Keeping the bugs in Sydney where they belong, outside.
Lots of newcomers to Australia have questions, concerns, or the occasional nightmare about the crawling wildlife they might find under their beds. Take a look at any of the online forums about bugs in Sydney, and you will find plenty of pretty exaggerated responses ranging from rude to ridiculous!
Here’s a handful of practical precautions you can take to keep unwanted visitors out of your new home, and to know what steps to take should one of them find its way in.
The bottom line? Relax, you’re not in any danger.
With its spectacular coastlines, subtropical rainforests, and extreme climate, Australia is home to some of world’s most fascinating, and occasionally dangerous creatures. But with this, it has developed its fair share of exaggerated myths, ranging from creepy-crawlies to crocodiles!
The first thing to know about Sydney’s natural environment is that its climate is far less extreme than other parts of Australia. With its ocean proximity, fewer spikes and dips in temperature, and a steady annual rainfall, Sydney’s bug population is very moderate compared to some of its outback neighbours.
Many Sydney dwellers claim they rarely come across a truly hair-raising insect, especially not one that poses any threat.
Sydney’s moderate coastal climate keeps the insect population from tipping the scales.
Moving into your new apartment in Sydney
There’s no two ways about it. If your apartment’s been empty for a while, then you will undoubtedly come across some cockroaches and spiders when you first move in.
This can be a bit of a shock to the system, but not to worry.
This is also the perfect time to bug-bomb your new home; before you or any of your possessions have been moved in.
For this you could hire a specialist, but these days there are plenty of over-the-counter bug bombs available that tackle fleas and larger insects, and won’t leave you paying for a hotel room for a week. This will save you from lots of creepy-crawly encounters in your first few months, and you only need to repeat the process about once a year.
Mosquitoes in Sydney
Even in Sydney’s mild summers, one thing you certainly cannot avoid is mosquitos.
Mosquitos love to come out around twilight, and make their way indoors.
So the first rule of thumb? Keep your windows shut, especially in the evenings and at night. If you are a lover of fresh air, you could always invest in a mosquito screen which would allow you to keep the windows open.
There is a huge choice of mosquito repellent sprays you can use, both for your skin, and for indoor and outdoor surfaces. And if you prefer a more natural approach, a citronella candle can be very effective for warding off mosquitoes in the evening.
Sydney’s mosquitos are not at all dangerous, but if you are the type to come out raised and scratching after a bite, it’s a good idea to add some antihistamine cream or tablets, to your first aid kit.
Spiders in Sydney
This is probably the most commonly asked about creature in Australia.
Sydney’s spider population is relatively tame. One common misconception is ‘the bigger the spider, the more dangerous it is’. When in fact, one of Sydney’s most common spiders, the Huntsman, grows up to six inches and is fast becoming a popular choice of pet!
Don’t let its size alarm you. The huntsman is said to be very docile in nature and poses no threat to humans. If you do come across a Huntsman spider, there is no need to panic. And always remember, it is far more afraid of you, than you are of it.
One spider to be aware of is Sydney’s own Funnel Web Spider, which can leave a very nasty bite should you come into contact with one. However, they are rarely found indoors, preferring moist, humid areas.
You can recognise a Funnel Web Spider by its black, glossy, almost hairless exterior. Remember that these spiders are very unlikely to bite, unless they feel provoked. If you attempt to remove a funnel web spider, do not try to pick it up with your hands. Experts have always recommended that you keep your distance from the Funnel Web Spider.
Recently, the Australian Reptile Park has encouraged anyone confident enough to catch one in order to aid the further development of anti-venom. The ARP recommends using a wide-necked jar and cover, before handing it over to a specialist at one of Sydney’s various drop-off points. (You can find your local facility by checking the Australian Reptile Park website).
A bite from a Funnel Web Spider is life-threatening, and will require a dose of antivenom, so be sure to contact a medical facility immediately, if you’ve been bitten.
Recognising a Huntsman from a Funnel Web.
Something you may have to get used to is the occasional cockroach. Bug bombing your apartment should ward them off for a while, but cockroaches are simply a part of life in Sydney.
The good news is that they are completely harmless, and there are lots of practical measures you can take to keep your home relatively roach-free. One of the best measures you can take is keeping a clean home, especially in the kitchen.
Cockroaches are drawn to food-waste, so be sure not to leave food lying around. Sweep up crumbs as soon as they fall, and take your bins outside regularly.
Again, there are lots of effective pest control products, you can stock up on, if you are not keen keeping a can of spray under the sink for such occasions.Top tip: Insects and spiders love to find shelter in warm, moist places. Sydney dwellers recommend to always check your shoes before putting them on, and never leave them outside.
Best advice for dealing with bugs in Australian households is to relax.
Sydney is one of the most popular destinations for expats, many of whom shared these concerns about Australia’s bug-life before they moved.
Ask any settled expat, and you’ll get an overwhelmingly positive response, telling you there was really nothing worth panicking about. Most of Sydney’s insect population is totally harmless, and there are facilities in place to deal with those that are. By taking a few practical measures, you’ll certainly be able to sleep easy as you settle into your new city, without having to check under the bed beforehand!
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