Chimney Cleaners, Pest Controllers, Log builders and those interested in Neolithic Architecture.
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What a long wet winter, below is information on Camponotus Modoc, carpenter ants, and one of the worst pest in Pacific Northwest.
Presence of few foraging ants in the home, or 1 or 2 winged queens during swarming times does not mean you have an infestation. These foragers may merely be scout ants seeking food, nesting sites or queens that have flown in an open door. Particularly in May and June when the very weak sighted females are more commonly swarming and breeding do you see this occurring.
Foraging ants that have been seen entering homes along telephone wires, along branches touching the roof, hoses or pipes,even from ground trails that come under a door. In such cases, greater numbers above 15-20 indicate the house may be a nesting area.
If ants are coming in, there may be a nest somewhere outside of the building but eventually they may establish satellite colonies in some part of the structure. Be certain they are Carpenter ants and not another species of ant, termite, yellowjackets, spider or something else.
1.0 Evidence of Infestation(s)
- Presence of ants (workers or winged reproductives): An occasional ant may be a scout looking for food and may not indicate the presence of a nest, but continuous or numerous ants are a sign of nesting.
- Sawdust: Accumulating in piles, caught in spider webbing, paint, cracks and crevices; has a finely-shredded appearance. Do not confuse with small sawdust from construction or painting. It looks quite similar and is called “Frass”.
- Trails: Detailed discussion later.
- Sounds: Rustling or tapping noises produced when disturbed ants rasp the substrate with their mandibles or gasters or when excavating wood. Other insects such as the golden buprestid beetle or yellowjacket nesting in wall voids produce sounds and using tools like a stethascope, spotting/inspection camera’s/mirrors are what pro’s like Tristan use in nearly all cases.
Type of House Likely to be Attacked
Research shows common elements accompanied by infestations. Although other types of structures are attacked, most infestations were in residential homes with the following characteristics:
- Wood frame
- Crawl space
- Cedar or plywood siding
- Moderately to gently sloping roof
- 5-25 years of age
- Vegetation (trees and shrubs) surrounding the house
- *”Structures located near the edge of the forest were more liable to attack than those located further away.”
This is because the ants which have well-established nests in trees or stumps can easily move to the nearby house and establish satellite colonies.
Structural Information on Nests Location
Most nests of C. modoc, the most common Sea to Sky carpenter ant, which could be found were associated with (in order of frequency):
- Outside walls and voids – 35%
- Attic – 21%
- Ceilings – 19%
- Crawl space – 19%
- Other sites (including interior walls, roof, sill plate, and supports in crawl space and stacked lumber) -6%
*Other researchers have reported that ants show a light preference for moist wood with decay fungi but that sound wood is also mined.
Most Commonly Nests have been found in the following area’s:
- Porch pillars
- Support timbers
- Window framing and sills
- Casings of houses, garages and other buildings
- Drawers of dressers and cabinets
- Behind books
- In hollow doors
- Under floors
- Attic spaces
- Buried wood, stumps or construction debris
Nest Location Outside Structures (Natural Areas or Landscape)
- Forest (within 50 meters of home) – 27%
- Live trees (excavate heartwood; enter by knotholes, wounds, etc.) – 17%
- Dead trees, stumps or logs, buried wood – 16%
- Wood debris – 8%
- Decorative wood in landscape – 7%
- Stacked lumber – 3%
- Firewood – 3%
1.1 Number of Colonies
Carpenter ants typically have a parent colony in outside nesting areas, such as live or dead trees, stumps, logs or decorative landscape wood.
When the colony grows larger and needs room to expand or the old nest becomes less suitable, they expand to form satellite colonies. these satellite colonies are placed in nearby structures presumably because the heated, protective structures are more conducive for the older stages after significant growth has occurred.
The parent colony contains the queen, young larvae and workers, while the satellite contains the mature larvae, pupae, workers, and/or winged reproductives.
The ants move back and forth from parent nest to satellite nest to feeding areas (in nearby evergreen trees and shrubs such as Douglas fir, true fir and cedar). Sometimes they can be seen carrying mature larvae (white and grub-like) or pupae (papery cocoons).
In this particular study, in Washington State, houses had from 1-3 colonies with an average of 1.3 however in Whistler we have seen as many as 13 different Modoc colonies in larger more established nest’s and colonies.
If the parent nest is not found, the ants can reestablish satellite colonies after the pesticides have become inactive or establish new colonies in untreated areas of the house so it is important to treat entire area’s of the structure as well as arrange follow ups.
If several nests are found, it is important to determine if they are from the same colony (therefore one parent nest) or 2 or more different colonies (therefore several parent nests). Place 2 ants, one from each trail, nest or area, into a jar:
- Ants from the same parent colony coexist peacefully.
- Ants from different colonies fight.
1.2 Ant Trails
Ants move along definite trails by following a chemical scent or visual clues left by previous colony member. These trails can be above ground or subterranean and are actually constructed by cutting away vegetation, removing pebbles, excavating soil and even by covering open trails with a roof of needles from nearby trees. Trails can vary in width from 1/8″ to 3/8″.
The ants from a colony will follow the same path each year even if grass has grown in it. They will clear the old trail the best they can to get through.
1.3 Carpenter Ant Trail Locations
Trail Location Outside the Structure
Ants follow natural contours mostly due to protection from Predictors. They will cross lawns and flower beds but often prefer the cover afforded by moving along the edges of things.
- Edge of driveway or sidewalk, mowing strips
- Under patio blocks, wood steps in landscape or wood planks
- Edge of foundation or planters or sidewalk
- Edge of lawns or flower beds
- Fence stringers
- Excavate along tree roots (easy access to crawl space via roots of trees or stumps which extend under the house)
Trail Locations Inside Structures
Again ants prefer natural, easy and protected routes:
- Edges of cabinets, furniture
- Excavated trails through insulation in wall voids
- Along wiring or plumbing which cuts through studs
- Wires or branches coming to the house
- Root channels from infested trees or stumps which go beneath the house.
Activity Information Along Ant Trails
- Ants are generally active along ant trails in western Washington and British Columbia from April to mid-October.
- Hours of greater activity are from 8 p.m.-4 a.m.; although some ants can be found at all hours.
- A sudden increase in activity occurs 5-10 minutes after sunset and is greatest from about 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
- Temperature or rainfall doesn’t seem to influence this activity.
Determining if Ants are returning to nests:
- Larger with full (stretched) stomach so they look somewhat banded
- Carrying food such as insects.
- Some ants will be going to the feeding areas (usually trees). They are not stretched or banded. Some will be engaged in trail building (at night mostly).
Following Ant Trails to Locate a Nest
*Do not disturb any trails until you locate the nests. The ants will just get sneaky and reroute the trail which may take much longer to locate.
Ants will generally be going to and from:
- Feeding areas
- Parent nests
- Satellite nests
Banded ants or ants with insects will be going from feeding grounds to parent (or satellite) nests. The young growing larvae and queen need the most food, so more ants will take food toward the parent colony rather than the satellite. Ants carrying larvae or pupae (papery cocoons) are moving from the parent to satellite colony.
Activity, therefore ease in following a trail, is greatest after sunset (roughly between 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.). A red light disturbs ants less than white light.
Trails are difficult to locate since they may disappear under boards, sidewalks or go underground, through sticks, logs, mulch and so on
While gardening or working in the yard keep watching for clues but don’t get too trigger happy and spray the trail, or you will have to start over if you want to find the nest. If you decide to call us make sure you let us know all the information about chemicals and exclusion methods used in the past and currently.
1.4 What Carpenter Ants Eat
Carpenter ants cannot eat solid food. They have a very long, exceptionally thin esophagus’s (food pipe) that prevents them from eating solid food.
- Mostly they gather aphid honeydew or tree sap.
- Only about 1% of the ants carry insects or insect parts. Insect prey includes grasshoppers, crickets, leafhoppers, aphids, craneflies, mosquitoes, honey bees, moisture ants, thatching ants, spiders, daddy-long-legs and larvae of moths, bees, flies and earthworms.
- Human food includes candy, honey syrup, soda pop, apples, raisins and pet food.
- The ants have been observed taking “solid” food over to water where it becomes soggy. They can eat the dissolved portions.
- They can masticate (“chew”) insect parts and extract nutritious liquids.
1.5 Carpenter Ant Life Cycle
- Reproductive ants (winged males and females) leave the nest anytime from early January through June (different colonies leaving at different times). Mating takes place in swarms, with the first mating swarms noted in May (others in June, July, August and September).
- Mated queens find a suitable place to live and chew off their wings, excavate a small home and begin laying eggs. Mated queens lay eggs which become workers or queens. Unmated queens or queens which have run out of sperm can produce only males.
- By the end of the summer either workers have emerged or the larvae from late eggs become dormant. No feeding occurs during the winter months (November, December, January).
- The dormant phase ends about mid-January, when the queen begins laying eggs again.
- The rate of growth of a colony from one queen in the first year, or season, is very low (with only 1 or 2 dozen workers).
- It took about 3 seasons to produce even a few larger workers in Dr. Hansen’s studies. The number of years it would take to produce reproductives is estimated to be 3-5 years. Therefore parent nests with larger ants or winged reproductives have been in place for a considerable period of time. Satellite nests could have reproductives in a single year because the pupae are carried from the parent nest to the satellite.
