Our Best Bird-Poop Removal Tip

Our best bird poop removal tip…

Of mice and disease: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria discovered in NYC house mice

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria discovered in NYC house mice.

‘Oh, my God, something bit me’: Scorpion stings student on Toronto to Calgary flight

Scorpion stings student on Toronto to Calgary flight

Betty’s and Nancy’s Fancy baked goods recalled due to possible mice contamination

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued a recall for Betty brand and Nancy’s Fancy Yummy in the Tummy brand…

Rat infestations plague Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and even Haida Gwaii

City of Vancouver fields calls about construction sites which send rodents scurrying…

Two dead after pigeon dropping infection at hospital

Two patients have died after contracting a fungal infection caused by pigeon droppings at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital…

Cooler temperatures push Edmonton’s mice indoors

Pest control officials warn that as temperatures begin to cool with autumn’s approach, vermin naturally begin to look for a warmer place to spend the night…

Cockroach infestations on the rise

Infestations of infamously hard-to-kill cockroaches are on the rise in Edmonton, says a local exterminator.

What to do if you’re attacked by a swarm of wasps

Stephen Cockroft was stung 42 times after accidentally disturbing a wasps’ nest in his back garden. Here is what you should do if you are attacked by an angry swarm…

N.B. man dies after single wasp sting

The number of cockroaches appears to be on the rise in the Halifax area, and while experts aren’t quite sure what’s behind the population boom, the pests may be immune to some pesticides.

How two U of A students started baking up an alternative business with bugs

You’ve probably already eaten insects – Natural red food colouring comes from ground cochineal bugs, and the ingredient in jelly beans that makes them shiny is a resin secreted by the female lac bug from India and Thailand….

Rats in rat-free Alberta? Province confirms 3 found in Calgary in 2018

Rats in rat-free Alberta? Province confirms 3 found in Calgary in 2018

By Lauren Pullen, Digital Journalist  Global News

Updated: July 19, 2018 7:07 pm


If you think “rat-free Alberta” means none of the rodents can be found in the province, well, that’s not entirely true.

A young rat was found in the suburb of Hillhurst just outside downtown Calgary Thursday morning.

Becky Rock’s son made the find near a garden on the side of their home.

“I think Alberta’s claim to be rat-free ran through my head. I was a little shocked, at least,” Rock said.

“Our cats have given us at least one or two treasures of the gift of a dead mouse on occasion [but] coming across a rat, I never would have expected that.”

This is the third rat found in Calgary in 2018, according to the city. Another four were also found that were being kept as pets.

But the province says Alberta is still rat-free, justifying that claim by saying the rodents don’t mate or repopulate here.

“We’ve never totally been rat-free but we don’t have a breeding population. We never have,” provincial rat and pest specialist Phil Merrill said.

Merrill says there have been small infestations in the past and on average about a dozen rats are found in Alberta every year.

“Things have really died down since I started in 1971,” Merrill said. “We used to have 40 to 50 every year.”

Merrill credits the increase in rat patrol programs in Saskatchewan for the decline.

He said most rats hitch a ride on recreational vehicles from neighbouring provinces. They’re usually younger rodents curiously looking for a new place to live — perhaps a new adventure.

Merrill says they don’t usually last long in different environments though, which is why most of the rats they find are already dead.

If you do spot what you think is a rat you’re asked to contact the province’s rat and pest control program at 310-RATS, or if you live in Calgary, you can also call local bylaw officers at 311.

That’s what Rock did and she says city crews were there pretty quickly to take the rodent away.

“I’m creeped out by it because then I start to wonder, if there’s one, are there more? And where are they?” Rock said.

“Now I’m on this determined path to clean out everything and look for any signs of infestation.”

Historic Banff National Park lodge fined

The number of cockroaches appears to be on the rise in the Halifax area, and while experts aren’t quite sure what’s behind the population boom, the pests may be immune to some pesticides.

