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 🙂

Carpenter Ants on the rise

Carpenter antsAn article on the CBC site today talks about increasing numbers of carpenter ant infestations in Windsor, ON and Halifax, NS … no mention of here in cottage country Ontario but could have told them that we are definitely seeing a lot more calls for them here as well.

Used to be mostly Balm Beach that had them, with a few up Honey Harbour way as well… then last year, started to see them all over Tiny Township; here in Victoria Harbour and Port McNicoll; up in the Parry Sound and Huntsville area…. and this year they seem to be everywhere we cover.

Not that we’re complaining, of course. Ross is happy to go to wherever the ants are and evict them for you.

You might be interested to know that there can be major differences in how pest control companies treat carpenter ants. Spraying kills only visible ants (generally about 10% of the population) and while it will provide some temporary relief from the aggravation of seeing ants wandering around, it allows the queen(s) to continue churning out new ants, and the ants that you are not seeing to continue to damage the structure of your home or cottage. You should be looking for a pest control company that is actually going to solve the problem, not just mask it – and that typically involves bait. Do be sure that when you are comparing quotes on carpenter ant treatment, you are actually comparing the cost of fixing the problem, not signing on for years of masking it.

If you think you might have carpenter ants (big ants, sometimes with wings; piles of sawdust-like material, which can be coloured if they’re tunneling through insulation; and or noises in your walls or ceilings) give us a call at 705-534-7863, or email ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and we will fit you in.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter antsWell, we’ve pretty much finished up the first round of spider sprays – did we miss you? We’re sorry! Give us a call or drop us an email at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and we will certainly get that done for you – but mostly what we’re dealing with right now are carpenter ants. They are all through cottage country these days – we’re getting calls from all over Simcoe, Tiny & Tay, Port Severn & Honey Harbour. Tiny still seems to be the most impacted though.

Carpenter ants are, of course, the big ants – and they can do an awful lot of damage, although fortunately they are much slower about it than termites. There are a number of ways to tell that you have them – seeing them, of course… but also you might find piles of a sawdust like material (sometimes coloured, if they’re tunneling through insulation). And if they are really bad, you might hear them as well, crunching in the walls. You do NOT want them crunching through your walls!

Give us a call at 705-534-7863 or email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and Ross will be happy to solve your carpenter ant problem by making sure that both the main and satellite nests are eradicated.

Busy days

Well, the season started off slow – but now we’re hopping…. today Ross and Carly, his new helper, are out on the islands up near Honey Harbour with Big Red Works; lots of others appointments booked for the next while as well…BUT not to worry, we can and will fit you in somewhere!

Still seeing lots and lots of carpenter ants in this area; even if you don’t have a problem with them now … or especially if, really! …. we highly recommend that you consider an exterior spider spray. Not only does it keep your home or cottage free of spiders and their webs, it also to prevent carpenter ants and other insects from getting in. Given that we know that there are carpenter ants all through Tiny, Tay, Muskoka and Simcoe, it is a really good idea!  As long as they stay outside where they belong, they don’t cause a problem.

The one pest we’re not hearing much about lately is bedbugs, which is a definite improvement…. hope it stays that way – at least until the carpenter ants, spider sprays and all the other pests we deal with this time of year settle down. In any case, if we haven’t yet contacted you this year, I apologize – please do give us a call at 705-534-7863, or email me at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and we’ll get Ross out there at a time that works for you.

Lauralee

How can I tell if I have carpenter ants?

Carpenter ants are a big problem for a lot of people right now, but sometimes people may not know if what  they have are carpenter ants or just “regular” ants.

 

We’ve covered carpenter ants before and explained their characteristics, appearance, life cycle and treatment but today’s post will show you more than just explain. If you want to read the previous post on carpenter ants you do that here.

Carpenter ants. Notice their size as that is one of the big differences between this species and other ants.

Another ant species. As you can see this species is considerably smaller than the carpenter ants.

Some of the damage that carpenter ants can cause if left untreated long-term.

Another example of damage caused by carpenter ants if left untreated long-term.

This is frass. This is a major indicator of whether or not you have carpenter ants. When carpenter ants burrow into the wood, this is what remains.

A single carpenter ant. Again, notice the size of the ant. Carpenter ants are generally about .25 to 1 inch.

A carpenter ant queen. She will always be found in the main nest (a moist an decaying wood source) where she will lay the eggs. The main nest is almost always found outdoors. The main nest will almost always be located outside in places such as rotting trees/stumps or decaying landscape timbers.

A carpenter ant worker. The workers can be found both inside and outside in either the main nest or the satellite nest. Satellite nests are often located in wall voids, eaves, ceilings or under insulation found in attics or crawl spaces and can also be found in roof gutters and in downspouts. Generally, any nest found in a home will be a satellite nest.

If you know you have carpenter ants or suspect you do (or any type of pest), give Cottage Country Pest Control a call at 705-534-7863 or email us as we will be happy to answer any questions or book an appointment at your convenience.