As the weather heats up in Ontario, there is an increase in activity. The most “popular” pests are ants, flies, spiders, earwigs and mosquitoes. We all know that these tiny invaders can be good food for birds and other insects, but we don’t want them in our homes and introduce health risks, or when they damage gardens. A few ants or a couple of flies are expected, but an infestation is no fun.
Learn a bit about our common pests, and how to discourage them when they become more than a single annoyance!
Ants – There are over 12,000 species of ants, so it’s no surprise that they seem to be everywhere in the summer.
Carpenter Ants: These large, black ants have front jaws that chew through wood, especially cedar, when tunneling or building their nests. These ants can hollow out entire structural materials, causing huge damage.
- To Discourage: Remove rotted wood under decks, on porches, around windows, inside roofs, etc.
Little Black Ants: By early spring, these little guys come out of their hiding places in walls and ceilings in search of food scraps. They eat almost anything and multiply quickly.
- To Discourage: Put food away and remove garbage frequently. Follow one ant to his entry point (perhaps a kitchen corner), and place an ant bait trap. When the ant carries the poison back to the nest, no more ants (until the next group arrives).
Pharaoh Ants: These light-coloured tiny ants love to build nests indoors (especially apartments). They’ll gravitate to the nearest source of food or water, which likely means your kitchen or bathroom.
- To Discourage: Treat drains so they aren’t clogged with debris. Use bait traps.
Earwigs – Earwigs aren’t dangerous to humans but are large and unpleasant. They are reddish-brown, and have pincers (harmless to humans). They also do a lot of damage in a garden.
- To Discourage: They require moisture, which means they are more prevalent in a wet summer. Keep moisture away from foundations and loosen areas with matted leaves and mulch.
Flies – Ontario has three main types: the house fly, fruit fly and cluster fly. They enter via open doors, windows, cracks and broken screens. Flies spread disease, and contaminate where they land. The cluster and fruit fly breed in decaying organic matter (like a compost pot).
- To Discourage: Remove garbage frequently. Don’t let flies stay in your home where they can lay eggs. Get a fly swatter. Trap fruit flies with a mixture of soap and vinegar.
Mosquitoes – Mosquitoes are active during early morning and early evening. They like moisture, and when they come out in swarms, expect a rain shower. Mosquitoes can carry a range of disease.
- To Discourage: Use repellent, trim back vegetation and remove standing water from gutters, birdbaths and flower pots.