Common Central Coast Pests and Rodents
The Central Coast of NSW is home to numerous pest and rodent species. We have some of the world’s most deadly spiders and rodents. We also have bugs and insects that can carry and spread germs and disease.
Information regarding Pests and Rodents common to the Central Coast of NSW can be found below. For Further information regarding pest control, pest management and pest extermination on the Central Coast please contact us.
The Australian cockroach is a large species cockroach, winged and growing to a length of 30–35 millimetres. It is brown in colour. It is very similar in appearance to the American cockroach and may be easily mistaken for it. Despite its name, the Australian cockroach is a cosmopolitan species, and an introduced species in Australia. The insect can travel quickly, often darting out of sight when someone enters a room, and can fit into small cracks and under doors despite its fairly large size. It is known to be very mobile; it also has wings, which allow it to be quite a capable flier.
It prefers warmer climates and is not cold tolerant, however, it may be able to survive indoors in colder climates. It does well in moist conditions but also can tolerate dry conditions as long as water is available. It often lives around the perimeter of buildings. It appears to prefer eating plants more than its relatives do, but can feed on a wide array of organic (including decaying) matter. Like most cockroaches, it is a scavenger. It may come indoors to look for food and even to live, however, in warm weather it may move outdoors and enter buildings looking for food.
Fleas are wingless insects 1.5 to 3.3 mm long, that are agile, usually dark coloured, with tube-like mouth-parts adapted to feeding on the blood of their hosts. Their legs are long, the hind pair well adapted for jumping: a flea can jump vertically up to 18 cm and horizontally up to 33 cm, making the flea one of the best jumpers of all known animals (relative to body size). The flea body is hard, polished, and covered with many hairs and short spines directed backward, which also assist its movements on the host. The tough body is able to withstand great pressure, likely an adaptation to survive attempts to eliminate them by mashing or scratching. Even hard squeezing between the fingers is normally insufficient to kill a flea.
Fleas lay tiny white oval-shaped eggs better. The larva is small, pale, has bristles covering its worm-like body, lacks eyes, and has mouthparts adapted to chewing. The larvae feed on various organic matter, especially the faeces of mature fleas. The adult flea’s diet consists solely of fresh blood.
Fleas are a nuisance to their hosts, causing an itching sensation, which in turn may result in the host attempting to remove the pest by biting, pecking, scratching etc. in the vicinity of the parasite. Flea bites generally result in the formation of a slightly raised, swollen itching spot with a single puncture point at the centre (similar to a mosquito bite). The bites often appear in clusters or lines of two bites, and can remain itchy and inflamed for up to several weeks afterwards.
Ticks are ectoparasites (external parasites), living by hematophagy on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians. Ticks are vectors of a number of diseases, including Lyme disease and Q fever and can cause paralysis. Tick-borne illnesses are caused by infection with a variety of pathogens, including Rickettsia and other types of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Because ticks can harbour more than one disease-causing agent, patients can be infected with more than one pathogen at the same time, compounding the difficulty in diagnosis and treatment.
Tick species are widely distributed around the Australia, but they tend to flourish more in warm, humid climates, because they require a certain amount of moisture in the air to undergo metamorphosis, and because low temperatures inhibit their development from egg to larva.
Funnel-webs are medium to large in size, with body length ranging from 1 to 5 cm. They are glossy and darkly coloured, ranging from blue-black, to black, to brown or dark-plum coloured. The carapace covering the cephalothorax is almost hairless and appears smooth and glossy.
Funnel-web spiders are mostly terrestrial spiders, favouring habitats with moist sand and clays. They typically build silk-lined tubular burrow retreats with collapsed “tunnels” or open “funnel” entrances from which irregular trip-lines radiate over the ground.
Funnel-web spider venom is highly toxic for humans and other primates. These spiders typically deliver a full envenomation when they bite, often striking repeatedly. In the case of severe envenoming, the time to onset of symptoms is less than one hour Children are at a particular risk of severe funnel-web envenoming, with 42% of all cases of severe envenoming being children.
