Pest Control Services

How often should I have my house sprayed?

This depends on the type of insect and the extent of infestation. However, 6 monthly treatment is commended to maintain an insect free home.

  • RODENTS (RATS & MICE)

Introduced in Australia by the first European settlers, mice have been a problem all around the world for some time. They have a hearty appetite and multiply quickly, with the female species having up to eight in a litter at a time. The House Mouse is a small species, weighing up to 30g and is approximately 70-95mm in length. It is grey/brown in colour, has thin whiskers, narrow hind feet, sharp claws and a long, almost naked tail. As its name suggests, the House Mouse prefers to live indoors, in the comfort of wall voids, behind cabinets and around appliances. The real cause for concern with mice is that they can spread diseases via their urine and droppings, contaminate food and damage materials in and round your home – i.e. chewing through electrical cords and gnawing on wood and insulation.

Introducing the Rat Pack…

If you can hear scratching sounds in your wall cavities or scurrying feet across your roof space in the quiet of the night, chances are you’re sharing your home with a rodent. The good news is, you’re not alone and in recent years we’ve seen a rise in rodent infestation in Sydney homes. The bad news is these small pests can cause big damage in your home – they will eat virtually anything and are active all year round. There are different types of rodents found in Australia from the common house mouse to the larger brown rat and all pose a serious health problem if found living in your home. If left untreated, their numbers can grow to significant levels 

Some signs of a rat infestation include:

  • Droppings: One of the most well-known signs of a Norway rat infestation are their droppings. These droppings are…
  • Gnaw Marks: Another sign of these rodents are their gnaw markings on food and objects such as utility lines.
  • Grease Stains: Rub marks or grease stains caused by rats running along an edge also can indicate activity. In general,…
  • Visual Sightings: Sightings of these pests during the day often indicate large infestations.

Norway Rat, Roof Rat and House Mouse – Identifying and Controlling Rodent Infestation, Damage

During the winter, rodents are seeking warm shelter indoors and food. Thus, they are looking to burrow into your home however they can. There are three types of destructive rodents you might see: Norway rat, roof rat and house mouse. Though similar there are some key differences that ought to be considered from a pest management perspective.

Identifying the rodent type

  • Norway Rat – small eyes, small ears, stocky short hairless tail
  • Roof Rat – large eyes, large ears, slender longer hairless tail
  • House mouse – small all the way around with a tail as coated with fur as the rest of its body

Habits of each rodent

Rats and mice can squeeze through holes just large enough to pass their heads through, as small as ¼ for mice and ½ inch for rats. They can climb through pipes, jump vertically three feet, horizontally four feet, and climb wires, cables, vines, and trees to enter a building.

  • Norway Rat – cautious with a tendency to burrow
  • Roof Rat – cautious but more likely to climb to find entry points
  • House Mouse – curious and small enough to gain entry into any hole dime size or bigger

Rodent priorities for basic needs

  • Norway Rat – food, water and harborage in equal portions
  • Roof Rat – food and water but more adaptable about harborage due to climbing nature
  • House Mouse – food and harborage, most do not consume water directly but rather ingest enough from the foods that they eat to sustain them

Indicators of rat and mice infestation

  • Rodent droppings 
  • Grease rubs along base trim
  • Burrow holes
  • Trailing in attic insulation
  • Hanging or knocked down subfloor insulation
  • Nesting piles of debris
  • Odor particularly around vents for forced air systems

Control measures aside from exclusion

Control measures should be a top priority. Rodents have a small home range, so rats travel no more than 100 feet and mice less than 30 feet from their nesting site. Trapping is an effective, quick and economical method of control.

