Killem Pest Blog

Man In The Water

Natural Remedies for Insect Bites

Not everyone feels comfortable using certain insect bite medications because of their potentially harsh ingredients. For people suffering from insect bites but dissatisfied or uncomfortable with chemical solutions, there are natural remedies that can help soothe irritation and swelling. Some can also reduce redness and even repel pests like mosquitoes due to their scent.

So, what can someone do to stop uncomfortable sensations?

 

Smooth and Mild

One of the first available solutions is to mix baking powder with unscented body lotions. The baking powder reduces inflammation and redness while the lotion holds it in place. Anyone who has ever worked with baking powder knows that it refuses to stay in one location for long, so it is important to find a mild adhesive to help! The mixture can be left for ten minutes and then wiped away with a damp cloth. As it is mild, affected people can reapply the mixture as often as needed. A similar material is oatmeal, which can be mixed with water and then applied as a paste.

 

Soothing Aloe

Another potential remedy is aloe vera. This spiky plant produces a thick, sticky gel inside of its tendrils which can be scooped out and applied to insect bites, burns, and other forms of skin irritation. Its composition helps sooth bites and redness and contains a healthy amount of water and antioxidants. To this day, it is one of the only natural remedies which is also frequently used by doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and the beauty industry. Chances are that if someone has received a sunburn, they have used aloe vera. The same properties that calm these burns also help fight back against the irritation of insect bites.

Succulent

 

It Sticks With You

People who are not afraid to deal with stickiness can use common household items like toothpaste or honey. Mint toothpaste is especially potent because the mint cools the affected site and can numb pain and discomfort while reducing swelling and redness. Honey possesses antibacterial properties that can help prevent some common forms of skin irritation. The thick substance additionally helps stop itching and can keep children from scratching at insect bites. Both items can be bought from local grocery and general stores, making them quick remedies to a common problem.

 

Fragrant and Cooling

Finally, there are products with calming scents and properties. One method individuals can use is to develop a peppermint paste, which cools the inflamed and annoying site of an insect bite. Chickweed has a similar effect and can be found at many herbal stores. Another common natural remedy is the use of essential oils, which have gained popularity in recent years. Tea tree oil has been shown to be particularly effective because of its antiseptic properties, while lavender and peppermint have similar effects and a more nuanced smell. The only downside to these methods is that the scents can be irritating to people with sensitive noses or skin, so they might need to be diluted.

Essential Oils

Conclusion

Most of these natural remedies can be found at regular stores, and some are even used in pharmacies as common treatments. By using one of these solutions to insect bites, individuals can prevent potential further irritation from the bite and the chemicals in more processed materials like antihistamine creams. Nevertheless, if swelling and irritation persists after trying these home remedies, you should follow up with your GP to be prescribed the appropriate treatment.


Killem Pest Team

The History of Pest Control

As long as humans have been around, so have the pests that plague them. A history of how humans have battled pests throughout the years.

Pest Control in the BC Years

People have been developing methods to keep pests away from themselves and significant food sources since at least 2500 BC, when the first documented instances of pest management have been found.

In ancient Sumer, doctors developed methods of treating insect bites such as the application of sulfur to soothe irritation. Other cultures like the Greeks and Romans mandated certain times of the year when members of the population were required to go out and capture and kill as many locusts as possible to defend crops.

Pest control has also been around as long as agriculture. For many ancient farmers during the BC era, this could be as simple as planting extra seeds to try to accommodate for the amount of food that menaces like birds, beetles, and locusts would eat during any given year. By 1500 BC, they had learned to time the planting of crops to avoid pest reproductive cycles. In 300 BC, records were found of Chinese farmers who had noted when pests were likely to appear and had also adjusted their planting cycles.

Close Up Of A Tick

 

Before the 20th Century

While a lot of knowledge was lost during the early AD years, humans managed to build upon old pest control methods to develop increasingly intricate methods.

The Chinese introduced mites into ecosystems to handle more damaging pests; this action is one of the first written instances of humans using a predator to handle nuisance creatures. Asian farmers additionally learned by 400 AD that if they applied arsenic around the base and roots of their crops in rice paddies, they could prevent infestations that would damage the supply of the main staple food in the area.

