Know Your Pests

The Reduced-Risk Pesticide Program is Cairns Pest Control's ground-breaking solution for unmatched control over a broad spectrum of Insect and rodent pests. Along with its effectiveness in controlling pests, the significance of this program is how safe it is around people, pets and the environment.

The selected sprays and baits we use have proved to be incredibly effective in the battle for control over difficult pests, each of which falls into the following service categories...


Pest ants threaten both the environment and the economy in northern Australia. They can damage fruit directly and prompt outbreaks of other Insect pests, causing crop failures in agricultural and horticultural areas. In homes and other buildings, ants can damage electrical items, cabling and pipes. The menace to Cairns is the Tramp Ant species.

The following excerpt from an article about WEAVER (or Tree) Ants will give you an insight into the nature of their power: "Large colonies of Weaver Ants consume significant amounts of food, and workers continuously kill a variety of other Insects close to their nests. Insects are not only consumed by workers, but this protein source is necessary for brood development. Because Weaver Ant workers hunt and kill Insects that are potentially harmful plant pests, trees harbouring Weaver Ants benefit from having decreased levels of herbivory.

With ants in the house you are likely to be troubled by the more common species of black ants of which there are many species. the following link will help you understand the imensity of ants in the Cairns region....This web site is full of information,quick & user friendly.





Asian honey bees (Java strain) were first detected in Cairns in 2007 and are established in Far North Queensland. These bees are a natural host for Varroa Mites - a serious threat, if introduced, to the honey bee industry and crops pollinated by European honey bees.

Asian honey bees (Apis cerana) can be easily confused with common European honey bees (Apis mellifera), and other local native bees. Ensure you are able to identify Asian honey bees before organising to have the bees removed, as European honey bees and native bees are important to our environment for pollination and honey production.

Read more about Asian honey bees.


Being a cryptic species, bed bugs shelter in a variety of dark locations, mostly close to where people sleep. These include under mattresses, floorboards, paintings and carpets, behind skirting, in various cracks and crevices of walls, within bed frames and other furniture, and behind loose wallpaper. Bed bugs tend to stay in close contact with each other and heavy infestations are accompanied by a distinctive sweet sickly smell. Blood spotting on mattresses and nearby furnishings is often a tell tale sign of an infestation. Waking up with itching bites perhaps suggests bed bugs. There are other more reliable signs, however, that indicate a bed bug infestation. Once identified, the infestation can be properly treated. Be warned though, successful bed bug eradication is unlikely in inexperienced hands.


Cairns Pest Control has begun a new approach to Bed Bug Control We are the first in Australia to use Beagle K9 sniffer dogs to detect bed bugs. It has been proven that Sniffer dogs can detect 97% of bug infestations. It is exciting to watch these dogs at work. Click on the link below to see more information on our new arrivals to the pest control team.



Download Bed Bug Fact Sheet (PDF document).


We have thousands of beetles species in Australia. Some beetles are beneficial Insects, but many are destructive pests.

Carpet beetle larvae eat natural fibres, often damaging wool and other fabrics. Other beetles feed on hardwoods and bamboo, damaging furniture and other wooden items. Some beetles attack the roots of grass, damaging lawns, while the elm leaf beetle damages trees by eating the leaves.

Flour beetles and grain beetles attack food products in homes, in production facilities and stores.

Read more about beetles (PDF document).


Booklice, while not true lice, resemble lice in size and shape. They feed on fungi or mould and are commonly found in areas of high humidity.

Psocids live in a wide variety of habitats throughout most of Australia, preferring moist environments. The majority can be found on vegetation, including plant foliage, branches and bark or amongst leaf litter. A few species are found in association with humans and occur in amongst books or in food products.

Booklice can be found in food products, in furniture, and along the sides of windows or on window sills around potted plants. The starchy paste of wallpaper and books also can support mould growth or may be attacked directly by booklice.

Read more about booklice.


Wood borers are often found in timber in houses and furniture. Borer larvae (grubs) can feed on new timber and emerge as adults once the timber dries out.

In timber with a high sapwood content, the Powder Post Borer L( yctid borer) can cause serious structural weakening. The Queensland pine beetle (Calymmaderus incisus) attacks softwood timbers and timber in dark sub-floor areas.

Read more about wood borers.


Carpet beetles can cause damage to carpets, rugs, underlay, insulating wool and clothing. Infestation can be present in pet bedding and ceiling or pipe insulation.

Carpet beetle larvae feed on dry materials of animal origin, including wool, fur, silk and felt.These beetles can originate in bird or mammal nesting which may be in the roof or walls from where the larvae and adults find their way down into the house. Neither the larvae nor the adult beetles bite people but if left unchecked they do have the ability to cause damage to a variety of objects containing organic matter such as carpets, felt on pianos, clothing made from wool, insect collections and animal mounts. There is also the possibility for the shed larval skins to cause some irritation to people.

Read more about carpet beetles.


Cockroaches scavenge on a range of food types, readily moving from one food source to another, transferring bacteria and viruses along the way.

