Pest library info & answers to your questions!


There are thousands of species of ant in Australia, however only a few are considered pests in and around our homes and gardens and they tend to be the smaller variety.

Small (up to 5mm long) bland and brown ants tend to be of most concern as they develop large, hard to find colonies. They can undermine pavers and the root zones of plants, they can damage and short-circuit electrical components (enough to cause fires!), and they can transfer viral, fungal and bacterial plant diseases.

The large bull ants, trigger ants, sugar ants, meat ants and even the greenhead ants, seldom come inside buildings. If you’re not a keen gardener or you haven’t been stung, these larger ants are usually of minor consequence.

When it comes to food, however, almost any ant can be attracted to take it back to their nest.

Ant anatomy
Adults have elbowed antennae, a thorax and a globular abdomen with a sting on the tip. The eggs, larvae and pupae are usually white and immobile; often these can be seen being carried by workers to a new nesting site.

Poisonous, painful or pests?
Some ants have painful stings but mainly they are pests because so many of them turn up uninvited to your home.

Although ants have comparatively powerful jaws and they do bite, the pain comes from the hypodermic sting or from venom sprayed from the tip of the abdomen over the bitten area.

Large painful welts are almost instantaneous and allergic reactions have caused deaths.

Fact or fiction?
You may have heard that brown ants prefer protein and are more likely to nest in the building, whereas black ants prefer carbohydrates and nesting outside. This is a pretty loose generalisation and we don’t recommend taking it as fact.

You may also have heard that a surge in ant numbers and black ants moving their young (and nest) up into a building is a good indicator of rain. That’s not 100% true either.

Bed Bugs

As the name suggests, bed bugs prefer to inhabit the folds and creases of mattresses, sofas and other furniture and are attracted by warmth and carbon dioxide. Female bed bugs can lay up to 500 eggs in their lifetime.

Although bed bugs are capable of carrying diseases, extensive testing in laboratories has shown that they are unlikely to pass diseases from one person to another. Therefore, they are considered less dangerous than other blood sucking insects such as fleas.

Poisonous, painful or pests?
Bed bugs may climb furniture or scale the wall and ceiling to drop down on their unsuspecting host.

The bite cannot usually be felt until some minutes or hours later and will most likely be itchy. Bites are found in a variety of places around the body and look like reddish bumps.

It is possible that bed bugs’ saliva may bring on anaphylaxis in susceptible persons and excessive feeding may lead to anaemia.

Infestations in Perth
Bed bug infestations have been on the increase in Perth recently.

They can be quite serious, and it is strongly recommended that you contact Envirotechnics to treat the bed bugs for you.

Hotel owners are advised to implement a regular inspection regime to ensure all mattresses and furniture are assessed frequently and treated if necessary.


There are many species of native bee in Australia. Most are solitary bees that raise their young in the ground or in hollowed timber.

Honeybees are social insects that live in colonies called hives consisting of a queen, drones and worker bees.

Did you know?

  • We have ten species of social bees native to Australia that do not sting!
  • In a single colony, there can be as few as 5,000 or as many as 100,000 bees.
  • Bees are almost totally deaf and rely mostly on their sense of touch.
  • After mating, the queen lays up to 3,000 eggs per day.
  • Worker bees are always female. Their roles are varied and include foraging, fending off predators, feeding other bees and larvae, ‘house’ cleaning of cells and clustering to create beeswax.
  • The European Honeybee was introduced to Australia for honey and crop pollination. Not surprisingly, however, feral colonies are now established in most parts of the country.

Poisonous, painful or pests?
Bees can sting to defend themselves, their hive or their young. Unlike wasps, however, the bee dies after stinging. After the initial bee sting, the abdomen continues to pump poison so you should remove the sting as soon as possible.

Bees are not considered aggressive but caution still needs to be exercised when they are swarming.

Swarming occurs when a new queen leaves the hive and is followed by the drones. The queen may return to the hive and replace the old queen, but sometimes she will fly away with a number of worker bees to form a new colony or swarm. Swarms may be present for as little as 15 minutes or up to three days. Usually, the swarm will move on to another site.

Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetles are actually a number of beetles spanning several different genera. Adult beetles are small with compact oval shaped bodies and their legs and head are often hidden under the body.

