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


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.


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.


flies

Killem Pest Profile: An insight into Flies

The Treacherous Types

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

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

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

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

Fly Life Cycle

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

The Danger of Disease

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

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

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

Fly Life Cycle

The Signs of a Swarm

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

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

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

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

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

Inspecting Light Trap


common snakes in singapore

Killem Pest Profile: The 6 Common Snakes in Singapore

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

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

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

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

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

Banded Krait

Snake - Banded Krait

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

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

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

Banded Malayan Coral Snake

Snakes - Banded Malayan Coral Snake

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

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

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

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

Black Spitting Cobra

Snakes - Black Spitting Cobra

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

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

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

King Cobra

Snakes - King Cobra

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

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

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

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

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

Oriental Whip Snake

Snakes - Oriental Whip Snake

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

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

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

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

Reticulated Python

Snake - Reticulated Python

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

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

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

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

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

Professional Snake Removal Services

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

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

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

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

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

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


what you need to know about cockroaches

Killem Pest Profile: What You Need to Know About Cockroaches

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

What Types of Cockroaches are there?

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

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

cockroach

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

Signs of Infestation

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

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

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

What to do if you find a cockroach infestation?

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

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

How are cockroaches removed?

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

Cockroach Fogging

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

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


can bed bugs cause post traumatic stress disorder

Can Bed Bugs Cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

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

What are Bedbugs?

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

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

A bedbug

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

Bedbug bites

What is PTSD?

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

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

How are they related?

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

Human Fear

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

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

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

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


remove rats

Killem Pest Profile: How to Identify and Remove Rats and Mice

In the pest control industry, we use the term ‘rodent’ or ‘rodents’ to refer to both mice and rats. Rodents are becoming a rising concern in Singapore due to a very dense population and therefore an abundance of food and shelter that they can find.

The NEA has even set up a special task force to coordinate and monitor rodent control in Singapore. Below we take a look at the biology and behavior of rats and mice.

How to Identify Mice

Singapore has only nine native rodent species, but animals from other regions have invaded and constitute some major pests. One of the most common species is the house mouse. The average mouse weighs half an ounce and can range from 5.5 to 7.5 inches long.

They come in a variety of colors, ranging from white to brown to grey. Because of their size and natural predators, they have keen senses of smell, sight, and hearing, and are cautious around people.

Example of a Mice Infestation

They also make excellent escape artists, being able to squeeze through holes in the walls, slip under doors, and even climb into cabinets.

Part of what makes them a difficult pest to deal with is their reproductive capacity: one female mouse can have 5-10 litters every year, producing 5-6 offspring each time. In total, this means one pair of mice can have 25-60 children in 12 months.

Although they may appear small and fluffy, mice are not pleasant inside homes or work places. Their fecal matter contains the bacteria necessary to contract salmonella, and they can spread it to food through their feet.

While their diet primarily consists of grains, they will nibble on a wide variety of foods, making them common kitchen pests. Often living in basements, attics, and walls they sneak out from their dens when the homeowners are sleeping and inactive to search for food.

How to Identify Rats

Rats are often confused with mice but are considered a more serious threat. In Singapore, the most common types of rat are the Norway Rat and the Roof Rat. The Norway Rat weighs roughly 1.1 pounds and is usually brown or grey with a scaled tail and ears. They live in underground burrows to breed and often seek out the food sources that can be found in homes, restaurants, shopping centers and commercial buildings.

Their counterpart, the Roof Rat, is slightly smaller at 12 ounces and tends to be black or grey. They also live in underground burrows, but are adept climbers and can roost near roofs, giving them their name. Both rats are longer than mice and are prolific breeders, producing 32-84 offspring a year. Like mice, they are agile and can scurry, jump, hide, and climb through small spaces.

Example of a Rat

One of the key differences between a rat and a mouse are the scales present along rats’ ears and tails, as well as the longer body and higher weight. Rats also possess large teeth which they use to bite; their bites transmit diseases like rat bite fever. Salmonella from fecal matter is also a threat, and rats can host fleas, presenting another pest problem if left unchecked.

Signs of Rodent Infestation and Prevention

One of the first signs to look for is rodent droppings. These should never be touched as they are full of bacteria and can transmit viruses like Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). House mouse droppings are the smallest at one .25 inches with pointed ends.

