Note: The volume of questions submitted is much greater than we are able to publish on this page.
We do not send personal replies.
We have selected questions that we feel are of interest to most of our web site visitors.

Answers published on these pages are strictly the opinion of those submitting them.
Some pest management professionals may have different solutions or opinions.

See Disclaimer Notice

Rats in Canada

I found a rat with no hair on its tail, body colour was Grey, in my house a few years ago an just read how we only have the Bushy tailed rats and the one I found was about 16 Inches in body length, lower jaw teeth about 3/4 inch long and the tail was about 9 Inches, could this be from rising temperature over years causing them to come up to a more Northern country.  Stanley,  Ottawa.

You have described what is probably a Norway Rat. They arrived in North America with the first ships from Europe that touched our shores.  They are common in all areas where there are humans, unintentionally feeding them. Their migration has nothing to do with climate change although the reproduction and survival rate could be affected in colder climates. Read more about rodents.

Poison bait stations indoors.

4604  I have five poison bait stations for mice placed around the outside of the cottage. Should I bring any inside the cottage over the winter?

Mouse bait stations are designed to attract mice.  You do not want to attract them indoors.  If mice are poisoned indoors they will likely die indoors creating another problem.   Properly placed mouse traps can be very effective.   More info.

How to get rid of mouse in apartment

4603    From time to time I spot a small (dark grey) mouse in my apartment. I also see mouse droppings around the apartment sometimes. How can I get rid of them and prevent them from coming to the apartment again. I have set a few mouse traps but haven’t had any luck with them except once. Please help.   E.M.

You should look for all potential entry points and block them off.  There are a few tricks to using mouse traps effectively.
Read more about mouse control here:  

If you are not successful you could contact a Richmond professional for help: 

gel applicator

Imidacloprid Gel

What are the harmful health side effects of a pest control gel containing Imidacloprid? Our building is trying to rid a build up of pests & is opting this gel as a pest control alternative to Boric acid dust spray & DRIONE® INSECTICIDE DUST. Which is less toxic? Thank you Lada

Pesticides in a gel formulation are generally considered safer and more effective because an exact amount can be placed in the exact location where it will be effective. This can be more difficult  with dust formulations.  If gels are applied according to label directions by a licensed professional and all precautions are followed there will be no risk to humans or pets. In Canada the targeted pest must be listed on the label of the registered pesticide used for control. Imidacloprid is highly toxic to bees but gels are applied indoors where there are no bees. The active ingredients in Drione dust are pyrethrin, piperonyl butoxide, and amorphous silica. Boric acid is mistakenly considered a safe pesticide but it can be highly toxic if ingested or inhaled. The manufactures’ safety data sheets (MSDS) should be used to determine the toxicity of all pesticides.

Kissing bug/Chegas disease

Hi I just move to Oshawa 2 months ago and I was looking on Facebook about the kissing bug and I think I have it in my back yard and I’m scared and worried that I got bitten by it or my family got bite by it I would also like to know if there was ever any case found in Oshawa or even Ontario cause of the warm weather we be having. 

Chagas disease which is transmitted by kissing bugs is considered a tropical disease. The Center For Disease Control estimates that only 1 in 300,000 people have the disease and it is most common in areas with a warm climate.  The chances of getting bitten by a kissing bug in Canada would be very, very low.

Cluster flies

I have what I believe to be cluster flies all over the west wall of my house and getting into my house. How to get rid of them…fast!

You should caulk and screen all potential entry points, especially on the south or sunny side of your home. Control can be achieved by applying a pesticide to the exterior walls of the structure in an effort to discourage the insects from entering. This application should be made before any insects enter the structure, generally mid to late August depending upon the weather in any given year. One they have entered some professionals will fog an attic with an insecticide. The best way to identify and remove pests is by hiring a professional who can deal with the problem quickly and effectively. 

Wasps in apartment

4599  An elderly friend has had wasps entering her apartment presumably through a spare bedroom window although we don’t know how.  They essentially come in to die.  They are sluggish when they first appear and are dead soon after.  Why?  We are in Kingston Ontario.  They aren’t particularly bothersome but my friend is preoccupied with them.   Bonnie

Only some fertilized future potential queens survive over the winter.  They will be seeking shelter to overwinter.  Some may find their way into buildings. The others die in the fall.  Read more:

Zika threat in Florida fountain.