When Asia entered the Middle Ages (476-1450 AD), people had learned that they could apply natural concoctions like lemon oil and wormwood to their skin to stop mosquitoes and mites from biting them.

Europe did not fare as well as other regions when it came to pest management. It wasn’t until the Renaissance (1300-1700 AD) that efficient pest control methods developed. One of the main reasons for this failure to create treatments was Christianity.

Many Europeans believed that pests and disease were a punishment sent from God and therefore refused to find ways to handle nuisances. After the Black Plague decimated 25% of the population during the 14th century, people began to kill rodents in an attempt to stop the spread of disease. By the 1800s, humans were using copper and nicotine on their crops and around their homes to kill pests.

 

Pesticides and Integrated Pest Management

The 19th and 20th centuries were the time of the pesticide.

Fogging

Humans began to realize that the use of chemicals was one of the most effective ways to stop pests from eating crops and spreading disease. Inorganic compounds became the popular choice for farmers and gardeners, and the span of the 1940s and 1950s became known as the “pesticide era” because of the plentiful number of products available. The number of pesticides increased by a factor of 50, and scientists began to bring them to developing countries to try solve pest problems like locusts and mosquitoes.

Many of these products contained DDT, a tasteless, colorless, and odorless chlorine-based pesticide. This product had been used extensively during WWII and trips to other nations to kill disease-carrying mosquitoes and continued to be people’s first choice against pests.

The World Health Organization additionally used DDT to curb malaria around the world, targeting areas in Asia where it was rampant. Unfortunately, it was soon discovered in the 1960s that DDT was highly toxic and caused numerous ecological problems, including birth defects, the sterility of animals, and death. Many countries around the world started to ban its use, including Singapore in 1984.

Following the age of pesticides came the era of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This practice combined numerous approaches to pest control to stop infestations before they started and develop healthy living environments. IPM encourages people to maintain clean buildings and seal away food and other resources that can attract pests. It advocates the use of pesticides and other harsh measures only as needed and focuses on controlling pest populations so humans no longer have to worry about the negative effects of pesticides and their toxic compounds.


Ants With Candy

Killem Pest Profile: Ants In Singapore

There are over 130 species of ants in Singapore as of 2018, with many coming from other regions of the planet due to increased trade.

Ants are social insects which form colonies which range in size from a couple dozen to over a million individual members. Most ant colonies possess a hierarchical structure where every individual possesses a job. It’s not uncommon for these pests to be divided between the queen, soldiers, and drones. Ants are true insects with three body segments: the head, abdomen, and thorax. They also possess six legs and identifiable antennae on their heads.

Ants are well-known for their division of labor and ability to solve complex problems. When they enter a property, it can be hard for the owners to kill them. Many species of these pests leave hormone trails so ants know where to go to find food. They can also identify unsafe spaces based on where the trails end. The older, more experienced drones will also train their younger counterparts how to find food and will lead them to resources through a process called tandem running.

In Singapore, it’s not uncommon to suffer an ant infestation due to the climate and number of species which frequently plague urban areas.

The 4 Most Common Singapore Ants

Close Up Of Ants

The four types of ants which homeowners in Singapore need to worry about are the ghost, pharaoh, carpenter, and crazy varieties. All of these pests will enter properties in search of food and resources. They might also find buildings attractive because they provide shelter from cooler weather and natural predators. When dealing with an infestation, people are most likely to encounter a colony of ghost ants.

Ghost ants

Ghost ants are also called sugar ants and favor moist environments. They are commonly found in kitchens in places like under the sink, in cabinets, or behind appliances like the refrigerator. This type favors sweet and sugary foods which possess the carbohydrates ghost ants need for their colonies and survival. Ghost ants are roughly 1.3 to 1.5 mm. long and are characterized by their dark heads and translucent bodies.

Pharaoh ants

Pharaoh ants are difficult for property owners to handle. These pests do not react well to pesticides. When sprayed, the ants will break up their colony and scatter to new locations, making them difficult to eliminate. Pharaoh ants will also bite when they feel threatened. They are 2 mm. long and feature queens who can live between 4 and 12 years. Each ant is recognizable because of its distinctive golden or yellow-brown color. They are nocturnal and like to eat oily or protein-rich food and will live anywhere that they can form a colony.

