Termites in Ontario

Did you think termites where a southern US problem? Or a US problem, at least?

They are, of course. But guess what? Termites are not limited to the US. Or even to southern parts of Ontario.

Termite damage; wood with ridges and holes throughout

Image taken of termite damaged wood in Tiny Township; summer 2023

We have termites, too. And it stands to reason that we will have more.

Winter weather – deep freezing – tends to push them down deeper underground. And/or kill at least some of them, which helps keep them in some semblance of control.

Guess what we haven’t had consistently this year? Or last year? Or – well, you know….

It doesn’t take a lot in terms of warmer temperatures to allow things to change. Ticks, for example, were not so long ago, barely on the radar here. Now? They’re ubiquitous. More ticks more places (we can help with that too, btw).

Same thing happened with carpenter ants. And it did not take long at all for them to spread from Tiny Township to the rest of us.

Want to guess where ‘our’ termites are already? You got it – they’re already in Tiny.

Have been for quite some time, actually – but they are spreading.

They’re spreading out from Toronto, Guelph, and Tiny – at a minimum.

How long will they take to become a ‘common’ issue? Beats me!!

But why wait?

There are things we can do to reduce the likelihood that you’re ever going to be caught off guard with an infestation. And guess what?! While it’s not exactly free to set things up to monitor your property, it’s not going to break the bank, either.

More on that later – got to go feed the sick people (Ross & my mom both have a miserable cold).

 

 

 

Got mice? Or rats?

rat

This would be the season – rats and mice don’t mind living outdoors when it’s nice out. It’s now, when the weather is starting to cool off, that they start looking for nice warm places to hang out for the winter. You do not want your place to be one of those winter refuges!

Prevention is the first step. If you have holes that they can use to get in, you will want to block those. If you’ve had any construction or renovations done, it’s a really good idea to have another look, even if you’ve never had a problem before! Contractors and builders are very knowledgeable about a lot of things, but pest control is rarely top of mind, and they will sometimes inadvertently leave vulnerabilities.

One thing that sets Cottage Country Pest Control apart from many of the other pest control companies is that we are persistent in our quest for solutions to your rodent problems. We’ll keep looking & blocking access points for as long as it takes, or as long as you’re willing to put up with us. We have cameras (motion-sensored; thermal; endoscopic), glow in the dark baits, and UV lights that help us to figure out exactly what is going on where, and how to fix it. We don’t do maintenance contracts.

Of course we’ll come back regularly if needed – but our preference is to solve the problem so that we won’t be. Nobody should have to cohabitate with mice or rats running freely throughout their living space, business, or restaurant.

Placing bait stations and/or traps is part of an Integrated Pest Management program – but is not, on its own, enough.

If you have mice, rats or other small rodents hanging out in your living space, give us a call at 705-534-7863, or email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and we’ll be happy to help.

The good old days

Well, it was almost like the good old days. One out of our typical area call, and we actually managed to get it all done pretty much as planned – so better, mostly – than some of the days we’ve had in previous years.

Yesterday was the first day of this year that we’ve had a full slate of bookings. Down to Woodbridge, one in Tiny (which isn’t, in case you didn’t know), up to Port Severn for a few, then the locals in Victoria Harbour and Port McNicoll. Still mostly rodents, but that won’t last much longer. And it’s mostly mice again, not rats, which is a positive thing (for you, not us, necessarily, but oh well. No one should have to live with rats in their home or cottage!!!)

This weekend we were mostly dealing with mice, but two skunks, as well… they’re a pain in the butt! Especially when most of the issues are skunks that are just wandering through and around in your area. They cover a lot of ground in their travels so may wander through a property frequently, but not actually den there. And of course, the more time they’re there, the higher the likelihood of a mishap, especially if there are dogs also in the area.

While we can trap and remove, unless we fix the things attracting the skunks – or other critters – to an area, they’ll be back. Not necessarily the same critter(s) – but if it was perfect for one, it’s also going to be perfect for someone – or something – else to move into. So, that tends to be our focus wherever possible: convincing the critters that ‘this’ is not a desirable place to hang out. Humanely, of course!

