For students and young professionals alike, living in an apartment building has massive benefits. Not only is the small space suitable for a working lifestyle, it is also an affordable and apt way to live on a tight budget.
Unfortunately, apartment living is not always as glamorous as television and film make it out to be. Apartment buildings each come with their own set of issues – one shared by most being the issue of pest infestations. In just a few minutes of reading, learn what pests you can expect to encounter when moving into an apartment building. Also, learn how to know when you should call a pest control Cape Town company such as Pest Managers.
Why is pest control often necessary for tenants in apartment buildings?
For bugs and rodents looking for a warm place to stay, with the promise of easily accessible food, apartment buildings shine out as an inviting beacon. With hundreds and sometimes even thousands of apartments within the building from which to choose and hop between, it is no wonder apartment buildings are prone to pest infestations. It is likely that there will be a plethora of units within the building in which crumbs, dirty dishes and cluttered corners will be widespread. This is a dream come true for pests. This means that even if you work to keep your apartment spotless, you still may not be able to avoid visits from bacteria-carrying pests.
One would think that having a smaller space makes it easier to clean. This is not always the case. Lack of space to store things often means that those living in apartments resort to piling items high in corners or dark spaces. Naturally these spaces will not receive frequent cleaning attention – making them the perfect hideout for opportunistic pests. Further, how do you clean underneath a bed when you only have a few inches of space to move it in a shoebox-like room? The challenges of keeping a small apartment space clean lead to the space being more appealing to pests.
Being able to move through units via walls, floors and pipes makes apartment buildings a haven for the following types of pests:
Cape Town’s number 1 apartment pest: Cockroaches
It is only fitting for cockroaches to take first place on the pest podium when it comes to apartment building living. These bugs have long been associated with being the classic urban apartment building pest, with their resilient natures helping them avoid rookie efforts to keep their numbers in check. Roaches thrive in city landscapes as they have access to below-ground tunnel systems as well as a vast variety of apartment buildings from which to choose their perfect home. In the colder months, roaches frequently enter apartments to take shelter as well as search for water and food.
Despite their love for a warm place to stay, cockroaches adapt to virtually any environment (which is why it is so difficult to control their numbers). The fact that they can survive around 30 days without any food, and a week without their heads stands testament to their durability. Interestingly, there are over 4000 species of cockroaches around the world. In South Africa, there are 3 main species that pest control Cape Town companies contend with – the American cockroach, the German cockroach as well as the Brown banded cockroach.
The American cockroach: one of the largest home-invading roaches, the American cockroach can be identified by their shining brown-reddish colour. In warm temperatures, they are very impressive fliers. They reach scary lengths of around 35 – 40 mm.
The German cockroach is recognisable by 2 dark, parallel stripes on their backs. They grow to be between 12 – 15 mm in length.
Brown banded cockroach: can be identified by their oval shape with two very long antennae. Their name derives from the tan or light brown stripes that can be seen on their wings. Their length ranges from 11 to 14.5 mm.
One of the first places you may find any of the above cockroaches in your apartment is in your kitchen. This makes sense, as it is one of the warmest places in the home as well as the best stocked with tasty treats. Bathrooms are the second-most common place to find roaches in your apartment. Because apartment buildings link plumbing between units, cockroaches have an excellent means of transportation to move around.
Their small size makes this even easier for them, as they can find tiny openings in your unit. This is why a roach infestation in an apartment building is not always limited to one unit alone. While some apartment building managers are very proactive when it comes to pest infestations, others are hesitant or altogether not willing to contact pest control Cape Town companies and enlist their services. Unfortunately, this leads to a breakdown in communication and apartment owners thinking they are alone in experiencing an infestation.
Health issues associated with cockroaches
Cockroaches are unsanitary for a variety of reasons. Namely, they spread bacteria as they roam your floors, countertops and sinks. These bugs can carry pathogens and microorganisms that cause diseases for humans. According to the World Health Organisation, around 30 different species of bacteria have been discovered on roaches to date. The organisation also details that cockroaches often carry the pathogens that cause the following diseases:
- Typhoid fever
For those who are asthmatic and have allergies, cockroaches can worsen symptoms through exposure to their faeces, saliva and shedding body parts. Further, the bugs are known to produce a substance that can trigger an allergic reaction in humans. Taking data from the United States, around 26% of their population is allegedly sensitive to the roach allergen.