Carpenter ants

Carpenter ants derived their name from their habit of living in wooden structures and trees. They do not eat wood but will carve out an area for a colony with their mouths. Because of this trait, they are frequently mistaken for termites. Carpenter ants can be large, measuring up to 15 or 17 mm. in size. They are typically black and reddish-brown and enjoy eating honeydew and dead insects. Because they are attracted to moisture, people will find them in bathrooms, kitchens, and other frequently damp areas.

Crazy ants

Finally, there are crazy ants. Crazy ants have long legs and are typically black or dark red in color. Their name comes from one of their defensive techniques. When the colony is disturbed, they will scatter in all directions, making them difficult to kill. They can be 2 to 3 mm. in length and have long legs and antennae which give them a distinctive appearance. Crazy ants feed on all types of food but prefer sugary materials, so they will frequently live in the same region as ghost ants.

Signs of an Ant Infestation and Prevention

Ants In A Bowl

It can be difficult to tell if ants are on a property. The easiest ways to tell are to locate an ant nest near your home, usually made of dirt, or to see a live ant as it searches for food. The best method of handling ants is to prevent an infestation before it begins. Because they are attracted to buildings because of food, it’s important to clean up spills, crumbs, and messes.

All food packages should be kept sealed and excessive moisture should be wiped up. It’s also crucial to ensure ants do not have a way of entering a building. Sealing cracks around doorways, windows, and in the walls can close off potential entryways and keeping buildings safe from this pervasive pest.


Minimalist Dining Room

DIY Pest Control Methods

Do-it-yourself or DIY pest control is becoming more popular.

Pest control is the processing of managing nuisance bugs and animals that can spread disease, damage food, and overall be irritating for life. Sometimes people don’t want to contact a professional company for a minor problem. At other times, property owners might be interested in saving money by taking care of issues themselves. Whatever the reason might be, DIY pest control is rapidly becoming safer and easier for regular people.

Before using any method, it’s important to assess all of the potential risks involved in any treatment. Individuals should educate themselves about the chemicals used in products they purchase and any hazards associated with traps. People should remember to read all of the ingredients and follow directions precisely.

DIY pest control can be an easy process once the property owners who would like to try it research and know what they’re doing. Additionally, not all of the methods are dangerous. Some are common things that everyone can do to ensure they live in a pest free environment.

Below are some of the simplest and most efficient DIY pest control treatments.

Clean Up!

Clean Kitchen Table

One of the easiest DIY pest control methods is to keep a property clean.

The majority of insects and rodents are attracted to homes and businesses because they provide valuable resources. Sealing food containers, cleaning up spills, and closing any cracks in the walls or around doors and windows can help keep pests out.

Cleanliness is a significant part of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a method in the pest control industry which relies on a variety of factors to keep nuisance creatures in check. Before concoctions like pesticides or devices like traps are needed, pest management professionals will strive to develop plans to prevent infestations. One of the most significant steps is keeping an area clean and limiting a pest’s access to resources.

Improve Ventilation

Many pests like ants, rodents, and cockroaches are attracted to damp environments. They flock to basements, kitchens which are not properly cared for, bathrooms, and other locations.

One way property owners can stop an infestation before it begins is to ensure every area in a building is properly ventilated. Some methods of doing so are to open windows with screens and allow natural air inside, use dehumidifiers, and improve the structure’s overall ventilation system. Hard to reach areas such as basements should regularly have their humidity levels checked and people should never leave standing water inside of a property for long. This includes areas in and around sinks and bathrooms.

Traps and Sprays

Mouse Trap With Cheese

The most ubiquitous form of DIY pest control is the use of pesticides and mechanical traps.

Increased research into the inherent risks of the chemicals used in pesticides has allowed scientists to engineer versions which are safer for at home use. Many can be purchased at general and hardware stores. They contain ingredients like pyrethrins and permethrin, which kills pests like bed bugs, mosquitoes, and ants. It’s important to remember that these materials are also hazardous to humans and pets and should be sprayed away from other living creatures.