Anyway, much as I like to go on and on about not much in particular, it’s back to school tomorrow and one of us hasn’t finished her homework!! Need to get some assignment details fleshed out and posted so that my almost-ready-to-graduate(!!) students can work on them independently while they’re out on placement(!!). And to make the flood of emails asking for more details about this, that, and the other thing stop already.

Have a lovely spring, and do call or text us at (705)534-7863, or send email to ccpestcontrol@gmail.com; we’re happy to help solve what’s bugging you. Environmentally responsible, local pest control – and hey! We work weekends!

Lauralee

BZZZZZ!

What? Too early?!

I’m already thinking about mosquitoes, ticks, spiders and all that fun stuff – aren’t you?

Ok, well, I suppose it is a ~bit~ early. But I’m picking up my new-to-me car tomorrow and I’ve been thinking about what I want the wrap design to say.

I’m thinking to focus on things we take pride in:

That seems like a lot to incorporate into a car wrap – but it’s pretty straightforward when it comes to actually doing pest control.

It means that we kill less, not more. The goal of IPM is to monitor and manage pests using the most effective and lowest risk option. For Cottage Country Pest Control that means we do things such as

  • Find it We follow the pee. Also poop, footprints and any other clues we can find to determine where your critters are getting in (& out). Refilling bait stations and signing one up for regular servicing is the opposite of IPM and I don’t like it.
  • Solve it We don’t actually care that the board of health is okay with rats in restaurants as long as there is evidence (bait stations) that they’re trying. Gross!!! – dead rats near my food doesn’t really appeal much more than live ones, thanks.
  • Prevent it When we spot something likely to be a problem in the future, we’ll let you know… and make sure you know what can be done about it.
  • Protect it. When we have choices to make, our goal is always the most environmentally responsible and humane solution. Most pests aren’t actually pests unless they are in the wrong place, and being in the wrong place doesn’t need to be a death sentence (bedbugs, spongey moth caterpillars, and roaches excepted).

Following IPM guidelines is not, actually, all that good for business sometimes. When you’re doing it right, you often manage yourself out of jobs. But it is good for everything that makes Tay, Tiny, Simcoe, Muskoka, and beyond such a great place to visit – and for those of us who are really, really lucky – to live.

Spring 2022

Another year already! Time flies when you’re having fun.

And I have been having rather more fun than I expected to when I took on this pest control gig. I always did like a challenge. And problem-solving. And learning.

So, in spite of the fact that I’m way too old to be crawling under houses or climbing ladders, I do it anyway (only when Jessa isn’t around to do it for me, of course)!!  Don’t know what I’m going to do when she quits on me – now that she’s fully licensed, too, she doesn’t need me for anything, really. Well, except for answering the phone, booking the jobs, ordering the supplies, and paying for everything. Okay, so she ~might~ need me for a bit longer! But it would definitely make a lot more sense for her to be finding bed bug jobs in Oshawa and/or Durham Region and skip the drive.

Anyway …. since Jessa is only available weekends, and working just weekends isn’t going to work for much longer, I’m going to have to find a weekday helper as well. Possibly more than one if the LDD moth caterpillars stick around. Which they likely will, although I think that this should be the end of it for a few years.  Lots and lots of eggs out there, just waiting for the warmer weather….. but this year we’ll be ready for them. And, hopefully, the virus that eventually wipes them out will be that much more prevalent.

In the meantime, though, if you are concerned about the caterpillars, and want to protect your trees, we can help with that – and the earlier the better. If we treat your tree trunks early in the spring, before or just as the leaves are coming in, we can use far less product in a more targeted way, and solve the problem before it starts.

And that is the way we prefer to do pest control around here: the environmentally responsible way.

We’ve already got quite a large number of jobs lining up for early spring – if you are interested in being added to our schedule, the sooner you contact me the better. I’ll try to get a sign up form added here in the next few days – but in the meantime, feel free to email me at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com, or text/call me at 705-534-7863 and I’ll pencil you in.

Not sure whether you’re going to need treatment? Have a look at any trees in your area. Do they have eggs sacs? What about your home or cottage? Some areas that we’ve seen have an alarming number.  If you’re able to reach and remove them, there’s still time to do that – but otherwise, we are happy to help.

Bedbugs in Cottage Country

Bedbug and eggs

Bedbug and eggs in a small hole in a bedframe. Picture taken by Jessica Batryn.

