Summer is something we all look forward to. Swimming, barbecues, warm sun, ants, wasps. Wait, what? That’s right – summer is just as fun for pests as it is for humans. They sneak their way into your lives and can quickly become a huge problem. Summer is the peak time for certain infestations, which can ruin your summer entirely. Who are these icky invaders? What do they want? And how do we stop them from getting in? Get all of the information you need to get prepared for the fight against summer pests.
Common Summer Pests in Toronto
Everyone has their share of critter problems, and there are a few common denizens that may decide your home is a pretty sweet place to set up shop. In the greater Toronto area you’re likely to see:
- Ants – There are two main species of ants that you may encounter in your home or apartment in Toronto. Carpenter ants and pavement ants both have the power to be destructive, especially when ant colonies are left to grow. And grow. And grow.
Carpenter ants love moist wood that they can burrow through. Some animals are super cute when they burrow. This isn’t one of them. Carpenter ants are busy creatures and they won’t hesitate to cause some damage while they get nice and cozy. If left untreated, these ants have the potential to cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home.
Pavement ants are not nearly as destructive, but they can be supremely annoying to deal with. These are the ants that make those little sand piles, and their nests can get large. Some ants will wander away from the nest and into your home.
- Bedbugs – Bedbugs can really attack at any time, but they do like warm areas. Often, people pick up bedbugs from other places, and once there is an infestation in your home, it can be tricky to get rid of. Bedbugs are ready and willing to bite, and they are difficult to spot without a professional inspection.
- Wasps and carpenter bees – A wasp can refer to several different insects, including hornets and yellow jackets. Wasps are sometimes aggressive, especially if their nests are disturbed. They get started in the spring and then grow their nests (sometimes to the size of a basketball). Getting stung is extremely painful and can potentially be fatal to someone with allergies. Their cousin, the carpenter bee, actually looks a little cute, but those dudes are destructive! Although they don’t sting, they can be found burrowing their chubby little bodies through wood, which can lead to costly repairs down the road.
- Cockroaches – Seriously gross. Cockroaches are a major phobia for some people, and it just gives you that “ugh” feeling knowing that there are cockroaches in your home or business. Toronto cockroaches tend to get more active as the weather gets warmer, and their feces can contaminate your kitchen and turn off just about anybody. While it’s hard to prevent cockroaches entirely, you can take steps to try and keep them away.
How Do They Get In?
The short answer is: by any means necessary. Depending on the critter, they may find comfort in different parts of your house. Some, like wasps will usually build nests under eaves or railings, but occasionally will find their way into walls through cracks from the outside. Having a wasp nest inside your wall is particularly unnerving. It’s feels like there’s always someone watching you. Creepy.
Carpenter ants, on the other hand, are really into damp, moist wood. In nature, carpenter ants really like things like rotting tree stumps, so if they can find anything like that in your home, it’s like an open invitation. This can include indoor spaces like cabinets near sinks and dishwashers. Carpenter ants don’t eat wood, they just burrow through it. And they’re really good at it. Worker ants support the queen and make room for the queen to lay even more eggs.
Bedbugs are the intrepid travelers of the world. They love to get into luggage, bed sheets, and clothing. It can sometimes be weeks before you even realize that they’ve invaded your home. Heck, they even like furniture. Essentially, these little guys love to make your home their home, and it can be a major task to eradicate them. That’s why you need to call a Toronto bed bug exterminator for a long-term bedbug elimination solution.
Wasps tend to find eaves and railings rather attractive, though yellow jackets will make their nests underground. Wasps love being close to water if possible, and yellow jackets have been known to relish waste bins. They can sometimes get into your house through gaps in the walls and will even occasionally make nests within the walls, creating a really creepy situation where your walls are buzzing.
Carpenter bees love, love, love untreated wood and will happily burrow their way in. They don’t typically come indoors, but that doesn’t mean they can’t deal some serious damage to your house.
Cockroaches, however, are a different story altogether. They are among the most despised of all pests, and they really bring a “gross” factor to your home. Cockroaches have been known to survive exposure to nuclear materials, and some can even survive decapitation. Don’t be totally disheartened though. Roaches can get in through cracks in the walls and through holes in screens. They are tough little creatures, and it can take a little bit of work to get rid of them. Contact an exterminator before the population gets out of control.
Pests Are Harmful!
We could just make a blanket statement and say that all pests are harmful in some way—that’s why they’re called pests, after all. There are some creatures out there that we consider pests that actually are actually helpful, but it’s a different story when it comes to sharing your home with these critters. Summer pests can be quite harmful to humans and pets with regards to both health and home.
