Carpenter ants!

Carpenter antsMy goodness, have we ever become inundated with carpenter ants. We are getting SO many calls from throughout Tay and Tiny Townships. They started early this year, and so many of them, we’ve been having a hard time keeping enough product in stock to treat them.

Could be worse though – from what I’ve been reading, some areas are starting to see increasing numbers of termites. We have never had a single call for those – and would rather like to keep it that way!  While both carpenter ants and termites can do a great deal of damage to a home or cottage, termites tend to do it faster – we can do without that!

Just because they’re slower, doesn’t mean you should ignore carpenter ants though! In addition to the structural damage they can do, and the very annoying noise they can make if you leave them untreated long enough, you just might find your cottage poked full of holes. Woodpeckers just love carpenter ants – and they can and will do a lot of

Woodpeckers are ~cute~ …sometimes!

damage very quickly once they discover them.

And of course, just like most everything else, it’s usually easier – and cheaper – to solve problems when they’re small. Do you suspect you have carpenter ants? Ross will be happy to help you with those – before the woodpeckers show up 🙂

Give us a call at 705-534-7863, or email me at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com. Or you can click on the quote form up there and get a guesstimate that way, too.

Have a great day!

Lauralee

 

Maybe I’m working him too hard?

Or maybe I just need to buy him a whole case of hats?

Poor Ross!  I’ve been keeping him hopping lately. He did get a day off – well, sort of off. He got to stay home and work on getting the dock in this weekend – does that count? I think he’d probably say no, but hey, we had helpers! And beer! And food! So that counts, right?

And the dock is – mostly – in; just a few floating bits to more into place and secure. He’ll soon be able to start fishing off the end of it. When he gets home. After lots of long days spent driving all over cottage country 🙂

Have been able to do a lot better scheduling than in some previous years, though. Today, for example, he was in Tiny. All over Tiny, but hey – at least all in that one general area. Tomorrow, weather permitting, he’ll be heading up to Gravenhurst area, I hope. And in between times, got lots of Tay Township, Midland & Penetanguishene area calls to get done.

Sure miss his helper though! He needs one to keep track of his hat(s), if nothing else!

Anyway, even though we’re crazy busy right now, I’m always happy to add more to his calendar – give us a call at 705-534-7863, or email me at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com.

Rain!

Carpenter antsFinally some rain!

Works for me – although we’ve got 3 jobs this morning that it rather complicates, but oh well …stuff happens 🙂  If need be he’ll do the inside part today and go back and do the outside when it stops. But complications aside, sure would be nice to get enough rain to get some fire bans lifted, wouldn’t it?

And I’m happy that I can skip watering my tomatoes for a change. Picked my first three yesterday – well, not really – have picked and tossed lots of ugly black flat bottomed ones already – but finally (after adding calcium as one of our tenants insisted I needed to) got some nice non-ucky tomatoes.

Still getting lots of calls about carpenter ants in Tay, Tiny, Severn and beyond. Still lots of people discovering that they have them, or more like, giving up on the trying to fix it themselves with over the counter products and calling for help, now. The majority of the products you can buy are so mild (thanks to government regulations) that for carpenter ants, they really don’t do the job, unfortunately. Professional products, too, are strictly controlled by government regulations – but at least we’re allowed to buy stuff that actually works, thank goodness.

We’re also hearing back from some of the carpenter ant jobs we did earlier this year, which is absolutely expected. There’s almost always a “bloom” about four weeks after treatment. For the first few weeks, you see lots more dead ants, less live ones – and then at about four weeks, the nests are decimated, the queens are dead, and all of a sudden a whole lot of really dumb ants start showing up. People get worried that “it didn’t work” … but in almost every case, it is the exact opposite – the bloom is the indication that it DID work!

There are always many more times the number of ants in the nests than you’re seeing – when the nests die, all of a sudden there’s a flood of the little buggers that don’t know what to do without their queen and out they come. And they’re dazed and confused and do dumb things, too. In one case, they exited en mass and marched into our customer’s pool! – but usually they’re nowhere near that organized about it.

It can be a ~little~ distressing to see so many more all of a sudden. We get that, and  we will come back if need be, honest 🙂

But in most cases, if we can convince you to wait just a little bit longer, you’ll find that you no longer need us to come back, because it really is over and the problem is solved.

Ants are fascinating; I wish we didn’t need to kill so many of them – but since they do so much damage to homes & cottages if left unchecked, it must be so.

Not just killing things

I joke sometimes that Ross kills things; I do everything else – but the truth is that a lot of what he does as an exterminator – especially one that believes strongly in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) who has been green since long before it became a ~thing~ – a lot of what Ross actually does involves NOT killing things.