Traps can also be bought and come in many varieties. Rodent traps are the most well-known and include the traditional plastic and wooden varieties with a snapping metal wire that people are used to. Some other options include humane boxes which will lock a rat or mouse inside, so it can be released later.

Finally, there are glue traps. Glue traps used against rodents are considered inhumane, but people can also recognize them as flypaper. Both traps and pesticides can be used to great effect without requiring a property owner to call a professional pest control company.


Eiffel Tower

Famous Buildings With Pest Control Problems

Not even famous places are safe from pests. Sometimes creatures typically considered a nuisance are invited into the space. More often than not, though, pests invite themselves. Recent developments in environments across the globe make the areas where famous buildings are located more attractive to pests by providing resources and shelter.

Climate change is a large culprit because some regions have become warmer and more humid, providing ideal conditions for invasive insects. Below are some of the most famous buildings around the world and their struggles with pests.

Rat Worship

Temple Prayer

The prospect of 25,000 rats in a building is not an appetizing concept to many people, but that is the situation with the Karni Mata Temple in India. The temple was inspired by the story of Karni Mata, a man who was resurrected as a rat after drowning in a pool of water. People come from all across the country to feed and interact with the rats. The few white rats who live on the property are considered exceptionally holy and lucky, and encountering one is thought to be a blessing.

The Karni Mata Temple is located in Deshnoke and hasn’t seen a decline in visitors since its creation, even during disease outbreaks. Indeed, many people visit the location to be healed of their ailments. The primary inhabitants are black rats, which are common throughout the world. These rodents are not to be harmed by visitors or locals, and are given everything they need to survive and thrive in their environment.

Tourist Traps

Eiffel Tower

Unlike the Karni Mata Temple, there are many famous buildings where rats aren’t invited guests. The White House in the United States and the Eiffel Tower in France are two popular tourist destinations, significant cultural monuments, and two areas plagued by infestations of rats.

The White House is the presidential home for the U.S. and has recently filed hundreds of pest control requests to deal with a growing population of insects and rodents which have found their way into the stately manor. Rats have been sighted in the kitchen, outside of politicians’ and officials’ offices, and even in the infamous Situation Room.

Meanwhile, the Eiffel Tower has been forced to close several times over the last two years as the city of Paris struggles to manage a growing rodent threat. Paris is a massive city which has struggled with rats for many centuries. Due to the large population and the number of tourists who visit each year, the environment features all of the conditions rats need to thrive.

The Eiffel Tower is a popular destination for rodents because people leave behind food and drinks while the buildings and sewer system in the surrounding area provide adequate shelter. The government has increased the number of pest management services available, but results have been limited.

Climate Change for Termites

Scientists have noticed the effects of climate change for several decades, including its effects on local pest populations. As certain regions across the globe develop warmer, more humid climates, certain species are able to thrive.

In Korea, a shift in the standard temperature and humidity has resulted in the spread of termites. Termites only lived in a few areas of the peninsula, but they have now spread to almost every location. These pests create problems for numerous buildings, including ancient Korean temples constructed of wood.

Professionals discovered termite populations in several significant cultural locations like the Gyeongju Hyanggo. This temple is listed as one of South Korea’s cultural heritage sites and faces severe consequences if termite populations continue to grow.

Because many of the old temples are constructed entirely out of wood, termites can weaken the structure and possibly cause collapse. Pest control operatives trained dogs to recognize insect hormones and have been using them to regularly check the region for termites and other wood-dwelling insects. The Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea recognizes the termite problem and has dedicated increased time and resources to trying to preserve temples.


Empty spider web

Killem Pest Profile: Common Spiders in Singapore

Singapore is home to almost one hundred different species of spiders. The nation possesses a diverse range of biomes which provide different opportunities to arachnids.

Thankfully, some of the largest, most venomous, and intricately colored spiders will not be found in urban areas and instead live in densely forested regions. Property owners will still be likely to encounter other arachnids that can pose a threat to inhabitants and visitors to a location.