*Take into consideration most of this research was performed in a lab
1.6 Other Interesting Facts
- If the queen dies, workers can produce eggs which become males.
- Workers must help the new adults emerge from the pupa case; without workers they can’t emerge.
- At any one time only a small percentage (1%-3%) of the ants are outside the nestforaging for food and water.
- The queen and workers can eat their own eggs and smaller larvae, if the food supply is low it severely stresses the colony and retards its growth.
1.7 Structural Carpenter Ant Management
Finding parent colonies and the satellite colony (colonies) in the surrounding landscape is crucial to successful structural control of carpenter ants.
Many pest control companies either:
A) Drill and inject the entire house because it is faster and at less costly to the homeowner than it would take to locate and treat the nest areas.
B) Starve out the ants by spraying only the perimeter (attic, crawl space, and foundations) at monthly intervals for a year or so.
Using as little if any chemicals, our success and experience is that long term results will be greater if the parent and satellite colony (colonies) are located and destroyed. Since 1962, The National Pest Control Operator’s Association has recommended this, as well as formation of Integrated Pest Management under the Nixon Government in 1972. It should be noted that despite Dr. Hansen’s, the Washington State Pest Control Association’s, and other’s recommends of “careful inspection”, and that “a professional attempt be made to penetrate and treat potential nesting sites”,many companies are still using treatment technologies from the 1960′s.
2.0 Approaches to Control:
Carpenter ant infestations usually involve a parent colony and one or more satellite colonies. The parent colony which houses the queen, workers, and brood requires a moist area and is usually located outside the structure unless a severe moisture problem exists within the building. Satellite colonies house workers, mature broods and may also contain winged forms. These colonies are often found within structures.
The most effective means of control begins with the location of the main colony and the satellite colonies. Clues in the location of nesting sites include extruded sawdust, foraging trails, and the presence of foraging ants.
2.1 Hunting for Carpenter Ant Nests on the Wet (West) Coast
It may take some long-term observation to find the nest sites. DO NOT DISTURB any ant activityunit you can see and have located the nests. Disturbing their activity will cause the ants to develop new routes which may take you much longer to find. Here are the best useful tips at doing that:
- Look for evidence of infestation like frass and other’s spoken about previously.
- Check common nest sites in structures.
- Check common nest sites in natural areas or landscapes.
- Locate any trails inside or outside the structure.
- Observe activity along those trails to determine which way the food is moving (distended abdomens, carrying insects).
- Observe after sunset with red light.
Other Good Areas to Check Include:
- Around sink, dishwasher or shower areas.
- Hit beams and underflooring joists with a hammer, and listen for hollow areas.
- Look for tiny slits in beams or joists; these are air vents.
- Check attics and crawl spaces.
- Check around fireplace or furnace chimneys which may be warm and moist.
- Remove electrical outlet and light switch plates and look for evidence: pupal skins, sawdust, ants.
- Check spider webs for evidence (sawdust, etc.).
- Check firewood or lumber especially if it is stacked against the house (a poor practice).
- Check areas hidden by vegetation (prune the back side of evergreen shrubs which may provide shelter for trails and access to the house and increase moisture of the walls.
- Check for evidence of leaking or temporarily plugged (ice, debris) gutters during rainstorms.
- Remove shrubs that block vents or prune them at the base to allow good air flow.
- Check for condensation in the crawl space or attic due to inadequate ventilation.
For around 100-150$ we could have someone come out! Happy hunting. (778) 209-7785
For as little as $150, we could come, clean your chimney, and perform video scan of your a interior chimney and fireplace.
Set out better timelines for cleaning, and firewood quality. As well the environment and fireplace efficiency.
Hone in your effectiveness at burning techniques, cost and safety. Contact us today and we’ll do our best to get back ASAP.
*Note: This device also qualifys for Level 2 WETT (wood energy technical training) clean and video inspection
There are several nonchemical measures that can help prevent infestations:
- Trim tree branches and shrubs away from structures to prevent access;
- Seal off potential entry points such as where utility lines enter a structure;
- Reduce mulch around building perimeters to a depth of 2 to 3 inches to discourage nesting;
- Eliminate any earth-to-wood contact of structural elements that might promote wood decay;
- Replace decayed or damaged wood and correct problems that cause decay such as clogged rain gutters or leaky pipes;
- Increase ventilation to damp areas such as attic or subfloor spaces;
- Store firewood off the ground and several feet away from structures; and
- Remove potential food sources inside a structure and store them in tightly sealed containers.
Most carpenter ant inspections and perimeter treatments start at around $150 bucks. Thanks!
Toasty comfort on a chilly night after a day on the hill. Many of our customers wanted more from there pest control and we knew where to start.
There are many reasons why you need a clean chimney. Due to chimney fires, each year, fire prevention experts say, lives are tragically lost and millions of dollars in property damage sustained that could have been prevented had the homeowner adhered to a simple maintenance schedule.
Here are a couple reasons to clean and inspect your chimney regularly:
1) Remove Blockages
Chimneys are warm environments that can provide excellent breeding grounds for small mammals. Animals such as squirrels, raccoon’s and birds like the air that travels through the chimney because of its warmth, and shelter. As a result, they might create harbourages in chimneys that might end up clogging the system and creating big problems. One of the byproducts of that crackling fire homeowners so enjoy is also that dark ugly creosote, and it is carried by smoke into the chimney. Some creosote coats the walls of the chimney, and if it becomes too thick it can catch fire. People who clean their chimney at annually will reduce this problem, and pest control is our specialty so don’t worry too much about them critters.
2) Increase Efficiency
Ensuring fuel burns better and heats your home effectively, chimney sweeping removes unwanted odours that might result from accumulated debris and soot. Moreover, it prevents the acidic qualities of soot/creosote from damaging the fireplace that if left unattended will corrode and predispose many other problems. Heavy creosote can even hinder the flow of carbon monoxide, a dangerous, odorless gas that is usually carried through the chimney and outside of the home.
3) Peace of Mind
Here are also some warning signs homeowners should not ignore:
-Build-up of soot on the damper, chimney or fireplace walls;
-Smoke inside home when fires are burned; and
-Burning smell even when fireplace isn’t being used.
Contact our sales department for a chimney/fireplace inspection and clean (778) 508-7785
Home Cold or house or home office not ventilating properly? Need air, house pressure or ventilation checks? We now offer home and business pressurization checks.
Call us for a free consultation 902-7417
Prevention and deterrence are key to ensuring effective pest control and why we encourage our local regular inspection and a proactive and preventative programs. Preparing your home prior to pest or wild-life invasion is the best way to avoid damage and inconveniences. Critter Get Ritter is the only pest control company based and from Whistler, Pemberton and Squamish. We also offer not only pest control inspection, but the chimney, vent, roof and fireplace inspection with installation available as well. Now about the free tips!
- Ensure your garbage container is secure;
- Do not leave garbage outside;
- Do not apply bone meal or fish fertilizer to your gardens;
- Harvest gardens and fruit from trees when ripe; do not allow fruit to accumulate on the ground;
- Take down bird-feeders in spring and summer, make sure there is no over-spill and use is monitored;
- Keep yards clear of unnecessary clutter; and
- Contact us (604) 902-741.
A nutritious alternative here are some tips for Ants on a Log:
Ants on a log are a timeless classic that have recently been enhanced with advances in nut butters and chunky versions; different flavors of chocolate (white, milk, dark), butterscotch and carmel chips; and, other topping technologies such as chocolate sauce, whip cream, butterscotch, honey and more. Here is our favorite version with some nutritional information:
1) Cut large, organic, slightly under ripe Banana Into Flat Pieces.
Tips on Banana’s, the glycemic index and our health:
It is a myth that bananas should always be kept at room temperature and not in the refrigerator, where there is also less of a risk of Fruit Flies laying eggs. Although the skins will turn black in the refrigerator, the fruit will spoil less quickly, and under ripe banana’s have a lower glycemic Index due to the resistant starches our bodies lack the enzymes to digest. This being said, although the sugar levels and glycemic indexes vary, all banana’s are a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and manganese. More here: http://www.glycemicindex.com/
2) Spread Chunky Almond Butter Evenly Over Banana Pieces.
3) Insert Dark Chocolate Chips. And:
- Chimney Sweeping & Inspection;
- Vent and Air Duct Services;
- Emergency Services; and
If you havent already contact us for more information
When you think of rats, what comes to mind? The fabled giant rats of New York City sewers? The leader of the teenage mutant turtles Splinter? Your friends pet? What-ever it may be, there are many types of rats: kangaroo rats, Norway rats, cotton rats, pack rats, wood rats, greater stick-nest rats, roof rats, naked mole rats and even the giant Mallomys rat. These fur laden critters are instrumental in helping researchers develop medical cures, and despite the fact that they are not considered as cute and cuddly as hamsters and gerbils, rats are affectionate, intelligent, friendly creatures. To learn some facts about the amazing animal that is the rat continue reading.
Rats are not very picky omnivores. They have poor vision, they’re colorblind, and they mostly rely on smell and whiskers to sense what is going on. They have some very strong teeth and can chew through wood, metal, even concrete. They’re also highly social, enjoying play and cuddling with other rats. They develop deep bonds with their rat pack, and if a member of the group becomes sick they will care for it. A lonely rat is an unhealthy rat. It will quickly develop uneasiness and depression.
