How often would you take the bus or train if you knew that the chance of sharing your seat with bed bugs, cockroaches, or fleas was pretty high?
An older study of London’s public transport found that the average train carriage can contain up to “1,000 cockroaches (living behind lighting panels, ceiling panels & under the door), up to 200 bedbugs (in seat fabric), and up to 200 fleas.” Buses are typically less infested by insect pests, with the average bus holding up to 500 cockroaches, up to 50 bed bugs, and up to 50 fleas.
Not even wild animals can say no to a safe place to hide and the promise of a meal inside trains and buses. Just earlier this month, a raccoon was found beneath a seat aboard a GO train at Union Station in Toronto. Luckily, the animal wasn’t aggressive, and the Burlington Animal Services was able to remove it shortly after passengers reported its presence on the train.
Wood-burning fireplaces are an excellent way to escape the blustery weather – after all, few things are more enticing than snuggling up with a cup of hot cocoa in front of a roaring log fire – but they also give pests a chance to find a way into your home.
Raccoons, squirrels, opossums, and other animals can occasionally enter homes through chimneys in search of a denning site, where they can keep warm during winter and raise their babies until spring. To some of them, your uncapped chimney is indistinguishable from a hollow tree, and they have no idea there’s a human dwelling at the other side of it. Unlike hollow trees, however, the inside of your chimney is often damp and slippery, and some animals will likely get stuck inside.
Having a wild animal inside your chimney can be anything from a nuisance to a safety hazard.
When termites enter a home, it may seem like they’re getting in everywhere, including through the house’s foundation. This has led many homeowners to believe that the hordes of tiny, wriggling insects have the ability to tunnel through and digest concrete, a material that’s supposed to be pest-proof. Although there’s almost no truth to this fact, your house’s foundation can actually be an entryway for termites.
The termite species we have in Canada thrive on cellulose, the organic fibrous material naturally found in wood and plants. In their natural habitat, termites take their nutrients from dead or fallen trees, decaying stumps, and even grass, but in urban areas, where we clean up our landscapes, they must make do with whatever they find – and that’s often our homes and offices.
Most buildings today are built with concrete, and concrete holds no particular appeal to the termites in our country.
The only thing worse than bringing bed bugs into your home after a vacation is to have them come crawling over from your neighbor’s house. If you happen to live in a multi-unit housing complex, your neighbor is a potential source of bed bugs and can spread the creepy crawlers throughout the building without even knowing it.
The mode and frequency of bed bug movement within and between apartments are the most significant findings of a new study from the Public Library of Science (PLOS), published in the September issue of Discover magazine. Here, entomologists from Rutgers University captured and marked bed bugs from six infected apartment units in New Jersey, released them, and then closely monitored them for 32 days to observe where they ended up.
After a week from the release, there were between 2,433 and 14,291 bed bugs in each of the monitored apartments. Even in the absence of a host and the chance of a blood meal, the marked bed bugs continued to be recovered 134 days later, while the naturally existing unmarked bed bugs, mainly large nymphs and adults, were still found 155 days later when the study ended.
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.