Mouse eating a bread roll in a kitchen

8 Signs Of Mice Infestation

It only takes a pair of mice to lead to a full blown infestation. Mice are able to give birth as soon as two months after they are born (which is about 20 days after the parents mate), and can breed up to ten times a year. They are rodent vermin known to carry disease, eat and infect food, and destroy the home. It is a pest problem you should get rid of immediately.

This is what you should look for.

Presence of Mouse Droppings

If you start seeing dark, shiny pellets that look like pointed chocolate sprinkles, in places chocolate sprinkles have no business being, you are looking at mouse poo. These droppings are most often found around food, under sinks, and in drawers and cabinets, and there will be more of them where the mice are feeding or nesting.
One adult mouse will leave 50-75 droppings a day. As the infestation gets bigger, the number of droppings will multiply, and you may see thousands, even tens of thousands, of them. Old droppings will be dry, dull, grey, and crumbly to the touch.

Pitter-Patter of Little (Mouse) Feet

Mice are nocturnal, i.e. most active at night, so if you are turning in for the night and hear what sounds like soft scampering, scraping, or scratching, you are likely hearing mice on your floor or in your walls. You may also hear the occasional squeaking.

Little Gnaw Marks

Mice are rodents and they need to gnaw on things to keep their teeth at a functional length. They can conceivably gnaw on anything, but it will most often be on food packages, drywall, wooden items, and wires. The holes they make will be small – around the size of a dime – and are relatively clean cut. The colouration of the gnaw marks or holes darkens as they age, the opposite of how mouse droppings change colour.
You may also see shredded paper, newspaper, and paper towels; mice use these types of materials to build their nests.

Strange Behaviour of Other Pets

If your cat or dog starts to act strangely, especially in particular areas, this may be a sign that there are or have been mice around. Since pets’ smell and hearing are much better than ours, they can better sense mice and will react. They may seem more alert than usual, bark at unseen things, or paw at small spaces, such as under the stove, fridge, or furniture that’s low to the ground.
If you witness unusual behaviour from your pets, take a good look around for droppings, gnaw marks, and other signs.

Little Pathways, Tracks, or Greasy Marks

If you see smudge marks along the bottom of your walls or little tracks that seem to form some sort of a route or pathway, you may have mice. The oily rub marks are left when mice brush up against surfaces. If they smear easily, they are recently made.
If you’re not sure you’re seeing footprints , or want to see if there are mice in a particular area in your home, sprinkle a little baby powder, talc, china clay, or flour where you suspect mouse activity. Make sure it’s a thin layer, not a dollop, which the mice may try to avoid. If little tracks appear in the powder the next day, you have your answer.

Odour of Mouse Urine

Mice pee a lot. Eventually, you may start to smell the acrid, musky scent of ammonia. The stronger the smell, the more mice you have, the closer you are to the mice or mouse activity, or both. Even after an infestation has been dealt with, you may still smell it for a while; it doesn’t go away quickly.
If you have a particularly large infestation, you may even see little mounds made of dirt, mouse urine, and mouse body grease. These are called “urine pillars”, and they can grow up to 4 cm tall and 1 cm wide.

Mouse Nests

Take a look around your home for nests – especially in your attic, at the base of appliances, in hidden or hard-to-reach corners, beneath cupboards, and anywhere you may have clutter or piles. Mice make their nests out of shredded paper and fabric, string, dried plant parts, dust, hair, and similar materials. If you see an anomalous mass made out of these materials – particularly if there are other signs of infestation – you are likely staring at a mouse nest.
One way you can check if the nest is still being used: stuff a wad of paper or throw a handful of dirt into it and check it the next day or day after that. If your renovation has been displaced, the mouse tenants have not vacated.

Seeing Mice During the Day

If you start to see mice in your home during the day, this could be a sign that the infestation is getting large, as mice are nocturnal animals. If there are mice looking for food during the day, it means that there is a lot of competition for food and they are being forced to forage at different times.

