Beekeeping

bees in hiveWell, I don’t know that I’m interested enough to spend money to set up hives – but did attend a beekeeping course this weekend. Mostly, I was hoping to get more information so that I’d be better able to help people that call about swarms of honey bees. We do get a fair number of calls about bees each year…. and have yet to find a beekeeper in the area that wants anything to do with them.

Fortunately, only some of them actually turn out to actually be bees – except in the case of swarms. Wasps of any variety, we have no qualms about treating, but with so much in the media about bees dying and how that will impact pollination and food production, we’d hate to harm any more than absolutely necessary.

Interestingly, one of the very first things I learned about bees is that they don’t actually belong here! Bees are imports; they don’t like Canadian weather. But they do so much good for food production that it’s worth it to continue to help them to survive here. And clearly, if’s very possible to do so, if one knows what one is doing (and is willing to invest the time & money to do things properly). And it can be a profitable enterprise as well.

I did not, however, learn a whole lot about dealing with swarms! Which wasn’t at all surprising, as it was an introductory course meant for potential beekeepers, not really for me. He did talk about when and how they happen though, and that, in combination with further research, has given me rather more to go on. Think I’d want to do a whole lot more learning before we would actually feel qualified to DO anything though.

And of course, there’s little/no point to collecting a swarm unless one has a place to relocate them to. Suppose we could purchase a hive and supplies and hope for a swarm call to come along – but that seems like a fairly big investment for something that may or may not happen.

Anyway, we shall see. For now, though, we shall continue on as we have been, which is to identify the pest, and figure out the best way to handle it. In most cases, a bee swarm really isn’t near as big a problem as people tend to think. They are in search of a new & suitable home, and as long as you’re not providing them with that, they will soon move along.

 

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.

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.

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!

 

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!

Bug bites: Part 2

Today’s post is the second part to the one yesterday about bug bites. Like yesterday, this post will show you some pictures of different bug bites….while they can 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!

Bee sting

Wasp sting

Tick bite

Horse fly bite

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Gearing up for another year

Well, it’s almost that time again …

soon the snow will melt and the bugs will be back…

and Ross at Cottage Country Pest Control will still be there to solve all of your pest problems using the most environmentally responsible integrated pest management processes & products available.

Spiders, bedbugs, mice & rats, carpenter ants, cockroaches, wasps & bees, fleas …whatever your issue, Ross will be happy to help. And yes, we do deal with the occasional racoon, squirrel or other rodents as well. Oh, and he does bird & bat remediation & exclusion also.

Give us a call at 705-534-7863 or email ccpestcontrol@gmail.com for any pest problems at your home, cottage or business in Tiny, Tay, Simcoe, Muskoka…. we’re situated in Victoria Harbour, but cover a fairly wide area –  and yes, he does island calls too!

Fully licensed & insured.

Landlords & Tenants

Are you a landlord or a renter? Have you considered who would be responsible for any major pest control work that might need to be done in a rental property?

Well, for more information check out our blog post “Landlords and Tenants: Who is Responsible for Pest Control Costs?”

Give us a call at 705-534-7863 or email us today if you have any questions or concerns.

Bees, Hornets & Wasps…Oh My!

Bees, wasps and hornets are not always well-liked, and it is totally understandable, but there are some benefits to having them around. Do you know what the benefits are or the differences between the species and their hives?

Click the following links to read all about them!

Bees

Wasps

Hornets

Here’s a blog post we did that includes a link to an interesting story about why you shouldn’t always wait to call a pest control business if you have a problem.

Another interesting blog post from last summer about a weird wasp nest encountered by Ross…“Weird Wasp Nest”

If you have any questions or concerns please give Cottage Country Pest Control a call at 705-534-7863 or email us today. We are always happy to help you to solve your pest problems.

We are based in Victoria Harbour, but cover Barrie, Midland, Orillia, Muskoka, Tiny, Tay and Simcoe County as well.