Rodent Pest Control in the Home

Getting rid of rodents around the home can be difficult but it is a necessary form of pest control. Mice can seem harmless but these rodents can carry diseases that can affect both humans and your other pets in the house. Leaving these pests in and around the home can cause your children or pets to become ill. These pesky rodents can eat your food, ruin the cleanliness of your home and contaminate areas by leaving urine, faeces and hair. Finally they carry horrible diseases like salmonella, gastroenteritis and dysentery and female rodents are capable reproducing very quickly and if you don’t have them removed from your house could be overrun.

Control

The first thing to do is to get a professional pest controller to inspect the house and measure the extent of the problem and identify the particular species that is in the house. They will also put together an eradication plan by tracking the entry points the rodents use to get into the house. These might include cracks and holes in screens, windows, roof vents and concrete bases. The most common treatment is to use rodent baits. These contain anti-coagulant, which cause the rat to die from internal bleeding. To avoid having dead rats in your house, traps and glue boards can be used alongside baits, making the removal of dead rodents easy afterwards. There is no easy way to get rid of these pests. Speaking to a professional will help the removal occur as cleanly as possible. Good sanitation practices will also help keep rats and mice out of the house. Leaving food and rubbish exposed will attract these rodents.

Shop around to find the most knowledgeable pest control expert you can for the cheapest price.

Thinking of starting a garden at home? Here are some steps and things to consider.

Decide on a theme or idea about the look and type of garden you wish to create. Would you appreciate a vegetable, herb or flower garden most? And what type of vegetables, herbs or flowers do you want to plant. Do you want flowers that need to be replanted each year or flowers that continue to grow year after year? These are just some things to consider when deciding on a direction for your garden.

The next stage is to pick a spot for the garden. Most flowers and vegetables need up to 6 hours of sunlight per day, so the location of your garden is important for plant life. A good tip is to put the garden somewhere it can’t be ignored, like outside the back door or by the bedroom window. This will stop it from being neglected and allow it to prosper.

Once you have a theme and location for your new garden, the next step is to clear the chosen area. The best way to do this is to dig out the top layer of grass and soil until there is fresh dark soil visible underneath. Then compost can be added to improve the quality of the soil and create a better environment for plants. You can also test your soil quality if you are worried that it might not be currently able to grow the plants you want.

When the top layer of grass or weeds is cleared and the soil is of a satisfactory quality, its time to plant! Try and avoid planting in the colder months during winter, as most plants don’t tolerate the cold too well. An easy method for beginners if your seeds are struggling is to buy young plants and just transfer them into your home garden, although some might call that cheating.

Once you have planted your seeds or young plants, it’s a matter of constant watering and sunlight. When the seeds are newly planted, water them everyday and then taper off once the plant begins to grow. The same process is the best for the transferring of young plants from a pot into your garden.

To keep water in the soil and stop weeds cover the soil in a layer of mulch. Keep watering when needed and getting rid of any visible weeds and you are well on your way to a fantastic garden.

“Good gardeners take care of their plants, remember to weed ‘em and reap.”

Energy Efficiency in the Home

With the cost of living constantly rising, saving money on your energy bill has become more important than ever. We have looked at some ways to minimize your energy bill and environmentally friendly innovations for the home.

Common tactics to minimize your energy bill in the home include, switching appliances, TV’s etc off at the wall, using energy efficient globes, using a power board and using lamps and spotlights.

Minimize energy use in the kitchen

– Thaw food in the fridge to reduce cooking time in the microwave or oven.
– Keep pots covered when using the stovetop to reduce cooking times. This is a very easy thing to do and can decrease cooking time dramatically
– Use an electric kettle for boiling water instead of the stove.

Washing

– Only run the washing machine on a full load and hang clothes on a clothesline rather than using a dryer. Dryers are extremely expensive to run.

The bathroom

– Installing water-saving showerheads and reducing your showers to less than 5 minutes will reduce hot water and energy use.
– Switch off any electrical devices that live in the bathroom to reduce power use.

In the Backyard

– Place sprinkler systems and lights on timers. This will save water and energy throughout the day.
– Use solar power for outside lights.
– Separate your lights so you can have them on individually, depending on which areas you want lit, instead of having multiple lights on at the same time.

Cooling and Heating

– Reduce heating by closing doors and windows.
– Using an electric blanket to heat a bed saves more energy than using a heater in the bathroom or bedroom.
– Clean your air conditioner to reduce the amount of energy the appliance needs.
– Also do not forget to turn your air conditioners off overnight!

