at this time of year, bees are swarming and fleas are biting. But, the usual suspects are always ants, cockroaches and rodents.

If a rodent is seen in the middle of the day or scratching noises are heard in the wall cavity, a pest controller needs to be called. This is a sign that there is more than one and setting a mouse trap is not going to fix the bigger problem. Another sign is bite marks in food.

Dale Bahr, of Reliance Pest Control, says: “They’ll wake in the morning and half a banana is gone because they (rats) have started living behind the fridge.” Rats can also create nests under the house, in the roof and even in the couch.

Rodents in particular have enjoyed Sydney’s milder winter this year. “There’s a prolific problem with rodents right across Sydney at the moment,” says Lee Rennie, of Shire Pest Control. “The warmer than usual ground meant that rodents continued to breed throughout those colder months.”

Cockroaches also love the warmer environment under the fridge. If one small German cockroach is seen, call the pest controller straight away. “When [a homeowner sees] a German cockroach running around, they are probably only seeing about 1 per cent of the cockroaches that are actually there,” says Stephan Ware, of the Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association (AEPMA).

The German cockroach can spread bacterial diseases, and, like any insect, leave moults and faeces where it lives. Ware suggests the place should be checked if there are signs of German cockroaches.

Ants are another common problem, especially when they develop a permanent trail leading from the outside, such as a gap in the windowsill, to the pantry. They are difficult to get rid of at this stage, and a pest controller needs to be called. Ants get into cereals that aren’t sealed, causing the disposal of a lot of food. A more serious matter is white ants.

An annual inspection is the only way to effectively deal with termites. The pest controller checks the frame under the house, in the roof, surrounding fences and other wood or trees nearby. On average, a termite inspection with a written report costs $310, a small price to pay for prevention and peace of mind. If there is rotting wood near the house or fingers go through the wall, call the pest controller straight away.

Termites are native to Australia and are found throughout the Sydney basin.

“Termites do a lot of damage in a short period of time,” says Ware. “They’re nature’s disposal unit.” Ware considers the termite a pest you should act on immediately. “If you cover it up and hope it will go away, it won’t.”

In Sydney, the worst pest infestation Rennie has come across was termite infestation. “I’ve had to condemn a couple of properties and get people out of there because the house could collapse on them.”

Pest control and hygiene go hand in hand. Removing food sources such as crumbs, pet food, dirty dishes and rubbish will make the house less inviting to pests. This should be combined with a regular pest inspection and treatment when needed.

“The home is your most valuable asset,” says Ware. “With a regular treatment your quality of life improves; it’s as simple as that.”

Written by Melissa Gerke. Republished with permission of Domain.com.au.