We sure are getting a lot more bedbugs up here any more. It used to be they happened mostly when families hosted visitors. Now it seems to be a whole lot of short stay renters that are bringing them. We’re getting multiple calls a week these days!

SO unnecessary though! If you going to offer up a cottage for short terms rentals (or long term for that matter) – there are things you can do to protect your property – and your pocketbook!

  • There’s a new product that can be used as a preventative – it’s a lot cheaper to prevent than to treat, honest!
  • There are certain types of bed frames that make a lot more sense than others.
  • And there are mechanical aids (such as proper mattress covers, moats & monitors) that can be used too.

Treating often costs $1000 & up (plus HST) – prevention costs about $200+ materials.

And guess which one involves the fear of bringing home hitch-hikers? And/or bad reviews and lost revenue?

If you have rental properties in Tay, Tiny, Muskoka, Penetanguishene, Port Severn, etc – basically up to about Parry Sound (but sometimes beyond) – and (NEW!!!) now in & around Durham as well, we are happy to help. Give us a call at 705-534-7863, or email ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and Jessa and/or I will be happy to help. 

Winter is on its way

Personally, I do not approve. Especially this year, when the garage is so full there isn’t any room for my poor car. It is going to have to stay out in the driveway and be cold and covered with yuck!

Hopefully we’ll get it sorted by the time I have to start driving in to school again. That won’t be until January, so …. it could happen.

It’s unlikely. We have a lot of ~stuff~ in need of new places to be. But it could.

Anyway – we have time to worry about that. For now I’m just worrying about getting what absolutely has to be done, done. My mom’s stuff is arriving early in November, and we need to have the rest of our stuff out of the area we’ve renovated for her. Most of my ~stuff~ is up in my office (aka the attic) or at my store (still not open but I have plenty of inventory). Ross’s, on the other hand, is still in there. All of his glass and supplies currently have no place to be, and all the tools he’s been using are all over the place. So chances are, all of that will go out to the garage. I don’t think my zoom-zoom is going to get in there any time soon.

Oh well. These days I drive the SUV a whole lot more than my own car, anyway. It is a lot better at getting in and out of the places some of you guys have your cottages. There are some very steep and/or narrow and/or muddy roads throughout our area. But you know that already.

Anyway, as you might expect at this time of year, most of what we are dealing with is rodents. We don’t do raccoons or skunks for the most part; Jessa and I don’t have the experience for that and Ross isn’t into coaching us. So – rats, mice and squirrels.

Lots of rats, mice, and squirrels. Thank goodness for toys. Ross was better at being able to just spot where things were getting in and out than I am – but I am way better at collecting toys than he is. We’ve added a bunch of toys to our toolkit to help us to figure out where critters are getting in.

Of course, we can still just treat the problem …. in some places where it’s just not practical (or cost effective) to find and seal up every access point, we can use traps or bait, and come back as needed. But our preference (unlike some of the other companies) is always to prevent and solve your pest problems – managing is a last resort.

Still got one more set of assignments to mark so I guess I’ll have to leave showing you Jessa’s nifty bedbug shot till next time. There you go – something to look forward to!

In the meantime, if you have mice, rats, squirrels, or unidentified furry critters in your home, cottage or business in Tiny, Tay, Simcoe or Muskoka, you can reach us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com, or by calling 705-534-7863. Jessa has her own M – F business in Oshawa and I teach 3 days a week and do the gramma thing the other two, so we work almost entirely weekends right now, though, just so you know.

Summertime, summertime…

…and things are starting to slow down just a little bit. I just looked at my course calendar and discovered that next week is Study Week already!!! Time flies when you’re getting old!

Things are starting to slow down a bit for pest control now – mostly because people are waiting to see what happens with the dratted gypsy moth caterpillars, I think. If they’re almost done being caterpillars, might not be worth spending the money to kill the rotten things, right?

Which it could be, if it’s only the caterpillars you’re trying to eliminate (or at least reduce the numbers). Me, I’m leaning towards it still being worth doing because every dead caterpillar is one less to participate in the next part of their life cycle. And because the residual that is left behind after we spray is effective against the moths as well, so that means, presumably, they will go someplace else to lay their eggs, which means that there will be less to start with next spring. In theory!

