The four-year renovation of Toronto’s Union Station, partially completed earlier this month, has displaced many of the city’s long-time colonies of rats, forcing them out of their burrows and on the lookout for new places to live. Thousands of rats that have lived in relative peace in the dark tunnels beneath the transportation hub spilled over into nearby buildings of the downtown core, getting into turf wars with existing rat populations and pushing them further out into the city.
This isn’t a new problem for Toronto or other large cities where construction and expansion are commonplace, nor is it exclusive to the renovation of Toronto’s Union Station. In fact, many large ongoing construction projects, such as Metrolinx’s new Eglinton Crosstown light rail line and the Spadina subway extension, are upsetting many of the established rat colonies, sending rodents out in the open until they find a new spot to build their nest.
While lawn problems can occur at any time throughout the year, the hot and humid summer months can make your lawn vulnerable to a wide range of pests and diseases. Identifying problems before they get out of hand is essential to maintaining your lawn healthy and lush. Let’s take a look at four of the most troublesome and common lawn insect pests and what to do to identify and control them efficiently.
Chinch bugs are one of the most widespread lawn pests in many areas of Canada. They kill grass by injecting toxic substances into plants during feeding. Chinch bugs are active all summer long, but cause most damage during July and August, when the weather is hot and dry.
Signs of infestation:
Sod webworm is a term describing several species of lawn-infesting caterpillars that live in the thatch level of the lawn and feed on the undersides of leaves and stems just above the crown.
Ants have long been a significant urban pest, but they only recently have emerged as structural pests that cause vast structural and other damage. Carpenter ants, in particular, have been recognized as important North American structural pests, in some areas causing damage that’s considered equal to or more serious than that caused by termites.
Carpenter ants build their nest in wood structures or other wood products, seeking out moist wood that contains decay fungi, but also settling for dry, healthy wood. One of the many things that make them a feared enemy is that their nests can be found almost ANYWHERE inside a building structure, including:
Pesticide exposure is typically a concern for farm workers who apply them, but sometimes unsuspecting people are put through life-threatening experiences by coming into contact with the toxic chemicals.
A couple of months ago, an entire Delaware family became violently ill while vacationing in the U.S. Virgil Islands. Steve Esmond, his wife, and their two sons – one 16 years old and one just over 14 years of age – were enjoying their stay at a luxurious villa located in St. John, when Esmond was found unconscious in their hotel room. Two weeks later, his wife and sons started having seizures as well, and the family was airlifted to hospitals in the United States, where the boys and their father remained in critical condition.
An investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revealed that the family was poisoned by the highly toxic pesticide methyl bromide, which was used by employees of the pest control company Terminix to fumigate the condo below theirs in order to “deal with an indoor bug.” Methyl bromide, an odorless fumigant and pesticide, can be fatal or cause severe problems in humans, ranging from lung injury and respiratory damage to neurological problems.
In recent years, food and beverage processing industries have become subject to intense scrutiny of regulatory agencies, government institutions, and third-party auditors. As a result, managers of food processing plants have started to pay more attention to the many hazards posed by physical, chemical, and microbial contaminants.
Flies, cockroaches, rodents, and ants are known carriers of disease and pathogens, and many food and beverage processing plants have various procedures in place to identify, treat, and prevent infestations. However, not many of them think of birds as a pest, despite the fact that they carry dozens of bacteria, parasites, and disease-causing pathogens that are just as dangerous to food safety and human health.
The three most notorious pest birds – sparrows, pigeons, and starlings – are common in and around industrial and commercial facilities such as food processing plants, restaurants, and grocery stores, because many of them offer food, water, and safe harbor.