• Photo of Rowan

    Spring has come to Sydney and wasps are out in numbers already

    The change of weather from winter to spring has brought about a seemingly rapid change in activity in the pest world. Many people are reporting an upsurge in all manner of flying insects, not the least, wasps are being reported in numbers today 14/09/15

    paper wasps have emerged again for the spring in Sydney

    Paper wasps have a very painful sting and in the very worst cases where people are allergic to them, their sting can be fatal. Stay away from these guys and call in a professional when you find them. Their favourite nesting and hiding places are on the under sides of dense foliage where you can't see them until it is too late.

  • Photo of Rowan

    Can termites fly?

    Can termites fly? Yes they can

    We are often asked by our customers whether termites fly. The answer is not all the time, and not all of them. When a termite colony reaches maturity, which is usually when it is between five and seven years old, annual flights of termites out of the nest is common.
    Mature reproductive's are sent swarming from the nest to set up new colonies, there often many hundreds of thousands that fly out, resulting in many new nests of being created.

    These flights will generally happen over the warmer months of the year, and in Sydney it is quite common in October, November and December to see the late afternoon sky full of what people think are flying ants, they are often in fact flying termites.

    All that the swarming flying termites need is a place to nest, some moisture and some food in the form of timber or another product containing cellulose like a paper or cardboard. This is the reason that at Pestec we make recommendations for you to remove these conditions which we believe are conducive to termite nesting and subsequent attack of your home.

    Just because you have seen termites flying around your home does not mean that you have a current attack of termites, but it does mean that the risk that termites will attack is increased. The best way to find out if the termites are attacking your house is to have an inspection carried out as soon as possible.

    A flying termite and one that cannot fly

  • Photo of Rowan

    Why are we so scared of spiders?

    Why spiders? Why couldn't it be "follow the butterflies"? For some, the fear of spiders is innate and not learned. According to a duo of psychologists, spiders are an evolutionarily-persistent ancestral hazard that humans are especially attuned to -- even when we’re not paying particular attention to anything else in our surroundings. After all, our ancestors in Africa co-existed with the eight-legged crawlies for millions of years, and being aware of spiders with potentially killer bites was critical for survival. The findings were published in Evolution and Human Behavior last year.

    Our visual system may have retained “ancestral mechanisms” dedicated to the quick detection of immediate and specific threats that have persisted throughout evolutionary time, according to Barnard College’s Joshua New and Tamsin German from the University of California, Santa Barbara. These are the snakes, spiders, and angry faces of our nightmares. Amber fossil specimens of Steatoda, the sister genus to our cosmopolitan widow spiders (Latrodectus, which are particularly dense in southern Africa), have been dated to 40 million years. But while having a “biological preparedness” for recognizing angry human faces is still useful in today’s society, spiders aren't as serious of a threat these days, compared to the deep past. Only about 200 out of 40,000 pose serious medical concerns for healthy adults, with about 200 confirmed fatalities a year worldwide.

    So, to test this one ancestral hazard, the duo recruited hundreds of college students for a simple task: Pick the longer of the two lines in a cross that’s displayed on a computer screen. After the participants completed this trial a few times, the researchers added an object that flashed for a few hundred milliseconds across the screen. These blink-and-you’ll-miss-it objects ranged from modern threats (hypodermic needles) to fear-irrelevant creatures (houseflies) to ancestral hazards (spiders).

    Less than 15 percent noticed, identified, and could pinpoint the location of the hypodermic needle in these "inattentional blindness" tests. Similarly, only 10 percent successfully located the housefly, USA Today reports -- they were too absorbed in the task to divert their attention. However, when a spider or spidery shape quickly flashed on the screen, more than half of the participants were able to identify and locate which quadrant it appeared in.  

    "A central body plus radiating segments -- that's the template you need to (turn on) this super-responsive awareness," New tells USA Today. "If you're walking around and there's a spider on the ground and a needle, you'd be more likely to step on the needle than on the spider." And that’s despite any unpleasant memories we might have of getting shots.

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