3 brilliant tips to keep pests out of food!

Have you heard of Entomophagy? It’s the practice of eating insects and bugs. It’s an important staple for some cultures, where raising livestock is not optimal. Where cows, pigs and other animals would struggle to survive, insects may thrive. And this makes them a valuable food source. But unless you’ve taken deliberately to an entomophagy diet, you probably don’t want pests with your food. Here’s our 3 tips to keep pests out of food.

 

  1. Don’t keep any food in the house.

Ok, we admit, this really isn’t practical. However, we are going to focus on denying the rodents any access to the food sources for the rest of this blog

 

  1. (again) Keep everything in sealed containers.

You want to keep everything in sealed plastic as much as possible. As soon as you’ve finished preparing or using it and it needs to be stored, put it into a sealed hard plastic container. Note that the hard plastic wont stop dedicated rodents, but it’s less likely to develop perforations that says a bag of cereal might, and this makes it a good deterrent for pests like cockroaches, mites and some ants

 

  1. Wipe down ALL the surfaces!

If your food is in sealed containers, the pests are going to have a hard time knowing it’s there unless you have food matter left over on surfaces around the home. Food splatters on counter tops and floors are a great attractant to any kind of pests. Unfortunately for humans pests have a great sense of smell, and so having food matter left behind, will attract them like kids to a bowl of sugar at birthday party. It ain’t pretty. Wipe down those surfaces and clean any food mess!

 

  1. Treat regularly! Unfortunately, as we said, pests have excellent sense of smell, rodents in particular. So even if you seal off your food in a pressurised steel drum, they may still be able to smell your food, and thus bring the unwanted vermin wandering into your little sanctuary, or worse, the cupboard where the chocolates stored. This is where Amalgamated comes in. Our highly trained and specialised pest technicians can work to protect your home from all manner of pests with our affordable and effective treatments. Call us on 13 14 40 and find out how we can we can help!

Sanitary Units: what are your obligations?

Keeping up to date with your all your businesses legal obligations is hard.

It can be like trying to balance on one foot in skates, on an oil slick, over an ice field, with an incline, during an earthquake with strong cross winds. It’s super easy to slip up. That’s why were here to help you understand what your obligations are for washrooms.

Many business owners don’t spend much time mulling about what they have to provide as a bathroom for their employees, it’s not on their radar. Pressing concerns like cash flow, expansion and landing the next deal push out thoughts about toilets, urinals and sanitary bins (unless of course you’re in the business of toilets, urinals and sanitary bins.)

As a business owner, the requirements of your bathrooms for your employees are just as important as cash flow. Sanitary unit laws in Australia dictate that all employers must properly equip all available cubicles with a sanitary unit. Under the Workplace Health and Safety Amendment Regulation (No. 3) 2004, in workplaces with female workers, the necessary female sanitary disposal facilities must be in all available cubicles. That means every cubicle must have a sanitary unit. That includes both Womens and Mens bathrooms.

You might be tempted to not offer proper sanitary bins and washroom facilities in an attempt to save money. Despite being illegal, studies have recently showed that employees with out proper hygiene, perform worse at work, feel more disconnected from their workplace and take more sick days. Trying to save a few dollars off your hygiene services can cost your business hundreds, if not thousands in lost employee time.

Fortunately Amalgamated offers cost effective services to ensure that you’ll meet your obligations and help keep your employees happy and healthy. From Sanitary Unit Disposal to Washroom Fragrance Fresheners, Amalgamated has solutions for your Washroom and Hygiene needs. Give Amalgamated a call 1300 383 160 to discuss how our range of premium services help your business.

What to do if you find Bed Bugs!

Incidents of Bed Bugs are on the rise.

Since the banning of harmful DET chemicals, bed bugs have enjoyed a resurgence in the past thirty years, coming back from the brink of existence. Whilst we would normally commend any species that has managed to pull itself off the extinction list, we feel a little uneasy about this one. They’ve been able to return thanks to a few factors, most notably due to recently developed resistance to pesticides and ability to quickly reproduce, meaning that unless you kill all of them, they’re likely to return.

 

What can you do?

