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Top 9 Most Common Australian House Pests


Australia is famous for its wide variety and large number of dangerous and troublesome pests. However, this is more often than not just a rumour, as the majority of house pests such as small animals, insects, or reptiles, are harmless.

While it’s true that in Australia you can find some of the world’s most venomous and deadly critters, it is also true that they only account for a tiny percentage of calls that pest control specialists get. Most of the time, Australians will call pest control for common pests like rats, mice, ants, cockroaches, or possums.

Pest control is a service that is popular in both commercial and residential settings and regardless of whether the property is a suburban home, a commercial warehouse, an office block, or a restaurant. In general, it is the property owner or the property manager's duty to hire a pest control specialist as soon as they suspect that they might be dealing with a pest.

Make sure that you get a full pest inspection before renting or selling a property because having pests is extremely off-putting for potential buyers or tenants. If you are not sure whether you are dealing with a common Australian pest or not you can check this list that was put together by our team.   


1. Termites


Did you know that according to a 2014 research, 1 in 4 Australian homes will be affected by termites at least once? These arthropods are considered the most destructive pest in our country, and according to a recent study, they cause up to $8,000 in damages per house. If you happen to notice termites anywhere near your home, you should contact a pest control specialist to assess the situation. It is recommended that you do not postpone hiring a specialist because termites can cause extensive damage to your house if they are not handled swiftly.

Termites will most commonly affect the mainland Australian cities such as Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, or Brisbane, as the climate is favorable and there is a large number of buildings.

It is important to mention that termites are among the most serious Australian pests and every property manager or owner should deal with them in a timely fashion. Being somewhat of a national problem, termites have to be dealt with as soon as they are noticed. The best way to solve a termite issue is to hire pest control specialists.

A good pest control specialist should first schedule a termite inspection to assess the situation and to confirm the infestation. If they confirm that you have a termite infestation, they will proceed to eliminate it by using specialized equipment. It is also possible to eliminate a termite infestation by using DIY techniques such as Permethrin Dust or Arsenic dust. However, we strongly recommend that you leave this job to someone more qualified and experienced.

Keep in mind that wood can also be affected by other pests, such as Dutch Elm Disease, the Longhorn Beetle, or the Japanese Pine Beetle. You can learn more about these pests by reading our Top 7 Latest Australian Pests article.

2. Spiders


Throughout the world, spiders are considered intimidating and dangerous insects. Some of them are quite venomous, but in general, their venom does not contain sufficient toxins to harm a human. In the last 40 years, in Australia, there was only one case of death by a venomous spider bite, more precisely a redback spider. The main reason why this was an isolated event is that ever since the introduction of efficient anti-venom, people have been able to counter the effects of a spider bite. However, that does not mean that spiders are not a nuisance when they start to infest a house.

In general, spider will weave their webs and linger in the corners of buildings, in air vents, in the eaves, and in wall cracks. They are more likely to live in dark and warm spaces. Some species are more attracted to the outdoor area and will infest gardens, trees, or footpaths.

When preventing spider infestations, be it in a commercial or residential building, the first thing you need to do is make sure that wall cracks are filled in. Removing  wall cracks will ensure that the spiders don't take up residence inside them. It is also recommended to vacuum regularly to deter insects by using different pest deterrents such as sprays or plants.

In the garden, spiders are most likely to dwell in firewood piles, garden bags, or behind different objects, which is why you check these places regularly.


3. Fleas


Fleas prefer humid and warm environments and thrive both inside and outside of residential and commercial buildings. These pests will affect your pets such as cats, dogs, and even birds, as well as the humans who interact with the affected animals.

An animal infested by fleas becomes itchy, will have a large amount of discomfort, and will also transport the fleas from one place to the other. Once the fleas get inside a home, they will get into the carpets, furniture, and even in the clothes. It is very easy for a flea infestation to get out of hand because a single female flea will lay hundreds of eggs despite having a very short life.

The best way to prevent a flea infestation is by checking-up the pets and cleaning them regularly. You can also use a natural flea wash if necessary. Also, it is important to clean the animals’ bedding often in order to prevent the fleas from living there. If you feel that the flea infestation might be getting out of hand, call a pest control specialist as soon as possible.


4. Wasps or Bees


Both wasps and bees may be quite a problem in the outdoor area of your property, and unfortunately, in some cases, they might even infest a building's walls. It is quite a complicated situation if bees or wasps start nesting inside the walls of your house.

Generally, wasps will enter a building through an open window and build nests in hidden places that can go unnoticed for a long time. If left uncontrolled, a nest can grow to house up to 20,000  wasps. Large wasp nests can be extremely dangerous because they lead coordinated attacks and will not die after a sting. A wasp's sting will be more painful than a bee's sting, but both of them can be deadly when a person has an allergic reaction to their venom.

Bees are less likely to build their nests indoors, as they prefer the outdoor areas. However, they can become a real problem as well, especially if they somehow build their nests inside the walls of your home.

If you start noticing many bees or wasps on your property, you should call a professional wasp and bee removal specialist. A specialist can determine whether there are nests on your property and if so they can deal with them accordingly. Removing a wasp or bee nest by yourself can be dangerous and we do not recommend it.


5. Ants


Ants will generally enter a house in search of food, and they can become a real nuisance. Some species of ants might even carry diseases that can affect humans, while other species can bite. An ant's bite can be quite painful, especially for people who are allergic to it.

The first signs of an ant infestation are their nests. If you happen to notice small piles of earth at the base of the exterior walls of a building, then you might be dealing with an ant infestation.

Getting rid of ants is not a very difficult process and you can try to do it by yourself. The first thing that you need to do is find exactly where the ants are coming from and block their entry points. Then, you must make sure that there are no sticky food residues around the house. Finally, you must cover up all places where you keep the food and make sure that they are not accessible for ants.

