Killem Pest Blog

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


Snake in the Grass

Killem Pest Profile: The 6 Common Snakes in Singapore

A major part of Singapore is occupied by skyscrapers and buildings, turning the landscape to a concrete jungle. The consequences of this urbanisation means animals are affected as they are forced to retreat to more natural habitats, which are still in close proximity to houses and buildings.

From time to time, snakes may pay visits to residential areas and public places. Although they are creatures to be feared and are disliked by many, it is still important to be educated about them if ever faced with a snake on your path.

A snake is a reptile without limbs that has features such as a short tail, jaws capable of extending itself considerably, unmoving eyelids and some with venom and fangs. There are exceptions to these as certain snakes have limbs and some snakes are non-venomous.

The differences between venomous and non-venomous snakes may not be very obvious but it is important that people are aware of the dangers of these snakes.

There have been many species encountered in Singapore but there are 6 common snakes to be highlighted. Some of these snakes can be dangerous and professional help should be sought if they need to be removed.

Banded Krait

Snake - Banded Krait

Scientific Name: Bungarus Fasciatus
Venom: Yes
Food: Other snakes mostly, rodents, cats, lizards and fish
Active Time: Nocturnal, active at night
Habitat: Rodent holes, termite mounds and places close to water

One of the more prominently patterned snakes, the Banded Krait is stripped in black and white from head to tail. It has a mostly black head and a body with a triangular cross section. This is one that can be spotted from a far and should not be approached as it is venomous and may bite if threatened.

They are normally active at night, where they hunt for their prey. They feed on other snakes especially, even the venomous ones, as well as rodents, cats, lizards and fishes to name a few. Based on their eating habits, they can be found in forested areas near rodent holes, termite mounds and places close to water.

Banded Malayan Coral Snake

Snakes - Banded Malayan Coral Snake

Scientific Name: Calliophis intestinalis
Venom: Yes
Food: Other snakes
Active Time: Nocturnal, active at night
Habitat: Forests, parks and gardens

The Banded Malayan Coral Snake, also known as the Calliophis Intestinalis, is a venomous snake. It can grow up to 50cm in length and can be distinguished from the reddish stripe along the length on the top side of the body and the bright red tail. On the underside, however, it has contrasting stripes of black and white that it flips to and portrays when threatened.

In Singapore, the chances of crossing this snake can be high if visits to parks and forested areas are frequent. They mainly eat other snakes and are known to eat even their young ones. They are active at night and therefore can be difficult to spot.

They may look small and attractive but their venom can be potent. It is best to stay away from them if sighted.

Black Spitting Cobra

Snakes - Black Spitting Cobra

Scientific Name: Naja Sumatrana
Venom: Yes
Food: Rodents and other amphibians
Active Time: Nocturnal, active at night
Habitat: Cooler places like shelters, drains and garden walls

The Naja Sumatrana, or also known as the Black Spitting Cobra, spits venom if it feels threatened at a closer distance, as the name suggests. It does so to aim its venom at the victim’s eyes. The eyes and areas surrounding it should be washed immediately to stop the spread of permanent damage the venom does to the tissues. If bitten, the venom can cause death.

They are normally black if not black with a slight blue tinge. They are known to be aggressive if provoked, erecting their hood, standing tall, hissing at their tormentor and finally spitting venom as a final resort. These should be considered as waning signs if this snake is encountered.

King Cobra

Snakes - King Cobra

Scientific Name: Ahaetulla Prasina
Venom: Yes
Food: Mostly other snakes, rodents and lizards
Active Time: Most active in the day time
Habitat: Forests, lowland areas to areas of high elevation

The King Cobra is known to be the largest venomous snake in the world. It is notoriously known throughout the world to be a dangerous snake that everyone fears. They can be extremely aggressive in other parts of the world though they are not as much in Singapore. If encountered, however, it is best to stay clear of its path and move away quickly as a bite and venom from this snake can be fatal.

This snake is generally big and its hood is distinctively bigger when spread fully. They can stand tall as high as six feet from the ground and project a hissing sound almost resembling a growl, to intimidate their tormentor.

They are of varying colours but are mainly in shades of light brown to dark brown and even black with a pale yellow underside. It has a set of large head shields that are not seen in most other snakes. All these features may give the snake a graceful look but it is in the least bit gentle if encountered.