Most people often reach for a store-bought bug spray and begin spraying the little suckers. Whilst raining chemical death on the critters feels satisfying, it often leads to more problems, specifically the bed bugs fleeing the pesticide and moving to other areas of the house and infesting their. What started off as a problem in a mattress in the guest room has now spread to the couch in the living room, the arm chair in the nursery and every other crack and crevice in the house.

 

Calling in a professional is the best way to manage bed bugs.

 

A professional will treat bed bug with a multi prong approach. Using a combination of mechanical removal, chemical treatment and heat treatment. Only by using as multi prong approach to target all the bed bugs at once will ensure complete removal.

You can actually do the mechanical process yourself, as one of the most effective mechanical step is vacuuming. Bust out the old dust sucker to pick up the blood suckers. This helps remove any dead bed bugs, their eggs and any molts they’ve left behind, which can attract more bed bugs if left behind.  Once the mechanical process is complete we can come in and use either chemical treatment, heat treatment or a mixture of both, depending on the bed bugs and level of infestation. A professional treatment is the most likely to succeed, given the complexity of treating an infestation. Amalgamated’s technicians are highly trained professional, and ready to eradicate any bed bug infestations in your home. Call Amalgamated on 1300 383 160 to discuss how we can help!

The 5 most dangerous spiders of Australia!!

The 5 most dangerous spiders of Australia!!

 

Do you know all the spiders on our list?

 

Australia, the sunburnt land, girt by sea. The land of the fair go, the fair shake of the sauce bottle. Home to kangaroos, didgeridoos, port-a-loos and increasingly, micro-brews. An ancient land of beauty, desserts, forests and highly lethal plant, animal and insect species. We Aussies love to brag about having the most dangerous spiders in the world, but can you name the top 5 in Australia?

Before we start, lets put to death this one: The Daddy long Legs. No, it’s not the most venomous spider. There is no evidence to show its venom is harmful to humans. We don’t recommend you eating them to confirm this though (although if you ate it and got sick then it would be poisonous and not venomous) Now here’s the 5 most deadly spiders in Australia, ranked from least to most.

5. Trap Door Spiders

Starting off our list is the Trap door species. Their venom is only mildly affective on humans, causing localised pain. They are so named for the burrow they make in the ground, with a “door”. The spiders are dangerous when children and adults are digging around in the garden unaware of the spiders.

4. The Mouse Spider

8 species of the mouse spider exist in Australia. They have similar venom to the Funnel Webs, however there have been no recorded deaths from its bite, largely in part because the Funnel Webs Antivenom has been effective at treating the Mouse Spiders venom. They are often found in burrows and are rarely aggressive.

 

3. The Redback Spider

Noted by its black body and defining red stripe, the redback is responsible for some 2000 bites annually, although thanks to advances in Anti-venom, there hasn’t been a recorded death from any spider bite since 1979. Symptoms of its bite include intense localised pain, weakness, nausea and in more serious cases, convulsions and possibly death.

 

2. Other Funnel Webbed spiders.

Thought you could breathe a sigh of relief because you don’t live in the Sydney area? Guess again. There up to 40 species of Funnel Webs in Australia, 6 of which have been reported to cause severe envenomation. Did we mention they can also live in trees 30m off the ground? Drop bears aren’t all you need to worry about falling onto you…

 

1. Sydney Funnel Web

Oh boy. It’s everyone’s favourite. Found nearly exclusively in Sydney, this spider is often considered the most deadly in the world. With fangs that can pierce through fingernails, and one specimen reaching 10cm stretched out, this spider is serious business. A single bite can kill a human in 15 minutes. It’s venom, Atraxotoxin, shorts out synapses in the brain and interferes with the relaxation cycle. This causes spasm, accelerated heart rates, numbness of the mouth and death.

 

Worried about spiders you’ve found in your home? Flick offers affordable and convenient spider treatments for inside your home and out. Give us a call on 13 14 40 if spiders or other pests are a problem in your home or business!

What do Freshly Brewed Peruvian Single origin coffee, Washrooms, and Pest Control have in common?

What do Freshly Brewed Peruvian Single origin coffee, Washrooms, and Pest Control have in common? Read our blog to find out!

The answer is? Hot Water! Specifically, steam!

Wait a moment you say; Single Origin Peruvian coffee shouldn’t be boiling hot. You’ll burn the roast! True, true, so maybe our title should’ve been what do Washrooms, Pest control and cappuccinos have in common.

