Wildlife in Singapore

How to Handle Wildlife in Singapore

Wildlife in Singapore – The landscape in Singapore is built and maintained such that wildlife co-exist with the people living around their habitat very closely. With limited living spaces, it is not uncommon to find a monitor lizard crawling near concrete buildings that are close to parks and woodland, or for wild boars to be seen crossing roads in quiet residential areas. There are signs in places like parks to ensure that people are warned of probable encounters with wildlife and to stop feeding or disturbing them. These animals forage beyond their homes, lurking near food sources left by people. They may not be the dangerous wild elephants or tigers found in other Asian countries, but wildlife in Singapore can become a threat if encounters are not handled appropriately.

Wildlife in Singapore: Protection and education

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, working closely with these agencies to ensure that these animals are handled with care and handed over to them. Killem’s Pest Control Officers (PCO) have many run-ins with wild snakes, monitor lizards and many other animals. They are competent in handling any situation, always ready with their protective equipment and abide by the law and acts pertaining to the wildlife in Singapore.

boar wildlife in singapore

Our PCOs are kept updated on any changes and continually attend seminars like the Wildlife Handling Seminar[1] organised by the Singapore Pest Management Association (SPMA) in June this year. Dr Abraham Mathew, who is a senior veterinarian and wildlife expert from WRS, conducted a meaningful seminar that was attended by 8 of Killem’s representatives. He was very wilful in sharing his thoughts and techniques on handling wildlife in Singapore to ensure the safety of both the people and especially the animals. It was an eye opener for many as we learned that animals are just as afraid of us as we are of them, finding ways to protect themselves in fear of harm. The ways in which people can protect themselves are as simple as moving away and placing space between animals and not making quick or sudden movements.

Wildlife in Singapore: Snakes

One of the more feared and underappreciated animals are snakes but Dr Abraham Mathew was able to place confidence in us with techniques and pointers at handling them. Like many, we were concerned of snake bites as Singapore is home to both venomous and non-venomous snakes. The non-venomous kinds leave a row of bite marks when bitten, evidence that they don’t have venom. Concern rises when it’s a venomous snake that has bitten where the snake leaves two fang punctures and starts to chew. Even though the venom is for digesting its food, people once bitten should get immediate help. Our PCOs realised how the situation can be handled without any stress with the right treatment of the animals.

Dr Abraham Mathew stressed the importance of the strength in gentleness when handling snakes and wildlife alike. It may seem like a daunting task to remain calm in the presence of a snake or when bitten by one but doing just that can help with the situation tremendously. The gentlest movements can put a hyperalert snake at ease to an extent it mistakes its handler’s hand for a tree branch. Proper restraining techniques and equipment should be used as total immobilization of animals or restricting movements will affect animals’ behaviour and activities.

Our PCOs have experience handling snakes[2] and thus are confident in using equipment like snake thongs when restraining them. Other ways snakes can be captured include using towels, bags, pillow cases and dustbins as makeshift snake containment enclosure. 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. Snakes should never be restrained at the head or by its sensitive tail. 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.

In addition to the presentations done by Dr Abraham Mathew, Mr Kalai Vanan Balakrishnan of ACRES enlightened the attendees on how the drainage structures all over Singapore act as passage ways for snakes and reptiles to move around and as habitation. From time to time, wild animals can cross our paths but to ensure they don’t venture too close to our living spaces, homes should be inspected for holes or gaps, sealing them shut.

Wildlife in Singapore: Policies

The Wild Animals and Birds Act (WABA)[3] was highlighted, and it was made clear that feeding wildlife in Singapore is illegal. Animals should not be accustomed to food handed from humans as this might alter their behaviour towards human, making them more aggressive. An endearing long-tailed macaque can become a hostile animal with just a flash of teeth from our smiles and laughs as what we assume as a harmless action is deduced as a sign of challenge for a monkey.

monkey wildlife in singapore

There were many concerns raised by the Wild Animals Legislation Review Committee (WALRC) formed by Member of parliament for Nee Soon GRC Louis Ng and consisting of various stakeholders from the pest control companies, religious organisations, town councils and nature community on the recent proposals for amendments[4] to the WABA. The WALRC has proposed as one of the amendments, for deployment of traps for all wildlife to be done only by qualified individuals. Animals such as wild boars have reportedly increased in sightings, indicating the ideal living conditions and increase in population. These bans in deploying traps can safe guard animals from illegal poaching and endangerment.

