Bug Blog

Bathroom Ants

Often I hear about dead ants in the bathroom, usually found in the morning. Likely this time of year, those ants are Pharaohs ants. These guys can live in the walls of your house for years undetected. They will venture outside in the heat of the summer but prefer the stability of a warm house. These ants are the pickiest of all ants. If it’s too cold, they move location in the walls, if it’s becomes too hot they move again, if it’s too wet or too dry, they move again. They travel in wall voids along plumbing and wiring ducts, and pop up out in the most unlikely places, like kitchen countertops and electrical outlets. The dead ants in the bathroom are a usually a result of ants looking for water and picking up bath and cleaning products on their bodies. Soaps, shampoos, conditioners and products used to clean the bathroom act as surfactant; compounds that lower the surface tension between two liquids, a gas and a liquid, or a liquid and a solid, making them excellent detergents and lathering agents. Ironically, the surfactant breaks down the waxy cuticle on the ant’s exoskeleton causing the ants to dehydrate and die right there on your bathroom floor.

gogreenpestcontrol.ca Ladner Tsawwassen Delta B.C. Randy Bilesky


Lice don’t take Vacations

Although we are in the throes of winter, don’t forget that children still can get head lice and pass it along. Head lice are not affected by cold weather as most insects are. Dry skin is a fact of life in the winter causing us to be itchy but if you see your child scratching their head repeatedly, you will want to google lice and look for signs of lice.  It’s estimated that 2-3% of children in the age group of 3 to 11 years old get head lice every year in Canada. Lice are infectious and infuriating to get rid of. Luckily, they do not spread disease. They are quite contagious and usually found in elementary schools, daycares, and anywhere head gear is reused frequently. Lice get passed along mainly by head to-head contact, hats, helmets, clothing, pillow cases and hair combs. This stain of lice is only transferable from person to person; our pets are not affected or carry them. Here a few suggestions that can prevent or get rid of the lice and their eggs.

1) Talk to a pharmacist about current treatments.

2) For children: avoid head-to-head contact with classmates, don’t share personal belongings, and avoid shared spaces where hats and clothing is kept in common areas or lockers.

3) All bed linens, clothing and stuffed animals that have been used by an infected person should be washed in hot water or dry-cleaned.

4) Vacuum carpets and any upholstered furniture.

5) Soak hair-care items like combs, hair bands and brushes in medicated shampoo for 1 hour or just toss them out.

gogreenpestcontrol.ca Ladner Tsawwassen Delta B.C. Randy Bilesky



Bugs die in Winter @ -22 Celsius  

When we get a unusually cold snap here on the coast it maybe tough on plants, but not necessarily on insects, as most can survive even record cold temperatures. Insects have developed tactics for surviving even in the chilliest of temperatures by hibernating in protected areas, be it under ground or in your house. Another term for their response to extreme cold is diapause, where the insects cease to feed, develop, or reproduce. During a real cold snap in winter, the temperatures we experience is not enough to have any sort of real impact on our insect populations. Temperatures need to be below -24 degrees Celsius for at least two weeks to kill off most insects and their colonies. Insect needs are the same as ours: food, water, a roof over your head and tolerable temperatures. For insects the number one need for survival is water: without water their bodies will not function, as well, water promotes the growth of fungi and bacteria that many insects feed on. So a simple solution to limiting insects in your home is to reduce available water: fix leaky faucets, dripping water lines, leaky roofs and keep the gutters clean.

gogreenpestcontrol.ca Ladner Tsawwassen Delta B.c. Randy Bilesky



Squeak squeak, it’s not a mouse but mice!