Cape Town’s number 2 apartment pest: Ants
Ants rank second place on the podium due to their commonness, and not because of their danger. In fact, ants rarely pose health risks to humans. They are, however, incredibly annoying. Many would not associate ants with high-rise apartment buildings, but they could not be more wrong. Ants have a knack for getting into everything, really, especially with the scent of food luring them on their journey.
They are excellent communicators, and follow pheromone trails to food sources identified by their comrades. While difficult to spot just one or two, it is often only when we see a line of ants carrying away our biscuit crumbs that we notice that something is amiss. This is when it is time to take action. If that is not possible, contact a reliable pest control Cape Town company such as Pest Managers to advise you on how most effectively to eradicate the problem.
Cape Town’s number 3 pest: Rodents
There is nothing quite like the shock of hearing something scampering around your apartment at night. Worse yet, coming face to face with a rodent as it scurries across your kitchen counter when you awake for a midnight snack. Rodents are common apartment building pests and are infamous for their size, noise, damage abilities and their ability to spread disease. Rats and mice are professionals when it comes to chewing. This means that not only can they damage your apartment and endanger your deposit, but they can always find a way in if they really want to. Once they have entered your apartment, it may prove difficult to get them out.
Apartment rodents tend to hide inside cabinets, under furniture, in forgotten storage piles or behind fridges. They are feared for their ability to contaminate food by chewing through packaging and seals. Rodents can become a real health concern as they are known to carry and spread the following diseases and viruses:
- Rat-bite fever
These diseases are spread through coming into contact with rodent urine, faeces (through breathing in the dry matter), saliva.
Because rats and mice can move easily from unit to unit in an apartment building’s walls, a large infestation can take hold of a building. This infestation cannot likely be controlled by anyone except pest control experts. If you notice signs of a rodent infestation in your apartment or building, it is up to you to contact management. Contact a pest control company such as Pest Managers to deal with the issue immediately. Your chosen company should be able to stop the infestation while at the same time preventing any future issues.
Cape Town’s number 4 apartment pest: Indoor Flies
Being difficult to catch, swat and get rid of, indoor flies often become the bane of the apartment dweller’s existence. Flies are highly problematic and pesky pests, as they are prone to breeding quickly by laying their eggs in our bins (which we only realise when we awake to writhing, white maggots traversing our kitchen floors). One of the most common indoor fly species are fruit flies. They tend to hover around anything to do with vinegar or fruit, suggested by their namesake. These flies generally measure less than 4 mm in length.
Entering your apartment through open windows and doors, fruit flies only live for around 8 days – which means that their primary objective is to breed – fast. These red-eyed bugs lay their eggs in overripe or damaged fruits and decaying vegetables. A simple solution would be to ensure that your fresh produce is either refrigerated or that you keep tabs on it and make sure none of it gets spoiled. Ensuring that your rubbish bin is always covered when not in use is also a practical method to prevent a fly infestation.
However, fruit flies are also known to breed in more bizarre places, such as inside damp mops, in floor crevices or drains. In this case, you may need to seek advice from a reliable pest control Cape Town company, such as Pest Managers. We specialise in fly infestations among many others.
Tips to keep apartment pests out
In many cases, a pest infestation can only be resolved with the aid of a pest control company. However, there are several preventative measures that apartment dwellers can employ to stop an infestation before it even begins:
- Clean your floors as often as possible – do not skimp on corners or crevices
This will not only protect you against contracting pest-related diseases (should you already have an infestation you do not know about) but also prevent pest visitors in the first place.
- Organise and remove clutter from forgotten corners and cupboards
This will decrease “living spaces” for unwanted guests.
- Ensure that all opened foods are sealed tightly and stored effectively
Wash dishes and cooking equipment immediately after use
- Seal gaps under doorways
Bugs and rodents can squeeze into the tiniest of spaces.
- Fix any leaks in your apartment