  • Norway Rat – snap traps
  • Roof Rat – snap traps/glue boards
  • House Mouse – glue boards

Potential damages to your house and property

  • Electrical – Rodents gnaw off the coating of electrical wires and wiring harnesses in both homes and vehicles creating failures in operation all the way up to fires.
  • Plumbing – Rodents chew into pipes, which can create leaks and increase the water bill. This can lead to possible flooding or even mold issues if within wall voids.
  • Attic and subfloor insulation – Rodents can cause compression and trailing of blow-in-attic insulation and they can knock down subfloor insulation from the joists it was installed into.
  • Contamination – Rodent feces and urine has the potential to be on all surfaces including the insulation in the attic and subfloor and vapor barrier. This can cause odor and potential disease transmission including but not limited to Hantavirus, Salmonella and an extensive list of foodborne pathogens when they get into stored food products within the home.

Why it’s important to handle a rodent problem immediately

In addition to causing damage, rodents can contaminate food and introduce fleas into a home. They also can create large litters which can get very out of control if there is no intervention.

Handling the problem immediately is important for:

  • The health and well-being of your family
  • The physical safety of your family (electrical fires, etc.)
  • Expenses regarding property damage to the structure, vehicles, etc. for repair or replacements.

How Many Termites are in Australia?

There are over 350 native and introduced species of termites in Australia, around 40 of which are destructive and invasive. The exact number of termites in Australia is difficult to estimate but must number in the trillions. The population of a single colony alone can exceed one million, with the queen living for up to 50 years while workers can live up to six years. 60,000 alates can fly from a single colony each year, which are termites that form wings and leave the parent colony to mate and establish new ones.

How Much Damage are Termites Responsible For?

Termites infest and damage approximately one out of every five houses in Australia. This includes houses in New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria where termite infestation is typically much lower than in Queensland and other warmer subtropical and tropical areas of Australia. Termites are responsible for over $100 million of damage to homes each year, which usually isn’t covered by insurance. Termites can cause irreparable damage within 12 months of attacking a home.

Which Termites are the Most Destructive

Termites are classified into three categories according to their ecological nesting and feeding habits – subterranean, dry wood and damp wood. Destructive termites usually come from the first two categories and include both native and introduced species.

The main pest termites in Australia are:

  • Coptotermes acinaciformis
  • Coptotermes frenchi, C. lacteus
  • Mastotermes darwiniensis (giant northern termite)
  • Cryptotermes brevis (West Indian drywood termite)
  • Heterotermes ferox
  • Schedorhinotermes intermedius
  • Nasutitermes fumigatus
  • Nasutitermes walkeri

The native subterranean coptotermes species of termites are the most destructive species of termites in Australia and affect homes all throughout the mainland.

How Big are Termite Nests?

The size and type of nests termites build vary depending on the species. Termites can tunnel up to 400mm deep. The nest can be located 50 to 100 metres away from where the workers are foraging. The longer a termite nest exists, the bigger and more destructive it often becomes.

What Do Termites Eat?

Termites really do eat wood. In nature, termites play a useful role helping wood be recycled to the soil as humus, an organic material that provides nutrients for plants and increases the ability of soil to retain water.

Using bacteria, protozoa and microbes that live inside their stomachs, termites can digest cellulose, the main constituent of wood. They are extremely well organized and persistent in their search for new food sources. Contrary to what one might think, they will eat anything containing cellulose – wallpaper, books, boxes, carpet backing, drywall and even furniture.

There are several signs that will tell you if termites have taken up residence in your home. Some signs are as follows;

  1. Noises in the Walls: If you listen closely you should be able to hear termites in the walls of your house. The make a clicking sound as they chew through wood and bang their bodies against the walls of their tunnels if disturbed to warn the rest of the colony.
  2. Discarded wings: Flying termites or ‘swarmers’ lose their wings shortly after finding a mate. If you see wings laying around it may be the sign of the beginning of an infestation or the sign that a current infestation has reached maturity.
  3. Ill-fitting doors and windows: Termites produce moisture as they eat through wood. This can cause wood to warp changing the shape of door and window frames.
  4. Tunnels in wood: Also known as ‘Galleries’. If you see these patterns in logs and other bits of timber around the outside of your house, this is a sign of a problem.
  5. Hollow sounding walls: Timber that sounds hollow when you knock on it when it shouldn’t is also a bad sign.
  6. (termite droppings): Dry wood termites push their droppings outside the tunnels they create. This leaves black marks and dark powdery substances near areas of infestation.
  7. Cracks in wood or paint: As the internal structure of the wood degrades you will begin to see the effects externally as well, often in clear cracks in beams or paint on wooden surfaces.

