Pests in our homes and surrounding environment can cause annoyance and can be a public health concern. Residents are responsible for ensuring pests are eradicated.
Bed bugs are irritating blood-feeding insects that hide in cracks and crevices and come out at night to feed. To find out how to control them download a copy of the Bed Bugs Prevention and Treatment Fact Sheet(88 kb).
Bird mites are naturally found where birds and their nest are located. To find out more information about Bird Mites download a public health fact sheet Bird Mites Prevention and Treatment Fact Sheet(92 kb)
Ticks are external parasites of mammals, birds and reptiles. For information on how to prevent tick bites visit the Department of Health.
Rat Prevention and Control
City of Mitcham Environmental Health Officers can assist residents in identifying potential sources of rodent activity. The primary service provided by Council is educative, however in cases where a potential source can be identified, Council’s Environmental Health Officers can investigate. The majority of rodent issues can be addressed with a simple mail-out of information to affected residents in the area, often resulting in a positive outcome.
For further information and advice, please contact the Environmental Health Division on 8372 8888.
Scabies is an infectious skin condition caused by tiny mites that burrow into the skin and cause intense itching. Download a fact sheet on how to treat scabies Scabies Prevention and Treatment Fact sheet(86 kb).
Mosquitoes breed in calm, still water mainly during the summer months. The most effective way of controlling mosquitoes is:
- Remove all containers, such as tins, jars, tyres, etc, that hold water (cover or put holes in them)
- Keep fish ponds stocked with fish (goldfish or native fish are recommended)
- Keep roof guttering in good repair and regularly remove leaves and debris to prevent water pooling
- Empty pot plant drip trays once a week, or fill them with sand to absorb excess water
- Keep swimming pools disinfected or salted
- Screen rain water tanks, septic tanks and other large water containers with wire gauze no coarser than 1mm mesh
- Replace bird baths and pet's drinking water at least once a week
- Drill holes in tyres used for swings and garden surrounds to allow water to drain from them
- Boats, canoes and dinghies should be overturned or have the drain plug removed so that they do not hold water after rain
For information on mosquito bites, please visit the SA Health website.
Rainwater tanks should have a removable screen mesh fitted to the outlet end of the overflow pipe, or any other possible entry points such as the downpipes or gaps in the lid. A small quantity (approximately one teaspoon) of domestic kerosene or paraffin oil may be added to the surface of the water to prevent mosquito breeding.
- Wear loose fitting, light coloured clothing to cover up as much of the body as possible.
- Use an insect repellent that contains DEET (Diethyl toluamide) to cover areas of exposed skin.
- Install screens on doors and windows.
Care for your Swimming Pool
The most important factor in swimming pool care is to keep the water clean and disinfected at all times to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes and contamination of bacteria. Keep your pool clean by:
- Running the filter on a regular basis as required. A timer can be used to allow the filter to operate around 2-3 hours each day.
- Not simply turning the filter off during winter or periods when the pool is not in use. By maintaining the pool during this period it will take much less time, effort and money to adjust the pool water correctly for the next use.
- Placing a pool cover over the swimming pool to prevent entry by pests. Ensure that during rain periods the water on the surface of the cover is removed to prevent pooling.
- Regularly chlorinating your swimming pool and maintain disinfection levels.
- Removing accumulated leaf matter from the surface of the pool water.
- Placing domestic kerosene over the surface of the water to kill mosquito larvae present in the water and prevent further breeding.
- During the mosquito breeding season, the kerosene may need to be used on a regular basis as it will evaporate from the surface of the water within 2-3 days.
The swimming pool should be cleaned regularly including vacuuming and scrubbing the walls. Backwashing should be undertaken at least weekly and must not enter the stormwater system. The water used to backwash the filter must be disposed of into the sewer or into separate underground soakage system if in an unsewered area.
Do not attempt to destroy the nest by using insect spray or any other methods. Council will destroy European Wasp nests at no charge to residents of the City of Mitcham. However it is the responsibility of the landowner to locate the nest.
If you locate a nest call 8372 8888 and a Council Officer will then ask you:
- Have you identified the wasps as being European Wasps?
- Have you located the nest and is it on your property?
- Is the nest located on private, commercial or Council property?
- Is there easy access to the property and the nest?
- Is access available if no one is home?
- Are there any dogs on the property?
- Is a ladder required to gain access to the nest?
- Give specific details of the location of the nest.
The European wasp, Vespula germanica, is most easily identifiable by:-
- Its bright yellow body
- Triangular markings on the abdomen.
While the European wasp is the same size as the bee (10-15mm) it is less hairy and folds its wings back at rest. Queen European wasps have identical markings and colouring, except are larger and can be up to 20mm.
To Locate a Nest
If you see several European Wasps on your property this indicates that there is a nest close by.
To find the nest you need to establish the direction the wasps are flying. To do this, place a good food source (ie meat or pet food) in a visible location. Once the wasp has collected the food, it will fly in a direct line to the nest.
A wasp may be scavenging for food up to 500m from the nest. Keep relocating the food sources in the direction of the nest. You may need to work cooperatively with your neighbours.
Nests are located where shelter is available. Common locations for nests include retaining walls, tree hollows and Wall Cavities.
Check the following on your property for evidence of a nest:
- holes in the ground or compost heaps,
- hollows of trees,
- vents in the outside of buildings,
- eaves of houses.
It is unlikely that you will see the nest itself. What you will see is numerous wasps flying in and out of the entrance to the nest. Nests are often underground and will be evident by a stream of wasps entering and leaving a hole in the ground. The nest is made of grey paper mache type material. Nests constructed of mud are not European wasps nests.
If you do not find a nest on your property contact your neighbours and ask them to check their properties.
If a European wasp is aggravated it may sting. Unlike the bee, a European wasp can sting multiple times. If left undisturbed the European wasp is not aggressive to human or other animals. If a nest is disturbed the wasps release a chemical which triggers the wasps to defend the nest.
Discouraging European Wasps
Do not leave fallen fruit or food scraps lying around your yard.
- Avoid leaving uneaten pet food or dog bones outside.
- Make sure rubbish bins have tight fitting lids.
- Keep compost covered at all times.
- Cover bird baths and fish ponds with fine mesh or shade cloth.
- Keep your swimming pool covered when not in use.
- Cover exposed food at picnics and barbeques.
- Do not drink out of cans or bottle. Use clear contains or a straw.