Other Pests

Managing Other Pests in Singapore

We all know rats, cockroaches, mosquitoes, termites etc.. but tend to underestimate other pests. Singapore is home to a myriad of pests that find the environment and climate favourable. When preventive steps are not taken or control of these pests get out of hand, infestations can easily take place.

Some infestations are a nuisance but other pests infestation could lead to contamination and health risks to humans in the area.

Booklices

Booklice are not the same as the typical lice that are known to such blood or bite humans, and they do not transmit diseases. However, an infestation of them can be a nuisance and they can easily get out of control when not treated. As other pests, they tend to gather and infest areas where large amounts of paper are present — such as in books, newspapers, wallpaper and in bookcases, where they eat the starch present in binding and the edges of pages, and wherever mould tends to grow. Booklices are typically 1/32 to 1/8 of an inch, flatly shaped and vary in colour from pale white to grey or brown depending on the species. They are wingless, have six legs and have antennae, but perhaps their most distinguishing body part is their strong mouthparts which they use to chew mould. These other pests feed mainly on microscopic moulds, as well as dead or decayed plant or animal material.

Booklices

It can become a nuisance in large infestations and can even contribute to allergies. Monitor it by visually inspecting areas of infestation. In some cases, particularly if winged species are suspected, glue boards can be placed next to vents or near other suspected habitats to determine the source of infestation. Inspect articles stored in pantries for signs of infestation.

Indoors, management should start with thorough cleaning of infested areas, discarding possible sources of infested food or other materials. Vacuuming susceptible areas has been effective. Increasing light to infested areas suppress dark-living booklice activity. Reducing humidity by opening windows and doors and turning off humidifiers or using fans or dehumidifiers will reduce favourable environmental conditions. Booklice do not survive more than 1-3 weeks if relative humidity is less than 58%.

Plumbing and roof leaks can lead to moist conditions that is favourable to booklice, such as condensation from air conditioning systems. In some cases, such as in loosely
constructed buildings, total control of booklice may not be feasible. Pesticides may not be needed to control booklice, especially if the recommendations listed above are followed. However, residual spray or dust insecticides may be applied as spot treatments or in the cracks and crevices of known or suspected sites.

In summary, booklice are attracted to areas where large amounts of paper material can be found, but they are also found in dead or decayed plant and animal material. Regular monitoring of areas that are humid, have paper or getting rid of dead plant or animal material can prevent booklice infestations.

Snake Control

Snakes

Snakes are carnivorous, cold-blooded reptiles that are distinguished by their limbless appearance and elongated body and tail. Snakes are ectothermic and they rely on the environmental heat source to maintain their metabolic rate. They can be found in a wide range of habitats including land (terrestrial), water (aquatic), tree (arboreal) and in burrows (fossorial). Snakes, unlike other pests, moult their skin periodically throughout their life. This process helps to replace the old and worn skin, to remove parasites such as mites and ticks and allow them to grow larger.

During hunting, most of the snakes will patiently wait for their prey to get closer. They track prey using their strong sense of smell with their forked tongue, which they flick in different directions help to pick up chemical information in the environment. The fork in the tongue provides a sort of directional sense of smell and taste simultaneously. Some snakes such as pit vipers, pythons and boas have infrared-sensitive receptors which allow them to “see” the radiated heat of prey. Besides that, the underside of snakes can detect vibrations and hence allow them to identify the location of movement. The highly flexible lower jaws enable them to swallow the preys that are larger than their heads. Once the prey is caught, the snakes will use venom, constriction, or a combination of the two to subdue the prey.

Cobras, vipers, and closely related species use venom to immobilize, injure, or kill their prey. The venom is modified saliva that is delivered through fangs. Snake venoms are complex mixtures of proteins, which can potentially be a mix of neurotoxins (which attacks the nervous system), hemotoxins (which attack the circulatory system), cytotoxins (attacking the cells directly), bungarotoxins (related to neurotoxins, but also directly affect muscle tissue), and many other toxins that affect the body in different ways. Bites from venomous snakes may cause paralysis which results in breathing difficulties, blood loss, irreversible kidney failure and tissue destruction which may result in limb amputation or permanent disability.

Snakes do not necessarily prey on humans. Unless startled or injured, most snakes prefer to avoid contact and will not attack humans. With the exception of large constrictors, non-venomous snakes are not a threat to humans because their bite is usually harmless. Their teeth are not adapted for tearing or inflicting a deep puncture wound, but rather grabbing and holding. Although the possibility of infection and tissue damage is present in the bite of a nonvenomous snake, venomous snakes present a far greater hazard to humans.

If a snake is encountered, one should not approach or attempt to handle the snake but to contact the professionals for help. A snake tong is usually used by professionals to grab and hold a snake at a distance. The controllable jaws at the end of the grabber help to lift or drag the snakes away firmly and gently.

In summary, snakes do not ordinarily prey on humans but it is still best to leave the handling and management to a professional when encountered. Snakes can take up residence in various environments depending on their species, so it’s best to always be wary of cluttered areas in case they are present.