Unlike dogs, rats enjoy chocolate, and it won’t hurt them. They love games and are as highly curious as cats. They even enjoy snuggling up on your lap while you watch a movie or read a book. While they chow down on Ritter and other types of chocolate bars, they do not have thumbs or canine teeth, and can be selective on what they eat. From mating to hook-up rats will find mates quickly, and more often than not, get there freak on before you even know what’s happening, in as little as 2 seconds. They can go with out water longer than a camel, and fall 40 feet without being injured. In North American culture a rat is associated with dishonesty and cunning, but in other cultures, particularly Asian, they are viewed with favorable characteristics like honesty, hard work, intelligence and good luck. They’re not considered dirty or undesirable and are actually very clean. The Year of the Rat is the first year of the Chinese zodiac they are even an important part of eastern spirituality.
The rats of New York are infamous, from foot-long critters living in Central Park tree´s, attacking people, taking up residence in the rubble of 9/11, and popping up out of toilets. They are associated with a disaster that claimed 1/3rd of the global population during the spread of the Bubonic Plague in medieval Europe. Yet they have changed the course of history for the better. They exposed the squalor of Chinatown in San Francisco, driving rent strikes in the 1960s and there amazing memory, rapid learning ability, curiosity, hardiness and friendliness make them ideal for research and service to humans. They can sniff out land-mines, bombs and identify tuberculosis; they can be used in search and rescue however unfortunately for them, they’re also very tasty. Pets, medicine, helpers, and yes – dinner.
A common wasp in the Sea to Sky is actually called a hornet. The bald faced hornet, dolichovespula maculata, or white wasp are seen North American wide, and are well-known for hanging paper nests and females’ defending them with repeated stings. These flying critters will attack aggressively with little provocation. A full size nest is usually 10 inches in diameter and they are most active in July, August and September.
As mentioned, the bald-faced hornet is actually in the genus of wasps called yellowjackets, but is not commonly called wasp in North America because it lacks the yellow colouring. In the British sense, it is not a ‘true hornet’ because it is not a member of the genus Vespa (which include the Asian giant hornet, and European hornet…)
2 foot nest’s have been seen in and around Whistler decks and trees, and we have heard of some approaching 3 feet already this summer. They are more aggressive than both wasps normally called yellowjackets and members of the vespa hornet genus, and it is not considered safe to approach the nest for observation purposes.
In the Winter wasp’s, and bald faced hornets die minus the queens, who hibernate underground, under logs or in hollow trees until the spring when things heat up. Every year, these queens are re-born, fertilized, and begin a new colony and nest area. Once nesting location is found, the queen begins building it, lays a first batch of eggs, and feeds this first group of larvae.
These quick developing larvae will soon become workers and assume the chore of expanding the nest — done by chewing up wood which is mixed with a starch in their saliva. This mixture is then spread with their mandibles and legs, drying into the paper-like substance that makes up the nest.
Workers guard the nest and feed on nectar, tree sap and fruit pulp. They also capture insects and arthropods, which are chewed up to be fed to the larvae.
Like other social wasps, bald-faced hornets have a caste system:
Queen – Fertile female which starts colony and lays eggs.
Workers – Infertile females which do all work except laying eggs.
Drones – Males: have no stingers, and are born from unfertilized eggs.
New queens – Fertile females, each of which, once fertilized, may start its own nest in the spring.
Bald-faced hornets visit flowers, especially in late summer, and can be minor pollinators.
It is believed later in wasp season when fruit is falling off trees many of the wasp become intoxicated from the plants over abundance of sugar.
The European fire ant, first recorded in North Vancouver in 2010, has since been confirmed in Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton thus encouraging us to write this blog, keep the public informed and encourage there removal, prevention and thus there total eradication It is believed this species is native to Europe and Asia but was first introduced to eastern North America around 1900 around in the Boston area and has since spread to thousands of areas where habitat reaches greatest potential. This aggressive, swarming and biting small insect critter prefers our moist environment, making irrigated properties, gardens and moist wet areas on the West Coast an ideal place to become established. Colonies can reach densities of up to four nests per square metre, hindering gardens, lawns and parks potentially unusable for normal activities even impacting agricultural crops where they may even displace native ants in their natural environment.
Here is a tip:
1) Make your property less favorable to fire ants, not moving soil, mulch or plants from infested areas; and
2) Contact a local professional.
- Indoors, regular housecleaning provides adequate spider control.
- Vacuum up the spider and its web. Prevent clutter buildup that can provide hiding places.
- Remove spider webs from the exterior of the house with a broom or high pressure hose.
- Indoors, squash spiders or capture them in a jar and release them outdoors.
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Food grade DE is the easiest and best way to flush the body’s digestive system and remove toxins as well as other parasites from the digestive tract, respiratory system. It can cleanse the digestive system due to its’ small size and shape and under a microscope looks similar to tiny shards of glass except not harmful. These tiny edges of DE scrape away bacteria, fungi, protozoa, viruses, endotoxins, pesticide and drug residues, E-Coli, and heavy metals from walls the digestive tract, as well as insides and are especially helpful for elderly, construction and trades workers, or those in and around chemicals for long periods of time during life like most of us are.
A small amount of Diatomaceous Earth gets absorbed into the blood stream. As these cylinders move through out the body they clean and breakup buildups in the blood vessels and also the destroy bad fats. Everyone that we know that is taking Diatomaceous Earth has lowered their cholesterol by 40-50 points. Some of the many other benefits include: stronger bones, teeth, and nails, improved skin health, improved joint health, lower blood pressure, and lower cholesterol, among many other things you will have a hard time finding any negative effects since previously it has been used heavily in storing grains, so don’t worry you are probably already eating lots of DE every time you eat any bread, pasta or other grain based food.
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For the second time since Christmas bed bugs have been found at two downtown Vancouver courthouses.
Around Christmas, bedbugs were found in a courtroom but fortunately not any other areas at the Community Court, which opened in 2008 testing new ways to reduce crime and improve public safety. Fortunately that facility was designed with mostly hard surfaces and the critters were relatively easy to exterminate.
Today at a nearby provincial courthouse at 222 Main St, one of the busiest of BCs 44 province wide, specialty inspections turned up pests in three different courtrooms, some public areas and even a barristers’ lounge. Upholstered furniture and carpeting means inspections are taking longer and is for indefinable these insidious pest’s are going to require huge amounts of labor to inspect, clean-up, heat, and/or chemically treat to exterminate and assure public safety.
Bed bugs are a recurring issue in some of the rundown single-room occupancy hotels, and boarding areas in this part of town and many of which are slated for renovation.
Contact us any-time for free bed bug inspections
Pest Proofing Tips
Prevention is better than eradication. Some rodent proofing tips include:
- Keep vegetation back at least 18” from the structure and cut back any overhanging tree branches within 3’ of the structure.
- Eliminate or reduce harborage areas by de-cluttering, keeping items away from the sides of your home or business and remove fallen leaves.
- To reduce or eliminate food sources, remove bird feeders (or prevent seed from falling to the ground), pick up any fallen fruit, and use rodent-proof garbage cans and compost bins.
- Repair leaky taps or pipes.
- Exclude holes in buildings with hardware cloth or wire mesh (with less than 1/4-inch openings).
email@example.com, and Whistler Cell (604) 902-7417
2 hour emergency response available
Spotting a rat in Alberta is a rare and frightening occurrence. Since the 1950s, the province has boasted about its rat-free status, crediting an aggressive extermination program.
But the province’s famous “rat patrol” is stumped after rats were found in Calgary and Medicine Hat.
About 60 rats have been killed in a Medicine Hat landfill since a colony was discovered there last week. Six rodents were spotted in the city and another 16 emerged in the surrounding Cypress County.
Single Norway rat sightings have been reported in the area since spring.
On Friday, Calgary city officials said a resident found a dead rat near his property. The Animal and Bylaw Services Department suspects the rat was an escaped pet.
Agricultural fieldmen known as the “rat patrol” eliminate rats within a designated control zone 600 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide along the province’s eastern boundary.
Alberta says such measures have prevented an estimated $1 billion in damage that would have been caused by rats over the last five decades.
Bull snakes will be taken to the landfill where the rat colony was found so they can eat any remaining rodents. Traps and cameras have also been set up to track the vermin.
“They do carry disease. That’s another main reason they are on the pest list,” said Jason Storch, an agricultural fieldman in Cypress County. “They are a real nuisance.”
Animal control officials say one pair of rats can begin a chain of breeding that spawns up to 15,000 offspring a year.
Check out these bat pictures:
For more local bat information and Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton sustainability check out our former blog http://crittergetritter.wordpress.com
Bears are commonplace in Whistler, across fairways and under chairlifts over mountain bike trails the delight of tourists who’ve never seen such wild things, as well as locals, bears are seen quite commonly eating ants, berries and grass; grazing, and even sometimes passed out under a tree.
This Sundays occulter, when police responded to a call from a man saying: ¨he´d been sitting in a hot tub when a blow pushed him from his perch and he turned around, bleeding and confused, to find himself staring at a black bear…
Police quickly responded, and killed the bear saying it was a risk to the public: “In the case where the bear came close to a residence and injured someone who was sitting in a hot tub … in that case, it’s a little more serious, and for that reason the bear was destroyed,” Inspector Chris Doyle of B.C.’s Conservation Officer Service said on Monday.