How to kill fruit flies, according to a scientist

As a researcher who works on fruit flies, I often get asked how to get them out of someone’s kitchen. This happens to fly researchers often enough that we sit around fly conferences (these actually exist) and complain about getting asked this question

Cockroaches on the rise in Halifax area

The number of cockroaches appears to be on the rise in the Halifax area, and while experts aren’t quite sure what’s behind the population boom, the pests may be immune to some pesticides.

Sphinx moth caterpillar

Some central Alberta communities grappling with caterpillar infestation

Some communities north of Edmonton are dealing with a creepy-crawly problem.
They’ve found themselves to be infested with tent caterpillars, hundreds — sometimes thousands — found on the sides of houses, on decks and trees.

11 myths about bedbugs you need to stop believing

If you’ve ever dealt with bedbugs before, you’ve likely learned the hard way that there are a lot of things that people get wrong about them. And because bedbugs can cause some headaches for those who encounter them

Cockroaches found on Air NZ plane

An Air New Zealand plane had to be “dis-insected” after two cockroaches were found by passengers mid-flight.

These tiny terrors

What’s 1.5 millimetres long, has razors for a mouth and attacks brazenly without warning?The prolific, and bloodthirsty, no-see-um fly.If you ask University of Alberta biologist Dr. Heather Proctor to describe a no-see-um, it sounds like a creature from a horror movie.

Cockroach milk?

It may not be everyone’s cup of milk, but for years now, some researchers believe insect milk, like cockroach milk, could be the next big dairy alternative.

Carpenter ant

Carpenter Ants – Devastation

A B.C Family is warning other home owners after their backyard deck suddenly collapsed during a barbecue with the the husband, mother-in-law and six kids

The Biggest Pest Threats for Restaurants This Spring

Flies, cockroaches and ants are three of the dirtiest pests restaurants should be concerned about that shouldn’t be part of your diners’ experience.

Canada Post halts deliveries

No mail services for a week at Nicholson Tower in Vancouver’s West End, apparently due to suite fumigation

‘Astounding’ survey of fly species suggests we might be underestimating global biodiversity

U of C entomologist part of team that found thousands of species in small square of forest

By: Sarah Rieger May 12, 2018 Source: cbc.ca

The world may have more species of flies than scientists previously assumed. (CBC)

A University of Calgary entomologist recently participated in a landmark study that revealed just how much we don’t know about the number and variety of species that inhabit our planet.John Swann was one of 59 biologists who spent one year collecting flies from a four-hectare patch of cloud forest in Costa Rica.

The “fly systematists” found what the study, published in the Zootaxa journal in March, describes as “an astounding” 4,332 in 73 families, and the scientists estimate there could actually be more than 8,000 species at the small site. 

“The diversity … represents the most species-rich area of such limited extent yet discovered for this order anywhere on the planet,” the study reads.

Swann said the research is important not only for a better understanding of the role each species of fly plays in the ecosystem at large, but for getting a larger picture of biodiversity and extinction rates. 

“We can talk about what is the size of a nucleus, but we can’t tell you to an order of magnitude how many species there are on our planet. “It’s our responsibility to help people figure out what’s out there.”

 University of Calgary entomologist John Swann helped classify 26 species of flies in Costa Rica. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Local technicians sorted and prepared more than 52,000 specimens, which were caught in continually running traps. The flies were then examined by the team to separate them out based on “morphology,” or different identifying physical characteristics. Of those, 41,000 were identified and categorized. 

The study also found the species were wildly diverse, suggesting that estimates of variety of fly species around the world are likely far too low. Beetles are known to be the most diverse order of insects, but the scientists said their findings suggest that there may actually be more varieties of flies than beetles. 

“As it stands now, our knowledge is so limited that we will continue to flounder until such data are generated. It is difficult to relate to non-specialists how vast our ignorance truly is,” the study reads.

Swann said many people would likely be shocked to realize just how many new species are being discovering all the time. Out of the 26 species of flies he characterized in Costa Rica, only six were previously named. 

