Pest Control Melbourne
The A to Z of Pests in Melbourne. Part 5.
Possums are the bane of many Melbourne gardeners and home owners, and introduced rats and mice are a common pest around our suburbs. Fortunately, if you have a problem with bees or wasps in the Melbourne area, the answer is simple. Just call Ben’s Bees – we will be happy to assist!
Brushtail and Ringtail Possums are native species that have adapted extremely well to Melbourne’s urban environment, although both are now absent from much of their original natural range. An estimated 45,000 of them roam the City of Melbourne, and although they are a hit with tourists in particular, they are capable of wreaking havoc with parks and gardens. Increasingly, possums will seek shelter in domestic dwellings, especially in winter when deciduous trees lose their foliage; taking up residence in the roof cavity or almost any other space that provides shelter. Suburbs that particularly prone to pest possums include Bentleigh, Blackburn, Brighton, Croydon, East Malvern and St Kilda.
Although Brushtail Possums were once harvested for the fur industry, all possums are now protected by legislation in Victoria, and must not be harmed in any way. However, home owners or occupants are permitted to trap Brushtail Possums in order to release them on the same property or take them to a vet to be euthanased. Relocation is prohibited, as most possums will die when removed from their place of residence, and in any case it is likely that another animal will quickly claim the vacant territory. All possible access points to roofs should be blocked, and overhanging trees should be pruned. A possum nest box can be used in your garden; since possums are territorial, if one decides to use this dwelling it is likely to deter others. Protective measures include placing collars around tree trunks, and installing floppy fence extensions or wire mesh fences around gardens. Never feed possums. Dealing with a possum problem in Melbourne can be difficult and time consuming, and it may be preferable to employ the services of a licensed pest controller.
Rodents (rats and mice).
Rats and mice are more likely to become a pest in winter, when they invade homes seeking warmth and shelter. However, in January 2015 the City of Melbourne admitted to being frustrated in its efforts to curb an unseasonal invasion of giant Brown Rats. The plague of giant rats was blamed upon an inability to adequately control garbage. The rats were commonly seen in parts of the cbd such as the Victoria Market and Flagstaff Gardens, with some measuring more than 30cm in length!
The Brown Rat is one of three introduced rodent pests in Melbourne, and is also known as the Sewer Rat, Common Rat or Norwegian Rat. Originating from China, the Brown Rat has spread around the world and is especially common in urban areas. Domesticated strains of the Brown Rat are used as laboratory subjects and kept as pets. The Brown Rat arrived in Australia with the early settlers and is most common in coastal cities.
The Black Rat (which, ironically, is often brown or grey) also arrived in Australia with the first European settlers. It is alternatively referred to as the Ship Rat, House Rat or Roof Rat; the latter because it is a good climber and is often found in the roofs of houses. A native of
Asia, the Black Rat now also has a global distribution and is a serious agricultural pest. The Black Rat was the principal carrier of fleas that spread the Bubonic Plague in medieval times. Black Rats are often confused with native Australian Bush Rats, however Bush Rats are shy and not usually found near humans.
Lastly, the House Mouse also enjoys a cosmopolitan distribution and is extensively used in scientific research. The most successful introduced rodent, it is common around Melbourne, but has also spread across Australia and is a major pest for grain farmers, periodically reaching plague proportions.
Human dwellings are attractive to all of these introduced rodents, with wall and ceiling insulation being a favourite nesting material. Besides being capable of spreading disease, these pests must gnaw habitually in order to prevent their teeth from growing too long. They will chew on wood, plaster, electrical cables and other household items and are often responsible for causing fires and other damage.
Indications of a rodent infestation include scratching or pattering sounds in your walls or roof cavity (particularly at night), and droppings, which are often found near food. You may also notice a musty odour. Measures that can be useful in preventing a rodent problem include stopping up any access points around the home, storing all food items in airtight containers, and keeping the house and garden clean and free from garbage.
It is often not easy to eliminate an existing rodent problem. Baits can be used effectively, but it is best to consult an experienced pest controller in order to ensure the safety of your family
For bee and wasp rescue Melbourne call ben on 0437077792