Crazy weather for bugs!

Gotta love this heat!  STILL getting calls about spiders; pretty late in the season for that! Just realized something too – this is the first year in a while that we haven’t had any calls for either brown recluse or black widow spiders in Penetanguishene. That is most assuredly a good thing.

Anyway, carpenter ants seem to be slowing down now which is another good thing. They started early this year, so we did lots & lots of them all throughout Tiny, Tay, Muskoka and Simcoe.

And still only the one termite call – which has responded very well to treatment, thank goodness.

This heat can’t last TOO much longer though! Soon it will be time to book Ross to come out and refill/replace mouse baits, and/or to tackle any bat problems. Sure wish someone would call up for some bat houses sooner rather than later !! He’s left them sitting right where I planted morning glories; just happened to notice a few determined little flowers poking up from behind the blasted thing. THEY need to move!  Wouldn’t you like a nice seasoned bat house? I’m sure you would 🙂

If you are calling us this time of year, please do leave a message if need be and either Ross or I will get back to you as soon as we’re able…. my teaching schedule this semester is NOT ideal – have to drive down to Barrie 4 days each week for 2 or 3 hours each day. They can and will do better when I whine – but I save that for the Winter semester when I really REALLY don’t want to drive 2 hours for a 2 hour class every darn day. If I take what I’m given in the Fall semester, usually get what I want in Winter. Here’s hoping!   It does mean that I’m often not here to answer the phone right away though – but Ross will check & return messages if/when he stops in, and if he doesn’t, I will get to them as soon as I get home.

 

 

And we’re off…. and running, that is

I finished work Friday – well, aside from dealing with ~I don’t like my mark~ emails!

It’s like y’all knew that – today has been hopping with lots of little-critter issues – and even better (depending on one’s perspective), the rest of the week is starting to fill up as well. Works for me – got lots of Judge Judy episodes to catch up on! Joking – I have plenty of other things to keep me busy in between your phone calls and emails.

Got pests? As long as they’re not the ones you brought into the world, give us a call and I’ll be happy to send Ross over to fix them for you: 705-534-7863. Or you can email me at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com, or use the handy-dandy quote form up there…whatever works.

Apparently a full day’s work means ~someone~ is hungry enough to start cooking his own dinner …. guess I’d best get moving.

Spring in Cottage Country!

Victoria Harbour ON

Kali and Aswell help He build docks

The lake is open, the ice is gone, and Ross has already started mucking around with pieces of dock. Some of it suffered damage and is going to need quite a bit of repair, apparently.  Trying to get that done before he gets so busy he doesn’t have time to do it.

We are already starting to get a fair number of calls and emails though – carpenter ants, already – and people wanting to know when we’ll start spraying for spiders. The answer to that is pretty weather dependent but every time I ask Ross, he says probably “mid-May”

I’ve started a folder for people who want to be among the first to be sprayed already though – so if you already know you’re going to want him, feel free to give me a call (705-534-7863) or email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and I will be happy to add you.

Looking forward to hearing from you! Have a great spring 🙂

Lauralee

It’s about that crunch the morning after….

Image

It’s a beautiful morning in cottage country…you grab your coffee, eyes not quite open, and step out on the deck in your bare feet…and  “crunch” .  You just crushed a small but gooey number of the zillion shadflies that have magically appeared overnight and glued themselves to every square foot of your deck, your comfy chairs, your windows and your siding.

Since shadflies are attracted to light, there are a couple of things you can do to help keep them away from your house:

  • Try changing the colour of your bulbs from white to yellow, or even move your outdoor lights away from your cottage so that they won’t cling to your deck, windows and siding.
  • Close your curtains or pull your blinds after dark to prevent them from being attracted to the lights and gathering around your windows.
  • Insect light traps that use UV light may help to keep them away from the cottage.

The best way to clean them up – a broom and a dust pan.

Another alternative is to give Ross a call at  705.534.7863, or email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com – he can help with the crunch.

Rats With Wings (Pigeons)

Pigeon
Pigeons, birds, rats-with-wings. Call them what you will. It doesn’t change the  fact that, unless you are feeding them for twopence in downtown London (like in “Mary Poppins”), those are definitely not creatures that you would want around.

Pigeons are persistent birds and will take over areas by covering them with their  waste, destroying whole areas of landscaping, pooping on buildings, cars,
sidewalks, benches, etc. You name it, they will destroy it somehow.
As if that is not bad enough, pigeons are associated with over sixty diseases:
bacterial, viral, parasitic and fungal. Humans can contract everything from
Histoplasmosis to Salmonella from pigeons. You don’t want pigeons or their poop
anywhere near you or your family.