He’s also discovered new species here at home, in Fish Creek Park and Kananaskis Country. There are estimated to be more than 23,000 species of flies in Canada. 

The ecologist said studying flies might not seem as sexy as “save the wolves, save the whales” ecology, but it’s incredibly important to understand the diverse and vital role flies play in the biosphere.  “You name it, flies do it,” Swann said.

Flies play vital role in ecosystems
Flies make up 10 to 15 per cent of animals, and can play a variety of roles, including as parasites, decomposers and pollinators, he explained, contributing to the health of other groups in the ecosystem, like plant life or ant colonies. 

In some colonies, the flies prey on ants or use them as hosts for larvae, thereby keeping the population in check, and in others, they act as a vital food source.

“If ants aren’t doing well, the whole ecosystem isn’t doing well,” he said.

While the study was undertaken by professional entomologists, Swann said it demonstrates the importance of citizen science for biological surveying, like annual bird counts.

“This is the type of science that Darwin was doing … it can be doable by anyone,” he said.

Tick and Mosquito Infections

The number of people getting diseases transmitted by mosquito, tick and flea bites has more than tripled in the United States in recent years, federal health officials reported on Tuesday.

‘BEES EVERYWHERE’: North Carolina man drives 65 km with truck full of bees

By Sean Previl May 06,2018 

A North Carolina man has left a buzz in his community after driving about 65 kilometres on Tuesday with thousands of bees loose in his truck.

Wallace Leatherwood told ABC-affiliate WLOS he had purchased the bees in Weaverville from Wild Mountain Bees.

How they ended up swarming the cab of his truck was the result of him wanting to keep the bees cool while he stopped for something to eat.

“I put them in the back of the truck and went to look at a job … left there and went to Moe’s Original Bar B Que,” he said. “I didn’t have any shady place to sit them.”

Leatherwood moved three boxes of bees from the bed to the cab of the vehicle before heading in to eat.

When he left the restaurant, he was treated to a rather unbelievable sight.

“When I came out, [one of the boxes] was black with bees and there were bees everywhere. I thought, well, I don’t know what to do,” he said.

Since the bees had cost him $165 per box, he decided to get in with the bees.

While driving on Interstate 40, he made his way to his son’s workplace but recorded himself inside the car as he drove.

The bees could be seen on his windows and on one of the boxes.

“I’m still here, yes I am,” he says to the camera. “Oh man, life is dangerous.”

At one point he also points at the bees, telling the camera “those are real bees.”

When he arrives at his son’s work, an employee there who works with Leatherwood’s son shot video from outside which shows him laughing.

“I knew he was crazy, but I didn’t know how crazy he was until he walked out,” said Brandon Singleton. “And, man, there was just bees everywhere.”

Despite all the bees, Leatherwood didn’t get stung the entire way home.

“It is dangerous. I know what you’re going to say, ‘Oh, you need to have an EpiPen and you should have a bee suit.’ Well, I don’t use a bee suit 99 per cent of the time, so I’m just cool with them,” he said.

Leatherwood did, however, get stung a few times when he removed the bees from the truck. But he said the bees are now safe in their home in Waynesville.

Exploding Ants

Ants are renowned for their remarkable ability to organize themselves into complex societies, complete with divisions of labour and strict social hierarchies.

Bed bug detection going to the dogs

Bed bug detection going to the dogs
All Starr Termite and Pest Control
Kevin Wright
Posted: Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Randy Starr and crew found two dogs made bedbug hunting much easier after the canines were extensively trained to discover infestations.

