Insects & Rodents

Insects and Rodents ImageDepartment of Primary Industries and Regional Development

The Shire provides general advice to persons with pest control problems, however are not experts. An appropriately qualified Pest Control Operator or the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development should be contacted for advice for pest insects.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development offers a Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS) that provides advisory and identification services on animal and plant pests, weeds and diseases that impact Western Australia's agriculture and food industries. This service plays an important frontline role for the detection and reporting of unfamiliar and potentially damaging pests, weeds and diseases of agricultural and quarantine concern.

Phone: (08) 9368 3080

The following information is provided to assist you with any pests you may have encountered:

  • Bees
  • European Wasps
  • Paper Wasps
  • Cockroaches
  • Rodents
  • Identification of pests and diseases
  • Other pests


Bee swarms occur when a nest becomes overcrowded as the queen and a large number of bees leave to set up a new nest. A stationary bee swarm (on a tree for example) is resting and is harmless if left alone as resting bee swarms usually move on within 24 hours. Should a bee swarm be in an inconvenient place and causes you concern you should contact a pest control operator.

European Wasps

It is common for Paper Wasps to be mistaken for European Wasps, as they are both black and yellow in colour. European Wasp nests are typically located in such places as pampas grass, kindling boxes, in weatherboard housing, under floorboards and in the ground.

Remember do not disturb a nest yourself, always seek professional advice. If you have come across a nest refer ALL suspect wasp sightings to:

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

Address: Baron-Hay Court, South Perth

Phone: 1300 374 731 (all hours).

Postal address: Locked Bag 4 Bentley Delivery Centre WA 6983

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are longer than a bee but look similar to the European Wasp with their orange and black antennae tips. Paper wasps also fly with their back legs dangling down rather than European wasps which fly with their legs held close to their body. Paper Wasps can be treated by the householder or a Pest Control officer but nests need to be naturally located first. This can be done by following drinking wasps back from water (e.g from a pond or water feature).

Be careful when dealing with wasp nests as all wasps will sting repeatedly if they are approached during the day. If you really need to spray the nest, wait until after dark before spraying nests with fly spray. If you do choose to spray the nest you will have to be careful of dead or half dead wasps on the ground.


Cockroaches are a major health hazard in food areas as they spread food poisoning organisms. Their small size and shape means they are able to hide in small cracks and crevices and only need a small opening to gain access to a kitchen or food store.

The most important way to control cockroaches is to keep your premises clean and tidy while also making sure all cracks and crevices in walls, ceilings, floors, etc are sealed to prevent cockroach entry.

It is important to have regular treatment, either by obtaining the services of a pest control company or by laying baits and spraying residual insecticides around the areas they live.


The Shire discourages the use of Second Generation Anti-coagulant Rodenticides (SGARs) for controlling rodents.  SGARS are known to have adverse effect on owls and other raptors, reptiles, and other animals because of secondary poisoning. SGARS are slow to breakdown. As a result, if a rodent eats the poison and is then consumed, for example by an owl, the owl is consuming a lethal snack and it may die from SGAR poisoning. The main SGARs are Brodifacoum, Bromadiolone , Difenacoum, Difethialone, and Flocoumafen.

Alternative methods of dealing with occasional rat or mice infestations such as traps (traditional and live and electric). If you feel you must use a poison the Shire encourages using products which contain a first generation anti-coagulant such as Warfarin. First generation anti-coagulant break down quicker and poses less of a risk to our wildlife and pets.


Possums are nocturnal animals that have adapted well to our urban environment, the two types we commonly encounter in our suburbs are the Brush Tailed Possum (Perth including Mandurah) and the Western Ring-tailed Possum (Mandurah and south).  Both species are herbivores and feed primarily on a variety of leaves, flowers, fruits, and fungi with brushtails also known to opportunistically feed on pet food, barbecue scraps and other discarded protein.

Both species readily seek shelter in garden sheds, roof spaces and under homes, which can at times lead to issues such as:

  • Loud noises and screeching in the roof
  • Urinating and defecating in the roof or around the home
  • Damage to ornamental fruit and flowers in gardens

The first thing you should do is be certain that you have a possum. Rats are most common in suburbia and spend a lot of time in rooves, they are often heard for extended periods of time at night running, banging and gnawing on objects in the roof space. Check for droppings, possums tend to have large jellybean shaped droppings clumped in piles, whilst rats tend to be smaller and scattered. Check surrounding trees and patio posts for large claw marks as possums dig their claws into trees when they move up and down from the roof space leaving obvious marks. Finally spend a night or two watching the garden as possums will spend most of the night out of the roof space foraging for food. If you are confident that you have a possum in your area, trapping and relocating them or killing them is an offence and will not fix the problem in the long term as other possums will move into the vacant territory.

The best way to manage possums is to exclude them from the area.

  • Identify where the possum is sleeping and how it gets in and out, look for holes in eves or where roof tiles are loose.
  • Identify how the possum is getting up to the roof.
  • Install sheets of tin around trees and on posts that will prevent the possum from using its claws on the trunk as it climbs.
  • Trim overhanging branches at least 1.5 metres
  • Trim the branches of other trees that connect (or install tin around those trees also) as the
  • possum will use the interconnected branches to evade the tin.

When you have confirmed the possum is no longer in the roof, seal the hole and then remove the tin from the trees and posts. The possum will establish a new territory elsewhere.

Please note that the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) does not provide an animal trapping service. The landowner is responsible for management of possums and, if required, seeking approval to relocate animals.

For further information please contact;

  • Wildcare helpline 9474 9055 or DBCA 9219 9000 or
  • Apply for a licence to undertake an activity (trapping etc.).

Sending specimens for identification to the Department of Agriculture

Correct identification is central to effective control of pests and diseases. The process of identifying pests can be made easier if the specimens are freshly gathered and are undamaged. Simply mail the specimen to:

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

Pest and Disease Information Service

Locked Bag 4 Bentley Delivery Centre, WA 6983

It is important to not mail specimens on a Thursday or Friday. This avoids deterioration while in transit over a weekend. You should also provide; the locality where the specimens were collected, the date when collected, the name of the collector and a contact telephone number, and a description of the damage caused or other reason for submitting the sample.

For details on how to collect the sample visit the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development ’s website.

Other pests

For more information on other common insects around the home visit the Department of Agriculture’s website

  • Whitefly
  • Common spiders
  • Snails
  • Slugs
  • Slaters
  • European House Borers
  • Itch mites