So how do we use steam here at Amalgamated?

We have two main applications for steam. The first is in washroom. One of the best ways to clean urinals is with high pressure steam. Firstly, it breaks down dirt and grime like nothing else, including breaking up and washing away uric acid and other dirt that builds up and causes bathrooms to smell funky. Secondly, the high heat adds a sterilising factor, neutralising germs that thrive in damp washroom environments. In fact, regular steam cleaning of washrooms will go a long way to prevent that dreaded bathroom smell become a problem.

How we use in Pest Control is a little more surprising. With phasing out of DET based pesticides over the past 50 years, we have seen a strong return from pest species like bed bugs, who have evolved a resistance to chemical sprays. This means we need a variety of techniques to manage the problem. Enter the heat treatment. Research has shown that bed bugs are extremely sensitive to heat. Temperatures of between 40 to 56 degrees are lethal to bed bugs, so high temperature steam deals with bed bugs like a hot knife through, well bed bugs. Heat treatments are not always needed depending on the kind of infestation faced, but it is another card up our sleeves in the war against pests.

It’s worth noting that the regular store bought steamers aren’t effective at killing bed bugs, you need professional equipment and professional training to confidently remove bed bugs.

Have you got a washroom that needs a good steam cleaning or bed bugs that are biting in the night? Call us at Amalgamated on 13 14 40 to have a chat at how our service can reduce the heat of pests and germs in your life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to remove a tick!

Was there ever a topic in pests that was so controversial? Do you paint it off, do you peel it off? Do you take a flame and burn it off risking skin, clothes and all other flammable items within arm’s reach?

Firstly, if you are allergic to ticks, or have a history of allergies, Amalgamated strongly recommends heading straight to a doctor first, and asking them to remove it. This is the safest option. If someone with a tick bite is already developing anaphylaxis, put down this article, call 000 and get help. Don’t try to twist, or scratch or pull it off. The more you do this, the more of the saliva and other pathogens inside the tick will be squeezed out into the open wound, and also cause the tick to bury in further.

Ok emergencies aside. The one true consensus is that you definitely don’t want them on you. Aside from itchiness and local pain, the biggest risk ticks present is allergic reactions. One hospital on Sydney’s northern beaches released a study which showed of 500 bites that presented, 34 resulted in anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction. Similarly, ticks have been known to introduce bacterial infections, and other complications. Currently, scientists in Australia at a 2016 senate hearing, report that Lyme disease is not present in Australia. They did note cases of Lyme-like conditions though, that they say warrants further research. But regardless of whether your trying to avoid a bacterial infection, are allergic or not, having a tick buried neck deep in your skin is not a pleasant experience.

If you’re fortunate to not be reactive to ticks, you need to get a spray with ether in it (such as Wart-Off Freeze, Aerostart or Elastoplast Cold Spray). Kill it with a spray, waiting around 5 minutes after application for it to die. You then need to remove it using fine tipped forceps, NOT TWEEZERS. This is critical. Tweezer’s are not fine enough and will squeeze the ticks saliva and innards back into the open wound, leading to a much higher chance of negative reactions. Once you have safely removed the tick with the fine tipped forceps, be sure to wash the wound with soap and water, and cover.

Ticks are a common pest in Australia, especially in damper areas and after rainfall. Fortunately, Amalgamated has treatments available for just about every bloodsucker that is intruding on your home. Give us a ring on 13 14 40, to discuss how we can proof your home from a tirade of ticks!

Is it poisonous? How to tell if a pest you have will poison you!

You’ve found a weird looking bug, and the first question that comes to mind is, “is it poisonous?”. The answer is that if you have a pest, it most likely is poisonous. Why? This answer might surprise you. Most people assume only a few kinds of pests are poisonous. This is because people often mix up venomous and poisonous. Whilst venom and poison are both toxins, venom needs to be injected through a bite or sting and poisons normally are unloaded by something when you eat them. Here’s a nifty, general way to remember the difference. If you bite it and die, it’s poisonous, if it bites you and you die, it’s venomous. Admittedly, you can get sick from non-venomous bites, like an infection from a rat bite for example., but this pneumonic is helpful in remembering the key difference.

