Top 10 Household Pests in Australia
Learn about the Most Common Domestic Pests
Pests. Yuck. No homeowner wants them, yet every house has them. Sometimes this can seem like a no-win situation.
Luckily, our big homo sapiens brains have given us a reliable edge over our smaller, many-legged (and sometimes quite creepy) pest housemates.
With the help of pest treatment, it is possible to reserve your home for your use alone and send unwelcome visitors packing.
In this article, learn about the top 10 household pests in Australia and how pest control services can keep them outside your four walls for good.
About Pests and Pest Control in Australia
Australia is a very beautiful country. Unfortunately, people are not the only ones who love Australia. Pests love it too, and thanks to the country’s overall popularity, there are plenty of sturdy dwellings in which to hide and proliferate. As you might imagine, Australia’s pest control services stay quite busy keeping people inside these dwellings and pests outside of them!
Luckily for tourists and residents, Australia is one of just a handful of strong and well-developed first world countries globally. As such, the country’s pest control experts are able to offer all of the most current, cutting edge pest control methods to combat any type of pest problem!
The two main types of pest control employed in Australia today include chemical and non-chemical (biological).
There are three main pest control options:
- Insecticide. Used to kill adult insects. There are two types: oral and airborne.
- Larvicide. Used to kill immature insects.
- Biological control. Uses a natural enemy of the pest to kill it off OR a natural product that will not harm the surrounding environment.
The Top 10 Pests
These 10 pests are the 10 most commonly found in dwellings country-wide!
Pest #1: Cockroaches.
Appearance: Perhaps the least tolerated of all common household pests, cockroaches sport long, shiny hard-shelled bodies that can grow up to 3.175 cm (1.25 inches) long with two long antennae and six hairy, multi-jointed legs.
Habitat: Cockroaches are nocturnal and they do most of their feeding and reproduction at night. They like any place that is dark and enclosed where they can hide.
Lifecycle: Cockroaches can reproduce best in warmer conditions above 80°F (26.6°C). They lay eggs in pouches of 24 per pouch. The eggs can take up to 12 months to mature and hatch.
Threat Level: Cockroaches carry a great number of diseases, some of which can be communicated to household pets and humans.
Treatment Options: Cockroaches can scamper very fast and fly well. For this reason, often a combination approach of baits, granules or powder and airborne sprays is used to get rid of them. It is common to have to retreat regularly to keep them out.
Pest #2: Termites.
Appearance: Many Australians consider termites to be the most expensive (in terms of destruction caused) of all pests in the country. In this, a termite’s diminutive, pale and fragile appearance is quite deceiving.
Habitat: Termites love living in wood – all types of wood.
Lifecycle: Only certain termites in any one colony can reproduce. These swarm during warm weather, mate and establish new colonies, where they begin to breed copiously (as in, up to 2,000 new eggs each DAY).
Threat Level: Termites cause millions of dollars worth of damage to Australian structures each year. They can also be hard to detect.This makes treatment an imperative the moment termites are spotted. They can also eat into electrical wiring and cause fires and power outages.
Treatment Options: Total structure fumigation (with tenting) is still the preferred method to rid a dwelling of these unusually invasive and numerous pests.
Pest #3: Ants.
Appearance: Australia is home to more than 1,300 ant species. However, there are only a handful of species that commonly invade dwellings. Coloration may vary widely from white to red to black, but all have the characteristic multi-segmented rounded bodies.
Habitat: Ants in general tend to like warm, humid, protected spaces. Many species feed on pet or people food, especially sweets and proteins. Some colonies can get tremendously large.
Lifecycle: Once the eggs are laid, it can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of months for the infant ants to move through the lifecycle stages and reach adulthood who often live for several years.
Threat Level: Certain ant species are particularly attracted to electrical wiring and plastic, making them potentially deadly housemates.
Treatment Options: Insecticide along with removal of all food sources tends to be the treatment of choice. But to eradicate ants, the nest must be discovered and destroyed.
Pest #4: Spiders.
Appearance: Spider species are plentiful throughout Australia, including some of the most dang of all species. While size can differ quite a bit, all spiders have the characteristic set of legs surrounding a small central body.
Habitat: Spiders love any dark, damp, out of the way area, such as eaves, air vents, cracks in walls, corners and overhangs. Most spiders use their web-weaving abilities to collect food and protect themselves. A few hunt by running or build underground webs.
Lifecycle: Spiders tend to reproduce during warmer months of the year. In most cases, the female spider will lay eggs inside of an egg sac (some can deposit up to 3,000 eggs in a single sac). Adult spiders can live for a few years.
Threat Level: The biggest danger spiders pose is from their bite. Some spiders may only induce a raised painful welt, while others can prove fatal if left untreated.
