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).

 

 

 

2023 is almost over!

And personally, I’m good with that!

2023 wasn’t all bad – but wow, the last few months have been a drag!! First pneumonia, then a broken wrist – sure doesn’t make this pest control stuff easy.

Fortunately, this time of year is pretty slow. Rats, mice, unidentified furry objects (UFOs – most of which turn out to be mice)… It’s been slow for bedbugs and roaches which I might have pouted about, but seeing as how I’m still working one-handed weeks after I fell down went boom because the first CAA guy couldn’t be bothered pulling my car out for me, that’s probably for the best.

Got a big long list of things I want to get done before the 2024 season hits full swing. Need to do up some information materials, especially about skitter sprays and termites.

Hoping to really grow the mosquito management part of the business. Not so much because I need more to do but because one of my goals this year is to take business away from those who would spray Dragnet every few weeks. MY way of managing mosquitos & ticks costs about the same as the other guys’ – but it doesn’t kill pollinators….caterpillars…. aquatic life…. the environment….anything! (well, okay; I do kill mosquito larvae if need be – but that’s it)

People, pets, and pollinator safe effective mosquito management!! What more could one want?!

For termites, not so much hoping for growth as I am to continue learning more about them, and helping you to keep them out of your home or cottage. They are here – at least in Tiny Township, and just as ticks are expanding North, it’s reasonable to expect that termites will continue to spread throughout our region as well.

So far, I’ve only seen them in Tiny. But the carpenter ants started there too, and now we’re seeing them everywhere. The biggest difference between carpenter ants and termites is the speed with which they can damage a home – BUT there is a pretty easy – and free – way to make sure it never comes to that. More on that next time – for now, Dick van Dyke’s 98th birthday celebration show is over, my wrist is aching, and it’s bedtime.

Happy New Year!

And another summer’s in the books….

And what a busy summer it was!

Kept trying to keep things reasonable – work weekends only (& do the skitter sprays during the week) BUT it just never seems to work out that way.

Thinking that next summer I might just skip the whole teaching thing and focus on pest control full time.

Partly that’s because doing both is just too darn hectic. But even more, it’s because it irks me that so many pollinators are dying unnecessarily.

So – instead of bitching about it, I’m thinking to DO something about it – to spend some time and energy marketing pest control the way I think it should be done.

We can control your mosquitoes and ticks without causing harm to people, pets, water, or pollinators!!

And since it’ll cause me a lot less stress if I can be sure I’m going to have enough work to keep me going and to hire a helper or two, I figure now is the time for marketing the services I intent to offer. I’ll be wandering the streets – hopefully with the older two grandkids and/or other helpers and doing some marketing.

And anyone that signs up for the mailing list by emailing me at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com or calling 705-534-7863 will lock in 2023 prices.

No commitment, no deposit required.

If you concerned that I’m going to spam you with email, I can safely promise I don’t and won’t do that. Up until now, I’ve stuck to one email a year. Thinking to double that now, with taking the summers off – but still – that’s only 2 emails per year. And absolutely no sharing of emails either.

So – – – ? What have you got to lose? A millisecond off your time to lock inn 2023 pricing just in case you decide you want your family, renters, and guests to enjoy the outdoors without the constant annoying whines.

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.

Happy 2023!

Hope you had a great holiday season, and that this year is wonderful.

At the very least, I’m hoping Covid is less of a concern! Both my mom and Ross managed to get it over the holidays. Ross is feeling better – mostly. Ma, not so much. *sigh* Fun times!

We got our issues with Google business sorted out, so we’re back on the map and in search, which makes me happy. Whole thing was ridiculous!! And of course, they, like many others, are still using Covid as the reason for poor customer service. Getting annoyed with that whole song.

So, none of that here 🙂 We have much better reasons for delays! Not really – we try to minimize those. New semester, though, so I am in classes a couple of days a week. But even so, if you don’t get me, please do leave a message and I will get back to you. Or text (same number) and I’ll likely be even quicker.

We’re always happy to help solve your pest problems responsibly – it’s what we do.

ratAnd we do it well too. Probably too well sometimes – apparently the way to be successful in pest control is NOT to solve problems! We should, we’re told, just sign people up for regular visits.

Refill the bait stations, but leave the holes so that you still have to live with rodents and poop?! That’s rude!! Especially when we’ve learned some really effective ways to figure out what’s going on and how to fix it.. We would much rather build our business by solving your problems so well that when you get a chance, you’ll refer others our way.

Anyway … I need to be shutting up and moving on to the work I need to be doing this evening … haven’t yet up written up the note I promised my new first year class. My bad! 

If you have pest problems, please do give us a call or text us at 705-534-7863 and we’ll be happy to help.

And drive safe!!

 

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.

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!

Still busy

Usually things slow down enough by this time of year that Ross would have the docks all in, and be back to doing his stained glass. This year, not so much. Still getting lots of mice calls, squirrels in attics, a few carpenter ant calls and – most distressingly – altogether too many bedbugs.

No one wants bedbugs! But they are definitely in the area. Midland, Penentanguishene, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst –  they seem to be spreading.

Unexplained bites are often the first sign of bedbug infestation – not everyone reacts the same way though, so it is quite possible that one person will have them and another won’t. Or no one will – but that doesn’t mean that everything is clear. You really should get in the habit of checking along seams and corners of your mattresses and other furniture every time you change the sheets. Dark or rust-coloured spots are often the most visible indicator and should be further investigated.

If you are concerned about bedbugs, do give us a call sooner rather than later. Remember that the longer you ignore the problem, the bigger (and more expensive) it is likely to get. And ….. ick!

Ross is always happy to help solve your pest control problems. Give us a call at 705-534-7863 or email us at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com and I will fit you in.

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.