So maybe you want to try applying your own pest management strategies. Maybe you feel we're overpriced, overrated or you just don't like the cut of our jib. That's cool. We'll still help.
If you want to take matters into your own hands, you'll be implementing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) which is at the core of responsible pest control. We always give tips on what home owners can do to limit pest harbourage and we provide coaching on how to do it yourself and be successful! See below for tips on controlling the common pest invaders in cottage country.
If applying DIY techniques with pesticide products, always read and follow the label instructions for your own safety and the safety of those around you. We do not recommend handling live animals under any circumstances.
Please note DIY pages are in progress. Last updated Feb 22/20.
Proper identification is the first step to successful eradication. We have the common ant invaders listed here so you can see exactly what you're dealing with.
The general ant control tips below will help with some or all species.
Bats provide a huge ecological benefit by eating thousands of mosquitoes and other pest insects every night. In some parts of the world, bats provide unique pollination services to the flowers that blossom at night. Bats are great to have around...at a distance.
Exposure to bat guano (droppings) can lead to several harmful diseases, some of which can be fatal. They irritate allergies and carry 'bat bugs' which our modern day bed bugs descended from when humans left caves. That is where our co-habitation with bats should have ended. These days we should encourage bats outside but we shouldn't share space with them.
The bat species most often found in buildings in Ontario is endangered in the province due to a fungus called white nose syndrome. This makes it illegal to kill, harm or harass bats, or exclude them while they have young babies.
DIY bat exclusions can be done but it's very labour intensive, and we do suggest a little help from a pro. Here are the basics:
We can come up with a custom solution if you're interested in doing the work for a bat seal up. We can install the exit tube, return to examine your work and let you know if you missed anywhere, and remove the exit tube. This will come at a fraction of the cost of us doing the whole thing, but it will mean giving up a considerable amount of cottage time.
Side note: Bat boxes can be effective, but they must be lured and in the right spot. Get it as high as possible on a tree or post, and some bat droppings should be smeared inside to attract them to the area. Make sure you wear gloves and a respirator when dealing with the guano.
Beavers are biologically built to detest the sound of running water. If water is running, they will dam it until it pools, dammit.
The best way to prevent beaver activity on your property is to make sure that the trees are adequately protected. As you can see here, beavers can be quite tall, and they can be active on top of the snow, giving them a few feet of lift in the winter. Our best suggestion is hardware cloth (galvanized metal screening) all the way around the trees, ensuring that the protective barrier can be loosened every few years as the trees grow.
If there is a dam on your property, it can be very difficult to manage while the beavers are still active. You will likely enter into an eternal game of taking the dam out only to find they've rebuilt the next time you go to the cottage.
Additional to dams, beavers construct feed beds where they stockpile logs for use in the winter once the ice forms. Loose logs and twigs are likely feed beds and may not be replaced if moved.
Bed bugs are one of the most difficult pests to control with DIY measures, but it can be done if the infestation is light and you are willing to purge.
In heavily infested homes, there is generally a piece of furniture that looks like the couch seam in the photo to the left. The brown blobs are bed bugs and and white flecks are eggs. This area won't be easy to find because bed bugs like dark, tight spaces - you can see them jammed into the couch seam as far as they can go - so you may need to tip furniture over to look underneath. The best thing you can do for relief is to dispose of the source of the infestation.
When disposing of anything that may have come into contact with bed bugs, do not sell or donate the items. They should go directly to the dump to avoid moving the problem somewhere else.
Some DIY tips for bed bug control:
The first step with bees is knowing what you're dealing with. Bees, including bumble bees, are beneficial pollinators and typically are very reluctant to sting. Check out our bee page for help figuring out if it's a bee or a wasp.
Beneficial as bees are, we get it if you're allergic and don't want them on your property. If allergies are a concern, DIY tactics are not recommended. It just isn't worth the risk. If you think they are honeybees please call as we would prefer to save them.
If you're not allergic just prepare to get stung. You're trying to destroy their home...they tend not to like that very much.
Mice are one of the most common pests in cottage country. People try everything to get rid of them but often forget that mice are persistent. What works once will have to be repeated for continued success.
For more information on our mouse services, please click here.
Here are some things you can implement on your property to limit the number of mice inside:
Raccoons are many things - cute, intelligent, devious, charismatic, strong and downright destructive. Battling a raccoon can be a huge challenge and should be dealt with early. They are not one of those creatures that can be tolerated in your space - they will absolutely destroy an attic or crawlspace if left long enough.
In late winter/early spring the sow raccoons (females) are looking to move from outdoor communal dens to a solitary birthing den - which can easily be your attic or roof. Here she seeks a safe spot to give birth to an average of 3 kits. She will keep the kits inside for 2-3 months depending on weather, during a cold summer they may spend nights inside regularly for the entire season.
Raccoon dens have a communal toilet area, the size of which can indicate how many generations have been utilizing the space. Extreme caution must be taken when cleaning these areas because raccoon feces can transmit distemper, raccoon roundworms and various other bacterial infections, as well as protozoan and other parasites. Proper safety equipment and clothing is necessary for any raccoon clean up. For more information you can refer to advice from the CDC here.
This before and after shot shows a crawlspace after generations of raccoons called it home. Unfortunately the attic was also victim to destruction. Luckily this was covered by insurance but many policies have been re-written to remove wildlife protection. Know what to look and listen for - tracks in the snow, sand or mud around your cottage (just google what their tracks look like, we don't have a good photo if you can believe it! We'll fix that). Raccoons make a wide variety of sounds: thumping or scratching while they move around but also vocalizations such as growling, snarling and a high pitched purr.
You should also look for entry points, which is easier said than done. Raccoons need a fairly large access hole, but you may have to get on the roof to see it. Any trees very close to the building, especially with branches touching the roof, allow them direct access. So do TV antennas if you still have one. Raccoons will use it as a ladder and get directly onto your roof. From there they can rip through roof vents, peel away fascia or soffit, or rip off decorative covers for air ventilation in the attic. To access a crawlspace under the building, all they have to do is dig a hole in most cases, so look for disturbed dirt that looks like it has been smoothed away from the building.
If you have a raccoon already and are looking to live trap it, be sure to wear heavy duty wildlife gloves and remember that by law, animals in live traps must be released within 1 km of the trap site to prevent the spread of population-specific diseases. Live traps must be checked every 24 hours to ensure the animal doesn't suffer.
If you are ready to take measures to seal them out, be absolutely certain that all the animals are out. If you seal one in there are too many consequences to list. Some DIY techniques to deter raccoons are:
- Remove tree limbs within ~2' of the roofline.
- Cover TV antenna with flat stock to prevent climbing - covering one rung is sufficient but make sure to cover the bottom as well .
- Ensure all soffit is securely attached to 'J' trim and fascia.
- Cover roof vents with hardware cloth to prevent animals from pulling the vent off. Chicken wire and rocks won't do it, as you can see in the photo below.
- Install hardware cloth inside attic ventilation areas.
- Use flat stock or hardware cloth as a skirt around the bottom of the building, ensuring some of the substrate below has been excavated to prevent digging (see photo).