As beautiful as Australia is with its sundrenched beaches and the golden outback, it’s also home to a whole host of creepy crawlies. And they just love to make themselves at home in your investment property.
In fact, in 2019 NSW saw a 38% jump in the number of pest control maintenance jobs and home pests, with Victoria clocking a 67% increase according to hipages.
You might not be surprised that the most common pests that befall Aussie homes are: cockroaches, termites, spiders, ants, fleas, wasps and bees, flies, rodents, mosquitos, and bed bugs.
If you don’t want to see your property made a nesting ground for all things with six legs then you’ve come to the right place. This article is your survival guide to all things you should know about how to stave off those unsightly infestations and save yourself a lot of money and strife in the process.
Why should you consider pest maintenance?
Aside from making you jump at the sight of them, there are a few very important reasons why pest control maintenance should be your first thought when it comes to termites, cockroaches and the like.
Keeping tenants happy
Let’s be honest, do you really think your tenants are going to want to continue renting if they’re sharing the residence with a bunch of bugs? Not likely. Staying on top of pest control maintenance, like any other type of maintenance, is one simple thing that can ensure happy, long term tenants.
Think of it this way: insects and rodents are essentially diseases with legs attached. Because of this, they can spell disaster for your health. Typhoid fever, Lyme disease, dengue, rat-bite fever are just some of the nasty things you or your tenants may be exposed to if you don’t nip that infestation in the bud ASAP.
Potential damage to property and contents
There’s a whole selection of pests that make it their business to feast and gnaw on your home. All that wood, drywall, plastic and brick may as well be a buffet for the likes of termites, rats, carpenter ants and their friends. But don’t think your belongings are safe either - clothes, towels, couches are a delicacy for silverfish and carpet beetles.
In fact, rodents have even been known to cause house fires from chewing through wiring! And with the growing rat infestation across NSW, it would be best to get on top of pest maintenance.
Because homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover damages brought about by pests, that’s all the more reason to make pest control maintenance a part of your regular property management routine. If you don’t want to get caught out having to pay some hefty out of pocket expenses for an infestation gone awry, it’s best practice to clamp down on the problem before it snowballs into something far more costly.
Termites alone cost Australian homes 1.3 billion dollars every year! And the recent mouse plague wasn’t kind either, hitting NSW grain growers with more than 1billion dollars worth of damage to winter crops!
What’s involved in pest maintenance?
Once you’ve received a preliminary quote from a pest control technician, you can expect them to attend your property and spend time looking over the residence for problems and signs of infestations. Even uncover an issue you may have missed.
Once the technician has identified the severity of the infestation they will design a solution tailored to your particular pest problem. After which they begin treatment at a time and date that works for you.
And while there’s no big difference between how a technician services a house versus an apartment, it should be said that units may prove harder to pinpoint the cause of the infestation given how close flats are to one another.
Lastly, you should expect the technician to perform adequate aftercare - as many visits as it may take to fix the problem. You’ll want to get in touch with a reputable company like Rentokil, to ensure you’ll receive this type of comprehensive service.
The type of pest control methods you can expect your technician to use really depends on the type of pest you’re talking about. Termites for instance might require a chemical barrier - applying pesticide to the soil underneath the building’s flooring or around its entire perimeter.
Physical barriers like foams, sealants and metal capping might be the go-to to prevent bugs from entering the structure of your property.
A full-blown fumigation may be on the cards depending on how many cockroaches you have scurrying about your property.
In the case of rodents, your technician might suggest installing bait-free traps that are also harm-free.
The Pest Control Maintenance Cost
How much is pest control anyway? Right off the bat, you should know that pest control maintenance costs vary considerably depending on what city you’re in. Not to mention the different rates offered by competing pest control services.
Luckily, Oneflare has some raw data that can give you some idea the average pest control maintenance costs:
- Sydney: $80-$300
- Melbourne: $100-$400
- Brisbane: $70-$250
You might still be asking ‘But how much is pest control going to set me back for my 3 bedda?’
Well, consider this. Generally speaking, a one-off treatment including an interior and exterior spray may cost you around $120 for a 3-bedroom house, or $150 for a 4-bedroom house. Or you could even be looking at $450-$700 for a full interior and exterior pest control treatment.
At the end of the day, the type of pest, property type and building size all play a role in determining the pest control maintenance cost.
How to prepare your home for pest control?
Verify your expert’s credentials
It might surprise you to learn that any person who carries out pesticide work is legally required to hold a licence in NSW, QLD and VIC.
