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.

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: 

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.

Ask the experts

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:


Ask the experts

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. 

Ask the experts

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.


  • 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.
Ask the experts

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


Ask the experts

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.