Pest Spotlight: Silverfish

What are silverfish?  That was my question when I first heard the name.  Once it was explained to me what they were, I knew exactly what a silverfish was as I had seen them a couple of times in my home.

So to describe what a silverfish is, they are covered in shiny silver scales that give their body a metallic sheen.  They are wingless flat insects with two long antennas on their head and three long bristles at the back of their carrot-shaped body.  They get their name because they move very quickly, with a wiggling motion that looks like the swimming action of a fish.

Silverfish are harmless but are considered pests because of their appearance.  They are classified as nocturnal insects so you would normally find them in attics, basements and bathrooms.  These insects are scavengers and will normally feed on crumbs, dead insects and paper products.  Their population growth is slow so you don’t normally find them infesting a home unless they have been there for a very long time.  They enter the home by hitch hiking onto items that you bring home such as food, furniture or starched clothing.

To get rid of or to control silverfish it is important to clean.  That is the key for all crawling insects.  So vacuuming often is helpful because it removes food particles and insect eggs.  Regularly clean inside cupboards, drawers, pantries and on countertops.  Clean beneath sinks and any dark areas.  Cleaning is very important.

Silverfish usually live behind your walls but if you feel the need to also use any insecticides, our showroom sells a product called Crawling Insect Killer. This product contains the ingredient Diatomaceous earth which is made of crushed microscopic marine fossils and is an ecological means of control.  Diatomaceous earth can be applied along baseboards as well as beneath and behind appliances to control crawling insects.

If you have further questions, we are happy to answer them! Give us a call at 416-297-8010 or email us at info@pestservices.ca and one of our specialists will be happy to speak to you.

 

Pest Spotlight: Earwigs

Earwigs are garden insects.  They get their reputation from their scary appearance as they have those pincers or forceps.  However, they are not harmful to humans.  They are actually beneficial as they are scavengers of decaying matter and predators of insect larvae, slug eggs, and other garden pests like, each other.  They usually become a household nuisance around June or July as the weather becomes dry and they end up wandering indoors for moisture.  When the earwigs in your home are a persistent problem, treatment with an insecticide is an option to consider such as dust products called PRO Pyrodust and Crawling Insect Killer which contains the ingredient Diatomaceous earth which is an ecological means of control.  It is a fine powder made from crushed microscopic marine fossils. As insects or the centipedes/millipedes crawl over the powder, their outer “skin” is scratched, causing them to dehydrate and die. Diatomaceous earth will remain active as long as it is kept dry. It is non-toxic to humans and pets, but be careful not to inhale the dust when applying this product. This powder can be used in cracks and crevices as an ongoing control measure.  The best time to apply insecticides is during warm, dry weather when the earwigs are young, in June or early July. Applications should be done during the evening so that residues are fresh when the earwigs become active. Do not water areas you’ve treated for at least two weeks after application. Treatment later in the summer is less effective.  To discourage earwigs from invading your home, certain pesticides sprays can be applied around the exterior window frames, doors, and the foundation and nearby soil (not on vegetation).  Another product that you can find in our showroom is the Pro B1 which is an oil base chemical that you can use on the exterior and interior of your door frames.  Its residual effects last up to 4 weeks.  If you would prefer a specialist to come out, our license technicians will come to do a general spray which will exterminate all insects and pest that you may see or not see in the home.

Pest Spotlight – Centipedes and Millipedes

Centipedes and millipedes are not insects, they are in fact arthropods.  They may not be insects but they enjoy the same living conditions as insects.  Keep in mind that these creatures are not harmful to humans or pets but at the same time considered a nuisance when found indoors.  The appearances of both centipedes and millipedes have wormlike body’s with many legs which allows them to move very quickly.  They are actually beneficial to have in your home because they control the other pest in your home like spiders, bedbugs, roaches, silverfish, ants, etc by eating them.  Often times you will found centipedes and millipedes in the bathroom because they like moist/damp areas.  It is a good idea to make sure that there is no water being retain before or after extermination.  When using insecticides to control the pest problem our showroom has different registered domestic- class insecticide products such as Crawling Insect Killer which contains the ingredient Diatomaceous earth which is an ecological means of control.  It is a fine powder made from crushed microscopic marine fossils. As insects or the centipedes/millipedes crawl over the powder, their outer “skin” is scratched, causing them to dehydrate and die. Diatomaceous earth will remain active as long as it is kept dry. It is non-toxic to humans and pets, but be careful not to inhale the dust when applying this product. This powder can be used in cracks and crevices as an ongoing control measure.  If you would prefer a specialist to come out, our license technicians will come to do a general spray which will exterminate all insects and pest that you may see or not see in the home.

