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.

Spider Sprays

spider chartWell, one way that this spring is different already is that we are getting calls about spraying homes and cottages for spiders much sooner than usual. Still a little early to start spraying, but certainly happy to provide estimates and add you to our list of places to be done when conditions are right.

Even though the treatment is typically called a spider spray, and the primary benefit is that no spiders = no web mess so everything stays much cleaner, the product used does also affect other insects as well. Because of that, and because it offers residual protection for several weeks, it can also help to keep other bugs on the outside where they belong. In our area – Tiny, Tay, Muskoka, Simcoe, Huronia – carpenter ants are becoming so common that an extra layer of protection is definitely a bonus!

As annoying as they can be, we need insects – but outside is clearly better!

For spider sprays or any other pest problems, give us a call at 705-534-7863, 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.

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.

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….. WASPS!

cleanbevswasG     I’m not sure what it is that caused this. It could be my Mom passing on her irrational terror of wasps to me while growing up. Maybe it is the fact that they emit that buzzing sound. Maybe it’s their menacing look. I don’t know. All I know is that I am positively TERRIFIED of them. I saw a wasp enter my living room through an open window, and I ran to the bedroom and locked myself in there until someone had gotten rid of it.

Because of this, I honestly think that taking precautions against those nasty pests is one of the most important things you can do once the weather has warmed and it is bug season once again.

To many people, the terms “wasp” and “bee” are used interchangeably and indiscriminately when referring to any winged, flying small insect with a sting that emits a buzzing sound. They are definitely not the same, though.

A wasp-nest!

A wasp-nest!

If you spot a slim, narrow-waisted, hairless and almost-shiny intruder with legs that are cylinder-shaped .. you have yourself a wasp.
Bees, on the other hand, are much rounder and more “hairy”, and because they are pollinators, they have flat hind legs that are used for collecting and moving around pollen.

For wasps, late June is actually the best time of year to control them and avoid running into future problems because of them. This is because the queen would have already established her colony by then, but the nest would still be small.
Although, a smaller nest DOES mean the nest would be harder to find.

If you do spot an exposed/visible nest, you should definitely call us right away. Although it is not advised, you could attempt to get rid of it yourself.

If you do decide to give it a shot yourself, the best time to do so would be at night, as the wasps as less active then.
Make sure you plan your escape route in advance (just in case), and do not stand directly under the nest, as you might end up with a face full of pesticide leaking back out after you have sprayed it. Spray “wasp and hornet” aerosol spray directly
into the entrance of the nest, following the instructions on the bottle.
The problem with doing it yourself, though, is that it is potentially dangerous and it does not always produce successful results.

Wasps never reuse old nests, so if you see any nests in the winter, then those are from the previous summer. Since its former inhabitants have either long left the nest or died inside it, you can dispose of it yourself safely.

"There was a bee/wasp in my car."

When it comes to CONCEALED wasps’ nests (i.e: nests that are in places where you can’t see them, like in spaces and cracks behind walls ..etc), where the only way you would even really know that there is a nest there would be observing wasps continuously flying in and out of the crack, a “do-it-yourself” approach to getting rid of the nest is definitely inadvisable. Sprays do not work well on hidden nests, and it is definitely much more dangerous as the risk of being injured or stung increases significantly, unless you are a professional.

Wasps (especially the Yellowjacket kind) are attracted to sweet scents, sweet foods/drink, perfume and hairspray. This is why you should always throw your trash out in properly seal-able containers and empty them frequently, make sure to put lids on pop drinks, and never use makeshift “wasp-traps” (which use sweet juice/pop as bait) closer than 50 feet to human activity, as all you would be doing then is attracting the wasps closer to you and increasing the possibility of getting stung.

If you are stung, apply cold water or ice to the area, lie down and lower the stung arm or leg. Abstain from consuming alcohol.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention, as you may be allergic: Hives, swelling of the entire limb, joint pain, wheezing, loss of consciousness.

So, if you are anything like me when it comes to wasps, getting it taken care of right now will allow you to enjoy the summer more, knowing that you have done everything you can to prevent wasp-related …. incidents.
So, give us a call at 705.534.7863 or email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com, and have Ross come check it out (unlike myself, HE has no irrational fear of them).
Or you can Get a Quote.

Mites

Predatory Mite!

Predatory Mite!

Well, it is officially summer! With that comes sunshine, kayaking, fishing, fun … and pests, pests, pests!

If you happen to be a pet-owner, (anything from birds to rats to cats and  dogs), a potential problem you should watch for is … infestation by  mites!