Spiders are not insects because they feature eight legs instead of six and have two body segments instead of three. The majority of spiders have eight eyes and all cannot hear. Instead, they have special hairs on their legs which detect movement in the environment around them.

Spiders are a form of arthropod characterized by their jointed legs, symmetrical bodies, and thick exoskeleton made of a material called chitin. Many people are scared of the appearance of spiders because of their unusual anatomy and how many possess fangs or pincers that deliver painful bites.

Almost all of these arachnids are venomous and will secrete digestive enzymes to break down their prey. None of the spiders in Singapore are known to have lethal bites and there have been few incidences of individuals being hospitalized.

3 Common Spiders in Singapore

Urban areas are frequently sprayed to keep the spider and other pest populations low. Properties with gardens or that are near protected areas are more likely to suffer from infestations, but the larger spiders are unlikely to invade. Some of the most commonly seen spiders around homes and businesses in Singapore are the Kidney Garden Spider, the Wolf Spider, and the Domestic Huntsman Spider.

Kidney Garden Spider

The Kidney Garden Spider lives in gardens and low bushes but can enter a property in search of food and other resources. Females can range in size from 6-9 mm. while males are 3-5 mm. This pest has a thick, round abdomen which is primarily white with black or dark brown markings. They are easy to identify because they have a dark, kidney-bean shaped mark on their backs.

Wolf Spider

Wolf Spiders can be anywhere between 10 and 35 mm. large and range in color from a dark yellow to tan to dark brown. These pests are primarily hunters and do not often build webs. Instead, they will search for prey and attack. Wolf Spiders possess three rows of eyes and have claws at the end of their legs to aid in their hunting. These are one of the most common invaders and will bite people and animals if they feel threatened.

Domestic Huntsman Spider

The Domestic Huntsman Spider have bodies which grow to be 3 cm. long with legs that are twice that size. They are a muddy brown with black around their faces. The females have a long horizontal white stripe across the front of their heads while the males have a pair of dark brown patches on the back. The Domestic Huntsman is a nocturnal creature and primarily feeds on cockroaches. If found on a property, they can indicate that there is another lurking pest problem.

 

Signs of a Spider Infestation and Prevention

Orange spider on web

Spiders will venture inside a property in search of food, to stay warm during cooler days, or to find a mate. One of the biggest warnings of an infestation is finding spider webs in the corner of rooms, which is a sign that the pest is making itself at home.

Besides this signal, there are very few signs of when spiders have entered a property. Most people will not realize there is an infestation until they see the pest themselves. Individuals need to be careful when dealing with spiders. Because they can venture inside during mating season, a person might not realize they have a problem until the young spiders have already left their mother’s egg sac and are roaming around.

One of the best ways to prevent an infestation is to keep the property clean. Spiders are attracted to areas which have other pests such as flies, cockroaches, and beetles. These pests are attracted to habitats with food, so a person can prevent spiders by making their home undesirable to other pests.

Cracks around doorframes windows, and in walls should be sealed to ensure spiders do not have a way in. Finally, since many types of spiders live in gardens and vegetation, it’s important to keep plants away from the house. People should make sure there is space between their gardens, shrubs, and compost piles and their homes or businesses so spiders have a harder time transitioning from the vegetation to the building.


Glass Office Building

Industry Inside: Pest Control for Offices & Commercial Buildings

You always want to make sure that your business is putting its best foot forward when it comes to the services you offer or the products you make. You want employees to be in a safe and clean environment, and you want any clients or customers that come to the property to be impressed with what you offer, rather than disgusted by the fact that you have a pest infestation. Recently, in the Singapore media there have been a number of cases of rodents running around shopping malls and rodent burrows found outside of commercial buildings. Such incidences can ruin reputations and bring about business downfalls.

Why Is Pest Control Important in Offices and Commercial Buildings?

Clean Meeting Room

You need to maintain a clean environment for your workspace. Having pests looks bad to your customers and clients, and you can be sure that your employees will not want to work in a location that is overrun with pests. It is unhealthy, and it has the potential to be dangerous. Whether it is flies, roaches, rats, or other types of pests, you need to take steps to have the problem handled as quickly and efficiently as you can. If you don’t, it can take a serious toll on your business.

