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.

Meal Moths

This pest is also known as Indian meal moth and mealy moth and they are found across Canada.

Meal moth

There are three stages to the meal moth’s life cycle and they are the eggs, larvae, adults. The moth eggs are laid in clusters of 12-30 and are always in or near a suitable food source for the larvae. The eggs hatch in 2 to 14 days.

 

The larvae are typically a dirty white colour although they can take one a coloured tint depending on what their food source is. The growth and development of the larvae depends on the temperate and environment and it can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 years (depending on the conditions).

 

At the end of the larvae stage, the larvae will pupate into a silken cocoon. The moths will emerge 4-30 days later and these adults will be about 10-12 mm long with a wingspan of about 2 mm.

 

Larvae will feel on foodstuffs such as cereal, bread, pasta, rice, couscous, spices, dried fruits, nuts, etc. Infested foodstuff will typically be covered in a silky webbing and excretion from the larvae.

After larvae or moths have been found, you really have to throw out all food sources that are not in very tightly sealed containers.

 

Meal moths are able to get into tight spots, including sealed bags and storage containers. They are also extremely difficult to get rid of, and they are able crawl on ceilings and and pupate in rooms other than the kitchen or pantry where they hatched.

 

If you are having a pest problem, remember it is better to deal with is sooner rather than later as it can quickly become a very expensive problem to deal with. To book an appointment with Cottage Country Pest Control, give us a call at 705-534-7863 or email us today.

Lyme Disease

In today’s follow up to the post on Ticks from yesterday, today I’ll be telling you a bit of information about Lyme disease. More specifically, what it is, where Lyme disease is found, the stages of Lyme disease, symptoms and treatment.

 

Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to animals and humans through blacklegged ticks. Blacklegged ticks carry this bacteria which they pick up when they bite infected (with Lyme disease) mice and deer.

 

Lyme disease was first reported in the United States in 1975. Currently, Lyme disease infections generally occur in the following areas (in the U.S.):

  • Northeastern states, from Virginia to Maine
  • North-central states, mostly in Wisconsin and Minnesota
  • West Coast, mostly northern California

 

In Canada, the range where there are ticks known to carry Lyme disease can be found in parts of southeastern Quebec, southern and eastern Ontario, southeastern and south central Manitoba, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

 

There are 3 stages to Lyme disease which are:

 

Stage 1: Localized Lyme disease-the infection has not yet spread throughout the body

Stage 2: Early Disseminated Lyme disease- the bacteria has begun to spread throughout the body

Stage 3: Late Disseminated Lyme disease- the bacteria has spread throughout the body

 

The symptoms of Lyme disease include (taken verbatim from It’s Your Health)

 

Although the symptoms and health effects are different from one person to the next, Lyme disease is often described in three stages:

  1. The first sign of infection is often a circular rash, which begins at the site of the tick bite after three days or up to one month later. About 70–80 per cent of infected people get this rash. Other symptoms may include fatigue, chills, fever, headache, and muscle and joint pain.
  2. If untreated, the disease can move into the second stage, which can last several months. Symptoms of this stage include weakness, multiple skin rashes, painful, swollen or stiff joints, abnormal heartbeat, central and peripheral nervous system disorders, and extreme fatigue.
  3. If the disease continues to progress, the third stage of Lyme disease can include symptoms like recurring arthritis, and neurological symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, numbness, and paralysis.

Lyme disease can usually be treated effectively with antibiotics. A rapid recovery is more likely when treatment begins in the early stages of the disease.

If you are having a pest problem, remember it is better to deal with is sooner rather than later as it can quickly become a very expensive problem to deal with. To book an appointment with Cottage Country Pest Control, give us a call at 705-534-7863 or email us today.

Ticks

Ticks are a pest that Integrated Pest Management is the best method when approaching how to handle them. If you are not familiar with IPM, then you can go back and read the previous post about what it is and how it works.

