Are Pesticides Safe? A Response to ‘Phosphine pesticide used to kill bedbugs causes Fort McMurray baby’s death’

Bed Bug on Skin

Sad News and a Wake Up Call for Canadians

You may have heard some very sad national news earlier this week about a mother in Alberta who while trying to kill bedbugs with illegally imported pesticide accidentally poisoned her 5 children, killing her 8-month old baby and leaving her other 4 hospitalized children in critical condition. You can read CBC’s coverage of this story here: Mother using phosphine pesticide to kill bed bugs causes Fort McMurray baby’s death

*Update February 27, 2015: The second youngest child in this family, a 2-year-old boy, has also died due to exposure to the highly toxic phosphine tablets.

This is an extremely unfortunate situation. As a team member of Advantage Pest Control Inc. I feel obliged to comment on this, although it is a truly difficult subject to discuss.

Government Regulations Serve a Purpose

What I would first like to emphasize is the importance of learning from this so that similar mistakes are avoided in the future. Most importantly to note, pesticides, especially potent ones such as phosphine gas and other strictly regulated chemicals, are not to be handled carelessly, and government regulations of their use are not to be taken lightly. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency of Health Canada and the Ministry of the Environment (in Ontario) regulate such chemicals so that they do not cause harm to people, animals or the environment. Therefore following these regulations is not an option, it is the law. Such laws have been put in place in order to protect everyone after all, and a lack of knowledge and research on such matters can prove deadly, as demonstrated in this recent occurrence in Alberta.

In this particular case, the use and application of phosphine legally requires a licensed fumigation professional. This is important. Under Ontario’s Pesticide Licensing System, not all exterminator licenses cover fumigation.

Therefore, I sincerely urge everyone to do their research when it comes to any kind of pesticide.

The Best Pest Control Solution

Alongside your research, the best solution to a pest problem is hiring a reputable pest control company to take care of it. A reputable company will have highly experienced technicians who are fully licensed exterminators. They will handle all chemicals safely and in accordance with government regulations.

Here at Advantage especially, our number one priority is to offer quality pest control that is safe for everybody. The first thing our technicians ask when they arrive at a customer’s home is, “do you have any kids or pets?” Safety is extremely important to us. For example, when treating mice and ants, even without kids or pets, we always place bait stations in safe and inaccessible places around the home. In fact we always practice careful consideration of the environment and specific conditions with all pests.

On the opposite end of the quality spectrum, cheap costs can result in some very unfortunate incidents as many already know. It is usually more of a waste of money to hire a cheap exterminator whose credentials are questionable anyhow, as results are usually reflective of the service cost. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Therefore hiring a qualified pest control professional is the best way to go.

What about those who cannot afford professional pest control services?

Be Smart, Be Safe, Educate Yourself

If hiring a professional is not within your budget, make sure you educate yourself on any and all DIY pest control products you wish to use before using or even purchasing them. Do your research. Make sure any pesticides or non-chemical products you use are legally available to the public, and make sure you carefully read and follow all label instructions exactly as written. Do not take a risk when it comes to your health and well-being, as well as that of your family, pets, neighbours, and environment. Life is too precious to be wasted due to a lack of awareness. Therefore, ask questions, educate yourself and pass on this message to others.

We Are Here To Help Everyone

On our part, our pest control specialists here at Advantage are always willing and happy to answer any questions you may have or offer any advice you may need regarding pest control, even if you do not purchase any products or services from us. We are a family-owned company and so we care about you and your family.

So if you ever have any questions regarding any pest issues, please do not hesitate to call us at 416-840-4040

or email us at info@pestservices.ca

Our specialists are available to speak to you every day from 8am to 8pm ET.

Together, let’s help prevent incidents such as these from happening again and help pest control be practiced as safely as possible in Toronto, the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada, and eventually around the world.

Sincerely,

George

 

Advantage Pest Control Inc. © 2015

PestServices.ca

 

Please also read: Health Canada Warns Canadians Not to Use Unregistered Bedbug Control Products

 

Winter Ants Inside Your Home or Business Office

Carpenter Ants

Are you asking yourself “It’s winter, why am I seeing ants inside my house?”

