Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are at it again. Each year they become active in Spring and remain active until early Fall. It is in early Spring that mature carpenter ant colonies will release reproductive individuals into the world.

All reproductives have wings and are commonly refered to as “swarmers”. It is their purpose to mate, lay eggs in a new location and establish a new colony. During the winter months, outdoor colonies will become dormant however some indoor colonies can continue to show activity.

Carpenter ants are generally about .25 to 1 inch in size and are indigenous to many parts of the world. Like their size, they can cause large amounts of damage if not treated. There are a few ways to find out if you have carpenter ants, the first of course being seeing them. You may also see piles of a sawdust like material called frass. Carpenter ants don’t actually eat the wood but instead tunnel through it which causes the frass. You may also begin to see some damage if left untreated for a long period of time.

Some ways to reduce your chances of getting carpenter ants include maintaining dry conditions-they prefer moist wood to nest in-so if they can’t find it either in or around your home, they won’t stick around. And remember, any place that wood comes in contact with soil, it could potentially become infested with carpenter ants.

If, and when you do get a carpenter ant problem (or any other pest problem), give Cottage Country Pest Control a call at 705-534-7863 or email us. We are happy to answer any questions and book an appointment at your convenience.

Wasps

Wasp

Paper wasps are one of the most commonly observed wasps in Canada and they are named for their habit of making paper nests. This species is dusty yellow to dark brown or black in colour and have little to no hair. Paper wasps are generally between 1.9 and 2.5 cm and  have slender, needle-thin waists with oval eyes and long antenna and like both bald-face hornets and European hornets they have 2 legs that hang visibly when flying and they have no pollen baskets.

Paper wasps are considered to be gentle, however if they or their wasps are threatened or disturbed they will become agressive and can sting their victim repeatedly by retracting their stinger. They are mainly predatory and will hunt small insects for food and to feed to t heir young.

Their nests consist of open hexagonal cells built using paper–which is wood fibers mixed with the wasps’ saliva. They can collect the wood fiber from various sources such as dead wood, wooden structures and plant stems. Their nests hang down horizantally in protect spaces such as attics, eaves or can be found in soil cavities and they will rarely exceed the size of an outstretched hand with populations of  between 15-200.

Wasps will drink nectar occasionally, but they do it in order to get quick energy when hunting smaller insects and they will also use flowers as a hunting ground, since smaller insects are attracted to the flowers. Wasps are beneficial in gardens and the environment because of their predatory nature.

Wasps (and bees and hornets) are not necessarily a pest you want hanging around to closely to your home since many people do have allergies to them. Cottage Country Pest Control can come in and using IPM methods we can help make your environment safer for you and your family.

To book an appointment or for more information email or call us at 705-534-7863.

Hornets

Today, is part 2 of a 3-part series on Bees, Hornets and Wasps.

European hornet

The first type of hornet I’ll be writing about is the European Hornet (Vespa crabro). This species is black and dark with yellow, they have deeply indented eyes (think c-shaped) with reddish-orange wings and their petiolate abdomen is brown striped with yellow and some hair. This species also has hair on their thorax. They can be as big as 3.5 cm and like the honeybee and bumblebee they have a gentle disposition. This means they won’t sting unless they provoked, stepped on or grabbed. They will however get defensive when their hives are threatened and they can become aggressive when it comes to food sources.

In male European hornets the males  have abdomens that have 7 segments and the females have 6 and the male antenna have 13 segments and the female antenna have 12.

European hornets, unlike honeybees and bumblebees, will eat insects and they are also attracted to lights at night. Their nests are large paper nests and can be found in hollow trees that have sheltered positions.

Bald-face hornet

Bald-face Hornet or (Dolichovespula maculata) is also known as the white-faced hornet and the white-tailed hornet. Technically, this species belongs to the genus of wasps called yellowjackets but because they lack any yellow colour is it called a hornet. They are black with white ivory markings and can be up to 1.9 cm. They also have 2 visible legs that hang when they are in flight and they lack pollen baskets. Similar to the European hornets, the Bald-face hornet also eats other insects.