SO – we can treat for gypsy moth caterpillars. For most places in our coverage area, that will cost about $225 (plus HST) – if you have a lot of trees in the immediate vicinity that you need done, it may cost more. If you are considering it, here are some things you should know:

The product we use is one that can also be used for spider sprays – we tend not to do that because it can leave more of a film on windows than our regularly preferred option, which dries clear. Of course, we generally try not to hit windows any more than necessary, but it happens. This one, however, includes gypsy moths and their caterpillars on the label, so it is a better option right now.

According to the label, the product provides residual protection for up to 90 days BUT the bigger they are the longer it takes. SO even after spraying, you will likely still see caterpillars, just not as many.

We do not have a helicopter! Or a magic wand, either. We spray as high as we can safely spray given our equipment and the situation. There are a number of things that impact how broadly and how high we can treat, including weather conditions, proximity to water, and how reasonable – or not – your neighbours are. We’ll do our best to solve your pest control problem(s) but not at risk of harm to the fish/water or to people (no matter how miserable) or pets.

If you’ve got tree-eating caterpillars, carpenter ants, bedbugs, spiders, mice or rats, give us a call at 705-534-7863. Or better yet, email me at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com, and I’ll get back to you even faster.

Weather watch

So much unpredictability this season!

windThe weather is not cooperating! Or perhaps more accurately, the weatherman is not cooperating. IT would be ever so much easier to plan the guys’ days if we could believe whatever the weather people posted.

Supposed to rain but it doesn’t; not supposed to, but it does. And always, always, it seems, wind, wind, and more wind. Which is a pain. Actually, both wind and rain are a pain.

Wind, because it makes it too hard to control the direction and placement of the spray. Exterminators are responsible for controlling their product, and if it’s too windy to do that well, it’s too windy for spraying. There are minor variations, though; if you are on/near water, the amount of wind that can be tolerated becomes far less.

Rain is a pain also – but not for the reason you might think. Rain is a pain because it causes people to worry that the spray will be all “washed off” if it should happen to rain after it’s applied. Fortunately, rain doesn’t actually cause the micro-encapsulated product to break down. Once it’s on, it’s pretty much going to stay there until the light breaks it down.

We don’t typically spray DURING a rain, but that’s because most people won’t ~BELIEVE~ if we do and they’ll whine until they get a second spray.

Fun fact: Exterminators have to be able to do all kinds of nifty math to figure out how much product to add to how much water to get the most environmentally safe mix to give you the result you want. They even have to be able to calculate how much water or product they have to add to an existing amount in the sprayer to change it to make it a different application mix and all that fun stuff.

There is NO benefit to us to spray your place if we know the product is not going to work; why would we even do that?! Really, we don’t want to have to come back to do the job again. That would waste your time, energy & resources – & ours as well!

That is most assuredly not what we are about!

Spring is coming

woodpecker hole in houseReally it is!!

I sure will be happy when the ice on the lake breaks up and I can get my kayak out! Not teaching this summer, nor working at the group home (long story there!) so unless something changes, will be here most of the time to take people’s calls. Well, when I’m not out on the lake anyway.

It could be worse though! The year I moved to Barrie we had a horrible snow storm on April 3 – and some jerk stole my shovel right out of my yard. I wasn’t amused.

Anyway, even though the weather is not cooperating, seems like the critters know that spring is coming. We’ve already been getting calls about critters where they don’t belong, and carpenter ants. Lots and lots of carpenter ants. We actually had several calls about them over the winter, too – every time the weather warmed up even a little, the ants would get busy.

Did you know that the ants you see are generally only a very small percentage? And that, while they don’t actually eat your wood or your insulation, they do damage it by tunneling through it to build their nests.

First sign people usually notice is a few ants…eventually, things progress to ‘raining’ sawdust (or insulation/building foam dust) – that’s called frazz. After that, things can get so bad one can hear them in the walls. And if you ignore all that long enough…? The woodpeckers come!! Woodpeckers love carpenter ants – whether they are in trees, or buildings. Fortunately most people get on top of the problem before that happens – but it does happen!

Early intervention saves the structural integrity of your home or cottage!

No matter where you are in Simcoe, Muskoka, Tiny, or Tay, or even beyond, and we will be happy to help you to solve your pest problems – or better yet, prevent them!

Our phone number is 705.534.7863, or you can email me at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Lauralee