Carpenter ants!

Carpenter antsMy goodness, have we ever become inundated with carpenter ants. We are getting SO many calls from throughout Tay and Tiny Townships. They started early this year, and so many of them, we’ve been having a hard time keeping enough product in stock to treat them.

Could be worse though – from what I’ve been reading, some areas are starting to see increasing numbers of termites. We have never had a single call for those – and would rather like to keep it that way!  While both carpenter ants and termites can do a great deal of damage to a home or cottage, termites tend to do it faster – we can do without that!

Just because they’re slower, doesn’t mean you should ignore carpenter ants though! In addition to the structural damage they can do, and the very annoying noise they can make if you leave them untreated long enough, you just might find your cottage poked full of holes. Woodpeckers just love carpenter ants – and they can and will do a lot of

Woodpeckers are ~cute~ …sometimes!

damage very quickly once they discover them.

And of course, just like most everything else, it’s usually easier – and cheaper – to solve problems when they’re small. Do you suspect you have carpenter ants? Ross will be happy to help you with those – before the woodpeckers show up 🙂

Give us a call at 705-534-7863, or email me at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com. Or you can click on the quote form up there and get a guesstimate that way, too.

Have a great day!

Lauralee

 

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

Rainy days & spider sprays

Darn rain!!!

Got Ross’ calendar filled and then some – and the bleeping rain just messed that all up.

Truth is that it doesn’t actually have to bring everything to a standstill; rain doesn’t actually wash the product we use away once it’s set (about 20 minutes) …. so he COULD still spray and as long as it doesn’t pour immediately afterwards, it would work just fine.

BUT, we have discovered, people just don’t believe that 🙂

And since we want our customers to be happy and believe, yeah, we delay or reschedule exterior spider sprays on rainy days.

Fortunately for today, we had some carpenter ants and wasps we could move into the freed up space…. we’ll try again for sprays tomorrow if the weather cooperates…. weather network isn’t exactly being encouraging though!

If there’s anything Ross can help you with, give us a call at 705-534-7863, or email me at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com …. we’re pretty busy this time of year but we will fit you in one way or another. And yes, weekend appointments are available for you cottagers.

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!

 

Weekends

It’s a sunny Saturday morning and Ross just left to head up to a carpenter ant job in Honey Harbour…then he’ll come back through and head to the other side of our region, over to Tiny Township. And yes, it is a lovely sunny Saturday and we do have family coming for a visit and the boat is not yet in – that’s what happens when you offer pest control services in cottage country. You work weekends 🙂

And weekdays too, of course…. but the busy season is so short, you do what you have to do. Sure wish the bed bugs would wait until the spiders and carpenter ants and squirrels slow down again, but no such luck.

If you’ve discovered pest problems in your home or cottage, do give us a call at (705)534-7863 or email me at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and Ross will be happy to stop by and solve them for you.

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.

Just so’s you know :)

Most days we are able to get back to our customers pretty quickly, whether you call or email us.

But I am teaching a few courses again this summer, so please do bear with us if you’re calling on a Thursday (all day) or Friday morning….   we will get back to you as soon as we can – but especially on Thursdays, that might take a bit of time. Best bet, actually, for a quicker response, is to email… that I can answer during breaks or between classes 🙂

But either way, rest assured that we will get back to you, and I will get Ross out to solve your pest problems as quickly as I can arrange it.

Lauralee

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter antsWell, we’ve pretty much finished up the first round of spider sprays – did we miss you? We’re sorry! Give us a call or drop us an email at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and we will certainly get that done for you – but mostly what we’re dealing with right now are carpenter ants. They are all through cottage country these days – we’re getting calls from all over Simcoe, Tiny & Tay, Port Severn & Honey Harbour. Tiny still seems to be the most impacted though.

Carpenter ants are, of course, the big ants – and they can do an awful lot of damage, although fortunately they are much slower about it than termites. There are a number of ways to tell that you have them – seeing them, of course… but also you might find piles of a sawdust like material (sometimes coloured, if they’re tunneling through insulation). And if they are really bad, you might hear them as well, crunching in the walls. You do NOT want them crunching through your walls!

Give us a call at 705-534-7863 or email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and Ross will be happy to solve your carpenter ant problem by making sure that both the main and satellite nests are eradicated.

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.