By law, all government buildings in Singapore need to have regular pest control. This should also be practiced in all offices and commercial spaces. Proper pest control, and help from the professionals when needed, can ensure you have a clean and pest free environment.

What Is Good Housekeeping?

Singapore Skyscraper

Even though you might not realise it, there are plenty of reasons for pests to want to come into your office building. Sometimes, the employees might leave snacks on their desk that can draw the pests. There could be items in the pantry, the garbage cans, and other areas that will do the same. Proper housekeeping, which is simply making sure that there is no food left out and that everything is properly cleaned, can make a big difference.

Employees should be aware that they need to clean up their desks and areas where they eat, and that they should all make sure the pantry is clean and that any drink spills or food crumbs are promptly cleaned. In addition, a proper housekeeping staff that comes in and cleans, and that takes out the trash, can help to keep the pests under control. If you are lax in this, it is only a matter of time before the pests start to take root.

Pests can spread disease, and in the case of rodents, they can even cause damaging to the wiring in the building, and the wires to computers and other office equipment. You should always make sure you have a good pest control company that can come and examine your property and provide you with the extermination services that you need to have a clean and healthy environment. They can also provide exclusion services that will help to keep the pests from returning.


Strange Pest Control Stories_Introduction

Killem Encounters: Strange Pest Control Stories

The pest control industry has seen many developments in eradicating pests that carry deadly diseases and preventing further infestations. In Singapore, maintaining high standards of sanitation is important as this stops the spread of diseases and ensures that the health of its citizens is protected. The Singapore government is also uncompromising when the people’s health and safety are in question, making sure to educate the public with steps on preventing pest infestations and enforcing rules and regulations on individuals and business entities.

The importance is not lost on the people living in Singapore butsome may have taken extreme measures just to be sure. What follows is a series of events that have unfolded in the careers of Killem’s Pest Control Officers (PCOs) to be out of the ordinary, some even strange.

Encounter 1: The bird that wouldn’t fly (away)

In Singapore, common bird species such as the Sparrow and Mynah are less of a nuisance than rodents or cockroaches; nevertheless they may still be a pest and nuisance as they can feedon human food and their droppings are toxic. They can be found near food and beverage (F&B) establishments, especially open-air restaurants and hawker centres. When they do cause a problem however, it is best to call a professional. One such call was attended by Killem and it was rightfully dealt with.

The pest in question was a sparrow that had made a well-known fast food establishment its home for almost a year. Before Killem got involved, many methods were used to get the sparrow away from the premises. None of the methods proved to be successful. 50 glue boards and bird repellent had been placed by the previous pest control company, in the hopes of capturing the sparrow, but to no avail.

Killem’s PCOs had accessed the situation quickly and structured a solution based on previous experiences. Target pest specific pesticides were placed to capture the sparrow alive. In less than a month, the sparrow had been caught alive and the establishment free of potential hazards brought about by the sparrow. What still remains a question though is how the sparrow had escaped the countless glue boards with baits and the other PCO’s for a year.

Strange Pest Control Stories_Sparrow

Encounter 2: Unsettled Settlers| Pest Paranoia | Pest Phobia| Entomophobia: The Fear of Insects | Fear of Pests: On a Subconscious Level

Not everyone is fond of insects and other creatures that are considered as pests. In extreme cases, where people develop a fear of these pests or even subconsciously have an aversion to them, many avoid leaving their house or even believe that they constantly have pests crawling on them. Refer to our previous blog post on Entomophobia and Bed Bugs PTSD for more information on such conditions.

Understanding the needs and dilemmas of a client is as or even more important than the solution itself. Pests are dealt with by using equipment and pesticides based on past experience and knowledge. Clients, however, are a completely different case and one such client had given the PCOs at Killem a unique experience as well.

Strange Pest Control Stories_Stressed

An eye opening experience it was when one of Killem’s PCOs attended to a pest control service call engaged by an expatriate from South America who had just moved to Singapore. She had mentioned during her initial call to Killem that in her new home, she had already seen many cockroaches running around the house. When the PCOs arrived at the site, they were greeted at the premises with one dead American cockroach. Upon further investigation, they were unable to find any other cockroaches but carried out a precautionary treatment.

