While understandably reluctant, many big-city Canadians have become accustomed to sharing their environment with raccoons and skunks, but dog owners have additional reason to be concerned this fall.
Toronto city officials have recently released a warning to residents to be on the lookout for strangely-behaving raccoons, following a surge in canine distemper cases. The Toronto Wildlife Centre director Nathalie Karvonen declared for the Toronto Star that, “The disease has been raging through the [raccoon] population for a while, but we’ve seen a dramatic increase this fall.” She notes that the animal shelter has been receiving up to 20 raccoon-related calls a day.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) is a highly contagious and incurable condition that originates in dogs, but can be spread to other animals, including skunks and raccoons. While humans are not affected by the disease, in dogs, CDV is a severe, multi-systemic virus that can affect the animals’ respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems, causing harmful and potentially permanent damage.
While the recent drop in temperatures means seeing less of the pesky bugs that have bothered Canadians all throughout summer, it means the opposite for one of the most troublesome household pests – rodents. Mice, rats, and squirrels are expected to invade homes in droves this winter, searching for a warm place to spend the frosty season.
In order to raise consumer awareness regarding the health and property risks posed by rodent infestations, the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), part of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), has designated the week of November 15-21, 2015, as Rodent Awareness Week. Greenleaf Pest Control is proud to take part in this campaign by educating homeowners and businesses across Canada about the threat of rodents and the importance of adopting a proactive approach to rodent management in the following months.
Although rodents are active all year round, the months of October and November are especially problematic, with declining temperatures forcing them indoors to nest and forage for food.
DIY pest control methods have probably been around as long as pests themselves. Thousands of years ago, Egyptians used to smear the fat of a cat on grain sacks to protect against rodents or spread loose ash around a grinding mill to eradicate flour eating insects. Ancient Greek farmers also practiced several folk remedies to eradicate pests around their crops. Hanging a mare’s skull in the garden would discourage caterpillar infestations, while a concoction made from the juices of hemlock, lupin, and squill could kill larvae, insects, and even small animals.
While some man-made pest control methods have proven their effectiveness time and again, there are also plenty of old wives’ tales being perpetuated by homeowners’ eagerness to escape pesky critters. Since telling fact from fiction can be challenging when battling home invasions, we thought we’d explore some of the most prevalent myths when it comes to DIY pest control.
Wouldn’t it be great if all you had to do to get rid of household pests was plug in a $10 device and wait? No need for spraying toxic pesticides or setting up poison traps to drive nuisance animal and insect pests out of your home or garden. This is the appeal of using one of the many ultrasonic pest repellers that have invaded the market over the past decades. But are these seemingly miraculous devices an effective tool to get rid of pests or simply a waste of time and money?
“Turn your home’s wiring into a pest repellent force field. Patented digital technology repels rodents, roaches, ants & spiders.” This is the claim of one popular manufacturer selling electromagnetic and ultrasonic pest control products said to eliminate pests from homes and other structures in 2 to 4 weeks by “sending a pulsating signal through or altering the field around the electrical wiring inside homes and other buildings”.
Throughout time, cats have been taken into homes, as well as barns and even retail stores, for their hunting deftness, and specifically for their mouse-killing abilities. (After all, the cat vs. mouse is probably the most popular predator-prey pairing, immortalized in idioms and cartoons from all over the world.) Tiny in size and lacking flight abilities, which limits the possibility of counterattack or escape, mice are present in cats’ diet simply because they are an easy prey.
The same goes for flies, moths, cockroaches, grasshoppers, spiders, and anything else that happens to wander inside your house. Cats love to chase (and sometimes kill) pretty much anything that creeps, crawls, or scurries before their eyes. They are born with natural hunting instincts, and many homeowners rely on them to chase and catch vermin on their property. However, allowing them to put their natural instincts to use may not only be ineffective at stopping a rodent infestation, but can actually encourage more pests into your home.