The incident required 12 stitches to the lower mainland residents face where the bear was located 100meters away from the incicdent near the vilages popular Marketplace area and the man was alone and not eating anything when attacked.
The incident is slightly unusual because it does not involve the bear being surprised – as can happen in the backcountry when hikers stumble between a mother bear and her cubs – or “attractants” such as garbage or pet food. It is believed the hot tub or hot tub cover could have been giving off a sort of formic acid smell that attracted the bear. This is to be determined, and debatable however it is know bears are attracted to this bitter scent given off from dead, crushed, high protein ant that probably tastes quite good to them…
Conservation officers will perform a necropsy to try to determine what could have influenced the apparent healthy Males attack. The bear had not been previously tagged as one involved in conflicts with humans.
Biology professor at the University of Northern British Columbia Ken Otter, speculated that it could have been a case of mistaken identity.
“If you think about what the bear was seeing, he could have been seeing just a small object close to the ground,” Mr. Otter said, adding that bears prey on small mammals such as cats or groundhogs.
On average, more than 800 black bears and 40 grizzly bears are killed each year in B.C. Most of those cases involve bears that get used to food sources such as garbage, backyard fruit trees or compost bins.
“Big and black” are the two common most terms home and business owners use to describe Carpenter Ants, especially during the busy spring mating season this year.
Carpenter Ants find there ways around Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton´s forested areas by there heightened sense of sight and sense of smell, chemical tracks (pheromones) and even use visual reference marks. Causing great damage, these pesky riff-raff nibblers create pathways or congregate in similar areas digging galleries in wood, earth, insulation and other building material mostly due to heat provided from structures. Isn´t that disturbing they congregate in areas that many of us call home or work?
After many years of study it is noticed, when looked at closely Carpenter Ants have hues of red, and brown and can congregate in the 50,000 range.
Carpenter Ants are also found behind bathroom tiles; around tubs, sinks, showers, and dishwashers; under roofing, in attic beams, and under sub-floor insulation; and in hollow spaces such as doors, curtain rods, and wall voids; and are about 1/4″ to 3/4″ in length.
Contact us any time with your carpenter ant problems for an easy solution and protection against your home or business and be safe from future attacks today. (778) 209-7785 or firstname.lastname@example.org
During dark, sometimes rainy and creepy nights, these masked furry faces wander our Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton communities. The Raccoon (or procyon lotor) are known as the original members of the procyonidae family that lived and are believed to have originated in Europe 25 million years ago.
They enjoy a healthy life span of about 16 years, with sizes ranging from a meager 8 to a healthy 20 pounds. Gestation often takes place in the spring and is about 65 days, with between 2 to 5 kits being born and nurtured there on.
Sadly, hunting and traffic are the most common forms of death here in the wilds of our Sea to Sky corridor but about five years ago there was also a mysterious disease that wiped out many out.
Though previously thought to be solitary, there is now evidence that raccoons engage in gender-specific social behaviour. Related females often share a common area, while unrelated males live together in groups of up to four animals to maintain their positions against foreign males during the mating season. Like bears and other mammals, fathers are fended away by the mother because quite often, he will kill the kits, or young raccoons, so he can reproduce continuously.
Not only are there love for garbage and recycling a problem and commonality with bears, molecular analysis actually indicates a close relationship so please read on, and remember to lock and secure all garbage and recycling areas.
Territorial home range from 7.5 to 100 acres for females and 20 to 200 acres for males, hence lady raccoons are definitely home-bodies and not into relocating. Relocating or killing these critters should only be handled by professionals, and on the grounds of animal welfare doing so without is forbidden. Some experts have even challenged these arguments and give advice on feeding however it is our opinion that they belong in the wild, and do not make pets. Once they are no longer babies, around there first birthdays, they are active, and independent – and yes, if their natural independence is thwarted they will become very destructive and bite the hand that feeds them.
When raccoons create nests, they like a safe, protected, sheltered and warm place. They tear up soffits, attics, chimneys, foundations, and can cause extensive damage to gardens and homes. They can bite and scratch transmitting rabies, leptospirosis and other parasites such as the common flu.
If you have questions or information on raccoons and there sightings you can contact us anytime. Thank you, Critter Get Ritter
A few months ago, a major Flea find was discovered near Daohugou (Northeast China), that was a part of the Middle Jurassic (176-161million years ago) and Lower Cretaceous period further confirming dinosaurs are not the only creepy critter in existence during prehistoric times. The female fleas were a much larger size than today’s 5mm length, nearly 4x at 20mm while males were 15mm. Nature journal, who published the study shows the pesky vermin were not able to jump, however there remains show they were specially adapted to feed off there prey. Check it out below here:
Picture of fossils discovered (not to scale)
Picture of today’s common cat or dog flea flea under the 200x electron microscope
The Black and Rufous Elephant Shrew (Rhynchocyon petersi), known to Africans as the Black and Rufous Sengi, is one of 16 species of elephant shrew currently identified and alive in Africa today. It is the first of many articles included in our new ´cool critter´ series leading and supporting global and local environmental protection, sustainability and information on the help and encouragement of local and worldwide biodiversity while educating others. It eats insects and small mammals (especially the Black Rat) as well as vegetation which could lead to another critter get ritter cutting edge solution to sustainable forms of using bio-control for pest control…
Including its beautiful red, brown and black fur is quite a massive (11inch, 1-1.5lb) size difference compared to the local identified British Columbia Sea to Sky shrews and voles which really shouldn’t be confused at all since all the elephant shrews belong to different family or order.
Sea to Sky shrews or shrew voles (family Soricidae) are small mole like mammals classified in the order Soricomorpha who dont need to gnaw on things but have sharp, spike-like teeth, unlike the gnawing front incisor teeth that can cause pain on rodents and thus damage to strutures. Be sure to hit us up soon for more articles on cools critters, forms of bio-control pest control and other neat Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton pest control blog articles.
The common house mouse has found to spread another new significant disease. Currently still considered rare, Lymphocylic choriomeningitis (LCM) infection occurs when a human encounters the rodent’s urine, droppings, saliva, or nesting material. Little or no symptoms result in those with regularly functioning immune systems however those with weaker immune systems (the very old, or very young), will initially have flu-like symptoms, it can then progress to the symptoms of meningitis or encephalitis however most people do fully recover and about 1% die.
Studies have shown that about 5% of urban populations are infected and other rodents, such as hamsters and guinea pigs can become infected if exposed to the virus in pet stores or homes.
Although it is not known to transfer from one human to another, take precautions there are many rodents in the Sea to Sky, and more often than not there pooh, pee, saliva, and nesting material are not taken seriously. For no charge, at Critter Get Ritter we recommend contacting us if you have a question or want something looked at. Take the Center for Disease Control’s advice: If you have rodents in your home, do not touch or stirrup the droppings but call a professional to assist in there control.
Doing your best to keep rodents and other small critters out of your structures while also using less energy, and money just became a lot easier. Critter Get Ritter Pest Control in Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton has a special offer that using some special skills and tools can assure your home or business a better place (and hopefully special too):
Believe it or not small rodents can squish through tiny gaps as small as a pencil width often nibbling or chewing there way through just about anything. To stop dirty filthy and unsanitary rodents, we have thrived on hands on mechanical work such as installing door trim, re-aligning doors, and replacing trim on sliding screen doors. Structural repair and work is often the foundation for any IPM (integrated pest management) program especially when your pest control technician is skilled in carpentry and handyman work.
Other critter problem areas can include areas on exterior buildings where gaps are left like between siding and panels, where foundations meet framing, slabs meet siding, soffits, roofs and so on. If you ever have questions about exclusion, rodents; and even bats, raccoons and squirrels, please contact us any time.
Pigeons are know to make the venture from there closet habitat in Vancouver to Squamish quite regularly and have even been seen in Whistler. Originally found in Europe circa middle ages, these winged old feather factories they like to get their height on in Toronto or New York style windowsills roofs, eves, steeples and other man made structures.
They mainly eat seeds and grains, even insects when provided intentionally, and believe it or not domestic cats are the main urban predators, but opossums, raccoons, foxes, weasels, and rats also eat pigeons (when they can access the nest).
A mother pigeon lives about 15years although this is debatable, and it is too long for most, urban areas can be 100% percent less (3 year average). She also will produce 4 to 5 broads a year, and if conditions exist the old eggs will have even left the nest before previous have even hatched. Yikes!
If you see a pigeon it is easy to contact us and we can give you more information on there removal.
Gray squirrels may look cute and harmless but they are responsible for driving the European red squirrel toward extinction.
Driving the equally adorable European red squirrel toward extinction in what some say 100 worst environmental offences. The U.K.’s gray squirrels not only sap resources from the native reds, but carry and spread squirrel pox—a disease that is decimating their red cousins. Yikes!
The problem of invasive alien species is not unique to the UK. From different alien plant species all over the Sea to Sky, to numerous grey squirrel sightings; biological invaders are flourishing worldwide, devastating native plants and animals in their wakes.
If anyone has sightings, or questions they can contact us or the invasive species council.
