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Miscellaneous Pests – EPC – Enviro Pest Control
Miscellaneous Pests

Millipedes (Myriapoda)

Australia has around 2,000 species of Millipede. Whilst millipede means ‘thousand-legs’, the number of legs they actually have is much lower – between 30 and 350 pairs depending on the species. They have two pairs of legs coming from each body segment. This makes them easy to tell apart from centipedes (which have only one pair of legs per body segment). Millipede secretions can stain clothes and irritate eyes.

EPC finds the species that most commonly cause problems is the introduced species The Portuguese Millipede which was introduced into Australia in the 1950’s.

The Portuguese Millipede (Ommatoiulus moreletii)

  • Invasive pest species
  • Typically 20-45 mm long
  • Black and shiny in colour, with long cylindrical shape and are multi-segmented
  • Immature adults are striped and light brown
  • Most species are nocturnal
  • Known for their habit of curling into a flat spiral for protection
  • Preferred food is decaying plant matter & most commonly found in leaf litter, mulch or decaying wood
  • Rainy weather in spring and particularly autumn stimulates activity, often leading to outbreak numbers with thousands of millipedes on the surface
  • Millipedes protect themselves by exuding a horrible smelling, and in some cases caustic, liquid
  • The eggs of millipedes are laid underground in moist areas

Pill Millipedes (Uniramia)

  • Typically 20-40 mm long
  • Body is short and stout
  • Mostly found in moist urban areas, forests and woodlands
  • Capable of rolling into perfect balls when disturbed. Sometimes confused with garden slaters but pill millipedes can tuck their head and legs in so they are entirely concealed, while slaters cannot

Fun Facts

  • Trains on the Ballarat line were cancelled or delayed 50 times in a single month in 2002 when the sheer number of squashed millipedes on the track left train wheels unable to gain traction in the oily goo. Crushed millipedes have also been implicated in several minor train crashes
  • There is a bioluminescent species of Millipede in America which emits a gentle blue-green glow at night

If you are currently experiencing a millipede problem contact EPC – Enviro Pest Control today.

Centipedes (Chilopoda)

Australia currently has 128 species of centipede. The Australian species range in size from around 10 mm in length up to 140mm for our largest, the Giant Centipede (Ethmostigmus rubripes)

An Australian native, the House Centipede, scientifically known as (Allothereua maculate), is the most common centipede throughout southern Australia. Unlike millipedes, centipedes have only 1 pair of legs per body segment (millipedes have 2 pairs per segment). The last pair of legs in many centipedes are usually strong and brightly coloured. Although these legs look quite dangerous, the centipede bites with its powerful jaws. Australian Centipedes can give a painful, but not life-threatening, bite.

House Centipede (Allothereua maculata)

  • Native species, the most commonly found species in southern Australia
  • Carnivorous
  • 20-25 mm long
  • Pale brown with dark markings
  • Prefer moist, dark areas that are protected from the weather. Often found under rocks and logs, in leaf litter and under the bark of trees
  • Unlike other centipedes they have 15 pairs of long, jointed legs and whip-like antennae. The last pair of legs is so long and slender that they look like antennae and, were it not for their prominent eyes, it would be difficult to distinguish which end was which at first sight
  • Eggs are generally laid in the soil, although there are some species that give birth to live young

Fun Facts

  • The largest centipede in the world, Scolopendra gigantea, is a 30 centimetre centipede from South America that is able to eat mice and lizards
  • Centipedes are the only arthropods to have a pair of modified legs (forcipules) found behind the head, which are used to inject venom to paralyse and capture prey
  • The number of pairs of legs in centipedes is always an odd number and the known range is between 15 and 191 pairs

If you are currently experiencing a centipede problem contact EPC – Enviro Pest Control today.

Booklice (various species – Liposcelis bostrychophila, Lepinotus patruelis)

  • Their primary source of food is mould. Often found in books and old papers, they don’t consume book material, but rather eat any microscopic spores of mould present in the books damaging items in the process
  • Adult size varies according to species. 2 – 6 mm long. Pale yellow–brown to dark brown in colour
  • Nymphs — very small, often appear transparent. No larval stages
  • Booklice can take anywhere between 1 month to 3 month to hatch and grow into adulthood depending on the environment
  • The species of booklice usually found indoors are wingless, agile and fast moving
  • Prefer dark, undisturbed and humid conditions
  • Outdoor species are called bark lice since they are found under tree bark or leaves

If you are currently experiencing a booklice problem contact EPC – Enviro Pest Control today.

Slaters (Roley Poleys, Pill Bugs, Wood Lice) (Armadillidium vulgare, Porcellio scaber)

  • Scavengers, mainly feed on decaying organic matter
  • Approx. 6 to 12 mm long
  • oval-shaped flattened bodies with 14 segments, 7 pairs of legs and two pairs of antennae, though the second pair is small and hard to see
  • dark grey in colour
  • Females lay 25-90 eggs but keep them in a pouch under their body. The new baby slaters stay in the pouch for a short time after they hatch
  • Young slaters look like adults except they have one less body segment and pair of legs
  • Adults have a life expectancy of about two years

The Species EPC – Enviro Pest Control finds most frequently are;

  • The Common Slater (Porcellio scaber)
    • Non-native, introduced from Europe.
    • the most widespread species in Australia
  • The Pill Bug, Armadillidium vulgare,
    • Non-native, introduced from Europe
    • Commonly found across Australia
    • This species is characterised by its ability to roll into a ball when disturbed.

