Common Household Pests – The Top 12 Aussie Contentenders

Common Household Pests

No one wants uninvited pests dropping in and making themselves at home in your house! Bugs, rodents, and creepy-crawlies seem to have a knack for finding their way inside. Even in the cleanest of homes. They sneak in through the tiniest cracks and crevices, much to our annoyance. Some are just a nuisance, leaving behind a mess or ruining your food. But others can bite, sting, or spread germs, yuck! Certain pests like termites can severely damage your actual home if left unchecked.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to keep a wide range of pests from taking up residence in your space. In this article, we’ll talk about 10 of the peskiest intruders you may encounter in an Australian home. We’ll go over how to identify them, what risks they pose, and most importantly, how to give them the boot if they barge in uninvited! And if that doesn’t work, call in a professional pest control service to get rid of them for good. So arm yourself with the know-how to defend your home against these common household pests.

Termites

Termites are serious pests that can cause major structural damage. They eat cellulose material like wood, cardboard, and paper. Signs include mud tubes on foundations, hollowed wood, crumbling drywall, or sagging floors. Swarms of winged termites emerging from the soil or wood are a telltale sign. Termite damage often goes unseen until it is extensive. A termite infestation can cause thousands of dollars in damage if left untreated.

Prevention and early intervention are key with termites. Use termite-resistant building materials during construction. Have a professional treat soil around the foundation and install termite monitoring stations. Schedule regular inspections around the home’s exterior. If termites are detected, get professional termite control right away before they destroy your home’s structure.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches are one of the most common household bugs. Just the sight of one scurrying across your floor is enough to make your skin crawl! Cockroaches feed on food scraps and thrive in warm, humid environments. They can squeeze into tiny cracks and crevices, making them difficult to control.

Cockroaches are known to spread bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli by contaminating surfaces and food. They produce allergens that can trigger asthma attacks or allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Signs of a cockroach infestation include spotting live or dead roaches, molted exoskeletons, fecal droppings, and egg cases. To prevent cockroaches, store food in sealed containers, clean up crumbs and spills, and plug gaps in walls, floors, and cabinets. Roach baits, gels, or insecticide sprays can help eliminate an existing infestation.

Spiders

Australia is home to several spider species, including the notorious Sydney funnel-web spider and red back spider. Spider bites can cause severe reactions, so caution is advised if you spot webs or spiders around your home. Webs in corners or windows are telltale signs of spider activity.

To safely control spiders, knock down existing webs and vacuum up any spiders you see. Apply insecticide sprays or dusts into cracks, corners, or along the perimeter of your home. Keep foliage, ivy, and shrubs trimmed back from the exterior walls. Seal any gaps around windows and doors to block spider entry points.

Ants

Ants are extremely common pests that can find their way into any home. They forage for food and can damage pantries and kitchens if left unchecked. Some ant species also bite or sting, causing painful reactions. Watch for long trails of ants marching along floors, walls, or countertops. Ant nests outdoors often lead to indoor invasions through small cracks or openings.

To control ant infestations, locate and destroy any indoor nests and seal entry points. Clean up sweet or sticky spills that attract ants. Apply ant baits near entrances or where ants are seen trailing. Insecticide sprays or granules on outdoor nests can provide additional control.

Fleas

Many people associate fleas only with pets. But fleas can find their way indoors even without a pet in residence. They bite humans and animals, causing itchy rashes. Fleas lay eggs on animals they infest but the eggs and larvae fall off into carpets and bedding. Signs of fleas include seeing the tiny dark insects jumping onto legs or furniture, flea dirt that appears as black specks, and red bite marks, often around ankles.

Flea control requires thorough and regular vacuuming, washing bed linens on hot, and applying sprays or foggers containing insect growth regulators. Treat pets with anti-flea medications and restrict them from entering infested areas until the fleas are gone.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are blood-sucking parasites that come out at night and feed on sleeping humans. Their bites can cause extremely itchy welts and reactions. During the day, they hide in tiny cracks in mattresses, bed frames, and furniture. Noticeable signs of bed bugs include dark fecal stains on sheets, a sweet musty odor, and seeing the oval shaped wingless bugs.

Getting rid of bed bugs requires professional pest control. Infested mattresses and bedding usually need to be thrown out. Technicians use steam, heat, or chemical treatments to kill bed bugs and eggs on site. Prevention involves checking luggage and furniture for signs of bed bugs before bringing items into your home.

Silverfish

Silverfish are creepy-crawly insects with a tapered, fish-like appearance. They feed on starches and sugars in things like paper, photos, glue, and fabric. Silverfish damage items by eating away microscopic bits. Seeing silverfish darting around bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry rooms at night indicates an infestation. They like warm, humid environments.

To discourage silverfish, store papers and books in sealed plastic bins, repair any leaks or damp areas, and install dehumidifiers if needed. Apply insecticide dusts or gels into cracks and undisturbed areas where silverfish hide. Clean kitchens and bathrooms thoroughly to eliminate food sources.