Despite their name, carpet beetles don’t just attack carpet. They feed on a variety of household items including book bindings, leather, wool, cotton, linen, rayon, fur, hair, hides, horns, feathers, silk, velvet, felt, bone, seed, grain, cereal, cake mix, rye meal and flour.

Females can lay up to 100 white eggs or more at a time and they take 8 -15 days to hatch. After hatching, the larvae begin their destructive feeding – it’s carpet beetle larvae that are responsible for most of the damage!

Types of Carpet Beetle
The Variegated Carpet Beetle and the Furniture Carpet Beetle are roughly 2-3 millimetres long. They are mottled yellow, white and black.

The Black Carpet Beetle is larger and more elongated than other types of carpet beetles, measuring about 3-5 millimeters. They are black with brown legs.

The Australian Carpet Beetle is dark with light markings and about 2-3 millimetres long. This is the only native species of carpet beetle.

Did you know?

  • Most species have larvae that are slow moving, brown in colour and covered in bristles. They moult as they grow, leaving cast brown skins behind.
  • The adult beetles fly readily on warm sunny days and feed on pollen.
  • Adult carpet beetles are attracted to light and may fly into homes.

Avoiding carpet beetles
As with other household pests, good housekeeping is crucial to avoiding infestations of carpet beetles. Carpets need to be thoroughly vacuumed to remove all traces of lint, dust and hair. Cleaning out shelves and drawers is also recommended, as is removing abandoned bird or rat nests in attics, roof voids or eaves.

Our certified pest management technicians can treat your property for carpet beetles, which involves treating all areas with an approved pesticide.


Cockroaches are one of the longest surviving arthropods on the planet (approx. 300 million years old!) and it is estimated there are now more than 36,000 species!

Did you know?

  • Mostly found in gardens, Australian Native cockroaches are not generally considered as pests.
  • A decapitated cockroach can survive for up to 72 hours.
  • All cockroaches have flat bodies, enabling them to hide under bark, in crevices and run under doors.
  • Their six legs are almost even in length and the antennae are long.
  • They begin their lives as eggs that hatch into a flightless larva which shed their skins several times as they grow. Adults also cast their skins, develop wings and can live for up to three years.
  • Although they have wings, adult cockroaches are more likely to run than fly which, along with their size and speed, makes them a genuine creepy crawly.
  • All cockroaches avoid light and prefer warm, moist situations close to a food source.

Types of cockroaches
The main pest species of cockroaches in Australia are:

The German Cockroach: Adults are 20-25mm in length and honey coloured. German cockroaches prefer warm kitchens or storerooms inside buildings and can mature in 40 days. They lay up to 40 eggs in a capsule, which means the ‘family’ could number 20,000 in a year if left untreated.

The American Cockroach: Adults American Cockroaches can grow up to 55mm and are deep red/brown in colour. American Cockroaches prefer moist areas, both inside and outside, and can fly in warm climates.

Poisonous, painful or pests?
Cockroaches’ indiscriminate feeding in such areas as sewers, drains and garbage areas brings them into contact with disease organisms associated with dysentery, typhoid, hepatitis and tuberculosis.

Cockroaches are also known to produce allergic reactions in humans and, in some instances, severe asthma attacks.


Crickets are common pests in housing and may invade in great numbers.

Treatment is generally applied to outdoors areas, around windows and doors, crawl spaces, weep holes and gardens.

Did you know?

  • House crickets are closely related to grasshoppers and locusts.
  • They have hind legs that are specially modified for jumping.
  • A cricket’s ear (or tympanum) is located on the tibia of its hind legs.
  • Adults are pale brown with a black patterning on the head and thorax.
  • Crickets have wings but they only use their back pair to fly.
  • Males are very territorial and they will warn off other males with a sharp aggressive piping note.
  • Adult crickets cannibalise their young.
  • Female house crickets lay between 50 and 100 eggs and complete their life-cycle in 2-3 months.

Poisonous, painful or pests?
Crickets are famous for their chirping. To create the chirping noise, the cricket stridulates its teeth on the sharp edge of one wing against a thick, rough scraper on the opposite wing. As the action is repeated, the wing temperature rises, causing the song to become louder and faster. Over a four-hour period, a cricket will chirp 42,000 times, much to the consternation of sleepless homeowners!


