Identification of pests and diseases
Correct identification is central to effective control of pests and diseases. The process of identifying pests can be made easier if the specimens are freshly gathered and are undamaged. Simply mail the specimen to:
Department of Agriculture and Food
Pest and Disease Information Service
3 Baron Hay Court
SOUTH PERTH WA 6151
What you need to provide
It is important that you do not mail specimens on a Thursday or Friday. This avoids deterioration while in transit over a weekend. You should also provide the:
- Locality where the specimen(s) were collected
- Date when collected
- Name of the collector and a contact telephone number
- Description of the damage caused or other reason for submitting the sample.
For details on how to collect samples refer to the Department of Agriculture and Food's garden factsheet titled: Sending specimens for identification.
The City of Rockingham's Health Services provides general advice to persons with pest control problems, however, City Officers are not experts in this field, therefore an appropriately qualified Pest Control Operator or the Department of Agriculture and Food should be contacted for advice.
The following information is provided to assist you with any pests you may have encountered.
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The City of Rockingham has areas of salt marsh flood plains along the Serpentine River and Lake Amarillo. These areas provide ideal breeding conditions for the salt marsh mosquito, which can significantly impact on the health and lifestyle of residents in these areas.
The City of Rockingham is an active member of the Peel Mosquito Management Group, which undertakes an ongoing programme to reduce mosquito populations in the salt marsh areas. The chemicals used in the programme specifically target mosquitoes, are very environmentally sensitive and pose very little risk to other organisms and public health. For further details on the programme and the chemicals used please refer to the brochure below.
It is also important for residents around these known mosquito breeding areas to take measures themselves to try to reduce both the likelihood of being bitten by mosquitoes, and mosquito breeding occurring around their property. These measures include emptying containers and pot plants that might hold water, keeping swimming pools chlorinated, screen rainwater tanks and vent pipes with mosquito-proof mesh, ensure screening on windows and doors is intact, and when mosquitoes are active wear long loose clothing and apply a mosquito repellent.
Bee swarms occur when a nest becomes overcrowded as the queen and a large number of bees leave to set up a new nest. A stationary bee swarm (on a tree for example) is resting and is harmless if left alone. Resting bee swarms usually move on within 24 hours. Should a bee swarm be in an inconvenient place and causes you concern you should contact a pest control operator.
It is common for paper wasps to be mistaken for European wasps, as they are both black and yellow in colour. European wasp nests are typically located in such places as pampas grass, kindling boxes, in weatherboard housing, under floor boards and in the ground.
Remember, do not disturb a nest yourself, always seek professional advice. The public is urged to report any sightings to the Pest and Disease Information Service on Freecall 1800 084 881 (during normal office hours) Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm.
European Wasp Enquiries and Identification Services
Department of Agriculture and Food WA
3 Baron-Hay Court
SOUTH PERTH WA 6151
The European Wast Identification Guide can be found on the Department of Agriculture and Food website www.agric.wa.gov.au. Search for "European Wasp" and select the Wasp Identification Guide No.30 (2007) PDF GardenNote.
Paper wasps are longer than a bee but look similar to the European wasp with their orange and black antennae tips. Paper wasps also fly with their back legs dangling down, whereas European wasps fly with their legs held close to their body.
Paper wasps can be treated by the householder or a Pest Control Officer but nests need to be located first. This can be done by following drinking wasps back from water (e.g. from a pond or water feature).
Be careful when dealing with wasp nests as all wasps will sting repeatedly if they are approached during the day. If you really need to spray the nest, wait until after dark before spraying nests with fly spray. If you do choose to spray the nest you will have to be careful of dead or half-dead wasps on the ground.
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Cockroaches are a major health hazard in food areas as they spread food poisoning organisms. Their small size and shape means they are able to hide in small cracks and crevices and only need a small opening to gain access to a kitchen or food store.
The most important way to control cockroaches is to keep your premises clean and tidy while also making sure all cracks and crevices in walls, ceilings, floors, etc. are sealed to prevent cockroach entry.
It is important to have regular treatment, either by obtaining the services of a pest control company or by laying baits and spraying residual insecticides around the areas they live.
Rats and mice are pests, which carry diseases like salmonella, typhus and ringworm. They spread disease by feeding and urinating on stored products and contaminating food with their droppings. Naturally rats and mice live and nest in buildings where they have access to food, shelter and water however they also nest indoors in wall cavities, under floors and in stored food supplies.
Their sharp teeth enable them to gnaw through aluminium, lead, wood and cardboard, causing damage to insulation cabling, electrical wiring, wood and other material, so they can create serious problems. Rodents are creatures of habit and tend to use the same routes of travel to and from food sources for as long as possible. They are also most active at night, which is why they can often be heard in roof and wall cavities.
Evidence of their presence will include droppings, stains from urination and greasy marks along their paths. The most common method of cracking down on rodents in your home or business involves baiting areas where they travel including wall cavities, ceilings, underneath floors, and along the top of fences.
Free rat and mice baits
Limited amounts of rat and mice bait can be obtained free of charge at the City's Administration Building.
European House Borer
European House Borer is an introduced pest that affects dry seasoned softwoods (including pine, fir and spruce). The borer has been found in dead wood in pine plantations (such as the since-removed plantation on the corner of Sixty Eight and Eighty Roads, Baldivis) throughout the metropolitan area - see the site maps on the Department of Agriculture webpage.
Consequently, there has been an area identified and mapped by the Department of Agriculture for control purposes, such as the restriction of transporting and disposing of pine products (including construction timber and off-cuts, furniture) and preventing the use of susceptible timbers as structural members in building work.
For more information and advice, particularly with the zones concerned, and disposal requirements, visit the link www.ehb.wa.gov.au or phone 1800 084 881 or contact the City's Building Services.
Portuguese Millipedes are common in the southern suburbs, and normally emerge at the start of spring and again at the start of autumn. They are not harmful to humans but can be a pest if they invade houses, as they are attracted to light at night. They normally live in plant debris and feed on decaying wood and leaf matter on the ground. Cleaning up plant and leaf debris will assist in reducing the number of Portuguese Millipedes. There are a number of physical and chemical controls that you can also use. For more information please refer to Garden Note No.2 on Portuguese Millipedes on the Department of Agriculture website (search for Portuguese Millipedes) http://www.agric.wa.gov.au
For more information on the following visit the Department of Agriculture and Food's website:
- Common spiders
- European house borers
- Itch mites.
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