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The top 10 common pests and how to control them

Australia is known for its unique wildlife, but unfortunately, it is also home to a wide range of pests that can cause significant problems for homeowners and businesses alike. From various creepy crawlies to rats and mice, these pests can damage property, spread diseases, or just create a general sense of discomfort. In this blog post, we will explore the top 10 most common pests in Australia and provide practical tips on how to control and prevent them from causing trouble to your home or business.

The top 10 pests in Australia


  • Behaviours: Termites feed on wood and can cause significant structural damage to buildings. They live in colonies and build mud tubes for protection.
  • Appearance: Termites vary in size and colour, but the most common ones have a soft, creamy-white body and straight antennas.
  • Signs of Infestation: Hollow-sounding timber, discarded wings, mud tubes along walls or foundation and sagging or damaged wood.
  • Prevention Techniques: Reduce moisture around the property, remove wood-to-ground contact, inspect and seal entry points, and schedule regular professional inspections.


  • Behaviours: Cockroaches are nocturnal pests that thrive in warm and humid environments. They can contaminate food, spread diseases, trigger allergies, and produce an unpleasant odour.
  • Appearance: Cockroaches are typically reddish-brown or dark brown in colour, with a flat, oval-shaped body, long antennae, and some may also have wings 
  • Signs of Infestation: Presence of droppings, egg casings, musty odour, and sightings of live roaches, especially at night.
  • Prevention Techniques: Maintain cleanliness, seal cracks and crevices, eliminate food and water sources, and store food in airtight containers. 

Rats and Mice

  • Behaviours: Rats and mice are nocturnal rodents that can chew through various materials, contaminate food, and transmit diseases. They reproduce rapidly and are excellent climbers.
  • Appearance: Rats are larger, with long tails and ears, while mice are smaller, with slender bodies and larger ears.
  • Signs of Infestation: Gnaw marks, droppings, chewed wires or furniture, nests made from shredded materials, and squeaking or scurrying sounds.
  • Prevention Techniques: Seal entry points, keep food storage areas clean and organised and eliminate water sources. Regular inspections and maintenance can help detect and prevent infestations.


  • Behaviours: Ants form colonies and search for food sources, often invading homes in search of sweets, proteins, or moisture. Some species can cause property damage.
  • Appearance: Ants come in various sizes and colours, but most have a segmented body, six legs, and antennae.
  • Signs of Infestation: Ant trails, small piles of dirt or wood shavings, and sightings of ants, particularly near food sources or nesting areas. 
  • Prevention Techniques: Clean up food spills promptly, seal entry points such as cracks and gaps, eliminate standing water sources, trim vegetation away from the property, and store food in tightly sealed containers. 


  • Behaviours: Spiders are predators that feed on insects and other small creatures. While most spiders are harmless, some species possess venom and can bite humans if provoked. They typically create webs to catch prey.
  • Appearance: Spiders come in various sizes and colours, with eight legs and a segmented body. Their appearance can range from small and harmless to larger, more intimidating species.
  • Signs of Infestation: The presence of multiple spiders and webs around your home, particularly in undisturbed areas such as corners, ceilings, and basements.
  • Prevention Techniques: Keep your home clean and clutter-free, seal cracks and gaps to minimise entry points, remove spider webs regularly, and use a spider-repellent spray in areas prone to infestation. 


  • Behaviours: Mosquitoes are blood-feeding insects that are most active during dawn and dusk. Female mosquitoes require blood meals for reproduction and can transmit diseases such as dengue fever and the ross river virus.
  • Appearance: Mosquitoes are small, slender insects with long legs and wings. They typically have a narrow, elongated body and can vary in colour, ranging from light brown to black.
  • Signs of Infestation: Frequent mosquito bites, especially in areas with standing water nearby, and the presence of mosquito larvae in stagnant water sources.
  • Prevention Techniques: Eliminate stagnant water around your property, use window screens, wear protective clothing, and apply insect repellents containing DEET. Seeking professional mosquito control services can also help reduce populations.


  • Behaviours: Flies are attracted to decaying organic matter and waste. They can contaminate food and surfaces, spreading diseases such as diarrhoea, salmonella, and E. coli.
  • Appearance: Flies have a small to medium-sized body, two wings, and compound eyes. They come in various species, including house flies, fruit flies, and blowflies, each with distinct colours and markings.
  • Signs of Infestation: Frequent sightings of flies in and around your property, especially in kitchens, garbage areas, and near food sources.
  • Prevention Techniques: Practise proper sanitation and hygiene, keep garbage bins tightly sealed, repair screens on windows and doors, clean up spills promptly, and use fly screens or fly repellents.

Bed Bugs

  • Behaviours: Bed bugs feed on human blood and are commonly found in mattresses, furniture, and cracks and crevices near sleeping areas. They can cause itchy bites and emotional distress.
  • Appearance: Bed bugs are small, flat, and reddish-brown insects with oval-shaped bodies and no wings.
  • Signs of Infestation: Red, itchy bite marks, bloodstains on sheets, dark spots (faecal matter), and a sweet, musty odour.
  • Prevention Techniques: Regularly inspect bedding and furniture, vacuum regularly, and encase mattresses and pillows in protective covers. Avoid bringing used furniture or belongings of unknown origin into your home.


  • Behaviours: Silverfish prefer dark, damp areas and feed on carbohydrates, including paper, glue, and starchy materials. They can damage books, wallpaper, and clothing.
  • Appearance: Silverfish are small, wingless insects with a fish-like shape and a silvery-grey or bluish-grey colour. They have long antennae and three tail-like appendages at the rear.
  • Signs of Infestation: The presence of silverfish in humid areas such as bathrooms, basements, and closets, as well as visible damage to paper-based items or fabrics.
  • Prevention Techniques: Reduce humidity levels in your home, fix leaks and plumbing issues, store paper goods in sealed containers, declutter storage areas, and use dehumidifiers or ventilation systems. 


  • Behaviours: Wasps are social insects that build nests and can become aggressive if they feel threatened. They can deliver painful stings, and some individuals may have severe allergic reactions. 
  • Appearance: Wasps have a slender body with a narrow waist and elongated wings. They come in various colours, including yellow, black, and metallic blue, depending on the species.
  • Signs of Infestation: The presence of a wasp nest in and around your property, especially in sheltered areas such as eaves, attics, or tree branches. Increased wasp activity and sightings of individual wasps near food sources or nesting areas.
  • Prevention Techniques: Seal potential entry points, such as gaps and openings in walls, windows, and doors. Keep outdoor garbage bins tightly sealed and clean. Avoid leaving food and sweet beverages uncovered when dining outdoors. If you discover a wasp nest, contact professional pest control services to remove it safely.

Understanding the top 10 most common pests, their appearances, behaviours, and potential risks empowers you to take proactive steps in pest control. By recognising the signs of infestation, implementing prevention techniques, and seeking professional assistance when necessary, you can effectively manage and control pests, creating a healthy and pest-free environment for you and your family. Remember, early detection and timely action are key to minimising the risks associated with pests.

Still worried about pests in your home or business?

Rentokil Pest Control provides a wide range of tailored pest solutions that can help you protect both your home and your business. If you have or suspect a pest problem or would like to know more about protecting your home from pests, contact us today.

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