Deer grazing in your backyard can be a most satisfying sight, unless they ravage your newly-planted tulips or treat your vegetables as an all-you-can-eat buffet. Raccoons may be cute and fluffy creatures always looking to play and cuddle, but they suddenly turn into an unwelcomed guest when they start rummaging through your trash cans at night. The same goes for chirping birds, shiny-eyed squirrels, and those adorable chipmunks always stuffing food into their mouths – they’re a welcome sight until they start ravaging your backyard, trampling your flowers, and even endangering your health. Below is a short description of the garden damage caused by five most common wildlife pest species in Canada:
Raccoons top the list of wildlife that wreak havoc in flower and vegetable gardens across North America. The second favorite occupation is rummaging through trash bins and cans or raiding bird feeders – all in search of food.
The number of domesticated bees in Canada and U.S. has been decreasing at an alarming rate. Untouched food stores and unborn larvae found in the abandoned hives indicate that bees are either forgetting the entrance to the hive or disappearing completely off the face of the earth.
According to the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists (CAPA), Manitoba lost almost half (46 percent) of its honeybee colonies in 2013, followed by Ontario with 40 percent and New Brunswick with 37 percent – losses double or almost triple compared to the previous year. Either due to the pesticides, the Varroa mite, fungus, malnutrition, weather, beekeeping practices, pathogens, or immunodeficiencies, Canada is at risk of losing $2 billion worth of crops, which rely on bees for pollination.
If until now there was an ongoing debate surrounding the causes of this epidemic, a new report published last month by Friends of the Earth Canada confirms what some scientists have been trying to prove for years: that pesticides are directly linked to bees’ eradication.
Thinking of doing a spot of gardening this season and turn your lifeless backyard into a relaxing and idyllic retreat? Perhaps you’ve already started planting seedlings, refreshing old pots, supplementing nutrients, and keeping pests away from budding fruit and flowers. For a passionate gardener, there’s almost nothing that could ruin the dream of luxurious, thriving, colorful, and textured gardens in the summer – unless it has sharp teeth, a long tail, gray fur, and an insatiable appetite for devouring anything green.
The rat, because he’s the potential destroyer of everything you’ve built so far and able to trash your dreams of lushness and growth in a second, is a common occurrence for Canadian homeowners during the warm season. A recent news report revealed that backyard composting bins in the parking lot under the north end of Burrard Bridge in Vancouver have been attracting rats on the premises of a local daycare.
As if colonies comprised of millions of fiery Argentine ants, carpenter ants, pavement ants, Pharaoh, or thief ants weren’t already a full plate for Canadian homeowners, a non-native species – more aggressive and potentially dangerous to humans, pets, and livestock – has been making its way into our country. The European fire ant, Myrmica rubra, a common species of red ants found all over Europe and in some parts of Asia, has first been spotted in British Columbia in 2010 and has since been reported in several regions in Richmond, Ontario, Burnaby, Toronto, Victoria, North Vancouver, and Courtenay. Although they share the same name, they are only distant relatives of the “real” fire ants of the Solenopsis species.
Despite their similarity to native species in appearance, experts warn that the European fire ants are more difficult to kill and can deliver a vicious sting to both humans and animals even without being provoked.