This species of hornet is found throughout North America including parts of Canada, the Rocky Mountains, the Western Coast of the United States and most of the Eastern United States.

Bald-faced hornets are known for their large football-shaped nests, which they build in the Spring for raising their young. There have been some known cases, where they have built their nests as big as 3-feet tall.

They are also extremely protective of their nests and  will sting repeatedly if the nest is physically disturbed. They are more aggressive than both yellowjackets and other member of the Vespa genus. When this species stings, they are able to retract their stinger and stinging their victim won’t kill them.

Basically, you don’t really want hornets hanging around your home especially if you or someone in your family is allergic to their stings, so Cottage Country Pest Control can come in and using IPM methods we can help make your environment safer for you and your family.

To book an appointment or for more information email or call us at 705-534-7863.

Bees, hornets & wasps…oh my!

Today’s post is the first of another 3-part series all about bees, hornets and wasps. First up: Bees

Honeybee

There are over 1000 native species of bees in Canada, but the honeybee is not one of the native species. Honeybees were originally from Eurasia where they have been a domesticated species for centuries. All the “wild” honeybees we have in Canada are from colonies that escaped from domesticated hives.

Bees are able to live year-round and their hives are self-sufficient as long as the colony is able to collect enough nectar and pollen during the summer. They have been able to adapt to the Canadian climate and to life in our forests and woods since they have the ability to generate their own heat in order to warm their hives in the colder months.

Honeybee population has unfortunately been in decline due to two types of parasitic mites that have infested many hives in the past few decades. Wild honeybees in Eastern Canada have been nearly exterminated by these parasites and the infestation has spread to a large number of domestic hives. These losses, in addition to the loss of wild habitat, the effects of pesticides in and around agricultural operations and the transmission on other bacterial diseases from hive to hive mean that the numbers are continuing to decline rapidly.

Honeybees are amber to brown in colour with alternating black stripes. They are furry (with short hair) and are approximately 1.3 cm. They eat nectar from flowers and when they sting (which they won’t do unless provoked as they are considered gentle) it will kill them. Honeybees live in large colonies in flat wax-based honeycomb hives that hang vertically.

Bumblebees lived in the wild for thousands of years before people started capturing them in order to domesticate them. Unlike honeybees who have short tongues, bumblebees have long tongues which means they are able to pollinate a larger variety of flowers.

Bumblebee

In the late 1880’s, researchers began to think about using bumblebees to their advantage when it came to agricultural matters. In 1885 and again in 1905, hundreds of bumblebees were captured and introduced into New Zealand in order to try and improve the production of red clover seed.

In Canada, the bumblebee was first used commercially in 1990 as a tomato pollinator. Throughout the world there are 5 species of bumblebee that are commercially reared. In North America only 2 are used commercially–the Bombus impatiens and Bombus occidentalis. The B. impatiens species is very successful in being used as greenhouse crop pollinators and recent studies have shown that “only 7 to 15 colonies are needed per hectare of greenhouse tomatoes, which is equal to approxiately 2000 bee trips per hectare, per day”.

Bumblebees are yellow with black stripes and are furry, but with long hair. They are considerably larger than a honeybee at 2.5 cm but like the honeybee they also eat nectar from flowers and their stings will kill them also. They too are considered gentle and will not sting unless provoked in someway. Bumblebees can be found living in the soil in small cavities.

Yes, honeybees and bumblebees are beneficial to the environment and agriculturally but that doesn’t mean you necessarily want them building hives around your home or cottage. Especially if you or someone in your family is allergic to their stings, so Cottage Country Pest Control can come in and using IPM methods we can help make your environment safer for you and your family.

To book an appointment or for more information email or call us at 705-534-7863.