4598  I have a garden water fountain which I want to clean to prevent ZIKA bug from making it their home (if it comes this far north) . What can I use to clean it? are there professionals in the Stuart, FL area who perform this task?

Mosquitoes do not lay eggs in moving water.  If the water in your fountain is constantly moving, there should be no mosquito eggs or larva. 

Diazinon replacement

4597  What is the best insecticide that replaced diazinon?

There are a number of pesticides on the market that could replace Diazinon but each one is registered for specific control of pests listed on the label. What pest do you want to control?  These products present a lower health risk than Diazinon when used as directed.

bed bug

4596. Gas used to kill bed bugs?

4596  I was treated 3 times. 7 days apart for bed bugs. They advised me that they used gas. I’m clueless as to what the gas they used is called. I simply want a name of this gas. Is that possible? Thanks!

We assume that you mean that a gas was used to fumigate. Fumigation is not a common treatment for bed bugs. The professional who did the treatment is obligated to inform you of what products were used and how they were applied if you request this information.   There is no way for us know what was used. Contact the pest control service that did the treatments. Read more about bed bug control here:  


Get rid of ticks

4595  When I was out hiking and came back to my house I brought in ticks. How do I get them out of my house?

Make sure your pets do not have ticks and keep them away from outdoor potential tick infested areas. Consider bathing pets with a flea and tick shampoo.
Vacuum 100% of your home to remove any adult ticks and their eggs. Do this frequently, every day for a few weeks.
You may be wise to have a pest professional spray an insecticide with an insect grown inhibitor. Be aware that killing all the adult ticks may not get rid of the eggs so repeating the process in 2 weeks may be necessary.


Get rid of moles in garden

4594  Why do I get moles in my garden beds and how can I get rid of them? what are they seeking in the garden?

Moles eat a wide range of soil inhabiting soft-bodied creatures including some pests but they also consume large numbers of earthworms that are common in most gardens. Getting rid of them can be very frustrating.  There are a number of devices that are supposed to vibrate or make noises to repel moles but we are not aware of any that have proven effective.  The best method of control is trapping but is takes some skill and experience to do it successfully. The best solution is probably to hire a pest professional that specializes in mole control.  This almost always means that the mole dies,  but it is generally quicker and more humane than death resulting from an incorrectly set or dealt with lethal-trap you might buy in a garden centre.

Mud nests.

4593  What makes mud tubes in lawns and mud houses in the corners of our stucco house. Inside it there is 1 larva?

Mud dauber wasps could be constructing nests on your home.   Send a photo for identification.

Ask the experts

Mice in furnace pipes

4592  Can mice enter an air intake pipe to a furnace if the outside mesh screen is fine and not damaged?

Mice can enter any hole or crack big enough to get their skull through. (Smaller than a dime).  Look for any small gaps around the pipe and rub marks from their oily fur.

Cockroach control products

4591  Need to know the name of white powder which is used by professionals to treat Cockroaches? and where it is available and cost. Thanks in advance. 

Most insecticide dusts are only available to licensed professionals. Gel bait is now the most common cockroach control product used by professionals and it may be available to consumers at some licensed dispensers. (Hardware stores, garden centers)

Does argon gas kill bed bugs.

How long can bedbugs live without air? If I were to fill my house with argon gas for a few hours then air it out would it kill any bedbugs?

Fumigation is not considered to be an effective control measure for bed bugs.  It would not be legal to use this process in Canada.

Moth control

How do you kill moths in the house. Yvon.

