When you spot insects or rodents running amok in your home, it can come as quite a shock. Not only will the sight of such pests make you feel ill at ease in your home, but creepy crawlies are likely to start causing damage to your property in no time at all. They also spread infection and disease that can be harmful to you, your family, and even your pets.
Unfortunately, due to the islands’ warm weather and humidity, pest problems are a common occurrence in Malta and Gozo. So, if you’re looking to nip your pest infestation in the bud, here’s everything you need to know.
Most common pests in Malta
Before you call in the pest control professionals, it’s good to identify what pests you’re dealing with and the potential problems they can cause within your home.
Ants may appear relatively harmless however they can quickly infest a home in colonies of thousands, which will cause several health and hygiene problems. Firstly, ants are known to borrow through walls, door frames, skirting, and even wooden furniture, leaving behind holes and little piles of dust and debris. Aside from the damage to your home, ants pose a number of health risks, including spreading bacteria and, in extreme cases, have been known to cause allergic reactions.
While termites aren’t known to carry diseases harmful to humans, they can cause severe damage in your home by chewing through wooden furniture. Living in a home that’s infested by termites may also be harmful to people prone to allergic reactions and asthma attacks. They also multiply fast, meaning you’ll need to act fast to nip them in the bud.
Cockroaches are without doubt one of the worst pest problems we have in Malta and Gozo. That’s largely due to the country’s warm and humid weather, which spurs cockroach populations to feed and reproduce at an alarming rate. These scavenging insects are known to feast on almost anything, including rotten food, cardboard boxes, leather, soap, and even faecal matter. This means they can spread diseases such as dysentery and gastroenteritis. That’s why it’s crucial to act fast when you spot a cockroach in your house.
“Many people wonder why pests are entering their home in the first place. The answer is usually one of three things: food, water, and shelter. That’s why it’s always recommended to not leave food and crumbs out in the open, on table and countertops. Garbage bins should be adequately sealed and taken out frequently. Humidity in the home will also need to be dealt with as many insects thrive in moist areas. A dehumidifier may be a worthwhile investment to keep certain types of insects out of your home.
Oriental hornets are indigenous to the Mediterranean and have become a rising problem in Malta over the past few years. The species is attracted to urbanised areas, often nesting in cracks, ventilators, and air conditioning pipes around homes and offices. They are highly territorial and will aggressively attack if they feel they are being provoked. Worse still, they are capable of inflicting multiple, painful stings that can cause facial swelling and difficulty in breathing, which may require medical attention, especially among young children. For this reason, it is never recommended to approach a hornet’s nest. Always call in the professionals.
Dealing with rats or mice in the home is a nightmare situation for anyone. In Malta, they are particularly known to infest homes that are situated close to open fields or abandoned buildings. With their sharp teeth, they can chew on anything they get their paws on, causing holes in walls and cupboards. They also carry a high risk of disease especially when you come in contact with their droppings and saliva, which can be toxic to humans and cause severe infection.
Your 5 most common pest control questions answered
Calling in pest control services is, thankfully, not an everyday occurrence. But that means many of us simply don’t know what to expect. Here we answer some of your most common questions to do with pest control in Malta.
1 – Why do I need a pest control specialist? Can’t I get rid of pests on my own?
Should you be spotting the odd insect or pest every now and then, you may be able to deal with the situation using over-the-counter products available from most supermarkets, such as insect repellent sprays. However, these solutions usually only work for a short period of time. Continued pest problems will require a professional pest control service. Pest control technicians possess the expertise to locate where certain pest problems are stemming from and can provide high-quality pesticides and treatments to resolve the issue for good.
2 – Is pest control safe for children and pets?
This answer will largely depend on the variety and quantity of pest treatments used in your home. However, generally speaking, pest control specialists pride themselves on offering low-risk and environmentally friendly solutions that will ensure your children and pets won’t be harmed. Furthermore, such specialists will be bound by rigorous industry safety regulations and guidelines which ensure their products are safe for humans. Whenever in doubt, or should a member of your family (including your pets) suffer from certain medical conditions, it is always best to speak to your pest control expert who will be able to take such factors into consideration and provide guidance before treating your home.
3 – Do I need to leave my home during fumigation?
Here again, the answer will largely depend on the variety of pest your home is being treated for. Most pest control experts recommend staying away from your home for around two to four hours after fumigation. In rare cases, you may be required to stay outside your home for up to 24 hours. However, it may also be completely fine for you to stay at home during the procedure should the products be entirely safe. It is also common for pest technicians to ask you not to approach areas that have been treated for anywhere between 30 mins to an hour to ensure the treatment has had ample time to take effect.
4 – How do I prepare before my home is fumigated?
It is always recommended to ensure your home is clean and clutter-free before pest control begins the fumigation process. Move furniture or appliances away from corners of rooms to give the technician easy access to treat such areas. Also, keep countertops clear and be sure to cover or store away any food. Mopping or vacuuming floors and wiping down surfaces is never a bad idea as it may get rid of pest eggs or droppings.
If you have babies or young toddlers in the home, be sure to store away or cover up any cribs and toys. Children tend to put things in their mouths, so it’s best to reduce the risk of them coming into contact with objects that have been exposed to pesticides. Your pest technician will be able to provide more preparation tips specific to your home and pest problem.
5 – How quickly does pest control treatment work?
While the exact timeframe will depend on the pest in question, in most cases you’ll notice the effects within the first few days after fumigation. In some cases, you might see an initial increase in pest activity within your home after treatment. This isn’t a cause for alarm and is actually a good sign. That’s because it shows the pesticides are working and have begun to disrupt the pests’ normal habits, causing them to perish. While pesticides are highly effective, some pests are extremely tenacious, which may require several visits from the professionals in order to fully eradicate the problem.
Are you experiencing a pest problem in your home? Then there’s no time to lose! Contact a verified pest control specialist today.