Research in Science suggests that rats are capable of a human characteristic: empathy. The study below tested response when a fellow rats was trapped, and they found that not only do they spend time and energy deliberately helping the trapped companions, but they would even share food after rescuing them.
Using a small square arena, with a cage in the center; rats were trapped, and sometimes not. When another 2nd rat was released, it would either wandered around of let his fellow rat go (Traps release mechanism eventually picked up in the 12 day study).
The rats were noticeably agitated when one was trapped, and tended to circle the center, dig, and call to the trapped; when the cage was empty, these behaviors were absent. Over the course of the experiment, the rats learned to open the cage, and became much faster at doing so. A extremely higher percentage that were inside the arena, with a trapped rat, opened the cage (23 out of 30); compared to the rats that were in the arena with an empty cage (5 out of 40). Clearly, these annoying little furballs are excited to open a cage when a fellow companion is stuck inside.
.::Interesting Fact::. During the 12 trials, female rats were more likely to open the cage than males were (100% vs. 70%).
Researchers then upped the ante with another 2nd trap filled with chocolate chips, (rats really like chocolate). Rats were as likely to open the cage with there companion, as they were to open the cage with the chocolate, suggesting that the motivation to free a trapped companion is about as strong as the motivation to eat the chocolate. Additionally, in more than half of the trials, the free rats shared the chocolate with the trapped rat after freeing it. The free rats actually ate fewer chocolate chips when there was another rat in the arena than they did when they were alone, indicating a willingness to share the bounty.
.::Interesting Fact::.We don’t know whether rats were trying to alleviate other rats distress, or to make themselves feel better about the whole situation…
In pest control, it is not often we do not deal with lady bugs. These little crits increase controversy when the pesky omnivores is considered a great tool for aphids however after its NA introduction in 1916, the harlequin lady bug (Harmonia axyridis), has taken over North America as the most dominant species. It also reached the UK in 2004.
When eggs hatch, the ladybug larvae immediately begin to feed and by the end of its three-to-six-week life, it may eat 5,000 aphids. There are about 5,000 different species of these insects, and not all of them have the same appetites. A few ladybugs prey not on plant-eaters but on plants. The Mexican bean beetle and the squash beetle are destructive pests that prey upon the crops mentioned in their names.
“Dear Predator I taste awful.”
Their distinctive spots and colors are meant to make them unappealing to predators, and they can secrete a fluid from joints which gives them a foul taste. A threatened ladybug may both play dead and secrete the unappetizing substance to protect itself.
1) All Cats and dogs should be treated with a veterinarian prescribed flea treatment program.
2) Remove all items except furniture up and off the floor . Don’t forget about closet floors, under beds and shelving.
3) Place the items you’ve picked up off of the floors and place on top of beds, tables and counters, but not on couches or armchairs.
4) Moveable furniture, plants and any items that are up against a wall should be pulled away at least 6 inches.
5) Do your best to vacuum your floors the night before, immediately after the treatment and dispose the vacuum cleaner bag.
6) All people and pets must vacate their suite during the treatment and be out for a minimum of six
hours after completion of the job. Children under two years of age, expectant and nursing mothers
and people suffering from respiratory ailments are recommended to stay out at least twelve hours.
7) Fish tanks should have their air pumps unplugged, and a wet towel placed over the aquarium.
We will be using the following product(s): Dragnet (0.5% Permethrin; PCP #24175) Precor (1.2% Methoprene; PCP # 21573)
Opening windows will help to ventilate. Contact us anytime.
Chlorinated Hydrocarbons (Really Bad)
Chlorinated Hydrocarbons are man-made insecticides that the EPA (us) banned in the 1970’s and 1980’s when they were found to persist in the fatty tissue of animals. Chlorinated Hydrocarbons include: DDT, dicofol, heptachlor, endosulfan, chlordane, aldrin, dieldrin, endrin, mirex, and pentachlorophenol. You can read more about them in our other articles. 🙂
Organophosphates (Use very carefully)
Many organophosphates were discovered during ww2 as nerve agents. Most common current pest control uses include: in agricultural field, on fruits and vegetables; and for mosquito eradication. Dursban and Diazinon are two common organophosphate formulations we find and despite there residential use being banned in 2001, there are still a number of chemicals on store shelves using these in there formulations.
These chemicals kill insects by causing an irreversible inhibition of the cholinesterase enzyme in the nervous system. In simple terms it breaks down nerve communication and puts them into cardiac arrest. Mammals such as humans, dogs and cats also have cholinesterase enzymes, and could possibly be harmed by these chemicals.
Organophosphates are controversial and a concern to both scientists and regulators because they work by irreversibly blocking an enzyme that’s critical to nerve system function in both bugs and people. Many environmentalists would prefer to see them disappear.
The common bed bug, also known as, cimex lectularius is the most disliked of household pests. Infestations are rampant, extermination can be difficult and treatments were sometimes risky to a person’s health. In battling today’s global resurgence of bed bugs, much can be learned from the past.
ANCIENT BEGINNING: Bed bugs have been biting since the beginning of time. Studies suggest they first parasitized bats and then humans, by inhabiting the same caves in the Mediterranean region where civilization began. Bed bugs thrived with the formation of villages and cities. Fossilised bed bugs have been unearthed from archaeological sites dating back more than 3,500 years. During that era the bed bugs were noted as a potion as well. To try to cure common ailment the Greeks and Romans burned them to make leeches loosen their hold. The Egyptians drank them to cure snakebite.
EARLIEST HISTORY AND SPREAD: As civilization grew the bed bugs spread throughout Europe and Asia. They were a noted presence in Italy by 100 A.D., China by 600 A.D., and Germany and France in the 1200s and 1400s. Heat generated from sleeping and cooking fires allowed the bugs to live comfortably both in castles of the wealthy and huts of the working class. Bed bugs were first reported in England in 1583. Soon after, they hitchhiked their way to the Americas with European explorers and settlers. Bed bugs are known to burry away in bags or to attach onto clothing to allow travel. The bed bug resurgence in recent years followed a similar pattern, with infestations in the late 1990s first appearing in such “gateway” cities as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami.
The global lineages of bed bugs can also be traced to their naming. In ancient Rome, bed bugs were called Cimex (meaning “bug”), while the species designation lectularius referred to a bed or couch. Other names once used include wall louse, bed louse, wallpaper flounder, nightriders, red coats and crimson ramblers. Yuck!
EARLIEST BUSINESS: Methods of managing bed bugs today are modelled to the first European exterminators. Among the most famous were Tiffin and Son of London, who formed a business back in 1690 to exterminate bed bugs for the wealthy. The gas-lit sign over their shop read: “May The Destroyers Of Peace Be Destroyed By Us. Bug-Destroyers To Her Majesty.” Recognising the constant threat of infestation, Tiffin noted: “We do the work by contract, examining the house every year. It’s a precaution to keep the place comfortable as servants are apt to bring bugs in their boxes and clothes.” Tiffin reported finding the most bugs in beds, but cautioned, “If left alone they get numerous, climb about the corners of the ceiling, and colonize anywhere they can.”
Century’s later pest management industry again advocated routine preventive bed bug inspections. Catching infestations early reduces spread into other areas and can lessen liability for some clients. Another of England’s earliest bed bug destroyers was John Southall, who published a 44-page treatise on bed bugs in 1730. The manual contained information on bed bug habits, prevention and control based on his experiences. To limit harborage and simplify treatment, he also suggested that beds be “plain and as free from woodwork as possible.”
1800’S: As noted earlier, bed bugs became abundant in North America with the coming of European settlers. As a deterrent, beds were often made from sassafras wood and the crevices doused with boiling water, arsenic and sulfur. Ships, railroads and hotels afforded ideal accommodations for the bugs. Wise travelers learned to pull beds away from walls and immerse the legs in pans of oil. Many formulas over the years claimed to control bed bugs. These formulas could result in incarceration today. By the mid-1800s, bed bugs had become a particular problem in poor, overcrowded areas with low standards of cleanliness. Wealthy households with an abundance of domestic help discovered that bed bugs could be kept in check with vigorous housecleaning— but the bigger benefit from such efforts was early detection of infestations in their more vulnerable initial stages: “The greatest remedy is cleanliness, and a constant care and vigilance every few days to examine all the crevices and joints, to make sure that none of the pests are hidden away” (USDA Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture, 1875).
More to come!
Diatomaceous earth is a remarkable, all-natural product made from tiny fossilized water plants. It is a naturally occurring siliceous sedimentary mineral compound from microscopic skeletal remains of unicellular algae-like plants called diatoms. These plants have been part of the earth’s ecology since prehistoric times and it is believed that 30 million years ago the diatoms built up into deep, chalky deposits of diatomite located and mined in a number of locations across the globe.
In Pest Control this fine powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects’ exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate. Arthropods die as a result of the water deficiency, and in some cases the powder works against gastropods such as in the garden to defeat slugs however in moist or humid environments and the effects are hindered.
Pool grade Diatomaceous Earth is chemically treated and partially melted and consequently contains crystalline silica which can be a big respiratory hazard. Thus, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT ONLY NATURAL DIATOMACEOUS EARTH BE USED FOR INSECT CONTROL. The non-crystalline silica is not as hazardous as the human body can dissolve it.