Part of what makes termites so devastating is the division of labour among the different types of termites in a colony. The termite lifecycle starts with the egg and then moves to the larval stage after hatching. The larvae then mature into termite nymphs, and from there, it can mature into one of three different types of termite: workers, soldiers or reproductive termites (the king and queen)

Cockroaches can:

Most common cockroaches in Australia

The Australian cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae) is a common species of tropical cockroach, with a length of 23–35 mm (0.91–1.38 in).[2][3] It is brown overall, with the tegmina having a conspicuous lateral pale stripe or margin, and the pronotum (head shield) with a sharply contrasting pale or yellow margin. It is very similar in appearance to the American cockroach and may be easily mistaken for it. It is, however, slightly smaller than the American cockroach, and has a yellow margin on the thorax and yellow streaks at its sides near the wing base.

Despite its name, the Australian cockroach is a cosmopolitian species, and an introduced species in Australia P. australasiae probably originated in Africa. It is very common in the southern United states and in tropical climates, and can be found in many locations throughout the world due to its travels by shipping and commerce between locations.

The insect can travel quickly, often darting out of sight when someone enters a room, and can fit into small cracks and under doors despite its fairly large size. It is known to be very mobile; its wings allow it to be quite a capable flier.[

It prefers warmer climates and is not cold-tolerant, but it may be able to survive indoors in colder climates. It does well in moist conditions, but also can tolerate dry conditions as long as water is available. It often lives around the perimeter of buildings. It appears to prefer eating plants more than its relatives do, but can feed on a wide array of organic (including decaying) matter. Like most cockroaches, it is a scavenger

It may come indoors to look for food and even to live, but in warm weather, it may move outdoors and enter buildings looking for food. This species can be found in nature in tropical parts of Australia; it has also been found along the east coast of Australia, from Cape York to the Victorian border.[6]

German Cockroach facts

  • Blattella germanica length between 10-15 mm
  • They prefer warm and humid place to survive
  • They often invade residential properties by interrupting grocery bags, cardboard boxes and second hand appliances. 
  • German cockroach most likely to found around bathroom or kitchen.
  • They feed almost everything including soap, glue, toothpaste, bathroom products and others.
  • Roach depend upon temperature, injuries and diet.
  • Early nymphal instars will not show the stripe but later it will
  • They have short life cycle and high ability to allow small infestation to increase rapidly.
  • The process to increase number through egg to nymph to adult (three phases).

German Cockroach Life Cycle 

Roaches have 3 developing stage – egg nymph and adult. German Cockroach Reproduction Female Blattella germanica produce a light brown purse shaped egg capsule 7-9 mm long and contains two rows of eggs. It contains about 30-45 eggs and produce 4-8 egg shall in total lifespan.

German Cockroach Life Cycle

At room temp one capsule is produced in about every six weeks. After that nymph stage (6-7 instars).

  • Egg stage Primary stage of life cycle. Female produce egg case & contain 30-40 eggs.
  • Nymph stage Newborn pest grows by shedding their skin during  various instars cycle
  • Adult stage Pest fully grown within weeks to month.

German Roach Reproduction

It grows faster than any other residential roaches. Once fertilized a female roach develop egg case with her abdomen. Case have 16 segment and at first translucent and later turn white and pink. After 48 hours it attains dark brown of shell of chestnut. Winters create risks for cockroaches, which are naturally tropical creatures. They died when exposed less than 15 degree fahrenheit. 

German roach is one of the among domestic species & generally found near human living area. Therefore they equally capable to spread disease and spoil food.

Blattella germanica Lifespan

It have highest reproductive rate and lays about 20-40 days and 28 days as incubation period. It produce 4-5 ootheca in lifespan. These roaches go through six to seven instars before reaching maturity and takes 103 days. Mature roaches lifespan for male and female is less than 200 days.

