Public health nuisances

Insanitary conditions

Insanitary conditions may not only impact on the wellbeing of those people living within that environment but also their neighbours. Insanitary conditions can be caused by unkempt animals, a lack of sanitary facilities or unclean premises. Often insanitary conditions are discovered through complaints about odour, vermin or waste. Environmental Health Officers investigate reports of insanitary conditions in residential, commercial and industrial premises.

Pest control


Mosquitoes can attack day or night. Not only are they a nuisance but some can spread serious disease when they bite. Mosquitoes mainly breed (and bite) during summer. People become infected with mosquito-borne viruses in many parts of South Australia - most often in the Outback; the Flinders Rangers; along the Murray River and lakes; the Eyre Peninsula and coastal mangrove areas in general.

European Wasps

What do European Wasps look like?

A worker European Wasp is identifiable by:

  • a black and yellow body;
  • triangular markings on the abdomen;
  • yellow legs; and
  • colourless wings that fold alongside the body when it is at rest.

These wasps are about the same size as honeybees (10-15mm), but the bee's body is more orange than yellow, and the bee is hairier and does not fold its wings back when at rest.

Your food is their food

Both sweet and meat food smells attract European Wasps and they will invade picnics and barbeque's to find the source. They also search for food scraps in places such as school yards, picnic areas and backyards, and are even attracted by anyone sitting outside having lunch. Soft drinks being sticky and sweet are extremely attractive and wasps will crawl into the openings of cans and bottles.

They sting

In the above situations wasps may sting people or their domestic animals. The greatest danger however, is when a human or animal disturbs the nest. When the nest is disturbed wasps may swarm from the nest and repeatedly sting the person or animal. Children, especially should be told of the danger o disturbing the nests of European Wasps, and pets and domestic animals should be kept away from the nests.

But which wasp is which?

Not all wasps are European Wasps. There are also native wasps which have different markings and colourings and are not pests. Most native wasps build their nests using mud whereas th European Wasp constructs its nest of a papery type material. Nests of the native paper wasps are exposed and are often seen under the eaves and attached to rock overhangs and trees. European Wasp colonies however; are almost always concealed underground or in such places as behind retaining walls, in hollows of trees, wall cavities or above ceilings of houses. A newly established nest is only a few centimetres in diameter and grows to about 40cm by the end of the season.

Getting rid of them

You can destroy the occasional wasp that enters a building with a burst of flying-insect spray. However, the only effective way of stopping a wasp problem is to destroy nests that are producing the wasps. The site of a nest can be usually found by following a stream of workers as they fly to and from the nest site. If a nest is located or if you suspect them on your premises, please contact Whyalla City Council immediately on 8640 3444.

Rat control

The presence of rats and mice in buildings or property is usually regarded as undesirable from the viewpoint of food spilage and contamination, physical damage and the transmission of diseases to humans. The rat is well adapted to living in very close association with humans, sharing food and shelter. Rats and mice are very competent climbers and can scale rough walls, pipework, trees and vines, in some cases 'tightrope-walking' across cables.

Council action

Council deal with rats in public places but do not deal with rats on private property, if you have a rat issue you should call a pest controller for advice.


Council does not specify the number of poultry a resident may keep as long as the conditions in which the birds are kept meets general health and hygiene standards and the animals do not become a nuisance to neighbours.

A factsheet has been devised that provides a guideline for keeping poultry and also details the nuisance complaint investigation process for poultry.

Wood heaters

Domestic wood heaters are a source of pollution affecting air quality. When wood is burnt, small particles are released into the atmosphere as smoke and when inhaled may cause health problems particularly in those with pre-existing medical issues.

Taking responsibility for your wood heater and using it correctly will ensure you minimise the harmful effects of wood smoke and save you money on running costs.