May month

01/05/2019

Spiders

Just like all spiders, the species that live in our homes have eight legs. Their bodies are divided in two parts: the cephalothorax (the head and thorax together) and the abdomen. They never have wings. Their shapes, sizes, and colours vary.

Development and Behaviours

Female spiders usually lay their eggs in a bag woven with silk threads. They deposit the bag in a sheltered place or keep it with them. They hibernate, no matter what stage they are at in their life cycle. The eggs usually hatch a few weeks after they are laid. The young who hatch already look like adults. They do not undergo metamorphosis but will molt a few times before reaching their adult size. While most spiders come from the outside, a few species have a tendency to make their home inside our homes. They feed on insects that they hunt or that they capture in their webs. They also have silk-producing organs that spin webs used to build nests, capture prey or build cocoons that protect the eggs. Spiders may have up to eight eyes, but, interestingly enough, most of them are myopic. Most spiders are nocturnal and timid, and they prefer fleeing to confrontation.

Prevention

It is recommended that you limit evening exterior lighting a minimum, and that you keep light away from doors and windows, both before and after treatment. Light attracts insects which, in turn, attract spiders.

Recommendations

Using a broom or vacuum cleaner, frequently clean baseboard heaters and corners of rooms to eliminate any food debris.

Outside, yellow electric lights don’t attract as many insects and, consequently, not as many spiders near the house.

 

Mice

Mice can be distinguished from young rats by their small eyes and legs. They weigh between 30 g and 45 g, their bodies are between 6 cm and 9 cm long, and they have large ears. Their tails are almost as long as their bodies. Their fur is gray and their stomach is lighter in colour.

Development and Behaviours

Female mice have litters of six to eight babies and can have up to eight litters over their life cycle. These small rodents usually live less than one year. All five of their senses are very developed. They are curious by nature, and they often end up making messes anywhere they go. They snack about twenty times a day on small quantities of food that they can find just about anywhere. They especially feed at night and are most active at night. Inside buildings, mice generally settle in attics. Everything within a 4.5 m (15 foot) radius of their nest is considered to be their territory.

Prevention

  • Trim lawns as short as possible and remove likely locations for nesting by removing anything encumbering the building’s surroundings.
  • Ensure that all trash is in containers with tight-fitting covers.
  • Eliminate water sources such as leaky faucets, pipes with condensation on them, and open-air drains.
  • Keep your kitchen clean and ensure that your pet’s food is in properly closed metal or glass containers.
  • Block all possible openings, especially those which are near the ground, because mice can enter through openings as small as 0.6 cm (¼ inch) wide.

 

Rats

Sewer rats are also called brown rats, grey rats and Norway rats. Their ears are small and appear to be half buried in its fur. They are reddish-brown or greyish-brown. Very gregarious, rats usually live in very hierarchical groups.

Development and Behaviours

Female rats can have four to six litters per year, each with eight to twelve babies. The rat’s life span, in their natural environment is approximately one year; males live generally longer than females. Rats usually come out at night and normally are more active when people are away from home. When they are starved or used to a location, these rodents can also feed during the day. They prefer food that is rich in fats, but since they are not difficult, they will eat whatever they can find. Their senses of smell, touch, taste, and hearing are very well-developed. However, their vision is weak. They are suspicious by nature, especially the adults, and any new objects in their territory will cause them to react. Rats are excellent swimmers. They establish themselves usually near a water source, whether its a sewer or water pipes that sweat because they must drink at least once per day.

Prevention

Check the plumbing system, since 99 % of the time, it is through there that rats find their way into buildings. A backflow valve is often the first line of defense in urban areas against these pests that invade our sewers.
Make sure that garage doors as well as other house entryways are sealed and properly shut.

Keep all household waste in adequate containers. In the case of an inside rat infestation, food must also be kept out of their reach in sealed containers as much as possible. Do not use any poison inside, because rats like to store food that interests them in hiding places. This poisoned food could then be accessible to children or pets, or even be in contact with other food. These dangerous products can then cause more problems than they fix. Cadavers of poisoned rats can also cause odours and attract flies in places that are potentially inaccessible.

 

Carpenter ants

Carpenter ants live in colonies with strict hierarchical organization. Thus, there are queens, workers, and males, each with different roles and appearances. The queen is the largest insect of the colony, while the workers have a morphology that varies depending on their role. As a result, it is complicated to identify the species of ant that has infested your home by relying only on size.

Development and Behaviours

Carpenter ants only have one queen per colony. Everything starts with the flight of a huge quantity of sexually mature adults that will mate during flight, called “swarming.” After mating, the female that is now the queen loses her wings and looks for an ideal spot to lay her first eggs: a dying tree, a rotting stump, or sometimes inside a building. It is important to know that carpenter ants are not woodborers, they don’t eat wood. Rather, they hollow out places to create a either a main colony or satellite colony (one without a queen).

It takes at least three years for a colony to reach maturity. At that point, it contains at least 2,000 worker ants. The queen begins to produce, at the end of each summer, sexually mature, winged insects destined to start colonies of their own.
Carpenter ants then dig their nests in places ideal for their expansion, such as a insulating urethane panel or a piece of wood whose density has been affected by humidity, making it easier to hollow out places within the latter.

A house may be infested by ants in four ways:

  1. A queen can arrive in your house and found a new colony
  2. A colony or part of a colony can migrate as a result of major stress
  3. Material containing ants, such as firewood is taken into the house
  4. A satellite nest is formed, without a queen. That is the most frequent cause in Quebec.

Recommendations

  • Carefully survey the area to find where the ant nest is.
  • Modify the conditions that favour proliferation of carpenter ants: eliminate all rotten or infested wood around the building.
  • Fix, if necessary, any problems caused by water infiltration, because it damages wood structures.
  • Keep food in sealed containers during infestations.

If ants come from outside to get food in the building, a seasonal outside treatment could solve the problem. When ants are present in your home, a plan that is environmentally friendly and safe for all inhabitants will be established with you by a V Extermination technician. Contact us now for a free estimate!

 

Pavement ants

Pavement ants are small, and as their name states, make their nests under pavement. Their nests may be easily recognized by the small mounds of sand found on the ground in pavement cracks or in the grass. They are very active at the end of the spring and in early summer. Pavement ants range in colour from light brown to black with an appendage that is lighter than the rest of the body. They are 2.5 mm to 3 mm long and are slender with bent antennae. They also have parallel lines on their head and thorax.

Development and Behaviours

Ants are social insects that live in colonies and their favourite food is aphid honeydew. They also feed on live or dead insects, flower nectar and any sweet organic matter within their reach. They make their nest in sandy soil in lawns and other surfaces. The exterior of ant nests are visible as several small mounds with little openings. They get inside buildings through cracks in the building’s foundations, often after heavy rain.

Recommendations

If ants are present near your house, have the visible nests on your property treated. By excavating the sand under paving stones, ants end up creating uneven areas under the stones. They often try to enter buildings looking for water and food, causing problems that can require intervention by a pest management technician. Most of the time, ant colonies can be eradicated by an outside treatment consisting of the safe application of a long-lasting insecticide against these invading visitors. Contact us to obtain a free estimate.