Using Diamaeceous earth for different insects can present different challanges for each, most notably, the length of time for it to start working and if used outside, humidity and moisture considerations. Please contact Critter Get Ritter anytime for how to apply Diatomeceous Earth correctly.
Residents of an impoverished area of Vancouver were infested with bed bugs carrying antibiotic-resistant bacteria, said researchers today Wednesday May 11th, 2011, and warn doctors to watch out for the potential problem.
A letter in todays issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s journal Emerging Infectious Diseases reported that two types of drug-resistant bacteria were isolated from bedbugs found on three patients.
The resistant bacteria were methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE), a less dangerous form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Christopher Lowe of the University of Toronto and medical microbiologist Marc Romney of Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital suggest bed bugs carrying MRSA could transmit the bacteria during a blood meal. Included is a citation to the full article which is being released in June, here:
“Because of the insect’s ability to compromise the skin integrity of its host, and the propensity for S. aureus to invade damaged skin, bedbugs may serve to amplify MRSA infections in impoverished urban communities,” Lowe and Romney write. The three patients lived in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, which has high rates of homelessness, poverty, HIV/AIDS and injection drug use.
Similar to other cities worldwide, Vancouver has seen an alarming increase in bedbugs, particularly in Downtown Eastside, where 31 per cent of residents have reported infestations, the researchers said.
Likewise, MRSA is also a substantial problem in the neighbourhood, with nearly 55 per cent of skin and soft tissue infections in patients treated at St. Paul’s emergency department showing MRSA, the authors said.
In drug injection users with wound infections, an earlier study showed 43 per cent were colonized or infected with a community-acquired MRSA strain found outside of hospitals.
The study was small with just five bedbugs and very preliminary, but “it’s an intriguing finding” that needs to be further researched, said Romney.
Both resistant strains are often seen in hospitals, and experts have been far more concerned about nurses and other health-care workers spreading the bacteria than insects.
Given the high prevalence of MRSA in hotels and rooming houses in Downtown Eastside, the insects may act as “a hidden environmental reservoir for MRSA and may promote the spread of MRSA in impoverished and overcrowded communities,” the authors said.
So: This could be sticky but is it currently significant?
The authors point out that several research groups have tried in the past to link bedbugs and disease transmission (hepatitis) and failed. They certainly have not proven transmission in this case. But they also say that there is a density of these two organisms in the area where the men live that make it more likely that bedbugs could be involved in diseases pingponging through the neighborhood. First, there’s the high density of bedbug presence, in 31 percent of Downtown Eastside residents. Second, there’s the high prevalence of MRSA, in 58 percent of the skin infections in the St. Paul’s ER. And third, there’s the previously recorded and persistent presence of VRE in in-patients at St. Paul’s.
The US CDC believes that crowding, poor hygiene and skin disruption increase the likelihood of MRSA infection; crowding and poor hygiene are common in homelessness and shelter living, and bedbugs by definition disrupt the skin’s barrier by their bites. Meanwhile, in the ill and hospitalized, VRE frequently causes infections in disrupted skin, such as a surgical incision or a diabetic ulcer.
The authors have commented:
“…These insects may act as a hidden environmental reservoir for MRSA and may promote the spread of MRSA in impoverished and overcrowded communities. Bedbugs carrying MRSA and/or VRE may have the potential to act as vectors for transmission.”
To be clear: The victims here are also the ones who are likely to be most at risk. What this paper says, first of all, is that the substandard living conditions of being poor and homeless make those who are poor and homeless more likely to be vulnerable to yet more dangerous and difficult diseases. As with so many other health disparities in North American society, this is a social justice issue.
But if I am candid, it is also a reminder to the more-privileged rest of us that bedbugs have spread explosively, especially in poor communities, in a manner that is not completely understood, and that they pose a disease-transmission risk that is not yet well-defined.
We can assure you there will be more bed bugs to come and in the mean time I am going to check my box spring…
The Yellow-Pine Chipmunk, or what some would call Neotamias Amoenus, is in the Sciuridae family. It is found in both Canada, the USA and Sea to Sky where most of us live, work and play. They are usually only found above 950 meters above sea level so if you see one around most house’s here, it is extremely rare. 950 meters above sea level is about 300meters above Whistler’s Main Gondola and about half way to Whistler Mountains mid station. Most common sightings will be on Alpine hikes, or bike rides. Good times!!
Yellow Pine Chipmunks length including tail is about 7 to 9 inches and weight for an adults is 1 to 2.5 lbs. It has at least 10 different calls; one sounds like a robin’s chirp and another, among the most common, is a sharp, accented kwist.
The Yellow Pine Chipmunk mostly burrows and lives underground at about 7 to 21 inches. The nests are commonly 1.5 to 3 feet long in an open area within the forest where there is usually one entrance, though there may also be short side openings.
Seeds are its most important food, and are eaten as they are available, When pinecones open up in the fall, this chipmunk climbs trees to get the seeds. It also eats some insects and fungi.
Breeding is early spring with average litters of about 5. It’s home range is usually only a few acres but depends on a number of factors most notably predators. These critters are very shy around humans. In the fall the animal stuffs its cheek pouches with food to be stored in its burrows. One food cache study contained 15 kinds of seeds, corn, and part of a bumblebee.
The species is currently healthy in large numbers. In Washington State individuals once observed this critter being active about seven months and hibernating five, waking to eat about every two weeks and emerging around April. This same study indicated a 97 percent survival rate. Phenomenal for a mammal of this size!
The yellow pine is most commonly found in Brushy areas interspersed with herbaceous vegetation and open conifer stands; shrubs typically present include snowberry, chinquapin, mountain mahogany, antelope brush, currant, and buckbrush. Depending on season, its colour ranges from really cool looking tawny hues to pinkish cinnamon. There are 5 distinct longitudinal dark stripes, that are evenly spaced and about equal in width. The Central 3 dark stripes extend to rump; lateral 2 only to mid-body. In open forest where the sun casts sharp shadows, the well-defined stripes of the Yellow-pine Chipmunk offer protective colouration.
It is not known if these Critters are related to Alvin, Simon or Theodore though input is apprecitated.
Have a great Easter 2011!
We fight the small sugar ants very often, and as eco-friendly operators, we rarely spray poison for these little guys because it alone doesn’t work!! Fortunately, we have a few other things that do.
Ant baits are a kind of poison that these ants take back to the nest. In most cases these method’s are not 100% environmentally friendly, but provided the the poison can be kept in good area’s that are close to monitoring (discreet locations: away from water, pets and where they are most effective: inside the ants). This area’s includes areas where kids won’t find them: behind the washer and dryer, for example because ants will most likely go where kids, pets and potential predators can’t. On your own you can search the Internet for boric acid bait recipes or, for not a lot of money we can solve your problem a lot easier and effectively. We do not recommend buying the tiny tin ant baits from home hardware type stores. In the end you will more than likely spend a similar amount to what a professional charges.
Here is a brief take on types, and how to get rid of Sugar Ants:
1) Pavement Ants: Sweet boric acid based ant baits should do the trick for pavement ants over a period of 7-10 days depending on the size of colony and a few other factors. The pavement ant is the most common sugar ant to invade local home and businesses in the area as well as across North America. In different continents sugar ants have different behaviors and the species in Australia where ants, spiders, and termites are in huge numbers pavement ants are amongst the largest insect species known. This being said, you may be familiar with these tiny dark little pavement ants excreting small mounds in the sand near sidewalks, driveways, and sides of buildings. Above is a picture:
2) Pharaoh Ants: Sweet baits, again, should suffice as proper ant control. This ant is particularly obnoxious because of its persistence in getting what it wants, and it will eat just about anything: sugars, proteins, you name it. In some instances, these ants are found in hospitals where sterilization standards are not good. The Pharaoh Ant is often blamed for transferring dangerous bacteria like Staphylococcus and Psuedomonas, according to different medical offices. Again sweet baits placed near trails or high ant traffic areas are the most efficient form of control.
3) Argentine Ants: A combination of protein-based and sweet baits may be effective ant control. It is believed argentine ants were accidentally imported by coffee shipments to New Orleans circa 1891. These little feisty critters have since been destroying North America’s environmental and ecological balance by killing off native ant species, thereby starving the natural predators of these species. They also form a symbiotic relationship with aphids (a common garden pest), tending to and even transporting aphids in return for the sweet secretions the aphids produce. Argentine ants will eat just about anything they can get their grubby hands on, and they are a particularly social species of ant that “teams up” with other colonies nearby. Broadcast baiting with insecticide granules seems to be the most effective way to get rid of argentine ant colonies outside, while sweet baits help to control Argentine Ants inside.
A number of American Action Groups Such as the Pesticide Action Network have brought to our attention some astounding information on American Pesticide use. Working on the Canadian side of the Border, I can assure you we are not much better! Here we go:
Each year, an estimated 1 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to American farms, forests, lawns and golf courses. More than 17,000 pesticide products are currently on the US market.
*Notice Washington State Usage: This rate is large due to the large number of crops grown there, mostly apples where it is the largest North American State or Provincial provider.
Pesticide applicators, farmers and farm workers, and communities near farms are often most at risk, but studies by the Centers for Disease Control show that all of us carry pesticides in our bodies. Golf courses use pesticides heavily, so do some schools and parks. Consumers also face pesticide exposure through food and water residues. For instance, atrazine is found in 94% of U.S. drinking water tested by the USDA.
