How to Get Rid of Midges

7 Tips on How to Get Rid of Midges

In this article we’ll discuss 7 ways of how to get rid of midges. Over many years, the presence of non-biting midge swarms at Bedok Reservoir and Pandan Reservoir have been recorded in July, August and September. This hot and rainy time of the year makes the environment conducive for their multiplication.

The insect is not a new guest to Singapore but the spike in their numbers has caused more problems to us than before. The appearance of non-biting midges is similar to that of mosquitoes. However, if you look closely, you will notice some distinctive features such as the absence of proboscis (needle-like sucking mouthparts) and the more slender and longer body present in midges.

As their name implies, non-biting midges do not bite. Also, they do not transmit diseases. They are nuisance pests because they often appear in large swarms and the encounter with them can be annoying to some people.

How to get rid of midges? It is almost impossible to eliminate them completely as they are part of nutrient rich aquatic habitats. Nonetheless, we can prevent or reduce their breeding habitats.

7 Tips of How to Get Rid of Midges

1. Use insect repellent

Repellents do not kill midges but can repel them from staying close to you. You may be concerned about the chemical laden repellents that would harm your skin. However, the recent release of natural insect repellents in the market using natural occurring substances such as tea tree or citronella oil perhaps can help to put this thought aside.

Although non-biting midges will not harm us, they may cause nuisance, ruin our perfect outdoor lunch or dinner, and disrupt our workout routine. Applying insect repellent on your body will be the best natural way of how to get rid of midges.

2. Keep doors and windows tightly closed or screened

Remind yourself to always keep doors and windows tightly closed to prevent midges from gaining access into your home. You can screen your windows with fine mesh and make sure the holes are small enough to block midges (body length: 5 to 8mm) from flying in.

Doors are the most susceptible entry points for flying midges. Make sure the doors or windows are closed during dusk and dawn as these are the most active time for both midges and Aedes mosquitoes. Curtains can be installed to lower the chance for midges from entering.

3. Minimize the use of bright lights

Insects such as bees, flying ants and flying termites are attracted to lights because they use light to navigate their flight or simply because of the warmth given off by the lights. Midges are highly attracted to bright light. It is advisable to use yellow light bulbs or dim light especially at the main door to keep midges away from your home.

Relocate the bright lights that are located at entrances to other places or tint the light bulbs to pink or orange colour. One of the most recommended ways to keep midges away from your home is to switch off the lights that are not in use or reduce the use of lights at your home exteriors.

4. Prevent stagnant or slow-flowing water

Like mosquitoes, the life cycle of midges involves aquatic and terrestrial stages. The larvae and pupae of midges are found in water bodies such as lakes, ponds, water reservoirs, as well as any other stagnant or slow-moving water. One of the locations where pests are commonly found at home revolves around plants and greenery.

Over-watering of plants often causes the formation of stagnant water on the soil and planter boxes. The nutrients in the soil further facilitate the growth and development of midges. Avoid over-watering plants and loosen the soil regularly to prevent the formation of ponding water.

Drains with slow-flowing water are also ideal breeding sites of midges. The immature stages are able to withstand the weak water current in the drain and are constantly supplied with nutrients required for development. We can make the environment less conducive by improving the flow of drain water through the removal of blockages.

5. Reduce the use of fertilizer

As discussed earlier, midges prefer to breed in nutrient rich habitats. Fertilizers are meant to promote the growth of healthy plants but they can also provide nutrients to other organisms found in the garden such as millipedes and insects. Excessive use of fertilizer causes fertilizer runoff in the soil to nearer ponds or streams, supplying the water bodies with ample nutrients which then contribute to the development of midges.

Proper use of fertilizer and nutrient management should be employed to reduce the potential breeding sources for midges. Remember to always check and fertilize your plants according to the guidelines and directions of use. This does not only help to reduce midge population but also promotes the growth of healthy plants.

6.  Biological approach (Bti/ mosquito dunk)

You might have heard of a mosquito dunk (donut-shaped larvicide that slowly dissolves and kills mosquitoes). It contains a bacterium known as Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) which infects the guts (stomach) of the larvae. Bti is an environmentally friendly control agent as it does not affect non-target organisms.

In that case, it is safe to use Bti in the presence of aquatic animals such as fish and it does not kill beneficial insects such as honey bees. Besides using mosquito dunks to treat mosquito breeding, it can also be used to control the populations of other aquatic insects including midges. You can place a mosquito dunk in potential breeding sites of midges such as ponds or gutters and the larvicide will slowly release the Bti to kill the larvae in the water bodies.

7. How to get rid of midges: Seek help from professional

The recommended measures discussed above prevent midges from disturbing your life. However, their presence is often inevitable in uncontrollable situations or specific environments. Adoption of permanent measures is strongly advised to address and eliminate the root cause of midges. To help combat this pesky pest, you may seek help from our expert team.


midges in Singapore

Are There Midges in Singapore?

Yes, there are midges in Singapore. They can cause a lot of problems. A patron of an eatery in Teban Gardens recounted her experience with midges in Singapore:

“It was a fine afternoon and I was sitting at the corner of a bustling eatery, trying to fill my stomach after a morning of hard work. Set lunch was the perfect choice for a hungry soul. However, when I was about to start the lunch break with a sip of soup, I found that a bug was taking a nice warm dip in the soup. ‘Maybe I’ll skip the soup and let you have it.’ I told myself, and the bug. I was about to dig in when a swarm of bugs invaded my personal space and turned my peaceful lunch break into a horrifying experience that I will never forget.”

