What’s not to love about Christmas? Reuniting with family and friends, indulging in Christmas lunch and taking a well-deserved break are just a few things to love about this time of year. But one thing a lot of Aussie’s can’t catch a break from at Christmas time is pests.
The summer months are rampant for pest activity, particularly in Australia. Being ectothermic creatures, insects’ body temperatures are dependent on their external environment. They keep to themselves and stay quiet during winter, but come summer, the increase in temperature results in an increase in pest activity. Now, pests are embarking on their adult life stages. They’re reproducing at rapid rates, they’re highly mobile and endlessly hungry.
Aside from the hot summer temperatures, the risk of pest invasions increases at Christmas time specifically. We’re unpacking boxes that have been stored in humid, low-traffic areas of the house, such as roofs, crawlspaces, cupboards or sheds. The quiet, damp environments we store our beloved Christmas gear in are exactly where our pests love to live. Naturally, at Christmas time, we suddenly start to see a few more critters scuttling about. Suddenly, when you thought your Aunt Mary was the only unwanted house guest this Christmas, you realise just how wrong you were.
But what Christmas pests should we be on the lookout for? Which critter poses the biggest threat? Read on to find out.
Low Risk: Christmas Beetles
Christmas Beetles are virtually a novelty in Australia. For many, they’re an exciting symbol of the start of the holiday season. However, they may not be as harmless as we think. Sure, they aren’t a health risk for humans. But they can actually cause significant damage to young eucalypt plantations. They are known to bring on severe leaf loss in trees before canopy closure. Emerging during summertime from the soil, these critters are about as hungry as we are at Christmas time. However, instead of feeding on prawns and pavlovas, the Christmas Beetle will rapidly defoliate trees.
Some people love these little guys, while others can be intimidated by their habit to fly right into you at night. If you don’t have anything for them to nibble on, they’re not much trouble for you. Consider putting up some mosquito netting around your patio or outdoor area if you want to enjoy a night BBQ without being bombarded by a volley of beetles.
Low Risk: Spiders
While Australia has around 2,000 species of spiders, most are fairly harmless to humans, and will try to keep to themselves. That said, if spiders do feel threatened or frightened by a human, they may bite. In most cases, the spider fangs are not strong enough to break the skin. If, however, the fangs do manage to penetrate the skin, the venom usually has no effect on the human body. Pain can be managed for most spider bites with an ice pack.
The handful of Australian spiders that can potentially cause harmful bites include the funnel-web, red-back, white-tailed and mouse spiders. Fortunately, since the introduction of antivenom, there have been no recorded deaths from a confirmed spider bite in Australia.
High Risk: Silverfish
Silverfish like to feed on high-protein items, sugary items and starchy items. They love a good munch on paper and cardboard, cotton, carpet, glue, and even leather. At Christmas time, you’ll find Silverfish appearing in serviettes, boxes, decorations, Christmas stockings, wrapping paper and other items they like feeding on.
Silverfish are a nuisance, and it can be highly disturbing for clients to have a silverfish infestation. Plus, compared to spiders and Christmas Beetles, we are far more likely to suffer a Silverfish infestation than an infestation from either of the former pests. In terms of the danger they pose to humans, this is relatively low. While their presence may insight an asthma attack, they do not carry diseases. Still, very few Aussies are happy to share their food with a family of silverfish, and they can be destructive to important books or documents you may have stored around the house.
High Risk: Ants
Ants will venture into homes during the summer months in search of shelter, particularly when it has been raining. They are commonly spotted in kitchens, where they have easy access to a food source, or in damp areas like bathrooms.
During Christmas time, when we’re socializing more and eating more, extra care needs to be taken to ensure all containers are properly sealed to help prevent ants.
High Risk: Cockroaches
Cockroaches are very unhygienic and are known to carry the diseases salmonella, staphylococcus and streptococcus. They love residing in dark, damp places close to a food source – like the kitchen. They may choose to set up camp in toasters, under fridges, dishwashers and other appliances. And of course, if they can get into unsealed Christmas lunch platters, they will.
High Risk: Mosquitos
Mosquitos are the ultimate buzzkill for an outdoor Christmas lunch. Lighting the citronella candles and lathering up on bug spray is a well known Christmas tradition in Australia. These flying nuisances can of course cause uncomfortable bites and welts, but on a more sinister note, they can carry an array of harmful diseases, including Ross River virus, Dengue fever and Malaria.
Get Ready For Pest Season With Austates
With the summer pest season only set to intensify as we approach Christmas, you’ll want to be sure your pest control business is ready to tackle the swarm of enquiries coming your way. With Austates Pest Equipment, you have access to a wide variety of pest equipment, from complete spray units to toolboxes and canopies. Be sure to contact our helpful team if you have any questions.