Backyard Maintenance

Redbacks and kids toys

Redbacks are one of the most well-known and feared spiders in Australia and with good reason. They are nasty looking and pack a painful bite for an unwitting victim. As the days begin to heat up, mixed with rain periods, Redbacks are forced to seek cooler shelter in-doors and under outdoor items like children’s toys.

Most parents are fearful of their children being bitten by a Redback and are often not sure what to do if it occurs, here’s some basic tips.

Where to look

Before you start, always wear thick gardening gloves to help protect you from a spider bite and make sure children and pets are not close by – they like to sneak up and see what you’re up to!

Area’s to check include:

  • The underside of toys, in plastic moulding, crevices.
  • Trampolines.
  • Swing sets, slides.
  • Outdoor furniture.
  • Dog kennels

How to help protect your home against spiders

Store children’s toys in one location, preferably off the ground – always take care when handling toys after storage.

Remove all webs away areas including under eaves, doorways, window frames, pool fences.

What to do if you are bitten by a Redback

If you or a member of your family suffers a Redback spider bite, follow the DRABCD action plan and perform basic First Aid steps.

If severe pain occurs, call 000 for an ambulance immediately.

Still concerned?

If you believe or suspect that you have a spider pest problem, please contact your local Amalgamated Pest Control team for further advice.

1300 883 556

 

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Garden Maintenance

Rodents use tree branches to access homes

Over hanging branches create the perfect bridge for rodents to climb and access your roof void or ceiling area. From here, they can quickly establish themselves in the roof void and wall cavities.

Once inside, rodents can cause damage to walls, keep you awake at all hours of the night and chew through electrical cables. This can be costly, uncomfortable and more importantly dangerous – rodents have been know to cause household fires by damaging electrical cable.

Signs you may have rodents at your home

  • Scratching sound on the ceiling or behind gyprock walls, (dry wall).
  • Droppings around outside areas.
  • Dark coloured ‘rubbing’ marks on walls or furniture.

How to help protect your home against rodents

You can help stop rodents entering your home by following these ‘Top Tips’

  • Trim branches close to the gutters and roof – use a ladder and pruning tools safely.
  • Don’t leave pet bowls filled with food.
  • Make sure rubbish sealed is sealed and bins are fully closed.

Still concerned?

If you believe or suspect that you have a rodent pest problem, please contact your local Amalgamated Pest Control team for further advice.

1300 883 556

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Rats on the rise in Sydney

Our technicians are constantly battling to control rats throughout the Sydney region. From Western Sydney to Surry Hills, rat numbers appear to be on the rise. As the weather starts to cool into the winter months, the natural environment for rats are outside burrows in gardens and soil areas, (as pictured below), nesting in stored items and debris. Trees & shrubs become less inviting and rats choose to move inside premises to live and breed in areas such as roof voids, wall cavities, and internal areas. These areas provide both warmth and good access to food sources.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some simple tips for making your home less conducive to a rat infestation:

  1. Ensure all of your household garbage is in tightly sealed in bins, which rats cannot access – restrict their access to food as much as possible.
  2. Alter your building so that rats cannot gain entry. Look for access holes that rats can use such as where pipes enter buildings and gaps under external doors. Sealing these points and others similar will make it harder for rats to enter. Using a gutter guard to seal the roof can be also be helpful in stopping them entering the roof via the gutters. Restrict their access to shelter as much as possible.
  3. Trim excess trees and shrubs from around the perimeter of the structure, especially trees that overhang the roof. This will take away both harbourage areas and make accessing the roof a little bit harder for them.

When all else fails and control measures need to be implemented, Amalgamated Pest Control will look at all the available options. The two most common methods of control are:

  1. Trapping: Using traps to physically trap and remove rats.
  2. Chemical Control: Includes a wide range of baiting techniques most commonly bait blocks used in Tamper Resistant Rodent Stations. These baits are secured inside the station and cannot be removed. Also the use of tracking powders, gels and other baits may be used as required.

