Ask the experts

Noisy Pest in ducts

4560
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.

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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.

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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:  https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/invasive-species/fire_ants.htm

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.

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Cluster Fly Problem

Good morning.  We have a log home on an acreage and last year had an infestation of flies in between the top of the prow and the roof on the back of our house. We didn’t get a lot of flies flying around the inside of our house, however we were picking up hundreds of dead ones daily over a period of a couple of months. The issue is getting steadily worse and I would like to know what we can do to pre vent this happening this year. Regards,  Melanie

It sounds like you have a cluster fly problem.  They are entering the home through cracks and crevices.  They often find their way into attics, and a few may find their way into the living space.   Read More:   https://pestcontrolcanada.com/flies/cluster-flies/

 

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Sow Bugs. (Too Much Moisture)

Hello. I have had a reoccurring sow bug problem for a couple years. Normally, I’ll find a dead one about once a day. But during some months, for weeks/months straight, I get about 30+ a day. I have cleared my yard of places they can hide, and I keep my oven on and room heaters on all day to dry them out. However, I still get a disturbing amount of the bugs. There is a well about 20 feet from my house. Can this be attracting them? Thank you.  Ben Merill Boston, MA

Sow bugs are a symptom of a much more serious problem in a building:  Too Much Moisture.  You should check for leaks in your roof and plumbing, poor ventilation in your attic and crawlspace, plugged rain gutters and downspouts, excess vegetation touching house,  soil levels too high around perimeter.    If you can’t find the cause, call a professional building inspector. 

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Cockroaches in Semi Detached residence

My name is James and I live in a semi-detached home in Scarborough, Ontario. I recently had new neighbours move in, and for the first time in 20 + years find myself with cockroaches. I have been assured by a few pest control companies that being that I’m in a semi, if both sides are not treated, the infestation will not be effectively removed and will return soon after the service. Please offer any/all advice that you can. Are there any by-laws or legal precedents that will enable me to have both mine and my neighbours sprayed. Please help. I don’t want to create animosity with the neighbours but I should be entitled to a pest free environment. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.

Answer:

  • We do not offer legal advice.   Your local health department may be able to help.
  • Your previous neighbours may have had a cockroach problem. When they moved out, the roaches may have moved to your residence seeking fresh food.
  • Your new neighbours may blame you for the cockroach problem so you may be expected to pay for treatment.
  • It would probably be wise to inspect and treat both residences. Ask your landlord to pay.
  • Most professionals now use bait to control cockroaches and this could require more than one service call to be 100% effective. Spraying insecticides is not usually the best control solution.
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Mice in Health Unit

I work at a Health Unit, in BC.  We have an infestation of mice, which the pest control company is only using traps for.  They advised us that fumigation is not allowed in Canada.  Is this true? Potentially, there is a health risk here.  We have elderly people and young children here daily who could be susceptible.  Is there anything else we can do?  Our Workplace Health and Safety team doesn’t seem to want to do anything; WorkSafe BC just gave me a brochure to read about how to clean up the droppings that we are finding everywhere.  The people cleaning our building vacuum, therefore, potentially vacuuming up droppings releasing the toxins that are present.  Please advise. Thank you for your time. M.

  • Fumigation is definitely not a legal control solution for mice. If it were legal, the building would have to be vacated.
  • A very thorough inspection could reveal what is attracting the mice into the building.  Food crumbs, snacks and open food in the staff room, staff lockers, desk drawers, bird feeders, garbage and compost outside.
  • A professional will look for and seal up entry points.
  • After trapping all of the mice, an experienced professional should clean and disinfect the contaminated areas where there is evidence of rodent activity.  This may require the use of a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner.
  • Trapping can be very effective if done properly.  An experienced pest professional will know where and how to place and maintain traps. There may be legal problems if your building maintenance staff tries to solve the rodent problem.  If poison is used, it should only be done by a licensed professional.