You may hear similar stories from people who live or work near Pandan Reservoir where tiny insects known as midges give the residents and local authorities serious headaches. There are two main groups of midges in Singapore, namely biting midges and non-biting midges.

Biting midges are insects in the order Ceratopogonidae. They are more commonly known as sand flies and some call them “No-See-Ums”. Adult biting midges feed on blood so they leave painful bites on humans as well as other animals. On the other hand, as the name suggests, non-biting midges do not bite as the adults do not feed.

Habitat and Life Cycle

Non-biting midges are in the order Chironomidae which houses more than 10,000 species. Their life cycles are similar to that of mosquitoes and flies which undergo 4 developmental stages, namely egg, larval, pupal and adult stages.

Midges in Singapore can be found in stagnant or slow-flowing water bodies such as drains, ponds, lakes and water reservoir. Female midges lay eggs on water surface, in masses which contain up to 3000 eggs. After 2 to 3 days, the eggs sink to the bottom of water where they hatch into larvae. They feed on sediments and organic matters that are found at the bottom of the water.

The larvae of certain species are well-known as “bloodworms” which are used as bait or fish food. After 2 weeks of larval development, the midges spends 3 more days in the pupal stage before they emerge as adults. Adult midges do not feed and they spend the only 2 days of their lives entirely for mating and continuing the family line.

The high reproductive capability of midges causes a large number of eggs to be laid, and adults will emerge at the same time forming large swarms. Favourable conditions such as optimal temperature and the presence of ample food and breeding sites facilitate the emergence of large number of midges in Singapore during certain times of the year.

Mosquitoes vs Midges in Singapore

Midges are often mistaken as mosquitoes for their similar appearance. However, their differences can be recognised upon close examination. Firstly, as adult midges do not eat or drink, they do not possess proboscis. Proboscis is a needle-like mouthpart found on insects such as mosquitoes and butterflies that is used to suck liquids such as nectar and blood.

Another distinct physical appearance of midges is that their bodies are usually longer and more slender than that of mosquitoes. One of the most commonly found midges in Singapore has a distinct green coloured body. Unlike mosquitoes, midges do not transmit diseases and they are classified as nuisance pests.

How Do We Control Midges in Singapore?

Although non-biting midges are harmless and do not bite humans, a large number of them are a nuisance and can interfere with outdoor activities. It is almost impossible to eliminate them completely as they are part of nutrient rich aquatic habitats. However, tackling them using drastic measures are sufficient to control them under the threshold level. Controlling non-biting midges in Singapore can be divided into insecticidal, biological and physical controls.

The substantial number of non-biting midges present in Bedok and Pandan reservoirs of Singapore has led to the increase of fogging frequency to twice daily by PUB (Public Utilities Board). The reason for this is to target the most active time of non-biting midges in Singapore so that they will be interfered with the treated zone during their swarming activities.

Fogging is carried out as a “quick fix” solution to those flying adult non-biting midges. The chemical used is permethrin, which is certified and recognised by both WHO (World Health Organization) and NEA (National Environment Agency). Reservoir dykes, drains, and surrounding vegetation at Bedok and Pandan are the focal point for treatment as those are the breeding sources of midges in Singapore.

Biological approach of using Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) larvicide to kill midge larvae is another environmentally friendly practice used by the government of Singapore. Bti is a naturally occurring bacterium in soil that is capable of producing toxins which only specify in targeting the larva of aquatic insects.

Hence, it is safe as it does not pose any risk and toxicity to humans and animals. More importantly, water quality is not affected by Bti application. PUB of Singapore is doing well in applying and increasing the dosage of Bti to the bottom of the reservoir to prevent the larvae from hatching into the adult stage.

On the other hand, inspection and removal of breeding sources are also carried out to reduce the midge population. The method: physical removal of midge eggs floating on the surface of the reservoir. A 3 metres high netting has been placed along the edges of the reservoir to prevent the adult midges from being blown from the reservoirs to the residential areas (midges are weak fliers, easily blown by wind).

Furthermore, to attract adult midges from keeping within the reservoirs, strong spotlights at pumping stations of reservoirs remain on from 7am to 7pm. Recently, thousands of fish, guppies, mollies and swordtails, were introduced and released into Pandan Reservoir. The strategy is to target the pupae of midge, which act as the prey of those released fish.

Controlling the population of midges in Singapore is not an easy challenge but we are certainly taking it on. With more research and knowledge about the insects, we will be able to come up with new innovative measures to keep their populations under check.


Fly Traps: Are They Worth It?

Ever heard of fly traps? Do you want to know if they are worth having? Then it’s time to read on.

Do you know that house flies taste food with their feet? That is the reason why they keep on landing on your food while you are trying to enjoy your lunch. Flies are insects in the order Diptera which consists of various species. Examples of flies include house flies, blow flies, flesh flies, phorid flies, drain flies and fruit flies.

One of the most common fly species that can be found around us is the house fly. Besides being a nuisance, house flies are carriers of pathogens (bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites) so they are capable of spreading diseases such as dysentery, typhoid and cholera. For that reason, the population of flies and their activities should always be under control.