It’s often mistakenly believed that if you’ve found ants inside during the winter it must mean they have come in to find shelter from the cold. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. If you have ants inside your home or business this time of year, it undoubtedly means an ant colony has already established a nest inside your home or business building, usually somewhere inside the walls. The ones that are outside are in hibernation. In the spring and summer months it is possible to see ants who have a nest outside venture inside looking for sources of food. In the winter, however, this is definitely not the case. Since most houses and buildings are temperature controlled, ant colonies established inside the structure of a building do not hibernate. Thus, they need to continue looking for food somewhere, so they come inside if they have not done so already. Another reason you are seeing ants suddenly appearing now is because the humidity in your house has decreased and the ants are looking for moisture. All the heat that is being pumped throughout your home’s central heating system or from space heaters causes the air to become very dry and ants cannot survive well in that environment in the walls. Therefore they come out looking for sources of moisture and that’s when many homeowners see the little critters. This is why in the winter you will usually find ants near a bathtub or bathroom sink, in the kitchen sink, in the laundry room, and other areas where there is running water inside your home or business building. Especially for very cold days such as those Toronto and surrounding cities in Ontario have been having recently, this is quite common.

So if you’ve seen ants inside, please do not ignore the problem! It’s best to treat the issue as soon as you find out, before the infestation gets worse. With ants, if they are not managed, they just continue to grow their colonies and exponential damage will happen to the structure of your home. Also, it is important for the queen to be eliminated; otherwise the problem will not be resolved. If left untreated, some individuals may have multiple colonies with multiple queen ants established inside their homes or office buildings. This makes it much more difficult to eliminate an infestation. That is why going with professional service is so beneficial. Not only do licensed technicians use much more potent products than those available to the public, but highly qualified technicians have the knowledge and expertise to provide the most effective and efficient treatment. Although not all exterminators out there are equal, we here at Advantage Pest Control Inc. are committed to offering you the best service possible with our highly skilled and experienced pest control specialists. We also offer a 1 year guarantee when we service you for ants, so if you need additional service within 1 year of your treatment, we service you at no additional charge.

So do call us at 416-297-8010 or email us at info@pestservices.ca if you need any pest control services! Specialists are available to speak to you every day between 8am and 8pm!

Ants Toronto – A Division of Advantage Pest Control Inc. © 2015

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The Christmas Mouse

For everyone celebrating, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Advantage Pest Control team!

Here’s a little something festive we found!

Christmas Rodent
Christmas Rodent

 The Christmas Mouse (Song by Erick Traplin)

One early Christmas Eve, before Santa came,
A mouse snuck out of his little hole and licked a candy cane.

Before he could escape, he heard the sound of little hooves,
It was Santa’s little reindeer, prancing on the roof.

Down the chimney Santa came and stood before the mouse,
And asked him if he was the owner of the house.

The mouse was very pleased and held himself up tall,
Said, “I am the little mouse, who lives inside the wall.”

And I scurry “round by night, looking for a bite,
A little scrap of food, to take home to my wife,

Who lives with me inside the wall, with my children all
Oh, I am the little mouse, who lives inside the wall.

Well, Santa laughed so hard, a tear fell from his eye,
To see a mouse so proud, and not the least bit shy.

He said I can’t recall, meeting one so brave and small,
As the little mouse, who lives inside the wall.

Santa wiped a joyful tear from his twinkling eye,
Then Santa asked the mouse, with what he could supply.

A fire truck, a tricycle, or a big red ball,
Anything at all for the mouse inside the wall.

Oh, it would be so nice, if I could have a slice,
A little piece of pie, to take home to my wife.

Who lives with me inside the wall, with my children all.
Said the little mouse, who lives inside the wall.

Santa reached inside his pack, brought out a pie so small,
That it would even fit, within the mouse’s tiny paw.

And every time you took a bite, it came back to its all,
And gave it to the little mouse, who lives inside the wall.

Then Santa quickly filled the stockings hanging in a row,
And with a merry Christmas, up the chimney he did go.

The mouse then sang a song, as he ran off down the hall.
Sang, I am the little mouse, who lives inside the wall

And I scurry ’round by night, looking for a bite,
A little scrap of food, to take home to my wife,

Who lives with me inside the wall, with my children all.
Oh, I am the little mouse, who lives inside the wall.
Oh, I am the little mouse, who lives inside the wall

Copyright 1993 by Erick Traplin. All rights reserved.