Bug bites: Part 2

Today’s post is the second part to the one yesterday about bug bites. Like yesterday, this post will show you some pictures of different bug bites….while they can give you an idea of what bit you, it’s important to know that some people react differently to different bites and if you aren’t sure about the bite(s) or if you start having any unusual reactions GO SEE A DOCTOR!

Bee sting

Wasp sting

Tick bite

Horse fly bite

Please remember these are not meant to diagnose anything. They are just examples of the bites and reactions commonly found with these types of pests. Also, if you have any of these pests in and around your home, give Cottage Country Pest Control a call at 705-534-7863 or email us today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bug Bites: Part 1

This post will show you some pictures of different bug bites….while they ca n give you an idea of what bit you, it’s important to know that some people react differently to different bites and if you aren’t sure about the bite(s) or if you start having any unusual reactions GO SEE A DOCTOR!

Mosquito bite

Mosquito bites

Bed bug bites

Bed bug bites

Flea bites

Flea bites

Flea bites (dog) this is an example of excessive flea bites

Spider bite (unknown species of spider)

Spider bite (unknown species of spider)

Please remember these are not meant to diagnose anything. They are just examples of the bites and reactions commonly found with these types of pests. Also, if you have any of these pests in and around your home, give Cottage Country Pest Control a call at 705-534-7863 or email us today.

Fleas

If you have a cat or a dog (or some combination) then you probably have dealt with fleas at some point or another.  The most common type of flea found in North America is the Cat flea (ctenocephalides felis) and despite its name can be found on dogs and humans. Another type of flea that is sometime found in North America is the Dog flea (ctenocephalides canis), though this one is more commonly found in Europe.

 Adult fleas are approximately 1/8-inch long and are dark in colour, ranging from brown to reddish-brown. Adult fleas are wingless but can jump large distances because of their 6 legs. They have thin and flat bodies and are covered in hair that helps root them into their hosts.

Life Cycle

 Fleas have 4 stages in their life cycle: egg, larva, pupae and adult as you can see in the life cycle diagram on the right.

 In order for an adult to lay eggs, she must have a good bloood meal before she can lay up to 40-50 eggs a day. A female will lay her eggs in a host’s fur, however the eggs will roll out in order to develop in carpets and baseboards. Once the eggs hatch, the larva will crawl into cracks and crevices looking for food. Larva are completely blind, however they are considered negatively phototaxic, which means they can sense light. Larva will primarily feed on dried blood in adult flea feces, but they will also eat shed skin, fur and feathers. Doesn’t that sound yummy?

 The next stage in the flea life cycle is pupae. After the flea reaches this stage, they can remain dormant for several months until the conditions are right for the adult flea to emerge. For them, the ideal conditions include pressure, vibrations, presence of carbon dioxide, correct temperature and humidity. When these are right, it means there’s a suitable host that the adult fleas can use as a food source.

 Adult fleas need an ideal food source, because they can’t survive for more than a few hours otherwise.

 Signs of A Flea Infestation

 Identifying whether or not you have a flea infestation is a relatively easy task. The difficult part comes when trying to get rid of the infestation. If your pet is excessively scratching, it would be a good idea to check his or her fur for signs of fleas. Some signs to look for (aside from the obvious excessive scratching) is reddened skin, flea dirt (which is not actually dirt, but dried blood) and another obvious sign: fleas!

 *Little tip: Found something in your pet’s fur that you think might be flea dirt? Put it on a piece of tissue or toilet paper and put a little bit of water on it. If it appears reddish, it’s flea dirt.*

 If you discover fleas on your pet(s), then you should contact your vet about treatment for the animals. That’s the easy part.

 How to Treat Fleas in Your Home

 Just confirming that your pet has fleas will unfortunately not confirm just how bad the infestation is, since adult fleas found on pets only comprise about 5% of the total flea population.  Treating a flea infestation take patience and time. By applying a spot treatment to your pet(s)’ fur, you will be able to fight the fleas found on your animal(s). However, to treat the fleas located in your home, you have 2 options: find a home remedy (which are NOT always effective or hire a professional, such as Cottage Country Pest Control to help rid your home of fleas.