While the most important method in controlling flies lies in the identification and removal of breeding sources, other efforts are needed to reduce the number of adult flies. Another method of controlling adult flies is the chemical method. Spraying of residual chemicals on wall surfaces kills flies that land and rest on the wall. Besides spraying of chemicals, granular baits have also been used to control adult flies.

Trapping

In addition to chemical control, trapping is one of the physical methods that can be used to control the population of flies. Fly traps are effective weapons against flies. The fly traps that are available conventionally can be divided into two main types, namely food-baited traps and Ultra-Violet (UV) light traps.

Food-baited traps lure flies with baits made of food then trap the flies using containers or glue boards. On the other hand, UV light traps utilize the fact that flies are attracted to lights within the wavelength of 315 – 400nm (UV-A range). UV light traps work by attracting flies with ultraviolet radiation then trap them inside a container, on a sticky glue board or electrocute them using high voltage.

There are various types of fly traps available on the market. Some of them can be used by simply placing them at locations where flies are active, while some may require you to drill holes on the wall. Not only do they differ in terms of ease of use, they also come in different prices. That being the case, one might wonder: are they really worth it? Before we come to the conclusion, let us discuss some of the benefits of using fly traps.

1) Fly traps are target specific

Since fly traps are usually comprised of two basic elements: attractant and trap, the attractant can be chosen or formulated based on the type of flies that we are targeting. For instance, if you have problems with fruit flies, you will be able to find traps that have attractants that are specially formulated to attract fruit flies.

Besides that, UV light traps mainly target insects that are attracted to the UV light so other insects such as moth and beetles may sometimes be found in the traps. Compared to other methods such as aerosol spraying and residual spraying, fly traps do not affect other non-target organisms so this means that we can make sure that we and our pets are safe from the exposure of chemicals.

2) Fly traps help avoid contamination

Ungoverned exposure towards insecticides may put human health at risk. Fly traps not only can avoid contamination of food by insecticides but they also prevent the dead bodies of the flies from remaining in the environment. Fly traps hold trapped flies in captivity, preventing them from flying around to spread diseases and other problems.

However, one should refrain from using electric fly zappers in areas where food is exposed. This is because when flies come in contact with the zapper, the high voltage may cause their body to rupture and break into small pieces. The ruptured pieces may then be dispersed by the wind and may contaminate our food as the pieces land on the food.

3) Fly traps are more environmentally friendly compared to other control methods

As mentioned earlier, fly traps have little to no effect on the environment as they do not affect other organisms and do not cause contamination. One problem that the use of insecticides causes is that their residues may linger in the surroundings. If not properly handled, the residues can be harmful to the environment and other living organisms. In contrast, fly traps do not release any harmful substances and so they are more environmentally friendly.

Despite having all the benefits mentioned above, there are a few shortcomings of fly traps that we should be aware of.

1) Not all flies are impressed by the same fly trap

Fly traps are not designed or formulated to target all types of flies. For example, fruit flies are not attracted towards UV light traps and they need to be trapped using other attractant. There is no one-size-fits-all approach for the control of flies. With that in mind, we have to know what type of flies we are dealing with before we can strategize and solve the issue.

2) Treatment using fly traps is passive

Patience is a virtue. There is nothing much we can do after installing a fly trap besides waiting. We have to wait patiently for flies to visit the traps and be captured before we can remove them from the traps. If you are looking for a more proactive way to solve the problem or you just simply lack the patience, you might need to look for other alternatives.

3) The traps need to be serviced regularly

This is not a very serious issue but one needs to make some effort for the maintenance of fly traps. Once a trap captures a certain number of flies, they need to be cleared in order to be used again. The light bulb of UV light traps also needs to be checked regularly to make sure that the trap is functioning properly.

Are fly traps worth it? Well, I will leave the verdict to you. Nonetheless, they are among the most commonly utilized methods in the control of flies. Our experts can provide you with the solutions that are tailor-made for your flies’ problems.


Drywood Termites and Subterranean Termites

Drywood termites and subterranean termites are among the common most termite species. An infestation of termites can be destructive. In this article we discuss the signs and treatment methods of termite infestations.

Termites are classified under order Blattodea of which cockroaches are the other members of the order. Ants, on the other hand, are from order Hymenoptera which includes other insects such as bees, wasp and hornets.

Termites are eusocial insects which practice an advanced level of social organization. Unlike many other animals, termites practice division of labor and they live in colonies. Inside each colony, the individuals are divided into different castes, each having their unique duties to play in maintaining a proper functioning colony.

The Termite Society

In a termite colony, there are workers, soldiers, and reproductives which consist of the king, queen and alates. Termite workers are the ones responsible to find food for the other members of the colony so they are the culprits behind the damage we suffer from a termite infestation.

Their other responsibility includes maintaining the proper functioning of the nest, looking after the young ones as well as feeding the other members of the colony. The soldiers are responsible to guard the nest and protect it from intruders. The king and queen are involved in the reproduction of new offspring while alates are termites with wings that venture out to mate and establish a new colony.

Dampwood termites, drywood termites, or subterranean termites?

Termites can be divided into three types based on their behaviors and habitats.

