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pests in Australia

see also:

  • cane toads
  • flies
    • most native fly species in Australia are benevolent
    • March flies are a major nuisance as their proboscis hurts when they stick it into your skin
    • Australian bush flies are a nuisance due to their sheer numbers in summer and tendency to try to get protein from your tears
      • their populations can rapidly expand in hot humid conditions especially where there is animal dung (where they lay their larvae which then take 5-6 days to mature) especially cow dung - fly numbers are significantly reduced by dung beetles and although Australia has hundreds of native species of dung beetle that are able to handle the excrement of native marsupials like kangaroos and wombats, most are unable to cope with the large quantities produced by introduced livestock, in particular cows.
    • "sand flies" / biting midges are a nuisance in many areas as they are tiny at 1-4mm but bite causing itchy reactions
    • fruit flies are a pest to fruit growers
    • the introduced species are a pest:
      • house fly - spits out digestive fluids onto food before eating it and in the process spreads pathogens
      • sheep blowfly - from Sth Africa causes major issues for the sheep industry with their maggots
  • European wasps (Vespula germanica)
    • these imported, aggressive pests tend to be mainly a problem in relatively dry inland areas
    • in some regional towns they can be a real problem as they feed off newly dead insects on car grills when they park at shopping centres - example towns include Yea, Yackandandah, Tumbarumba
    • they also feed on honeydew and honey and will often swarm around BBQ meats
    • the colonies including the queen generally die off over winter (although some may survive in milder winters of Australia), after winter hibernation the surviving daughter queens build a nest and rear the 1st brood of workers in spring which emerge as adults within ~30 days of hatching
    • they need a body temperature of at least 22degC to fly which equates to an ambient temperature of at least 8degC 1), in contrast the minimum temp for honey bees is around 12degC.
  • mice
    • mice plagues often occur in inland Australia in particular after flood events along the Murray River
    • mice, when in large numbers can cause havoc with campers - mouse urine on canvas, holes eaten in canvas, etc
    • keep all food enclosed and try green camphor moth balls as deterrents
    • exposure to rodent urine does run the risk of catching the serious infection leptospirosis

wildlife nuisances whilst camping

  • whilst not pests as such, wildlife has become used to hikers and campers in popular hikes in particular which can lead to unwanted behaviour (especially if you feed them - don't do that!)
    • many birds will try to snatch food out of your hands even just before it goes into your mouth, or at least they will try to knock it onto the ground - especially kookaburras, parrots, sea gulls
    • many birds will use their beaks to puncture your plastic sealed containers such as cherry tomatoes if you turn your back on them
    • some birds will land on the edge of your fry pan even while you are cooking - this can result in your fry pan tipping over, or worse your hiking stove while it is on
    • some birds have learnt to undo zips on your back packs - ensure you hide the zips
    • wombats will claw their way into your tent (and destroy it) if they smell food, and will climb into caravans or walk through tents
    • dingoes, particularly on Fraser Island, Qld, can destroy your back packs in search of food and attack children or sunbaking adults
    • possums and rodents can also search for food
    • snakes are rarely a nuisance at camp sites as they prefer to stay away from people but they do love to rest on hiking paths, or under vehicles if it is hot so always keep an eye out
    • leeches are common but easily removed - if it hasn't attached you can flick it off, if it has attached you just slide a thin object such as a long fingernail or a knife under the attachment point and it will drop off
    • ticks are common along the east coast of Australia and need more careful removal
australia/pests.txt · Last modified: 2024/06/02 17:16 by gary1

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