What kind of moths?  The most common moth pests in a home are clothes moths and Indian Meal Moths.  It is their larva that causes damage or contamination and they are treated differently. For control information
See    Indian Meal Moths  and  clothes-moths

Springtails in new home

How can you get rid of springtails? We’ve been in a newly built home for a year and a half. We’ve never seen these bugs until the builder had to rip up the old hardwood and subfloors. They were out in the elements for so long, the subfloors(chipboard) were so swollen and warped. Could the springtails have been existing inside the subfloors? We have three humidifiers running continuously for over a week now and these bugs are still appearing all over the house. Not sure what to do anymore. From what I’ve read about them, they need moisture to survive but I see them outside on the driveway (gravel), they’re in the garage on pavement, on a poured concrete porch etc. If they need moisture to live, why are they walking around everywhere? Yes, they have been identified as Springtails. Thanks very much for any info or help you can give.

New homes will dissipate moisture from the concrete, wood, chipboard, drywall and drywall mud for at least 2 years. The swollen chipboard sub floors indicate there must be a serious moisture problem that dehumidifiers will take a long time to remove. There is always enough moisture outdoors in most regions of Canada. (lay a plastic garbage bag on the ground and see the moisture on the bottom in the morning). Spraying insecticides is only a short term temporary solution. Springtails will continue to enter a home with high humidity. Make sure proper vapour barriers were installed under the home and in the walls. Improve ventilation in the crawl space or basement and the living space. Use kitchen and bathroom fans.

Ask the experts

Dirty Apartment building.

Our building has not been cleaned in over a month and there are dead moths flies spiders etc. all over the floors in the windows light fixtures etc. can there be health effects from this.

Yes there could be a health risk.  Sorry.  We do not offer advice on landlord/tenant disputes.  You could contact your local health department or provincial rental control department.

Ask the experts

Insects in Kitchen

#  4586   Please help. I have tiny little insects in my kitchen cupboard. They are about 1-2mml in size and are black. I have disposed of all open foods and I have bleached the cupboards several times and used white vinegar. I have sealed all the joins and the chip board shelves (backs). They now seem to be appearing in new places nearby. It is driving me crazy. I have 2 young babies in the house and am worried about using chemicals when I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what to do and I’m not sure why they are despite hours of Google searching. Please can anyone help me?

You could call a professional that will inspect, identify and treat the problem safely. Find a professional in our directory of professionals:

or send us a photo for identification.

How to get rid of rodents

What is the best way to get rid of rats and mites carried by them? How much is the going rate for rodent control to wipe out the population of them indoors & outdoors? Please let me know because I have a heart problem.   Thank you,  Tara

You will find your answer here:
Local pest control professionals will gladly quote a price for rodent control.
Find a local professional in our directory: 

Beneficial millipedes around cottage.

How do we get rid of large amt of millipedes around foundation of our cabin.

You may have a more serious problem that is attracting the millipedes.  They are voracious predators of other insects.  Eliminate vegetation around the foundation, clean the rain gutters and downspouts, make sure perimeter drains are clear.  You need to reduce excess moisture.
Health Canada has some good information here:

Mouse nest under porch

We live in a fairly new townhouse complex (Calgary). I discovered some small holes dug underneath the concrete porch, and when I stepped on the surrounding earth, it sank fairly easily, about three inches. I assume that there is a mouse nest underneath the porch. I did some light reading and will be buying some mouse traps to line the garden area. Will packing the area underneath the concrete porch with loam/dirt be enough to prevent a future infestation? Mike.

It is common for backfilled soil around a new structure to settle.  Rodents could easily burrow into this soil and packing it down will not make any difference.  If you have a rodent problem you should place traps in an animal and child proof bait station.  You could also call a local professional for help.

5516  Bed Bug

Heat treatment for bed bugs

Virtually all of reliable sources on bed bug control state that heat or steam treatments are the most effective method in controlling and eliminating bed bugs. Aside from the safety features of these methods they also destroy their eggs which can stay dormant for years and probably longer. Since bed bugs tend to be `homely` creatures, typically found within 2 meters of their victims, sleeping humans, why aren’t these methods promoted to a far greater degree, especially since they are superior to the employment of chemically based treatments like pesticides and insecticides?