People have responded in favour of stronger penalties and protection for wildlife in Singapore through the discussions and surveys conducted by WALRC. The proposed amendments aim to fill any gaps in the WABA, protecting wildlife all the same, regardless of whether they are in protected national park areas or beyond.

Our PCOs are trained to refrain from unnecessary disruption to wildlife, respecting each being and handing over to the respective authorities when its beyond their means. Wildlife in Singapore, however small, will be a part of our living spaces from time to time. Killem aims to pursue more humane ways when handling wildlife and playing its part to ensure the safety of the public and not forgetting the animals.

[1] SPMA Wildlife Handling Seminar 2018

[2] Killem Pest Profile: The 6 Common Snakes in Singapore

[3] Wild Animals and Birds Act, Revised Edition 2000

[4] Channel News Asia, Strong support for tougher wildlife protection laws in Singapore: Survey


Predators as pest control method

Predators as a Pest Control Method

Predators – Pests can be difficult to deal with and sometimes people decide to fight fire with fire. Instead of relying on chemical repellents, humans have decided to return to a natural method: They introduce a predator into an environment in which it will eat pests.

Sometimes, this action works out great. In the majority of cases, however, the introduction of a foreign animal creates an invasive species. These creatures are animals who have entered a new environment where they themselves lack natural predators or weaknesses to help keep their population in check. Below are some of the best known examples of this form of pest control as well as the outcome of each decision.

 

Predators: Pets for Pests

There is evidence that animals like cats have lived alongside humans for almost 10,000 years. Cats are an excellent form of pest control because they eat nuisances like rats and mice. In medieval times, it was popular for cats to be used as mousers or to live in barns and granaries to stop pests from feasting on the local food supplies. During the Age of Discovery, felines were taken along on voyages and kept as shipcats to stop stowaway rodents from eating all of the supplies.

Other domesticated rodent killers were dogs and weasels. Many breeds of canine were trained to hunt mice, rats, groundhogs, and other creatures that could dig up gardens and crops. This subset of dogs are frequently known as terriers, although they are not used as regularly in modern times. Weasels are an older form of pest control which dates back to Ancient Europe, Rome, and Greece. Weasels were trained and kept around households as another form of rodent removal.

Indian Runner Ducks

Ducks are found around the world but haven’t been used as a form of pest control until recently. In South Africa, some farms and vineyards have trained Indian Runner Ducks to parade from their rooms each morning and enter the fields. The ducks spend all day eating insects, snails, and slugs that grow on the vines. These bugs feed on the leaves of the plants as well as the edible crops, posing a considerable problem for farmers. The ducks stop these pests while allowing the crops to grow. Alongside the ducks are other trained waterfowl, including geese.

Duck

The Cane Toad

The saga of the cane toads is perhaps the most well-known example of a predator used to fight pests. In the early 20th century, Australia was known for its sugar production and many farmers and scientists wanted to combat cane beetles, which were destroying crops. The Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations brought over cane toads from Hawaii and released over 100 of them in the wild. The toads reproduced rapidly and now number over 200 million across the continent.

Cane Toad

Unfortunately, the toads were not interested in the beetles and started to eat other native species instead. Because the cane toad naturally produces a toxin to defend against enemies, it has also started to kill other animals who try to ingest it. The situation with the cane toads constitutes an ecological emergency. Today, scientists have tried to come up with new pest control methods to control the invasive species. Some want to release sterile males in the environment to compete for resources, while others want to use a gene to change the females so they only produce males, limiting the population. Another method is releasing a virus which the toads are susceptible to, but this can harm native species.