Injury & Damage by GC produce odorous secretions that affect flavour of various food items. High number of pests may result characteristic odor in general region of infestation. Various disease spread by roaches like food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea and other illnesses. Also skin rashes, allergic reaction, sneezing, watery eyes, asthma and other diseases also spread by roaches.

German Cockroach Infestation in grocery box, cardboard, near dishwasher, stoves, sinks and bathroom. They grows rapidly and increase their number within days.

How do bed bugs reproduce?

Female bed bugs lay five to seven eggs per week. This adds up to over 250 eggs in a lifetime, with proper feeding.

The eggs take approximately 10 days to hatch. After hatching, bed bugs go through five nymph (youth) stages before they become adults. In between each stage, they shed (or molt) their exoskeleton. Bed bugs need to feed at least once before each time they molt, but they can feed up to once a day. It takes two to four months for bed bugs to become adults.

How do bed bugs spread from house to house?

Bed bugs don’t have wings, so they have to crawl to move around on their own. This means that in some cases, infestations will spread slowly. But they can move within walls, through floor and ceiling openings, and on pipes.

But most bed bugs spread from place to place when they get onto people’s clothes, linens, or furniture and into luggage. People will then move the bed bugs from place to place much quicker than the bed bugs could infest new areas on their own.

Can bed bugs spread person to person?

Bed bugs, unlike lice, don’t travel directly on people and spread from person to person. But they can travel on people’s clothes. In this way, people can spread bed bugs to others, without even knowing it.

How to stop the spread of bed bugs

The best way to stop the spread of bed bugs is to regularly inspect for signs of an infestation. That way, you can take care of any bed bugs early, before they start to spread. Other ways to help stop the spread of bed bugs include:

  • Keep your bedroom clean and clear of clutter where bed bugs can hide, especially clothing.
  • Avoid second hand furniture. If you do, check it thoroughly for signs of bed bugs before bringing it into your home.
  • Use a protective cover over your mattress and box spring.
  • Vacuum your home regularly.
  • Inspect your sleeping area when you travel.
  • Use a bag stand in hotels rather than putting your bag on the floor or bed.
  • When traveling, inspect your luggage and clothes before leaving to go home.
  • If you use shared laundry facilities, take your clothes there in a plastic bag. Remove clothes from the dryer immediately and fold them at home.
  • Seal any cracks or crevices in the walls of your home.

How to tell if you have bedbugs

To see if you have bed bugs, look for:

  • reddish stains on your sheets, pillows, or mattress (which may be crushed bed bugs)
  • dark spots about the size of a poppy seed on your sheets, pillows, or mattress (which may be bed bug excrement)
  • tiny bed bug eggs or eggshells
  • small yellow skins (these are the exoskeletons bed bugs shed as they grow)
  • a musty odor near your bed or piles of clothes
  • You can actually see them

You may also realize you have bed bugs if you start to get bites. Bed bug bites are usually small, slightly swollen, and red. They may be itchy and can appear up to 14 days after being bitten. But different people have different levels of reaction to bed bug bites. You may have a large red welt or you may have no reaction.

You should see your doctor if you have:

  • Many bites
  • Blisters
  • Skin infection (bites feel tender or ooze discharge, such as pus)
  • An allergic skin reaction (skin red and swollen or hives)

Takeaway

Bed bug infestations can be very annoying. Although they don’t spread disease, you can end up covered in itchy red bites. But you can take steps to prevent the spread of bed bugs, including inspecting your room regularly for signs of bed bugs, checking your luggage and clothing when you travel, and keeping your room free of piles of clothes in which they can hide.

  • Clear up any clutter. Don’t leave papers, magazines, clothes, or other items on the floor.
  • Cover your mattress and box spring with a bedbug cover and zip it up all the way.
  • Vacuum and wash bedding, furniture, curtains, and carpets often.
  • Seal cracks around light sockets, baseboards, and electrical outlets so bedbugs can’t sneak in.
  • Check for bedbugs in hotel rooms when you travel to avoid bringing them home with you.