 How to Treat Fleas on Humans (and no I’m not kidding!)

 Fleas can and will settle into a person’s hair (they can do this in less than 10 minutes). Fleas on a human head can cause soreness and itchiness. In order to treat the side effects, there are a few options such as anti-itch creams, antihistamines, hyrdocortison or calamine lotion.

 Because a flea has multiple stages in their life cycle, it can be difficult to wipe out an infestation with a short-term treatment. Treatments that only kill the adult fleas, will not work because as already noted, adults only make up a small portion of the population and larva can stay dormant for months.

 For a treatment to be successful, it needs to kill the fleas at all stages of their life cycle and be on-going for at least a few months to ensure that larva that have been dormant, will be killed when they emerge as adult fleas.

 Cottage Country Pest Control can help rid your home of fleas at all stages of their life cycle, using one or more of our treatments for fleas. For more information, pricing or to book your appointment contact us today.

German Roaches

Cockroaches have been around for an estimated 4 million years and  there are well over 3,500 species of roaches worldwide, but the most common cockroach in Canada is the German Cockroach (Blattella germanica).

Appearance

The German roach is about 1.3 to 1.6 cm long and has a flattened oval body with long spiny legs. They are tan or light brown colour with 2 dark parallel streaks that run from their heads and down to the base of their wings. Despite having wings, German roaches are unable to sustain flight.

Habitat

German roaches can be found in any part of your home, but they usually prefer a damp environment such as kitchens, bathrooms, basements,etc. Anyplace they can find food, which for them is not hard, and warmth they will be happy to settle in there. These roaches will eat just about anything–from food stuff, paper, cloth, glue from book bindings, etc, so they really can be comfortably anywhere.

 

It’s very common for people to not realize they have cockroaches until the infestation is very bad because German roaches are really only active during the night, so it can be difficult to determine whether or not you have an infestation without doing some detective work.

 

Life Cycle

A female German cockroach will carry an egg capsule containing approximately 40 eggs, which she will then drop just before they hatch. A female can produce up to 8 egg cases a year.

The development of German roaches from egg to adult will take 3-4 months and they will live up to about a year.

The egg case that is carried by females is a tiny, brown purse-shaped capsule that can be seen protruding from the posterior end of the female and is about 8 mm long, 3 mm high and 2 mm wide.

 

The second (and third) stage in their life cycle is Nymph. This stage begins with the eggs hatching and at this stage (in the beginning) they are dark brown or black in colour with the distinct parallel bands running down their bodies. At this stage, German roaches do not have wings yet. It is also at this stage, that German roaches will molt. They will do this a number of times (the most commonly reported number is 6, but it can vary) and it is at this stage they are called an instar.

 

The last stage in their life cycle is as adults, which as we already stated means they are about 1.3 to 1.6 cm long and has a flattened oval body with long spiny legs. They are tan or light brown colour with 2 dark parallel streaks that run from their heads and down to the base of their wings.

 

Did you know that an infestation is generally comprised of 80% nymphs and 20% adults?

 

German cockroaches are also considered to be a public health concern because they have been known to carry Salmonella bacteria,which it has been shown can remain in their feces for several years. German roaches (and many other species of roaches) have been known to also cause allergies in people that can result in skin rashes, asthma and other reactions. Allergies are primarily caused by their feces, saliva and eggs.

 

German roaches can also carry bacteria such as Staphylococcus, Streptococcus and other bacterial pathogens that can make you or your family sick through contaminated food. This is because, once those bacteria and pathogens are in the cockroach they can remain in their digestive system for a month or more. Once that happens, if their feces is anywhere near say your food or utensils, it can get into your system and make you sick.

