Critters That Roam in the Night

In Australia we have a wide spectrum of critters that roam around our houses at night and cause endless headaches. In most cases we would like to ignore these critters, but some of them keep coming up in the pest controller’s daily discussions with clients around Melbourne. This article discusses these critters in some detail and will provide additional information on what can be done to control them.

First let us introduce the primary suspects:

  1. The Possum – you have to love the possum! Very much a nocturnal critter that likes to roam along fence lines and trees around suburban neighbourhoods. As pest controllers we most commonly hear about possums when they purposefully irritate the local dog causing it to bark endlessly. They tend to sit on the fence line or in a tree above the dog and it quickly becomes a battle of wills as to who will give up first, the barking dog or a bored possum.
  2. Rats and mice – these critters are around our homes all year around, but they tend to make a special nuisance of themselves in winter months as they seek the warmth of our homes to nest in, find shelter and hunt for new food sources. Apart from the cringe factor where rats and mice are involved, they can be destructive once they make their way into your home, which quite rightly earns them their pest status.
  3. Cockroaches – we tend to only come across these critters when we catch them in the act of roaming around the home at night. What should be considered, when you reach for that can of bug spray, is the life cycle of a cockroach and their nesting habits. Sure, the bandit you just caught in the act will cop it, but there are possibly hundreds more where he came from.


Let us explore these critters in more detail and give some pointers on how they are best controlled when they start making a pest of themselves around your home:


The Possum

There are two species of possums that are encountered in suburban neighbourhoods in Australia. The names of the species are not important, but what you need to know is that they like to live in the cavities of trees. They shelter during the day and emerge at night to forage for food and explore. This is why possums tend to have local encounters with dogs at night.

As they explore their surroundings, they tend to find entry points into roof voids via broken tiles, damaged eaves, or displaced ridge capping. It is safe to presume that if a possum has found its way into your roof void that additional investigation and subsequent repair of an opening will be required to prevent a recurrence of the problem. It is also important to note that you may not close the potential entry point until you are certain that the possum is no longer in the roof void.

It is important to note that possums are a protected animal in Australia, which means they may not be killed. Trapping, followed by release in bushland is acceptable under various state permits or licenses. You will need to spend some time finding a pest controller who specialises in the capture and release of possums or give us a call at Pest-Zap and we can recommend someone who operates in the Melbourne area.


Rats and Mice

For those of us who grew up with Tom and Jerry cartoons it was always cute how Jerry used to get the better of Tom. However exaggerated the level of destruction was that Tom and Jerry used to level in the house, there is some truth in the story line that a rodent in your home can cause significant damage if they are determined enough to get to a food source or a comfortable nesting area.

Around Melbourne we have seen rodent damage to:

  • Doors where the gnaw away at the corners trying to create easy passage into the house or another room;
  • Ceiling insulation as they roam around in the roof void leaving urine and droppings all over the place;
  • Heating system ducting as they try to find warmer places to nest;


The above only illustrates some of the damage possible to a home that in some cases will need to be repaired as part of the control solution.

Rodents also create a mess when they make their way into the home and it is not uncommon that when dealing with a single mouse in a kitchen that hundreds of droppings can be discovered in various areas, which creates a need for a total clean up once the mouse problem has been dealt with.

From our experience commercial baiting is an extremely effective way to deal with rodents and we advise that clients act quickly when they suspect rodent activity in their home. Waiting could be a costly decision in terms of additional potential repairs required if the problem is ignored.

If you have any suspicions of rodent activity, feel free to give Pest-Zap a call and we will be able to advise on an appropriate course of action given the specific problem you may be facing.



There are very few critters found in our homes that make us reach for a bug spray or shoe quicker than a cockroach. They have well and truly earned their status as dirty disease wielding creatures that needs to be eliminated on sight.

Cockroaches are nocturnal. Sometimes their behaviour is triggered by the sun pattern of the season or by the lighting behaviour of the occupants of the home they have settled into. When cockroaches are seen during the day it could indicate an overpopulation within the environment.

In terms of lifespan, the German cockroach is the most widespread in terms of infestation of human dwellings but has the shortest lifespan of 4 – 6 months for an adult. A nymph can be fully developed within 12 weeks of hatching. Other cockroach species can take up to 12 months to mature into adults and continue to live for up to another 12 months.

The point being that by the time you catch that bandit red handed as you walk into the kitchen, the likelihood that he has been around for a while and that there are a few more of them is extremely high. It may not be a simple case of immediate eradication a few cans of bug spray later.

From a pest control perspective an effective long term spray treatment that continues to kill them on contact for a long period after treatment works well. This usually requires a comprehensive spray around the exterior of the house as well as all cracks and crevices within the interior of the house. In the case with larger infestations a baiting program may be used as an additional measure to the spray treatment.


Of the many night-time critters, the ones discussed above are some of the more common critters we encounter in Melbourne each year in the pest control business. Some of them are more easily solved than others, but what is common is that they have well and truly earned their pest status in Melbourne’s East and Northern areas, where Pest-Zap operates.

What can you do when you think you have a potential pest problem with one of these critters? Give Pes t-Zap a call!

We take the time to discuss and understand the extent of the problem when our clients call and before we start working at their homes. This ensures that the treatment program adopted has a high degree of success in dealing with the problem.

Pest control Service Areas

PEST-ZAP is located in Melbourne’s Eastern Suburbs, so if you are located in and around this side of Melbourne, we have got you covered for pest control, extermination and pest management.

For a list of all locations in the Eastern Melbourne region click on the link or give us a call.