Pest animals

Nillumbik has a number of common pests including foxes, Queensland Fruit Fly, rabbits, deer, Indian Mynas, European wasps, honey bees, rats and mice.

Queensland Fruit Fly

Queensland Fruit Fly infestations have been found in the Nillumbik area. 

Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) is one of Australia’s worst horticultural pests. It is a serious threat to commercial fruit growers, hobby farmers, and home gardeners. The QFF lays her eggs in many common fruits, ‘fruiting vegetables’ and some native fruits. Inside the fruit the growing larvae cause the flesh to rot, making it unsaleable and undesirable to eat. QFF populations can increase very quickly!

Nillumbik residents can help prevent the fruit fly from spreading and reduce the risk of the QFF finding a suitable home in Nillumbik.

Watch this series of short videos to learn how to identify, prevent and manage QFF in your garden.

 

 

Suspect Queensland Fruit Fly?

If you have found QFF in your harvest this season you may put a sample in a sealed bag in the fridge and text an image of it to Council’s Land Management Officer on 0456 708 525. Council can support you to ID the pest and provide information to assist you to eradicate it.

Steps you can take now:

  • prune host plants regularly to a manageable height - so all the fruit can be easily picked and the trees can be netted with exclusion netting if need be.
  • harvest all ripe fruit and ‘fruiting vegetables’ from the host plants before it has a chance to fall onto the ground (fruiting vegetables includes tomatoes, chillies, capsicums, eggplants, etc).
  • collect fallen fruit immediately and dispose of it in the general waste (not compost). NB. Suspect infested fruit needs to be treated (cooked or frozen) before disposal.
  • remove your unwanted or unmanaged host plants – including blackberries and unmanageable ornamental fruiting plants.
  • carefully examine the fruit for pests and diseases before sharing and swapping fruit with friends.  Movement of fruit from place to place is how pests and diseases are most commonly spread.
  • avoid transporting any fresh produce into the area from known QFF areas such as northern Victoria, NSW, and QLD. This prevents new incursions.
  • Traps that are designed to attract, catch and monitor QFF in your garden as well as bait sprays, gels and insecticides are commercially available. You can also make your own trap. 

Queensland Fruit Fly for nursery staff

Presented by horticultural entomologist Andrew Jessup, this online webinar recording presents best practice options, so you can support your customers to manage and prevent Queensland Fruit Fly in their gardens.

Useful resources:

Managing Queensland Fruit Fly in your garden

Fruit fly guide(PDF, 3MB)

Make your own Queensland Fruit Fly trap(PDF, 2MB)

Queensland Fruit Fly webinar for nursery staff(PDF, 39MB)

 

Deer

Feral deer are a pest in Nillumbik, with numbers on the rise. They destroy native vegetation and reduce biodiversity, reduce the productivity of farms and pose a serious hazard on roads.

  • The Game Management Authority has advised that arrangements have changed to help private landowners in Victoria control problem deer. A number of deer species are now unprotected on private land if they are causing damage, subject to certain conditions.
  • See the Game Management Authority website for information on controlling problem deer on private land.
  • To report deer sighting visit feralscan.org.au

In 2019 Nillumbik Shire Council commenced a three year project that has been funded by the State Government to trial the control of deer in the vicinity of Bend of Islands, Watsons Creek and Christmas Hills. The project seeks to manage the number of deer to help protect the biodiversity of the habitat corridor between Kinglake and the Yarra River. Landowners that live within the project boundary are eligible to apply for free deer control. You can find out more here(PDF, 865KB) .

Visit the Collaborative Deer Action in Nillumbik page for information about this project.

Tell us about your experiences with deer in Nillumbik and share your ideas on possible management options vis this survey.

Collaborative Community Deer Management webinar

Rabbits

Wild rabbits are an environmental pest and they are prevalent throughout the Shire. In order to help control pest rabbits, RHDV1 – K5 (Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus) was released across Victoria from 6 March 2017. Anyone who owns pet rabbits should make sure that their vaccinations are up-to-date to protect against the virus.