 

Prevention

 

Little can be done to prevent an infestation from occuring, however by practicing good sanitation and by eliminating accessible food sources for them you can help minimize the risk or extent of an infestation. It’s important to know that roaches and their eggs can enter your home through furniture, food items, empty beer and pop bottles/cans, shipping cartons, boxes, etc. Once they are in your home they can travel quite easily and they have easy access to a food source they will breed and cause an infestation that can reach numbers in the thousands.

 

So what can Cottage Country Pest Control do? Well, by practicing IPM (which if you are not familiar with, you can read about here) we can approach the infestation and find the best way to solve the problem using environmentally responsible and people-friendly ways.

 

Contact Cottage Country Pest Control through email or call us at 705-534-7863 to book and appointment or to find out more information.

Wood Roaches

Wood cockroaches, or wood roaches are similar in appearance to that of a German cockroach (household roach). Both species are common in North America, but today is all about the wood roach.

 

General

Wood roaches are common outdoor dwelling insects that are native to North America and are found throughout Ontario. They are most commonly found in moist woodland, ground litter, mulch, firewood, potted plants, shingles and rain gutters. Wood roaches are not dangerous—just more of a nuisance, especially when they enter homes. Their common food source is decaying organic matter and unlike other roaches (German roaches for example) they are attracted to light sources.

 

Appearance

Female wood roach

Wood roaches have a flat, oval body with long antenna, spiny legs and an overall chestnut brown colour. A male is usually about 25 mm while a female is up to 19 mm and generally the males appear to have a bit of a tan colour because of the colour of their wings. Adults and large nymphs of the wood roach can be recognized by the pale, creamy white or transparent stripe on the outer edge of the thorax. The pale edge extends onto the first 1/3 of the front wings on adult roaches.

 

 

Behaviour
Wood roaches that have entered a home will act differently than other roach species simply because they are not secretive, they are active day and night and they are less likely to run when approached. They will also wander around a house, without stay localized to a specific area such as the kitchen. Unlike other species of roaches however, wood roaches will not thrive or reproduce indoors, because they require specific habitat to do so. They need a consistently moist environment such as under wood piles, loose bark and decaying logs into order to reproduce.

Male wood roach

Wood roaches will not harm your home, the furnishings or you, but they are an annoyance that can be controlled by yearly treatments and habitat modifications.

If you have a wood roach problem, give Cottage Country Pest Control a call at 705-534-7863, or email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and Ross will be happy to help you solve it.

Birds: Damage

Any type of bird can become a pest–it just depends on their behaviour and activity on your property. You can read the past post on birds and the post on birds and diseases. Some of the major concerns when it comes to birds as pests is Canadian geese and their droppings and smaller birds building their nests on roofs/in chimneys and gutters.

 

Figuring out if you have a problem with Canadian geese is a relatively easy thing to do–especially if you live on the water in places such as Victoria Harbour, Midland, Penetanguishene, etc. If you have an excessive number of geese visiting your yards and docks and are noticing a lot of geese excrement, then it can be classified as a pest problem.

 

When it comes to smaller birds being a problem, it can be more difficult to discover the problem. How often does someone climb their roof to check for bird nests? Do you normally check your chimney for signs of bird nests? Probably not, so unless you notice signs of damage or hear the bird(s), you may not know there is a problem until it’s a bigger (and more expensive problem to deal with).

 

So what should you look for if you suspect there may be some birds building a nest in or around your roof or chimney? Nesting materials for one–this can vary depending on the species, but generally the birds that may become pests for the areas we cover will use materials such as grass clippings, small sticks and mud. If they can find bits of cloth they may use that as well. Also you can listen for sounds of birds in your roof or chimney. Can you hear chirping or scratching sounds? Finally, another good way to discover if you have a bird problem is to take a look around for their droppings. Is there an excessive amount around the ground of your home?

 

If you think you have a bird problem (or any other pest) or you know you do, give Cottage Country Pest Control a call at 705-534-7863 or email us today.