 

Now of course that’s sweet in a Christmas song, but no one wants to celebrate Christmas with a mouse in their house!

If you need mice control services anywhere in the Greater Toronto Area or surrounding cities, call us at 416-840-4040 to speak to a specialist today!

Mention you follow our blog when booking and receive a special 9% holiday discount!

 

P.S. Have you read our recent blog post about mice control?

If not, we highly recommend it: Mice Control is More than Just Extermination

 

Mice Toronto – A Division of Advantage Pest Control Inc. © 2014

MiceToronto.com

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Holiday Pest Humour At Its Best

Do you follow us on Twitter?

If you do you would have seen this very fitting Christmas card we retweeted yesterday!

Holiday pest humour is the best 😀

Happy Holiday season everybody! May it be mice-free!

 

Do you need mice control services? Call us at 416-840-4040 or email us at info@pestservices.ca to speak to a rodent control specialist today!

Mice Toronto – A Division of Advantage Pest Control Inc. © 2014

MiceToronto.com

PestServices.ca

Bed Bugs, A Prevailing Problem in Toronto

Bed bug

Have you ever heard of the Bed Bug Registry? It is a free, public database of bedbug sightings in Canada and the United States, with reports dating back to 2006.

Looking through some of the approximately 2270 bed bug reports in the Greater Toronto Area, one may be surprised, shocked and perhaps even appalled at the number of these reports, and some of the stories that accompany them. As a new member of the Advantage Pest Control Inc. team, I know I certainly am. I have read more than just a handful of bed bug infestation horror-stories from all around the city of Toronto, and as all well-informed professionals will agree, this issue is only getting worse.

Bed bugs have and continue to spread throughout the GTA in increasing numbers year-round. This is not only a serious issue that needs to be addressed, but one that needs to be tackled much more responsibly by all those involved.

One major issue in many bed bug infested Toronto residences is the landlords’ outright refusal to deal with the infestation. So many reports are from traumatized tenants who have done everything they could possibly do on their own to help with the issue, and still their landlords refuse to follow through with their legal obligations of hiring an Ontario licensed pest control service provider. (See Bed Bugs Infestations – Rights and Responsibilities in Ontario, as outlined by the City of Toronto’s Public Health department.)

Some landlords and property managers do take some action, but not adequately or quickly enough to actually get rid of the infestation. As such, infestations in buildings only get worse, spreading from one unit to many others, causing even more people to suffer the stress of a bed bug infestation. With the infestations continued to be left untreated, the living conditions for affected tenants can become unbearable. This is especially saddening for those who simply do not have the means to deal with their infestation or move into better living conditions. One must remember, if an entire building is infested, even if one unit is treated, re-infestation is bound to happen. Bed bugs are highly mobile, great at hiding and can survive up to one year from one feeding alone, so treating one unit while leaving an adjacent one untreated will not eradicate the infestation for long. Bed bugs are undeniably difficult pests to treat.

Even more unfortunate is that for many who do end up moving from their bed bug infested residences, if they are not careful enough, they end up bringing the bed bugs with them to their new residence. This is one way bed bugs continue to spread throughout the city.

Another unfortunate fact is that many people unknowingly and even knowingly bring in infested furniture that has been thrown out, further contributing to the spreading of bed bugs. Many individuals are uninformed about bed bugs and so it is common for thrown-away and infested furniture (that has even been clearly labeled to have bed bugs) to be picked up by passers-by within a day.

Therefore, more awareness and knowledge of how bed bugs live and spread is also incredibly needed.

With that mentioned, one cannot say landlords are all to blame. Indeed, some landlords are honest people who wish to provide their tenants with good living conditions and as such follow their legal obligations of hiring an Ontario licensed pest control service provider who offers thorough bed bug treatments. In such cases, bed bug infestations still reoccur or are never eliminated in the first place due to tenants’ lack of preparation and cooperation. This is also very unfortunate, further showing the many accompanying issues that come with Toronto’s bed bug problem.

When resolving any problem, cooperation from all parties involved is essential. This is especially imperative when treating a space for bed bugs.

