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Protect yourself from Black Widow and Brown Recluse spiders

Black widow spiders can be easily recognized by the characteristic red hourglass shape on their back.  They generally spin their webs near the ground in protected areas like firewood, under eaves or in boxes.  They get into your home when firewood is carried inside.

To protect yourself, make sure to wear heavy work gloves when carrying firewood inside or moving seasonal items around sheds.  Spiders frequently hide in shoes, so make sure to shake out your shoes before putting them on if you have left them outside for any length of time.

The black widow spider doesn’t bite humans instinctively. The black widow spider bit can cause severe pain and the venom is a neurotoxin used as a defense.  Young children and the elderly are most susceptible to a reaction from a spider bite.

The brown recluse spider also lives in debris and wood piles or dark corners of storage areas and will hide in shoes or clothing left on the floor on in the back of a closet.  It is brown in colour and has a dark brown violin shaped marking on its back.  The brown recluse spider is rather shy and nonaggressive, but they have a powerful poison. They are nocturnal and eat other insects such as crickets and prefer small live prey. They also only bite humans in defense when they feel trapped.

The bite of a brown recluse spider can result in a severe allergic reaction with symptoms such as pain, itching, nausea, vomiting, fever and muscle pain. Their bites can take more than three hours to develop and three weeks to heal, so it is important to get medical attention, particularly for the children, elderly or those with preexisting medical conditions.  The injection of their venom may produce necrosis or dead tissue, resulting in an ulcerating type of sore.

Brown recluse spiders are active from March to October and generally live two to three years.

Preventative measures for these spiders include: moving woodpiles away from the house and sealing cracks in foundations and walls, as well as cleaning clutter in and around the home.  Keep outside toys outside and inside toys inside.  If you bring in a toy, chair or table, thoroughly wipe it down first. Watch for webs and contact a certified pest control technician for assistance in getting rid of large infestations.

Take the sting out of dealing with wasps

Feeling bugged by wasps and wondering what to do to control them and minimize the possibility of getting stung?  Generally paper wasps, solitary wasps, bees and hornets are not usually aggressive towards people, but yellow jackets can be a bothersome nuisance when you are trying to eat outdoors in late summer. People often confuse bees with yellow jacket wasps.  Bees are fuzzy and only feed on flower nectar, while wasps have shiny bodies and are predators.  Before proceeding with any action to get rid of them, be certain that you are controlling wasps and not destroying bees.

Yellow jackets create the large round nests that homeowners often find around their property.  Solitary wasps stay on their own except when it’s time to breed.  Social wasps live in a colony that includes a queen, male drones and sterile female workers. Wasps can use their saliva to break down wood fibers in order to make paper for their nest construction.  Wasps can also make mud cells or dig a burrow underground as a haven.  The queen can survive the winter inside the structure or under debris.  Yellow jackets build their nests in trees, wall voids, soffits and even under large rocks. Most social wasps feed on fruit, nectar and carrion.

Social wasps sting as a means of defense. The wasp can sting multiple times because it does not have barbs on the stinger – which is actually a modified egg-laying tube connected to a poison sac. In an effort to get rid of what the wasp considers a threat, the wasp will keep stinging until it flies away or is killed.

To minimize yellow jacket issues, make sure to clean food spills and ensure lids are fitted on garbage containers. Do not smash yellow jackets as the scent will cause other yellow jackets to attack.

If you are going to tackle getting rid of the wasps yourself, we suggest you wear proper safety equipment and wait until it is dark in the evening so there is less wasp activity.  Use only products that are labelled for use on wasps – either a spray or a powder.  Don’t try to blast the wasps’ nest with a garden hose or blow torch.  Alternatively you could give the professionals at GoPro Pest Control a call for assistance in getting rid of the wasp problem from your property. We’re only a phone call or text away at 250-215-5243, or email info@gopropestcontrol.com.

Odorous House Ant colonies grow rapidly

Ants are social insects that live in colonies with populations that can get into the hundreds of thousands. Most ant colonies build nests in soil. Generally odorous ants nest outdoors under items on the ground, such as in around landscape mulch, beneath loose bark on trees, under ground cover, in potted plants and within piles of lumber, firewood or bricks. Nests may also be established inside homes, in walls, beneath carpeting and other suitable voids or spaces.  Odorous ants are very opportunistic; living in a variety of nesting sites, moving constantly to avoid poor weather conditions. You may find satellite colonies located close to the main larger colony.

 

How to identify Odorous House Ants:

These tiny insects range in size from one-sixteenth of an inch to one-eighth of an inch long. The name is derived from the fact that when these ants are crushed or stepped on they emit an earthy, rotten coconut type of smell. They are also known as stink ants. They are dark grey or brown in colour.  When indoors, they colonize areas around hot water pipes and heaters, attracted to the warmth and moisture. Outdoors, odorous ants build shallow nests by digging underground and piling dirt into mounds.