It feeds on other snakes predominantly, not leaving the venomous ones either, as well as rodents and lizards. In Singapore, this snake was encountered fighting a Reticulated Python once and had to be removed by Killem’s Pest Control Operators. Professionals should be engaged in such cases as they have the proper equipment and are educated on how to safely remove such snakes.

Oriental Whip Snake

Snakes - Oriental Whip Snake

Scientific Name: Ahaetulla Prasina
Venom: Mild
Food: Birds, frogs and lizards
Active Time: Most active in the day time
Habitat: Forests, parks, residential areas with trees and amongst vegetation

Snakes may look vicious but not all of them are venomous. There are also some snakes that are venomous but the amount of toxin may not be sufficient to cause fatality in human.

This is a fairly small and lanky snake that is able to blend in with the vegetation due to its bright green coloured scales. They can grow up to a maximum of about two meters in length and can also vary in colours from light brown to bright green. They are usually seen amongst low hanging trees or tangled between vines in forested areas.

They may not seem like they can do much harm but they do in fact carry venom, though not enough to kill a human. Small birds, frogs and lizards usually fall prey to this snake. If encountered, do let this snake slide away as it prefers to avoid confrontation but if agitated, it may bite.

Reticulated Python

Snake - Reticulated Python

Scientific Name: Malayopython Reticulatus
Venom: No
Food: Small mammals, rodents and birds
Active Time: Active mostly at night
Habitat: Low land to highland, mangroves, forests and drain canals

One of the most widely known snakes, the Reticulated Python is the world’s longest snake at almost ten over meters being the longest. It has an unmistakable alternating, consistent, zigzag pattern of black, yellow, brown and white scales that is recognisable all over the world. This python has a head that is protracted outwards, longer than other snake species and has eyes that are dull orange with black slit-like pupils.

The way this snake hunts its prey is different as it constricts its prey, suffocating it before having it as a meal. This was the other species of snake that was in a battle with the King Cobra, mentioned earlier, constricting it as much as possible given the big disadvantage in size. It may not be venomous but it is still able to bite and suffocate its victim.

It has a diet of small mammals such as pigs, dears, rodents and birds. The pythons found in Singapore are comfortable inhabiting the urbanised areas such as the drains and canals.

They are able to adapt to changing environments but can still be found in forested areas. They are active at night but can be seen hunting even in the day time. The shear length and strength it renders to constrict its victim are indications that professionals should be called immediately once sighted.

Professional Snake Removal Services

Snakes can be dangerous but are sometimes a blessing in disguise, as mentioned in one of our previous posts… What Common Pests Are Found in Your Garden? where snakes were known to reduce rodent population in residential areas and gardens.

It is important to know the difference between the venomous and non-venomous snakes so that extra caution can be taken. Like most other creatures, they prefer to be unprovoked and are not confrontational.

The best way to stay clear of any unexpected attacks if encountered with a snake in your path would be to leave ample space between yourself and the snake as well as a clear exit route for the snake to slip away.

If you do come across any snakes in your residential area or in urban places, do call a professional immediately as they may pose a threat to others.

The Pest Control Operators (PCOs) at Killem are able to rescue, remove and capture snakes that are then released back into the wild, away from the urban landscape.

Proper equipment such as snake thongs, gloves of thick material, heavy duty boots, goggles, long sleeved shirt and pants should be used when handling a snake. Engaging a professional is always the safest option when it comes to handling snakes.


Killem Pest Profile: What you need to know about Cockroaches

Cockroaches are amongst the most repulsive of pests, yet they are also one of the of the most prevalent types of pests which can be found in homes, restaurants, shopping centres and commercial buildings.

What Types of Cockroaches are there?

There are four types of cockroaches in Singapore: American (Periplaneta americana), German (Blattella germánica), Australian (Periplaneta australasiae), and brown (Supella longipalpa).

  • The American cockroach is the largest breed, extending to 1.6 inches in length. They are reddish brown, have tri-segmented bodies, are winged, and have antennae on their heads.
  • The German cockroach is shorter, ranging from 1.1 to 1.6 inches in length. Various colors present themselves, going from a pale tan to black. Although it has wings on its back, it cannot fly. Another distinguishing characteristic is two dark lines that run from the base of the head to the beginning of the wings, looking like an equal (=) sign.
  • The Australian cockroach is 0.9-1.4 inches in length. A mask pattern of dark brown and yellow near its head is the most defining feature, and it is able to fly. Its primary diet consists of plants, though it is willing to eat food from kitchens as well.
  • Finally, the brown cockroach is the smallest of the four, growing to roughly 0.5 inches long. It is also a flier, and is recognizable because of its light brown color and two long, brown bands that wrap around its body.

cockroach

All cockroaches are indoor and outdoor pests, although the Australian cockroach prefers the outdoors. Three also prefer warm environments except for the brown cockroach, which likes dry spaces like cabinets.