Pest Spotlight – Fleas

FLEAS! They are one of the most annoying infestations to experience.  It is so bad that some people and animals can suffer allergic reactions to the flea bites that it causes rashes.  Fleas are definitely parasite insects that suck blood.  Their appearance is described as dark brown or reddish brown with flattened bodies.  They are wingless but can jump up to 20 cm vertically and 41 cm horizontally.  Fleas usually feed several times a day but can survive several weeks without a meal.  The peak season of flea infestation outdoors is from August to early October.  To break the fleas cycle successfully, your home and pet need to be treated by cleaning and chemicals.  This includes vacuuming and steaming your carpets, and cushioned furniture which will kill fleas in all stages.  Cleaning around creaks and crevices on floors and along baseboards are necessary.  Washing all your pets and family beddings in HOT soapy water will kill the eggs and larvae.  It is important to take your pet to a veterinarian to get them examined and treated.  At Advantage Pest Control, our showroom has insecticides that will control adult fleas and larvae.  If the infestation is overwhelming, contact us to have our professional license technician do the job.  They will treat all the areas and prevent the insect growth.  If the infestation is constant it is necessary, they do repeated treatment to break the cycle.

Pest Spotlight – Moths

The problem with Moths is that they are destructive pests.  They feed voraciously on leaves of trees and fabrics such as silk and wool which are found in your closets and drawers.  Moths usually appear in late July or August.  They are winged insects which appear as butterflies but are duller in colour and night flying.  It can be a bother when moths infest your clothing as these fabrics are usually sent into the drycleaners.  What you can do to prevent moths from invading your garments is spray the closets with pyrethrums.  This is effective with preventing the moths from infesting.  When experiencing an infestation with moths, Advantage Pest Control has a showroom that sells Aerosol sprays such as Kablamo and Powershot which kills them on direct contact.  The Pro insecticide sprays are very effective and can eliminate moth infestations as well.   Another way to eliminate moth infestations is by using Moth traps which include specific pheromones that attract moths to trap them.

Pest Spotlight – Spiders

Spiders are commonly found in homes year round.  They are usually found in corners of rooms, closets, boxes basements, and dark crevices.  Most spiders prey on insect that are pests.  So they are excellent pest control workers.  Spiders become a nuisance as they spin silky webs in your home causing a mess.  To prevent spiders from invading your home, it’s important to keep your place clean which will reduce the number of pest which is food sources for spiders such as earwigs and other insects.  So it’s important to sanitize and sweep or vacuum baseboards often to remove food crumbs, remove spider webs and rearranging your furniture once in a while to prevent spiders from spinning webs in the same place.  If you want to apply an insecticide, the PRO brands are the most effective such as Pro Bug X and Pro B1.  They can be applied around the exterior surfaces of window and door frames to prevent entry, baseboards, in closets and crevices.  Another option is calling Advantage Pest Control for a technician to do a general spray for a complete home extermination which will solve any infestation problem outright and give a completely clean slate to your household.

Pest Spotlight – Flies

Flies do not cause a direct threat but they are still a nuisance and can be a risk of food contamination.   Flies usually start to become a bother around the spring time and even the winter.  Here is some background information first on the three common types of flies; Cluster flies are not the same as house flies as they are larger, darker and slower moving.  Their appearance is dark grey with black and silver (non-metallic) checkered stomachs, many golden hairs on their upper body and their wings overlap as they rest.  The habit of the “cluster fly” is that they gather in clusters after entering a house.  Face flies are pest and may hibernate in homes where they usually invade during the summer.  Face flies have very similar habits to cluster flies where the larvae develop in cattle manure.  Face flies are most likely to invade farm homes or homes near pastures.  Blow flies are also known as blue or green bottle flies with shiny metallic bodies.  They are often found in homes during winter and early spring.  They are buzzing insects that develop in manure or dead animal carcasses.  They are strong fliers and are attracted to lamps, lights, garbage and dog feces.

So there is some background information on the different types of flies, let’s discuss prevention of and cures for eliminating, the fly infestation problems.  Flies are persistent buggers and can enter your home through the tiniest cracks around the door or windows and any other small unsealed opening.  So when it comes to preventing flies from coming into your home, make sure that all screens fit properly, there are no cracks or holes and if there are any, fill the cracks and crevices with caulking.  If the flies have already entered into your home, it is time to eliminate the problem.  Your options are, if you are quick enough; kill them with a fly swatter.  If you prefer traps and insecticides, we over a variety of them in our showroom located at 931 Progress Ave., Unit #12.  To name a few, we sell aerosol sprays, dust insecticides, glue strip traps, fly light traps, chemical insecticides such as Pro Bug X and Knock Down which is a fumigator.  When using any insecticide to control a pest problem always read the labels to make sure you are following the directions and warnings carefully.  Mainly, these products will be applied to around the interior and outside surface of windows and door frames to prevent entry.  Another option is to contact Advantage Pest Control to have a licensed technician solve the problem.  Our technicians will inspect what is attracting the flies to enter your home and where they are nesting.  Our technicians can provide you some tips on prevention and maintaining the eliminating process if needed.