Treatment Options: Sprays are effective against web-building spiders. Running hunter spiders are harder to track down and treat, so granules or baits may be the pesticide of choice.
Pest #5: Bed bugs.
Appearance: Bed bugs are nearly impossible to spot because they are tiny and nocturnal. But you can spot the signs of them – rust-red spots on mattresses and shed casings on the floor.
Habitat: They hide near beds because their main food is blood. If you wake up in the morning with itchy welts and no recollection of what caused them, bed bugs may be the culprit.
Lifecycle: Bed bugs are odd creatures as they can survive for 12 months or longer without any food. Females lay up to five eggs per day, which hatch in 12 days or less.
Threat Level: Once a dwelling is infested, it can take multiple intense treatments to eradicate them, since eggs can fall into cracks and crevices and hatch to reinfest the premises.
Treatment Options: The treatment of choice is currently insecticide.
Pest #6: Mosquitos.
Appearance: Everyone knows mosquitos, those long-legged, long-winged blood-sucking mini-vampires that come out just when you are trying to relax on your porch after a long, hard day.
Habitat: Mosquitos love humidity. They tend to be most active at dawn and dusk in warmer temperatures and near water.
Lifecycle: Eggs will mature more quickly in warmer temperatures. The lifecycle from egg to adult can take anywhere from 4 days to 30 days depending on species.
Threat Level: Mosquitoes are known to carry transmittable diseases, including the newest global threat, Zika.
Treatment Options: Treating mosquitoes is a multi-faceted endeavor. It starts by getting rid of standing water, which mosquitoes use for breeding. Fogging can be useful to eradicate mosquitoes for short time periods.
Pest #7: Wasps.
Appearance: Wasps have narrow “waists” in their segmented bodies. Their wings are long and triangular.
Habitat: Wasps like warmer climates and will gravitate to any area where it is possible to build a nest using mud or spittle. Nests can be in trees or on the ground.
Lifecycle: Female wasps can store sperm to lay eggs continuously as soon as warm weather arrives. This can mean large nests that grow quickly, with eggs becoming mature wasps in as few as 22 days.
Threat Level: Wasps are mainly dangerous because of their sting, which some people are very allergic to. Some species, like the European wasps, are also dangerous because they are very aggressive and will attack in groups.
Treatment Options: The best treatment is always presentation – to keep an eye out for nests and destroy them promptly.
Pest #8: Flies.
Appearance: Flies have large heads and bodies with short stubby wings.
Habitat: Flies love trash, debris and waste.
Lifecycle: Female flies can lay 150+ eggs per day, which will mature into adults in around 10 days and be ready to lay eggs within 3 days of that.
Threat Level: Flies can seem impossible to get rid of. Household cleanliness is the most important prevention. There are 30,000+ species in Australia alone, which doesn’t help matters any.
Treatment Options: Sprays may work temporarily, as will fly paper, UV light or traps. But eradication only becomes possible when all suitable breeding sites are eliminated.
Pest #9: Fleas.
Appearance: Fleas are very, very tiny. Their hard-shelled bodies and quick jumping movements make them seem indestructible.
Habitat: Fleas tend to live on warm-blooded creatures such as the family dog or cat.
Lifecycle: Fleas like warmer temperatures and humidity. They can mature in anywhere from 4 to 18 days.
Threat Level: Fleas, like bed bugs, can be very difficult to get rid of. They can also transmit other parasites, such as tapeworms, when they bite you or your pet.
Treatment Options: Flea treatment typically requires a multi-level approach. Fumigation combined with insect growth regulator (IGR) and pet flea treatment is a common method.
Pest #10: Textile pests.
Appearance: Textile pests may be winged or non-winged depending on whether they are a moth or a beetle and what part of the lifecycle they are in.
Habitat: Otherwise known as moths or carpet beetles, textile pests love clothing and fabric.
Lifecycle: They lay their eggs on fabric or in carpeting. Their lifecycle is actually somewhat longer than for most insects, coming in at 3 to 12 months to adulthood.
Threat Level: Textile pests can damage clothing and home furnishings extensively if not caught in time.
Treatment Options: Treating textile pests effectively includes washing all affected furnishings in very hot water (or replacing them) plus use of heat or pesticide sprays to kill newly emerging pests.
How To Find The Best Exterminator
You will want to find an exterminator who has a proven track record of successfully removing your type of pest. A simple internet search will give you a good list to start researching.
To choose a company, review customer testimonials, service guarantees, pricing and length of time in business, then compare and contrast each service to rank them.
So long as humans continue to build structures to dwell in, pests will continue to try to move in.
The good news is, even as local insects get more creative about how and where they dwell, pest control services get better at rooting them out and eradicating them.
If you are struggling to control uninvited pint-sized houseguests, you are not alone and help is readily available!