According to the NSW Environmental Protection Authority, it’s good practice to double-check a pest control technician is carrying a valid licence. So, don’t be shy about asking to see theirs before signing them on to treat your property.
Verify that the photo on the licence matches the person undertaking the work, and that the expiry date on the licence has not yet passed.
As well, you can hop onto the NSW or VIC registries to check that your technician is entirely on the up and up. As for pest control licence enquiries in QLD, you’ll need to get in contact with Public Health Regulation and Licensing.
Alert your tenants
One of the most important things you have to do as an owner when it comes to how to prepare your home for pest control, is make sure your tenants are across everything that will be happening to the property. Having your renters walk into the residence while it’s being fumigated won’t go down well for anybody.
Whether you plan to get a professional in, or do it yourself, if you’re planning to apply a pesticide to the common area of a multiple residential complex, 5 working days notice must be given to residents!
Common areas include: foyers, hallways, shared laundry or car parks, building exterior, stairwells, fences, gardens, pathways, roof cavities or underfloor spaces.
While multiple residential complexes refers to anything from apartments, flats, townhouses and villas to caravan parks.
For a thorough list of what to include on the notice, and how you can notify your tenants, you can check out the EPA website. But generally, you’ll want to let your renters know things like the name of the pesticide to be used; why, when and where it’s being used; and any re-entry requirements they should know about.
How often do you need pest control?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this. How often you’ll need to treat your property depends on a variety of things like location, types of pests infesting the residence and how much of a problem pests have been in the past.
To start, if you’ve never had an expert inspect your property, it’s a smart idea to get on that right away! You may well have a pest problem you didn’t even know about.
That being said, you might ask ‘does a new home need pest control?’. While it may or may not need a pest treatment, it’s certainly good practice to arrange for an expert to examine the property so you know you’re not sitting on a nest of creepy crawlies.
The same goes for when you’re about to lease your property! Make sure you get a pest technician in there so you know you’re covering yourself before your listing hits the rental market.
Again, it’s not the easiest question to answer. But as a rough guide you might like to consider that for infestations such as cockroaches and ants - which have a nasty tendency to return - experts recommend bi-monthly treatments.
For termites, experts say you should have a follow-up inspection after 3 months. If there are no signs of them, then an annual inspection should be fine.
At the end of the day, when you’re asking ‘how often do you need pest control?’, you won’t get a better answer than from a reputable professional who’s had a chance to inspect your property.
DIY pest control tips
If for one reason or another you’d like to take matters into your own hands and put an end to those pests with some good fashioned elbow grease, the good news is you can!
A few basic house pest control tips that can go a long way in preventing your property from becoming the go-to destination for insects and the like are:
- Don’t leave food scraps out
- Keep rubbish sealed
- Watch for water run-off and mop up any pooling water
- If storing timber, keep it away from the main residence
You can find a thorough list of house pest control tips on how to get rid of specific pests such as ants, mosquitos, fleas, cockroaches and more here.
But if you’re looking to really take care of business with a more serious level of DIY pest control, well that isn’t out of the question. These days it is possible to buy superior pesticide products just like the professionals use. However, it’s probably a bright first step to consider the pros and cons of committing to such a heavy-duty method.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of DIY pest control is that it’ll cost you a fair bit less to buy the chemicals and carry out the treatment yourself than hiring an expert to do the job.
And while the products you might choose to purchase really depends on your particular pest problem, some of the best-rated pest controls on the market that may be worth some consideration are:
The flipside is that what you may save on expenses, you might lose in effectiveness. Taking care of minor pest problems yourself is one thing, but when it comes to large infestations, professional pest technicians have the training and knowledge that the average person just doesn’t. Knowing where they hide and breed and the particular chemicals to use makes hiring an expert well worthwhile if you’re looking for a thorough extermination.
With pesticides being so toxic, it’s imperative that whoever carries out the treatment knows how to safely use the product. Because it’s an expert’s job to know how to safely use dangerous pesticides, they’re obviously the less risky option. But if you’re still wanting to try your hand at the job, it’s important that you read and follow all the directions spelled out on the product label.
Otherwise you may well be putting yourself at risk of chronic toxicity exposure and the onset of blood and nerve disorders, tumors and the production of birth defects.
The last thing you want is to end up like the guy who essentially blew up his house after setting off some bug bombs!
For what you stand to gain by forking out a bit of cash for professional pest control, versus what you stand to lose by not doing it - you shouldn’t even give it a second thought. If you want to keep your tenants happy and healthy, not to mention the property itself, and save yourself some potentially devastating costs down the line, pest control is the way to go!
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