This includes the pest control companies and technicians that offer the bed bug extermination services as well. Everyone involved in treating for bed bugs must do their part in order for treatment to be successful, and as much as landlord and tenant cooperation is important, pest control service providers must also offer quality service.

And since bed bugs are extremely difficult to eradicate completely, not all pest control services are alike.

This is why at Advantage Pest Control Inc. we offer integrated pest management including heat treatments for bed bug infestations. In fact we offer an integrated approach when treating all kinds of pests. Customer satisfaction is our number one concern. We understand how difficult it is dealing with a bed bug infestation and we want you to be bed bug free!

So if you or a loved one are currently dealing with a bed bug problem, do not hesitate to call us at 416-840-4040. A bed bug specialist will be happy to speak to you and book a service as early as within 24-48 hours. The earlier the treatment after detection of bed bugs, the better! (with sufficient preparation of course)

Until next time, don’t bring in any furniture off the street, and stay pest-free!

Toronto Bed Bugs – A Division of Advantage Pest Control Inc. © 2014

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Mice Control is More than Just Extermination

Here at Advantage Pest Control we are proud to offer our customers integrated pest management. For mice control specifically, treatment in the form of putting down bait stations and other extermination methods is only one aspect of our service. Our mice specialists offer a thorough inspection of the property being serviced along with recommendations based on the inspection on how to proactively prevent future infestations. One example of this is locating potential rodent entry points and making the appropriate recommendations on how to seal or cover such holes and openings.

Just the other day, one of our technicians serviced a home for mice with two very attractive rodent entry points.

Mice Entry Point: Cold Cellar Vent
Mice Entry Point: Vent for a cold cellar
Mice Entry Point: Dryer Vent
Mice Entry Point: Vent for a dryer

As pictured above, vents are definite easy entry points for both mice and rats. Rodents simply crawl through them and get inside your house. Dryer lint is especially attractive as well, as it is wonderful material for creating nests. In this particular case, our technician found droppings in both of these locations.

Therefore, when choosing a pest control company for your mice control needs, make sure you pick a company that offers more than just extermination services. Here at Advantage Pest Control Inc., we are proud to offer all encompassing services that not only help you to treat your mice issue at the present moment, but also offer you personalized recommendations for proactive preventative maintenance. This integrated approach along with our wealth of knowledge and experience makes our services truly unique.

So give us a call and speak to a mice control specialist today: 416-840-4040

Even if you do not currently have a mouse issue, our leading rodent control specialists are more than happy to provide you with a home inspection to help mouse-proof your home for the winter. As all pest industry professionals know, mice season is upon us and the best pest control is pest prevention.

Mice normally live outdoors during the warmer months and gradually move indoors as the weather gets colder. So if you are a home-owner in the Greater Toronto Area, an inspection is highly recommended, especially this time of year.

Business and commercial property owners, we are happy to service you as well!

For you we provide FREE inspections!

Call us at 416-840-4040 or email info@pestservices.ca to speak to a rodent control specialist today!

Mice Toronto – A Division of Advantage Pest Control Inc. © 2014

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How to Prevent Rats from Getting Inside Your Home and Business Buildings

Toronto’s Transit Construction Displacing More Rats, Part 2

Rat in garbage bag

As a home or commercial property owner, what can you do to help prevent rats from getting inside?

Firstly, rodent-proof your home:

  • Eliminate easy entry points by patching up any holes and covering any openings in and around your house and/or building. Rats can enter through a hole as small as the size of a quarter. Remember to take care of door thresholds as well as vents. Use heavy gauge wire mesh for vents and metal sheeting for holes. (Rats can chew through materials as tough as concrete if an established food source has been found.)

Secondly, eliminate potential food sources & nesting places:

  • Store garbage in tightly sealed containers and secure compost bins.
  • As much as possible, eliminate items on the property (including inside garages) that could act as hiding and nesting places (e.g. piles of wood, old tires, boxes filled with old clothes, etc.)
  • Eliminate easily accessible food sources (e.g. pet food left in the garage, fruit fallen from trees, grass seed, etc.)
  • Clean bird feeders, bird baths and surrounding areas often.
  • Maintain a clean kitchen. Do not leave food out in the open. Store dry food (including pet food) in glass or metal containers that seal tightly.