Dampwood termites are termites that rely greatly on moisture to survive. They can be found in damp and decaying timber. Dampwood termites play an important role in the regulation of nutrient cycle in the natural ecosystem.

In contrast to dampwood termites, drywood termites are less dependent on moisture. They build their colonies in wooden structures and furniture and are able to glean water from the wooden materials to meet their needs.

The third type of termites is subterranean termites. Subterranean termites are dependent on moisture so they build their colonies underground or build mounds on soil to derive water from soil.

Among all the different types of termites, subterranean termites and drywood termites have more impacts to humans compared to dampwood termites. Subterranean termites and drywood termites are important urban pests because they can cause serious damages to human properties so they are given more attention by the pest control industry.

What are the signs of termite infestation in your house?

There are some tell-tale signs that indicate a termite infestation. Look out for the following signs of termite infestation to see whether your house is safe from termite infestation.

1) Wood powder near wooden structures or furniture

If you have been noticing fine, sawdust-like wood powder around your house, chances are your house might be infested by wood-boring insects such as wood-boring beetles or drywood termites. The wood powders are in fact the excretory wastes of the insects and they are also known as fecal pellets. The fecal pellets are found when drywood termites push out their feces out from the exit holes that can be found on the surface of the infested items.

2) Mud tubes

Mud tubes are tunnels constructed by subterranean termites to provide a sheltered pathway when they venture out of their nests to forage for food. They protect subterranean termites from desiccation as well as predators by isolating them from the external environment. The presence of mud tubes is an obvious sign of a subterranean termite infestation. When an active mud tube is disturbed, subterranean termite workers and soldiers can be observed.

3) Flying termites

Alates or swarmers are termites with wings. The wings enable them to fly out of their nests to mate. Subterranean termite swarms are larger and contain more individuals compared to that of drywood termites. Once an alate finds its “life partner”, they will settle down and establish a new colony. Termite swarms are one of the most obvious signs of termite infestations.

How to treat termite infestations?

What are some of the most effective treatment methods for termite infestations?

1) Baiting

As mentioned earlier, worker termites are the only ones in a termite colony that are able to forage for food. They feed and share their food with the other nest mates through a process known as trophallaxis. Baiting is used in the management of the subterranean termite infestations because it is able to eliminate the entire colony of subterranean termites. It involves feeding subterranean termites with baits that contains active ingredients that kills them. The entire colony collapses as baits are passed around the colony members, causing them to die.

2) Soil Treatment

To eliminate a subterranean termite colony, its nest, which is located underground, must be targeted. Soil treatment is usually done by injecting termiticides into the soil. Depending on the type of termiticide used, soil treatment is able to kill or repel termites that come into contact with the treated soil. Non-repellent termiticides are effective in eliminating subterranean termites while repellent termiticides create barriers that subterranean termites shun.

3) Treating the Infested Wood

Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites cannot be treated using baiting and soil treatment as their colonies are located inside the affected wood and not underground. Drywood termite colonies are usually smaller compared to that of subterranean termites and are found inside infested timbers. When treating an infested timber by soaking them in or injecting them with termiticide, you may get rid of the termite colony. The best way to prevent the spread of drywood termite infestation is by discarding the infested items or timbers.

Termite infestations are destructive so they must be taken seriously. While there are measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of termite infestations, early detection of termite activities and proper treatment methods will minimize the damages cause by termites.


Fumigation Treatment

Fumigation Treatment: All You Need to Know

Fumigation treatment – The never-ending battle between humans and pests has led to the rapid development of pest management services in Singapore. The wide-ranging pests and their nature of behaviour can interfere with human activities. The difficulties of controlling pests – due to the limitation on certain treatments’ application – has led us to using fumigation treatment to deal with severe pest issues.

Fumigation treatment in Singapore is usually carried out in the freight, shipping, storage and food manufacturing industries. All fumigators must apply for training and licence from the NEA (National Environmental Agency). Beyond that, pest management companies are also responsible for the application of fumigation permits before they are allowed to carry out fumigation treatments in Singapore.

Fumigants in Singapore

Fumigation treatment is a unique form of action for pest management. It is usually adopted by pest management companies and clients when there are no other feasible forms of control to the target pest. However, most fumigants such as hydrogen cyanide, methyl bromide and hydrogen phosphide are toxic to pests as well as humans. Nevertheless, fumigation treatment has effective killing effects and has become an inevitable pest management method in Singapore.

Mode of action of fumigation treatment

Fumigation treatment is a process of release or dispersal of toxic chemicals onto the targeted pests. It can be very fast as the volatile nature of fumigants is able to pass through inaccessible spaces. It has almost no limit to penetrate any object as long as tiny pores are present on the surface of the treated object.  In other words, the entire structure is secured with the fumigation treatment. The toxic chemicals enter the pest body mainly through its breathing system.

Target pests in fumigation treatment

In general, fumigation treatment is helpful in dealing with all types of pests including stored product pests, wood borers, subterranean and drywood termites, bed bugs, cockroaches and even rats. It is often carried out in enclosed shipping containers, vessels and warehouses.

Fumigation on smaller structures such as infested wood and furniture is usually done for targeting drywood termites and wood borers. In this case, infested wood has to be removed and placed in an air-tight space to allow the proceeding of fumigation treatment.

