Only a handful of creatures inspire more dread and fear than rats. When they think of rats, most people conjure images of creepy, filthy five-pound, red-eyed creatures that lurk in the dark and feast on human flesh. And while some of the negativity and bad reputation surrounding rats is undeserved – they are, after all, one of the smartest animals on earth and an essential component in scientific research – they are purveyors of disease and one of the most horrifying house pests. Here are five good reasons to be scared of rats, if you aren’t already.
Cat urine regularly acts as a repellent for rodents, who are naturally fearful of felines and keen to keep their distance. However, rats exposed to the urine of cats infected with toxoplasma gondii may suffer a change in their brain chemistry that paralyses brain regions governing fear and activates those regions involved in sexual attraction.
The fun season may be over for us, but for spiders, the party is now in full swing. As autumn comes in and weather turns cooler, homeowners throughout the country are starting to notice more and more of the creepy crawlies scuttling inside their homes as they look for a warm place to overwinter or mate. To make matters worse, entomologists have issued a warning that this year, the eight-legged nightmares have grown larger than ever, with the biggest ones reaching the size of a human palm.
So should we quake with fear and run out of the spindly creatures’ way or – as scary as it may sound – try to ‘live and let live’? Contrary to what you’d expect, having spiders in your house this fall may not necessarily be a bad thing. Here’s why.
Spiders are universally hated.
Stumbling upon bugs in your morning cereal may give you the heebie-jeebies – and ruin your appetite completely for the day – but you might have to get used to sharing your food with fruit flies, meal moths, cockroaches, ants, and other pantry pests in search of bed & breakfast for the upcoming cold season.
Once the summer is over, and the majority of their food sources are gone, bugs start seeking out alternative sources of food and water to survive the winter. That’s why your stock pantry, with the seemingly infinite supply of flours, cereals, macaroni, crackers, cured meats, dried fruit, nuts, becomes the no. 1 attraction in your home. Certain pantry pests need only small quantities of food and water to survive – so the initial damage may be overlooked – but before you know it, they can become so numerous that large populations may find their way into every room of your house and start climbing walls, crawling on the floor, or getting inside furniture.
It’s not a secret anymore that Canada’s bed bug problem is getting worse by the day: pest control experts say the frequency of reports involving bed bugs has increased by 20 percent from last year, continuing the “compounding growth” trend of the last six years. But while Canadians may have become familiarized with the thought that bed bugs have spread far and wide through the country, invading both urban settings and rural areas, most expect them to remain inside homes where they can feed on sleeping hosts. Few know what to make of their child coming home from school all bitten and swollen – and are baffled by the thought that bed bugs have now taken hold of school settings.
In general, schools and institutional child care environments are not favorable to bed bug infestations – the critters do indeed prefer to dwell in the proximity of sleeping – and unsuspected – hosts.
Now that it’s autumn, you’d expect the cooler weather to make most of the pesky summer critters disappear off the face of the earth – or at least from your backyard. While it’s true that with longer nights, shorter days, and lower temperatures, you’ll see fewer and fewer of those biting, stinging arthropods that bothered you all summer long, their disappearance is not necessarily a sign that they’re gone for the rest of the year.
In fact, you may be even more exposed to their annoying buzzing in the autumn than in summer, because once the warm season is over, they’ll start seeking refuge from the cold of winter – and what better place to hide than inside your warm, cozy house, with plenty of food and water to keep them all happy and satisfied?
You may start noticing insects such as flies, stink bugs, lady beetles, spiders, ants, and others congregating on the south and west walls of your house at the beginning of autumn.