Despite the popular myth, earwigs do not crawl into your ear to feed on your brain while you sleep. They do, however, present a nuisance to homeowners.

Did you know?

  • Earwigs are nocturnal
  • Not all earwigs have wings and even those that are capable of flying, rarely do so.
  • Earwigs feed on other arthropods, plants, ripe fruit and garbage.
  • Earwigs are drawn to damp conditions which is why they are often found in bathrooms or around showers and sinks.
  • Females lay eggs in early spring or autumn in batches of 20 to 30 at a time.

Managing earwigs
Earwigs are attracted to moist areas so improving drainage around the perimeter of your building can reduce the number of earwigs that migrate indoors.

Doors and door frames are the most common entry point for earwigs so make sure that window screens are properly fitted and make use of weather stripping. Examine every door in your house and seal up any drafts.


Fleas are parasites that feed on warm-blooded vertebrates such as cats, dogs, rodents, chickens and humans.

The bubonic plague of the Middle Ages was spread by rat fleas and killed nearly 200 million people.

Types of fleas
The main flea species that can attack humans are the cat flea, dog flea and the human flea.

The dog flea and human flea are rare, however the common cat flea can also be found on dogs.

Did you know?

  • Fleas are wingless and cannot fly, but they are famous for being one of the longest jumpers in the animal kingdom.
  • A flea can jump horizontally up to 33cm or 200 times its own body length.
  • Fleas can survive for several months without blood.
  • Female fleas will deposit four eggs after each feed, up to a hundred in their life cycle of a few months. The eggs may hatch within a week.

Poisonous, painful or pests?
Although uncommon, the only flea-borne disease in Australia is Murine Typhus, which is transmitted by rat fleas.

Some people are allergic to flea saliva and may come out in a rash after being bitten.

Getting rid of fleas
Pets must be treated by their owners before further flea treatments can be carried out. All bedding, kennels and other infested areas should also be treated (burned or washed) at the same time.

Prior to your flea treatment, we recommend that you vacuum the interior and leave the bag out for us to treat. The treatment includes internal areas and external areas.

If rat fleas are suspected, then the treatment should coincide with a rodent treatment to eliminate the source of the fleas.

House Flies

The common housefly (musca domestica) is one of the most widely distributed insects in the world. As flies develop faster in warm temperatures, they are particularly prevalent in Australia.

Did you know?

  • Houseflies have only one pair of wings.
  • Female flies can lay as many as 500 eggs in various batches of 75 – 150.
  • Maggots hatch from the eggs and feed on dead and decaying organic material, garbage or faeces.
  • Small flies are a result of insufficient food in the larval stage.
  • Males are aggressively territorial and will fight off any other males in their territory.
  • To feed, flies ‘spit’ on solid food to predigest it. They then suck the nutrient rich saliva back into their abdomen.

Poisonous, painful or pests?
House flies carry disease causing organisms that they pick up from garbage and sewerage. A single fly may carry as many as five million bacteria.

Managing flies
The best way to manage houseflies is prevention. The elimination of breeding sites is of the utmost importance. Organic material should not be left where it might attract flies and fly screens should be kept in good repair.

Electrocutor fly traps can provide a safe and efficient means of managing flies. Air curtains are another option, especially useful in high traffic areas such as shops.


Did you know?

  • The black Portuguese Millipede is native to Portugal and was accidentally introduced to Australia, first appearing in South Australia in 1953. Since then, they have invaded all the southern mainland states.
  • Millipedes are attracted to light and will enter buildings at night, although once inside they do not breed and will eventually die.
  • Mature black Portuguese millipedes are smooth and cylindrical, 20-45 mm long and slate-grey to black in colour. Juveniles are light brown and striped. Juveniles hatch from eggs in the soil and reach maturity in two years.
  • During hot dry weather they will hide in the soil, however rain in Spring and Autumn will stimulate activity and breeding.

Poisonous, painful or pests?
While there is no evidence they affect human health, they can occur in plague numbers, and can contaminate food and infest carpet and bedding.