While heat treatment is considered a good method of controlling bed bugs, it is not always 100% effective. When heat is applied bed bugs will try to escape through cracks and crevices or following plumbing and wiring to a cooler location in the building.  Most bugs and eggs in the heated area will be killed.  Once the rooms have cooled down, there is no residual effect to prevent a re-invasion. Many successful professionals use a combination of treatment methods to ensure an effect and long lasting control program.  Most important is a very thorough inspection to locate problem areas.  Beds are just one likely spot.  Thorough vacuuming can remove some live bugs and eggs.  Insecticide sprays will flush out some from hideouts that heat may not penetrate.  If residual pesticides are applied in appropriate locations before heat treatment, those attempting to escape will be affected.

Fumigation is not considered an effective method of control.

Miniature Ant problem.

4581   Hi there, I moved to this house in Ottawa bout 2.5 years ago and have noticed issues with ants in this area. This year it’s different however, I have these miniature ants that are on the surface of the brick and siding of the house and I’m afraid they may make their way inside. It’s like they live in the brick or something. Ideas to get ride of these? Thanks so much!   Stephan

Different species of ants require different control measures.  If you spray pesticides some species will bud or break up into new colonies making the situation more difficult to control.  Ant bait will work for some but not all.   Have the ants identified please then we can provide the correct answer for you.  See our ants web page for more information.

Do I have bedbugs?

4580   How do you know if you have bed bugs if you can not see them? I have bites that are red and puffy every night.  Tiffany.  Edson.

Read about bed bug symptoms on this web page:

Something eating things.

4579   Don’t really know what to ask all I know is I have something eating my shoes shirts pants towels up I whole house is infested.
Monica,  Atlanta, Georgia.

Sorry Monica but there is no way we can even guess what is eating everything with the limited information you have submitted!
If your problem is  rodents you should see some droppings. We are not aware of any insects that eat shoes.


Treating carpenter ants while renovating

We removed the stucco , shiplap and woodchip insulation and are reinsulating the walls with pink insulation and plywood sheating. We found some carpenter ant activity and removed the damage and replaced with new wood. Is it recommended to use some form of pest control inside these walls before we insulate and cover them? Thank you. Roman.

While you were tearing things apart some of the ants may have move to establish a new nest elsewhere and there may be other nests above or below the one you found.  A thorough inspection by an experienced professional may save you a lot of grief later.  The professional could also pre-treat the nest area you found to prevent a re-infestation.

Ask the experts

How to get rid of ants

I seem to have an infestation of ants…other than traps how can I get rid of them?

You should first identify what species of ants you have.   Treatment will vary for most species.  Some can be controlled with pesticide sprays, some with bait and some by altering the environment.  Spraying pesticides could also make the problem more difficult to control.    See our ants web page for more information.

You could also hire a local pest professional to take the right control measures.     It could save you a lot of money and grief.  

Flying ants

Every spring I see numerous flying ants on the tongue and groove ceiling of my living room but they are only visible for a few days.  Should I be concerned.   John J.   Gulf Islands.

Yes you should be concerned.  Winged ants indoors in early spring are a likely sign of carpenter ant nests.  They are commonly found in wood ceilings.   A local professional will confirm this problem and give you an estimate for treatment.
   for photos and more information.

Persistent Clothes Moths

I have been dealing with since January. All my clothes are in plastic bags and containers. I have had my place sprayed by a pest control company – bottom of couch, cracks in closets, etc. Wherever they usually spray, they have sprayed. I also have peramone traps set up. For 10 days after spraying (March 23), I had no moths and then they reappeared again. Have seen (and managed to kill) five during the period Apr. 3 – Apr. 16. I am at a loss to figure out why they still keep appearing after I have done every possible thing I could do. They are not in my bedroom or bathroom. I have not yet put my clothes back in my closets. Can you please let me know what else I can do to get rid of them. Also, curious to know how long moths live – have heard and read different time periods. Look forward to hearing back from you. Feeling very discouraged about this whole thing. Feeling very discouraged.

It sounds like you are doing the right things to control the problem but perhaps there is something else that you have overlooked.
Read the information on our web page for more suggestions:

Also:  see the post similar you yours below.

