Cromly sits down with Major's Pest Management Services Pte Ltd's Managing Director Major (Ret.) G. Surajan and Pest Control Manager J. Ashokkumar to talk about things Singaporean homeowners need to know before, during, and after pests invade their homes.
1. In Singapore, the common pest complaints include termites, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and rats.
Among these, termites are the most destructive. "Termites cause more collateral damage than all natural hazards added together," says Major Surajan. "Singapore has a tropical climate which is conducive for termites to thrive. The most destructive species is the Subterranean Termite."
Check for these common signs to know if you have termite infestation: mud shelter tubes, damaged woodwork and timber-based products, and swarms of alates (flying termites especially at dusk just after a rain).
Meanwhile, mosquitoes are the most annoying and hardest to manage. "Wherever there is stagnant water, mosquitoes can and will breed. All it takes is stagnant water the size of a 20-cent coin for mosquitoes to breed. The breeding cycle is four to seven days. Thus, it is important to have a comprehensive treatment program on a weekly basis in place to control mosquito breeding.”
Other reported pests are bed bugs, lizards, flea, ants, and even snakes.
2. You do not have to be ashamed if you have pests at home.
If you think keeping the house clean is the only thing that keeps pests away, think again. "It doesn't happen that way. Pests don't discriminate. As long as your home provides shelter, food, moisture, and even heat, pests will be able to harbour and breed," says Ashokkumar.
The two experts share that some homeowners ask pest control companies to park a few houses away from their homes when they come for their service calls, because they are ashamed at what their neighbours might say if they spot a pest control van parked in front of their residence.
"Do not be ashamed," suggests Major Surajan. "Bed bugs, for example, is not a pest associated with sanitation. Even the most beautiful hotels in the world can have bed bugs. They are often brought in by people who move around. Their only food source is blood and they're not there to eat your leftover food."
Ashokkumar adds, "Moisture attracts pests to a home. At the end of the day, pests need food, shelter, and water and if your home provides them these, they will stay there."
Of course, this is not to say that you don't need to clean your home. The experts just want to emphasise that having pests like bed bugs in your space does not necessarily equate to having a dirty home.
Photo courtesy of Etsy3. Pest control DIYs could just worsen the situation.
For Major Surajan, a lot of the DIY stuff being sold in supermarkets may not work as well as the controlled chemicals available only to pest controllers. They may even escalate the problem because they don't have the correct dosage to control pests. The use of these pesticides may build up resistance in pests treated over a period of time.
"It leaves room for misapplication by the homeowners. From our experience, homeowners don't call the pest management companies right away when they have a bed bug issue, not to mention that they might be ashamed. They usually try the DIY stuff themselves. When they don't achieve the results they want, they turn to professional help. DIY treatments might kill some of the bed bugs that come in direct contact with the chemical but may not necessarily eliminate the problem on the whole as thorough inspection and identifying the source of the problem is more important," explains Ashokkumar.
He furthers that some of these pest control solutions available in the supermarket can scatter the bed bugs around from the infested area. This will make it harder for the pest control operators (PCO) to detect them. "The use of DIY treatments, if not applied properly, might scatter bed bugs to other areas of the house and thus become more challenging for the PCO to eradicate the problem. This mav result in more treatments than recommended, and end up costing more to eliminate the issue."
4. Leave it to the experts.
Acknowledge that pest issues at home need the skills of an expert to eliminate the problem. It's best to have a professional come in and assess the situation—whether you need a regular routine programme to ensure your place is pest-free or a one-time treatment is sufficient.
Here are some details you need to check about the PCO you intent on hiring:
• Licensed with the National Environment Agency
• Staff have undergone training from the National Skills Recognition System
• ISO Certification
• Membership at the Singapore Pest Management Association
• Years the company has been operating
• Company's track record in dealing with pests
• Chemicals used by the company: Are they approved by NEA and within expiry deadline?
5. Maintenance: Pest management is a two-way thing.
According to Major Surajan and Ashokkumar, your home is still prone to pest attacks any time because the dynamics of your home change day to day, and your home could be attractive to pests at all times.
"A one-time treatment may not be sufficient for all types of pests. A maintenance programme has to be put in place to further address the pest issues and to keep the home free of pests. Homeowners have to understand that they play an equally important role in eliminating pests in their homes. They have to adhere to their pest professional's recommendations highlighted during their routine services.”
What other maintenance issues do you experience in your home? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we could help you.
Cover photo courtesy of Etsy