Just like all rodents, when it’s wet and cold out, mice are looking for shelter, food and of course a warm place to do this in. Mice can adjust quite rapidly to new surroundings and are unrelenting when it comes to finding their basic needs. When it comes to mice, it is rarely a case of a single mouse in your house, rather mice (plural of course) which can be a real problem to get rid of, period! (as many of my clients will attest to). If you have ever watched any YouTube videos on mice, you will discover quickly that they can climb ladders, walls, cables, pipes, insulation, stucco, hardy board and just about anything that isn’t completely smooth. And yes they will search for any gap, crack or crevice they can squeeze through in their pursuit of happiness; in fact they spend their entire life doing just that. That’s why you always need to be aware of small holes and gaps needing repairs, to keep them out. Mice can climb vertical surfaces like walls, pipes and wires as tall as 10 meters in height. Baby mice can squeeze through a crack as small as one half of a centimeter, niggling in to spaces as small as a pens width. An adult mouse is able to jump as high as 1 meter, which is quite outstanding, since their only about 8 cm in size. Mice like the dark, not only for protection but also their eyesight is poor, yet make up for this with a keen sense of smell, hearing and touch. Their whiskers are used as a form of muscle memory, and to perceive surfaces, temperature changes and air flow. Mice can go without food and water for several weeks but when they are active they will make multiple visits a night in numerous locations. Mice are known as nibblers, they will only take a little bit of food (as same as ¼ grams) and move on quickly to avoid detection.

gogreenpestcontrol.ca Ladner tsawwassen Delta B.C. Randy Bilesky



Waterfowl and Predators

Here in Delta, the word predator in the context of waterfowl means coyotes, raccoons and skunks. To waterfowl these predators are the major reasons that wildlife numbers are down. Changes in agriculture land in South Delta have created numerous problems for nesting birds, as the habitat they need to nest has been taken away. Predators, which can reproduce very quickly, create huge populations of animals out there after the birds. The transformation in the landscape has made it easier for the four legged killers to find the nests, especially since the amount of nesting cover in some areas is down and in other areas totally gone. Much of the accessible nesting cover is the smaller regions, which allows predators to find and destroy nests much easier. Studies in waterfowl ecology and waterfowling have revealed that there is a connection between the amount of grassland nesting cover and the percentage of nest success. It was found that areas that had up to 40 percent grassland had higher waterfowl nest success. The reason for this success is that the hunters are not able to find all of the nests in these larger size tracts. Not only upsetting waterfowl populations, they also affect the population of all species including upland game. These larger populations of predators destroying wildlife also carry diseases. As we have all heard, these predators will also go after our pets.

gogreenpestcontrol.ca Ladner tsawwassen Delta B.C. Randy Bilesky



Woodlouse, just won’t leave

Yes those little bugs that look like mini turtles with that segmented shell are woodlouse, an arthropod found in moist places such as dirt, stacked logs, leaves and under boards or other rubble that lies flush on the ground. In nature, they live comfortably outdoors but given the opportunity they will get into your carport, through sliding glass doors, garage and other damp environments such as a basement and crawl space. The best way to prevent woodlouse is eliminating their hiding places because if there isn’t damp harborages, the sowbugs will leave or die. If you would like to reduce the number of woodlouse invading your home here are a few things you can do:

1) Make sure exterior doors close tightly, the weather stripping and door sweeps maybe missing or damaged. If you have a crawlspace, make sure the vents are open and free of obstructions to allow ventilation.

2) Waterproofing might help remove dampness on basement walls. A dehumidifier can help reduce the dampness in a basement.

3) Keep dirt, leaves and mulch away from the concrete foundation of your house, at least 25 cm away. This usually stops pests from nesting to close to the house. Trim branches of shrubs and trees if they cause dampness or shade near the foundation.

4) If you are one of those lucky people that still have a working fireplace, stack firewood off of the ground and away from the house.

5) Have your downspouts cleaned and make sure they drain away from the foundation.

6) Chemical treatment is not always necessary indoors if the affected areas can be dried out and any woodlouse can be removed with a vacuum or broom.