The client later mentioned that though the PCO was unable to find more cockroaches, she constantly felt as though giant cockroaches were chasing her with the intention of eating her alive. The client painted a very vivid picture to the PCO, one they claim they are still unable to forget.

Strange Pest Control Stories_Roach

Our clients’ well being is of utmost concern so our PCO reassured the client that there were no other cockroaches to be found and she could safely set aside her fears. They also made sure to ask if she knew someone in Singapore so that she had someone to talk to and if she had any further pest concerns, Killem would always try its best to address and deal with them.

Pest infestations have known to cause mental health issues, from paranoia to depression. It is best to treat such cases with as much importance as with a case of actual pest infestation.

Encounter 3: The Bed Bugs that Didn’t Bite

Most people know that bed bugs are notorious in causing very itchy bites. They prey on human blood and leave red bite marks on those sleeping on infested mattresses. For bed bugs to survive and reach maturity, they require a blood source. For more information on bed bugs, check out our bed bugs page and previous blog interviewing Dr How Yee Fatt who provided us with insights on bed bugs. So is it possible for someone to sleep on an infested bed and not get bitten?

The PCOs at Killem once came across a client who claimed that he was never once bitten by the bed bugs that infested his mattress. After taking one look at the said mattress, the PCOs thought otherwise.

Killem were tasked to perform general pest control services and inspection of a dormitory unit for foreign workers. The unit housed a few hundred people of different nationalities living under one roof, each with their own bed. Upon inspection of one of the beds, a PCO had found, what he believed were more than a hundred bed bugs all over the mattress. The person sleeping on the mattress was surprisingly also shocked at the revelation. The PCO began to question the person who slept on the bed, asking how he was able to sleep without being interrupted with bites or itches. The person simply replied that he was never once bitten by the bed bugs.

Bedbug Removal on Bed

This brought about some discussions among the roommates and our PCOs as to how someone can be unbitten and oblivious to bed bugs of that quantity. After further research undertaken by Killem, it turns out that it is possible that someone shows no signs of bed bug bites. If the person bitten has no allergic reaction, it is still extremely unlikely that someone sharing a mattress with 100 other bed bugs is not bitten at all.

Strange as it may seem or sound, pest problems should not be underestimated or mistaken to be a minor issue. They are best solved in the form of prevention methods even before they take form to be much more serious. At Killem, we take our PCOs, clients and what they have to say, seriously, even if they sound rather peculiar.


Condo Singapore

Industry Inside: Pest Control in Condominiums

Many condominiums in Singapore have full facilities, which means there are many different places for pests to roost such as swimming pools, BBQ pits and function rooms.

Swimming Pools

Swimming pools are attractive to pests because of the water and possible fungal growth. Midges are a common threat. A small bug that resembles a mosquito, midges lay their eggs in the water and live for a period of time in their aquatic habitat. They often emerge in large swarms, and can be hard to detect until they start to fly. Chemicals should not be used to remove them as they are also poisonous to the people who would swim in the pool.

Instead, condominiums should practice proper pool maintenance. A pool skimmer should be used to clean the top and remove any bugs or larvae. Chlorine should be added on a balanced schedule, and filters should be activated and cleaned regularly.

Swimming Pool Singapore

Gyms and BBQ Pits

Other parts in the condominiums where pests can manifest are the gym and BBQ pits. Gyms, already ripe with bacteria and damp from sweat, have lots of hiding places for pests, especially in locker rooms and under mats. BBQ pits, where people make food and eat, can attract pests as well.

As with most places, proper sanitation and hygiene are crucial for keeping bugs and animals out. Residents should clean up any wrappers, crumbs, and leftovers they might have with them. Food should not be brought into the gymnasiums, and workers should clean the floors each night. Residents should keep their lockers clean.

If ants are a problem, the employees should spray ant hills and dispose of the chemicals properly. However, if there is an infestation, it is recommended that professional pest control providers such as Killem pest should be called to prevent further infestation.