Time to Call in the Professionals

If you see any of these signs, call Dependable Pest Control as soon as practicable. You do not want to wait until these mice have destroyed your home or endanger the health of your children. Contact us today to discuss your mouse problem or to ask questions about mice infestation.

German cockroach in kitchen of home in southern Sydney

6 Cockroach Species Found in Sydney Homes

Cockroaches are a problem for every household at some point. Understanding this problem and finding solutions can be difficult though. Why? Well, asking your family, friends or neighbours about cockroaches will mean telling them you have cockroaches. Finding out about cockroaches will mean your family, friends or neighbours admitting to having had cockroaches. Most people will run a mile to avoid that conversation!

We understand the sensitivities and we want to help you out of that bind. We talk cockroaches all day long. It’s our job. In this post, we have gathered the information you need to identify your problem and begin resolving it.

Identifying the six most common species of cockroach

Here are six of the most common species of cockroach you are likely to meet:
American Cockroach (Periplaneta americana)
Australian Cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae)
Brown Banded Cockroach (Supella longipalpa)
German Cockroach (Blatella germanica)
Oriental Cockroach (Blatta orientalis)
Smoky Brown Cockroach (Periplaneta fuliginosa)

Read on to find out how to identify these little beasts. When you know what you’re dealing with, it’s easier to get the right support.

1/ German Cockroach (Blatella Germanica)

Definitely one of the usual suspects. Finding lots of little cockroaches when you switch the light on indoors? There’s a good chance these little guys are the culprits.
Identifying features
Only 12 to 15 mm long, these guys are small enough to fit into the tiniest crevices. Check for 2 dark stripes running the length of their backs to be sure you have identified them correctly.
Hangouts
Despite their name, these cockroaches are not confined to Germany. They are prevalent in kitchens and bathrooms the world over. Anywhere warm, humid and indoors, in fact.
Habits
These guys get out of control fast! Females lay about 40 eggs 3-4 times a year. The eggs hatch in a month and nymphs can mature in six weeks to six months.

2/ Oriental Cockroach (Blatta Orientalis)

These cockroaches are more likely to live in the natural environment around your house than in it.
Identifying features
These 20 to 25 mm cockroaches are dark brown or black and can’t fly. Their wings are underdeveloped (in males) or undeveloped (in females).
Hangouts
Favouring cool, moist environments, these cockroaches will turn up in cellars, drains and under decks.
Habits
Rubbish tips and leaf litter are their favourite hiding spots. They will carry germs from outside into your home unless eradicated.

3/ American Cockroach (Periplaneta Americana)

The American cockroach is one of the largest cockroaches you will ever see. And, as its scientific name ‘periplaneta’ suggests, it has spread around the globe. Americans may know them as ‘Palmetto bugs’.
Identifying features
They’re enormous! Huge! These shiny, reddish-brown brutes are 30 to 40 mm long with fully developed wings.
Hangouts
Similar to the oriental cockroach, this little creep likes dark, humid hideouts. Floor, wall and ceiling cavities are favourite haunts.
Habits
We’re sorry to say this, but these guys can fly! When it gets hot, they may take to the wing. It can be a shock if you thought cockroaches can only scurry.

4/ Brown Banded Cockroach (Supella Longipalpa)

These tiny cockroaches only measure 10 to 15 mm tip to tail.
Identifying features
Apart from being tiny, these little guys have yellowish-brown stripes across their bodies and may fly when it’s very warm.
Hangouts
Look for these cockroaches inside where it’s warmest. They will love the warmth in your attic or even the heat around the electric motors of your kitchen appliances.
Habits
Nocturnal creatures, you may only see them if you get up during the night. They will gravitate to the kitchen or any foodstuff with a lot of starch.

5/ Australian Cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae)

Not an Australian native species, despite its name. Very common in tropical and subtropical climates around the world.
Identifying features
They’re huge! Looks a bit like its American cousin (described above), if slightly smaller. Yellow streaks around its head and down its sides are a defining feature.
Hangouts
Sneaking inside at night after spending the day foraging in your garden, gutters, wall cavities or under your decks.
Habits
They can move! Despite their size, they can move very fast and they fly when it’s warm. They can also flatten their bodies into surprisingly small crevices.