Additionally, keep an eye out for signs of rats on your property including:

  • Chewed or gnawed food, food packaging and other materials
  • Capsule-shaped droppings and urine
  • Burrows (holes) in and around foundation walls

Your best bet in preventing a rat infestation more successfully however is to receive an inspection from a professional who can offer personalized recommendations.

Advantage Pest Control Inc. is happy to service you with such an inspection from one of our leading rodent control specialists. We provide FREE inspections for commercial properties.

Most importantly, if you suspect your property has rats, be proactive and hire a professional company sooner rather than later to tackle the issue. Rats breed quickly and do not go away easily. In fact, by the time most property owners realize they have a rat issue they already have a serious rat infestation. Rats do not typically run around during the day when they are in plain sight.

Recent changes to the Ministry of Environment guidelines for rodenticide use by the public have also made it even more difficult to eliminate rats on your own. For safety reasons, effective rodent control products that were previously available to the public are now only accessible to licensed professionals. Therefore, receiving rat control service from a licensed professional is highly recommended.

Call us at 416-840-4040 or email info@pestservices.ca to speak to a rodent control specialist today.

Rats Toronto – A Division of Advantage Pest Control Inc. © 2014

RatsToronto.com

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Toronto’s Transit Construction Displacing More Rats

City Construction Displaces Rats

You may have recently heard in the news how city construction has been displacing many rats from their long-established burrows, forcing them to look for new places to live and establish as their territories. This means greater infestation risk for downtown businesses and homes especially as the weather gets colder and rats become more desperate to find warm places to stay.

This is not a new issue for Toronto or other big cities where expansion and construction is commonplace and ongoing, nor is this exclusive to Toronto’s downtown Union station renovation. In fact, the building of Metrolinx’s new Eglinton Crosstown light rail line is also causing significant movement in rodent colonies in the city. We are seeing an increase in movement along Eglinton Avenue of course, but also extending north all the way up to Lawrence Avenue and York Mills Road, as well as extending south to St. Clair Avenue, Bloor Street, College Street and even Queen Street. Rats are very persistent and easily travel far from their nest in order to find food, so seeing rats travelling far to find shelter does not come as a surprise. This is not something to be taken lightly. Rats are not an easy pest to manage and in the city of Toronto, there is definitely no shortage of rats at any time, without the extra movement occurring due to large construction projects.

As the winter season fast approaches and temperatures continue to drop, this will be even more evident as these numerous rats move indoors in order to survive.

So as a home or commercial property owner, what can you do to help prevent these pests from getting inside in the first place?

Come back tomorrow to read our rat prevention tips!

Call us at 416-840-4040 or email info@pestservices.ca to speak to a rodent control specialist today.

Rats Toronto – A Division of Advantage Pest Control Inc. © 2014

RatsToronto.com

PestServices.ca

Bed Bugs And Travelling: Tips For Preventing Bedbugs While Travelling

Preventing Bed Bug Infestation

 

Are you travelling in the near future? See our tips for safe bed bugs free travel.

 

Toronto residents love to travel. With Pearson airport close to both the cities of Toronto and Mississauga it provides convenient travel options for Toronto homeowners. However travel is one the major factors in bed bug infestations. Bed bugs can be brought back to your Toronto home by invested clothing, suitcases or souvenirs.

 
Always perform a bed bug inspection of hotel rooms and sleeping areas prior to turning in for the night. Bed bugs like to hide in dark areas so behind headboards and in-between the mattress and box spring are often hot spots for bed bug activity. There are other signs of infestation to watch out for. Notify hotel management right away if you find any evidence of bed bugs. We also suggest not unpacking your clothes into dressers in case of bed bug infestation.

These do it yourself bed bug products are great to take with you to prevent bed bugs:

Bed Bug Defenders are passive bed bug monitors that slide underneath the bed posts and trap any bed bugs coming to the bed or leaving the bed after feeding. They are reusable and essential to prevent bed bug while traveling.

Powershot Bed Bug Killer is available in a convenient travel size. It provides a 14 day residual treatment. Another great product to take with you on any travel trip is the Bed Bug Defender.