7 Common Home Pests – and What to Do Besides Scream?

The Singaporean’s Guide to House Pest Control

Have you ever lifted the toilet seat at home to find a centipede crawling around? After screaming, taking pictures and sending it to your household members, you flush the pest away hoping it won’t come back. But home pest control is a serious issue in Singapore. Many households go through infestations at some point. Other than common pests like rats and roaches, there are now more than 4,000 dengue cases and 5 dengue-related deaths since January 2020. It’s time to manage these pests for the sake of your health and safety.

Ants

An ant sitting on a plant

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While ants are most commonly dealt with using the find-and-squish method, a more effective remedy is ant poison. The colourless liquid comes in a tube and is equally enticing as it is poisonous to ants. The effectiveness of ant poison comes when the ants take it back to the colony to share, believing it to be food.

A more traditional type of extermination could be considered. Companies like Rentokill and Origin Exterminators identify the species of ant and type of infestation to ensure that they can effectively eradicate the colonies without risking the inhabitants of your home.

For everyday ant-control, you may also consider the anti-ant tray. The feet of the dish are difficult to navigate and can confuse ants. Hence, keeping the food safe. These are affordable and can be found online at Qoo10 and Amazon.

Rodents

Mouse requires more serious home pest control

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Rodent invasion can be a huge nuisance to home life, especially for apartment residents on lower floors. With Singapore being a food haven, rats have a field day chowing down on discarded food waste and scraps at food centres. Sounds fine, except that rat droppings and parasites can transmit diseases.

Unfortunately, rats are incredibly mobile on land as in water. They are capable of traversing long distances from the food court in Bukit Batok to your home in Serangoon. So there’s not a lot you can do to rule a rat invasion out completely.

Our advice if you see more rats than you can bear in your neighbourhood? #CallTownCouncil

Termites

Without home pest control, termites can spread through the house

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Singapore’s humidity promotes the propagation of subterranean termites. Most commonly found in soil, these termites can be identified by mud shelter tubes which are tunnels they make to travel long distances.

Making their way through the tubes and into your furniture, the rapidly multiplying termites can hollow out wood and cause cabinets to sag. What’s worse, if most of your furniture are wooden, the infestation can spread throughout the house.

It may be difficult to identify home termite infestation. But pest control technicians can conduct thermal imaging to assess the severity of your problem. Fumigation is a usually the common treatment.

#TiqOurWord Did you know? Tiq Home Insurance offers 24-hour Emergency Home Assistance (EHA) that covers four common home emergencies: Pest control, plumbing, electricity and locksmith. We’ll even get in touch with pest control experts on your behalf and see the problem out the door with you… literally! Also, the cheque’s on us! Terms apply.

Silverfish

A row of books at a library

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What’s a fish that’s not a fish and eats books? Silverfish! And they love carbohydrates. This is why they can be found in the pantry among your dry grains or stuffing themselves silly with dextrin from the glue in your books. You can seal your food, but Ziploc-ing your reading material sounds impossible and completely bonkers.

Enter: Diatomaceous Earth (DE). This magical white powder, which can be purchased online or at pet shops, is the fossilised remains of diatoms, a class of algae. When in contact with DE, the protective coatings on silverfish disintegrate, causing them to dry out and die. A light sprinkle at night should do the trick since silverfish are nocturnal.

#TiqOurWord Tiq Home Insurance provides an Emergency Cash Allowance of up to $5,000 within 24 hours in the event that your home is rendered uninhabitable by insured situations.

Mosquitoes

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With the recent dengue outbreak, mosquitoes have risen once again to become Singapore’s Public Enemy Number Two (Number One being COVID-19, of course). One is inclined to wonder why these insufferable beings even exist, and what purpose do they serve in the ecosystem? Whatever your conclusion, mosquitoes are among the most dangerous and common pests around.

The preventive measures recommended by town councils and National Environment Agency (NEA) include:

  1. Overturning unused pails.
  2. Placing insecticide in roof gutters.
  3. Replacing water in vases regularly.
  4. Emptying the dishes under potted plants.
  5. Ensuring the water you pour on soil is fully absorbed.

Other than that, setting up electric nets and regularly spraying aerosol mosquito repellent should do the trick! Get yourself protected with our enhanced ePROTECT safety, which covers Dengue Fever and provides a limited-time complimentary diagnosis benefit of S$3,000 in the unfortunate event that you test positive for dengue.

Cockroaches

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#TFW the wings emerge – we’re running, too. Everyone has encountered cockroaches at home. The omnivorous insect is as hardy as is it gross. They can survive a week without their head and up to a half-hour submerged in water — all adaptations that contribute to its 280 million-year survival, just so they can frighten you at night.

Keep these critters out of your home by storing food carefully and keep your home dry. Cockroaches are attracted to moisture. So fix leaky pipes and get rid of mould on ceilings and walls. Insecticide spray is usually pretty effective, but they can be harmful to children. An effective homemade repellent is boric acid mixed with flour and cocoa.

Facing a pest problem too big to handle yourself? With Tiq Home Insurance, help is always on hand.

Centipedes

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In the developed, hygiene-obsessed Singapore, how are we still finding centipedes in our bathrooms?

The reason: humidity, again! Centipedes seek moist places to hide. They probably hunkered down in your pipes when an unexpected wave of water washed it out into your bathroom.

Majority of reported centipede sightings in Singapore happened in ground-floor units. Local infestation cases have been linked to poorly maintained bin chutes and sewer stacks which can be easily solved with chemical treatment.

The good news: centipedes are uncommon in homes and they won’t kill you. Their venom may cause allergic reactions, but the venom-tipped claws of house centipedes are much too small to pierce the skin and would otherwise only cause minor pain and swelling, at most!

Pest practices

House pests can be difficult to eliminate completely, but there’s always something to be done. Our advice is to store your food tightly to prevent unwanted visitors and keep up with day-to-day maintenance to prevent leaky pipes and mouldy walls from getting the better of your peace. And if you don’t have the stomach to deal with the pests yourself, Emergency Home Assistance (EHA), as part of Tiq Home Insurance, is just a call away.

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Information is accurate as at 21 April 2020. This policy is underwritten by Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd. (Company Reg. No. 201331905K). Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.

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