If you suspect that the ant infestation is getting out of hand, you can use more aggressive methods, such as insecticides. However, make sure you are not using anything that might affect your pets or your small children. You can try using natural methods such as vinegar spray, or borax, which are safer than the insecticides that are made of different chemicals.


6. Mice and Rats


Mice and rats are a health hazard to humans due to the wide range of deadly disease that they can spread. Additionally, they can cause damage to the building's insulation, chew the floor joists or the walls, and even damage cables. If they have access to the kitchen, these critters can contaminate the food and we can become sick.

If you suspect that your electrical system was damaged by mice, make sure you hire a professional electrician.

It can be quite difficult to detect whether you have mice or rats on your property, but some of the most obvious signs of infestation are droppings and an unpleasant urine smell. Additionally, you can also pay attention to any noises that might indicate scratching or scampering coming through the walls or floors.

If you think that your commercial or residential property is infested with rats or mice, it is recommended to take action as soon as possible. You can try different types of natural deterrents, and you need to remove and clean any sources of food that might attract the pests. You can also try using traps and proof the building as much as you can in order to block their access and their points of entry. If you suspect that the situation is getting out of control, the best thing to do is to hire a pest control team.


7. Cockroaches


Cockroaches will generally infest warm and damp spaces, especially bathrooms and kitchens, and wall cavities. You will most likely notice them as they come out after dark in their search for food.

According to the World Health Organization, these nasty insects can carry a wide range of diseases that affect humans, especially if we eat food that they come in contact with. Some of the most common diseases transmitted by cockroaches are Gastro-enteritis, Salmonella, and Dysentery, and their droppings can increase the risk of eczema and asthma in children. It is also important to mention that the Australian climate is quite favorable for cockroaches.

There are a lot of different ways in which you can rid your house of cockroaches such as bait traps and roach sprays. However, it is important to use them with care, as they might be a potential danger to pets and small children as well. If you feel that there is an infestation of cockroaches in your home that is out of your control, we strongly recommend that you liaise with a pest control specialist. The majority of pest control professionals know and understand the cockroach habits and can use this information to formulate effective pest control plans for your office or your home.

Once your home has been rid of cockroaches it is crucial to prevent another infestation by denying them access to food, shelter, and water. Make sure you clean up any crumbs and food particles from the kitchen and clean your house regularly.


8. Possums


The possum habitat becomes smaller and smaller due to our ever-expanding cities and our ongoing construction. Not having enough tree-covered areas to live in, the possums will look for new homes such as our gardens, our roofs and attics, and even the commercial buildings. Choosing the appropriate roof or fence is extremely important if you want to avoid these unwelcome guests.

Once inside our houses, the possums can cause a wide range of problems such as damaging electrical wires, destroying the insulation, leaving behind urine and feces, and posing a serious threat of fire and electrocution. Consequently, it is very important to remove the possums from the buildings as soon as you notice them.

Keep in mind that, in Australia, the possum is a protected species, which is why you must follow the legal procedure when removing it. We recommend that you contact a possum removal specialist that has experience in this area. The specialist will be able to rid you of the possum and offer you advice on how to prevent a future infestation.

If you decide to remove the animal yourself, make sure you are informed about the local laws, and that you use the appropriate measures. You can use a food trap to catch the possum, and you can prevent dealing with this issue in the future by removing any food sources that might encourage a possum to come to your property. Additionally, you should also make sure that there are no holes or entryways in the roof or walls through which the possum might enter the building.


9. Snakes


Snakes are a very common problem in Australia and while most of them are not exceptionally dangerous, there are some that are deadly. Snakes will generally prefer rural areas. sheltered grassland areas, or forested areas. Some of the most common reasons why snakes will infest a building are to find food, shelter, or to avoid flooding. If you come in contact with a snake, you should proceed with caution because some of them might cause injuries when they feel threatened.

Although most snakes are friendly and not dangerous, we recommend that you seek professional assistance if you spot one on your property. By contacting a local pest control company, you make sure that the snakes are removed in an adequate fashion, and you will also learn whether you are dealing with venomous snakes or not. A trained specialist will know how to stop and handle the snake infestation without putting anyone at risk while doing so.

In order to prevent a snake infestation, you must avoid planting too many tall plants or trees next to your property, and you should remove any ground-level sources of water. You can read our Year-round Gardening Guide to learn what other plants you can choose for your garden.

Additionally, you might want to ensure that other pests such as mice or rats are not present on your property because they might attract snakes. You could also choose to build a snake fence around your property to prevent the snakes from getting in.

Australians are well-known for dreading the sight of a cockroach skittering around their homes, or finding out that their property is being destroyed by termites. While some less destructive and less dangerous pests such as ants can be removed without the help of a pest control team, others should never be approached by someone who is not professionally trained. Having cockroaches or any other type of pest is always a sign that you should hire a pest control specialist.

Are you looking for a pest control specialist to help you get rid of termites, rats, or cockroaches? Find local experts on Bricks+Agent by simply posting up a job and getting quotes. 

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Topics: Property Services, Property Advice

Jon Stul

Written by Jon Stul

Having spent over 12 years in the real estate industry covering all facets from residential through to commercial, established and off plan properties and sub-divisions, he has an in depth knowledge of the industry. Stepping out of the industry four years ago and moving interstate to expand a frozen yoghurt chain that has gone from 1 to 4 stores in the time he has been involved. This was recently sold to Made Group. Real estate has always been in his blood and it was a natural fit to start Bricks + Agent given the amount of insight he has into the industry as a whole. Having seen how all different forms of traditional marketing was used to the direction that it is now heading today, we think we have come up with a truly unique proposition that fits into the current state of the property maintenance market.

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