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Pests

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Bedbugs

Bedbugs

Who's Sleeping With You Tonight?

Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite...” The rhyme from our grandparents day is not a fairy tale. Bedbugs are back! Bedbugs are returning to Ontario homes and hotels with a vengeance. They had been mostly eradicated from North America when chemical control became widely available. They have returned in the luggage and belongings of travelers and are becoming a much more common and persistent pest.

Bedbugs are rarely seen during the day, but only emerge at night to take on a new feed of blood. They can survive, hidden in cracks and crevasses for up to one year at a time. They are most commonly found in seams, tufts, or folds in mattresses as well as in headboards etc.

Bites are painless and the victim does not wake from it. Bed bugs feed by piercing skin with an elongated beak. Saliva is injected, containing an anesthetic to reduce pain, and an anticoagulant to keep blood flowing. The reaction to bed bug bites varies among individuals, from no reaction to severe skin inflammation and irritation.

A bed bug infestation can be recognized by blood stains from crushed bugs or by rusty spots of excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls. Fecal spots, eggshells, and shed skins may be found in the vicinity of their hiding places. An offensive, sweet, musty odor from their scent glands may be detected when bed bug infestations are severe.

Bats

Bats

Bats found in Mid-western Ontario are usually one of two common species. They are the Little Brown Bat and the Big Brown Bat. They are similar in appearance with the size being the best way to quickly distinguish between the species.

“Blind as a bat” isn't right! Bats can see quite well. They locate and capture insects with echo-location, which is a lot like sonar or radar.

Both species consume large quantities of insects during their nightly feeding flights. Little Brown Bats can consume 600 mosquitoes per hour. Both species will consume up to their weight in insects each night. That's a lot of bugs!

Bats sometimes enter our living spaces, and cause quite a commotion! When this happens the bat is usually lost. Open a door and window if possible, and let the bat fly out. A roosted bat can be gently picked up with a gloved hand and released outdoors.

Bats in the attic roost site deposit droppings called guano. Guano can carry spores of histoplasmosis, a serious lung disease. Always wear proper protective gear when working around bat guano. A distinctive odour comes from bat urine. This is often evident in the attic or other void areas that bats use to roost. Staining from crystallized urine is unsightly and can harbour pathogens.

The only acceptable method of bat control is exclusion. This is best done in late summer, so as to not separate mothers from their young. Installing 'one way doors' or escape tubes and sealing all other entry points is the only effective control. The choice of sealing methods depend on the structure.

Bees, Wasps, Hornets

Bees, Wasps and Hornets

Bees and wasps can be a major summertime pest to Ontario homeowners. Depending on the species, they will nest in the ground, in wall voids, attics, eaves, in mouse holes, or wood piles.

Yellowjackets are the most common species of stinging insects in Ontario. Nests are normally started in late spring to early summer by the queens that over winter. Once a nest is started, numbers can grow quite quickly. They usually become much more aggressive in the late summer and autumn, when their diet turns to sweets and proteins. At this time they will be very evident at most outdoor gatherings. They can inflict a sting that is very painful and can also be dangerous to small children or individuals with allergies to the venom. Yellowjackets can sting repeatedly.

Honey bees are a much less common pest in Ontario homes and yards. They occasionally nest in wood piles or eaves but normally in burrows in the ground. Effective control calls for the removal or destruction of the nest. Bees can only sting once.

There are a number of other species of wasps and hornets that can be a pest as well. Nests should be carefully removed or destroyed for control.

Earwigs

Earwigs

The european earwig is about 12-19 mm long (1/2" -3/4") Earwigs are reddish brown in colour and have a large curved forceps at the back of their abdomen. These frightful looking forceps are harmless to humans as all they can do is give a very slight pinch.

Earwigs prefer moist dark cracks and crevasses to hide in during the day and will congregate in great numbers in suitable places. At night they will crawl about in search of food and readily enter houses and other structures. Once inside they prefer damp areas such as basements and laundry areas.

