There is a big misconception people have over pests and the need for pest control…
Whenever there is a very dry period (or a drought) during summer in the pest control industry, there generally is a spike in certain pests.
When these pests “raise their heads”, it is normally in the form of cockroaches, rats and the more commonly seen small annoying black Argentinean ants.
This trend is commonly seen when there is a dry period, but what has been seen in the Cape regions is a drought and not merely a dry period. With day zero fast approaching the Western Cape, this has definitely had a knock on effect with insects and rodents. Cape Town, in fact, has seen a major increase in cockroach and ant activity over the last 6 months, and this is largely due to their primary water sources drying up, and with insects seeking water sources elsewhere such as homes, shopping centres, Hotels or buildings. Cockroaches are emerging from warm and much drier sewer systems and are being encountered in toilets and basins and are thus entering more properties that way.
In South Africa, we have 3 common species of cockroach, namely the German cockroach, American cockroach and Oriental Cockroach. The latter two are found externally (in drains, back passages, plumbing ducts, sewers etc.) and the former, the German cockroach is commonly found in in kitchens, homes, hotels, restaurants etc.
Cape Town has been affected recently not only with an influx of cockroaches but along with an increase of rats surfacing from underground drains and sewers. Be warned that these pests are carriers of various pathogens and diseases, and since cockroaches eat most foodstuffs, including decaying trash and even faecal waste, they easily spread infections such as gastroenteritis and salmonella, along with cockroaches being a cause of certain people’s allergies.
When there is a drought, this leads to firstly a water shortage and thus food shortages and also has a long-term environmental, health and an economic impact on people and the associated region. With limited water supplies, sanitation services often are affected and the risks are far greater for the increased rise in faecal oral infections such as hepatitis E, diarrhoea, typhoid fever, cholera, scabies and intestinal worms in urban and urban informal settlements.
As pest control professionals, what can Flick do during a drought?
FLICK has various methods of controlling crawling insects such as cockroaches and ants by either residual spray application, or a dry bait method.
With any form of residual spray application, our pesticide we make use of is mixed with water as the carrier and then applied as per the manufacturer’s dilution rates to the targeted areas. The product has a residual action and controls pests within the area it is applied.
Now when there are water shortages or working within a drought situation, we also do our part and adapt to use alternative means to control cockroaches and ants with a dry baiting method that does not rely on water.
We would make use of gel bait insecticides to control ants from inside the home or a building. This is applied to areas where ants trail or are entering a building. It’s also perfectly safe and of no risk to humans or pets.
For outdoor use- we make use of ant granules- which works in a similar way as the ant gel and is placed down along ant trails and near visible ant nests- which simply put is that the workers find the bait that has been placed down (gel based or granular based), carry it back to the nest, feed the queen, eliminating her and future populations.
Bait is the preferred method of control of these little critters because, in order to solve an ant problem, you need to first eliminate the ants that are not visible in order to get rid of the ants that are visible. The ants that are visible are worker ants. Their function is to scout and find food and take it back to the nest to feed the queen and her young, who are being raised for the next generation of worker ants.
For cockroaches, we also make use of a gel bait and the gel is placed in harbourage points where cockroaches are found or are likely to be found. Our technician would inspect the areas and place gels down where deemed necessary. In areas that have high instances of cockroach activity or on sites that have strict food, health and safety standards, we would also introduce cockroach monitoring traps, which make use of pheromones to lure the cockroaches and trap the cockroaches on the contained glue board.
The above-mentioned approach to pest control is a way FLICK contributes to saving water. Not only just in areas that are affected by a drought, but we do our part in conserving this vital commodity.