Is my house vulnerable to pests?
Although there are plenty of ways your home can become vulnerable or attractive to pests many of these can be addressed with simple care and attention once you know what to look out for. While pests will still enter your home, taking care of these things will greatly reduce the range and quantity of pests wanting to enter your home and increase effectiveness and time required between treatments.
Did you know your home’s location can make it vulnerable to pests? Some areas have a naturally high population of rodents, many have large ant populations, while other areas are prone to Gisborne cockroaches. Your suburb or town could even be a hot spot for multiple pest species. This info can be difficult find even with a trusty google search. However, an experienced local pest controller will have a good working knowledge on hot spots for each pest species and how this can be expected to change with the seasons.
As a general guide of what to expect; city centres are going to have more rodents due to a high density of human populations and plentiful food supplies from local eateries. Apartment buildings are prone to human and animal transmittable pests like bedbugs and fleas. Rural areas are going to have higher numbers of rodents than city’s and will see more pests like wasps, spiders, flies and cockroaches associated with trees and wide-open fields, and undisturbed habitats. While urban areas experience the best of both worlds often seeing all pests imaginable. Although we are lucky to have such green communities in Wellington and should cherish our environment, it does make the perfect habitats for pests like rodents, cockroaches, spiders and flies.
Construction and Condition
The construction of your home and its condition can give pests easier access from the ground to inside the floor or walls. Generally, if a house is built on a solid concrete slab there is little to no entry points in the foundations for rodents and other crawling pests to enter. Houses that are up on piles often have gaps even when they have a block or concrete foundation wall.
The state of repair a home is in will also contribute to points of weakness allowing pest in. Look for how well exterior doors are sealed when closed, sometimes they will be missing weather strips. Broken or missing cladding will allow creatures inside walls and once they are in the walls it won’t take them long to find their way into the living space of your home. Interior access garaging is a common issue when mice are involved. Garage door seals need checking for gaps when they are closed. Windows that don’t shut or seal properly can also be a problem and make easy access for spiders and cockroaches when they retreat from bad weather.
Commonly carports, fences, pergolas, and other structures bridge the gap between the roof and ground allowing rodents access to the roof space. Decks and Trellis can also provide great shelter for cockroaches to live in and can often be damp underneath where house flies will bread in the soil and debris.
Trees and Shrubs
Look for trees and shrubs near or against the house, these are certain to increase the chance of cockroaches finding their way inside and will also bridge the gap between the ground and roof allowing rats easy access. Certain plants and trees are favoured food sources for ants and wasps in the summer leading to them find your home and property more inviting. Camellias, Boxus, Lemon trees, Yucca plants, Roses and many more can suffer from parasites like aphids and scale. The excretions from these parasites are packed with carbohydrates. These excretions then become the main food source for ants and wasps, the workers feed on it and collect it to feed the members of their colonies. When a food source is plentiful near a home, it makes that building a more attractive place for these pests to live.
Check out how your neighbours live and their type of property. If they have pests it increases your chances of inheriting those very same pests. A good place to start is the condition of their property. Long grass and overgrown plants create harbourage for pests. A house is covered in spider webs will mean a large source of spiders for you as well. Piles of old timber or tree branches make a great home for cockroaches. These cockroaches will travel far when looking for a mate or new home. Be sure to check the condition of the house for potential pest access the same way you have for your own.
Rivers and streams make an environment more liveable and appealing to pests, not just for drinking water but because they attract many different forms of life adding to the buffet of food sources available, especially so for rodents. Anywhere at the water’s edge where the flow is minimal or stagnant mosquitos will breed and we all know they are hellish at the family BBQ on a nice summer evening. If neighbours have chickens or outside animals there is a very high chance of seeing rodents. Often there will be an abundance of chicken feed around creating an easy meal for rats and mice.
Is your home attached to another home? If your home is a duplex style unit and your neighbour gets pests it will almost guarantee that your home will share that pest. This is especially true for ants; White footed ants live in structural cavities and use the same cavities for fast safe access to food sources. They will commonly travel between units living in one and feeding in the other. Mice can do the same. Even when there is a block firewall between the units there can be ways for mice and sometimes rats to travel from one to the other. I have seen instances where holes have been made in firewalls to pass cables through allowing rodents internal access in the roof cavity between the two units. The filth species known as German cockroaches which normally infest kitchens, have also been knowing to travel from one unit to another through the walls.
The property next door may be a farm. Homes close to farmland often suffer from higher fly numbers in summer, part of the cluster fly life cycle is spent inside several species of earthworm and with all the wide-open grass land that farms offer there comes a great number of earth worms leading to greater numbers of cluster flies.