Portuguese Millipedes are herbivorous, which means in plague proportions they may also destroy seedlings and fruit and vegetable crops.

When disturbed a millipede may release a pungent and distasteful yellowish secretion which discourages predators, such as birds. The secretion may stain skin or clothes and is extremely irritating if rubbed into the eyes. However, as it is composed of organic chemicals called ‘quinones’, it quickly breaks down in water.

Managing millipedes
Portuguese millipedes are attracted to light. If you are able to do so, turn off any external lights which are close to your house or other buildings and minimise any escape of light by closing curtains and blinds.

Use weather-strips on doors as good door seals will also help prevent entry into the home.

While compost is good for gardens, it also allows higher populations of millipedes to breed. If you can, reduce the area covered by organic matter (such as compost, leaf litter and mulch) as it decreases a source of food and shelter. Don’t forget your gutters.

Some spiders, beetles and scorpions will eat millipedes; however they will not significantly reduce numbers.
A smooth vertical or rounded barrier can stop millipedes from entering buildings as they are unable to gain a foothold. The barriers can be fixed to walls, below doorsteps, window ledges and vent bricks (make sure you keep them clean and free of vegetation). A barrier must be continuous with no breaks (unless placed under doorways).


In Australia, there are about 400 species of mosquito but only approximately 10 are commonly abundant and represent a serious pest threat because of their nuisance biting or their ability to transmit disease.

Did you know?

  • Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water sources such as wetlands (both natural and constructed), rainwater tanks, pot plant saucers, plants that hold pools of water, hollows in trees, gutters and other items that may be left around that retain water.
  • Mosquito larvae are aquatic and must live in a water source to survive and complete their development stage.
  • Once the adult female emerges it will seek out a carbohydrate meal to replenish its energy.
  • To support egg development, the female will need a high protein meal – this may be obtained from a source such as blood.
  • Batches of eggs can vary from 20 to 30 to several hundred, depending on the species.

Many mosquito species typically move only relatively small distances (sometimes no more than 50-100 metres) from their larval habitats provided appropriate blood sources are in the vicinity.

Poisonous, painful or pests?
Several important human diseases are transmitted throughout Australia by mosquitoes including Dengue Fever, Australian Encephalitis, Ross River Virus and Barmah Forrest Virus. Malaria has also been transmitted locally in Australia but only rarely in recent decades.

In addition to being disease vectors, mosquitoes can cause major disruptions to occupational, recreational and social activities through their persistent biting.

Managing mosquitos
Successful management of this pest depends on a variety of factors including familiarity with mosquito biology and identification.

Identification of breeding sites is important to be able to treat mosquitoes in their larval stages, in conjunction with an adult mosquito management plan that may involve treating harbourages such as vegetation and exterior walls of a property with a repellent product.

Simple measures can be taken by individuals to limit their contact with mosquitoes. These include:

  • Avoiding areas that are known to be infested with large numbers of mosquitoes.
  • Activities that are scheduled outdoors, especially around dusk, should be limited as the biting activity of many mosquitoes will peak during this period.
  • Clothing that has long sleeves and long pants should be worn when visiting areas that are infested with mosquitoes.
  • A repellent that contains approx. 20% DEET (diethyl toluamide) should be used on exposed areas of skin, but not repeatedly on young children.
  • Windows and doors should be screened and water tanks covered with a small gauge mesh to exclude mosquitoes from these potential breeding sites.
  • Empty all containers throughout the garden that hold water (such as pot plant saucers, tyres, roof guttering and tins), to prevent breeding.


The three major rodent pest species are the Norway Rat, the Roof Rat and the House Mouse. They are common in the major population centres of Australia and most countries of the world.

As climatic conditions become less favourable during the onset of Winter, rodents move indoors for both shelter and food.

Females are capable of giving birth to 4-6 litters a year, each litter containing 5-10 young, which are themselves capable of reproduction three months after birth. Within a year, the progeny of a single pair of rodents can number 400-700.

Did you know?