Hornets, Wasp & Other Pests

Because they may share similar traits, appearance and habits, it’s easy to confuse the difference between wasps, and hornets although wasps are other pests. Wasps and hornets are the ones that are commonly confused for one another due to their similar hairless body features. However, there are two major differences that distinguish them from each other pests:

hornet removal service

Hornets

⦁ Size: Much larger than 2cm in size
⦁ Colour: Black with Orange rings

Common Species
⦁ Lesser banded hornet (Vespa affinis)
⦁ Yellow-vented hornet (Vespa analis)
⦁ Greater banded hornet (Vespa tropica)

wasps removal service singapore

Wasps

⦁ Size: 1cm to 2cm in size
⦁ Colour: Black with Yellow rings

Common Species
⦁ Pear-tailed potter wasp (Delta pyriforme)
⦁ Banded paper wasp (Polistes sagittarius)

When it comes to insects of these kind, each colony has its own queen & its queens can give birth up to 1,000 – 30,000 offsprings depending on the conditions of her surroundings. A queen’s ideal living environment is a cool, damp place with plenty of food. Bees are known to feed on pollen and nectar. Wasps and hornets are scavengers and feed on other insects or leftover food and decaying fruits.

Wasps and hornets will build nests in the same places each year if the sites are considered good and favourable to them. They are often noticeable around sources of sugar, such as orchards with fallen fruit and outdoor activities where soda and juice are available. Covered garbage containers are recommended to reduce wasp foraging.

To reduce attractiveness of trash containers or hoses, power-wash them with soapy water each time they are emptied, or at least once a week. Replace broken and missing dumpster and trash can lids and keep them closed. Enclose waste in good-quality, sealed bags to prevent spills. Wash down milk crates after a delivery of milk or soda if they are left outside, since wasps are attracted to residues from these liquids.

Additionally, old wood structures, unpainted furniture, cardboard, wood chips, and dead trees or limbs are attractive to paper-nest-building wasps as they collect wood fibre for nest construction. If wasps are a risk to people in the area, remove dead limbs or paint the furniture and exposed wood to discourage wasps. It may be necessary to create some kind of barrier if this behaviour is common enough to cause damage to valuable trees and shrubs. The crushed bodies of nest mates are also attractive to wasps, due to the release of alarm pheromones. It is wise to avoid crushing large-colony wasps.

Using a pole, a hose with a powerful nozzle, or a power-washer, remove visible paper-wasp nests from eaves and structures biweekly from early June through July. Be sure to destroy the nest and kill workers that have dropped to the ground. Studies show this approach is effective in reducing paper-wasp nests. Painted or varnished surfaces may discourage paper-wasp nesting.

Non-Biting Midge (Chironomidae)

mosquito bite

As its name suggests, a non-biting midge does not bite. However, it is often confused for a mosquito due to its mosquito-like appearance — commonly known as “blind mosquitoes”. Non-biting midges can be found in both inland and coastal areas with either natural or man-made bodies of water such as Bedok reservoir for instance.

Their size are mostly 1-10 mm; males of Chironomus plumosus to 13 mm. They are small, delicate flies, resemble mosquitoes but do not bite. Often “dance” in the air in large swarms over water or lawns. At rest, characteristically hold their front legs above head-height and extended forward, giving the illusion of elongate antennae to the untrained eye.

Chironomid midges are one of the most common and most abundant organisms in natural and man-made aquatic habitats. Larvae are found in small and large natural lakes, sewage oxidation and settling ponds, residential lakes and ponds, and slow moving shallow rivers. Densities of over 4,000 larvae/square feet often occur on the bottoms of nutrient rich bodies of water (sometimes an indication of pollution due to excess nutrients). During adult emergence periods, it is not unusual for several thousand adults per square yard of surface to emerge on a nightly basis. Obviously, midges emerging from these bodies of water may cause significant nuisance and other problems by disrupting outdoor activities or clogging air/water filtration systems.

Malayan Wild Bees

Malayan Wild Bee

The giant honey bee, also known as the malayan honey bee, is the largest of the honey bee species that is found in Singapore, measuring between 17mm to 19mm in size. It’s easy to spot giant honey bees late into the night as they will usually actively forage after dusk, and are usually attracted to artificial light sources.

Its nest design is different of the Asian honey bee—the giant honey bee would build single, large, and exposed combs under tree branches or cliffs, or on buildings and other man-made structures, rather than in cavities, that are approximately one metre in length. They’re not ones to hide themselves, but rather, often form a protective curtain around its nest together. In each colony, there’ll be three castes: the queen, workers, and drones.

Considered the most defensive of all honey bees, they’re said to be very dangerous due to their threatening and aggressive behaviours when their nests are provoked. Their main weapon at disposal are their stingers which are 3mm long that are filled with venom glands that can painfully and easily pierce any threat.

Giant honey bees can bring damage to or disrupt the environment as they are competitors to other pollinating species and restrict available nesting sites. On top of that, they’re also capable of spreading unwanted mites and diseases that can further bring trouble to the surrounding environment.

If a giant honey bee nest is encountered, it is advised to stay as far away as possible and to not approach it as they can detect invasive threats. Always contact professionals to assist in the matter to ensure proper removal and transfer of the giant honey bees, without imposing any harm onto you or to the environment.

Do you know…

Having pest infestation at home can affect our psychological health as well? According to psychologists, having pests such as bed bugs, cockroaches, and mice can lead to negative psychological manifestations such as nightmares, flashbacks, hyper-vigilance, insomnia, anxiety, avoidance, trauma, and personal dysfunction.

Are you experiencing other pests issue?

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