Signs of Infestation

Cockroach infestations are messy. One sure sign of an infestation is finding cockroach droppings around the home. Nymphs (young cockroaches) will leave feces that are small and hard to detect, looking like pieces of black powder. Droppings from adults are larger and cylindrical.

Other signs are unpleasant odor and finding shell fragments underneath furniture or in hard to reach places. Because they are small, cockroaches can easily slip under floor mats, behind wallpaper, and through cracks in windows, doors, and walls. However, if they come in contact with liquid, they will leave a distinctive, greasy smear along a surface. Since they are nocturnal, seeing a cockroach during the day is another bad sign as it is evidence of an infestation.

In Singapore, cockroaches are commonly found in in kitchens (especially in sing drains and behind appliances) and bin chutes, since they prefer a dark and moist habitat.

What to do if you find a cockroach infestation?

If an infestation is detected, immediate action should be taken. Each breed of cockroach produces 100-200 young from one mating pair, and they reach sexual maturation within a matter of days. It is likely for cockroaches to multiply exponentially into the thousands. People in flats should contact their landlord and pest control providers immediately to prevent the spread of cockroaches to other homes. If in a house, a pest control provider should again be called.

Cockroaches carry many diseases in their feces and on their bodies. Gastroenteritis, typhoid fever, salmonella, listeria, cholera, leprosy, and dysentery can all be found in or on them, making it crucial for people suffering from an infestation to not touch them, their droppings, or any food that might have been contaminated.

How are cockroaches removed?

Our Pest Control Operators (PCOs) will use a variety of techniques to control populations depending on the location of the infestations. For example, in kitchens our PCOs would use gel bait or spraying, outdoors our PCOs would use spraying and fogging.

Cockroach Fogging

Killem Pest has also pioneered a technique of bin chute flush outs for condominiums to ensure that cockroaches do not enter the internal areas of the buildings from bin chutes. Gel bait is a type of toxic gel (targeted specifically at and toxic only to cockroaches) that is applied in cracks and crevices, which are areas cockroaches are attracted to. Cockroaches will feed on the gel bait, return to their nest, and die. When this happens, the other roaches will eat his body and become poisoned themselves, dying and repeating the cycle.

To get in touch with Killem about a cockroach problem, call us or please fill in the form on our cockroach removal page.


The Best Insect Museums in the World

Many people around the world are disgusted and repulsed by insects, but many others find them fascinating. Scientists and philanthropists established museums in different nations so people can learn about and understand them without having to interact with live specimens.

Perhaps the most notable feature of each organization is their continued emphasis on education and research to continue to enhance the world’s understanding of insects, which outnumber humans 200,000,000 to 1.

Nawa Insect Museum

Yasushi Nawa established the Nawa Insect Research Center in 1896, and the organization eventually developed the Nawa Insect Museum so the general public could enjoy their collection. It is located in Gifu, Japan and features an extensive collection of over 300,000 specimens from 12,000 different species.

Each exhibit of insects is organized by species and contains specimens from South America, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Each owner of the Insect Museum has been a member of the Nawa family, and continues to expand the collection using specimens from primarily hot climates.

The majority of the insects are beetles and butterflies, with additional exhibits featuring termites, moths, hornets, dragonflies, and several arachnids.

Nawa Insect Museum

Image source: http://www.japanvisitor.com/japan-museums/nawa-insect

Richard M. Bohart Museum of Entomology

The Bohart Museum of Entomology is one of the largest insect collections in the United States and is located on the campus of the University of California in Davis. There are more than seven million specimens in the museum’s collection, and it is used as a public attraction and center for undergraduate and graduate research.

Their specimens come from all over the world, and some of the most important collections available for viewing include: the world’s largest collection of tardigrade water bears; the Ferris-McKenzie scale insect collection; and the H. Tyler swallowtail butterflies. The museum curates travelling exhibits and also features children’s educational programs.

