Household pests are not only annoying to have around, but could also pose a risk to your family’s health and safety if they are not quickly eradicated. In this article, we shall be looking at some of the most common household pests in Australia, how to identify infestations, how to prevent them and how to control them.
- How to get rid of birds
- How to get rid of cats
- How to get rid of dogs
- How to get rid of possums
- How to get rid of rodents
- How to get rid of flies
- How to get rid of cockroaches
- How to get rid of silverfish
- How to get rid of bed bug
- How to get rid of mosquitoes
- How to get rid of moths
- How to get rid of spiders
- How to get rid of ticks
- How to get rid of wasps
- How to get rid of geckos
- How to get rid of cane toads
- How to get rid of snakes
In their natural habitats, these creatures are very beautiful. But this beauty is quickly forgotten when they invade your property. Birds can cause a lot of damage to your property with their droppings, nests, and will disturb the peace by making a lot of noise. They could also transmit diseases to humans through their droppings.
How to identify a bird problem
Birds are pretty easy to identify. If you don’t spot the bird itself, other signs you’ll see include droppings, nests or hear their noise.
Birds, like other animals, are attracted by the presence of food and water. Make sure that you do not leave any edibles on your property that could attract these and other pests. Close your garbage cans and clear any food that is dropped on the ground.
A simple way of deterring birds from perching and roosting on your roof’s apex is by installing a thin wire (or a fishing line) a few inches above and all the way along your roof’s apex. While this will prevent birds from perching on your roof, birds might still invade your property.
Cats are pretty harmless animals. They can, however, cause havoc in your yard by defecating everywhere and digging up lawns and gardens. If you have a pet of your own, for example, a dog, an intruding cat can agitate it making it hard to control. Stray cats can also introduce other pests such as ticks and fleas to your home.
How to identify a cat problem
Signs of cat intrusions on your property include the cat itself and finding cat litter and dug up ground around your home several times a week.
The best way to prevent cats from intruding is to eliminate food sources and to cover areas where cats can find shelter such as under decks and porches.
Using natural scents such as garlic, citronella, lavender and citrus spray can help keep cats off your property. For consistent results a professional cat control product should be used.
Stray dogs, similar to cats, can be quite troublesome when they come into your property. They defecate everywhere creating a stinky mess and dig around causing destruction to lawns and gardens.
Identifying a dog problem
There are a few signs you can check to identify a dog intrusion problem – that is if you don’t catch the animal red-handed. They include dog poo, bones on your yard, dug up soil and paw marks.
Avoid living food and water around your house that could attract hungry or thirsty animals to your property.
Erecting a fence around your property can keep dogs and other animals out. Professional dog control methods can also be used.
These seemingly cute animals can cause a lot of ruckus when they invade your property. Furthermore, possums can spread diseases and other pests such as ticks and fleas to pets and humans.
How to identify a possum intrusion
Possums usually find shelter under the decks of houses, in the basement or attic. Listen for noises in this areas and then follow that up with visual identification of the animal.
Inspect your house and cover all holes that can be used as entry points by possums and other pests. Screening low decks and trimming branches so that they are at least 10ft from your roof will also help prevent entry.
To keep possums from munching on leafy plants in your flower bed or garden, mix a cup of molasses with a liter of water and then add a squirt of liquid dish soap. Spray this solution to fresh leaf growth to prevent possums from eating them.
Rodents can cause a lot of damage to your property. They’ll gnaw on anything in sight from fabrics to furniture. These pests can also spread diseases to humans.
Identifying a rodent infestation
Rodents are nocturnal creatures which means they only come out to feed at night. This makes it quite difficult to catch a glimpse of the actual pest. Some of the signs you can look out for include noises beneath the floors, in the walls, and the attic, tracks and grease marks, and damaged property.
Rodents usually come to your home in search of food and shelter. Keep your house clean and all food in sealed containers – preferably ones made of glass or metal. Inspect your house and cover all holes that rodents can use to get inside.