Mouse spiders are medium-to-large specimens, which range in length from 1 cm to 3 cm. Their carapace is glossy, and they have high, broad heads, with eyes spread out across the front of the head.
The mouse spider is found throughout Australia and lives in burrows covered with trapdoors, which can extend to nearly 30 cm in depth. Female mouse spiders generally remain in their burrows; the males will wander in search of mates.
The bites of several species of mouse spider in Australia have been found to produce serious symptoms, similar to the Australasian funnel-web spider. The venom of the Eastern mouse spider was found to have toxins similar to the robustoxin found in funnel-web venom. Funnel-web anti-venom has been found to be effective in treating severe mouse spider bites. Unlike the funnel-web, however, the mouse spider is far less aggressive towards humans, and may often give “dry” bites.
White Tailed Spider
White-tailed spiders are medium-sized spiders native to southern and eastern Australia, and so named because of the whitish tips at the end of their abdomens. White-tailed spiders are vagrant hunters who seek out prey rather than spinning a web to capture it. Their preferred prey is other spiders and they are equipped with venom for hunting.
They are known to bite humans and effects may include local pain, a red mark, local swelling and itchiness; rarely nausea, vomiting, malaise or headache may occur.
Red Back Spider
The redback spider is a species of venomous spider endemic to Australia. The female is easily recognisable by her black body with a prominent red stripe on the upper side of her abdomen. Females have a body length of about 1 centimetre, while the male is smaller, being only 3–4 mm long. The female spider lives in an untidy web in warm sheltered locations, and preys on insects, spiders and lizards that it entraps, but it can live for over 100 days without food. It is preyed upon by other species of spider and parasitoid wasps.
The redback is one of the most dangerous species of spider. It is especially found co-located with humans and is responsible for the large majority of Australian spider bites with serious medical consequences. Its venom is neurotoxic to humans, with a small fraction of bites causing latrodectism which includes severe pain, often lasting over 24 hours.
Ants are social insects of the family Formicidae. Ants form colonies that range in size from a few dozen predatory individuals living in small natural cavities to highly organised colonies that may occupy large territories and consist of millions of individuals. The presence of ants can be undesirable in places meant to be sterile. Ants can also come in contact with humans by their habit of raiding stored food, damaging indoor structures, causing damage to agricultural crops either directly or by aiding sucking pests or because of their stings and bites.
A mouse is a small mammal belonging to the order of rodents, characteristically having a pointed snout, small rounded ears, and a long naked or almost hairless tail. The best known mouse species is the common house mouse. Certain kinds of field mice are also common. This rodent is eaten by large birds such as hawks and eagles. They are known to invade homes for food and occasionally shelter. Cats, foxes, birds of prey, snakes and even certain kinds of arthropods have been known to prey heavily upon mice. Mice can at times be vermin, damaging and eating crops, causing structural damage and spreading diseases through their parasites and faeces.
Silverfish are nocturnal insects typically 13–25 mm long. Their abdomens taper at the end, giving them a fish-like appearance. The newly hatched are whitish, but develop a greyish hue and metallic shine as they get older. Silverfish are a cosmopolitan species. They inhabit moist areas, requiring a relative humidity between 75% and 95%.
Silverfish are considered a household pest, due to their consumption and destruction of property. Although they are responsible for the contamination of food and other types of damage, they do not transmit disease.
Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed exclusively on blood. The common bed bug, is the best known as it prefers to feed on human blood. The name of the “bed bug” is derived from the preferred habitat of warm houses and especially nearby or inside of beds and bedding or other sleep areas. Bed bugs are mainly active at night, but are not exclusively nocturnal. They usually feed on their hosts without being noticed. A number of adverse health effects may result from bed bug bites, including skin rashes, psychological effects, and allergic symptoms. Diagnosis involves both finding bed bugs and the occurrence of compatible symptoms.
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