Rats in trailer

Hello Larry,   Can you attempt an ID for me, please?  I live in a rural, wooded are of PEI. There are farm fields nearby. There are no derelict buildings, garbage dumps, or refuse/compost piles anywhere. I have a new shed, which is clean and used for storage, and a Boler trailer.   There were two nests in two of my storage compartments inside the trailer. There were mouse droppings, but in one nest area, larger droppings as well. I think, not the 1/2″ or 3/4″ length.  UNDER the Boler was a tunnel entrance, clean and perfectly round, about 3″-3-1/2″ wide. I poured almost a gallon of water down this.  There was a VERY strong stink, similar to mouse pee but MUCH stronger, both inside where the nests were, and near the tunnel. The stink was also in my shed, where some rodent had squeezed under a loose plastic bin lid and eaten seeds and defecated. Do you think this was a rat of some sort?   My coworker says chipmunks live in ground tunnels on PEI…..  I’ve never heard of that. It may have been squirrels or chipmunks inside the Boler, but what about the tunnel? I saw another tunnel near my  neighbour’s cottage, too. If there are rats, I will poison them. Thank you for any opinion you can give. Sincerely, Sunny

Without photos it is difficult to identify your pest problem, but your description indicates you likely have Norway rats.  They like to burrow.   the burrows always include an escape route, just in case someone pours water down the main entrance. You should find the entrance hole into the trailer and plug it.  Set some traps inside to catch any that may be inside and also 2 or 3 traps near the tunnel entrance. Poison may result in a bigger problem.  Dead rats can be worse than live ones if they die in an inaccessible cavity.  Read more about rodent control:

Clothes moths problem

I been having holes in front of my sweaters on any kind of sweaters I don’t see any moth.   what to do thank you

Moths do not chew holes but their larva do.   You should wash or dry clean all natural fiber clothing in the closet.  Clean the closet thoroughly.  Read the rest of our control suggestions here:


Cluster flies on ranch

We have a cluster fly infestation on our ranch near Williams Lake B.C. Is Dragnet FT EC the best insecticide to use? If not what would you recommend ? Regards, GWN

Dragnet can only be purchased and applied by a licensed pest professional.  
To eliminate cluster flies, your should first understand their life cycle.  They breed outdoors in the summer and hibernate indoors in the winter.  Blocking off the entry points is the best solution but it can be very difficult caulking all the cracks and crevices around a building.  A pest professional could fog an attic in the fall but it may take more than one treatment and may not solve the problem. Read more about cluster flies:


Centipede control

How do I get rid of house centipedes without toxic effects or much money?

Centipedes seldom need to be controlled unless they become a nuisance in the home. Centipedes are predators and generally play a beneficial role in the garden. Their activities should be encouraged in the yard. Reductions in the number of household centipedes occur when their food source–other household pests–is controlled. Airing out damp places may help. Outdoors, centipede control is aided by the removal of debris as recommended for millipedes. Although some pesticides are labeled for controlling centipedes, their use is rarely justified.

Ask the experts

Squirrel control

How do you get rid of squirrels in the attic. 

You must find and block off all entry points the squirrels are using to access the attic.  You should also place traps outside near the entry points to prevent them from chewing their way in again. You should also cut back any tree branches that touch or are near the roof.  If this seems too difficult you could hire a professional that has the knowledge and experience to know the likely entry points and the materials to block them off.   Poison, noise makers and other devices are not recommended.   Read more about squirrels control here:

Ask the experts

Chemicals not working.

Hi, I called pest control in January and the guy came and spread some chemical and gave me 6 months warranty but nothing happened and the insect problem still same so I called him again and we did that for 4 times and still the same, please advice. Khalid.  Burlington – Ontario

We would need more information in order to offer any help.  What species of insect do you have?  Where are you seeing it?  What chemical was applied?  How? Where?   What other steps were taken to eliminate the problem?  Pesticides have little or no long term effect on some pests. (ex: sow bugs)

Ask the experts

Springtail control product

What product do you sell for springtails??
What would be the shipping to newfoundland??

We do not sell any products on this web site.  Please contact one of the advertisers on our suppliers directory page.


“Dragnet” to kill bed bugs.