Bohart Entolology Museum

Image source: http://bohart.ucdavis.edu/news-and-events.html

Insect Science Museum

The Insect Science Museum of the Zhongzheng District in Taipei, Taiwan is perhaps the only comprehensive insect collection to be located at a high school. It was constructed in 1968 and opened to the public in 1971. Like many other museums, education was a priority of its development and it continues to perform numerous services for the community.

Teachers visit the Insect Science Museum to learn how to teach their students about insects and introduce the subject of entomology. It also shows the public many slides and educational films to teach their audiences about special insects and their crucial function in various ecosystems.

Finally, the museum sponsors competitions and academic research related to the insects, and continues to be a powerful feature in the academic community of Taiwan and the larger entomologic field.

Lyman Entomological Museum

The Lyman Entomological Museum houses a collection of over 2.8 million insects and arthropods subdivided into multiple groups based on type. It is a natural history museum in Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue in Quebec.

It is part of McGill University and is the largest university collection in Canada. Because Henry Lyman, the founder of the museum, was an avid lepidopterist, the museum hosts a fantastic butterfly collection with many exotic types.

It also possesses over 250,000 specimens of beetle with a large collection of West African scarabs and other species. The general public can visit the museum, and it also fosters intense academic study due to being attached to a college.

Lyman Entomological Museum-species-collection

Image source: https://lymanmuseum.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/why-so-many-specimens/

If you have a passion and interest in insects, you now know where to book your next holiday!


Entomology Insects Species Chart

What is Entomophobia?

Entomology

In our previous Interview with Leading Entomologist Dr How, Dr How had given us an introduction to the term ‘entomology’. To recap, entomology is the study of insects, though some people use it to colloquially refer to bugs of all kinds, including spiders. People who study insects are called entomologists. The word is based in Greek, where “entomon” means “insect” and “logia” means “the study of.”

It is an interesting field which often intersects with other academic disciplines, including genetics, physiology, biology, and chemistry.

At present, there are more than 1.3 million species of insect in the world, which makes up 2/3 of the planet’s entire population. Thanks to entomologists, humans understand many things about a type of creature which outnumbers them by a factor of several hundred.

Insect On Leaf

Entomophobia

However, while entomologists enjoy studying insects, many other people are repulsed by them. Worse still, there are some people in the world who suffer from entomophobia, or the intense fear of insects.

People with entomophobia have:

  • An irrational fear of insects and will often take great pains to avoid them.
  • Many sufferers will experience horrific anxiety and terror simply from seeing an insect or thinking about one.
  • It can also be subdivided into additional phobias like myrmecophobia (the fear of ants) and apiphobia (the fear of bees).

It is important to distinguish entomophobia from a general fear of bugs. Many people with entomophobia know that insects pose no real threat to them, but they still experience a persistent sense of anxiety around them.

There have been many cases of a sufferer thinking about an imaginary insect and being thrown into a panic attack. Often, sufferers will go out of their away to avoid encountering an insect: some will completely change their route to work if they see an ant, or will refuse to go outside at all.

Ultimately, the main characteristic of entomophobia is that the fear must be constant, irrational, and debilitating for the sufferer.

Insect Close Up

Exit Strategies

Thankfully, modern medicine and psychology have developed coping strategies for people who have entomophobia. One of the most common methods is systematic desensitization, where somebody slowly exposes themselves to their fear.

Some examples would be a person who looks at a photo of an insect one week. Next week, they work up the courage to touch the picture. A week later, they visit a zoo and watch the insect move around. Possibly the week after that, they could touch the insect and see it means them no harm.

Some people try to do this method themselves, but it is frequently recommended that a person receive help from a therapist so they do not try to do too much at once.

Another, less common, method that can be used is hypnosis. During hypnosis, a person is placed into a trancelike state by a trained professional. The hypnotist then talks to the patient to determine the source of their fear, and can begin to help them cope.

Often a hypnotist will start small by suggesting to their patient that they do not have a reason to be afraid of insects. They can then implant the thought that when the patient awakens, they will no longer have entomophobia. They will face their fears head on and will no longer be afraid. For this method to work, a person needs to believe in hypnosis, and it often takes many sessions.

Either way, patients can use both methods to help them overcome entomophobia, a real condition which can cause unnecessary strain on its sufferers.


How Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is used in the Pest Control Industry

The job of a Pest Control Officer (PCO) at times, involve more risk than one might assume. In their line of work, they are constantly exposed to chemicals and use equipment that require a certain level of skill to operate.

Though Killem Pest uses environmentally friendly and target pest specific pesticides that are not harmful to humans, proper health and safety measures still have to be adopted to protect our PCOs. The use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is one of the most important measures.

What is PPE?

It is important that all PCOs are equipped with a set of PPE as this protects individuals not only from pesticides but also from work place injuries. Pesticides can come in contact with the PCOs by entering through their eyes, mouth, and skin or by inhalation.

To limit the exposure of these substances, at Killem Pest, our PCOs are adorned with protective gear from head to toe. Its starts with a safety helmet, goggles, ear muffs, respiratory mask, safety gloves and safety boots. They are required to wear long sleeved shirts and trousers during their working hours. They may, from time to time, require additional protective gears depending on the scope of the job assigned. In some cases, our PCOs will be required to wear a bee suit, for protection or a safety harness, when working at height.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Infographic

Safety Helmet

(Prevents from head injuries due to falling objects and falls)

In an environment where chemicals, falling of unpredictable objects and impacts to the head come into existence, a safety helmet is mandatory. It prevents head injuries and should be worn at all times. During certain services, PCOs may be at places such as construction sites or places with perilous objects.

To maximise the efficacy of a safety helmet, it should be worn the right way. The headband within the safety helmet should be adjusted such that the helmet sits on each individual’s head perfectly. A chin strap should also be used to prevent the helmet from falling off the head.

PPE Helmet

Safety Goggles

(Protects the eyes and surrounding area from chemicals and unwanted particles)

Every PCO is exposed to pesticides, however little to no level of toxicity they contain. Pesticides are used in various ways, one of which is by using a sprayer or mister. In situations where pesticides have to be sprayed or dispersed, there is a risk of getting these pesticides in contact with the eyes.

Safety goggles prevent this and any other unwanted objects from coming into contact with the eyes and the areas surrounding them. They should be worn tight enough and adjusted to fit each individual perfectly.

PPE Goggles

Respiratory Mask

(Filters out unwanted particles and limits absorption of pesticide vapours and fumes)

Vital organs can be in risk of damage if the right equipment is not used to protect it. The lungs and the respiratory system are some of the important organs that will need protection in the line of work of a PCO. To limit the absorption of pesticide vapours, fumes and other unwanted particles, a respiratory mask should be worn.

Treatment methods such as fogging use petrol and diesel to function and produce fog. Fogging releases droplets smaller than a hair particle that only affects pests (and within a short range). The mask is however a necessary equipment for the applicators as they are in the closest proximity to the fog and are constantly exposed to the particles.

At Killem Pest, the half-mask respirators and filtration cartridges are issued to the PCOs. The half-masks offer protection and coverage of the nose, mouth and chin area. It is adjustable and has a cushioned fit so that it sits comfortably on the face. The filtration cartridges filter out unwanted particles in the air such that the wearer is able to breath in clean and fresh air. The half-masks also protect the wearer from ingestion of the pesticides.

PPE Mask

Ear muffs

(Noise absorbing pads that protect the ears from excessive noise and foreign objects)

Ear protection in the form of ear muffs is necessary because our PCOs may use equipment that produce high levels of noise as they are affixed with motors. Some of these include foggers, blowers and when carrying out construction soil treatment and drilling. Prolonged periods of exposure to loud noises can damage the ear drums.

Ear muffs should be worn tight enough that it sits comfortably around the top of the head with cushioned pads around the ear and head. The materials absorb the noise and cover the ear from unwanted particles entering. When used together with the safety helmet, the ear muffs are further protected from falling off the head.

PPE Ear Muffs

Long Sleeved Shirt and Trousers

(Acts as protection for the skin from pests, pesticides and injuries)

PCOs should always wear long sleeved shirts and trousers as they are prone to exposure of pesticides. When their job requires them to spray pesticide especially, wearing fully covered clothing can help with avoiding contact with the skin. They also help to keep pests from biting or attaching themselves to the skin. Pests such as cockroaches are quick to find ways to escape during extermination. To avoid contact with cockroaches, PCOs can tuck their pants into their safety boots and sleeves into their safety gloves such that no entity can find its way through the pants openings.

