Pest Management News From PPM - May, 2016

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Australia’s Top Pests!

Australia has a reputation throughout the world for being the home to some of the planet’s worst creepy-crawlies. Here at PPM we deal with many different species of pests. What are some of the worst of the worst? Or perhaps the largest of the large? Here we provide a list of Australia’s top pests!

1) Most Deadliest Snake – Eastern Brown Snake



According to Australian Geographic, the land snake with the most potent venom in the world is the Inland Tiapan which can kill an adult human in 45mins. Fortunately for us however, these snakes are not very aggressive and are considered reclusive.

The most dangerous land snake to humans is the Eastern Brown Snake. While it’s venom is ranked second to the Inland Tiapan, the Eastern Brown snake is quite aggressive and can thrive in populated areas. Brown snakes are responsible for more deaths in Australia every year than any other snake.

2) Largest Spider – Eastern Tarantula


With leg spans measuring up to 22cm, the Eastern Tarantula is considered Australia’s largest spider. Its abdomen can measure up to 9cm.

Also known as Whistling Spiders, they produce a kind of hissing noise when they are provoked. Bites are not fatal to humans but can cause up to six hours of intense nausea. Their bites can be fatal to pets, however.

3) Most Destructive Termite – Giant Northern Termite


Not only is the Giant Northern Termite the most destructive termite species when it comes to houses, bridges and other construction, they are also a very dangerous agricultural pest due to the fact that they ringbark fruit trees, vegetable crops, and sugarcane. They have even been known to eat through electrical wiring and car and tractor tyres!

4) Largest Rodent – Water Rat


While Australia’s smallest rodent (the Delicate Mouse) might only measure five and a half centimeters from nose to the base of tail, the Water Rat, or Rakali, can measure up to 37 centimeters! It can also weigh well over a kilogram.

Not surprisingly, the Water Rat is usually found living near permanent bodies of fresh or brackish water and is one of only two amphibious mammals in Australia – the Platypus is, of course, the other.

Placing the Water Rat on our top 10 pests list is bit harsh as this native animal poses no problem to humans. In fact, some research has been conducted to see if the Water Rat could possibly help against the invasive Black Rat.

5) Most Hazardous Bird – Pigeon


First we pick on the Water Rat, now the poor old pigeon. Why you ask?

The common pigeon poses many hazards for humans and are often referred to as “rats with wings” by pest control experts. Birds, in general, can carry diseases and parasites but they usually have minimal interaction with humans. Pigeons, however, have successfully adapted to our urban environment and are in common contact with us, meaning they can spread these harmful organisms to us much more easily. Their droppings are also highly corrosive and as a result, can cause damage to buildings, monuments, gutters, drains, air-conditioning units, and other roof-top machinery.


6) Most Painful Insect Sting – Tarantula Hawk Wasp


Entomologist Justin Schmidt, having been stung by many of the planet’s insects, invented what is known as the Schmidt sting pain index. It rates the pain of insect stings from one to four. The only two insects rated a four in the world are the Bullet Ant, which fortunately only lives in Central and South America, and the Tarantula Hawk Wasp, which unfortunately, lives in Australia. Thankfully, these wasps are not aggressive and are more interested in attacking spiders than humans. They will generally only sting you if they are provoked.

7) Largest Cockroach – Giant Burrowing Cockroach


The Giant Burrowing Cockroach is not only Australia’s largest cockroach, it is the biggest in the world, measuring up to 7.5 centimeters in length and weighing as much as 30 grams. Like the Water Rat, however, these cockroaches do not pose an issue for humans. They live in Northern Queensland in open forests and have little interest in entering our homes.

8) Most Common Possum – Common Brushtail Possum


Are you hearing noises on your roof in the middle of the night? Most likely, you’re hearing a Common Brushtail Possum scurrying around up there. These possums have adapted very well to living in the urban environment and are common in our towns and cities. If you’ve got a possum problem this guy is probably the culprit. They are so adaptable in fact, that they have now become a pest in New Zealand where they were introduced back in the 1850s.

9) Longest Snake – Scrub Python


The largest native snake in Australia, the Scrub Python can grow to over eight meters in length and can weigh as much as 30 kilograms! The females are larger than the males, typically weighing 15 kilograms compared to the male’s five. The Scrub Python is non-venomous and eats birds, bats, rats, possums, or other small mammals although those growing larger than normal can manage to catch wallabies and cuscus.

10) Australia’s Deadliest Animal – The Drop Bear


Directly from the Australian Museum – “Bush walkers have been known to be ‘dropped on’ by drop bears, resulting in injury including mainly lacerations and occasionally bites. Most attacks are considered accidental and there are no reports of incidents being fatal.

There are some suggested folk remedies that are said to act as a repellent to Drop Bears, these include having forks in the hair or Vegemite or toothpaste spread behind the ears. There is no evidence to suggest that any such repellents work.”