Dust from cast-off cockroach skins and droppings can aggravate allergies, especially in children and sensitive individuals.

Cockroach eggs are naturally protected from insecticides. Without special equipment and expertise, cockroach control can be a losing battle.

Pest cockroaches are an introduced species, unlike Australia's native cockroaches.

Click here for the lighter side about cockroaches with Daria.

Click here for World Health Literature regarding Cockroaches.


The most common of the thousands of flea species in Australia is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. Blood sucked from a host animal is their only food and female fleas require blood for the development of eggs. They are capable of laying 25-40 eggs per day and about 2,000 eggs over their lifetime.

Flea bites cause itching in humans which, in dogs or cats, can produce a more severe allergic response known as 'flea bite allergy'. If your pet is affected, we can recommend Earlville Vets.

Be wary of 'alternative' flea controls. Brewer's yeast, B-complex vitamins, and garlic are not effective flea repellents and controlled scientific studies show that ultrasonic devices have no effect on fleas. Never spread lime around the yard as this has no effect on flea control. Lime not watered into the soil will cause soreness to your pet's feet.

This flea pictures page is designed to give pet owners a visual guide to common cat and dog fleas and answer the commonly-asked question: "what do fleas look like?" Everyone knows that they need to protect their cats and dogs against flea infestation, but not everyone knows what dog and cat fleas or flea infestation actually looks like.

Adult fleas typically are about 1/8 inch long, oval, and reddish-brown. They are wingless, and their bodies are very thin, so thin that they can move freely through fur or feathers of their host. They possess very large hind legs that are used for jumping and a very slender proboscis (beak) that extends forward when the flea takes a blood meal. At rest, the proboscis projects downward and backwards between the legs, but it cannot be seen without the aid of a microscope. Similarly, recognition of flea larvae and pupae typically requires the use of a microscope. To the unaided eye, the legless larvae resemble tiny whitish "worms." Flea pupae most likely would not be recognized at all because they are encased within a sticky cocoon covered by incorporated soil particles and small items of debris from the habitat in which the larvae develop.





Read more about fleas.


Rodents flourish wherever there's food and water. Mice alone contaminate 10 times the amount of food they eat. Aside from spreading disease directly, rodents can carry fleas known to spread various types of plague and other diseases.

Keeping rodents out of establishments is not easy. Rats can squeeze through openings as small as a 20 cent piece and mice can squeeze through holes the size of 5 cents.

Mice are nocturnal creatures, and, therefore, are rarely seen by the homeowner. The most obvious indicators of their presence are droppings (1/8 - 1/2-inches long, dark and pointed at both ends), sounds of them running, gnawing or squeaking, or damage to stored food or materials used for nesting.Compared to rats, mice forage only short distances from their nest -- usually not more than 10-25 feet. When food and shelter are adequate, their foraging range may be only a few feet.

A nocturnal animal, like the rat, will be most active during the night, while a crepuscular animal (house cat & bats) will be most active at dusk and dawn. A diurnal animal, like humans, will be active during the daylight hours.

Rats will use the nighttime active hours to play, work on their "nests" or to get some much-needed exercise.

A group of rats is called a MISCHIEF. A male is a Buck and female a Doe.


Rats are found all over the world.Rats are thin-tailed, medium-size rodents that originated in Asia and Australia but are now found all over the world."True rats" are members of the genus Rattus, but other rodent genera are also referred to as rats and share many of the same characteristics. Rats differentiate from mice by being larger, with longer, thinner bodies and long legs.There are more than 60 species of rat, which means they come in all sizes. They are typically 5 inches (12 centimeters), or longer.The largest species is the Bosavi woolly rat, which was discovered in 2009 in the rainforest of Papua New Guinea (and doesn't have a scientific name yet). It is about the size of a cat 32.2 inches (82 cm) from nose to tail and weighs around 3.3 lbs. (1.5 kilograms). One of the smallest rats is Osgoods Vietnamese rat. It is typically 5 to 7 inches (12 to 17 cm) long.Rats are found all over the world. For example, the rice-field rat is found in Southeast Asia, the Australian swamp rat is found in Eastern Australia, and the Norway rat, also called brown rats, is found on every continent of the world except Antarctic.The brown and the house rat are the most common rats in the world because they have taken boats to every country over the past few centuries. House rats typically like warmer climates, while brown rats live in temperate climates. They typically live anywhere humans live. Many rat species also live in trees.Overall, rats live to forage and mate. Most rats are nocturnal, though the brown rat is often awake day or night.Rats usually stick together in groups called packs. New packs are formed when a male and female go off on their own and nest in an area that doesnt already contain a pack. Brown rats are usually led by the largest male in the pack. Other rats may have several dominant males or females in a pack.Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus),Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus),Rats are omnivores, but many prefer meat when they can get it. House and brown rats usually use humans for their primary food source. They will scavenge through trash or eat any food that is left unprotected.Rats have also been known to eat grain or kill insects, water creatures such as snails, fish and mussels, small birds, mammals and reptiles for food. Other rats, such as the Sulawesi white-tailed rat and Hoffmans rat, prefer vegetarian fair such as seed and fruits. Night time can be one of the most exciting parts of the day. The dark might be your signal to climb into bed, but for rats it signals the time to socialize, explore, exercise and eat.