Disadvantages of fumigation

One main disadvantage of using fumigation treatment is that there is no residual effect on the treated structure. Therefore, no residues remain in the treated spaces once the areas have been ventilated and cleaned properly. Hence, it does not help in protecting the treated structure from future pest infestations.

Since the knockdown effect of target pests depends on its respiration rate, low temperature of the treated environment may make the pest less susceptible. This is due to the fact that the lower the temperature of the surrounding, the lower the respiration rate of the pest.

Factors contributing to fumigation failure

Fumigation failures are common. It can be due to the improper application and pest resistance. In addition, inappropriate choice of fumigants and loss of fumigant through leakage in treated spaces can also affect the effectiveness of the treatment. Hence, a leak detector is sometimes utilized before the treatment.

Final note

Fumigation treatment, while seen to be effective because of its volatile and gaseous nature to target pests, can actually be harmful to human and pets. The excessive use and misuse of the fumigants not only pose harmful effects on human’s health but cause adverse effects on the treated commodity and property.

The use of it must be handled by trained and certified fumigators as they will have enough knowledge on its application and precaution steps before and after the treatment. Careful planning and application must be adopted before the treatment is carried out. The appropriate choice and use of fumigants are vital as it may cause fumigation failures and hazards to the environment.


cockroach infestation

Cockroach Infestation: What are the Signs and Prevention Methods?

There’s nothing worse than a cockroach infestation. Just think about it: what is the most terrifying insect you may see in your house? We believe most people would answer a cockroach! The cockroach is always described or depicted as a disgusting creature. Its existence often gives an indication of dirt or decay. The presence of it in food and beverage outlets poses health issues.  In fact, it is very rare to encounter someone who sees a cockroach as an adorable or lovable insect.

Most people who live in urban or city areas cannot withstand the existence of a cockroach infestation in their house. Some may even get depressed.  Indeed, controlling cockroaches requires knowledge and technique. Here we will look at the signs of a cockroach infestation before making treatment decision.

Signs of a cockroach infestation:

1. Unpleasant smell

Do cockroaches carry a smell? Yes! Scent from cockroaches is normally undetectable by humans. However, when it comes from a big cockroach infestation, the smell will be present. The smell is considered stinky for most people but when it comes to cockroaches, it carries important means!

2. Cockroach droppings

You may wonder how cockroach droppings look like? Well, the appearance of cockroach droppings resembles black pepper with a dark colour and cylindrical shape. Their droppings are usually gathered around the corners and edges of cabinets as those places are their common hiding areas and pathways.

3. Cockroach eggs (ootheca)

Cockroach droppings and egg cases

When it comes to comparing the size of droppings and eggs, their eggs are bigger and more obvious than their droppings. A scary fact is that one ootheca can incubate more than 20 cockroaches inside! Therefore, if you find an empty ootheca in your house, you may have to accept the fact that cockroaches have already built its family inside your home.

4. Shed skins

Cockroaches moult just like other insects. Moulting is a step in their growing process to reach the mature stage. Hence, if you see their skins shed inside your property, you must start taking controlled action against them.

The best way to prevent them from harbouring is keeping your house clean. Other aspects such as techniques of storing food and structural defects inside a property cannot be neglected.

Prevention tips:

1. Identify hiding places and entry points

Inspection is a critical step in controlling cockroach infestations. It would be best if you can carry out the inspection at night as cockroaches are nocturnal insects. Get yourself a torchlight and search for signs of their activities as mentioned above.

Furthermore, you should also check cracks or crevices and gaps formed around the utility lines or pipes to reduce potential entry points for cockroaches. You may use silicone-based caulk to seal those entry points.

2. Make the infested area less conducive

After the inspection, keep in mind to remove, vacuum or wipe areas where cockroach eggs (ootheca), droppings and their carcasses were found. Remember one egg case can harbour 20 cockroaches inside, so remove it before it hatches to prevent a cockroach infestation.

You might not believe that cockroaches eat their own or nestmates’ droppings. Female cockroach droppings were seen highly attractive to nymph. The droppings also release pheromone (chemical substance used to affect cockroach behaviour and physiology).

3. Eliminate food and water sources

The main necessities for cockroaches to thrive are food, water and housing. Removing all these available sources for them is the best way to prevent them from entering your property. Cockroaches are able to squeeze their bodies through a gap of only 2mm wide. Hence, make sure your food is properly sealed.

Stains, grease or food debris are other important food sources for them so we cannot forget to clean these up. In addition, some humid areas such as underneath the kitchen sink or refrigerator are potential nesting areas for cockroaches. So remember to inspect, clean and ventilate these areas to prevent a cockroach infestation.

4. Organize your stores

Cockroaches like to move and hide in cluttered areas, especially the areas packed with newspapers and cupboards as these materials act as their housing and food. Cockroaches are general feeders. So, it is normal for them to feed on paper if there are no alternative food sources for them. Always remind yourself to remove clutter in your home, keep things clean and tidy so that your home can be inspected regularly.

5. Seek professional help

It would be an exhausting task to deal with a major cockroach infestation. Fear of cockroaches is the first barrier that most people will face. To deal with them, you may need to have plenty of time to fight. However, this is almost impossible for most people.

The short life cycle and high reproductive potential of cockroaches even make the control effort difficult. Hence, it would be easier to hand over this task to pest control professionals as they are more familiar with your enemy and has the best technique to manage the pest.