Fun Fact

  • Slaters are crustaceans and are related to crabs, lobsters and prawns
  • Slaters breathe through gills. They require moist environments to breathe but cannot survive being submerged in water
  • Slaters eat their own poop, a practice known as coprophagy. They do this to recycle copper, an essential element they need to survive

If you are currently experiencing a slater problem contact EPC – Enviro Pest Control today.

Biting Midges (Ceratopogonidae)

Biting Midges are very small flies, renowned for their nuisance biting associated with coastal habitats. The term “midge” or “biting flies” does not define any particular taxonomic group, but includes species in several families of Nematoceran Diptera including the non-biting midges (Chironomidae). Although there are over 200 species present in Australia, only a few midges cause a serious annoyance to humans. Biting midges are one of the most difficult groups of insects to control.

  • Only 0.5mm – 4mm long
  • Adult midges can lay up to 100 eggs at a time, and they have a fast life cycle of between 3 to 10 weeks, from egg to full grown adult
  • Life-cycle consists of an egg, four worm like larval stages or instars, a pupa and finally the adults
  • Midges are active mostly at dusk or dawn, and will congregate in areas that are relatively still and without wind disturbance
  • Are attracted by light and light coloured objects
  • Most commonly associated with coastal habitats such as lagoons, estuaries, mangrove swamps and tidal flats (leading to the popular but misleading name of “Sandflies”)
  • Biting midges usually disperse only short distances from their breeding sites
  • Midge bites are well known for severe reactions on humans. It is the histamine-like substance contained in their saliva that causes these reactions

Signs of Midge bites

  • Itching may commence immediately after the bite, but usually begins some hours later
  • Some people will present with just a small red spot whilst others will welt up with blisters & overwhelming itchiness
    the severe itchiness can last for many days
  • Scratching can often lead to secondary infections
  • Some People build up an immunity to their bite over time while others have the opposite reaction and their sensitivity increases

Fun Facts

  • Only female midges bite
  • Females have been known to feed on the copulating male of her own species
  • When midges die in a large amount of numbers it starts to create a fishy smell

If you are currently experiencing a midge problem contact EPC – Enviro Pest Control today.

Stinkbugs (Pentatomidae)

There are more than 550 Australian species of stink bugs

  • Approx. 25 mm long
  • Shield shaped bodies, green or brown in colour, although there are some brightly coloured varieties
  • Mainly attack citrus trees
  • Are strong fliers
  • Release a foul-smelling odour from their thorax when disturbed, handled, injured, squashed or threatened

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys)

  • Invasive species which is a high priority for Australian biosecurity. September to April is high risk season in Melbourne and sightings should be reported to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881. First found in Melbourne in 2018
  • They are similar in looks to Australian native species
  • Approx. 12-17 mm long
  • Adults have brown, shield-shaped body, pale white bands on the antennae, distinctive black and white banding along body
  • Newly hatched nymphs have dark head and shoulders, red and orange abdomen with dark stripes
  • Eggs are pale green, elliptical-shaped, laid in clusters of 20-30 eggs on the undersides of leaves from June to August
  • A single female can lay up to 400 eggs. Eggs hatch in three to seven days
  • Feeds on fruit, ornamental trees and vegetable crops
  • Adults enter vehicles, homes and factories in large numbers in autumn months, looking for places to shelter and over winter

Fun facts

  • Stink Bugs don’t like the smell of mint
  • Different species emit distinctive smells
  • In some Stink Bug species the mothers (and in a few cases fathers) guard their young

If you are currently experiencing a Stink Bug problem contact EPC – Enviro Pest Control today.

Other Wildlife

In Australia, feral animals such as foxes, rabbits and feral cats typically have few natural predators or fatal diseases. As a result, their populations have not naturally diminished and they can multiply rapidly if conditions are favourable.

Feral animals impact on native species by predation, competition for food and shelter, destroying habitat, and by spreading diseases.

Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, a number of feral animals are recognised as threats to native animals and plants. Approved Threat abatement plans have been established with accompanying background documents to guide any control method plans of these pests.

Any Control programs to protect the environment, social amenity and agriculture from invasive animals must be carried out humanely. They must use best practice methods based on scientific research, and must include monitoring and assessment for continual improvement, and adhere to relevant legislation.

EPC – Enviro Pest Control can assist in the sensitive and humane control of animals such as rabbits, feral cats and foxes which can potentially cause damage to your property and ground, (under strictly regulated conditions), while remaining acutely aware of the non-targeted or native species which may also be present.

If you need to speak to a professional about any Wildlife Treatments in Melbourne, call 03 9988 5066 now.