 

Ant Behaviour:

The workers forage for food to carry back to the colony. Foraging can bring ants into your home, because they are attracted to nearly any food humans may leave out. Sugary foods, meats, and grease are particularly attractive to ants. As odorous ants search for food indoors they can create trails along cupboards, sinks and appliances which can contaminate the area and any food that is nearby. When they find food indoors, the odorous ant leaves behind a scent trail, which brings additional ants into the area.

 

The queens have the sole function of laying eggs in an ant colony. Most ant species have one queen per colony.  Ant eggs usually take several months to develop and hatch into larvae. Worker ants feed and look after the developing larvae. The typical development period is between 34 and 83 days. Each ant goes through a metamorphosis that begins as an egg and progresses into adulthood.

 

Concerns:

Ants are unsightly and a nuisance when found inside a home. Contamination of human and pet food with their excrement is the primary concern.

 

Ant Control:

Odorous ant control should begin with exclusion methods – such as caulking cracks near vents and sealing gaps around utilities. Crevices within walls are common problem areas, as well as underneath sinks and near bathtubs where moisture accumulates. Since the pests love crumbs and clutter, cleaning countertops and vacuuming daily can help limit their numbers.

Keeping the home clean and structurally well maintained generally is the best way to prevent an ant infestation. Keep leftover foods stored in tightly-sealed containers, wipe up crumbs and spills promptly, and sweep the floor regularly. Rinsing food containers prior to disposal also helps eliminate the edible residues that can attract ants. Repair all cracks in the walls and foundation and make sure doors, windows, and other points of entry remain properly sealed, as well. Eliminate standing water. Pests such as odorous house ants are attracted to moisture. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house.

 

Get Help:

If your preventative measures fail and an ant infestation occurs, contact a pest control specialist. An odorous ant colony is able to reproduce multiple times throughout the year, which means infestations can quickly grow out of control.  Regular inspections and service are necessary to find and treat new colonies as they move in from neighboring properties.

Carpenter Ants attack homes in the Okanagan

We have been getting a lot of calls lately from homeowners with Carpenter Ant issues.  Watch this CTV News video clip of a BC family that had their deck collapse during a BBQ due to the activity of Carpenter Ants.

Carpenter Ants chew up tons of wood and turn it into fine sawdust that rots and provides compost for new growth. Because they enter man made structures they are considered the most destructive  common insect pest we have in Canada.

Pest Control Canada says . . . Most Carpenter Ant species establish their initial nest in decayed wood, but, once established, the ants extend their tunneling into sound wood and can do considerable damage to a structure.  These species commonly nest in standing trees (living or dead), in stumps, or in logs on the forest floor. Since many houses are being built in forested areas, well established, vigorous colonies are readily available in the immediate vicinity to attack these dwellings. Ants are generally active along ant trails from April to mid-October. These trails follow natural contours and lines of least resistance and also frequently cut across lawns. Traffic on these trails may be noticeable during the day, but peak traffic occurs after sunset and continues throughout the night.

Many pest control professionals consider Carpenter ants the most difficult pest there is to deal with in the industry. With all the training and experience they have, there are some homes that take considerable time and a number of treatments to eradicate these destructive insects.  Many homeowners will call in a professional after they have failed to solve the problem themselves.  This situation is usually more difficult to deal with because the homeowner randomly sprayed pesticides killing the obvious evidence and scattering the satellite nests.

If you are not prepared to spend hours in your attic and crawl space wearing a respirator, rubber gloves, coveralls and a hat, then you may be wise to call a professional to do the job properly from the start.

Most pesticides available to the public will kill any insect that they come in contact with while still wet.  Once dry, the residual effect is minimal and has very little effect on insects.
Ant Dusts: Diatomaceous earth is sold in a variety of containers with convincing trade names. The basic product can also be purchased in much less expensive plain plastic bags at most garden stores.
Toxic chlorpyrifos is now off the market and illegal to use in Canada and U.S.A.
Boric Acid dust: It is very difficult to inject into a nesting cavity without proper equipment. Do not put it in exposed areas.
Ant Poisons sold over the counter at most hardware stores have little if any effect on carpenter ants
Ant Traps are actually not traps.  The little tin cans with holes in the side contain borax.  They have no effect on carpenter ants.

Secret Formulas:  If you find one that works, patent it immediately.  Scientists around the world have been searching for years for ingredients that will attract and kill or repel carpenter ants. Some things that homeowners have tried include cinnamon, cayenne pepper, moth balls, boric acid and icing sugar.
None of them have been proven effective.