How to Get Rid of Ants

7 Tips on How to Get Rid of Ants

How to get rid of ants – Waking up early in the morning to prepare a delightful breakfast for your loved ones is a sign of good start of the day. However, unpredictable threats often follow after our expectations. You might be familiar with the situation that a group of ants, the nuisance intruders, infested your well-prepared food when it was out of your sight. You might also face seeing carcasses of those intruders floating on the surface of your drinking water after a few minutes on the dining table. Well, if you have encountered any of the above situations, now is the time to read on and get rid of the trauma. In this article we answer the question and give tips on how to get rid of ants.

Ants are neither the disease vectors nor carriers. However, their presence can be traumatic as they may sting, bite or damage our home structures. Pustules and blisters may be formed following the sting of fire ants. Some ant species also transmit germs to humans.

Ants’ activity may still be present even though treatment actions had been done on it. It is most likely that improper control techniques were used by homeowners to deal with them without knowing their species, biology and behaviours. Here, we provide you the correct ways of how to get rid of ants.

How to get rid of ants

1.      Identify the entry point

Understanding how ants find their ways to invade our home is always the first step to curb them. The invasion of ants usually starts with the cracks and crevices in the wall, seam of walls, floors, ceilings, corners or windows, and gaps around the utility lines or pipes. We often pay less attention to these areas while they actually provide enough space for tiny ants to access into our homes. But it’s not too late for you to prevent them from entering! Giving you a task as a home protector, it is the time to start investigating any potential entry point in your home. You may use silicone-based caulk to seal if you find those entry points.

2.      Remove water leaks

It is common that we don’t realise the existence of water leaks in our homes. In this situation, ants can be beneficial to alert you that water leaks may be inside your property! Water is one of the main sources for ants to thrive on. Furthermore, they prefer to nest around moisture sources. Hence, if you find ants inside your home, you might want to start inspecting any leaky pipe or water source for them. Make sure you repair the leaky pipe as there is higher chance for them to coming back. If you want to know how to avoid or how to get rid of ants, this is an important part of it!

3.      Keep proper sanitation

Food is a must for all living creatures. Keeping your home tidy, especially the kitchen area, can help to quell their activities. Foster a good habit of tidiness by regular cleaning of your home not only to keep ants but other pests away as well. Counters, floors, table and kitchen appliances are usually their favourite forage areas. Sweep or wipe down these areas as to remove any crumbs of food and spills of juice that can serve as an attractive food source for them. In addition, remember to dispose your garbage and trash on a daily basis.

4.      Store food in airtight containers

Don’t be surprised if you find ants inside your stored food since they are so tiny that they can squeeze through any gap formed between objects. Hence, make sure you store your food in pest-proof or airtight containers. Furthermore, ripe fruits or other food sources like bottles of opened juice or wine should be stored in the refrigerator since there might be some sugar-based residues on the outer surface.

5.      Look out for the indoor potted plants

You might get frustrated by the reoccurrence of ants inside your house even though you have done the first four steps. Here is another tip for you – take note of the indoor potted plants! Plants need water to survive, same goes to ants too! Ants may have built their colony inside or around your indoor potted plants before you take precaution steps against them. Hence, carefully check around your indoor potted plants and look for the signs of ants’ activities. If you found them inside, you have to remove and replace the infested soil. Make sure to always remove accumulated water inside the drainage plate at the bottom of your plant pot as these can serve as the water source for them.

6.      Trim trees and keep shrubbery away from home’s exteriors

Keep in mind that ants usually come from the outside environment. Thus if you want to know how to get rid of ants, start outside. The reasons of their occurrence inside a house are always food, water and shelter. Therefore, preventive actions against them at your home’s exteriors cannot be neglected. Trimming tree branches away from touching the wall and roof of your house can help to reduce their entry.

7.      Get help from professional

Some species of ants are just too troublesome to be eradicated such as pharaoh’s ants and crazy ants. Somehow, we eliminate a species, while a few weeks or months later a secondary species of ants come out from the same treated spot. Hence, identifying the ant species is crucial as there are some ant species that cannot be treated with insecticide spray but specifically designated bait. From a young age, we may have the same concept that ants love sugar-based food. However, that is not always true! Some ants prefer to feed on oil-based food while some even prefer MSG-contained food (monosodium glutamate, a common flavour enhancer in food)! Don’t panic if you see them, keep calm and get help from our trained professionals to keep your home free from them!


How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

7 Tips on How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

How to get rid of bed bugs Bed bugs are small little insects that are capable of giving you sleepless nights while leaving behind itchy bites on your body. It takes 3 weeks for bed bugs to develop from eggs to adults. During their development, the immature stages (nymphs) must take a blood meal before they can grow to the next developmental stage.

In the past, bed bugs have been associated with poor living conditions but their infestations have spread like wild fire in cities around the globe. This phenomenon is contributed by the shift in pesticide usage globalisation. The thriving travel and tourism industry further promotes and increases the rate at which bed bugs are spread all over the world.

Bed bug infestation at home can be a nightmare but here are some things you can do to keep bed bugs away from you and your family members.

How to get rid of bed bugs?