  • The Department of Agriculture website provides technical information about these and other pest animals.
  • For further guidance regarding rabbits on private land - call our Land Management Officer on 9433 3111 or email environment@nillumbik.vic.gov.au
  • To report rabbits on Council land contact us on 9433 3111.
  • The Rabbit Action Plan(PDF, 3MB) provides information on this major threat to biodiversity and agricultural production in Nillumbik. Rabbits have a significant impact on the economy, environment and community. Rabbit management is driven by State and Federal Legislation and policies, including the legal requirement, under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, for landowners to control and prevent the spread of rabbits. The Rabbit Action Plan and all rabbit control activities undertaken by Council operate within this context.

Rabbit Control Program

Non-chemical/ non-poison rabbit control (ferreting, netting and warren closure) was undertaken between mid-April and end of June 2020.

For further information contact Brad Tadday, Environmental Works Team Leader Brad.Tadday@nillumbik.vic.gov.au or 03 9433 3111

Foxes

Foxes are predators of livestock and native animals. They are highly mobile and can travel up to 10km per night.

  • The Department of Agriculture website provides links to practical information about fox control in rural and urban areas.
  • For further guidance regarding foxes on private land - call our Land Management Officer on 9433 3111 or email environment@nillumbik.vic.gov.au
  • To report fox sightings on Council land contact us on 9433 3111.

 

Indian Myna

The Indian or Common Myna (Sturnus tristis) was introduced to Australia in the 1860s. They exist in Nillumbik and are of concern because they:

  • Are extremely aggressive and territorial birds that out-compete native birds for food, water and shelter
  • Displace native animals from nests (tree hollows)
  • Kill the chicks and eggs of native birds
  • Harrass pets and steal their food
  • Block down-pipes and roof gutters with their nests

The Yarra Indian Myna Action Group  exists to reduce the impact of Indian Mynas on our native birds and animals.  The group provides information on how to identify the Indian Myna as well as advice, information and traps to reduce the numbers of Indian Mynas.

To reduce Indian Mynas:

  • Identify if Indian Mynas occur in your area
  • Prevent nesting by sealing off entry points to your roof
  • Do not leave food outside and feed pets indoors
  • Use rubbish bins with lids
  • Join the Yarra Indian Myna Action Group
  • Record where Indian Mynas occur in your area and visit Myna Scan to map your sightings

 

European wasps

European wasps are similar in size to a bee and have bright yellow bands with a black v-shaped marking down their backs. They have the ability to sting repeatedly and possibly trigger an allergic reaction.

Private property

Council recommend you refer to your local business directory and contact a qualified pest removalist to have the nest exterminated.

If the wasps nest is located on your neighbour’s property you should talk with your neighbour about having the nest removed.

Council land/property

Make a note of the location of the nest and call Customer Service on 9433 3111 or complete a customer request. Include your contact details on the request as Council officers may need to contact you for further information.

 

Honey bees

European honey bees, which are yellow and brown in colour, are the most common bees found in Australia and are up to 6mm in length.

A natural part of the reproductive life cycle of the honey bee is to swarm. This is when the queen and a percentage of an existing hive leave in order to locate to a new nesting site. The swarm may be on the move for several days in search of a permanent place to nest. They may settle for a few hours during this time in one location before moving on again. If a swarm does settle on your property ensure you keep family and pets away from it and do not disturb the swarm in any way.

Private property

You should not attempt to remove a bee hive or swarm yourself  (by hosing for example) as this may aggravate the bees and they may defend themselves.

If you locate a honey bee nest on your property you can contact a local bee keeper to have the nest and bees taken away. Contact customer service on 9433 3111 for the details of local bee keepers.

Alternatively you could call a pest removalist, refer to your local business directory if you wish to have the nest exterminated.

