Common Winter Pests in SEQ

The time is upon us to trade in our shorts for windy mornings and a sun that sets before we’re even off the train home. The good news is, if you are braving Brisbane’s outdoors you’ll notice a distinct lack of buzzing flies and marching ants. The not-so-good news is that this is often misinterpreted and unfortunately not all pests disappear over winter. Much like us humans, many pests retreat to the warm indoors when the cooler months set in.

Unfortunately for us, those indoors are our indoors.

Winter Pests to Watch Out For

Rodents

Mice and Rats are the most common intruders you’re likely to come across during the winter, so much so the drop in temperature kicks off the colloquially known “rodent season”. There are two main reasons for this, the first being that rodents are warm-blooded. This combined with their smaller body size compared to other animals, means they have a smaller chance of survival if outside. The second concerns the availability of food. We tend to think of rodents as opportunistic eaters. However, as only some species can fatten up in preparation for winter, many instead opt to stockpile food close to their nests. With all their needs met within metres of each other, it’s not surprising they actively and tenaciously seek shelter amongst garage clutter or gaps in the walls. Both 2021 and 2022 saw plague level increases in rodent populations across eastern Queensland and New South Wales with several instances of house fires as a result of chewed electrical wiring.

Possums

Unlike other marsupials, the Australian Possums do not hibernate and are therefore active just as much in winter as any other time of the year. The difference is that in Brisbane, these possums tend to breed in the late Autumn around March through to May. So in addition to looking for somewhere warm, many possums are seeking a secure shelter to house their young. Generally, possums are docile and while they do carry diseases and parasites that can be transmitted to humans, they’re more likely to damage your home itself. Possums, especially newborns, need a den for their survival. Most natural options aren’t viable due to urban developments so, your roof cavities become a cosy alternative. In doing so possums will eat or tear through insulation or even air-conditioning ducts to find that perfect spot.

Insects

We tend to see a noticeable drop in presence which can lure many into a false sense of security. “Overwintering” is a term to describe a hibernation period to conserve energy over the cooler months. This process or “diapause” sees most insects drastically slow down their metabolism and general movements – if you’ve ever seen a fly seemingly abandon its namesake and walk across your kitchen bench, this is likely what’s responsible. While some garden insects such as ants will seek shelter in trees or burrow underground to wait out the season, many will still opt for the dark warm recesses of your home where they can be safe from predators in their dormant state. Despite this, German Cockroaches, Bed Bugs and Termites continue to be the biggest threat as they tend to remain the most active over winter.

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What Can be Done?

As Queenslanders we know in the lead-up to summer, we prepare our homes and gardens for the storm season. We ought to be taking the same approach in Winter to minimise the risks of pests. It’s common for people to forgo a pest treatment in the leadup or throughout winter simply because the threats aren’t visible. The scuttling and screeching of rodents or possums in your roof are a giveaway but the insects won’t make themselves known until it’s too late. The last thing anyone needs is for spring to roll around and all of a sudden infestations of different bugs are coming out of the woodwork – quite literally.

A pest inspection can identify and stop the risks these pests pose to your health and safety. General treatment will ensure appropriate traps are laid for rodents and sprays to kill and prevent future insects from entering your home. If a possum has made its way into your ceiling, it’s important to address this before treatment. As native animals, possums are protected under Australian Government legislation and are required by law to be removed and relocated humanely.

 

If you have any concerns now is the time to have them addressed by a licensed professional. From sealing up potential entryways to safely removing those uninvited guests, Clubby’s Pest Control can help prepare and protect your home this winter.

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