Black rats were introduced to Anacapa Island prior to 1940s and had since been preying on the eggs of seabirds and young chicks. This led to a dramatic decline in both the number and range of seabird species on Anacapa Island. Bell worked with the Island Conservation and Ecology Group (ICEG) in conjunction with government, naturalist and environmental groups to help rectify the situation. The island has extensive steep cliffs, making placement of bait into the territory of every rat exceptionally difficult. The bait was therefore formulated to be able to be applied from a hopper suspended under a helicopter. Bell developed a specific rodenticide tailored to control the rats while addressing the environmental concerns within the island's unique habitat. The resulting bait was attractive to black rats but unappealing in color, shape and size to non-target species. It also decomposed quickly, ensuring that no active ingredients remained in the ecosystem after the project ended. And, it was durable enough for aerial application yet sized to minimize drifting. Phase I, application of bait to East Anacapa Island, was completed in December 2001 and Phase II, treatment of Middle and West Anacapa, was completed in fall 2002.

Read more about rodents.


We have an estimated 10,000 spider species in Australia, inhabiting a variety of ecosystems, and we're home to some of the world's most venomous spiders. These are not in Cairns.

Every year, Redback spider bites are reported and there is an antivenom, but it's rarely used. An ice pack is all that is generally required.

Australia's native Tarantulas can kill dogs but are harmless to humans. Garden Orb Weaving Spiders (in total, about 100 species) are generally non-aggressive and bites are rare. They are colourful, attractive and should not be poisoned.

Every year, about 2,000 Redback spider bites are reported and about 250 people receive antivenom. Australia's native Tarantulas can kill dogs. But the spider most likely to bite is the more aggressive Common Garden Orb Weave Spider.

Even with spiders all around us, Dr Aaron Harmer, arachnid researcher Macquarie University says, "While many spiders can give you a nip, in most cases, it is less troublesome than a bee sting."

Read more about spiders.


Termites cause more damage yearly than fire does to buildings across Australia. They are responsible for more than $1.5 billion dollars' worth of Termite damage per year. Even buildings on concrete slabs are not safe. Concrete poses no obstacle, and block homes have significant amounts of timber in the construction to cause concern.

Termite inspections are recommended before buying a property. Complete this prior to a structural building inspection. This will save you unnecessary costs on a building inspection if you decide not to proceed with the purchase due to Termite issues.

Cairns Pest Control, with more than 47 years of experience in dealing with Termites, can implement an efficient strategy to maintain your premises free from infestation and damage.

Read more about Termites.


Ticks occur in moist bushy areas. They feed on animal and human blood, injecting toxins while doing so. Paralysis ticks pose serious health threats, causing flu-like symptoms in humans and sometimes severe allergic reactions or anaphylactic shock. Many pets are killed by paralysis ticks. Female ticks are the only blood food feeders. Males are vegetarian only.

If your pet is unwell because of a tick or you even just suspect a tick, contact a reputable vet, such as Earlville Vets.

Read more about paralysis ticks.


Metamorphosis: The changes in form that occur as an insect approaches adulthood. When the immature insects and the adults are similar in appearance, the process is called simple metamorphosis, and the juvenile insects are called nymphs. When the immature insects and the adults have different forms, the process is called complete metamorphosis, and the worm, or grub, like juvenile insects are called larvae. After the last larval instar, the insect changes into a pupa. In this stage, the insect does not feed or move around much. It may be covered by a protective cocoon. Eventually the insect molts for the last time and emerges as an adult. Simple metamorphosis: The immature insects and the adults are similar in appearance, and differ mostly in size. Complete metamorphosis: The immature insects and the adults have different forms, often live in different habitats, and may have very different behavior. Egg: Most insects lay eggs in a location that offers some protection and food for the newly hatched juveniles. Many eggs are spherical, oval, or elongate, and some have elaborate sculptured shells. Nymph: The immature form of insects with simple metamorphosis. (Stages between molts of the exoskeleton are called instars). Larva: The immature form (between egg and pupa) of insects with complete metamorphosis. (Stages between molts of the exoskeleton are called instars). Pupa: When insects undergo complete metamorphosis, this is the form in between the last larval instar and the adult. In this stage, the insect does not usually feed or move around much. It may be covered by a protective cocoon.

Whether you're an amateur insect enthusiast, a student or an entomologist, the updated and revised third edition of A Field Guide to Insects in Australia will help you to identify insects from all the major insect groups. With more photographs and up to date information, it will enable you to differentiate between a dragonfly and a damselfly or a cricket and a grasshopper. You'll find cockroaches, termites, praying mantids, beetles, cicadas, moths, butterflies, ants and bees.

Read more on general Entomology.

Read more on Insect Morphology.

Westcourt , QLD 4870

10,000 Australian Spider Species

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