 

Ticks are closely related to spiders (ticks are part of the arachnid family, same as mites and scorpions). They are typically 1-5 mm when unfed, but after they have fed on blood they can swell up to 13mm. Adult ticks have a two-segmented body, no antennae and they have 8 legs (they only have 6 legs when they are in their larvae stage). Ticks have to feed on blood during all active stages of their development.

 

Humans and animals are most likely to come in contact with a tick when walking through tall grass or near bushes, because ticks will generally position themselves on tall grass and in bushes. Ticks are unable to fly and they move slowly.

 

The majority of tick bites are painless and most will not result in illness or disease. Ticks are obligate parasites, which means that they must feed on blood in order to survive and reproduce

 

hard ticks will feed on two or three hosts during their development cycle because each stage requires blood in order for them to reach the next stage. Mated females will lay thousands of eggs on the ground and then die. Adult males die shortly after finishing the reproduction cycle.

 

The eggs hatch into larvae or “seed ticks” and they will attach themselves to a host and feed for anywhere from 2-9 days before they leave the host, digest the blood and moult into the nymphal stage.

 

In the nymphal stage, they will once again attach themselves to a host and feed. Once they are done feeding, they will once again digest the blood and then moult, this time into the adult stage of their life cycle.

 

Some common species of ticks include:

1. Groundhog tick- This is the most common species of tick in Ontario and can be found on humans and pet/animals.

 

2. American dog tick-  this is the second most common species of tick found in Ontario and they are also found on humans and pet/animals.

 

3. Blacklegged tick- this species of tick is the most important vector of Lyme disease and all stages of this species will feed on humans.

 

4. Winter tick- This species is widely distributed throughout Canada. They are most likely to be found on horses, deer, cattle, elk and moose and they rarely feed on humans.

 

5. Brown dog tick- They are recently established in Eastern Canada and all stages of this tick feeds on dogs

 

6. Rabbit tick- They are widely found throughout Canada and their preferred host rabbits, however they will also feed on ground-nesting birds and small mammals. It is rare for the rabbit tick to feed on livestock and humans.

 

Some of the effects on humans from a tick bite include irritation and/or swelling on the skin around the bite. The bite can become infected if any mouthparts are left behind once the tick has been removed and infection can sometimes, lead to blood poisoning although it is rare.

If you are having a pest problem, remember it is better to deal with is sooner rather than later as it can quickly become a very expensive problem to deal with. To book an appointment with Cottage Country Pest Control, give us a call at 705-534-7863 or email us today.

Black Widow Spiders

Black Widow Spider

Black widow spiders (Latrodectus mactans) is a highly venomous species of spider that is a native species to the United States. Canada and Mexico. The Northern Black Widow spider can be found in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. They are rare to find, but they generally like to hang out around trash piles, sheds, under rocks, wood piles, etc. Anyplace that is dark and a little damp is a great place for them to hide.

Female black widow spiders are known for their distinctive black and red colouring and their sometimes habit of eating the males after they mate. The mature female black widow spider is usually around 1.5 inches long and about .25 inches in diameter. They are shiny black with a red mark in the shape of an hourglass on the ventral (under)side of their abdomen, which is very round. The sizing of the female black widows can vary especially in egg-carrying or gravid females. The abdomen diameter in a gravid female can be more than 0.5 inches.

Mature male black widow spiders are very different in appearance to the females. Males are much smaller than females with their bodies at less than 1/4 inch. Their colouring is usually black but often they take have a similar appearance to that of juvenile black widow spiders. Juveniles have a distinctly different appearance then the females (and some males) in that their abdomens are greyish to black in colour with white stripes running across them spotted with orange or yellow.

Black Widows will typically prey on a variety of insects, but they will also sometimes feed on woodlice, diplopods, chilopods and even other aracnids. When their prey gets entangled in their web, the black widow will wrap the prey securely with web and then bite and envenom the prey. The venom takes up to 10 minutes to work and then digestive enzymes will be injected into the wound of the prey. After that the black widow will carry their prey back to their retreat where they will feed.

