Shoo Fly Don’t Bother Me!

cluster flyIt’s that time of year and flies are coming out of the woodwork…literally.  In cottage country the most common fly we see is the Cluster Fly

Cluster Flies are about 8 to 10 mm (.31 to .39 inches) long. They are dark grey, with black and silver (non-metallic) checkered stomachs. You can tell them apart from house flies in a couple of different ways:

  • their wings overlap when they are at rest.
  • they are larger, darker and slower-moving
  • tend to “cluster” in groups
  • give off a sickly-sweet odour when disturbed.

They are most commonly found in houses that are surrounded by large lawns or open parks.  Cluster flies hibernate in wall voids, attics, closets, and empty rooms. They tend to leave stains on walls and curtains and if they die in areas that can not be accessed – can attract other pests like larder beetles which will feed on the dead flies and then work their way through the rest of your home.

If you have a problem – it will present itself in the most obvious way as the days become warmer and the flies become more active.  You will see them gathering in windows or around well lit areas.

Prevention and control can be an arduous task as these little pests can access your house through the tiniest places.  Give Ross a call at 705-534-7863, or email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com  – and he’ll be happy to give you a hand.

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.

Pharaoh Ants…have migrated to Canada

Image

Pharoh ants

Pharoh ant

These small yellowish golden brown coloured tiny creatures are now making themselves at home in our homes,office buildings,restaurants, homes and hospitals.  Thankfully they don’t bite but they do spread diseases such as salmonella, staphylococcus, and clostridium, which may cause botulism …..nasty nasty stuff.

Typically all ant colonies are difficult to control…but these guys don’t recognize the difference between one colony and another.  Pharaoh ants are known for creating their nests in exceptionally difficult places for even pest control specialist to access.  They will travel along wires and pipes inside the walls, building multiple nests between the studs and in the insulation, causing some structural damage and have been known to forage as far as 115ft beyond their nest for food.

If you see one – you have a problem.   Trying to control the problem yourself by spraying or baiting tends to make it worse because of the way they nest – it’s like they have their own system of building their plan B – when you start working your plan A.

Things you can do to help control the problem are

  • clean up right after food preparation
  • Make sure your garbage cans have tight lids
  • Rotate your foodstuffs – first -in, first out
  • Sweep floors and counters to ensure all crumbs are removed.

Things you can do to eliminate the problem – a problem that gets worse and harder to control the longer you wait – call in pest control.

For Pharaoh ants, spider sprays or any other pest problems, give us a call at , or email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and Ross will be happy to help

 

 

Spring ahead

2012-03-17 07.56.32Did you remember to change your clocks forward? And the batteries in your smoke detector?

The lake in font of our place still looks more ice than water, but it’s definitely on it’s way toward thawing. Won’t be long and it’ll be time to get the docks out! We try to do that early, because once the spiders and carpenter ants come back, Ross has several weeks of way too busy to get much of anything else but pest control done.

If the docks are in before then, he can head out for a bit of fishing in the evenings when he gets home, at least. And of course, I’m looking forward to an extended season for kayaking.

It will be interesting to see how the mild winter impacts the pests. We’ve already seen a huge increase in squirrel calls this year – and it was the first year since we’ve been doing pest control where we’ve had calls for carpenter ants right through the winter!  It seems they managed more activity given the mild temperatures – which may mean more & more active colonies this spring. We shall see.

But not to worry – we are here to help!  Just give us a call at 705-534-7863, or email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com. There’s also a quote form you can use – which reminds me, I need to tweak that some.

We cover a fairly wide are that includes Severn, Tiny, Tay, Simcoe, & most of Muskoka and we are happy to offer environmentally responsible pest control at your convenience.

Raccoons vs fishing

ross bass2Well, we thought we might get out in the boat to go fishing today – and we might yet … but first, Ross is running around dealing with raccoons in places they don’t belong. Lots of raccoons, chipmunks and squirrels this season. And bats seem to be starting to make a comeback too… which is a very good thing, actually.

In any case, no fishing for now – he’s got raccoons in Port McNicoll, Brechin, and Gravenhurst – so suppose I might as well head out for a kayak and we’ll try again later… or tomorrow… or whenever 🙂

Joys of living & working in cottage country – such a short season that we have to do the work when it presents itself and fit our own cottage adventures in wherever we can.

But we don’t mind…we know that we are truly blessed to be here all the time…so we’re happy to help you enjoy your visits by solving your pest problems quickly with a minimum of fuss while you’re here.

Give us a call at 705-534-7863 or email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and Ross will be happy to help you with your pests.

 

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!

 

Weather permitting

*sigh*   Yet another full day on the calendar stymied by weather.

Yesterday was rain; today is even worse – lots of wind.

Although some will spray even so, Ross won’t. Not because he wouldn’t like to –  it’s frustrating to have so many people waiting for service and not be able to get to them.

But “environmentally responsible” is not just a phrase we throw around because it’s ‘in’ … it is something we actually happen to believe in.

If you can’t control where the spray winds up, you don’t spray.

Ah well… tomorrow’s another day 🙂

And in the meantime, there’s some carpenter ant work he can do. And errands to run.

Spider spray

spider chartAn exterior spray is most commonly called a spider spray – and it does, in fact, get rid of the spiders, and more importantly, the webs that they like to ~decorate~ your home or cottage with.

The closer you are to water, the more likely spiders are to choose your property for their canvas.

As an added benefit, an exterior spray helps to reduce the likelihood of infestation by other insects. If you have carpenter ants, it won’t solve the problem … once they are inside your structure, they should be properly treated with bait to ensure that they are eradicated and cannot further damage your wood. But if you have so far managed to keep them out, a spray may help to keep it that way.

Since carpenter ants are becoming an increasingly ubiquitous problem throughout Tay, Tiny, Simcoe, Muskoka and beyond, an extra layer of protection is a very good thing.

Here are a few quick facts about Cottage Country Pest Control’s exterior sprays:

  • Each time Ross visits your property, he does a site inspection; if he sees any issues, or things you can do to avoid pest problems in the future, he will let you know. There is no additional charge for this service.
  • You don’t need to be home when he comes (unless you are having problems indoors). Just close windows, and remove any pets dishes from outside, and you’re good to go.
  • Weather matters – but probably not the way you think. It is wind that is the primary concern when spraying rather than the possibility of rain. While Ross doesn’t spray when it is raining, if it rains later in the day after a spray, it rarely matters. Once the product is set, it’s set – rain won’t break it down. Sun, on the other hand….
  • The spray has a residual effect, and lasts for several weeks depending on how much sun we get. The less sun, the longer it lasts. For most properties in our area, two treatments/season is plenty – although if you are phobic about spiders, you may prefer an extra.
  • Discounts are available for flexibility, multiple properties (in the same area), or for pre-purchasing for the season.

To arrange your spider spray, or any other service, give us a call at 705.534.7863, email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com or try out my nifty new form here: Get a Quote.

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.

 

 

 

Wasps & Hornet season

wasp2Still dealing with lots & lots of carpenter ants these days – but now the hornets & wasps are demanding their bit of attention too. They are obnoxious this year!!!!

Part of the problem, for us, is that many people wait to call about them… by the time they give up on trying to solve the problem themselves using whatever over the counter product they can buy, the wasps are well and truly burrowed in, and they are a royal pain in the posterior. Used to be in almost every case we got called for, one treatment would do it… but this year, some of the infestations are so bad, we’re having to go back. That is not a good thing!

We haven’t yet raised our prices for them, but if this keeps up we’re going to have to!