Removing bedbugs

Bedbugs measure just 5 millimeters across—smaller than a pencil eraser. These bugs are smart, tough, and they reproduce quickly. Bedbugs know where to hide to avoid detection, they can live for months between meals, and a healthy female can lay 500 eggs in her lifetime.

No surprise that these tiny bloodsuckers can wreak a lot of havoc in your home. If they get into bed with you, they can leave red, itchy welts all over your body.

Fortunately, you can get rid of bedbugs. Be patient as removing bedbugs often takes some time and effort. You may have to try a few different chemical and non-chemical approaches, especially if you have a large infestation.

Certain factors can make bedbugs harder to remove. You may have a tougher time ridding your home of them if you have a lot of clutter, or you travel often and bring new bedbugs home in your luggage.

If you can’t rid your home on your own, you may have to call in a professional exterminator. Read on for a step-by-step guide on getting rid of bedbugs.

Step 1: Identify all infested areas

If you’ve got bedbugs, you want to find them early before they start to reproduce. It’s much easier—and cheaper—to treat a small infestation than a big one. Yet smaller infestations can be harder to detect.

Search for bedbugs yourself, or hire a professional to do an inspection. Some inspectors use specially trained dogs to hunt down bedbugs by scent.

Bedbugs’ small, narrow bodies enable them to squeeze into tiny spots—like the seams of a mattress or couch, and the folds of curtains.

Also look for them in places like these:

  • near the tags of the mattress and box spring
  • in cracks in the bed frame and headboard
  • in baseboards
  • between couch cushions
  • in furniture joints
  • inside electrical outlets
  • under loose wallpaper
  • underneath paintings and posters on the walls
  • in the seam where the wallpaper and ceiling meet

Use a flashlight and magnifying glass to go over all of these areas.

You can spot bedbugs by these signs:

  • live bedbugs, which are reddish and about ¼-inch long
  • dark spots about the size of a period—these are bedbug droppings
  • reddish stains on your mattress from bugs that have been crushed
  • small, pale yellow eggs, egg shells, and yellowish skins that young bedbugs shed

Once you find a bedbug, put it in a sealed jar along with 1 teaspoon of rubbing alcohol. Other types of bugs can look a lot like bedbugs. If you’re not sure what type of bug you’ve found, bring it to an exterminator or entomologist to identify.

Step 2: Contain the infestation

Once you know you have bedbugs, you need to keep them contained so you can get rid of them. A quick and easy way to trap bedbugs is with your vacuum. Run the vacuum over any possible hiding places.

This includes your:

  • bed
  • dresser
  • carpets
  • electronics (like TVs)

Seal up the vacuumed contents into a plastic bag and throw it away. Then thoroughly clean out the vacuum.

Seal up all your linens and affected clothes in plastic bags until you can wash them. Then put them on the highest possible temperature setting in the washer and dryer. If an item can’t be washed, put it in the dryer for 30 minutes at the highest heat setting.

Anything that can’t be treated in the washer and dryer, place in a plastic bag. Leave it there for a few months, if possible, to make sure all the bugs die. If you can’t clean furniture, throw it away. Tear it up first and spray paint the words “bedbugs” on it so no one else tries to take it home.

Step 3: Prep for bedbug treatment

Before you start treating your home, do a little prep work to maximize your odds of success. Make sure all your linens, carpets, drapes, clothing, and other hiding places have been cleaned or thrown out (see Step 2).

Next, get rid of bedbug hiding places. Pick up books, magazines, clothes, and anything else that’s lying on your floor and under your bed. Throw out whatever you can. Don’t move items from an infested room to a clean one—you could spread the bugs.

Seal up any open areas. Glue down loose wallpaper. Caulk cracks in furniture and around baseboards. Tape up open electrical outlets. Finally, move your bed at least 6 inches away from the wall so bedbugs can’t climb on.