This failed example of predators as pest control demonstrates some of the drawbacks of this method.


prevent mosquitoes

The Best Ways To Prevent Mosquitoes

Prevent Mosquitoes – Mosquitoes feed on humans and animals through an appendage called a proboscis, which pierces skin and allows the females of the species to find blood. These pests are not choosy about their victims. They feed on reptiles, amphibians, mammals, fish, and birds. Feeding leaves itchy, annoying bites on the flesh that can cause excessive irritation, infection, and the transfer of disease. Some common illnesses transferred by a mosquito bite include malaria yellow fever, the Zika virus, and Chikungunya.

Because of the potential risks, dangers, and all-around irritation of mosquitoes, it should be no surprise that humans have developed numerous methods to prevent mosquitoes.

They Live in the Water

One of the most natural and easiest ways to prevent mosquitoes from lurking is removing sources of standing water. Stagnant moisture is an attractive location for females to lay eggs. Their larvae live in the water until they have developed and prefer shallow pools less than two feet deep.

One of the quickest ways to prevent mosquitoes is to ensure that you have few water features that are not treated in some way. There are many chemical additives for pools and ponds that can make the liquid unpleasant to mosquitoes. People who are uncomfortable with chemicals can regularly remove organic material such as algae and can only install water features deeper than two feet and with steep sides.

Puddle Of Water On A Street

The Mist

The most effective method to keeping mosquitoes out of a property is the installation of a misting system. Misting systems are automated devices which regularly spray low-grade pesticides around a property. They can be installed on fences and will release pesticides during timed intervals or when the owner manually presses a button.

The misting systems release chemicals that contain pyrethrins and permethrin. Although effective, these systems can be dangerous. Pets and children who come into contact with the pesticides can be poisoned and face other serious health hazards. The mist will additionally kill other pests in the area, including beneficial ones like spiders and bees. These should be used with caution but are great for preventing mosquitoes.

Prevent Mosquitoes: A Spritz of Citrus

People who dislike using traditional repellents can invest in citronella spray. Citronella is a natural ingredient that has been used to fight and prevent mosquitoes since the 20th century, when it was used by the Indian army. Citronella repellent is formulated into a mixture that includes about 5% to 10% of the plant extract. This can be sprayed every two hours without causing skin irritation. It is also possible to purchase citronella candles which can be lit outdoors to protect gatherings. One downside of this method is that while its use can cause a 50% reduction in mosquito bites, it must be reused regularly to maintain protection.

Insect Repellent

Finally, individuals can prevent mosquitoes by using approved insect repellents. These repellents often contain a mixture of ingredients which are unpleasant or toxic to the pests. They can be sprayed on the skin, fabrics, and objects like backpacks to prevent bites. The majority of insect repellents use DEET or citronella oil in their formulation and can be reapplied every four hours. Many insect repellents remain effective after consistent use because mosquitoes have failed to become resistant to the natural ingredients. For people who need to be on the move, these are an effective solution.

Close Up Of A Fly

Conclusion

No one likes mosquito bites. The chances for irritation and disease are too high and cause many to worry about the flying menaces whenever they go outdoors. To help combat this pesky pest, it’s important to choose a method which suits an individual’s lifestyle and helps protect a person without endangering them further. These featured solutions can help keep people safe whenever they want to go outside.


ants in singapore

Killem Pest Profile: Ants In Singapore

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

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

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

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

The 4 Most Common Singapore Ants

Close Up Of Ants

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

Ghost ants

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

Pharaoh ants

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

Carpenter ants

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

Crazy ants

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

Signs of an Ant Infestation and Prevention

Ants In A Bowl

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

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


DIY Pest Control Methods

DIY Pest Control Methods

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

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

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

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

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

Clean Up!

Clean Kitchen Table

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

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

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

Improve Ventilation

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

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

Traps and Sprays

Mouse Trap With Cheese

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

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

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

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


spiders in singapore

Killem Pest Profile: Common Spiders in Singapore

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

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

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

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

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

3 Common Spiders in Singapore

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

Kidney Garden Spider

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

Wolf Spider

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

Domestic Huntsman Spider

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

 

Signs of a Spider Infestation and Prevention

Orange spider on web

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

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

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

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


pest control offices

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.


pest control stories

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.


pest control in condominiums

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.


entomophobia

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.