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.

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.

Bed Bugs: Identifying their bites

Time for another bed bug post..this time about identifying bed bug bites. More often than not people are unaware they have bed bugs until they start noticing the bites so this is quick post about identifying them.

Bed bug bites are generic looking and they can look very similar to mosquito bites because they are often no more than small red bumps that itch. An easy way to try and identify whether the bites are indeed from bed bugs is to look for a bite pattern. By this I mean are there 3 or 4 bites in a row. Bed bug bites often occur in a unique pattern of 3-4 bites in a line and this is sometimes referred to as a “breakfast, lunch, dinner” pattern. It is sometimes possible for their bites to be individual and not in the linear group but it is rare.

Symptoms of bed bug bites can effect people differently. Some people have little to no reaction while some people have the more typical reaction of welts and swelling with the welts being more itchy and long-lasting than mosquito bites.

It is important to know that there can sometimes being a lag between the bite and when the welt and swelling appears. This lag can take up to 9 days, but the more often a person is bitten the less of a lag there is will be.

If you find you have bites that match mosquito bites and linear pattern then you really should check your home for bed bugs. You can read more about bed bugs which here or our post about bed bugs and travel here.

If you discover that you do in fact have bed bugs, give Cottage Country Pest Control a call at 705-534-7863 or email us to book an appointment.

Bed Bugs: Prevention

In this post we’ll be talking about prevention.If you’ve been lucky enough to never had bed bugs and want to keep it that way or if you’ve had them and gotten rid of them and now just want to prevent ever getting them again, keep reading.


As I stated in the Bed Bugs. What are they ANYONE can get bed bugs, even the cleanest homes and hotels are not immune, so there are steps you can take in order to try and prevent your home from getting bed bugs.


Regular inspection and house cleaning can help prevent an infestation of bed bugs and can also help discover if you have bed bugs. If you are regularly inspecting you bed and furniture then you will be able to catch them before you have a really bad infestation.


Cleaning up clutter, sealing cracks and crevices and fixing peeling wallpaper can help to prevent an infestation as well because it will reduce the number of places available to bed bugs for hiding and living.


Other ways to prevent bringing bed bugs into your home include being extremely cautious when buying second-hand furniture and clothing as you could potentially bring bed bugs home this way. While on the point of used furniture, I cannot stress this enough, NEVER bring home discarded furniture, bed frames, mattresses, box springs or electronics from the side of the road as they could have bed bugs on or in them.


Traveling is a big concern for people what with all the stories of bed bugs in hotels, on cruise ships, etc. There are some very handy tips you can follow when traveling to help prevent bring a creepy crawly souvenir home from your trip.


1. Always inspect the room and furniture for blood spots, bug droppings or live insects–if you find any evidence of possible bed bugs then request a new room


2. Pack your clothing in over sized, resealable plastic bags before packing them and keep your belongings in the bags or hanging up during your trip (don’t put things on the floor or bed)


3. Before leaving the hotel, inspect all your belongings and luggage carefully


4. When you return home, inspect your luggage and belongings again (it’s recommended you do this outside as a precaution) and wash your clothing in the hottest water possible before putting them in the dryer for at least 30 minutes


So there, you have it. Some tips for preventing bed bugs, but of course if you do find yourself with bed bugs Cottage Country Pest Control can help eliminate them.


Email or call us 705-534-7863 to book your appointment today.

Bed Bugs. What are they?