Something we stand behind is Agroecology. It is the science behind sustainable farming and this powerful approach combines scientific inquiry with place-based knowledge and experimentation, emphasizing approaches that are knowledge-intensive, low cost, ecologically sound and practical. What can we call structural pest control, an industry that per capita (see below) was amongst the highest pesticide (insecticide) polluting industries ever? Strucpestology. Something we practice everyday and you heard it here first!
Home use of pesticides — which on a per acre basis outpaces use on farms by a ratio of 10 to 1 — puts families across the North America at unnecessary risk.
Much of this information is courtesy the PAN (Pesticide Action Network) and EPA (Environmentally Protection Agency) in the USA and is based on Agriculture being roughly 95% of the market and Structural is 5%.
Moths have stages when they look like a small caterpillar. These are called there larva stage, and it is also when they damage items of animal origin such as: wool, fur, silk and feathers. Moth larva also like dirty or older sometimes damaged clothing.
As an adult, these moths do not feed. They are rarely seen because like many other pests they tend to hide in the dark during daylight. The Indian meal moth, a common “pantry or stored product pest,” flies about during daylight, is often mistaken for one of these moths and should not be confused.
Casemaking clothes moth (Tinea pellionella)
These common clothing Moths are a buff gray color, 1/4 inch long, wings fold over body, and each front wing has three indistinct darker spots of scales. The larva is creamy white with a brown head. It produces a silken tube-like case in which it lives and carries around for protection. The head and legs are exposed only during feeding and movement. This case is camouflaged with bits of the material on which the larva has been feeding. Larva is approximately 1/2-inch long at maturity.
*Casemaking Clothing Moth Larva Picture
Webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella)
These also common clothing moths are a uniform Buff Color, 1/4 inch long, mall tuft or red hair on top of head. The larva is whitish colored with a brown head. It produces a silk-lined “tunnel” as it eats through or on the surface of a fabric. The moth is approximately 1/2-inch long at maturity.
*Webbing Clothing Moth Larva Picture
Control measures & Prevention
I. Conduct a regular inspection program of all susceptible items at least once a year. Take all items out of closets and drawers, and vacuum closets and drawers thoroughly to remove lint on which larvae may feed.
II. When making purchases, look for woolens and wool synthetic blends that have been treated by the manufacturer with a moth-resistant compound.
III. Good housekeeping helps keep these pests out. In the home, clean often to prevent lint, dust or hair from accumulating. Regular vacuum cleaning of rugs, carpets, drapes, upholstered furniture, pet bedding, closets, cracks and crevices in floors, and areas inside and behind heaters, furnace air ducts and vents is important. Particularly susceptible are areas that are under furniture that is seldom moved and along baseboards where wool lint may accumulate. After using the vacuum, empty the bag because it may contain eggs or larvae.
IV. Clean garments regularly. Thoroughly clean garments before storage. Clothes moths are attracted to articles soiled by food, beverages, perspiration and urine, rather than the clean wool itself. For furs, professional cleaning and cold storage is recommended.
V. Store articles properly. Place clean articles in tight storage containers. Good plastic bags sealed after the clean item is placed inside should prevent clothes moth infestation as long as the bag remains without punctures or tears. Also using a storage containers with tight fitting lids and seal storage containers or cartons with a good quality tape. All seams and joints should be taped over. If garments are completely clean when placed in sealed containers, they should be safe from clothes moths.
VI. Place garments in cold storage where temperatures remain below 30°F. Larvae are inactive at temperatures below 30°F. Many people assume that freezing temperatures will control these insects-not always so. Clothes moths have survived for long periods in unheated attics and barns in old furniture, clothing and blankets exposed to below-freezing temperatures. Although lower temperatures slow down or put a temporary halt to their activities, the clothes moths are usually not directly killed by them.
VII. If you have infested articles, you can often rid them of larvae and eggs by brushing and sunning them, or by having them dry cleaned. Vigorous brushing outdoors in bright sunshine, particularly of areas around cuffs, collars and other hidden places, if done periodically, can be effective in destroying clothes moths. If pillows, mattresses, or upholstered furnishings are infested, you may want to have them treated by a professional pest control firm, or dispose of the infested articles.
VIII. Moth proofing after cleaning or sunning can help prevent future infestations. Infested cabinets or closets should be vacuumed thoroughly to remove any wool lint from between boards or in corners.
IX. Cedar Blocks bought from a quality clothing store or made from a fresh higher quality cedar deter moths. By placing in your drawers and cabinets these cedar blocks will deter moths. If lower quality Cedar, every few months or so the blocks should be recut or replaced. Cedar oils are also available.
X. If in doubt call us, it’s free and it would be great to help out.
At Critter Get Ritter, we are leaders in environmentally friendly pest and wildlife control, cleaning and structural work (to name a few). From our streams, rivers and lakes; to the drinking water you, your family, employees and pets are exposed too, we keep your health in mind, and would like to share simple, green solutions and tips, to help you lighten our environmental footprint while reducing pests.
Especially in our warm, pacific northwest summers, pests are always ready to nibble on your treats (or you) while camping, barbecuing or eating/doing things outside.
Here are some simple, and environmentally friendly tips to keep those pests at bay.
1) Burning candles scented with essential oils makes a great centerpieces for backyard barbecues, but it also sends pests packing for the night, or at least until the party is over…
2) Bats, Frogs, dragonflies, ladybug beetles, spiders, praying mantises and crane flies outside of your home, you will help reduce the critter population, since these predators will feed on insect pests…
3) In gardens, use beneficial pests to keep your roses healthy: ladybug beetles and lacewings feast on aphids, and they can be purchased from us ((604)-902-7417) or your local nursery and hardware stores.
1) Prevention is key. First, make sure your window and door screens are free of holes and gaps that allow flies to enter. Keep food and condiments covered.
2) Flyswatters give you exercise and eliminate flies. Watch out for anything breakable when you swat!!
3) Reducing moisture and any gaps you can dry and wrap organic garbage in old newspapers before you place it in your trash receptacle. Doing this will reduce those unwanted visitors. Make sure your trash container has a properly fitting lid, which will deter flies.
4) A clean kitchen is a happy kitchen. During the heavy fly season, give your kitchen a thorough wipedown with pine oil cleaner. Pine oil is a natural fly repellent.
1) Remove the source! Most ants have a sweet tooth and by removing empty soda cans and bottles, as well as candy wrappers, you can reduce household ants. Children and pets may drop particles of food, which also will attract ants. So give your floors – carpeted and non-carpeted – a quick daily vacuum.
2) Also, be sure to wipe down those counters. Ants are attracted to organic matter, and particles of food left out on a kitchen counter will attract them.
3) If you see a trail of marching ants, follow them to the source. Watch where they come from and where they are going. After establishing their destinations, use these instructions:
A. Fill a bowl with soapy water (usually dish detergent does the trick), dip a sponge into the mixture and wipe up the ants from point A to point B. After you have wiped up most of the ants, place a teaspoon or so of soap into a plastic spray bottle filled with water, and finish them off.
B. Ant scouts will seek out food, and they leave a pheromone trail for all their sisters to follow. By using this green tip, you’ll be breaking that invisible chemical trail and cutting off the ants’ food source.
Fleas prefer to enter your home on your pets, Trojan-horse style. For each flea hitchhiking on your pet, there may 30 more in your pet’s environment, including inside your home. Rather than grabbing a can of bug spray, try these safe and environmentally sound alternatives:
Citrus contains a natural flea deterrent and by pouring a cup of boiling water over a sliced, scored lemon, the skin will release more citrus oil. In this case, more is better so let the mixture soak overnight, and sponge it on your dog or cat to kill fleas instantly.
Trap fleas in your home using a wide, shallow pan half-filled with soapy water. Place the pan on the floor and shine a lamp over the water. Fleas are attracted to heat, and will jump to the source and land in the water. The liquid detergent breaks the surface’s tension, preventing the flea from bouncing out.
Other ways to GO GREEN!
3)Use refillable water bottles to reduce the number of plastic bottles at our land fills.
4)Use energy efficient light bulbs.
Use Energy saving appliances.
5)Car pool, or use public transportation.
Thank you for taking the time to learn what you can do to help protect our planet.
Let’s keep these Critters off our property:
1) They carry disease;
2) Cause property damage; and
3) Affect pets and other wildlife natural to our eco-system.
Nematodes are microscopic roundworms that live in the soil, and save agricultural farmers billions each year. There are 16 thousand common id’d species and if scientists had more money and time, most estimate that number would be closer to one million. One species is known to live in vinegar (turbatrix aceti), another in German beer malts. Humans plays host to at least 50 species. Not only in are do they play a role in the the soil, and rotting vegetation with such dense numbers they occur in great variation.
These creatures are extremely diversity and flexible and many exist in a state of suspended animation (called cryptobiosis) in order to survive extreme conditions, such as dryness, heat or cold, returning to life when the environment becomes more favorable.
We are always looking to improve our eco-friendly green structural pest control practices, it would be great to enhance, and we have not overlooked the nematodes. Experimental phorid fly treatments have been successful for trade for pints at the local pub and we are looking to expand.