Sometimes the job requires our PCOs to be constantly exposed to the sun for long hours and wearing fully covered clothing helps keep exposure to a minimum. Treatments such as fogging also releases fog that is of oil-based particles and can distribute itself onto the applicator’s skin. In very rare cases, the fogger can explode or catch fire. The long sleeves and trousers in such cases act as a layer of protection from burns.

Safety Gloves

(Protects the hands from pesticide contact and injuries from equipment)

Machines or other equipment are usually used during pest control services but the hands should be protected as there are still risks of contact with pesticides. Especially when preparing chemicals during services, safety gloves should be worn to limit the exposure to pesticides. Safety gloves also act as protection against injuries when handling equipment. The use of gloves can be maximised by tucking in the openings into the shirt sleeves as this will leave little to no gap for pests or pesticides to enter.

PPE Gloves

Safety Boots

(Protects the feet from pesticide spills, falling objects and punctures from below)

This is one of the most essential PPE that all PCOs should have and wear at all times. Safety boots not only protect the feet from falling objects but also protect the sole of the feet from punctures from below. Pesticides are often sprayed and in such cases, limiting the exposure or protection from spills can be achieved by wearing ankle high safety boots.

PCOs are inevitably exposed to pesticides, different equipment and at times, dangerous environments such as construction sites or work at height. Though they can be careful when performing their duties, the best prevention would be to be in their PPE, at all times.

PPE Boots


Can BedBugs Cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

In one of our previous posts, “Killem Pest Profile Series: What You Need to Know about Bed Bugs”, we looked bed bugs and how bed bug infestations can be treated. Did you know that bed bugs are capable of causing significant emotional and psychological harm to an individual? Read on to find out more.

What are Bedbugs?

Bedbugs are an extremely common pest which often infest places where many people come into contact with each other. They are known for roosting in the beds of homes, hotels, motels, hostels, cruise ships, and many other places, though they will often also live in other furniture and the walls.

They are small, brown, oval-shaped, and recognizable because of the sweet yet musty odor they produce. Full-grown males are larger than females, and range from 2.5mm to 4.5mm long. Humans frequently develop rashes from their bites, which can lead to greater problems like skin infections.

A bedbug

Bedbugs are parasitic and will feed on the blood of any animals they come in contact with. They are notoriously difficult to eliminate, and it is recommended that anyone facing an infestation call an exterminator to remove them all.

Bedbug bites

What is PTSD?

PTSD is the abbreviation for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a mental health condition that a person develops after a traumatic incident or event. Some of the symptoms include severe anxiety, nightmares, lashing out at others when stressed, excessive anger, or uncontrollable thoughts about the person’s source of stress.

One of the most common examples of PTSD is demonstrated by soldiers who returned home from catastrophic wars like WWII. Because of their constant stress and the terrifying nature of the events, many soldiers would suffer flashbacks or panic when they heard something that sounded like gunfire. For example, some former soldiers would tackle their family members and try to protect them because they heard popcorn popping and thought it was shellfire.

How are they related?

So, how is it possible for bedbugs and PTSD to be related? According to a recent psychological study, people dealing with bedbug infestations reported similar symptoms to people with PTSD. People reported severe anxiety, traumatic flashbacks to finding the bugs in their homes, and fitful slumber often characterized by nightmares. The mental health of the people faced with bedbugs was unknown prior to the infestation, but up to 81% in one study experienced similar symptoms to PTSD sufferers.

Human Fear

But what can people do about this high source of stress? There are a few options available, but the three greatest ones are therapy, educating oneself about bedbugs and realizing they do not mean a person is dirty, and regular pest control checkups to ensure they don’t return.

The first option may seem obvious, but is helpful. Speaking to a therapist helps people feel calmer and express their anxiety to a neutral outlet without fear of judgement. Proper education is related to this first option. The more people learn about bedbugs, the more they realize that the pests didn’t invade their home because a person is dirty. Instead, bedbugs are extremely common in cities and have been on the rise in recent decades due to the ease of travel.

One of the biggest causes of bedbug-induced PTSD is the lack of peace of mind. By having regular, thorough inspections, a person is able to see that there are no hidden bedbugs in their home and can start working on their symptoms of anxiety. It is recommended that people pursue this option in addition to counseling to help treat their nerves. Either way, there are many things a person can do to help them cope with bedbug-induced PTSD.

People who have experienced bedbug infestations in Singapore can contact Killem Pest, as we offer professional bedbug control in Singapore and can schedule regular inspections for you.