Carpet Beetles

As their name suggests, carpet beetles like to munch on fabrics and fibers. They damage carpets, rugs, blankets, clothing, and upholstery. Adults are small oval beetles with intricate markings, while larvae are fuzzy and worm-like. Evidence includes chewed holes in fabrics, presence of larvae, and spotting the adult beetles. Discarded larval skins and frass may accumulate in infested areas.

To banish carpet beetles, clean carpets and fabrics thoroughly by vacuuming edges and seams. Have wool rugs and textiles professionally cleaned. Dry clean or launder stored clothes and linens. Check for and seal any bird, rodent, or bee nests indoors, as carpet beetles feed on debris from these. Limited use of insecticides can help in heavy infestations.

Clothes Moths

Pantry moths damage dry foodstuffs, while clothes moths feast on fibers in clothing and textiles. They produce silky webbing and cocoons attached to infested items. Pinpoint holes, chewing damage, larvae, and adult moths with powdery wings confirm an infestation. Moths thrive in undisturbed, natural fiber clothing and fabrics.

To repel moths, regularly clean and vacuum closets, drawers, carpets, and upholstered furniture. Store wool, silk, fur, feathers, or leather in airtight containers. Use cedar blocks, sachets, or lavender oil as moth deterrents. Dry clean stored clothing and fabrics before placing into storage. Discard heavily damaged or infested items.

 

Common Bugs and Insects

Bees and Wasps

Stinging insects like bees and wasps can quickly become a problem if they start nesting in or around your home. Their stings can cause painful swelling, allergic reactions, and repeated stings can be dangerous. Watch for the insects buzzing around the house, especially along rooflines, eaves, porches, or shrubs. Small comb nests are signs of wasp activity.

To deter bees and wasps, seal any holes and repair damaged soffits or sidings where they may enter. Knock down existing nests with a broom or wasp spray. Insecticide dust or foam in wall voids or crawl spaces can kill nesting insects. Screens on vents and chimneys can also discourage entry. Keep trash cans sealed, pick ripe fruit from trees, and avoid using sweet fragrances which attract stinging insects.

Rodents

Rodents like mice, rats, and squirrels frequently make their way inside homes. They chew on electrical wires, spread diseases, and contaminate food with feces and urine. Signs to look for are droppings, grease marks, gnaw marks, burrows, squeaking noises, and an occasional sighting of live rodents. Rodents seek food and shelter indoors, especially during colder months.

Seal any openings larger than 1⁄4 inch using weather stripping, metal kick plates, caulk, cement, hardware cloth, or metal sheeting. Traps and baits will further reduce an existing infestation. Take away food and water sources by keeping a clean home, storing food in chew-proof containers, and fixing plumbing leaks. Trim back trees and shrubs that provide routes onto roofs or upper levels.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes, often called “mozzies” in Australia, are familiar blood-sucking pests that can multiply quickly in standing water around homes. Their bites cause extremely irritating welts and itching. At dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, you may notice more of them swarming in your yard or getting inside your house.

To deter mosquitoes:

  • Drain any water collected in old tires, buckets, birdbaths, etc. to remove breeding sites
  • Make sure window and door screens fit tightly to keep mosquitoes out
  • Run ceiling fans to disrupt mosquito flight patterns
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET when going outside
  • Ask a pest controller to treat your property with a barrier spray, which can break the mosquito life cycle

Mosquito zappers or CO2 trap boxes can also help reduce biting activity on patios or porches. With vigilance and a few simple prevention measures, you can enjoy mosquito-free outdoor living!

FAQ

What are the most dangerous household pests?

Some of the most concerning pests that can impact health and property include cockroaches, mice and rats, termites, bed bugs, fleas, and certain venomous spiders.

How can I prevent pests from entering my home?

  • Seal cracks, crevices, pipes, vents, and holes where pests may enter
  • Install door sweeps, screens, and weather-stripping
  • Keep vegetation trim back from exterior walls
  • Store food in sealed containers
  • Clean up crumbs and spills immediately
  • Fix plumbing and moisture issues
  • Inspect packages and secondhand furniture for pests before bringing them home
  • Use eco-friendly products to minimise your environmental impact

What should I do if I have a serious pest infestation?

For severe infestations or pests that pose health risks like termites, bed bugs, or rodents, it is best to hire a professional pest control company. They have the proper equipment and insecticides to fully eliminate the pests and know how to prevent them from returning. If you hire a pro, remember to get atleast 3 quotes from pest control specialists so you can compare costs.

Conclusion

Dealing with household pests takes some diligence and pest-prevention best practices. But an occasional ant or spider visitor doesn’t mean you have to live in terror or resort to toxic chemicals! With attention to entry points, cleanliness, and storage, you can keep most common pests under control. When pesky intruders do make an appearance, stay calm and use targeted treatments to send them on their way. With a level-headed pest management approach, your home can be a pest-free haven.