Pest Control Melbourne.
The A to Z of Pests in Melbourne. Part 7.
This is the last in our series of short articles about pests in the Melbourne area, so although we have been working through the list alphabetically, it is perhaps fitting that two of the most serious pests feature in this final instalment. Whenever bees or wasps become a problem around your home, call Ben’s Bees for expert, quick and efficient service.
Termites cause more structural damage to Australian homes than the combined effects of natural disasters including fire, flood and other extreme weather events – and repairs are not covered by insurance.
First, let us consider some intriguing facts. Although commonly referred to as ‘white ants’, DNA analysis has proven that termites are, in fact, closely related to cockroaches. There are more than 3,000 species worldwide, and over 350 in Australia, of which less than 20 damage manmade structures. Termites are eusocial insects, living in large colonies in which labour is divided by a ‘caste’ system, like ants and some bees and wasps. Queens can live for up to 50 years – the longest known lifespan of any insect. Diet consists of plant matter, and workers digest cellulose with the aid of symbiotic microbes in their gut. This process is valuable in recycling nutrients and also results in termites being significant producers of atmospheric methane, an important greenhouse gas. Most termites are totally blind; some species actively cultivate fungi as a food source; while others have formed an alliance with ants as protection from predators. Droppings are used as the basic construction material for nests, which utilise sophisticated thermoregulatory principles that have formed the basis for the passive cooling techniques used in human architecture, such as the Council House 2 (CH2) building in Collins Street, in the Melbourne cbd. Termites are serious agricultural pests, and ironically are also an important source of protein for many people around the world.
Termites require a humid climate, and are active in most of Australia’s coastal fringe, and throughout Victoria. There are a number of pest species in this state, with the main culprit, Coptotermes acinaciformis, being a very secretive, subterranean termite that can remain undetected whilst causing serious damage; eating away timber and leaving only a paper-thin external veneer. Specialist termite pest controllers have been particularly busy around Melbourne recently, as a wet spring in 2016 has led to moist soil, which is ideal for foraging termites. Outer suburbs in Melbourne’s north and west, including Werribee, Hoppers Crossing and Mernda, have been hard hit, while the Mornington Peninsula and inner suburbs such as Port Melbourne, Williamstown and Footscray are also prone to termite attack.
Termite infestations can best be identified by: weakened timber, especially skirting boards; the presence of discarded wings, which occurs during the annual swarming phase of the termite life cycle; and mud-like tubes, which the termites construct when they must traverse an exposed surface.
If you do discover termites in your home, it is vital that you do not disturb them, as they will simply move to another area of the building, and this can reduce the chances of locating the nest. Contact an experienced pest manager immediately.
Preventative measures include: regular inspections; ensuring there is good ventilation under your dwelling and reducing moisture wherever possible; removing waste timber from around the house, particularly at ground level; and avoiding garden beds that abut walls.
European Wasps are relatively new to Melbourne, having been first noticed in 1977, after being introduced to Tasmania about 20 years earlier. Due to favourable conditions, they have spread rapidly and become a serious pest. Melbourne’s relatively mild winters allow some nests to survive into a second year, creating huge colonies. European Wasps often nest in roofs or wall cavities and will scavenge upon garbage; they often frequent picnic and barbecue areas. English Wasps are very similar to European Wasps; they arrived in Melbourne in the late 1950s and are largely confined to the eastern suburbs.
The most effective method of dealing with problem wasps is to destroy their nest. Since European Wasps are aggressive and can sting repeatedly, this can be dangerous, and is best undertaken by an experienced pest professional.
Since this concludes our series about pests in Melbourne, it is worth noting that, whatever the nature of your pest problem, it is best to consult an industry professional for a safe and effective management plan.
For Pest Control in Melbourne call Ben on 0437077792