Our neighbors have admitted to having bed bugs and told our landlord they “took care of it” NOW COUPLE MONTHS LATER we found a couple on one of our beds! Please know me or my husband have NEVER had bed bugs before we told our landlord and she is getting a pest control company to come treat both places and they are using “Dragnet” i was wondering can this being in our place pose a risk to my 5 year old! I read permethrin can be toxic to children I’m worried 🙁

A certified pest professional should follow strict regulations and apply the insecticide according to label directions.   If you vacate the premises as directed there should be no risk to your family.   Dragnet is a product being used to control thousands of bed bug infestations and there are no problems when the product is used by a professional as directed. You may view a copy of the label here:

Ask the experts

Flour beetle infestation

My daughter has moved into a newer home ( 3 yrs old) and has discovered the red flour beetle in her pantry and upstairs on the bedroom level – what is the best method to get rid of them? she has put all cereals and flour into sealed containers.

Pantry pest beetles lay eggs close to a food source. In a home they may lay them on the rims of dry food containers where they may fall into the food. It would probably be wise to dispose of all dry stored food and thoroughly clean the containers. The cupboards must also be cleaned paying careful attention to any cracks or gaps around the edge of shelves. You may have to spray an insecticide then after a day or two wipe away any residual pesticide before putting the food containers back.
Read more about panty pests.

Asian Lady beetles

Ladybug infestation

Hello.  We have problems with lady bugs /Asian. Every year there is no end to them climbing all over my balcony .What is the best spray to use on the walls and pavement on the balcony to keep them away from coming inside the apartment. Thank you,  Donald

Unfortunately, there is no “quick fix” or easy answer to annual lady beetle invasions. Vacuuming indoors, pest proofing and properly timed exterior spraying can provide relief but will not prevent entry of every single beetle.  You should try to caulk every crack and crevice around your home, especially around windows and doors.  When they gather outside in the fall spraying with soapy water may be just as effective and safer than pesticides.   This Kentucky University web site has practical information.

Worried about kissing bugs

4565      Been seeing articles on the “kissing bug” we have a 3 month old baby, articles are saying there mainly in the USA, but was wondering if there has been any signs of them in the Niagara Region and should we be worried. Last summer we seen a lot of bugs that looked like them, but we are not sure if it was this “kissing bug”

Kissing bugs are normally only found in the warmer climates of the southern USA , Mexico, Central and South America.   It would be very rare to find one in Canada.   This web page has some good information: 

Bed Bug researchers

Waiting for new bed bug trap

4564    Are there new chemical traps available as studied by scientists at SFU?

Not yet.  The scientists have recently received funding from SCOTTS to continue studying an effective attractant for bed bugs. Scotts will probably use this attractant in a new trap and get it on the market in the near future.
Read the news release:


Pest Spray marks on household items.


We recently had an exterminator spray our home for bed bugs. A few days after it was sprayed we noticed spots on some of the items in our home. Most of the spots that we have noticed are on things which are made of plastic such as the plastic border around our television, the plastic around our digital picture frame, the plastic case of our CD player and also spots on our DVD player. We have tried using a mild detergent and water and also Armour All, but none of these things removed the spots. It’s almost like the spots have set into the plastic. Do you have any ideas of anything else that we could try that might work? I would also like to know if nothing takes the spots away if the exterminator is liable? I would surely think that the exterminator would have some type of insurance to cover these situations. Our television is only about a year old and now it looks terrible with the spots all over it. Thank you.

Sorry we are not cleaning experts.   Contact the pest control company and ask exactly what product was sprayed.  Ask if they can provide you a copy of the label. Contact the product manufacturer for information about restoring the items with spots.  Most products used in pest control are mixed with water and have been tested for staining.  
Larry Cross

Ask the experts

Owls Killing Ducks


There are 2 owls who have taken interest to our property. The have viciously killed 1 duck, 2 others are missing and they prey on our yard at all hours around our children and small dog. I need an immediate solution to keeping our children, pet, and herd save!!!

