Kununurra Pest Management

ABN 97 305 875 506
Public Health Dept. Licence 765

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Pest Info

RODENTS

The general presence of rats and mice in buildings is usually regarded as undesirable from the viewpoint of food spoilage and contamination, physical damage and the transmission of diseases to humans.

According to the World Health Organisation, rodents every year cause a loss of 33 million tonnes of food – enough to feed 200 million people. The stored food becomes contaminated with droppings (of which more than fifty (50) per day are produced), urine (which is sprinkled on surfaces over which they travel) and hairs, as the rodents move in and around the food.

Rodents can cause serious physical damage to skirtings, doors, upholstery, furniture and other parts of a building through gnawing. The gnawing of cables has caused the breakdown of telephone systems and short-circuiting which may result in equipment failure or breakdown, at worst very costly fires.

Both rats and mice are incredibly agile and can climb most vertical surfaces, leap across wide spaces and squeeze through very small gaps. They are generally nocturnal animals and are rarely seen during the day except when present in very high numbers. Most commonly, rodent droppings provide the evidence of their presence of gnawing, burrows and tracks can also reveal rodent activity.

Taking the above into account, what is concerning to us are the number of factors that may allow rodents access to your property. Competing food sources such as the vast amount of spilt grain in most areas of the complex are also of concern as this grain may provide rodents with a more preferable food source.

Once in, rodents may effectively wreak havoc, gnaw through electrical cables and computer network systems. It is vital to have a proactive rodent management program in place to prevent rodents from setting up home and breeding on site. Hygiene recommendations supplied by Quality Pest & Weed Solutions as part of the management program, will assist you to assist us in managing pest infestations within your site, which if actioned quickly and accurately will save you money.
 



COCKROACHES

The most widespread and successful cockroach is the relatively small German cockroach, which coexists with humans in buildings. This cockroach is winged, but does not seem to fly; its wide dispersal is attributable largely to human error. Taking as little as forty (40) days to develop from hatching to adulthood, the German cockroach is the most prolific breeder of all cockroaches. The German cockroach egg case contains approximately 30 – 40 nymph cockroaches.

German cockroaches thrive in undisturbed, protected habitats that contain food and water. The most favourable humidity levels are found in kitchens and bathrooms under and around toilets, bathtubs, showers and sinks. They especially like sink traps, leaking faucets, standing water and wet sponges. German cockroaches will not leave these favourable areas unless they are forced out. If food, water and shelter are available, the cockroach population can multiply rapidly. When any of these resources are eliminated, populations can't grow and may even decline.

German cockroaches will eat almost any organic material found in food handling areas ranging from crumbs to built-up grease. Where water is available, adults may survive up to a month without food.

Probably the largest cockroach to infest dwellings and buildings is the American Cockroach. The American cockroach egg case contains approximately 14 - 16 nymph cockroaches. It is often hidden in cracks or crevices several days after its formation. Usually however egg cases are dropped or glued to surfaces within a reasonable distance to food and water.

American cockroaches can be found in commercial establishments like restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries and other places where food is prepared or stored. They also visit hospitals, warehouses, factories and domestic residences. They are most common in boiler rooms, heated steam tunnels, basements around pipes, and around water heaters and wet floor drains. American cockroaches can coexist with German cockroaches with no negative effects on either cockroach population.
 



ANTS

Scientists believe ants evolved from wasps in the Cretaceous Period, about 110 million years ago. The earliest fossil ants have been found in North American amber, which has been dated at 94 million years old.

The ant fauna of Australia is especially large and diverse. World-wide, there are 16 subfamilies, about 300 genera and about 15,000 described species and subspecies of ants. Thus Australia currently has representatives of two-thirds of the world’s ant subfamilies, one-third of its genera and, as far as we know, about 15% of its species.

After hatching from an egg, ants begin life as larvae. The differentiation of the female castes (into queen and worker sub-castes) is largely determined by environmental factors such as:

  • The amount and quality of food;
  • Temperature ; and
  • Hormones produced by workers and the queen.

Males usually develop from unfertilised eggs.

Workers generally live one to three years depending on the species and climate.

Queens usually live much longer than the workers, some species having been kept in laboratory nests for up to 29 years.

Males generally live only for a few weeks and die within a day or two of leaving the nest on nuptial flights.

Most ants are general predators or scavengers. Solid prey, which is most often seen being carried by workers, is intended as food for the larvae.

Adult ants feed exclusively on liquid foods. They collect these liquids from:

  • Their prey;
  • While tending hemiptera (true bugs) and other insects; and
  • From plant glands on plants.

Returning foragers pass the liquid food to other adults, especially those that remain in the nest (such as the queen). Trophallaxis occurs when liquid food that is stored in the forager's crop is regurgitated for nest mates on demand.

Ants are one of the few groups of animals which modify their immediate environment to suit their needs. They build often elaborate nests in a range of situations, sometimes expending huge amounts of energy in their construction. Only a handful of animals manufacture such elaborate and complex structures.