Despite being known as highly venomous spider, there is not much to worry about. In an article here Antonia Guidotti, an entomology technician at the Royal Ontario Museum, says while black widow sightings make headlines, Ontario is not exactly undergoing a scourge of the famed eight-legged arachnids.”The black widow is very rarely encountered. Most of us, even entomologists, haven’t seen a black widow in the wild in Ontario. Most of you are never going to see one. And the risk if you come across one is very small,” she assures.Guidotti says even if one should have the misfortune of encountering a black widow, the spiders present a much smaller danger that we’ve been led to believe.

Brown Recluse Spiders

The Brown Recluse Spider (Loxosceles reclusa) is also known as the violin spider or a fiddleback because of the violin-shaped markings they often have on their thorax. They are known to live in United States of America, Mexico and Canada. In Canada they are known to live southeast Ontario and southern parts of Quebec. They are typically light to medium brown but can range in colour from cream to dark brown or blackish gray.

Brown recluse spider

Brown Recluse spiders are relatively small and are usually between 6-20 mm however they can grow larger. They have no obvious colouration patterns on their abdomens or legs and their legs also lack spines and their abdomens are covered in a fine short hair that gives the appearance of soft fur. Unlike many other species of spiders, brown recluse spiders only have six eyes instead of eight. Their eyes are arranged in pairs with one median pair and two lateral pairs.

Adult brown recluse spiders live for about 1-2 years and in their lifetime an adult brown recluse will produce several egg sacs over a period of 2-3 months from May to July with each sac holding about 50 eggs. The eggs will then hatch in about a month and the spiderlings will reach adulthood in about a year.

Brown recluse spiders are resilient spiders and they can tolerate up to 6 months of extreme drought and scarce food.

They will build irregular webs that frequently include a shelter the consists of disorderly threads and they will also usually build their webs in places such as woodpiles, sheds, garages, cellars and other places that are dry and generally undisturbed.

If you are seeing spiders of any sort – and more importantly webs – on your home, cottage, storefront, or signs, give Cottage Country Pest Control a call at (705)534-7863 or email us Ross will be happy to help.

Spiders & Spider Sprays

General Info

Spiders that are commonly found in Canadian homes include house spiders, wolf spiders, cellar spiders, fishing spiders and, much more infrequently, black widow spiders. These spiders are usually found in corners of rooms, closets, boxes, dark crevices, basements, garages, and gardens. There are only a few species in Canada are that considered to be health threats.

While spiders may creep some people out, they are actually beneficial to have around when it comes to controlling other insects and pests in garden and homes since they will feed on other insects and spiders.

One of the most common misconceptions about spiders is that they are classified as insects. This is not true—they are arachnids and are closely related to mites, ticks and scorpions.

Spiders have 2 body parts—the cephalothorax and the abdomen—8 legs and generally 6-8 eyes. The average life span of a spider is usually between 1-2 years however, some can live up to 5 years and in extreme cases up to 20 years.

Life Cycles and Habits

Spiders lay eggs in a silken egg sac that is often ball-shaped and is either hidden in a web, carried by the female or affixed to a surface. Each egg sac can house up to several hundred eggs (aka. Several hundred baby spiders). Spiders will shed their skin (aka molt) usually between 4 – 12 times before they reach maturity as they are growing.

All spiders produce silk, which is secreted as a liquid through the spinneret e and hardens with air contact. This silk is used for a variety of purposes such as making the egg sacs, capturing and holding prey, making shelters or retreats and for transferring sperm during mating.

Spiders are predators when it comes to insects and other spiders. They will typically feed on live prey by producing a venom that is poisonous to the prey. This venom is injected into the prey through their hollow fangs to immobilize the prey so they can begin the digestion process.

Because spiders can only ingest liquid, they will either inject or regurgitate digestive fluids into their prey and then they will suck in the digested liquid food.

Spiders also have a number of tactics for capturing their prey. Some species will use webbing to catch their prey, while active hunters will hunt down their prey.

How to Get Rid of Spiders (or at least evict them from your home)

So, you want to get rid of your spiders? Well the simplest method to controlling the population of spiders inside your home is to reduce the population of insects within your home, so the spiders will seek out a more dependable food source outside. Control of spiders is best achieved by following an integrated pest management (IPM) approach that involves multiple tactics, such as preventive measures, exclusion, sanitation, and chemicals applied to targeted sites.