Bed Bugs in the Okanagan on the increase

Bed Bugs in the Okanagan on the increase

What are bed bugs? 
Bed bugs are small flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep.  Bed bugs are reddish-brown in colour, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm. and can live several months without a blood meal.  The first sign of bed bug infestation is usually the appearance of bites on the arms, neck, torso, or legs.  Bed bugs draw no line between the impoverished and the wealthy.  In 6 months, 40 bed bugs will reproduce to almost 6,000.

Symptoms
Bed bug bites can occur singly, but more often occur in a unique bite pattern of a linear group of 3-4.  The effect of these bites varies from person to person.  Typically symptoms are welts and swelling that are itches and last longer than mosquito bites.  Some people have no reaction at all.  It is common for people to have been bitten and have no visible symptoms for up to 9 days.

Where are bed bugs found?
Hotels/Resorts Travel accommodation
Group housing/dorms/shelters
Healthcare facilities
Office Buildings
Homes and Apartment Buildings

 GoPro Pest Control specializes in heat remediation treatments to control bed bug infestations.  Call Charles for an inspection, quote and more info 250-215-5243.

Protect your family’s health with proactive pest control measures

Pest infestation of any type can be detrimental to your family’s health and rodents cause issues and disease wherever they stay. The best way to protect your family is to reduce the population of pests in and around your home. 

Finding and controlling rodents and bugs is not always as easy as you think. We understand and have invested the time to recognize the behavior of various pests so we can help you solve the issues these critters create.

Rodents reproduce fast and small populations become full blown infestations if left unchecked.  Implementing a proactive preventative measures program will help you maintain a pest-free home.

Having a professional pest control technician come by on a regular monthly schedule to set up and check preventative measures will restrict future infestations and keep your home safe and pest-free.  When our qualified technician inspects your home we can provide you with some extra tips and suggest ways to help you prevent pests from becoming family roommates.

Post your questions in the comments section below and we’ll help you with some pest identification and tips to protect your family and home investment.

Don’t let pests negatively affect your property’s real estate value

Don’t let pests negatively affect your property’s real estate value

Do you have nightmares about pests invading your property and establishing their family home? Pest control is something all property owners deal with at some time or another – and it’s much better to be proactive instead of reactive! If left unchecked, pest problems can put a huge dent in your wallet and even negatively impact your property investment and the value of your real estate.

Inspect your property – stop, look and listen
Take a close look around your property for pest activity.  Listen closely for rodents scurrying, insects buzzing, or excavation work being done inside your walls or ceilings.  Watch for wasp nests, spider webs, termite excavations or discarded wings, and rodent droppings or urine smell.  Don’t wait until the problem becomes huge! If you have the slightest inclination that you might have a potential pest problem, whether that be just noticing a few wasps trafficking around your home, a mouse that may or may not have access to your home, or some ants along the perimeter, you can’t afford to guess about how protected your home is against invaders.

Call a pest control specialist right away
If you act quickly when you notice any pest activity on your property, you’ll be saving yourself money in the long run and protecting your investment.  This is extremely important when it comes to pests like termites and carpenter ants. Spotting one of these on your actual doorstep means there are thousands of their family members somewhere nearby. In the Okanagan there are numerous pests that can affect your real estate value if you wait until it’s too late.  We’ll be adding to this Blog on a weekly basis to let you know about some of the most notorious home-wreckers in the real estate business – pests such as mice and rats, termites, bed bugs as well as carpenter ants.

If you suspect pest activity, give us a call at 250-215-5243 to schedule an inspection before you list your property with a real estate professional.

Termites FREE with Home Purchase

Termites FREE with Home Purchase

You’ll never see a real estate sign that says, “Enjoy the termites: they’re included in the price.” However, as a responsible homeowner or perspective buyer, you’ll want to keep in mind the potential havoc that can be caused by various Wood Destroying Organisms and rodents.
Termite can hide in the walls and weaken the wooden structure of a home causing dangers for the residents – including collapse of load-bearing structures.
Many homeowners are unaware of rodent activity in their home when selling the property, until an inspection reveals live activity. GoPro Pest Control can help you remedy mice, rat and other pest issues to meet buyer expectations and get you through a stress-free closing.

Other pests pose less of threat, but are still an annoyance – ants, spiders, wasps, bed bugs, millipedes, stink bugs, beetles and other creepy crawlers. We can help with these unwanted house guests to help ease your stress before moving in to your new purchase.

GoPro Pest Control – a Better Business Bureau registered business run by reputable experts in the Okanagan – has a technician available to help rid your property of unwanted pests. We excel in detection and extermination of pests at the source. If you are buying or selling a home, please call us to schedule an appointment today 250-215-5243.