Domestic Pest Control
Types of pests that can be found in the home:
Biologically known as Rattus norvegicus, are harmful to your health if they come into contact with your food. A rats urine and feaces harbors disease causing bacteria therefore it is extremely serious if rats are in and around your home as they pose a significant health risk to humans or pets. Common diseases carried by them are Salmonella, Weil’s disease, E.coli and TB. Rats in the garden can also be considered high risk as children or pets who utilize this area can easily come into contact with them. It is best to stop rat activity in the garden or garage areas before they enter the house. Rats also carry fleas, mites and ticks and can cause acute allergic reactions. Deadly diseases such as Bubonic plague also known as ‘Black Death’ is carried by the rat flea which is transmitted from the rat to man. This disease is highly contagious and eventually leads to respiratory failure and death.
Common signs of Rat activity:
Distinctive ammonia-like smell
Dark droppings 10-14mm long
Ripped food packaging
Nests or burrows
Gnawed wood/ plastic/cables
Another hygine related pest is the common cockroach – these species thrive in and around human habitations. They are pests because they destroy food and contaminate it with their smelly excreta. Cockroaches are common in commercial premises associated with the production or handling of food. Also in public buildings and domestic premises eg. apartment blocks. Gregarious and nocturnal, they spend the day hiding in cracks and crevices around such areas as sinks, drains, cookers, the backs of cupboards and in refrigerator motor compartments. They especially favor buildings with service ducts and complex plumbing installations You can’t however afford to take a chance with cockroaches because they are potential carriers of dysentery, gastroenteritis, typhoid and poliomyelitis. The most common pest cockroach in South Africa is the American Cockroach Periplaneta americana. The smaller German Cockroach Blattella germanica can also be encountered indoors (12-15mm Brown in colour with 2 dark stripes on thorax), and on the subtropical coast (e.g. in Durban) one can encounter the large Indian Cockroach Blatta orientalis(20-30mm Dark brown to black in colour). Cockroach droppings also cause eczema and asthma. If left unchecked a cockroach problem can quickly get out of hand. The female German cockroach (B. germanica) produces 4 – 8 egg capsules at approximately 1 month intervals. Each thick-walled resistant capsule is 6 mm long and contains up to 30 eggs, the female then carries the capsule until just before the eggs hatch, some 2.5 – 4 weeks later.
Common signs of Cockroaches:
Because they are nocturnal you will see them only at night
You should notice Egg cases and cast skins as they shed around 5-8 times as they mature
Unpleasant musty odour
Damage to organic items such as book labels /bindings/leather
Adult fleas live exclusively as parasites of warm-blooded animals, especially mammals, although birds may also be attacked. Whilst they show a certain degree of host preference, fleas are by no means specific and will feed on other animals in the absence of the normal host. In fact they tend to be more nest than host-specific, for whilst the adults may feed on the blood of a variety of animals the larvae require more precise conditions which are associated with the habitats and nesting habits of the hosts rather than the characteristics of their blood.
Fleas can be carriers of disease or may transmit parasitic worms.
The adult female flea lays four to eight eggs after each blood meal and a single female may produce 800-1000 eggs during her lifetime, which may be as long as two years. The development cycle from egg to adult is normally completed in 4 weeks but at low temperatures will take much longer.
Termite describes a species of wood-boring insects that attack wood. The threat from termites is most severe when they attack timber in buildings. Over time, the termite damage weakens the timber and can eventually lead to the collapse of the building. Termites are sometimes called ‘white ants’. Termites can be divided into two groups i.e. Subterranean Termites and Drywood Termites. The Subterranean Termites replace any wood taken with soil from the excavation of their nest, thus they have to constantly return to their nest. In the case of Drywood Termites, the entire life cycle takes place within the timber and no soil is used.
Common signs of Termite activity:
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