With winter fast approaching and temperatures getting much colder, these energy saving methods could be extremely helpful so that families can remain warm without getting hit where it hurts, the back pocket.

Removal Of A Bee Infestation

There are a lot more common pests around the house than bees, but when a bee infestation strikes it’s not only a nuisance but can be very dangerous.

Most people experience a minor reaction such as localised pain and a small white spot around the sting. Around ten percent of people have a stronger reaction such as extreme redness or swelling over a number of days. A severe allergic reaction – anaphylaxis – occurs in approximately three percent of the population. This can be life-threatening and requires emergency treatment, so bee infestations in and around your home should be taken seriously.

One of the telltale signs of a bee problem is the smell. It has been described as a smell similar to the odour of garden mulch.

Bee infestation

A problem with bees is not just something that only happens to bee keepers,
it is a very real suburban problem in neighbourhoods across Australia.

Frequently bees decide to congregate and build hives in dark, dry
and sometimes tight little crevices around your home or office.

Bees like places that are not often used – like chimneys – and other extremely darkened areas where they can build their hives and reproduce.

Sometimes just finding the nest or hive to begin with is the toughest part of treating
a bee infestation. When the hive is well concealed the only evidence may be a large number of bees flying in a common area. If you can safely keep your distance without getting stung you will probably be able to see where bees are entering and exiting a wall or roof space.

Unfortunately you may not even realise you have a bee infestation problem requiring pest control until someone has
already been stung.

Signs of bee infestation

A strange smell or seeing more bees than
you normally would are usually the first signs of a bee problem.

The smell is similar to that of cut grass which has been left laying in the
sun, or a mild backyard mulch heap.

The backyard mulch heap smell is not pleasant to live with too close
to your home or your office and it usually means there are lots of bees very close by.

Some ways of checking an area for bees hives include:

  • Smoking them out, if you think there is a bee hive in your chimney you
    can simply slight a fire inside – but be careful to ensure the flue opening
    is closed in an open fire place so that the swarm of bees does not fly elsewhere
    in your house. If the hive is not in the chimney, light a piece
    of newspaper and place it just outside the area you think is infested. When
    the paper begins smoking put the flame out and standby;
  • A common supermarket brand surface spray can be used to test indoor and
    outdoor areas you suspect bees may be breeding. If you do spray, just don’t stand around waiting to see if the bees come out.
    If the infestation is small the bees may die inside the hole, but if the
    hive is large don’t want to be in the past of angry bees.

If you are allergic to bees you should definitely call in a professional pest controller to help you eradicate the problem. Even if you’re not allergic, if you cannot locate their hives or confidently remove the bee infestation yourself then it also time to get a bee removal expert in to do the job.

Types Of Cockroaches

Cockroaches come in many shapes, colours and sizes – in fact there are over 3,500 cockroach species around the world. In Australia there are four main types of cockroach. And whilst most people want to spend as little time as possible thinking about cockroaches, identifying which type of cockroach can help to eradicate this unhygienic pest. Every cockroach species has their own distinct set of characteristics to deal with and using the right types of pest control is important.

Cockroach species

The four main varieties of cockroach that you may have seen around your house and garden are the Australian, German, American and Oriental cockroaches.

Australian cockroaches

Australian cockroaches are a large winged species, which are brown in colour and measure about 3cm in length. They’re often mistaken for an American cockroach, but the Australian version is slightly smaller. It also has a yellow pattern on the thorax and similar streaks near the wings. Despite the name, this species originated in Asia and is common around the world in warmer climates including the southern United States. They can travel quickly and fit into small cracks and under doors, despite their fairly large size.

German cockroaches

German cockroaches are the most common variety found in homes. Once again despite their name this species of cockroach actually originated in Africa. A smaller species, they measure about 1.3cm to 1.6cm long and range from tan to almost black in colour, with two dark parallel streaks running from the head to the base of their wings. Although winged, they cannot fly. The German cockroach scavenges and is particularly attracted to starch, sugary foods, grease and meat.

The German cockroach multiplies extremely quickly – from a single female a home could be infested by 100,000 cockroaches by the end of one year. They are a difficult pest to control not only because of their rapid breeding, but also because surface treatments can often be ineffective against them as they stay hidden as immature insects.