The Roof Rat’s are also pointed, but are roughly .5 inches long. Finally, the Norway Rat has the largest feces at .75 inches with rounded ends, making them more distinguishable from the other two. If droppings are found in the home, there is likely a habitat nearby. Chew marks on food packaging and furniture is another sign of rodents, as is grease marks near cracks and holes, which indicate that rodents have been using them as entry points. If squeaks and rustling are heard in the walls, that is another hint.

Sanitation can help prevent mice and rats from infesting homes, restaurants, and other buildings, but it does not assure that problems won’t occur. To truly prevent rodents, buildings need to be designed and sealed so the pests cannot access food. Any food should be sealed in tight containers and kept high in cabinets or fridges. Walls should be properly caulked and holes should be filled immediately.

If these methods fail, calling an exterminator to set traps and find nests is the final and most effective option. Pest control providers can use glue boards which will trap the creatures on a sticky surface, snap traps, and rodenticides that will poison the rodents but are kept away from areas accessible by children and pets.

Killem has carved a niche for itself with our rodent maintenance and flush out programs. Do check our rodent pest control page for more information on rodent control.


strangest pest control stories

The Strangest Pest Control Stories Ever Heard

Strangest pest control stories – Believe it or not, the pest control industry can throw up some very bizarre stories and anecdotes.

With thousands of different species considered ‘pests’, there have been times in history where some more unconventional pests have cause problems for the local agriculture and ecosystems.

We profile some of the more unusual forms of pest control below:

Killer Snails in Miami

In 2011 the city of Miami, Florida in the United States was plagued by an outbreak of an invasive species: the giant African land snail.

Primarily outdoor pests, these snails are destructive and potential biohazards. They were able to eat every plant grown in Florida as well inhabitants’ walls. They also carried meningitis, the number of cases of which rose significantly.

As of today, the threat has mostly been eradicated with 157,000 snails captured. Because of their numbers, the only way to capture them was for workers wearing rubber gloves to scour the environment and capture the snails in buckets. Today, these same people use plastic bags.

Another control method used was a public information campaign which begged citizens to call a number and report any sightings.

Killer snails

Vineyard Guard Ducks

Crops are a golden target for many garden pests, including those in South Africa. Many varieties of pests eat valuable fields of food. The most common are armyworms, caterpillars, aphids, and species of beetle.

With manpower being so expensive, how do farmers maintain their livelihood? In South Africa, some vineyards and large agricultural sectors have turned to ducks.

Thousands of Indian Runner ducks are trained and cared for in large coops. At the start of each day, workers release them and direct them to designated fields. As time passes, the ducks disperse through the rows, guzzling up any bug that might be unfortunate enough to have tried to find a meal in the crops. Towards late afternoon, workers find the ducks and round them up. When the group is complete, the ducks are herded back into their shelter, where they sleep until morning and can roam the fields again.

Ducks for Pest Control

Pigeon Hunting Falcons

Pigeons come in two varieties: feral and domestic. In countries around the world, pigeons are a major problem in cities because of their tendencies to roost in high places, steal food, and leave messes behind.

In order to combat the large pigeon population in the United Arab Emirates, people have begun using trained falcons. Falcon training has a long history in Arab culture. Due to their excellent vision, they were often used by hunters to spot and kill small prey like mice and other rodents.

Nowadays, as the height and size of cities make it difficult to use traditional pigeon eradication measures, more and more businesses are drawn to falcons. Another reason for its popularity is because falcons hold a high position of status in Arab culture. Being able to afford falcons as laborers demonstrates a business’s wealth and success.

Pest Control Falcon

The Great Emu War

Not all pests are small. Australia took a long time to become populated by farmers during the early twentieth century because of a large and deadly pest: Emus. Emus are the largest living bird species in the world, growing to be between 5 and 6 feet tall. They can also run 30 mph, making them difficult to catch or escape from.

From 1929-1939, farmers in Australia were suffering from the Great Depression and having difficulty selling their wheat crops. Around this time was when 20,000 emus decided to establish their habitat in the farms, destroying crops and driving many farmers bankrupt.

Desperate, they contacted their government and military assistance came. One commander and two soldiers armed with machine guns tried to kill the emus, but the flocks scattered because of rain and the mission was unsuccessful.

A few months later, a second attempt with slightly more manpower occurred, with an estimated death toll of 986 birds. The overall pest control of the birds was unsuccessful. Many farmers were forced to fend for themselves or wait for wandering patrols to find their way to the farms.

Emu Pests

No pest or infestation is too strange for Killem to handle. Don’t be shy and feel free to contact us if something is bothering you and we will be sure to find a pest control solution that will work for you.