Function Rooms

As with gyms and BBQ pits, the same rules to Function Rooms. Residents and employees should make sure any food is covered and properly stored or disposed so pests are not attracted to it. Crevices and entryways into buildings should be properly sealed and sprayed if pests continue to find their way in.

Residents, when going in public areas, should make sure their bags are clean and check for bugs if returning from a garden, long-grassed area, or woods. As with other places, if there are pipes through which water is transported, they should be checked for leaks and repaired as soon as possible.

Finally, the owners of the condominium should make sure these public areas are cleaned frequently by experienced staff who will scrub the rooms.

Condominiums are one of the most likely places to become infested because they are so populated. When people come into contact frequently, it is easier to spread communal pests. Disease spreads quickly, meaning pests should be removed as fast as possible. Due to the size of the buildings, there are lots of locations for them to live.

Pest control providers such as Killem Pest should be engaged at least on a monthly basis to ensure that condominiums are kept pest free. For more information on how we can help visit our residential pest control page.


Killem Pest Profile: An insight into Flies

The Treacherous Types

There are three main types of fly in Singapore: the regular housefly (Musca domestica), the bluebottle fly (chrysomya megacephala) and the flesh fly (boellcherisca peregrine).

The regular housefly goes through four life stages but is best known for its distinctive adult appearance. It is roughly 6mm to 7mm long with larger females than males. They have large, reddish-brown eyes with four black stripes along their abdomen and translucent wings.

The bluebottle fly is a type of blow fly characterized by the bright, metallic blue of its abdomen. It is roughly 10mm-14mm and has a grey head. The flesh fly has green and black stripes down its abdomen, large red eyes, and deposits live maggots as offspring rather than small white eggs.

All three of the flies undergo similar lifecycles. The regular housefly and the bluebottle fly begins as eggs before evolving into maggots, while the flesh fly will deposit maggots directly. All flies will leave their offspring on decaying organic matter like garbage, feces, or old meat. The offspring will thing feed on the material as maggots and pupae before becoming fully grown.

Fly Life Cycle

Adult bluebottle flies are great pollinators and eat nectar while helping flowers thrive. The housefly usually eats liquids or materials softened by its saliva, and can thus feed on many materials or human food sources. The flesh fly is known for eating decaying flesh and is usually found around meat. Many households and companies should take great care to keep meat covered to prevent contamination.

The Danger of Disease

Since flies travel to many areas and feed on a variety of materials, they carry numerous diseases. Contamination is a common threat because flies can carry bacteria on their bodies or deposit it by leaving their feces on food sources.

The regular housefly hosts a wide variety of illnesses: typhoid, cholera, dysentery, and viral hepatitis A and E. Bluebottle flies can carry typhoid, dysentery, anthrax, tuberculosis, and the bacteria which causes strep throat.

Finally, the flesh fly is known to carry the bacteria which causes leprosy, can cause parasitic myiasis, and has been known to give humans and animals blood poisoning. All flies can transmit E. coli and salmonella to people through food.

Fly Life Cycle

The Signs of a Swarm

In Singapore, because of regular pest control, we are fortunate that we do not experience fly swarms. Nevertheless, there are several steps people can take to stop flies from infesting. Windows and doors should be kept closed or have screens over them so flies can’t enter. Food should be covered, and spills should be cleaned up immediately so their scent doesn’t attract pests. People should also fully seal waste disposal containers and should clean up after their pets so flies do not feed off waste materials.

Fly infestations are common in residences and locations which stockpile or store food. One identifying feature is the presence of a large number of flies around trash sites, which indicates there are many of them in one location.

People might also notice dark spots around the ceiling or find maggots in enclosed spaces. Because they reproduce quickly and live in many places, they can be difficult to thoroughly eliminate. One of the most effective ways to remove them is by contacting licensed pest control providers such as Killem.

Our Pest Control Operators (PCOs) can install light traps which attract flies using energy saving bulbs. They also have the materials to perform thermal fogging and residual ULV misting. Many of our products have low toxicity and are environmentally friendly.

Our Fly control PCOs also know when flies are the most active, and are adept at treating all of the areas where they might reside. When in doubt, bring the professionals like Killem out!

Inspecting Light Trap