One of the greatest feelings at the end of a long day is your head hitting a soft pillow. You close your eyes, begin counting sheep and relax your breathing. But while you are powering down, bed bugs are powering up. The carbon dioxide you exhale stirs them and alerts them that their next meal has come. They slowly, tentatively, make their way to you. What happens next is no surprise. The next morning, you awake with itching red spots. Some are in a straight line. Some are random spots. You have been bitten. Bed bugs are a pesky problem.
It’s a problem Randy Starr, of All Starr Termite and Pest Control knows all too well.
As a 35-year veteran in the industry, Randy knows first-hand the kind of physical and mental anguish bed bugs bring to families. He also understands the difficulty finding bed bug infestations, especially early on when the initial infestation may contain only a small amount of the pests. The solution the pest control expert found was bed bug sniffing dogs.

Working much like a drug dog, a bed bug dog is trained specifically to alert on the odor of a living bed bug. These dogs are so highly skilled that they can alert on a single young bed bug found beneath the cushion of a couch. There are only a handful of pest control companies that employ animals with this type of training. Randy has two such dogs, working with them to help identify and eventually alleviate bed bug infestations.

It isn’t just the dogs who are trained. Along with his other dog handler, Nate, Randy recently attended a three-day training session accompanied by his pair of dogs in Tooele, Utah. During the training dogs and humans alike learned the different stages the animals go through during an alert, how living bed bug odor can move from its source to different areas, and how to work the dogs so they can find their way to the source of the odor. They also developed an ongoing training plan with the trainer to continue improving both the handler and the dogs.

Randy is hopeful that by working with these dogs and utilizing every opportunity to train, he will be able to help serve his customers and community. Bed bugs are becoming a rapidly increasing problem in Texas.
In fact, All Starr Termite and Pest Control has seen the number of bed bug-related calls grow for five consecutive years. The pests are easy to pick up. Since only a single pregnant female is needed to start an infestation, and a bed bug can be picked up at a hotel room or found in used furniture.
Although bed bugs are not going away anytime soon, Randy and his pair of dogs are determined to stay in front of the fight. They’ve learned the landscape always changes with pest control.

Thankfully, according to Randy, the dogs adapt quickly.

Bug Populations Are Expected to Explode This Spring

Bug Populations Are Expected to Explode This Spring
Ticks will be out in full force according to these expert predictions.
By Caroline Picard
Apr 4, 2018

Don’t let the recent snowfall across the country fool you. Spring is coming and while warm weather, flowers, and sunshine await, so do ticks, ants, and mosquitoes. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) released its bi-annual Bug Barometer last week, and the forecast for this season’s pest populations doesn’t look good.
Drawing on weather patterns and long-term predictions, the entomologists believe everyone’s least favorite neighbors will arrive in full force once the country warms up. You can thank an extra-wet winter and La Niña — the cool phase of a natural climate pattern in Pacific Ocean — for creating conditions very favorable to these intruders.

“This year’s La Niña brought unusual moisture, sleet, and snow to southern areas that are typically much warmer and drier this time of year, while conversely, areas like the Northwest that are usually colder in the winter had much milder weather,” explained Jim Fredericks, Ph.D. in a press release. “Residual moisture is a prime attraction for pests, especially home-damaging termites and mosquitoes known for transmitting disease, and conditions are ideal for when these pests typically flourish in the springtime.”

Ticks Are Already a Big Problem This Spring
Rising temperatures that come with the change of seasons also prompt major tick activity. “Tick populations will continue to boom with the onset of even warmer weather ahead,” Fredericks said. Vets across the country have already noticed a major increase in the number of parasites they’ve spotted on pets this year, and summer’s still a long way off.

Northeast and New England
Thanks to multiple heavy snowstorms and persistent cold weather, rodents will continue to seek food and shelter indoors. Once spring finally arrives, a greater-than-average tick population will emerge, the NPMA predicts.

Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, and Midwest
The drier conditions further west will prompt ants to seek moisture indoors this spring, with a boon of ticks expected later this season as well.

Even though the South experienced atypical cold this winter, an accumulation of moisture will help mosquitoes thrive quickly. Termites and cockroaches will also start appearing in above-average numbers soon.

North Central
Fly, ant, and — you guessed it — tick populations will likely explode in the Plains region thanks to unseasonably high temperatures.

