Bug Bites: Part 1

This post will show you some pictures of different bug bites….while they ca n give you an idea of what bit you, it’s important to know that some people react differently to different bites and if you aren’t sure about the bite(s) or if you start having any unusual reactions GO SEE A DOCTOR!

Mosquito bite

Mosquito bites

Bed bug bites

Bed bug bites

Flea bites

Flea bites

Flea bites (dog) this is an example of excessive flea bites

Spider bite (unknown species of spider)

Spider bite (unknown species of spider)

Please remember these are not meant to diagnose anything. They are just examples of the bites and reactions commonly found with these types of pests. Also, if you have any of these pests in and around your home, give Cottage Country Pest Control a call at 705-534-7863 or email us today.

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.

Birds: Damage

Any type of bird can become a pest–it just depends on their behaviour and activity on your property. You can read the past post on birds and the post on birds and diseases. Some of the major concerns when it comes to birds as pests is Canadian geese and their droppings and smaller birds building their nests on roofs/in chimneys and gutters.

 

Figuring out if you have a problem with Canadian geese is a relatively easy thing to do–especially if you live on the water in places such as Victoria Harbour, Midland, Penetanguishene, etc. If you have an excessive number of geese visiting your yards and docks and are noticing a lot of geese excrement, then it can be classified as a pest problem.

 

When it comes to smaller birds being a problem, it can be more difficult to discover the problem. How often does someone climb their roof to check for bird nests? Do you normally check your chimney for signs of bird nests? Probably not, so unless you notice signs of damage or hear the bird(s), you may not know there is a problem until it’s a bigger (and more expensive problem to deal with).

 

So what should you look for if you suspect there may be some birds building a nest in or around your roof or chimney? Nesting materials for one–this can vary depending on the species, but generally the birds that may become pests for the areas we cover will use materials such as grass clippings, small sticks and mud. If they can find bits of cloth they may use that as well. Also you can listen for sounds of birds in your roof or chimney. Can you hear chirping or scratching sounds? Finally, another good way to discover if you have a bird problem is to take a look around for their droppings. Is there an excessive amount around the ground of your home?

 

If you think you have a bird problem (or any other pest) or you know you do, give Cottage Country Pest Control a call at 705-534-7863 or email us today.

Birds: Diseases

Today’s post is a follow up to yesterday’s post about Birds, however it will be about diseases that can be caused by birds and also HOW they can be transmitted to humans from birds.

 

There are over 60 known transmittable diseases that can be passed to humans from birds and their droppings.

 

These diseases can typically be broken down into categories:

  • Bacterial-examples include: salmonella, paratyphoid, vibriosis and listeriosis
  • Viral- examples include: encephalitis, meningitis and newcastle’s Disease
  • Fungal- examples include: histoplasmosis, candidasis and blastomycosis
  • Protozoal- examples include: toxoplasmosis, trichomoniasis and American Typansomiasis

There are 4 ways that birds can pass disease to humans. The first 2 ways are through food and water contaminated with bird feces. This can occur when birds defecate into food and water sources and it does not necessarily have to be direct contact. Food and water sources may be contaminated through airborne particles that are transferred through the air and settle into the sources.

 

The third way is inhalation of fecal dust. This can happen when dried feces becomes airborne microscopic particles that can contain fungi and/or bacterial that when inhaled by humans can cause illness.

 

The fourth way is through direct contact. This is when fecal dust or actual droppings comes in contact with an open sore or wound. If this occurs, it must be cleaned properly and treated, because if left untreated it could potentially lead to Sepsis, which is an infection of blood.

 

Over the rest of the bird series, we’ll be covering some of the more common diseases specifically, so check back for that information.

 

If you are having a problem with birds at your home, cottage or even business/workplace in Midland, Honey Harbour, Port McNicoll, or any other area of our coverage area, contact us at 705-534-7863 or email us today. We are fully trained in bird control methods and IPM. We are also fully licensed to handle other pest control issues.

Birds

Today’s post will be the first of many about birds-why they are problems, the diseases caused by birds, spotting a bird problem/damage and control methods.

 

Birds can be great to have around, because most species will eat insects and bugs that can be a nuisance to you and your home. However, birds can easily become a nuisance themselves by making your home and property dirty looking (thanks to their droppings, feathers, nesting materials, etc), they can cause dozens of health problems through their droppings and nesting materials and it can be expensive to solve a bird problem if you leave it.

 

Bird droppings are very acidic and can “eat away” at tar-based roof materials and even the protective coating and paint on cars. In regards to roof damage, if birds are left to continue using the roof for their droppings, over time it can cause leaking to the roof which can be costly to repair.

 

Some of the damage caused by nests includes when they are build in gutters and drain spouts on houses and cottages. If left long-term, the nests can cause drainage problems which again can be costly to repair.

 

A major problem caused by bird nests is when they are built in chimneys and other ventilation systems. This can lead to not only diseases being spread through the system but can also block airflow, which can be extremely dangerous as this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

If you are having a problem with birds at your home, cottage or even business/workplace in Midland, Honey Harbour, Port McNicoll, or any other area of our coverage area, contact us at 705-534-7863 or email us today. We are fully trained in bird control methods and IPM. We are also fully licensed to handle other pest control issues.

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.