American cockroaches

American cockroaches are another cockroach species introduced from Africa – estimated to have occurred in the 17th century. The American species is larger than the German cockroach and as such are easier to spot and exterminate. They are winged and prefer warmer climates, where they also can fly. They don’t reproduce as quickly as the German cockroaches, so they can be easier to eliminate. They’re the largest species of the common cockroach, growing to about 4cm in length and are reddish brown in colour, with a yellowish colouring on the body region behind the head.

Oriental cockroaches

Oriental cockroaches are about 1.6cm long, dark brown to black in colour and have wings. The female Oriental cockroach has very small wings whereas the male has longer wings. This species is also more attracted to light, prefers the outdoors and is often found in sewers, drains and in gardens. The Oriental cockroach moves more slowly than other species and prefer dark, moist places. They are often seen under mulch, leaf cover or other damp outside places

Protecting your home with pest bird control

Birds can add to the natural feel of a home and garden, but some may cause damage to your home if allowed to nest, roost or look for food. Australian native species such as cockatoos can cause immense damage to wooden structures of a home like decks, railings and frames. Using netting, spikes and other preventative measures can ensure that your home remains undamaged by birds.

Bird damage to homes

Pigeons, starlings and seagulls can cause damage to homes with their droppings. Rainwater tanks can also become contaminated via droppings on the roof. Starlings along with several other species such as blackbirds and swallows also love to nest in the eaves of your roof. This is not only unhygienic but can also cause mess and fouling from droppings.

Cockatoos, corellas and galahs can cause immense structural damage to your home simply by ripping the wood off in their powerful beaks. Many Australian families have put food and seeds out for these native birds, only to find that when they are away on holidays and no food is present that the birds start attacking the wood. It should be noted that because these are native birds they are protected. You should not attempt to trap, harm or kill them but should seek advice from your local council on how to control the problem.

Proofing against bird invasion

Following some simple guidelines should ensure that your home is not invaded by pest birds.

  • Close up the entry points to your home and gaps in your roof. Under roof tiles, the roof valley, drain pipes, chimneys and vents are all vulnerable to bird entry.
  • Bird wire and netting, pop riveting tin or aluminium sheets may be used to close gaps and secure any inviting entry points
  • Wire strung at about 10 – 20 cms above roosting can deter birds from sitting in usual spots
  • Bird spikes or other sharp objects can be attached to landing points to deter landing
  • Powders and sprays are available to guard against bird lice
  • Bird scarers can include visual scarers such as cut out cats, eyes, kites, balloons and wind propelled lightweight spinners. Objects that reflect sunlight scare birds that may be unfamiliar with the area. But birds quickly become acclimatized to such scarers when they realise that the objects are not alive.

Other bird control methods

There are other chemical deterrents, baiting and trapping methods which are used as part of bird pest control. Consulting a bird control professional is necessary as baiting and trapping needs to be carried out within certain legal guidelines and licences.

Bird problems in the home

Birds can cause damage to your home, may spread diseases such as bird mites and can foul your home and water supply. Easy preventative measures such as closing entry points, making roosting and landing areas unattractive and repelling birds with scarers and reflective items will safeguard your home without causing the birds any harm. By protecting your home you can enjoy it and the wildlife, knowing that each is safe from the other.

Types Of Ant Infestations

One of the most common pest problems for many homes in Australia is an ant infestation. We’ve all experienced coming home after a day out or a holiday and seeing a kitchen covered with ants. When the ant infestation isn’t as serious some people just leave a few ants wandering around their home. But this situation can escalate to dire proportions very quickly.

While ants are industrious and a useful part of the world’s ecosystem, you probably don’t want to share your home with them. Detecting the signs of an infestation is not difficult, and dealing with the problem effectively can be easier than dealing with many other species of insect pests.

Types of ant

There are three main types of insect which may be referred to as an ant in the context of pest infestations in the home.

The first type of ant and also the most benign, is the black ant species which forms lines across floors, benchtops, into cupboards and across other surfaces. These ants have usually discovered unsealed food sources such as bread, lollies or pet food. These trails are easily spotted and the ants often produce a distinctive sour acidic odour – especially when you squash them.

The second type are stinging ants such as fire ants or bull ants, and these should be treated with caution and eradicated by a professional pest control expert if found in your home. These ants can cause painful stings and can be dangerous especially to small children.

The third type of ant infestation are termites, or ‘white ants’, which are more concerning for the homeowner and can be devastating in their consequences. ‘White ants’ are the larvae of termites, and they eat wood, boring holes in the floors, walls and more commonly wooden foundations of your home.