Does that mean something that’s poisonous is safe to handle as long as you don’t eat it? No, it doesn’t. Poisons are often released as a defence mechanism when a creature feels threatened. Such as the cane toad, which secretes poison through glands on its skin. This poison can be absorbed through the skin, so if you think something is poisonous, and you must touch it, then be sure to wear protective clothing including gloves, and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly once done. Also, be sure not to touch any exposed areas like your skin and eyes before you wash your hands after as well.

Poisonous pests can also be hazardous, as they can cross contaminate surfaces, leaving residual poisons on whatever they touch. This becomes a problem when your outdoor table where you eat becomes a resting point for tired cane toads. This is why it’s important to wipe down surfaces thoroughly before eating off them. Small children are also avid fans of tasting whatever they can get their hands on, so whilst you’ve made sure to wear riot gear when removing a caterpillar, your 3 year old might decide the best thing to do is to put it on their tongue. At Amalgamated, our goal is to provide protection to your loved ones, and to help ensure your little ones can grow up safe and free from dangerous pests. Give us a call on 13 14 40 today to discuss how we can help proof your home from pests.

So, will it poison you? Unlikely if you take steps to ensure you don’t touch it, however, if you catch your cockroaches dragging hemlock across the kitchen, you may want to think again.

3 Signs of Bed Bugs People Can miss!

You Might Have Bed Bugs!

2 out of 3 people won’t develop any symptoms to a bedbugs bite, how can you tell if you have them?

Bed bugs are one of the most common pests in existence. In fact, Anticimex, Flicks parent company derives its name from its fight against the little crawlers. Literally Anticimex translate from Swedish to “Against (Anti) Bed Bugs (Cimex). By the 1950’s, bed bugs had been driven to all but extinction, due largely in part to DET chemicals. Unfortunately, side affects of these chemicals had significant negative impacts upon humans, and as such the chemicals were banned and phased out. Because of this there was a resurgence of bed bugs at the end of the last century, and they have once again become a common problem. Surprisingly, unlike Cockroaches, poor hygiene plays little part in attracting an infestation. Bed Bugs will infest a room that has never been cleaned just as likely as a pristine room in a 5 star hotel. They are also difficult to spot, being quite small, and adept hiders, especially in mattresses. Here’s how to know if you have an infestation:

 

Red Bite Marks

Bedbugs can leave a red, itchy mark behind after making a bite, often on the arms or neck. Finding some bites on your person or someone else from your home is a good, although not definitive start. That said, 2 out of 3 people won’t develop any symptoms to a bed bugs bite. No red marks, no itchiness, nothing. That’s because not everyone reacts to the bite of the bedbug.

 

Droppings

You might notice their droppings, which appear as small dark spots on sheets, mattresses, bed frames, pillows and quilts, and any other areas close to where humans sleep. Regular checking on bedding and sheets will make sure you find their evidence before you sleep in it.

 

The Insect itself!

The final definitive confirmation of a bedbug infestation is the discovery of the insect itself or its exuviae (remnants of the cuticle discarded when mounting). These can quite hard to find especially if they infest a mattress, as they are small enough to get inside the mattress itself. Other hotspots can include behind bedside tables and other furniture near where people sleep or sit.

 

If you’ve found an actual live bed bug,

the time to start treating was yesterday. This is because bed bugs multiply quickly. The best thing you can do is call the professionals! Amalgamated is well prepared to handle all levels of Bed Bug infestations, so give us a call on 13 14 40 to discuss how we can begin eradicating your bed bug problem

German Cockroaches

German cockroach on keyboard

German cockroaches like your electronics

Although relatively small in size (approx. 12-16 mm), German Cockroaches can cause an enormous impact in both domestic and commercial situations. Not only are they unsightly to have around your premises (causing stress or anxiety), they also create unhealthy and unsanitary environments in food and food preparation areas.

German Cockroaches are heavily associated with contaminating food and food handling utensils. Their presence is often portrayed by their droppings, empty egg cases, cast-off skins and regurgitation marks (vomit).

German cockroach (pic. courtesy Jon Augier, Museum Victoria)

German cockroach (pic. courtesy Jon Augier, Museum Victoria)

In conjunction with such unsanitary conditions, German Cockroaches have been implicated in carrying disease competent organisms (bacteria, pathogens). Many of these organisms are carried on the legs and body of German Cockroaches.