6/ Smoky Brown Cockroach (Periplaneta fuliginosa)

Another ‘outside’ species that may be an unwelcome visitor to your kitchen or bathroom at night, the smoky brown cockroach won’t wait for an invitation.
Identifying features
Shiny and dark brown, up to 35 mm long, they have wings and move fast.
Hangouts
Similar to their Australian counterparts, they live outdoors in warm, dark hidey holes outside, like under tree bark. They creep into your home at night looking for food and warmth.
Habits
Despite their ‘free range’ habitat, they contaminate your home with bacteria from the decaying matter they feed on outside. Not to mention their own excrement and saliva!

What to do with a positive ID

If any of these cockroaches looks familiar, we suggest you get in touch. It pays to get rid of these unwelcome guests before they invite friends and family to join them.

Termites damaging particle board

13 Signs of Termite Infestation

When you discover a termite infestation, you need to act right away. Learn the signs of termite infestation so you can call a pest control professional to eliminate the problem before the critters gain a foothold inside your home.

Shelter Tubes

Termites need warmth and humidity to survive, as well as protection from predators. To protect themselves from those hazards, they construct shelter tubes during the night while they forage for food. They look like brown clay or earthen tubes that appear on the walls or joists of your home. Smaller shelter tubes less than 10 millimetres in diameter usually indicate that a small number of termites are on an exploratory mission to find food. Larger ones, many over 50 millimetres in size, indicate a regular pathway for huge numbers of soldier and worker termites. If you see these in your home—call your pest control professional right away. You have a major infestation, which has probably caused significant damage.

Underground Tunnels

Termites who live underground construct tunnels through the soil around your home to transport food to or defend their colony. Not as obvious as the shelter tubes, these tunnels may show themselves when you dig up dirt for your garden or construction project. Look for them in the top part of the soil.

Slits in Tree Trunks

Termites often set up shop inside the trunks and root crowns of trees. When workers form a swarm to colonise a new territory, they make a long lengthwise slit through the tree trunk. Before they go, they seal the hole, creating a scar.

Massive Packing

If you have termites that work inside the timber structures of your home, they may construct huge areas of packing along the walls of your home, especially near load-bearing beams or joists. They look like patches of clay along the walls—almost as if someone had applied patching plaster. If you see these structures in your home, they’re not decorative touches—they’re termite packing. Time to call the pest control people.

Flight Tubes

Termites ready for colonisation by preparing tubes to protect themselves from dry air and predators before they take off. Liken them to the tunnels you go through to get to your plane at the airport. Unlike those tunnels, though, these tunnels project outwards from infested wood. Like most termite construction, they are clay-like in appearance.

Tunnels in Wood

When termites infest wood, they leave the outside layer alone to protect themselves from predators and dry air. If you see tunnels in some of your home’s wooden structures, you can be sure that termites are at work. Small piles of what looks like sawdust also might indicate that termite trouble is afoot.

Tapping Sounds

If you hear a tap-tap-tap during the night, it’s probably not a ghost walking your halls. It’s something even more sinister—a major termite infestation. Soldiers tap their mandibles and heads against wood to warn other termites in the colony about imminent danger. Most likely, you’ll hear these sounds coming from your wooden subfloor.

Winged Workers

When a termite colony looks to colonise a nearby structure, its workers grow wings to fly to their next conquest. These wings, called alates, often stick to spider webs and are a tell-tale sign of a termite infestation. During swarming, too, termites often shed their wings after they’ve reached their new home. Look for piles of these wings on your home’s floors. They’re a sure sign that termites have invaded your home.

Musty Smell

Termites often leave a musty-smelling odour behind to identify themselves as a member of their colony. If the odour is at a detectable level, you probably have a significant infestation.

Moisture Issues

Even if the musty smell isn’t from an active infestation, though, it might indicate future trouble. Moisture problems in homes attract termites since these insects thrive in moist environments. Tackle the problem before it leads to an invasion.