Delusory parasitosis is when a person describe sensations that feel like bugs worms, mites are biking, crawling or borrowing into under or over there skin.
In the past few years we have actually had a few cases of customers with this condition. It most cases it was caused by certain chemicals in laundry detergents and in one case the bounty dryer sheets.
If you every have any questions, can’t get into a dermatologist or are not sure what the problem is, we are happy to offer an inspection and advice from our 5 years of treating bed bugs, and all sorts of different things that may cause this disease.
Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease but are a pest of significant public health importance. They fit into a category of blood-sucking ectoparasites (external parasites) similar to head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis). Like head lice, bed bugs feed on the blood of humans but are not yet believed to transmit disease. What is significant is that other ectoparasites, such as body lice (Pediculus humanus corporis), are known to transmit several serious diseases. This being said, differences in the biology of the similar species of pests, such as body lice and head lice (or bed bugs) can greatly impact the ability of pests to transmit disease. The biggest issue with Bed bugs is there variety of negative physical health, mental health and economic consequences. Most have mild to severe allergic reactions to the bites with effects ranging from no reaction to a small bite mark to, in very rare (less than .5%)cases, anaphylaxis (severe, whole-body reaction). Some bite can also lead to secondary infections of the skin such as impetigo, ecthyma, and lymphanigitis. Mental health of people living in infested home include greater anxiety, insomnia and other systemic reactions. Research on the public health effects of bed bugs has been very limited over the past several decades, largely due to the decline in bed bug populations in the latter half of this century. Now that research is in full force (see Dr. Dini Miller Virgina Tech), and the media is all over what we like to call “Canadian insect paranoia”, we believe the potential for bed bugs to transmit diseases and their impact on public health is improving, and, more importantly there is always a professional to speak to a phone call away.
Bat bugs (Cimex Adjunctus)
In the same family of as bedbugs (cimicidae), bat bugs are closely related but primarily feed on bats.
Some believe bed bugs descended from bat bugs. Cave man and bats lived in close proximity to each other and it’s when bats abandoned the cave that the bugs made the jump to humans.
Bat bugs are rare in the sea to sky (more common in midwest) but have been found in area’s w/ significant bats. Otherwise microscopic examination is needed to distinguish them.
Like bed bugs, bat bugs have not been found to transmit any diseases and have a crazy form of reproduction. Males inseminate the female by piercing the female’s abdomen and depositing sperm directly into her bloodstream. In response to thistraumatic insemination, female bugs have evolved a spermalege, a paragenital structure on their abdomen that limits the damage by guiding the male’s sharp penile prong into a spongy area full of immune cells.
Controlling bat bugs requires humane elimination of any bats that are present in the home or building. This is accomplished by exclusion techniques also known as “building them out” (i.e., sealing entrance cracks and holes) and they cannot be killed. Vacuuming, steaming, residual spraying and a few other options can be used in area’s where the bats were roosting (shake tile and wood sidings, light fixtures, window casings, and other area’s) to help control any surviving bat
More questions and comments this week included one on the bedbug life, there feeding cycle and a comment that bedbugs is two words.
1) Bed BUGS:
Merriam-Webster, Oxford and most online dictionaries list it as one, however careful review of entomology bring us this fact:
Bed bugs is TWO words – not one. The general rule for writing out common names of insects is as follows. If the insect name is a misnomer (e.g., the dragonfly is NOT a fly and neither is a damselfly), then the whole name is written as one word. If it is not a misnomer, then it is written as two words (e.g., house fly, which is a real fly). The bed bug is a “true” bug and therefore is two words.
There ya go bugsters!!
2) Bed BUG life:
Females can deposit 3 to 8 eggs at a time, they hatch in 4-12 days, and lay 200-500 eggs in their lifetime
Feeding occurs every 5-10days and maturity is 35 to 48 days. By feeding and in optimal conditions their lives are actually shorter with a total estimated lifespan of under 7months.
Please feel free to hit us up with any more questions/comments or concerns you may have and remember early detection is key: the adults are pretty large, odds of getting them are very low and increase slightly if you are travelling lots. Most Whistler hotels and vacation rentals have preventative measures in place and if we are not already setup on a program there we are always happy to come take a look.
Here is a listing of every species of bat recorded in British Columbia (from Canadian Caver Website):
- California Myotis (Myotis californicus).
- Western Small-footed Myotis (Myotis ciliolabrum).
- Western Long-eared Myotis (Myotis evotis).
- Keen’s Long-eared Myotis (Myotis keenii).
- Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus).
- Northern Long-eared Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis).
- Fringed Myotis (Myotis thysanodes)
- Long-legged Myotis (Myotis volans).
- Yuma Myotis (Myotis yumanensis).
- Western Red Bat (Lasiurus blossevillii).
- Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus).
- Silver-haired Bat 3 (Lasionycteris noctivagans).
- Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus).
- Spotted Bat (Euderma maculatum).
- Townsend’s Big-eared Bat (Coryorhinus townsendii).
- Pallid Bat (Antrozous pallidus).
This totals 17 of the 18 recorded in Canada north of the 49th.
Part of the Whistler 2010 sustainability report and the Whistler Naturalist’s information on Bats is included below:
Bat distribution and diversity, as well as the structure of local bat communities are strongly influenced by environmental conditions, prey and roost availability (Findley 1993, Humphrey 1975 and Kalko et al 1996), and resource competition (hussar 1976). Latitude large determines bat species diversity (Willig and Selcer 1989). For example one island in the Panama Canal is home to a total of 66.
Dating back about 40 years ago to the rainbow lodge and our first ancestors here, there are historic records of at least 10 bat species from the Whitler area (Ricker undated). The current status is unclear for a few reasons including:
1) Development since list was created (much before a ski resort or thousands of homes were built), and;
2) Bats are difficult to ID. DNA is required for keens mytosis and a couple species require skull and bone identification.
Whistler Bat List:
- Townsend’s Big eared Bat (Corynorhinus townsendii) Blue*
- Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)
- HoaryBat (Lasiurus cinereus)
- Silver hairedBat (Lasionycteris noctivagans
- Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus)
- Yuma Myotis (Myotis yumanensis)
- Long legged Myotis (Myotis volans)
- California Myotis (Myotis californicus)
- Western Long eared Myotis (Myotis evotis)
- Keen’s Myotis (Myotis keenii) Red**
* Species at risk, and; ** Species Endangered
More Whistler 2010 sustainability information on bats is available here: http://www.whistler2010.com/cms-assets/documents/4763-627892.bioprojectprogress07.pdf page 46 ::)
The “Bed Bugs in North America” survey offers a look at the North American bed bug resurgence:
1. Those who have encountered bed bugs tend to be younger, live in urban areas and rent their homes. The incidence of bed bugs is three times higher in urban areas than in rural areas due to the factors such as larger population size, apartment living and increased travel and mobility which are conducive to the rapid spread and breeding of bed bugs .
2. Specifically in the USA Pests were encountered:
-17 percent of respondents in the Northeast;
-20 percent in the Midwest;
-20 percent in the South; and
-19 percent in the West.
3. Most believe that bed bug infestations are increasing.
- 80 percent are most concerned about encountering bed bugs at hotels;
- 52 percent on public transportation;
- 49 percent in movie theatres;
- 4 percent in retail stores;
- 40 percent in medical facilities;
- 36 percent in their own homes; and
- 32 percent equally pointed to places of employment and friends’ homes.
The fear of getting bitten topped the list of concerns.
4. As the public’s awareness of the bed bug resurgence grows, many are modifying their behaviors:
-27 percent have inspected or washed clothing upon returning from a trip;
-25 percent have checked a hotel room for bed bugs;
-17 percent have inspected or vacuumed a suitcase upon returning from a trip; and,
-12 percent have altered or canceled travel plans because of concern about bed bugs.
- 16 percent inspected second-hand furniture they have brought into their homes;
- 15 percent have checked dressing rooms when trying on clothing; and
- 29 percent have washed new clothing immediately upon bringing it home from a store.
5. Of the 13 percent of respondents who said they knew someone who had a bed bug infestation in their home:
- 40 percent said they avoided entering the infested home; and,
- 33 percent discouraged those who had the infestation from entering their own home.
6. Despite widespread exposure to information, most know little about bed bugs.
- Nearly half incorrectly believe that bed bugs transmit disease ;
- 29 percent inaccurately believe bed bugs are more common among lower income households, and,
- 37 percent believe bed bugs are attracted to dirty homes.
Highlighting the survey one in five has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has.
Another winter and another influx of Squirrel calls.
As requested by our customers included in this posting is some information on the smaller and often nuiscence whistler wildlife.
1) Douglas Squirrels
-These are the only squirrels you see running around Whistler;
-Can start breeding as early as Feb but it is doubtful if it stays so cold here!;
-Territory can be as large as 10,000 square meters although this is debatable. We have dropped and marked squirrels in the Cheakamus demonstration forest and they have returned to as far as Nordic within a few days…
-Preditors include martens and cats; and
-Litters of around 4 in spring.
The easiest way to keep these creatures away from your house is by keeping your yard tidy of pinecones and mulch while also ensuring branches are at least 3meters away from any part of house (including decks).
2) Yellow-Pine Chipmunks
-These are the only chipmunks you see running around Whistler (usually at higher 800-1300m elevations);
-More to come!