Earwigs will eat both plant and animal material. Large infestations can be damaging to shrubs and flowers. The female lays about 300 eggs at a time one or two times per year.Female earwigs are good mothers as well and are some of the only insects to care for their eggs and young. For this reason earwig populations can grow very quickly becoming serious infestations in a matter of weeks.

Spiders

Spiders

Spiders in Ontario are a seasonal pest with infestations beginning in summer and persisting until late autumn. Homes and cottages near water are more likely to have heavy infestations than are inland homes. The annoying and unsightly webs re-appear no matter how often cottagers and homeowners sweep them away. The persistent spider webs make outdoor living unpleasant.

Most spiders associated with outdoor living areas in Ontario are Orb Weaving Spiders. They are commonly known as garden spiders. They weave the familiar orb shaped web.

Spiders can be controlled outdoors around structures with application of residual pesticides or insecticidal soaps. Control measures should begin as spider numbers begin to become noticable. Control measures are best left to professional pest control technicians.

Poisonous spiders are rare in Ontario, with most spiders considered a nuisance, and not a threat to healthy people. Some black widow spiders and brown recluse spiders occur in Ontario, but you will not likely encounter these at your home or cottage.

Cluster Flies

Cluster Flies

Cluster flies are a seasonal pest in Ontario. They become a pest in the spring and fall when they are found, often in great numbers in homes. Adult flies of the last generation of the year become numerous during the latter days of September to mid October. As cold weather progresses, adults seek protected places to spend the winter. In many cases this is in the walls, attics, basements and storage rooms of houses. Screens offer no protection since these flies prefer to crawl in through small openings elsewhere around the building. For this reason they are extremely difficult to exclude from your home. Tall, isolated homes in the country are especially prone to invasion since they offer the only protection for miles around.

On sunny days during the fall and early spring, the flies become active and attempt to leave. This the time that they often get into our living areas.

Cluster flies are a rural pest because the larvae are a parasite of earthworms. The more earthworms there are, the more cluster flies there will be. Earthworms are particularly populous near manure or compost piles, and in areas with lots of grasses and moist soil.

Cluster flies are not attracted to food or waste. Adults live on flowers, and the larvae live on earthworms. However, they can be quite a nuisance, buzzing loudly and bumping into windows, and when in large groups (clusters), they can give off an unpleasant smell. This odour attracts even more cluster flies to the home.

Rat

Rats

The most common rat in mid-western Ontario is the Norway rat. The Norway rat is large and robust, weighing in at about seven to 18 ounces. It has a blunt snout, small ears covered with short hairs, brown shaggy fur and a belly that is gray to yellowish white in colour. A Norway rat's tail is shorter than it's body and head combined. The tail is hairless and scaly.

Rats reproduce at an amazing rate! A female will reproduce at the age of three months and produce 4 to 7 litters per year. Average litter size is 8 to 12 pups. That is between 32 and 84 little rats for each female per year. Since the female daughters will start to reproduce at three months the population will expand exponentially. The only good news is that an adult rat will only live about one year after reaching adulthood.

Norway rats live in colonies. The Norway rat generally prefers to live in underground tunnels. The larger the colony the more extensive the tunnel network becomes. Colonies are usually close to a food source, and will be evident by burrowing activity. Colonies will expand quickly if left unchecked.Their nests are built from soft material like paper or grass chewed into small pieces.

Rats are great swimmers, and can gain access through sewer pipes or pipes that lead to drainage ditches. They are also climb very well, so keeping rats out of your building is a bottom to top job. Once rats have colonized a building, it is dificult to eliminate them.

Norway rats are very suspicious of changes in their environment and will avoid traps and bait for a few days. It normally takes a few days to start reducing rat numbers for this reason. Rats are nocturnal, with peak activity just after dark and just before dawn. When the population is large or they are disturbed or hungry, you can see activity during the day. Unlike mice rats need water each day.

Rats can quickly damage buildings with their chewing and can cause electrical fires. They urinate constantly and defecate more than twenty times per day! This contaminates much more food than they ever eat. They carry many pathogens such as the plague, typhus, and trichinosis. Rats have caused more human deaths than all wars combined!