Council land/property

Make note of the location of the nest and call customer service on 9433 3111 or complete a customer request. Include your contact details on the request as Council officers may need to contact you for further information

Bee keeping

For household’s wanting to keep bees on their properties, refer to the Apiary Code of Practice. The size of your block of land will determine the amount of hives permitted. These hives will also have to be registered with the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

 

Mice and rats

Mice and rats are rodents that tend to enter homes in search of food and shelter, particularly during winter. Both mice and rats tend to nest within floors, behind walls and between partitions. They can also be found in sheds, piles of scrap materials, near compost heaps and underneath hedges. You can assist in the prevention of mice and rats by cleaning out areas where they are likely to nest and by reducing food sources e.g. keep compost bins secure, remove fallen fruit from under trees and ensure pet food is not left out.

Eliminating mice and rats

You can use poison bait to control the spread of mice or rats within your home. You can buy this poison from your local hardware store or supermarket. Ensure you follow the guidelines on the product packaging. Another alternative is to contact a qualified pest removalist to have the area baited.

Ensure that bait is not accessible to children or other pets/animals.

If you have an issue of rats coming from a neighbouring property as a result of a possible unsanitary condition, contact Environmental Health on 9433 3340 or complete a customer request online.

Note: Native bush rats and the Agile Antechinus are found within Nillumbik and can easily be mistaken for the introduced rat species. Museum Victoria has further information and photos of the native bush rat and the introduced rat as well as a photo of the Agile Antechinus which may assist in distinguishing between each species.

 

Swooping birds

These are native birds and not pests, however they can become a nuisance in some situations.

Australian Magpies

With their distinctive black and white plumage and melodic warble, Australian Magpies (Cracticus tibicen) are probably one of Australia’s most well-known bird species. They are one of a handful of species that have benefited from the way people have change the landscape, they especially love our lawns, where they can easily listen to and therefore find their invertebrate prey under the ground. Due to our changes in habitat Magpie numbers have increased in many areas.

Magpie behaviour can vary between individuals, across different seasons and even depending on who comes near their nest.  There are many incidents of magpies becoming very tame, however it is not recommended to feed magpies, or any wildlife, as it can lead to health issues for the birds and cause further imbalances in the ecosystems. 

Magpies are very territorial, protecting their home range from other magpies, however it is during their breeding season (August-October) that they can then become a problem to people. Only a small number of magpies will actually swoop people, it is thought to be under 10 percent. It is typically the male magpie that will swoop and in most case only when there are young chicks in the nest he needs to protect. 

It is best to avoid swooping hotspots where possible, if you need to enter the area, protect your head and eyes and move through quickly, but do not run.  If you are riding it is recommended that you dismount and walk through the nesting area. Do not act aggressively, do not shout or wave your arms around, as you will be perceived as a greater threat and it is likely these birds will remember you as a threat for years to come. 

Visit the Victorian Swooping Bird Map to become aware of hotspots in your local area. Australian magpies and their nests are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975 and therefore must not be damaged or destroyed.   

 

Noisy miners

Noisy miners (Manorina melanocephala) are a native honeyeater found throughout eastern Australia. Noisy miners may be confused with the introduced Common (or Indian) Myna, as they are similar in size and distribution and have some similarities in colour.  Noisy miners are one of a handful of species that benefit from habitat change created by people. 

They live in open woodlands and forests and have shown a preference for trees surrounded by grass covered clearings. Therefore many gardens, parks and streetscapes are now the ideal habitat for Noisy miners. To help reduce the number of noisy miners on your property, it is recommend to increase the shrub and understory layers in your garden.

Not only are Noisy miners abundant in our urban and peri-urban environments, they are also a territorial species and one of their methods of protecting their home is to swoop intruders. Only a small number of noisy miners will actually swoop people and/or dogs. 

It is best to avoid swooping hotspots where possible, if you need to enter the area, protect your head and move through quickly, but do not run. Visit the Victorian Swooping Bird Map to become aware of hotspots in your local area.   

Noisy miners and their nests are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975 and therefore must not be damaged or destroyed.