Bats, raccoons, skunks, squirrels & chipmunks, for example – when dealing with these sorts of issues, the focus is on humane removal, exclusion, and prevention. No killing. Fortunately, Ross has years of construction experience on top of his exterminator’s license; that’s part of the reason he is really good at figuring out what’s causing the problem(s) and how to fix it – for real. And he tells people, too!  And let’s them handle it themselves so that it’s cheaper, even.

Similarly, when dealing with birds, our preference is always for actually solving the pigeon-300x200problem. We could, in some situations, use poisons which kill birds. But why the heck would we want to? If you are offering birds a great location, as soon as you take out the current inhabitants, new ones will just move in anyway.  IPM offers a far better approach – figure out why they’re coming and fix that. Existing birds will leave, and others won’t take their places. Win, win.

Of course, bedbugs and other assorted wee pests that can cause damage to people or property must die, and we’re okay with that.

No matter what sort of pest problem you have, if you are in & around Tiny, Tay, Simcoe, Port Severn, Parry Sound, Muskoka, Ross will be happy to help you with it. Just give us a call at 705-534-7863 or email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com. Or you can fill out our handy-dandy quote form (which I need get around to modifying a bit one of these days!)

 

Mouse in the house? Bats in the Belfry? Spiders in the Shower?

In our neck of the woods pests are INEVITABLE especially when you don’t live here all year round.  There are two ways people deal with this problem – WHEN it happens – or BEFORE it happens.

What do WHEN it happens – bees, wasps, shadflies, bed bugs, fleas, spiders, mice, bats or ants – what ever it is, YOU got them!!!  Give Ross a call and we’ll come and solve the problem.

Calling Ross BEFORE it happens, is an alternative solution that has many different upsides.  At Cottage Country Pest control, we use what’s called Integrated Pest Management systems to effectively control and eliminate the pests that are specific to your environment before they become a problem.

We believe that an ounce of prevention is always better than a pound of cure – especially when it comes to your homes, families and pets.  A preventative (non-reactive) approach to caring for your property will you give peace of mind knowing that:

  1.  You won’t have any surprises when arrive for the weekend with guests in tow and
  2.  We’ve used an environmentally friendly approach to dealing with the problems – so you and your family are not exposed to unnecessary chemicals.

How our service works:

  • Inspection – to find out what, where and why
  • Sanitation Recommendations – to eliminate pest food and havens
  • Exclusion – Keep pests out by screening and sealing
  • Cultural Controls – to change what people do that create the pest problems
  • Biological Controls – attack pests where they live with biological measures
  • Judicious use of Pest Control Materials on an as needed basis rather than liberally applying as is done in the case of an emergency
  • Education – if you understand the causes of the problem, you can prevent it from happening.
  • Communication – We make sure you know what’s being done, when it’s being done and why it’s being done.

Whether you are a WHEN it happens or a BEFORE it happens kind of person, know that the problem is INEVITABLE and we can help.  Give us a call 705.534.7863 or send us an email ccpestcontrol@gmail.com.

Still busy

Usually things slow down enough by this time of year that Ross would have the docks all in, and be back to doing his stained glass. This year, not so much. Still getting lots of mice calls, squirrels in attics, a few carpenter ant calls and – most distressingly – altogether too many bedbugs.

No one wants bedbugs! But they are definitely in the area. Midland, Penentanguishene, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst –  they seem to be spreading.

Unexplained bites are often the first sign of bedbug infestation – not everyone reacts the same way though, so it is quite possible that one person will have them and another won’t. Or no one will – but that doesn’t mean that everything is clear. You really should get in the habit of checking along seams and corners of your mattresses and other furniture every time you change the sheets. Dark or rust-coloured spots are often the most visible indicator and should be further investigated.

If you are concerned about bedbugs, do give us a call sooner rather than later. Remember that the longer you ignore the problem, the bigger (and more expensive) it is likely to get. And ….. ick!

Ross is always happy to help solve your pest control problems. Give us a call at 705-534-7863 or email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and I will fit you in.

Invasion Of The Carpenter Ants ! Eeeep!

Carpenter Ants don’t do that, wise guy!

If you live in cottage country ( as in Simcoe County, Tay or Tiny Townships, or Muskoka), trees and forests are never too far away, and you are likely not a stranger to a myriad of types of pests.
This also means that you are very likely to encounter the the six legs, smooth/round upper thorax, 1 – 3 inch length, black (with varying hues of red or yellow) colour and “elbow-shaped” antennae of the carpenter ant!

Yes, these ants (which are said to be some of the largest in North America) are true to their name, and do love to chew through wood. But, there’s definitely a catch! They are not interested in actually consuming the wood for sustenance. Rather, they like to hollow out wooden structures, so they can establish their colonies in there. This is one reason you should NEVER leave woodpiles (after “carpentering” ..get it?) anywhere near your home or building structure.

