Pest controllers kept busy

By Sandra Conchie

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Tauranga pest control firm The Flyman owner Neal Courtman says the summer 
season is a busy time for bug callouts, including cockroaches, flies and spiders. Photo/George Novak
Tauranga pest control firm The Flyman owner Neal Courtman says the summer season is a busy time for bug callouts, including cockroaches, flies and spiders. Photo/George Novak

Demand for Bay bug exterminators is on the rise thanks to hot, humid weather, with a jump in reports of white tail spider sightings and people being bitten.

Neal Courtman, owner of pest exterminating firm The Flyman, said bookings to eradicate flies, cockroaches, and spiders always increased during the warm summer months, and were his most common requests.

Recent hot weather had sparked a few more callouts about cockroaches, and more sightings of white tail spiders, he said.

Mr Courtman said reports of people being bitten by white tail spiders were a lot more common and he had heard of a few incidents in recent weeks.

The species feeds on other small insects, including other spiders, and roams inside from the garden hunting for its favourite food source, he said.

According to the Ministry of Primary Industries website, the white tail was not known as aggressive, and only tends to bite if startled or threatened in some way.

Mr Courtman said he was a victim of a white tailed spider a few years ago, which bit him on the top of one leg.

"It gave me a heck of a bite which put me on my back for a couple of hours, and I was feeling pretty crook for about a week. I think a lot of people panic when they see one, but it is wise to be wary as some people do get an allergic reaction like I did when bitten," he said.

Mr Courtman said last year he had 8-10 calls about wasp infestations and expects a few more in the coming weeks as German wasps were on the move.

They often nest in block wall crevices or rotten ponga fencing, he said.

The German wasp, which is the major bee killer in New Zealand, has a painful sting and poses a real risk to people allergic to its sting.

Des Smith, owner of Wil-Kit Pest Control, said he had not had a significant increase in pest callouts but expects to field a few more flea eradication calls next week as more people return home from their holiday break.

Mr Smith said in the past year he had about 60 calls about wasp infestations, particularly the aggressive German wasp, and already had two calls about nests this week, one in Bayfair and another in a block wall at an Otumoetai property. Dr Derek Sage, Tauranga Hospital spokesman, said there had not been a major increase in wasp or other stings in the past few weeks.

He said the white tail spider tended to be "unfairly maligned", and many of the reported bites may not have been the species at all.

"There appears to be an inherent fear of white tail spiders. They get a bad press and are blamed for many more incidents than is actually the case. A white tail's bite is not venomous, it is not more likely to lead to a necrotic infection, and as such is no more harmful than any other bite or sting."

Dr Sage said it was rare to have an allergic reaction and infection came from not keeping the bite clean.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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