This page contains some general information on pests that are common in and around homes in NSW, this page should help you identify the unwanted pests in and around your home or business.
The common name for numerous species of social insects that can damage wooden structures such as furniture or houses. Of about 2000 known species, most are distributed in tropical countries and some inhabit the temperate regions. Termites are sometimes referred to as ‘white ants’ because of their creamy oloring and ant-like appearance. There are over 350 species of termites in Australia of which some 20 species can damage timber in houses. In nature, they assist in the recycling of organic matter and nutrients back to the soil.
There only 6 families of cockroaches found worldwide, consisting of 4000 species. Australia has representatives of 5 of these families but with only 428 species present. Half of a the cockroaches in Australia can be found in the Blattidae family which includes both the native and introduced species. Go to our links section to find out more about the families of cockroaches.
Spiders are invertebrates with a two part body (phalo thorax and abdomen), biting chelicerae and silk glands that discharge through spinnerets. They have 4 pairs of legs and additional pair of short appendages (pedipalps) beside the chelicerae. Eight is not only the number of legs spiders have. The original spiders and most still have eight eyes and if that is not enough spiders still live today which have the original complement of eight spinnerets.
Ants are social insects which live in nests. The nests vary in size depending on their age and the species of ant. They are generally found in the ground, in wood or under rocks, although ants can also nest in walls, fireplaces, under paths and in buildings. Ants are a very successful insect group with over 1200 species occurring in Australia. All species can be beneficial to the environment. Some eat insect pests such as termites, their nests improve the soil, they quickly recycle nutrients back into the soil and they are food for a wide range of native birds, reptiles and other small animals.
In Australia, a number of rodent species are agricultural pests. Two species, the house mouse (Mus domesticus) and black rat (Rattus rattus), were introduced around the time of European settlement. House mice are found throughout agricultural cropping areas, and around sheds and houses. When conditions are favourable, their numbers can increase to plague levels. Black rats are found throughout temperate and tropical Australia in human-modified environments.
There are 16 different families of fleas worldwide, consisting of about 2380 species. In Australia 9 of these families are represented with just 90 different species. About half of the endemic species that occur in Australia are found in the iopsyllidae family. The Pulicidae family contains many of the introduced fleas such as the cat, dog and human flea, as well as some native species. Go to our links section to find out more aboutout more about the different families of fleas.
Bees belong to the insect Order Hymenoptera, which includes wasps, ants and sawflies. In Australia there are four main bee families: Apidae, Colletidae, Halictidae and Megachilidae. Many of these bees are solitary nesters, while others may share a nest. Others are fully social species. Although some bees sting, they are not considered to be pests as they play an important role in the Australian environment as key pollinators of many native plant species.
Wasps are a diverse group of insects. In Australia alone there are over 12,000 species, ranging from the tiny priid wasps, which are barely visible to the naked eye, to the spider and cicada-killer wasps, capable of taking large prey. Most wasps have carnivorous larvae that feed on other insects and spiders. The adults provide food for them by capturing prey or by laying the egg on or near the food source, which might be an egg, larva or pupa of another insect.
Lice are small, wingless insects that are parasites of birds and mammals. They are usually less than 10 millimetres in length and are rarely seen without the aid of a microscope or magnifying glass. Lice are short lived and usually host cific.A few species of lice have adapted to live and feed on humans, such as the head louse (Pediculus capitis), the eggs of which are commonly called nits and the body louse (Pediculus humanus).
There are only 4 families of silverfish found worldwide, consisting of about 370 species. In Australia just 2 of these families are represented with 28 species present. The 2 Australian families are easily separated from others found throughout the world as the oletiidae family are eyeless and the Lepismatidae have only small compound eyes. Go to our links section to find out more about about the families of silverfish.
This is one of the largest insect orders in the world and includes many familiar insects such as mosquitoes, midges, sand flies, house flies and blowflies. Many species of Diptera are important due to the role they play in disease transmission, which includes such things as mosquitoes that spread malaria in many underdeveloped countries
Carpet beetles damage fabrics, furnishings and clothing that contain wool, silk, hair, bristles, fur, or feathers. Synthetic items are resistant to attack, but mixtures of synthetic and natural fibres can be damaged. The natural habitats of carpet beetles are nests of birds, rodents, insects, and spiders. The beetles are pollen feeders and can be found in large numbers in flowers; they can be brought into the house in cut flowers.
Although less common than carpet beetles, clothes moths are commonly experienced in similar environments to carpet beetles, namely woollen materials, felt, fur and other materials of animal gin.The two most common species of clothes moths are the case making clothes moth (Tinea pellionella) and the common clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella).
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