Fun times, right? Okay, so today’s post is about how to identify if you have them. Bed bugs have been talked about on our blog a bunch of times (you can find our post about Bed Bugs and travel here, if you are so inclined), or you can just keep reading.
What they are:
Bed bugs are small parasitic insect, commonly compared in size to that of an apple seed. They have oval-shaped, reddish-brown bodies and no wings. The common bed bug or Cimex Lectularius, generally grow to 4–5 mm in length and 1.5–3 mm wide.
Where are they found:
It’s very important to stress that ANYONE can get bed bugs. One of the biggest misconceptions about bed bugs is that they only occur in filthy conditions. This cannot be stressed enough, but that IS NOT TRUE! Bed bugs don’t care where they live as long as there is at least one human living in an environment between 32 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit then they will be happy. A few major reasons for the return of bed bugs include the ban on DDT (one of the most well-known synthetic insecticides) and other organophosphates, increased international travel, modern lack of familiarity and social stigma which results in a lack of willingness by some to request help.
Bed bugs can be found in lots of places in your home such as:
*Behind headboards and around crack and crevices of your bed
*In the seams of your mattress
*Inside your box spring and along the bed frame
*Along baseboard cracks
*In and around your nightstands
*In and around other items such as window and door frames, pictures, moldings, nearby furniture, loose wallpaper, cracks in plaster and in clutterBite identification:Most often, bed bug bite are harmless. Generally there is no pain caused from the bite, however sometimes a person will have a strong or allergic reaction to a bite, which can cause large itchy welts to appear. Bed bug bites will go away on their own and do not normally need medical attention from a Dr., however if you do react badly to a bite you can apply an anti-itch ointment or see a Dr. for a prescription. Bed bug bites also typically look a lot like a mosquito bite and the bites often appear to as itchy, flat sores that often appear in groups of 3.It’s also important to know that bed bug bites are not currently known to spread disease. It is believed that they could in future and that it’s only a matter of time, but right now, they do not. Currently, the most significant health affect is psychological including stress, anxiety, depression and fatigue which is caused by the presence of bed bugs.If you think you have bed bugs, call Cottage Country Pest Control at (705)534-7863 today or email us at to book your appointment!Check back tomorrow for part 2 of Bed Bugs and how to identify their bites or for more information on where bed bugs have been found check out

Back in Business

animpequins…the website I mean… not Cottage Country Pest Control, since we are always available to solve your pest problems – even when dirty nasty rotten hackers and incompetent tech ~support~ people (I use the term loosely!) mess up the website.

In any case, I’ve copied things over …. arranged to have the kid redo all the category stuff, since I have 2 courses I’ve just finished teaching to write up stuff for, plus 3 courses that I’m going to be teaching starting next week to get sorted…. and a meeting to go to…and workshops …and…and… and ….

ANYWAY… the website is all fixed, and that’s the main thing.

Now if the weather would just cooperate a bit so that we could get out there and start spraying! We, she says …as if I go with. Ha! Not a chance … but I do very much wish HE could get started anyway …rather enjoy sending him off to work and having the house to myself while he’s gone 🙂

Got a pest problem anywhere in Muskoka, Tiny, Tay, Simcoe, or… I know I’m missing some! …anyway … cottage country Ontario pretty much covers it, anyway…. give us a call at 705-534-7863 or email and Ross will be happy to solve it for you.



I am very VERY Lauralee is beyond cranky! unhappy!!!

Got a warning that our site had been hacked!

Have moved it to a new and more secure server and am now in the process of redoing all of our posts and pages – but that is likely to take me a bit.

In the meantime, though, Ross is right here and would be happy to help you with any pest problems you may have – please do feel free to contact us by emailing, or calling 705-534-7863.

Carpenter Ants Waking Up

Carpenter antsSeems like it’s getting just warm enough to wake up the carpenter ants here in cottage country. They are still pretty slow moving though …. and no reports of winged ants/swarms yet….

SO … it is a really good time to deal with the problem before it gets well established.

Give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you nip the whole thing in the bud.  This early in the season, sometimes 2 visits are required but hey, guess what? We don’t charge you any extra for that.

You can reach Cottage Country Pest Control by email at or by phone at 705-534-7863. If you don’t get an answer please do leave a message and we will get back to you as quickly as possible …. giving final exams this week, and then I will (mostly) be around to play pest control secretary

Happy Spring

Lovely weather we’re having, eh? Or not!

Almost the end of March and still with the snow! On the plus side though, the weather means a later start to the majority of the pests that are a problem up here in cottage country… but of course, that’s a bigger plus for you than for us

We’re still dealing with bedbugs, mice, squirrels and the occasional bat problem… looking forward to the return of spiders and carpenter ants though!

Check your boat

One problem we had a run on last spring was raccoons in boats – momma raccoons who thought people’s boats were a really good place to set up shop and have their babies.

Not that hard to get rid of, really – but they can do some damage better avoided while they’re there.

SO – the trick is to make your boat (garage, trailer, whatever) unpleasant for momma – she won’t stick around a location that doesn’t feel secure, at least not when she’s in momma-mode…

so why not wander out to your boat and clear some snow off – give it a good bang on the sides, kick the trailer tires, whatever … once in a while?  And while you’re there, have a look around – for any indication of critter visitors (pawprints? foodbits?) and/or unauthorized entry?  What can it hurt just to make sure?

Heading pest problems off before they start is always preferable (that means cheaper) than dealing with them once they’re well established – but if you do discover a problem, give us a call at 705-534-7863 or email and we’ll be happy to help you with it anywhere in Tay, Tiny, Severn, Simcoe or the Muskoka area.