1. Check Your Bed and Sofa

Bed bugs bite you without you noticing them. They do so when you are sound asleep, or even when you are sitting on the sofa enjoying your favorite movie. Check the gaps between cushions as well as the seams and zippers of the cushion covers to look for signs of bed bug infestation. If you see black spots at the corners and edges of the cushions or mattresses, you probably have bed bugs lurking around you. Inspecting your hotel room before unpacking your luggage can save you from the troubles of bed bug infestation.

2. Check Your Luggage

Do pay attention to your luggage when you come back from vacations to look out for any unwanted guests that secretly followed you back home. Bed bugs in an infested room may crawl into your suitcases and hitch a ride to their new home.

3. Wash and Dry with High Heat

Exposing bed bugs to a temperature higher than 60°C for 15 minutes will kill them. Washing or drying your mattress linen and clothes under high temperature kills the bed bugs. High temperature have been known to kill bed bugs effectively, therefore steamers that produce high temperature dry steam are used by professional pest control service providers as a greener and safer approach to eliminate bed bugs.

4. Be Mindful When Using Shared Laundry Services

Launderette and shared laundry services are convenient for people living far from home or people who do not do their laundry at home. However, the convenience does come with a price in which you will have to share the place where you wash your clothes with other people and even strangers. Although this seems to be not a problem to most people under most circumstances, there is a risk that you might pick up a bed bug infestation from the laundry.

5. Check secondhand furniture and clothes

Pre-loved items may seem like a good bargain but always be sure to check furniture, clothing and even stuffed toys for any bed bugs hiding inside those items. Bed bugs are able to survive without a blood meal for up to 4 months so it is possible for them to hang around even at items that have been left unattended.

6. Use Bed Bug-proof Encasement for Your Mattresses

Bed bug-proof encasements for mattresses are available in the market and they work well to keep bed bugs off your bed as long as you install them correctly. They trap existing bed bugs and prevent the infestation of newly introduced bed bugs by restricting their movements. With them, you will be able to sleep soundly without having to worry about bed bug bites.

7. How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs: Seek Help from the Professionals

Professional pest control managers are the best people you can look for to manage the bed bug infestation at your house. Professional pest control operators will conduct effective treatment after careful inspection. Conventional treatment methods for bed bug infestations include gassing and residual spraying method. Gassing delivers fast knockdown to the bed bugs and residual spraying chemical kills bed bugs that come into contact with the chemical after the treatment. This is important as the eggs of the bed bugs can usually survive the treatment so residual effect of the chemical kills the newly-hatched bed bugs.

Bed bug infestation is a growing concern around the world. If you have them, it is important to know how to get rid of bed bugs. It should be taken seriously as it can cause stress to the victims even though bed bugs do not transmit diseases. Since prevention is better than cure, being mindful in daily life can help to prevent a bed bugs infestation and keep them away from you.


mice

7 Tips to Keep Mice Away

While mice are portrayed as characters in many popular cartoons and movies, they are not as welcome in our house as on the big screen. Mice belong to the family Rodentia which houses many other animals such as rats, squirrels and hamsters. Among all rodents, mice and rats cause the most problems to the urban environment, thus making them an important urban pest.

Mice species

The most common species of rodent pests found in the urban environment are the house mouse (Mus musculus), roof rat (Rattus rattus) and Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus). The house mouse can be distinguished from the other two species through several characteristics. They are small (5 to 7 inches long) and are usually light brownish to grey in colour. Mice possess relatively large ears and small black eyes. They are relatively smaller in size when compared to rats.

These small critters need to be taken seriously, not only due to being a nuisance and or their ability to transmit diseases such as leptospirosis, but also because they can cause structural damages to buildings.

There are several things that you can do to keep them away from your house.

1. Inspect your house and its surrounding for signs of infestation

Droppings, gnaw marks and tracks are the most obvious indications of a mouse infestations. The droppings are small, usually less than 6.4mm. Similar to other rodents, mice practice gnawing behaviour to file down their teeth. They tend to chew on wooden structures and wires and this can cause serious structural damages as well as fire hazards.

2. Always make sure doors and windows are properly closed

We should always keep the doors of our house closed to prevent unwanted guests from entering. Windows should be shut whenever there is no one home so that you will not come back home to find “new tenants” in your house. Mice are agile climbers so they will have little problem climbing up the windows and making their way into your house.

3. Seal up all possible entry points of mice

Mice are so small and their bodies are so flexible that they are able to squeeze through openings that are as small as ¼ inches across. Besides closing all the doors and windows, other possible entry points should be sealed up to prevent them from entering the house. The possible entry points may be gaps around pipe work, holes on the roof or even the gap between doors and floor. All openings that may serve as entry points for mice should be sealed with materials that cannot be gnawed down by mice, for example cement and wire mesh that is smaller than ¼ inches to deny their access.

4. Keep all food airtight

A mouse will feed on whatever humans eat. By leaving your food uncovered, you are making your house vulnerable to the infestation of various pests such as mice, ants, flies and cockroaches. Make sure your food is properly stored to prevent not only pests but also germs.

5. Dispose of food wastes properly

Mice are not as picky as we are when it comes to food. They will be attracted to, and happily feed on, the food wastes we leave behind. Proper disposal of food wastes is important as it will make your house less favourable to them due to the lack of food sources. Always practice good waste management to keep the rubbish chute and bins in your house free of mice as these are the popular locations for mice to forage for food.