Some simple tell tale signs of rats to look for around your property:

  • Sounds – Scratching and shuffling noises in the roof.
  • Droppings – Found in and around the building.
  • Tracks – Run tracks or rub marks, (dark greasy marks), along walls or plumbing pipes.
  • Gnawing – Damage to food packets in the pantry. Additional indicators would be holes in skirting boards or conduits, cables being stripped of insulation or cardboard/paper products being chewed.
  • Visual sightings – Sighting of rodents scurrying around the areas and sighting of rodents nesting material in stored boxes.
  • Excitement of your family pet. If your dog or cat is acting strangely, for example excessive barking in a particular area of your home, they might be trying to tell you something.
  • Sensors / Alarms – being triggered, particularly within 1 or 2 specific areas of the premises, can be an indicator of rodent activity within an area.
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Brush Tail Possum

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They’re cute and friendly looking and they know how to make all sorts of noise in the early hours, running through your roof, scaring you to wits. They have been known to lift roof tiles to gain access and getting rid of them is not an easy task. They cannot be harmed and you could face a hefty fine if try to remove them yourself – and a nasty bite.

The Ringtail (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) possum is smaller with a gingerish coat, small rounded ears, and a narrow tail with a white tip. The Brushtail possum usually presents the majority of problems due to its tendency to enter and sleep in buildings

The Brushtail (Trichosurus vulpecular) possum is a cat-size animal with a grey coat, largen erect ears and a black bushy tail. The Brushtail possum usually presents the majority of problems due to its tendency to enter and sleep in buildings, urinate and defecate in the ceiling void

Brushtail possums are one of the rare native mammals that continue to share space with people in urban areas.

Brushtail possums are native, nocturnal marsupials and like all native wildlife, the brushtail possum is protected in Queensland. To capture and release a possum, a permit is required by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DERM).

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Redback spider

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Redback spiders are not aggressive, and rarely leave the web. However caution is advised as their bite is very poisonous and potentially fatal for children or the elderly.
After a bite, the onset of pain may be delayed for five minutes then increase in intensity. Subsequent symptoms vary but have included:
• nausea
• vomiting
• abdominal or generalised pain
• sweating
• restlessness
• palpitations
• weakness
• muscle spasm
• fever.
Anyone bitten by a redback spider should seek medical attention.

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Redback spider

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Redback spiders, Latrodectus hasselti,
Mature female redbacks are jet black spiders with a variable red stripe on the back of their spherical abdomen. Immature females are smaller, usually brown with whitish markings.
Their tough, untidy webs are usually near the ground with the spider hiding in a shelter tucked in a corner, often guarding her round woolly egg sacs.
Male redback spiders are rarely seen. They are small and brown with red and white markings.

Redback spiders are found throughout Australia, in drier habitats and built-up areas. They are common in dry places around buildings, outdoor furniture, machinery and stacked materials.
In the bush, redback spiders nest under logs and rocks. There is some evidence to suggest that redbacks are not native to Australia.
Redback spider bites usually occur when part of the body comes in direct contact with the spider or its web.

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Concealed access via an unprotected plumbing penetration

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This photo shows an unprotected plumbing penetration. The slab has shrunk or cracked around the plumbing penetration allowing concealed access by subterranean termites to the structure

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Bees

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Why do Bees Swarm?
The swarming process is part of the natural reproductive life cycle of honey bee colonies. This happens when a colony is stimulated to reproduce and becomes overcrowded. The old queen and about half the workers leave the nest or hive and fly off to find another home. The swarming colony will cluster to nearby objects, usually a small tree or shrub while scout bees search for a new home. This may last for only a couple of days until a new home is found.

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European Honey Bee Swarm

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Honey bees are one of the most recognisable insects and are the most commonly domesticated bee species in the world.

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European Honey Bee Swarm

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Honey bees are one of the most recognisable insects and are the most commonly domesticated bee species in the world.
I was recently called to a property in the Caboolture area as the customer had a swarm of honey bees, hanging of a bush close to the ground on the footpath. The customer was concerned that the bees may be a threat to people passing by.
The property owner believed, as many people do, that honey bees could only survive in a hive, of course this is not true and honey bees have established feral hives across Australia in the hollows of logs, tree cavities and even in the voids of buildings etc.
As these bees were on public property, Amalgamated Pest Control, declined to treat the swarm and we contacted a local Apiarist (bee keeper) to collect and remove.
Why do Bees Swarm?
The swarming process is part of the natural reproductive life cycle of honey bee colonies. This happens when a colony is stimulated to reproduce and becomes overcrowded. The old queen and about half the workers leave the nest or hive and fly off to find another home. The swarming colony will cluster to nearby objects, usually a small tree or shrub while scout bees search for a new home. This may last for only a couple of days until a new home is found.
Honey bees, both feral (wild) and colonised, are important beneficial insects, not normally considered as pests. They live either in the wild in nests, or as colonies in hives kept by beekeepers. In either case, they will only sting people if strongly provoked.

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