So, unless you want poop-covered property and the myriads of health-risks these
birds bring, you should get rid of them if they start frequenting your neck of the
woods.

Because pigeons are creatures of habit and they multiply/reproduce very quickly,
you should get rid of them as soon as they arrive (or as soon as you notice them –
and believe me you WILL notice them).

Even though they can be found nearly anywhere (especially in urban settings), they
tend to favour comfortable sunny places that are safe from predators and the
elements with plenty of food and water available. Pigeons also like high places
because they are able to keep a close watch on things and spot predators.

Their nests are built of twigs but quickly become so full of pigeon poop that they
look like a big pile of it with some twigs in it.

When the babies are first born/hatched, they are the color of pigeon-poop, too,
and are perfectly camouflaged in the nest when they are still.

Pigeons access buildings through broken windows or missing vents or other small
opening. Roofs and gutters are some of the most common places to find the little
beasts -err .. creatures. Gutters are dish-shaped and provide great nesting sites
that securely hold the nests. Of course, those nests block the gutters and flood
when it rains, but, pof course, that’s now YOUR problem – not the pigeon’s
problem. Pigeon poop is absolute hell on roofs, so just because the pigeons “are
all the way up on the roof” does not mean that you are safe from their
destruction.

Pigeons nest and roost on and in houses because it gives them a good view of
nearby feeding areas or because they have gained access to the interior of the
building and made your attic their home

Pigeons are very social and welcome new birds. The more the merrier as far as
they are concerned. Very quickly the noise and constant clean-up associated with
pigeons is more than enough reason to have them excluded from your property.

Do not attempt to relocate pigeons, as birds removed even hundreds of miles from a
place they consider home will beat you back to it. It is best to deter them
through repellents, disturb their nest sites and exclude them from roosting areas.
When necessary, lethal methods are used to get rid of these “flying rats” and end
their destructive habits, which cause millions of dollars of damage nationwide
every year.
A temporary solution is to place anti-perching spikes along flat surfaces and wherever pigeons are seen to roost.

Left uncontrolled, damage costs run into thousands of dollars per building in
cleanup and repairs. Pigeon waste damages stone and metal surfaces, including
automobiles. If your building is infested, your neighbors will be affected and
will not be happy about pigeon poop in their swimming pool. Whole neighborhoods
often band together to get rid of pigeons. When people buy a building they want a
home or office, not a pigeon coop.

So, the instant you spot pigeons or suspect in ANY way that you are dealing with a
pigeon problem, you should give us a call IMMEDIATELY, as the longer you wait, the
much worse the problem is apt to become.
Call us at 705.534.7863 or email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com.
Or you can Get a Quote.

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.

New look for Cottage Country Pest Control

CCPC heron 2We’ve got a new logo!

Finally took it to someone that has a whole lot more artistic ability than I do – Darryl at Midland Copy Shoppe Print & Design Services – and our new banner is what we ended up with.

Plus he provided us with a solo heron that we can use for Ross’ avatar and so on, and another design that will work better on clothes and hats and so on. All for a very reasonable price; wish we’d done it at a lot sooner!

 

 

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.

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.

Bed Bugs: Identifying their bites

Time for another bed bug post..this time about identifying bed bug bites. More often than not people are unaware they have bed bugs until they start noticing the bites so this is quick post about identifying them.

Bed bug bites are generic looking and they can look very similar to mosquito bites because they are often no more than small red bumps that itch. An easy way to try and identify whether the bites are indeed from bed bugs is to look for a bite pattern. By this I mean are there 3 or 4 bites in a row. Bed bug bites often occur in a unique pattern of 3-4 bites in a line and this is sometimes referred to as a “breakfast, lunch, dinner” pattern. It is sometimes possible for their bites to be individual and not in the linear group but it is rare.

Symptoms of bed bug bites can effect people differently. Some people have little to no reaction while some people have the more typical reaction of welts and swelling with the welts being more itchy and long-lasting than mosquito bites.

It is important to know that there can sometimes being a lag between the bite and when the welt and swelling appears. This lag can take up to 9 days, but the more often a person is bitten the less of a lag there is will be.

If you find you have bites that match mosquito bites and linear pattern then you really should check your home for bed bugs. You can read more about bed bugs which here or our post about bed bugs and travel here.

If you discover that you do in fact have bed bugs, give Cottage Country Pest Control a call at 705-534-7863 or email us to book an appointment.