Small Scars on Trees

Since termites like to nest in the centres of tree trunks, you may find small scars on the trees that indicate exit points for foraging expeditions. Eucalyptus trees, peppercorns, and oaks are termites’ favourite spots to nest.

Hollow Timber

Termites work from the inside of wood, not from the outside, since they need the protective shell to keep them safe from predators and dry air. If you find wooden structures with a hollow centre, most likely you have a termite problem.

Blisters or Stains on Paint

When termites enter—and eat—the inner core of wooden structures, the wood often becomes warped. The paint that covers the wood may blister as a result. Stains on your home’s paint may also indicate termite trails. If you see anomalies in your home’s paint, it’s well worth having a pest control expert over to check it out.

Keep Termites at Bay with Regular Pest Control

Because termites often conceal damage behind a wooden shell, it’s often difficult to detect when termites have invaded your home until you have a significant infestation. The best way to keep termites out of your home is with a regular pest control plan. To discover how you can form an impenetrable line of defence for your home, contact the pest control professionals at Dependable Pest Control today.

Red back spider in back yard

Common Household Pests in Sutherland Shire

Household pests are unfortunately a fact a life. Many people, no matter how clean they keep their home, may experience problems with various types of pests. This article will share the most common types of household pests found in Sutherland Shire, so that you can know what to look for if you have a problem.

Rats and Mice

Small rodents can ruin food, damage property by short circuiting wires and causing electrical fires, and even transmit disease. They can be a serious issue in the home. Baiting or trapping is the only way to guarantee a successful result.

Termites (White Ants)

If you see little piles of mud around any wood elements in your home, you may be dealing with Termites. These common critters chomp through wood like its candy, and can seriously damage human structures. Termite infestations should be treated as quickly as possible by a licensed professional. Do not disturb the termites as this can interfere with the treatment process.

Cockroaches

As the story goes, cockroaches will be the only thing to survive nuclear war. They’re tough little buggers! There is no real way of knowing where the cockroaches are coming from because these little pests live and breed inside wall cavities, roof voids and under houses and come out to feed while you sleep at night.

Fleas

Fleas love warm, humid conditions, which is unfortunately our climate here. They are often carried on pets, and can spread to humans causing itching and irritation from their bites. Flea infestations can escalate quickly, so it’s important to treat quickly.

Wasps

Wasps are an important insect species. However, when they move into your home or neighbourhood, they can cause dangerous and painful stings, especially to small children. Therefore, you may need to consider removal. Wasps will defend themselves and their nest, so professional removal services may be best.

Possums

Where trees have been cleared in suburbs and neighbourhoods, possums have lost most of their natural habitat. This can lead them to take up residence in your home, causing damage. Possums are a protected species and require a permit for removal, so a professional service is usually the best option.

Spiders – Redbacks

Unlike other pests, spiders are rarely a recurring problem. However, they can cause trouble and be dangerous—especially to children and pets. Spiders tend to be most common throughout the warmer months but can be found hiding under pot plant rims and handles all year round. Common Redback’s are quite venomous and several hundred people in Australia require hospital treatment each year for Redback bites.

Ants

Some ants are beneficial to have around in your garden and lawn, but when they start moving inside they can become a problem. A serious ant issue may require baiting, which can eliminate the source.

Fabric Pests (Silverfish, Moths, Beetles)

Insects that damage natural cloth like wool and cotton are relatively common, and can destroy an entire wardrobe. Moths and beetles tend to go after keratin, a natural protein found in wool, while silverfish prefer cotton .Prevention is the best cure.

Do You Need Pest Control Services?
If you are experiencing problems with pests, Dependable Pest Control is here to help. We are an accredited member of the Australian Pest Control Association and maintain the highest standards of safety, conduct, and professionalism.

To learn more about our services or receive a free quote, contact Dependable Pest Control today.

Termites

TERMITES

All Termites have different behavioural habits and therefore may require different treatments eg: Baiting may not be the answer or a chemical barrier may not be the answer, identification is paramount.