Because of their rapid breeding lifecycle, German Cockroaches have the ability to populate areas in a short period of time (just a few weeks). German Cockroaches feed on various foods to survive. They conceal themselves extremely well in a wide range areas, like cracks and crevices, but especially around warm and moist environments.

German Cockroaches are at home concealing themselves in and around electrical appliances (i.e. microwave ovens, dishwashers, televisions, refrigerators).

If you suspect you may have a problem with German cockroaches, or any other unwanted pest, call the experts at Amalgamated Pest Control. We can devise a solution specifically tailored to your requirements, and remove those unwanted pests for you.

Call 13 19 61 today!

 

Avoid pests in your home while away on holidays!

As many of us are packing up the family and hitting the road for some well-earned time away, we will inevitably be leaving our home for a period of time. While we’re away, what is to stop the pests moving in?

Here are our Top Tips on how to deter pests from your home these holidays while you’re away.

1. Ants

Store food in sealed containers

Store food in sealed containers

  • Make sure all foods are sealed in air tight containers.
  • Do not leave dirty dishes in the kitchen sink.
  • Do not leave dirty laundry in rooms or on the laundry floor.
  • Only feed pets with enough food for immediate consumption. Do not overfeed pets with food in the morning. If they don’t eat it all, ants will definitely be attracted to it.
  • Ensure all tree and shrub branches/palms/ foliage do not make contact with the external house walls or roof structure. This often provides an ideal opportunity for ants to gain access into the building.
  • Remove items away from external walls (e.g. firewood) building supplies, pipes, hoses. This deters concealed access by ants but is also quite relevant for subterranean termites.
  • Ensure all water taps are firmly turned-off as excess water and dampness attracts a multitude of pests (e.g. ants, flies, termites).

 

2. Bed Bugs

Protectabed mattress covering

Protectabed mattress covering

  • Install bed mattress covers (e.g. Protecta-Bed covers) on your bed mattress as this will exclude the opportunity for Bed Bugs to conceal themselves around the folds and seams. Speak to your local Amalgamated Branch about Protecta-Bed covers
  • Sadly, fold out sofas are notorious harbourage areas for Bed Bugs as they conceal themselves in and around all the cracks and crevices within.
  • Check the bed, bed base and bed mattress – Particularly the mattress folds and seams for any sign of blood spotting or staining (SEE PHOTO).

 

3. Flies (Maggots)

Blowflies

Blowflies

  • Keep all foods sealed in air tight containers.
  • Rinse out and wash all rubbish bins including waste receptacles or before re-lining them for ease of rubbish removal (Even the wheelie bins).
  • Do not overload the rubbish bin days before collection with perishables (e.g. seafood remnants). Store these few items in a freezer unit and dispose of on the day of rubbish collection.
  • Regularly remove all dog droppings and clean out the kitty litter trays.
  • Only feed pets with enough food for immediate consumption. Do not overfeed pets with food in the morning. If they don’t eat it all many fly species will soon locate it and deposit eggs/larvae into it.

 

4. Mosquitoes

Leaving dirty dishes in the sink can attract all sorts of insects

Leaving dirty dishes in the sink can attract all sorts of insects

  • Avoid strongly scented perfumes or toiletries, as the smell can attract insects. Seal and put these away carefully before you leave.
  • Ensure there are no pools of water outside, or areas where rain can accumulate.  Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, so remove the possibility.

5. Ticks/Fleas

  • Check everybody (adults, children & pets), including shoes and clothing when leaving risk areas (e.g. Bushland /long grassy areas). Ticks/Fleas are ideally suited to hitching a ride on the host.
  • Pay careful attention and brush yourself off before going into the home.
  • Regular vacuuming of floor areas will keep the flea population controlled.
  • Protect your animal pets (dogs, cats) by keeping their Tick and Flea program/treatments up to date – Keep it marked on a calendar or set it on your phone alarm for easy reminders.
  • Keep your animal pets (dog, cats) bedding area regularly cleaned and treated (for further information consult with your pest management technician).
Come back to a pest free home!

Come back to a pest free home!


 

Follow these simple tips and you won’t be confronted with an avoidable pest problem when returning home these holidays.

 

Enjoy your break!