Step 4: Kill the bedbugs

Home cleaning methods

You can first try to remove bedbugs without chemicals. These bugs are pretty easy to kill with high heat, 115°F (46°C), or intense cold , 32°F(less than 0°C

Here are a few ways to treat bedbugs using these methods:

  • Wash bedding and clothes in hot water for 30 minutes. Then put them in a dryer on the highest heat setting for 30 minutes.
  • Use a steamer on mattresses, couches, and other places where bedbugs hide.
  • Pack up infested items in black bags and leave them outside on a hot day (95 degrees) or in a closed car. In cooler temperatures, it can take two to five months to kill sealed-up bugs.
  • Put bags containing bedbugs in the freezer at 0°F (-17°C). Use a thermometer to check the temperature. Leave them in there for at least four days.

Once you’ve cleaned all visible bedbugs, make the area inhospitable for their friends. Place bedbug-proof covers over your mattress and box spring. Zip these covers up all the way. Bugs that are trapped inside will die, and new bugs won’t be able to get in.

If these methods don’t wipe out all the bugs, you may need to try an insecticide.

Chemical treatments

Insecticides can help rid your home of bedbugs. Look for products that are EPA-registered, and specifically marked for “bedbugs.”

Here are a few types of insecticides you can try:

  • Pyrethrins and pyrethroids are the most common chemicals used to kill bedbugs. Yet some bedbugs have become resistant to them.

Step 5: Monitor the affected areas

Bedbugs can take some time to wipe out. Before you can trust that your treatment has worked, you need proof that the bugs have moved on. Check the infested areas about once every seven days for signs of activity.

To make surviving bedbugs easier to spot, place bedbug interceptors under each leg of the bed. These devices will trap bedbugs before they can climb up into your bed. You may need to keep checking the interceptors for a full year.

Step 6: Retreat as needed

Bedbugs are hardy creatures. Just when you think you’ve wiped them out, you might spot them again. You may have to try a few different treatment methods to control the infestation. And if they still don’t go away, you’ll want to call in a professional exterminator.

Step 7: Get the pros involved

If you can’t wipe out bedbugs on your own, it’s time to get the pros involved. Pest control companies have the advantage of using chemicals and other treatments that aren’t available to you. They have insecticides that both kill bugs on contact, and that stay inside furniture and cracks to kill bedbugs in the long-term.

Pest control companies can also use whole room heat treatments. They bring in special equipment that heats up the room to a temperature of between 135 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit—high enough to kill bedbugs.

Before the pest control company arrives, they should give you instructions for prepping your home. Follow their directions carefully and you’ll have the best chance of wiping out the bugs.

Professional treatments take two to three visits to start working. After each treatment, you may have to stay out of the treated rooms for a few hours until the insecticides have dried.

Step 8: Keep the bedbugs out

Once the bedbugs are gone, you’ll want to make sure they stay gone for good.

Prevention tips

  • Clear up any clutter. Don’t leave papers, magazines, clothes, or other items on the floor.
  • Cover your mattress and box spring with a bedbug cover and zip it up all the way.
  • Vacuum and wash bedding, furniture, curtains, and carpets often.
  • Seal cracks around light sockets, baseboards, and electrical outlets so bedbugs can’t sneak in.
  • Check for bedbugs in hotel rooms when you travel to avoid bringing them home with you.

MOST COMMON SPIDERS IN AND AROUND SYDNEY

FUNNEL WEB SPIDER

The Sydney funnel web spider (Atrax robustus) is widely regarded as the most dangerous spider in Australia, if not the World. It is actually responsible for many less bites than the also notorious redback spider. However, whilst both are potentially lethal the funnel web has a stronger venom which it is much more capable of delivering. The funnel web also has a well earned reputation of being one of the most aggressive spiders you’ll com across.