Carpenter Ants

  Carpenter Ants

Since they don’t actually eat the wood, carpenter ants will feed on other insects like smaller ants, spiders, cockroaches, dead bees, fleas (yup, they’re predators), and food debris from humans. So, be sure to not leave crumbs lying around!

They rarely actually bite humans (unless they feel that their nest is being threatened and needs to be defended), but in the rare case that they do, they have powerful “jaws” which can tear through human flesh and spray it with formic acid, which gives off a burning sensation.

Carpenter ants do come in various shapes and sizes (some are bigger, smaller… some have little wings, even), but they shouldn’t be mistaken for termites, as carpenter ants not only have narrower waists with front wings that are longer than hind wings, but they are actually much slower when it comes to chewing through the wood.

Carpenter Ant VS. Termite

      Carpenter Ant VS. Termite

However, that is not a “better” thing, necessarily. Their slower pace actually means it usually takes a little longer for you to notice that you have them. But, you really SHOULD check for them, regularly, because the amount of damage they are actually capable of doing over time is horrendous and expensive. They will weaken any wooden structure, and – left along long enough, – that can often lead to very dangerous accidents and collapses, resulting in very costly repairs.

If you happen to spot a carpenter ant that is relatively large (regardless of whether it is winged or without wings), you most likely have a well-established colony there. Another tell-tale sign is observing curious-looking little piles of wood shavings. Don’t forget, carpenter ants don’t actually eat wood, they just tunnel through it to make their nest, and so they discard the wood-shavings which usually end up at the entrance to the hole with the tunnel containing their nest! Incidentally, those wood-shavings (called “frass”) also contain their excrement (hey, at least give them some credit for good housekeeping)!

Get To Know Them!

As if that’s not bad enough, once they’ve managed to actually tunnel through into your house or cottage, you can actually hear them in there, if there’s enough of them! Add to that the fact they attract woodpeckers … and yeah, that’s yet another headache you probably would rather not have to deal with.

Besides not leaving food crumbs of any kind lying around indoors, some good precautionary measures would be to prune or trim overhanging trees so that they are not touching your house/cottage.
Also make sure your gutters and always clean.
Since carpenter ants use pheromones to track their own whereabouts away from their nest, these pests have no problem entering people’s homes through cracks and looking for food – usually proteins and carbohydrates, like meat, sugar, honey …etc.
The best thing to do  is to call for professional help.

The best thing to do as soon as you’ve spotted any of the aforementioned signs would be to immediately call for professional help, because the longer you put it off, the greater the damage those carpenter ants will do to the structure/house/cottage

So, give us a call, and have Ross come by. Or, just call to get a quote!

For immediate help, call Cottage Country Pest Control at 705.534.7863 or email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com. Or you can Get a Quote.

Carpenter Ants With Their Queen!

Carpenter Ants With Their Queen!

 

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.

Pests not covered …

Pets can be pests too - but they're much cuter :)

Pets can be pests too – but they’re much cuter 🙂

Was surprised to read that damage by pests is not typically covered under home insurance in this CBC article 6 big home insurance misconceptions.

Not because I thought they would be – but because I would never have thought that they might be in the first place! Doesn’t seem, to me, as if it even needed saying.

In most cases, if pests have got to the point where they have actually caused that much damage, it is because a relatively small problem was left untreated and allowed to grow to the point where the damage caused far outweighs the amount it would have cost to deal with it.

Of course,  a determined rodent or two can make short work of whatever takes their fancy, as I learned when my new chinchillas got access to a bit of window frame for a very short time (stupid cover fell down; oops! It’s a good thing they are cute).  And we have seen significant amounts of damage caused by a few hungry woodpeckers in search of carpenter ants once or twice. Distressing – but highly unlikely to ever be covered by insurance. I wouldn’t have even thought to ask, actually.

Pretty sure insurance companies expect that we keep the rodents out (or in cages if they happen to be cute!), and deal with carpenter ant problems long before the woodpeckers show up.

It is always cheaper to prevent a problem than to solve one, or to intervene when it’s small rather than waiting until it gets big – and Ross at Cottage Country Pest Control is always happy to help you to save time, money & aggravation. Give us a call at 705-534-7863, or email ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and we will be happy to help.

 

 

 

Busy day!

Yikes… the carpenter ants are going crazy, seems like.

Got home from work today to answering machine full of messages and missed calls. The messages are great – I really appreciate it when people leave them. The missed calls, not so much!

Wish I could be here to take your call right away all the time… but on the other hand, I love teaching too, so….

Wednesdays & Thursdays, just for a few more weeks, I teach in Barrie – but I will get back to you as soon as I get home. Or, if you wish, try emailing me at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and I’ll call/email you on my next break 🙂 Ross just ~loves~ seeing new appointments pop up on his calendar even when he thinks I’m at work so he’s “safe” from surprises, honest 🙂