Carmen is a social issues and rural reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Bay's war on bugs heats up

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Connor Smart, Bugs or Us exterminator. Photo / George Novak
Connor Smart, Bugs or Us exterminator. Photo / George Novak

The Bay's bug businesses are booming as cockroaches and other pests bask in the damp, humid weather, exterminators say.

Bugs at Bay owner Stuart Marshall said the industry had grown year on year because of consecutive warm winters.

People were being forced to call in the professionals with regular clients opting for six-month treatments instead of once a year, because shop products were not strong enough to kill off the insects, he said.

Everybody has got Gisborne cockroaches from Katikati to Maketu. They will live anywhere and eat anything including each other.
Stuart Marshall

"They are not effective anymore as the regulations are very strict on how much active ingredients you have in the products because they have no control over it when it's sold."

Gisborne cockroaches were making a big appearance in the Bay of Plenty alongside flies and spiders, he said.

"Everybody has got Gisborne cockroaches from Katikati to Maketu. They will live anywhere and eat anything including each other."

Rising temperatures also caused insect population explosions, he said while Papamoa East had a major issue with spiders.

A1 Pest Control owner Terry Hayward said flies "come out of the woodwork and invade the place," when hot weather followed rain.

"That is when they take off."

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Bugs or Us owner/manager Duncan Kerr said it was absolutely flatstick, "we have six guys out on the road every day during the summer period".

He agreed Gisborne cockroaches were the most common and although they were not usually found in huge numbers one client found 90 in his garage and stopped counting.

The insect breeding cycle usually kicked off in November and he said the German cockroach was the nasty one which liked to live inside appliances, benches and in the hot water cupboard. Exterminators used bait and gel technology to kill them, he said.

Entomologist Dr Cor Vink said he would not waste money on exterminating spiders and said there was zero medical evidence that white tail venom was dangerous.

"That does get trotted out all the time and people worry about the white tails. It's just a painful bite but it doesn't cause anything else other than that.

"Spiders eat flies and pests around the house and live in their webs and don't do any harm."

However, you needed to get rid of German and American cockroaches as they could spread nasty diseases, he said.

An American cockroach. Photo/file
An American cockroach. Photo/file

The hardy species could endure a fair amount of radiation and were great survivors, he said. Flies had an amazing sense of smell and could be on a dead carcass in the middle of nowhere within minutes.

A Tauranga City Council spokeswoman said cockroaches were occasionally found in restaurants and were dealt with using sprays and baits.

Its environmental health officers were called to investigate fly complaints often arising from poorly stored domestic refuse and occasionally restaurant refuse bins in alleys, she said.

"They also investigate calls relating to overgrown sections and the possibility that rodents would be living in the long grass."

Meanwhile environmental services officers were called to deal with aggressive bee and wasp nests on council-controlled land.

Cockroaches:

* The main harbourage for cockroaches is bark in gardens.

* During periods of low rainfall cockroaches will move into homes desperately seeking water.

* During heavy rainfall, cockroaches will move to save themselves from drowning.

Source: Tauranga City Council

- Bay of Plenty Times

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