gogreenpestcontrol.ca Ladner Tsawwassen Delta B.C. Randy Bilesky



King Tides and the Aftermath

With the tide levels being so high lately, I wanted to touch on some of the pest issues we would most likely have if the water swamped out homes. Flooding and cold weather can cause big headaches, as well as pest infestation. Many families would certainly be advised to avoid direct contact with floodwater and beware the invasion of the undesirable pests into their homes. To begin with, ants can be a major problem throughout and after flooding. When water is forced through the ground, thousands of ants would be forced out of their nests and seek the closest dry ground which may happen to be your home. Subsequently, as floodwaters retreat, your property may become seriously infested with all the ants we have in Delta (carpenter, paver, pharaoh, odorous and thatching ants). Next, we would have rodents that are forced from their normal habitation into areas that provide food and shelter such as our houses and other buildings. Rodents (mice, rats, moles, voles and squirrels) will try to escape to higher ground and warmer surroundings, which could be your crawl space, basement, walls, attics or even your car. In extraordinary situations, rodent concentrations can pose grave health problems for those involved in the clean-up. Other pests after flooding include flies and cockroaches. Floods often cause sewer systems to malfunction or just overflow. The raw sewage attracts flies, which would quickly multiple in decomposing organic waste. Although we don’t see many cockroaches, they too would seek shelter after a flood, and they can carry diseases into your home.

gogreenpestcontrol.ca Ladner tsawwassen Delta B.C. Randy Bilesky



Ants – Only the healthy survive

Ants in a nest work together like cells in a body, with healthy ants acting like white blood cells killing off other ants they recognize as a threat. Researchers have shown that ants kill colony comrades infected with potential diseases. In this way, ants can guard their colony from the occurrence of an endemic. Ants can smell when members of their own nest are sick or fatally ill. If one ant becomes a danger to the whole colony, ants have designed a way to deal with it: kill their infected co-workers. If a fungus, for example, reproduces in the body of a single ant, it will become a source of infection for the entire colony. These ants literally disinfect their colony mates in a fatal way by injecting the infected ant with an acid, which kills the fungus and the ant. The colony isn’t as ruthless as it may seem, the pathogen-contaminated ant will be rigorously cleaned to get rid of the fungus’ spores but if this doesn’t work then the sickly ant is killed. Scientists have discovered that infected ants give off smells that signal its mates that they are fighting a pathogen. When ants are sick, they produce extra hydrocarbons on their exoskeleton that signals that they are sick.

gogreenpestcontrol.ca Ladner Tsawwassen Delta B.C. Randy Bilesky



The Dangers of Rodents

gogreenpestcontrol.ca Ladner Tsawwassen Delta B.C. Randy Bilesky

I’m quite often asked how common are mouse infestations? Well statistically 85% of homes show some evidence of mouse activity at one point in the life of the building. Still this doesn’t mean that you should set-up a mouse eradication program but if you’re spotting the little rodents then it is time to do something about it. If you do have a mouse problem it is dangerous and should be dealt with, because mice in your living space are unsafe. Mice can carry diseases that are harmful to you, your family and your pets. Because those mice are drawn to food, those potential diseases are that much closer. Also, rodents are actually a fairly common cause of electrical issues because they don’t know what they are gnawing on, so they have no suspicions about chomping right through them. Here lies the greatest concern, what if they cause enough damage to start a fire? It is believed that almost 10% of all house fires may be caused by rodents. So start with the basics: makes sure the floor and countertops are clear of food, seal and store all dried products in hard plastic containers. Next, buy the small mice snap traps, and seal up gaps in the walls behind the stove and under the sinks. If you are a renter, demand the problem is taken care of by your landlord.



Still Sleeping – Carpenter Ants

Recently a couple contractors have contacted me about their house renovation projects, more specifically finding carpenter ant satellite nests inside homes as they reworked the framework. During the winter months, the existence of carpenter ants actively moving around in the house is a clear indicator of an indoor infestation. Carpenter ants do not always have to have moisture and wood decay for nesting. While it is true most nests and most damage will be in decayed wood, nests may be in sound wood or even in dry cracks and joints between structural elements or in existing cavities such as hollow doors. Since the main nest is shut-down for the winter, the satellite nest in the house remains somewhat active. Carpenter ants, like all insects, are cold blooded, ants active in the winter must be originating from a warmed source. The carpenter ants typically wait until the nighttime hours to come out and search for sources of moisture in places like bathtubs, dishwashers, sinks, and toilets. However, on particularly sunny days, carpenter ants may appear from the nest and explore other parts of the home.

gogreenpestcontrol.ca Ladner Tsawwassen Delta B.C. Randy bilesky