Winter weather fun

Well, it sure isn’t great weather for cross country skiing or anything! But the pests and critters seem to like it just fine. We are getting a lot more calls than we normally do here in cottage country Ontario in the winter. And not just for mice & bedbugs either!

There are a lot more small rodents around thanks to an extended feast the little rotters enjoyed this year. We’re getting calls for mice, squirrels, raccoons, and so on. Have had several calls re: flying squirrels lately, too. Cute little guys – but annoying as all heck when they take up residence in your attic.

It’s not just the rodents keeping us busy though. We’ve had quite a few re: carpenter ants and even spiders already. Don’t think we’ve ever had a carpenter ant call in January before.

If you have any sort of pest problem, feel free to give us a call at 705-534-7863, or email ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and we’ll be happy to help you with it.

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.

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!

 

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.

Dear Spiders,

As a mature, well-educated, scientifically-minded and compassionate adults, I know that spiders are beneficial critters, beautiful, talented, dainty and deadly, largely to bugs which, lets face it, don’t appeal much to me. As exoskeletal creatures go, spiders rank at the top for me.

 

Logically.

 

Unfortunately, my response when unexpectedly faced with a spider is generally not driven by logic. So, in my best interest and yours (because, though talented and venomous, I have a weight advantage and am not afraid to use it), there are certain ground rules which, if you follow, will certain serve your life expectancy well.

 

As a good host, there are places in my house that are well suited for spider occupation, both because of low traffic, but also because one is less likely to scare the crap out of me and get reflexively killed. However, I must warn you that spiders that I recognize as deadly venomous will not get a chance to plead the fifth – and I know what you look like, so you’d best find a more congenial host.

 

For instance, my garage is fair game for any non-lethal spiders since I try not to go in there anywhere but the freezer and, if something else must be fetched, try to find someone else to do it. Also, the tops of my windows, which you’ll be pleased to know are never cleaned, are fair game as they are out of reach of most of my cats and my children and are generally covered by window treatments. As my house is frequently dark (and is not high on bugs) that might be a good hunting place anyway. If you are so adventurous as to take out a wasp (a creature I loathe inside my house), and I see evidence of such in your web, I will actively work to preserve your life. My son’s closet is another spot as he can’t open the door (because a very heavy bunkbed blocks it and the far corners of the high ceilings in my room are also fine as long as you have the good sense not to drop on me or my children. You can also amuse yourself in my cupboard with wine glasses since I bought them with my ex-husband in mind and never use them.

 

Places I would avoid involve the pantry, since it’s ill lit and I’m likely to freak out, on or around where my children sleep (which isn’t safe for you anyway), anywhere you’re likely to land on me or stationed in my bath or shower in such a way you land on me. The tiny spider that’s taken up residence in the corner of the shelf is welcome to stay (though the bath you took earlier may change your mind) as long as you don’t (a) grow to monstrous size, (b) turn out to be a baby recluse (since you’re definitely not a black widow), (c) move somewhere where you might be tempted to drop on me or (d) hatch a million microscopic spiders and take over the shower stall.

 

I’m hopeful, with this understanding, we can all learn to live in harmony.

 

Sincerely,

 

Stephanie Barr

Lauralee Proudfoot, I wonder if Ross would enjoy this.

Of course he would, and so did I; thanks for allowing us to share it here.

If you have pest issues of any sort, including, of course, spiders, please do email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com or call us at 705-534-7863 and we’ll be happy to help you solve them.

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!

Busy day!

Yikes… the carpenter ants are going crazy, seems like.

Got home from work today to answering machine full of messages and missed calls. The messages are great – I really appreciate it when people leave them. The missed calls, not so much!

Wish I could be here to take your call right away all the time… but on the other hand, I love teaching too, so….

Wednesdays & Thursdays, just for a few more weeks, I teach in Barrie – but I will get back to you as soon as I get home. Or, if you wish, try emailing me at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and I’ll call/email you on my next break 🙂 Ross just ~loves~ seeing new appointments pop up on his calendar even when he thinks I’m at work so he’s “safe” from surprises, honest 🙂

Carpenter Ants on the rise

Carpenter antsAn article on the CBC site today talks about increasing numbers of carpenter ant infestations in Windsor, ON and Halifax, NS … no mention of here in cottage country Ontario but could have told them that we are definitely seeing a lot more calls for them here as well.

Used to be mostly Balm Beach that had them, with a few up Honey Harbour way as well… then last year, started to see them all over Tiny Township; here in Victoria Harbour and Port McNicoll; up in the Parry Sound and Huntsville area…. and this year they seem to be everywhere we cover.

Not that we’re complaining, of course. Ross is happy to go to wherever the ants are and evict them for you.

You might be interested to know that there can be major differences in how pest control companies treat carpenter ants. Spraying kills only visible ants (generally about 10% of the population) and while it will provide some temporary relief from the aggravation of seeing ants wandering around, it allows the queen(s) to continue churning out new ants, and the ants that you are not seeing to continue to damage the structure of your home or cottage. You should be looking for a pest control company that is actually going to solve the problem, not just mask it – and that typically involves bait. Do be sure that when you are comparing quotes on carpenter ant treatment, you are actually comparing the cost of fixing the problem, not signing on for years of masking it.

If you think you might have carpenter ants (big ants, sometimes with wings; piles of sawdust-like material, which can be coloured if they’re tunneling through insulation; and or noises in your walls or ceilings) give us a call at 705-534-7863, or email ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and we will fit you in.

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!