Unfortunately when we live close to nature there can be some risks to pets, livestock and even humans.  Wolves, foxes, racoons and mink are a common problem but often can be fenced out.  It would be impossible to fence out eagles, hawks and owls in most locations.  Hanging scare devices or even scarecrows that move in the wind, may have some short term effect. In the wilderness animals have to fend for themselves to avoid flying predators.  After dark keep pets and children indoors

Ask the experts

Kill Bugs In Books


In question 4081 you suggest that a book could be put in the microwave to kill “almost any living creature”. Question 97 suggests “a few minutes” or in the oven at 150 deg.  Is there not a danger that a book could burst into flames in the microwave? How long is “too long”? Presumably less time for smaller books? If in the oven – again, how long? Gabriola Island

Microwave ovens generate heat in liquids and moist items only. Any insects in a book would be heated enough to kill them without harming the book. One minute would probably be enough, depending on the moisture content in the book. The ignition point of paper is much higher than 150 degrees so a regular oven should not burn the book. If there are plastics in the book composition, they will melt. A microwave oven would be safer.

Ask the experts

Noisy Pest in ducts

Hello, It’s winter, but I appear to have a chirping/screeching/buzzing noise, usually in early morning, but lasts for hours, coming from my ductwork, which is embedded in foundation slab under house. Initially, it sounded more like a cricket/s, but now it sounds like a cicada/s. This commotion has been going on for weeks. I haven’t actually seen the insect yet, just heard it/them. The noise isn’t coming from the mechanical unit, but in a different section of the house far from the heating unit. What can I do about this problem? Maureen Fine, Bowie, MD

It’s pretty hard to identify a pest from a verbal description of a sound.  Our only suggestion is to have the ducts professionally cleaned.  There are businesses with large vacuums that specialize in this service.

Ask the experts

Springtails around house

I have springtails all around my house since last summer! I found some in the basement to! Maybe they get in by the windows of the basement! I have crush stone on one side of the house and grass on the other! No water stay near the foundation and no exterminator have pesticide for that bug! What do you suggest me to do? Thanks for your help! Max .  Ottawa

Springtails are harmless scavengers, feeding mainly on decaying organic matter. Some species may damage plants by chewing on the roots and leaves of seedlings. Springtails rarely cause enough damage to plants to warrant control measures.  The key to managing springtails is to reduce moisture and excess organic matter in gardens, plant pots, and around building foundations. Also screen or caulk cracks that provide entryways for springtails into homes. Pesticides should not be necessary and won’t provide long-term control by themselves.

Ask the experts

Fire Ants in Canada

4558  Last November my husband was bit by fire ants while on the golf course in Palm Springs area. He suffered a severe reaction and spent the afternoon in emergency. It has been recommended by an allergist that he avoid areas where these ants could be present. Are there places in Canada where these ants could be found?  I would appreciate any information that you could provide. Sincerely, Phyllis Enns
A different species, the European fire ant has invaded the west coast of Canada.  It is similar to the species now found in southern USA.
Theses ants are are spread by shipment of potted plants so they could now be or soon will be found in many places across Canada.   For more information see:

Ask the experts

Most effective mouse poison

# 4559  What is your opinion on the most effective mouse poison available to buy over the counter?

There are many variables and regulations that must be considered when choosing a rodenticide.

Health Canada explains that anticoagulant rodenticides fall into two categories: first-generation products (chlorophacinone, diphacinone, warfarin) and second-generation products (brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone). Under new federal rules, sales of highly toxic second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides are restricted to professionals. Public retail sales of less-potent, first-generation poisons must include bait stations to further reduce unintended poisonings. 

We urge the public to use traps as an effective and environmentally friendlier alternative. Traps ensure rodents don’t die in walls and they work faster than baits. They also ensure the rodent does not wander off to be consumed by pets or wildlife.

Consumers are advised to:

* Read the safety precautions before using any rodenticide and use only as directed. (It’s the law)

* Always use an approved bait station when using rodenticides. (It’s the law)

* Store rodenticides away from food and out of reach of children.

* Use gloves when handling rodenticides.

* Place rodenticides in an area inaccessible to children, pets and non-targeted wildlife.

* Wear gloves when disposing of dead rodents, and double-bag them before putting them into a garbage.