Larry Cross 
Webmanager@PestControlCanada.com

 

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Powder Post Beetles

We want to salvage the old growth fir flooring in a 1936 cabin in the Mt Hood area near Portland, Oregon. The cabin is being demolished so we can build a new cabin in the same location.  The cabin is on the Salmon River in Brightwood, Oregon. We want to salvage the flooring to reuse in the new cabin for flooring.  About 1/16 of the boards show powder beetle infestation.  We spotted piles of sawdust in various locations once we pulled up the fir stirps.  The fir is unfinished but dirty from years of wear.  How do I treat the lumber? Does Shellguard kill the beetles?   Do I treat the lumber that shows no sign of infestation too?  I have read that the lumber has to be sanded before a shell guard treatment.  Since the wood doesn’t have a finish, can I only clean the wood with a 10percent bleach solution rather than sand it?
Linda, Portland, Oregon

If the flooring is stored in a very dry location you may have some success spraying the bottom, top and both edges of every plank. Once the planks are re-installed in the new cabin and sanded, you could spray the floor again with a borate solution. The solution may not penetrate deep enough to kill the larva tunnelling through the wood. In Canada, only licensed pest professionals may purchase and apply the most effective borate solution. Adult beetles that emerge from infested wood will not lay eggs on a finished surface. (Varnish, urethane, paint) We are not familiar with the efficacy of Shell-Guard.  

Wasp nest in wall

I live in Kitchener (Southern Ontario) and we’ve recently discovered a wasp problem in the bulkhead of our kitchen at the beginning of September 2015.  The wasps entered through a crack in the brick from the outside and made their way into the small bulkhead above our kitchen cupboards.  When we first discovered the problem we had 30-50 wasps buzzing around the hole on the outside.  The pest control company came out immediately and hit the hole with a dust product.  By the afternoon not one wasp was on that side of the house.  I have no idea if they left, died or all went back in the hole.  I keep checking the outside a couple of times a day and never see a wasp go in or out.  But we can hear them sometimes pecking or buzzing in the bulkhead.  Daily we find at least 1 or 2 wasps in our kitchen now.  They are very slow moving and groggy (not flying usually) so they are easy to kill and dispose of.  I’ve been told by the pest control company to leave the nest alone, don’t plug the hole till November or December and maybe in November have a contractor open up the drywall in the bulkhead to clean it out.  Also the winter here in Southern Ontario will kill them eventually.  My concerns and questions are is this a good strategy?  My thought is to open up that bulkhead now and get them out.  I also don’t want young queens to hatch now and make a new home in another part of the wall.  These wasps are obviously finding new ways into the house as we keep finding them in the kitchen so my fear is they are now throughout my walls.  Should I just wait till the cold comes to kill them off and then have a contractor open my bulkhead and clean out the nest?  I’m finding it hard to sleep at night knowing that these things could be anywhere in my house now.  I really need to get them out and fast. Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Charles

All of the wasps in the nest will die. This year’s nests will not be occupied again.  Only some fertilized queens will survive over winter if they find shelter and they will seek new places to build nests in the spring. You can ignore the nest in your bulkhead but you should stuff steel wool in the cracks and holes in the exterior wall.

Clothes moths on book shelf

This past spring I noticed an infestation of clothes moths. I followed the procedures of cleaning, washing and dry cleaning clothes, professional pest control, traps, etc. I neglected to remove the books and clean the book shelves in my living room ( I didn’t think they attacked books.) Recently, I went to clean the book shelves and noticed several dead clothes moths behind the books on the shelves. Did they just settle there to die or were they nurtured by the dust accumulation? There are no woolens or clothing material in the area. The books shelves have now been thoroughly cleaned.

Thanks,  Jane

Clothes moths are well-known as pests of stored woolens, but they will eat a wide range of other fibers including hair, fur, silk, felt and feathers. Serious infestations of clothes moths can develop undetected in a home, causing significant damage to clothing, bedding, floor coverings and other articles.   University of Kentucky.  http://www2.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef609.asp