Peppermint oil does a good job of ridding an area of rodents and can be used safely indoors. Put a few drops of this on cotton balls and place them near the rodents nest.
Flies can really make you uncomfortable with their constant buzzing and hovering. These insects can also contaminate your food as they jump from one food source to the next posing a great risk to your health.
Identifying a fly problem
Flies don’t really hide when they come around so identifying them visually is quite easy.
Maintaining high standards of hygiene will help keep flies out of your place. Clean all food related messes and spills as soon as they happen, keep your food in sealed containers and cover your bins – especially those containing food waste.
Keeping your doors and windows shut will effectively prevent flies from entering your home. This might, however, not be a viable solution during warm weather, and this is when flies are most active.
Cockroaches are not only unsightly but having them around could pose a health risk to both you and your family. Their droppings (which contain the allergen tropomyosin) cause allergic reactions in humans and can trigger asthma or eczema.
Identifying a cockroach infestation
The most obvious sign of an infestation is the live cockroach. Egg cases, cast skin, cockroach droppings and an accompanying foul musty smell are also signs you should keep an eye out for.
To keep roaches at bay, clean your house regularly, do your dishes as soon as you are through using them, fix leaky faucets and cover all your trash cans.
Cockroaches are hardy creatures that can survive in harsh conditions which makes controlling them a bit difficult, but with the right products, it can be done.
Also known as fishmoths, these small wingless silver coloured insects feed on sugar, dextrin in adhesives, starches and other polysaccharides. They’ll feed on your books, photos, carpets and clothes made from natural fabrics such as silk, wool and cotton.
Identifying a silverfish infestation
Signs of a silverfish infestation include the pest itself – a ½ to ¾ inches long silver coloured insect with a body that narrows from the head to the tail. Damaged property such as books and fabrics are signs that could also point to the pest.
To keep these pests away, seal cracks and crevices that could provide entry for silverfish and keep your home perimeter clear of leaves and other damp debris that can provide a habitat for these insects.
Silverfish thrive in humid areas. Using a dehumidifier in your home will make it less favourable for the pests.
Bed bugs are tiny oval-shaped insects that feed on blood from humans and other warm-blooded animals. Their bites are painful and could cause an allergic reaction for some people.
Because bedbugs are nocturnal, they are pretty hard to sight. Signs used to identify a bed bug infestation include faecal matter that resembles dried up blood stains on bedding, mattress seams and spring boxes, accompanied by a sweet offensive smell.
You can prevent a bed bug infestation by keeping your luggage isolated until you clean everything with hot water after you get home from a trip. This is especially important if you spent some time in a hotel.
Heat and cold are very effective for killing bed bugs in all the stages of their lifecycle. Wash infested items in hot water and dry them in high heat for about 20 minutes. Keeping contaminated items in a freezer for 7 – 10 days will also kill the bugs. For quick elimination, professional products are more effective.
Mosquitoes bite painfully and make a sharp, irritating noise when they fly around. In addition to this, mosquitoes spread dangerous diseases that include Dengue fever, Filariasis, Yellow fever and the West Nile virus.
Mosquitoes are small insects identified by their long thin legs and a prolonged mouthpart known as a proboscis. They fly around in search of hosts at night – sometimes also during the day.
Mosquitoes need water to reproduce so drain all stagnant water around your home and clear bushes and long grass that can provide shelter and food (sap) to mosquitoes.
Keeping your windows and doors shut at night will prevent mosquitoes from gaining entry into your home.
There are two types of moths; those that will eat your food and those that will feed on your clothes. The resulting damage will be significant regardless of the type that invades your home.
Moths are attracted to light and will be seen flying around your lamps at night. They are quite similar to butterflies in appearance but lack the beautiful colours worn by their prettier cousins.
Check fabrics, furniture and food for immature and adult moths before you bring these items into your house. You should also switch off your outdoor lights when they are not in use to avoid attracting these insects to your house. Stored clothes should also be washed after a while to get rid of any larvae that might have started developing there.