  • Funnel-web spiders belong to the family Hexathelidae. There are around 30 species of funnel web spiders many of which can give a very painful bite.
  • Funnel web spiders are mygalomorph spiders. Like the tarantulas, the fangs point down as opposed to crossing, The head and thorax are hairless and a glossy blue-black. The abdomen can be more brown in colour and is covered in velvety hair.
  • There are a pair of large, finger-like spinnerets at rear of the abdomen.
  • The name Atrax robustus refers to the spiders stocky build. I.e. robust means strong/sturdy. This is true of the shiny solid legs, particularly of the female. The male’s legs tend to be a little thinner.
  • Like with most spiders the female is considerably bigger than the male. The spider’s body length measures 25mm (1 inch) and 35mm (1.4 inches) respectively.
  • Another identifying feature of the male is the spur halfway along the second set of legs.
  • The female funnel web spiders can live up to 8 years or more. Males live significantly shorter.
  • A number of other Australian spiders are commonly mistaken for Sydney funnel-webs. These  include mouse spiders, trapdoor spiders and sometimes black house spiders.

Where do you find Sydney funnel web spiders?

  • It might seem obvious, but yes, Sydney funnel webs are indeed found in and around Sydney, Australia. That said they live within a 100 miles (160km) range of Sydney.
  • These spiders are found all along the New South Wales coast and as far inland as Lithgow (about 100 miles inland of Sydney)

Distribution and range of the Sydney funnel web spider

  • These spiders are more common inland than on the coast as they prefer less sandy, moister soil to burrow in.
  • As the name suggests the spider lives in a funnel shaped web. This is usually a burrow or crevice lined with silk which opens up in a T-shaped or Y-shaped entrance. When a prey animal touches the outer part of the web the spider darts out and sinks its fangs in.
  • The burrow and web can be anywhere from 20 to 60 cm (up to 2ft) deep.
  • Burrows are made in humid, sheltered places. For example under houses, crevices between rocks or in holes in trees.

This is the most venomous spider in Australia, and second in the world. The venom twice as strong as cyanide.

  • Unlike many spiders the venom of the male is far more potent than the females. Up to 6 times more toxic.
  • Juvenile spider venom is also less toxic.
  • The toxic ingredient to the venom is the neurotoxin atraxotoxin a substance that attacks the nervous system effecting any of the body’s organs. It works by preventing nerve impulses being switched off.
  • Rats, rabbits and cats and some other animals are unaffected by the bite of a female spider. Male venom only slight effect on cats and dogs. Primates (humans and monkeys) appear to be most susceptible, along with guinea pigs and mice.
  • The spider’s fangs are bigger than those of a brown snake (which are admittedly small at about 1 cm).
  • The fangs (or chelicerae) are also very sharp and strong. They are allegedly able to pierce a fingernail and shoe leather.
  • The bite:
    Initially very painful due to the large size of the fangs and the acidic venom. Bites leave clear fang marks separated by several millimetres.
  • When the funnel web bites it often clings on and bites repeatedly until it is brushed off.
  • Only 1 in 6 bites are serious as most people bitten are not injected with sufficient venom to cause serious problems.
  • Secondary symptoms occur between 10 and 30 minutes after the bite. These include:
    breathing and circulatory problems, muscle spasms, tears, drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea and possibly death within 2 hours. In one case a small child was dead within 15 minutes.
  • Evidence suggests that the effects of the venom wear off after a few hours
  • There were 15 recorded deaths caused by the funnel web between 1927 and 1981. Where reported the spider was always male.
  • Antivenom was developed in 1981 since which time there have been no fatalities.
    One dose of antivenom requires around 70 milkings from a spider.

Sydney funnel web spider behaviour

  • Like all spiders the funnel web is carnivorous. Typical prey includes  cockroaches, beetles, snails, millipedes and occasionally frogs or other small vertebrates such as lizards.
  • The male is generally solitary. Spends his time wandering and looking for a suitable mate.
  • Females tend to stay in the same place and can occur in “colonies” of over 100 spiders (Yikes!)
  • Like many spiders the funnel web is active at night. I.e. nocturnal. This is partly because the daytime temperatures would dehydrate them.
  • The spiders are particularly active after heavy rainfall. Partly because their burrows tend to flood.