While many ants form elaborate nests, those of other species are relatively simple. Many of the species found in rotten wood do little more than remove loose wood fibres to construct simple chambers for workers and brood. Others nest arboreally. Their nests are most frequently found in twigs, branches or the trunks of trees.

Ants are social insects which form small to large colonies. Communication between members of a colony is almost entirely chemical, with some tactile communication.

Ants use pheromones to:

  • Recognise colony members;
  • Mark trails to food/water sources;
  • Determine caste; and
  • Signal attack and defence.

Tactile communication is mainly used as requests for food between adults.

Some ants, such as bulldog or bullants, are troublesome because they give painful stings, while the venom of jack-jumper or jumper ants can cause severe allergic reactions. Unlike bees that can only sting once, ants can sting multiple times. Others, such as meat ants and green tree ants, don't sting but bite and then spray formic acid into the wound.

Some ants are nuisance pests when they make mounds, disturb paving or invade buildings.

Some introduced species are both nuisance and environmental pests, including:

  • Argentine ant (Linepithema humile);
  • red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta);
  • crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes);
  • electric ant (Wasmannia auropunctatata); and
  • big headed ant or coastal brown ant (Pheidole megacephala).

FLYING INSECTS

This is one of the five mega-diverse insect orders, spanning a wide range of anatomical, biological and ecological specialisations.

Diptera currently comprises approximately 150,000 described species in 150 families; however, the total number is much higher if species which are still to be described are included. It is estimated that there are 30,000 species of Diptera in Australia, of which only 6,400 have been described, from 104 families.

Flies can be distinguished from other insects because:

  • They have two functional wings
  • Their hind pair of wings have been reduced to small balancing organs called halteres.

Almost all flies have mouthparts that are adapted for lapping or piercing and sucking.

A diverse component of the world’s fly fauna is unique to Australia. The Australian continent is home to a large number of Diptera species. Flies are ever-present / ever present and often abundant in Australian terrestrial ecosystems. The biology and behaviour of flies are extremely diverse. They perform important ecological functions such as nutrient recycling, predators or parasites, pollination and some are important pests, some are vectors of disease and yet others are used in biological control. All in all they are an essential part of our ecosystems.

Many species of Diptera are regarded as a nuisance. These include:

  • Bush fly (Musca vetutissima);
  • Mosquitoes; and
  • Sandflies and blackflies.

Flies outrank other insect orders in terms of medical and veterinary significance, being responsible for the transmission of a wide variety of disease-causing micro-organisms in humans and animals. Most of these diseases are absent from Australia, with exceptions such as dengue fever and various encephalides. Malaria has been eradicated from Australia.



SPIDERS

Spiders are arachnids not insects, but both spiders and insects belong to the largest group of animals on Earth, the arthropods - animals with hard external skeletons and jointed limbs (greek arthro = joint, podos = footed). Arachnids have the head and thorax combined (cephalothorax) with simple eyes, jaws adapted for tearing or piercing prey, a pair of pedipalps and eight walking legs.

Worldwide there are about 70,000 species of arachnids of which 36,000 are spiders. Approximately 2,900 species of spiders are found in Australia. Only a few species, including the Redback Spider and some funnel-web and mouse spider species, can inflict bites that are potentially fatal to humans. One of the most dangerous of all is the Sydney Funnel-web Spider. There have been no fatalities from Sydney Funnel-web bites since the development of effective antivenom.

Spiders are the only arachnids that have special glands in their abdomen which produce silk.

Spiders were among the earliest animals to live on land. The first definite spiders lived 380 million years ago during the Devonian Period, more than 150 million years before the dinosaurs.

Spiders live in almost every habitat on earth. The only places where there are no spiders are the Polar Regions, the highest mountains and the oceans. A few spider species have invaded the ocean's edge, living in the rock and coral crevices of the intertidal zone.

Spiders are an important and fascinating part of our natural environment. Their webs are wonders of natural architecture. They have major ecological and agricultural roles as killers of insects. Both their venom and silk are being used in medical research (stroke treatment), pest control (insect specific pesticides) and fibre technology (transgenic biosilk production).

In many parts of Australia spider populations are threatened because their habitats are being destroyed by the clearing and degrading of bush land. Conserving spider habitat not only saves the spiders but also the whole ecosystem of which they are a part. Habitat conservation is an essential element of maintaining sustainable ecosystems.
Many different spiders live alongside humans exploiting the nooks and crannies of houses, sheds and gardens. They are good to have around because they eat insect pests. Very few are harmful.

Some of the smallest spiders in the world are never seen by most humans because they only have pinhead-sized bodies. Small spiders are usually found in damp, cool habitats like forest leaf litter and moss because their small bodies can lose water rapidly in dryer conditions. The largest spiders in the world include the South American Goliath Tarantula, some so big their legs can span a dinner plate. Such spiders may take decades to reach such a size. However, spider size is limited, partly because their respiratory physiology becomes less efficient at very large sizes.

Many spiders have unusual body shapes and colours. This is helpful to spiders in various ways - to deceive and ambush prey, to capture particular sorts of prey, to avoid being eaten and to attract mates.