Despite a clampdown within the industry, a number of unlicensed pest-controllers are apparently still operating in Dubai. Holly Sands finds out how to make sure you get the right agents in to fumigate your premises.
Pest control is big business in Dubai, with the city’s residents battling a range of creepy crawlies and urban rodents in offices, villas and high-rises across town. Dinesh Ramachandran, technical director at National Pest Control, explains how to do make sure your infestation woes are solved in the safest way possible.
What checks can people do to make sure the agency they contact is legal? And what are the dangers if they’re not?
People can call Dubai Municipality and ask for the list of approved agents. The ratings are based on performance, so it’s best to choose from the first five or ten companies. It also issues pest control licences, which look a bit like an ID card, so always ask to see the licence of whoever arrives to deal with the problem in the villa or flat. I know Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah municipalities are doing inspections and clamping down, but some companies slip through the net. They use banned substances, insecticides and buy cheap, highly-toxic products and that’s a health and safety risk.
How do summer temperatures affect pest levels here?
We tend to see less of flying insects like house flies, but the rest are here throughout the year. Theoretically, subterranean termites are more active during summer. Though they’re around all year, their biological systems become more active, which means their ability to feed and destroy wooden materials increases.
Are we likely to find any other pests inside now?
You might be more likely to come across bedbugs. That’s a major concern in this country and it’s on the rise. The number of new clients we see calling in about this is increasing.
Are homes in high-rise apartments less at risk than villas?
Not really, I’ve seen cockroaches on the 40th floor, but you might find fewer mosquitoes and house flies at that altitude. The rest of the pests tend to be found in both – particularly roof rats. In Dubai, we have a major problem with roof rats, and it’s worth remembering they are particularly common in new buildings and those still under construction.
Dhs350 for one-off general servicing that excludes rats, mice and bedbugs. Locations across Dubai, National Pest Control, www.natpest.com (04 324 2342).
Prevent an invasion by Dubai’s most prevalent pests
Keep a clean house. Dinesh explains that cockroaches will only ever be found in places where the standard of hygiene is low, such as in badly-cleaned kitchens or garbage chute rooms. Don’t leave leftover food lying around.
Always inspect yourself and your belongings after travelling. Whether you’ve been abroad or just in a city taxi, bedbugs can be found in any soft furnishings and will attach themselves to you. If you’re staying in a hotel, check the room for signs of an infestation – these will look like small, black dots around the headboard and edges of the mattress.
Avoid leaving leftover food lying around and keep your space as clean as possible. If you have pets in the garden, make sure any leftover food is cleared away immediately, and not left to rot and attract rodents. Contact your building management to have pest traps installed.
As with rats and cockroaches, filth flies are attracted to dirt and rotting food, and you will only find them in unhygienic places (unlike bedbugs). Keep your home and office space clean to stand the best chance of avoiding them.
There are several different varieties of termite, but there are small ways to help protect yourself against all. Firstly, always make sure water drains away from your house, keep all wood (dry or damp) away from your house (or better still, never keep any) and seal any cracks in your home’s exterior.