Sustainable Pest Control
Here is an easy explanation, in two-three sentences, on how to properly light and maintain fires in your wood burning fireplaces:
A) Tinder B) Kindling C) Wood.
If your wood hasn’t sat split and covered properly 2 years, Moisture meters are a good idea for your wood. Its usually around 15-20 percent for firewood and kindling 0-10 percent.
Even though its challenging with the snow and rain on coast, these two-three points, provide a simple and easy explanation of how to light fires and burn responsibly.
- Chimney Sweeping & Inspection;
- Vent and Air Duct Services;
- Emergency Services; and
If you havent already contact us for more information
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.
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
“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. (604) 849-5416 in Squamish and (604) 364-7417 in Vancouver or [email protected]
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
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.
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…
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.
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…
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.
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.