House Mouse

House Mouse

The house mouse is the most common rodent pest encountered in Ontario. They are dusty grey in colour all over. Their ears are large and the eyes are small. They are about 3 to 4 inches in length and weigh only a half ounce. House mice are home bodies and rarely travel far from their nests, usually no more than ten feet. This can be in any direction, up, down or sideways. So if you see droppings the nest is normally less than ten feet away. They have a characteristic musty smell, and infested areas can have a lingering odour.

These mice can gain access to your home in a variety of ways. Any holes more than 1/4 of an inch is an access for a mouse. Mice are superb climbers and can run up a rough wall. This gives them access to any openings at the eaves of your home. Another favourite access is the weep holes found in the bottom course of bricks on a brick house. Of course open doors are always the easy way in for these pests.

When mice gain access to a building and take up residence the real problems begin. One mouse can leave 18000 droppings in on year! That's about 50 every day! Add to that the fact that they constantly dribble urine and you have a serious disease threat. Mice carry many parasites and pathogens such as salmonosis,and hantavirus. Parasites include roundworms and tapeworms. You really don't want to share your home with mice!

House mice also do much damage to food and feed that they contaminate. Mice feed by nibbling, that is they grab a bite here and a bite there. In this way they ruin packaging for many items while only consuming a small percentage of the damaged goods. Remember they are urinating the whole time. Mouse hairs and dropping can end up in food if your kitchen or food plant becomes infested with mice. In food processing plants this can lead to serious litigation and damage to your reputation. Mice also cause structural damage because of their constant chewing. Many electrical fires are caused by rodents chewing the insulation off electrical wires in walls or attics.

Bed Bugs

Bedbugs

Bedbugs are returning to Ontario homes and hotels with a vengeance. They had been mostly eradicated from North America when chemical control became widely available. They have returned in the luggage and belongings of travelers and are becoming a much more common and persistent pest.

Bats

Bats

Bats found in Mid-western Ontario are usually one of two common species. They are the Little Brown Bat and the Big Brown Bat. They are similar in appearance with the size being the best way to quickly distinguish between the species.

Bees, Wasps, Hornets

Bees, Wasps and Hornets

Bees and wasps can be a major summertime pest to Ontario homeowners. Depending on the species, they will nest in the ground, in wall voids, attics, eaves, in mouse holes, or wood piles.

Earwigs

Earwigs

The European earwig is about 12-19 mm (1/2" -3/4")in length.Earwigs are redish brown in colour and have large curved forceps at the back of their abdomen. These frightful looking forceps are harmless to humans as all they can do is give a very slight pinch.

Spiders

Spiders

Spiders in Ontario are a seasonal pest with infestations beginning in summer and persisting until late autumn. Homes and cottages near water are more likely to have heavy infestations than are inland homes. Poisonous spiders are rare in Ontario, with most spiders considered a nuisance, and not a threat to healthy people.

Cluster Flies

Cluster Flies

Cluster flies are a seasonal pest in Ontario. They become a pest in the spring and fall when they are found, often in great numbers in homes. Adult flies of the last generation of the year become numerous during the latter days of September to mid October. As cold weather progresses, adults seek protected places to spend the winter. In many cases this is in the walls, attics, basements and storage rooms of houses.

Rat

Rats

The most common rat in mid-western Ontario is the Norway rat. The Norway rat is large and robust, weighing in at about 7 to 18 ounces.It has a blunt snout, small ears covered with short hairs, brown shaggy fur and a belly that is gray to yellowish white in colour.

House Mouse

House Mouse

The house mouse is the most common rodent pest encountered in Ontario. They are dusty grey in colour all over. Their ears are large and the eyes are small. They are about 3 to 4 inches in length and weigh only a half ounce. House mice are home bodies and rarely travel far from their nests, usually no more than ten feet. This can be in any direction, up, down, or sideways. So if you see droppings the nest is normally less than ten feet away. They have a characteristic musty smell, and infested areas can have a lingering odour.

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