Pest Profile: Silverfish

Image Silverfish are a nocturnal pest. That means that they are active mostly at nighttime. They prefer dark places such as basements and crawlspaces. Silverfish feed on both sugars and starches. Often this includes things that contain cellulose (including food packaging), glue in books, linens and fabrics.

The most common way to uncover a silverfish infestation is through seeing the bug. Often it is found trapped in a bath tub.  Silverfish are grey in colour. Generally they measure between 12-19mm. They have many sets of legs.

We offer both products and services for silver fish. Give us a call at 416-297-8010 or 1-877-504-BUGS

Pest Spotlight: Fleas

About Fleas

Fleas are ectoparasites, or parasites that live outside the body. Other types of ectoparasites are lice and ticks. Fleas feed off of their hosts’ blood. The chosen hosts are normally four legged mammals however in the absence of such a host or in extreme infestations a human host will be sought out.

Fleas are a very adapted insect. They have specific adaptations that distinguish them from many other insects. One of these adaptations is the ability to survive without food. Fleas also have special physical adaptations such as their complex mouthparts that allow for piercing skin and sucking blood from their host.

Fleas are tiny, flat, wingless insects. Their exterior bodies are covered with several hard plates called sclerites. The outer shell protects the flea from getting crushed or injuring themselves from a long jump. The exoskeleton has the appearance of being smooth but it is actually covered in tiny hairs. These tiny hairs point away from the flea’s head. This makes it easy for fleas to crawl through their hosts hair or fur. It also protects the flea if something tries to dislodge it. The hairs act as anchors to keep the flea on the fur or hair; similar to Velcro.

The Flea Life Cycle

The life span of the average flea is three to four months. Fleas can however live without food for up to one year in the pupae (cocoon) stage. They enter a state of hibernation or “dormancy” which allows them to lay in wait for a blood meal opportunity. When they sense body heart or vibrations they are signaled that a host is within their presence and are awakened to break from the cocoon and seek out their first blood meal.

Fleas lay eggs that look like dandruff or salt crystals. Usually these eggs are laid on the host. Flea eggs are completely smooth; this causes them to fall of the host and land within the living quarters of the host. These eggs hatch into larvae that live in cracks and crevices of many areas such as carpets and rugs, upholstery, blankets, floor boards, sand, earth etc. These larvae are relatively immobile, only able to travel less than an inch. They get their food from black specks known as “flea dirt”. These specks are dried blood flakes that fall off when grooming or scratching. Flea larvae are around 1.5 mm long and look like white worms.

Like butterflies the larvae stage of a flea goes through a cocoon stage (pupa). Generally in good conditions the cocoon will be hatched in one to two weeks and a small flea will hop onto the next potential host that walks by. Thus the cycle begins again. If a host is available the adult flea will emerge after 1 week. If food is scarce the flea can stay inside the cocoon for up to a year. This whole process can take anywhere between 2 and 20 weeks depending on a number of factors (such as temperature, availability of a host etc). Given the right conditions, available host and warm temperature the cycle can take as little as 2 weeks.

Female fleas must have a blood meal in order to reproduce. If after emerging from the cocoon she is unable to find a blood meal then she will die before she is able to lay any eggs. However once she has had that initial feeding she can lay 20 eggs a time; 500 eggs during her lifetime.

 

Flea Treatments

Some insecticides kill adult fleas but not eggs, which means a whole new set of fleas can emerge after the adults have died. That is why we use a liquid residual spray which lasts until all the eggs have hatched and the adults have crawled over the chemical.

We also offer Steam services for fleas as well. Steaming services are offered for both elimination flea treatment and preventative treatment. Steaming areas include your carpets, couches and cracks and crevices. The best time for steaming treatment is at the onset of flea season (or whenever you begin your flea-control program). Though it is somewhat more expensive than insecticide-only treatment, steam cleaning is effective in killing flea eggs. This minimizes the time and the number of treatments needed to eliminate the flea problem.

Give us a call at 416-840-4040 or 1-877-504-BUGS