Mites are arachnids (they have FOUR pairs of legs and two main body segments).  Even though they are not always immediately harmful to animals, some of them  (depending on species) also happen to be parasites, requiring a host to feed off  of.

Mites actually vary in appearance, size and appearance based on their particular
species, which also determines which animal/species they prefer as a host.
This is why there exist cat-mites, dog-mites, bird-mites, bat-mites, rat-mites …
you name it; if it is a pet, chances are there is a mite that goes with it.

Their actual life-cycle starts off in egg-form, and they develop through larval
and pupal phases, until they reach full maturity.

Mites are extremely tiny and almost impossible to spot without some kind of
magnification. Sometimes, though, if they scurry across a surface that is plain
and light enough, due to their reddish colour they CAN be spotted.

Mites like to stick with their (animal) “hosts”, and feed off them, but in the
absence of their preferred host, they will bite people.

Interestingly enough, mites tend to live in their animal host’s nest, and come out
periodically specifically to feed, and then go back into hiding in the nest.

Others actually prefer living literally just underneath the skin of their host
animal. It really varies, according to species, host …etc.

Usually, the tell-tale sign of mites is extremely itchy and red papules that form
close together on your skin as a rash. Mites tend to bite in areas where your
clothing would rub on your skin.

The best way to prevent/control mites is to ensure that you deal with infestations by pest that can carry them promptly. If you have issues with birds, mice, or other pests, give us a call at 705.534.7863 or email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com, and have Ross come check it out.

Or you can Get a Quote..

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!

 

Bedbugs, Bedbugs, Bedbugs …

bedbug-150x150It sounds like the plot of a horror movie; you wake up, and start noticing little  bits of blood (or reddish specks) on your bed-sheets. As you puzzle over your  discovery, you suddenly notice little bite-marks on your arms and legs. And lucky you, you might be the only one in your household that is actually getting bit.

Unless you know anything about bed-bugs, what follows probably WILL resemble a  horror movie scene: you start to scream hysterically and back away from your bed,  grabbing a knife with your hair all frazzled…. okay, maybe not THAT dramatic.

But, seriously, discovering that you have bed bugs can be like a really bad horror
movie.

You might think that picking up your pillows and blankies and moving out to the
couch will be a solution, at least for the short term – uh … nope, guess what
you just infested your couch with? Going to stay at a friend’s? Do you like that
friend? Want to keep them?

Over the counter bug spray? Well, it can help – but unlike professional products,
you actually have to hit each and every bug with it – by the time you’ve done
that, you’ll likely have created a pretty darn toxic environment, and probably
spent more money than good pest control will cost you too. And you’ll have to keep
doing it – and your laundry in really hot water – for weeks because bedbugs are
really good at hiding. They are tiny, so very difficult to ever really spot, and
they cleverly hide in nooks and crannies until night-time (usually just before
dawn), when they come out to feed. And their saliva apparently contains an
anasthetic, which they inject into you to make their bites intially painless, and
then they feast on your blood. As a result, their colour is a reddish-brown.
Shudder!

If you think that you might have bedbugs, give Cottage Country Pest Control a call  and Ross will be happy to help you. You can reach them at 705.534.7863 or by email  at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com. Or of course you can always use the Get a Quote  option, which is on the tab up there.
– Ammario R.

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.

Spring!!

ruth and the boys skiingIt’s a happy time of year for pest control …winter is pretty darn boring, although we took up cross country skiing this year, so it was a bit less so this time round. But once the weather starts to warm up and the critters start to get moving and make more critters, we start getting much busier.

Right now, it’s mostly small pests that people are dealing with – lots of calls about squirrels (& chipmunks) getting into places they don’t belong. If you have such a problem, you should definitely get on top of it asap – once there are babies things become a lot more complicated and expensive. Ross can help you get – and more importantly – keep them out.

Next up will be skunks and raccoons – it’s a good idea to have a look around your property and make sure that you haven’t inadvertently provided them with a welcoming atmosphere. Raccoons will, when given the opportunity, take up residence in odd places, especially in the spring when they’re looking for safe places to have their families.

And then, of course, after the snow melts, we’ll be back into doing exterior sprays and carpenter ants and all that fun stuff. I’m looking forward to it – it means that I get the house to myself and can watch my stupid judge shows (as he calls them) a lot more.

Have a happy and pest-free spring – but if you do find yourself dealing with any pest problems, do give us a call at 705-534-7863, or email me at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and we’ll be happy to help solve them for you.