6. Get rid of possible nesting sites for mice

A house mouse nests in sheltered locations and construct their nests using shredded paper and other fibrous materials. If you recall the scenes from cartoons, the “house” of a mouse is always a hole or opening located at the bottom of a wooden wall. A mouse hole is one of the places where mice can be found because they are able to gnaw through wooden walls to construct their nests inside the hollow spaces behind the walls. By clearing all rubbish and sealing all holes or cracks around your house, you can prevent sharing your house with these sneaky critters.

7. Use traps

If your house is already infested with mice, traps can be deployed to remove them from your house. Some of the traps that can be used include snap traps, glue traps, cages and electrocution traps. Placement of traps is crucial to the success of the traps. Traps should be placed behind objects, in dark corners and at edges near walls because mice tend to move about touching the wall. Furthermore, attractants can be placed to increase the success rate of your traps.

In order to keep mice away from us, it is important to stay vigilant and be mindful towards the surrounding environment. Early detection of activities facilitates the prevention of infestation and management of their population.  Poor sanitation is always the cause of infestation so by practicing good sanitation practices, we will be able to keep mice away from us.


Handling Snakes in Singapore

Handling Snakes – Snakes have been frequently making the news in Singapore. Singapore is filled with green plants and colourful flowers; this landscape not only fascinates the public but also attracts a wide range of wildlife around the area. As a tropical country, it is not uncommon to encounter snakes in Singapore and urbanisation has forced them to live in close proximity to houses and buildings. The encounter with a snake can be a surprise, hence, it is important to be educated and to understand the basics of how to handle snakes.

It is easy for us to differentiate snakes from other wildlife, but most of us have little knowledge on their species, biology, behaviour and most importantly, whether they are venomous or not.

6 common snakes found in Singapore:

  • Banded Kraits (Bungarus Fasciatus), one of the venomous snakes that prey primarily on rodents, cats, lizards, and fish. This species is nocturnal and usually can be spotted near rodent holes, termite mounds and places close to water.
  • Banded Malayan Coral Snakes (Calliophis intestinalis), venomous snakes which are active at night and prey on other snake species. They are usually spotted at forests, parks and gardens.
  • Black Spitting Cobras (Naja sumatrana), spit venom when they feel threatened and they aim their venom at the victim’s eyes. They are also nocturnal species, feed on rodents and amphibians, and can be found in cooler places like shelters, drains and garden walls.cobra snake
  • King Cobras (Ophiophagus hannah), the largest venomous snakes in the world are very different compared to other venomous snakes. If encountered, it is best to stay clear of its path and move away quickly as a bite and venom from this snake can be fatal. King Cobras can be seen in forests or lowland areas to areas of high elevation.
  • Oriental Whip Snakes (Ahaetulla prasina), not all are venomous and the venomous ones will not result in death. Their venoms are not strong enough to kill a human. Small birds, frogs and lizards usually fall prey to this snake. This species can be found in forests, parks, residential areas with trees and amongst vegetation.
  • Reticulated Pythons (Malayopython reticulatus), non-venomous and active mostly at night from low land to highland, mangroves, forests and drain canals. Although they may not be venomous, they are still able to bite and suffocate their victim.

Handling snakes by Killem

Many agencies like Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) and Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) are dedicated to protecting and educating the community about wildlife. Killem is no stranger to wildlife and handling snakes, working closely with these agencies to ensure that these animals are handled with care and handed over to them. Our PCOs are kept updated on any changes and continually attend seminars like the Wildlife Handling Seminar organised by the Singapore Pest Management Association (SPMA).

Our PCOs are trained in using a variety of equipment to trapping and handling snakes safely and humanely. Snake tongs is a piece of equipment with a long pole which ensures a safe distance from the head of the snake. The controllable jaws at the end of the grabber help to lift or drag the snake away firmly and gently. Besides snake tongs, other ways snakes can be captured include using towels, bags, pillow cases and dustbins.

Venomous snakes require more caution when handling compared to non-venomous snakes as they differ in terms of movement and behaviour where the former moves its head before moving its body. From our experience, snakes should never be restrained at the head or by its tail. This is because these are their sensitive regions, restraining their head and tail can provoke their aggressive behaviour as they feel threatened. Restrained or temporarily captured venomous snakes should always be labelled, as some can spit venom up to 2m and even chew through the bags they are contained in.

What to do when you encounter a snake?

Snakes are not as terrifying as they seem. By knowing what to do when you encounter them, no harm will be done to you or the snakes. Always remind yourself to remain calm and do not panic when seeing a snake. Panicking may cause you to make the wrong decisions. The snake may be startled or provoked by your actions thus causing them to attack you. Snakes usually have no interest in humans as they usually prey on other small animals. It is likely for snakes to flee when they see humans, so you should also walk away from them if possible.

Handling snakes on your own is not a very good idea. Seeking help from professionals will be the right way. If you ever get bitten by a snake, it is important that you stay calm and seek immediate medical attention.  You might have probably seen someone sucking out snake venom from a victim in a movie scene. However, in the reality, it is almost impossible to suck the venom out as it spreads quickly and efficiently in the lymphatic system. The best thing to do in case you get bitten by snakes is to minimize movement and call a doctor or an ambulance immediately.