Pests can be bad for your health. Members of the wasp family, for example, can be extremely dangerous. Wasps, like bees, inject venom into their victim when they sting. Most bees’ stingers are a one-time use situation, but unfortunately for us, wasps are special. They can sting victims repeatedly, causing painful, itchy, swelling welts. Humans aren’t the only ones at risk—our furry four-legged friends may find wasps fun to play with until they realize wasps don’t like to play. Both animals and humans are also at risk for allergies, which can cause extreme swelling that can make your airways close up, leading to suffocation and possibly death.
Other creatures wreak havoc in different ways. Cockroaches, for example, play the long game. They love dank, icky spaces and warm, moist areas, and when they come out to play at night they bring urine, feces, and shedding skin with them. These particles can get into the air and create problems for asthmatics. Even if you’re not sensitive to it, who really wants to inhale roach dust?
Bedbugs bring with their own special breed of problems, including itchy, painful bites and a problem that just doesn’t want to go away. In addition, bedbugs pull some psychological warfare tactics. Even if you’re not actively getting bitten, it always feels like something is crawling and getting in your things—which they are. And when the problem is finally eradicated, it may be a long time before you can feel comfortable in your own home.
Pests are harmful not just to your health but also to your home. Carpenter bees and carpenter ants have their names because of their affinity for wood. They can deal some serious damage to your house if the situation goes untreated. Contact a Toronto exterminator and stop the problem before it gets worse and causes expensive repairs.
The best way to stop pests is to create an environment that is simply repulsive to them, and difficult to invade. While you may not be able to stop an invasion entirely, there are some things that you can do to prevent them from getting in or keep problems from getting out of hand.
- Seal Your Home – One thing that you can do, or have an exterminator do, is to thoroughly inspect the outside of your home or business for any cracks or holes in the foundation, walls, and vents. Leaving these spaces open is like giving a grand invitation to roaches and other pests. These gaps should be sealed up as soon as possible. In addition, you should make sure that any screen doors and windows are repaired and intact.
- Trim Foliage – Shrubbery and trees that come right up next to your house or business is an easy way for pests to get closer to their goal. Wasps, for example, sometimes make their nests in trees, and if that’s close to your building it can become an easy way to crawl into the walls or come in through a window.
- Protect Your Trash – Both indoors and outdoors, your trash should have a tight lid. Ants, roaches, and yellow jackets love digging through your trash for food—don’t make it easy for them. Trash should also be taken out on a regular basis. Letting it linger is literally presenting pests with a ready food source.
- Protect Your Food – While your trash does need to be protected, don’t forget that your food needs protection as well. Keep food in containers with tight lids to cut off temptation for ants and roaches.
- Avoid Leaks – Check all of your pipes for leaks. Many critters like a good source of water, and roaches in particular love damp places.
- Keep Things Clean – One of the best ways to create an unappealing space for critters is to make it more appealing for humans—win-win! Keep countertops clean, take your trash out regularly, and avoid clutter. Don’t forget to sweep or vacuum! Yes, chores suck, but not as much as dealing with an infestation.
How to Get Rid of Pests
There are some things that a homeowner or business owner can do to get rid of pests, depending on how severe the situation is. At some point, however, you may need to call an exterminator and get much needed professional intervention.
Spray and zappers are great ways to take early measures to stop pests from taking over your building. You can also look for pest entryways and seal them off to prevent at least some of them from getting in. When it comes to wasps, they start building their nests in the spring, and occasionally you can catch nests while they are still very small. These nests may be sprayed, but it’s not recommended if you have allergies.
Traps may work in certain situations, but again, it depends on how bad the infestation is. There are some roach and ant bait traps that can sometimes prove effective, but it won’t make a huge impact if the problem is larger. If carpenter bees are the problem, you can try to seal off their burrows with wood putty while they are out foraging. The other way to possibly get rid of carpenter bees yourself is to have your wood treated with insecticide, but you may want to speak with an expert before taking that step, especially if you have curious kids and pets.
While there are some things you can do yourself to get rid of pests, it’s really a better idea to contact a professional Toronto pest control expert to assess the problem and create long term solutions for getting rid of pests and keeping them away before they cause health problems and building damage. Don’t let your summer get destroyed by pests—take the steps necessary to stops them right in their gross little tracks.
The best way to deal with pests is to essentially make your home as awful as possible (from a pest perspective). By preparing for the fight before it becomes a problem, you can possibly prevent what could be a costly infestation. If you find that you need a little extra help, give us a call at 647-708-7378 or reach out online to get help making your home positively repulsive to pests.