Lavender is an old homemaker’s trick for getting rid of moths. It’s not the most effective method but it will reduce the number of moths.
Although the majority of the spiders that invade homes are not poisonous, they can cause a big mess when they spin their webs all over your house. Some people also have a major fear of them which makes it very uncomfortable to have them around.
Identifying a spider problem
The most obvious sign of a spider infestation are the webs. The eight-legged creatures might also be spotted wandering about inside the house.
Keep all windows and doors that are not screened closed to prevent spiders from getting into your house. Screening vents and covering cracks that can provide entry will also help.
Outdoor spiders can be repelled using eucalyptus sprigs. Sprinkling strong smelling spices around your property’s perimeter will also prevent these pests from coming into your home.
Ticks are small arachnids that attach themselves to animals to feed on their blood. These pests are capable of spreading diseases such as tick paralysis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.
How to identify a tick problem
Ticks cannot hide once they attach themselves to a host so a simple visual check is enough to identify these pests. Check your pet often to catch infestations early.
Ticks can’t fly or jump high, they get onto a host by climbing onto an elevated place before leaping onto its body. Overgrown vegetation such as grass provides the perfect platform for this so ensure all vegetation around your home is trimmed and your lawn is mowed regularly.
Ticks can easily be removed from your pet by hand. Extreme care must be taken not to crash it as it might release contaminated blood into the animal’s body.
Wasp stings are very painful and will often cause an allergic reaction to people with swelling and skin irritation being the common symptoms. For a small number of people, though, a wasp sting could have fatal symptoms if medical attention is not provided immediately.
Identifying a wasp problem
Wasps are most active during the day and will be seen flying around the house. Although there are several species, common features include a pinched waist and a pointed lower abdomen.
Keeping your windows shut and sealing cracks and crevices that can provide entry for these insects will help prevent a wasp infestation.
Wasps are territorial creatures that will not settle where there is another existing colony. Setting up a fake wasp can deter other wasps from settling near your property. A fake nest can be constructed by crumpling a brown grocery bag and hanging it outside.
Geckos are small lizard-like reptiles that feed on spiders and insects. Although beneficial for the most part, geckos can become a nuisance when their numbers become too great.
Identifying a gecko infestation
Geckos will be seen scurrying up walls or across the floor when you turn on the lights in a room. Noises coming from the ceiling and inside walls could also be signs of a gecko infestation so do some visual checks for confirmation.
Geckos get into your house through cracks and crevices in your home’s wall as well as unscreened vents. Seal all cracks in your walls and screen vents to prevent geckos from coming into your home.
Geckos come into your house in search of food i.e. insects and spiders. Remove the food source by eliminating the insects and spiders geckos feed on.
Cane toads produce a poison with their parotoid glands that primarily acts on the heart when ingested. This poison is lethal to humans and pets alike which makes these toads dangerous to have around.
Identifying a cane toad problem
These pests can be seen hopping around and especially near places with water as they thrive in humid environments.
Cane toads are attracted to water. Draining stagnant water around your property will help prevent these toads from invading.
Fencing permanent water bodies such as dams will help keep the toads away from water which will effectively reduce their population in that area.
A lot of people are scared of snakes; with good reasons of course because if you happen to encounter a venomous one, the result could be disastrous. Snakes can be very dangerous to both humans and pets.
Identifying a snake infestation
A snake intrusion can be quite hard to identify. One of the ways of doing it is seeing the snake itself. Sprinkling some flour around the areas you suspect the snake is hiding in or near heat sources and observing for slithering marks can also help confirm your suspicion.
Keep windows close to the ground level shut at all times especially if they are not screened. Also inspect you house’s walls and seal holes and cracks that can provide entry for snakes and other pests. Finally, trim tree branches so that they are a few feet (at least 10) away from your house and clear overgrown vegetation around your home – this includes mowing your lawn regularly.
A mixture of cinnamon and clove oil can be used to keep snakes away from your home. This requires regular reapplication for continued effectiveness.