Detecting an ant infestation

Black worker ants are easy to see. They are small, each only a few millimetres long, and form a pheromone trail to a food source. They usually live and work outside the home and when they come inside it is invariably for food.

Termites are trickier to detect before they cause damage and often considerable damage. If building a new home, consider preventative measures such as using concrete or treated foundations. Other materials are available to repel or keep termites out of timber areas. Your home should be regularly inspected by a qualified pest control professional. Most home building insurance policies will not cover against termite damage, so keeping termites at bay is vital in protecting what may be your largest asset.

Ant pest control: Treating an infestation

  • Termites should be dealt with by a pest control professional immediately
  • Black ant trails can be removed by scrubbing the entry points with soap and water. If the black ants persistently reappear in the home, the services of a pest controller may be the best option for eradication
  • Avoid enticing ants into your home by keeping all food stored, benchtops clean and pet food only offered at feeding times. Ants love open bowls of dry pet food
  • Bait may be laid for ants, in gel, liquid or solid form. Liquid forms are generally taken more easily. These are toxic, so take appropriate care especially with pets and small children around
  • Some natural forms of ant control include laying out cucumber peels or mint tea bags as these repel ants, setting cayenne pepper, citrus oil or cinnamon at entry points, and spraying ants with soapy water

Ant infestation in the home

While an infestation of ants may not be the worst pest problem for most houses, the problems can escalate quickly to the point where they are a very unpleasant nuisance. Ensuring that there is no food to attract them, and taking a few simple measures upon discovering them, can deal very effectively with this problem. If you have ongoing issues with black ants, consider getting quotes from pest control companies in your area, who will soon be able to put an end to your troubles. Termites should always be dealt with by professional pest controllers, and should be checked for via entry points to the home’s foundations regularly.

Wanted: Business Development Star!

Great things are happening at GimmeQuotes and it’s time for us to bring in the right people to help build the company. So if you’re interested in a really important role at a funded Sydney-based start up and you’ve got an awesome work ethic, then we could be welcoming you to the team very soon.

The Role: Business Development

Business Development is a succinct title, but the role is a lot more than that.

We have hundreds of service requests posted on GimmeQuotes each month – people wanting conveyancing services, fencing quotes or an electrician. We need to make sure that we have high quality businesses registered with us who can respond to the customer quickly and give them a quote.

That’s where you come in. We need someone who is confident, friendly and happy to talk to a lot of businesses on the phone. And it’s a great proposition that you’re calling with – we have a hot lead and we want a business to speak with the customer and get the job!

The first couple of leads are free for businesses, so you are simply inviting businesses to register with us and to potentially win some new business. If they like the system and want more leads they can pay down the track for future leads.

It’s not just reading from a script like a telemarketer – this is using your personality to build relationships with business owners. And after all, we have what businesses want – access to customers!

Learning And Discovery

In order to build the right business, we need to be continually learning from customers – both those who post jobs and the businesses we want to fulfill them. We need to know what’s working and what’s not working. We need to know where our offering is missing the mark or what opportunities may be out there based on the feedback we get.

That won’t be your responsibility alone, but it will be vital that you pay attention and learn from customers so you can give feedback to the founders.

If you want to read more about the role of Customer Development (which is what we’re looking for) over a traditional sales job (which this job isn’t) then read this great Steve Blank blog post. Especially the second half.

But Wait There’s More…

Because there’s always more to do in a start up. So while Business Development/Customer Development will be the focus there may be other marketing initiatives you’ll need to be involved with from time to time. So expect this to be a dynamic, varied and interesting role, where you know you’re a valued team member. As part of our shared office space you’ll get to meet lots of other start up businesses as well as successful start up people.

The Details

We’re based in Sydney, so you’ll need to be here. We’ll be working in the Sydney CBD until about July 2012. After which we may continue working there or we may move back to Norwest Business Park (Hills District) where we have worked before – but we’ll work that out in due course.

We’re looking for about 20 hours per week at the moment. We’re imagining that the role will fit in well with a uni schedule, where you come to work 3 or 4 days per week. Sometimes full days, sometimes part days.  But if you think you’re right for the job and more or less hours suits you, then get in contact and persuade us.

We’ve asked around and have an hourly rate in mind that we see as fair. But what we’re offering is of course more than just the money – we want to hire talented people with vision and work ethic and we’ll offer an experience in a start up environment that is rare.

How To Apply

Please email us your CV to jobs@gimmequotes.com and include a cover letter or introductory email. The sooner the better.