  • Rodents make their nests of soft materials such as shredded paper or fabrics, close to areas where they scavenge for food and water.
  • Rodents actively forage for food at night using the same route to and from the food source. Their diet includes food material of both plant and animal origin and water is a necessity especially for rats.
  • Mice can obtain enough water from food, provided it’s moist.
  • Although the vision of rodents is poor, their senses of smell and taste are so highly developed they can detect minute quantities of chemicals in foodstuffs which can lead to ‘bait shyness’.
  • Their whiskers and guard hairs enable them to feel their way in their preferred darkness with little difficulty.

Poisonous, painful or pests?
Rodents contaminate more food than they eat and in doing so, they transmit many diseases.

In conjunction with the flea, rats were responsible for the deaths of 200 million Europeans from bubonic plague.

In commercial premises, rodents can be a year-round problem and mice can attain plague proportions especially in rural areas.


Apart from widespread and sometimes pathological fear of spiders, the most common reason for management is the elimination of unsightly webs.

Did you know?

  • Most species of spider can survive for months without food.
  • The fine hairs on various parts of a spider’s body are sensitive to taste, touch and vibration.
  • Being nocturnal, most spiders are seldom seen during the day, unless disturbed.
  • Spiders that depend on webbing to snare their prey seldom move far and prefer to hide in a crevice, curled leaf or appear camouflaged as twigs.
  • Hunting spiders such as the Huntsman are not dependent on webs for food.
  • Silk or web is produced from glands in the abdomen and deposited through spinnerets. In some species, spiderlings let out sufficient webs into the air to lift them up on the breeze and carry them away.


Termites have existed for millions of years and can be found across Australia. Despite there being more than 300 species of termite, Subterranean Termites are the main species that cause damage to homes.

Did you know?

  • Subterranean termites usually have to maintain contact with the soil to obtain sufficient moisture to survive and they can not survive in the open.
  • Termites are more closely related to cockroaches than they are to ants
  • Termites are blind and build large nests in soil or trees.
  • The queen termite can live up to 25years and a large nest may contain millions of termites.

Poisonous, painful or pests?
A few species of termites attack man-made wooden structures and objects, earning themselves a reputation as the most destructive timber pest known to man.
Termites do not like the light so they remain inside the wooden components of your home. There, they can eat away everything but the very edge of the structure, leaving only a thin layer of paint.

Unfortunately, termite damage and repairs are often not covered by home insurance.

Managing termites
It is possible to ascertain the presence of termites by tapping gently on timber beams, newel posts, skirting boards and other structural timbers. If you hear a hollow sound, there is every possibility you have a termite problem.


The Australian Museum says there are over 12,000 species of wasps in Australia.

Common wasps
The European Wasp is an aggressive, scavenging pest that is most active in Summer and Autumn. It has a bright yellow abdomen with black banded stripes and can grow to 12-16mm. Workers search for carbohydrate or protein food for their wasp grubs, including caterpillars, insects, carcasses or even picnic food. Adult wasps feed on meat juices, nectar and other sweet materials.

Paper wasps are about 10-15mm long with long thin wings. They make their nests of a grey papery material made from wood fibres. The nests are often found under an overhang such as a pergola or the eaves of a roof. Colonies generally range from 12-20 individual wasps. Paper wasps are foragers, bringing food such as chewed-up caterpillars back to the nest for their larvae. Paper wasps may attack if they feel threatened or if their nest is disturbed.

Poisonous, painful or pests?
Wasps can deliver a painful sting that, unlike their bee relatives, can be used repeatedly to drive off would-be predators (including humans!).

European wasps have a negative impact on the environment due to the large number of insects and spiders they consume. This puts pressure on our native insects and birds as food becomes scarce.

Managing wasps
Wasps can be treated by a qualified technician at any time of the day.

When treating at night, it is important to use a red light as wasps may react aggressively to normal torchlight (we suggest using red cellophane over a torch if a red lamp is unavailable).
Envirotechnics’ technicians can treat all accessible nests on the day they are called out.

We can help

We have developed the following resources to provide you with more information about common pests found in Australia and the impact they can have on you and your home.

Capability Statement

Looking for commercial or building pest management services? See how we can help!

Termite Protection Plan

Don’t wait, the time to act is now – get a tailored to you protection plan today.


We get asked for tips and tricks all the time, we have the answers to your questions!


Not only are we COVID safe and operating, we are helping to stop the spread! Find out more about our disinfection services.