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!

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.

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!

Another New Year

And here’s hoping it’s a happy one all ’round.

We are still here – unlike what this blog would seem to show. My bad! Got a whole lot more hours at my second job than I anticipated. Finished there this month though, so I’m back to just teaching. And this, of course. Ross is supposed to be back to doing his glass work by this time of year, but moving his workshop downstairs turned into a pretty big renovation so I don’t think he’s made a single cut yet!

Still working though, of course, even though he’s getting somewhat crankier about crawlspaces and climbing up on rooftops….  in other words, he’d prefer if y’all could just have bedbugs  instead of mice! But yes, he will still deal with mice, bats, and other assorted critters …. just means I have to listen to more grumbling, is all.

If you have pest problems you would like solved, feel free to give us a call at 705.534.7863, or email me at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com …. Mondays & Fridays are my teaching days, so responses may take a bit longer … but otherwise I’ll get back to you asap.

Lauralee

And so it begins…

Even though I have yet to send my annual email  (my bad – BUT I got through a condensed semester with all my marks done & submitted early AND got my gall bladder out last week, so…. yeah… )  I’ll get there!

But it was a beautiful day and a whole bunch of people decided the time was right even without that. Lots of phone calls and emails today. I THINK I have everything sorted so that Ross can deal with things while I work at the group home tomorrow. We shall see 🙂 I might need to print off calendar pages for him… hmmm ….

Anyway, we are here and we are getting sorted so please do feel free to give us a call at 705-534-7863, or email me at ccpestcontrol@gmail.com. Oh, and we’d love it if you followed us on Facebook as well, if you do that Facebooking thing 🙂

Happy Canada Day

Hope you all have a safe and happy long weekend wherever you happen to be. From calls so far it sounds like a lot of people are going to be at the cottage all this week.

Ross’ calendar is already starting to fill up, so if you do happen to run into pest problems that you’ll need help with, might want to call or email us sooner, rather than later. No need to wait until Monday; we are here all weekend. Well, except I’m taking grandkids to the zoo tomorrow (yes, I know how dumb that is – it’s the zoo’s fault, as they clearly didn’t take the long weekend into consideration when they rescheduled the members only event they have on today and tomorrow!)

Sure are getting lots and lots of carpenter ant calls, still. But not termites, so far – so if you happen to spot piles of sawdust-like material, and or ants with wings, not to worry. In every single case so far this year, they’ve been carpenter ants. They do the same sort of damage as termites, but they are a LOT slower at it, and they’re easier to treat. Ross has lots & lots of practice doing it and will be happy to solve your carpenter ant problem.

So, in other words, it could be worse! So – even if you’ve arrived at your cottage and found unwelcome visitors, give us a call and then get on with enjoying your time off 🙂

 

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.