Cottage Country Pest Control can help with this. We can come in and use a pyrethrum-based spray to eliminate the spiders from your home (both inside and outside) and also on docks, boats, garages, sheds, etc to help the outside of your home or cottage look cleaner. We also have the option available to use other environmentally conscious methods as well if that is your preference. We recommend that you book your spider spray as soon as you start seeing an excessive amount of spiders in your home, but the best time is around May since that is usually when they start showing up more (it really depends on the conditions). We also recommend booking a spider spray for early spring so that spiders don’t have the chance to make their webs in the first place.

Contact us through email or 705-534-7863 to book your spider spray.

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated pest management is something that a lot of pest control companies use in their daily operations, however not everyone is aware of what it is, so I want to explain it a bit so you can get an understanding of it and how it can benefit you.

 

IPM is an effective and environmentally responsible approach to pest management that integrates pesticides and herbicides into the management system and incorporates a combination of common-sense practices. It uses current and comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interactions with the environment.

 

This information, in combination with pest control methods is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible harm to people, property and the environment.

 

IPM is not a single pest control method, but as series of evaluations, decisions and controls.

 

As stated on Wikipedia, IPM focuses on the following:

 

1. Proper identification of pest – What is it? Cases of mistaken identity may result in ineffective actions. If plant damage due to over-watering are mistaken for fungal infection, spray costs can be incurred, and the plant is no better off.

 

 

2. Learn pest and host life cycle and biology. At the time you see a pest, it may be too late to do much about it except maybe spray with a pesticide[citation needed]. Often, there is another stage of the life cycle that is susceptible to preventative actions. For example, weeds reproducing from last year’s seed can be prevented with mulches. Also, learning what a pest needs to survive allows you to remove these.

 

3. Monitor or sample environment for pest population – How many are here? Preventative actions must be taken at the correct time if they are to be effective. For this reason, once the pest is correctly identified, monitoring must begin before it becomes a problem. For example, in school cafeterias where roaches may be expected to appear, sticky traps are set out before school starts. Traps are checked at regular intervals so populations can be monitored and controlled before they get out of hand. Some factors to consider and monitor include: Is the pest present/absent? What is the distribution – all over or only in certain spots? Is the pest population increasing, decreasing or remaining constant?

 

4. Establish action threshold (economic, health or aesthetic) – How many are too many? In some cases, a certain number of pests can be tolerated. Soybeans are quite tolerant of defoliation, so if there are a few caterpillars in the field and their population is not increasing dramatically, there is not necessarily any action necessary. Conversely, there is a point at which action must be taken to control cost. For the farmer, that point is the one at which the cost of damage by the pest is more than the cost of control. This is an economic threshold. Tolerance of pests varies also by whether or not they are a health hazard (low tolerance) or merely a cosmetic damage (high tolerance in a non-commercial situation).

 

Different sites may also have varying requirements based on specific areas. White clover may be perfectly acceptable on the sides of a tee box on a golf course, but unacceptable in the fairway where it could cause confusion in the field of play.

 

5. Choose an appropriate combination of management tactics For any pest situation, there will be several options to consider. Options include, mechanical or physical control, cultural controls, biological controls and chemical controls. Mechanical or physical controls include picking pests off plants, or using netting or other material to exclude pests such as birds from grapes or rodents from structures. Cultural controls include keeping an area free of conducive conditions by removing or storing waste properly, removing diseased areas of plants properly. Biological controls can be support either through conservation of natural predators or augmentation of natural predators.

 

It’s important to know that not all pest control companies that claim to follow IPM actually do. Cottage Country Pest Control is environmentally responsible, and we do follow IPM. Always.

 

We firmly believe that IPM is the way to go and that when done properly it can be the most effective approach to getting rid of pests in your home. If you have any questions or you want to book an appointment please call 705-534-7863 or email us today.