South Central
Prolonged moist conditions up your risk of termites (ick), with an influx of roaches remaining a concern as the mercury rises.

The mild winter personally felt like a blessing, but warm conditions also helped ants survive the season. Now the insects will begin expanding their colonies for spring, with ticks also benefiting from the early thaw.

Above-average temps this winter will also translate to more ants and cockroaches arriving earlier than usual.

Wherever you live, one of the best preventative measures you can take is sealing up your house against potential invaders. Filling cracks with caulk or steel wool, repairing torn screens, and replacing door sweeps can deter many pests from making themselves at home.

If you’re already spotting insects indoors, make sure to eliminate any potential food and water sources allowing them to prosper. While every pest problem requires a slightly different plan of attack, ants, roaches, flies, and mice all rely on sustenance and shelter to survive


To kill invasive ants, feed them what they want

Posted by Brian Wallheimer-Purdue
February 28th, 2018

Poison bait is meant to smell and taste like foods that pest insects like invasive ants like to eat. But giving them the real thing instead of a knockoff might be a better option, researchers report.

When researchers coated termites with poison and set them free near colonies of invasive ants in South Africa, nearly every ant died within three weeks—using far less insecticide than traditional control methods.

“All ants eat protein to grow, and they usually get it by preying on insects,” says Grzegorz Buczkowski, a research associate professor of entomology at Purdue University. “We are feeding them what they want and getting better results.”

There are invasive ant species on nearly every continent, often brought from their native countries to others in the holds of ships. The Argentine ant, for example, came from Argentina to the United States more than a century ago in soil used as ballast on ships. When the ships arrived in Louisiana, they dumped the soil to load up on cargo, and the ants started to spread, reaching much of the southern portion of the country.

Argentine ants outcompete many other species, disrupting ecological interactions and also consume secretions from crop pests, such as aphids. In return, they protect those pests from natural predators, allowing their populations to grow.“Argentine ants are highly aggressive and competitive. It’s why they can outcompete native ants. But that works against them” It’s the Argentine ants’ ability to dominate other species that makes the new control method so effective.“Argentine ants are highly aggressive and competitive. It’s why they can outcompete native ants,” Buczkowski says. “But that works against them. When you put out termites, Argentine ants are the first to find them. They take these termites back to the nest and poison the whole colony.”

In field tests in South Africa, Buczkowski created six 100-square-meter plots and released termites coated in fipronil, a broad-spectrum insecticide. In four plots, the insecticide eradicated 100 percent of ants within 21 days. In the other two, the insecticide killed nearly 98 percent of the ants.

Fipronil is often used in other forms, but those require far more of the poison to control the same area. It would take 2,644 times more liquid spray, and 16,158 times more granules to cover 100 square meters. Those forms must be spread on the ground, and can also kill insects not meant to consume the poisons.
The termites have another advantage over other forms of poisons. Granules, gels, and sprays only affect the worker ants that come into contact with or consume them.
Hydrogel bait lures ants to a killing party

But the worker ants can’t digest termites themselves. Instead, they use a process called trophallaxis. They take the termites back to their nests and feed them to larvae, which pre-digest the insect and feed it back to the workers. The predigested termites poison the larvae, the workers, and the queens who receive the food from workers.
“With some baits you kill off the workers, but you still have queens and broods, and a few weeks later you have a new generation,” Buczkowski says. “With this, you’re stopping the colony from reproducing.”

While the termites die within an hour of researchers painting them with fipronil, Buczkowski isn’t recommending setting termites loose near homes or other buildings to control ant populations. Instead, he sees the method as an effective way to control invasive ant populations in large natural areas that contain colonies with millions of ants.

Future research will include testing other poisons, as well as different bait insects and other species of invasive ants. Since ants tend to want fresh prey, researchers are also experimenting with freeze-dried termites that look fresh but could be pre-treated and taken to field areas to kill ants.
The researchers report their findings in the Journal of Applied Entomology.
Source: Purdue University