Photo Courtesy of Victoria Rutkowski

We receive a lot of calls in the fall from people concerned about ladybugs taking over their homes and biting their family members. Ladybugs do not bite! If you are being bitten by an insect that looks like a ladybug, it’s actually an Asian ladybird beetle. Ladybugs, at this time of year, are already likely to be hibernating and not even present – Asian ladybird beetles, on the other hand, are still very active and visually look like a sweet, innocent summer ladybug. Just to make sure everyone sees it again, ladybugs do not bite humans, only Asian ladybird beetles can.

This imported insect pest was introduced into Canada during the 1970’s to help rid farmers crops of insect pests that would be naturally reducing farmers yields in certain crop types. As we go through the past 40ish years, we have seen especially over the past two years a large increase in these Asian ladybird beetles trying to find overwinter sites in your home in the Fall. They do not have any food sources left and the temperatures are decreasing so they are on mass trying to move into your windows, doors, ledges, cracks and vegetation areas around your home to survive and hibernate over the winter. They will emerge next Spring and return to the farmer fields to be biological controllers again for farmers.

If Asian ladybird beetles are being a nuisance to you and are making their way into your home, there are several effective options to consider when wanting to control these ‘new fall pests’.  There are both chemical and non-chemical control options. Some options available are as easy as vacuuming the pests up or leaving out sticky traps. Come down to our retail store to ask our staff for some great tips and product options to deal with Asian ladybird beetles, or you can give us a call at 1-888-768-5467 and we will be happy to help you out!

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tales from the techI showed up to a cockroach job, that turned out to be double booked.  When a job is double booked I don’t have to stay because someone else is already there doing the job and I can go right to my next appointment.  I went in to see who was already working, it was one of our techs that had been here for years and years.  I thought it would be funny to creep up behind him and give him a scare! I walked up slowly, making sure he wouldn’t know I was there… but then I heard him doing something odd.  He was clearly talking to someone, but there was no one around.  I wondered if he was having a senior moment.  Then I saw who he was talking to:

“Hey little buddies!”

“I see you there!”

“Yes, I see you too!”

“How are you guys doing today? It’s not going to be good for you now…”

“Sorry!”

He was talking to the roaches!  I stopped in my tracks and backed away slowly.  He was clearly having a moment with these roaches and who am I to interrupt? I had a good laugh as I walked back to my truck.  I never let him live that one down!

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house mouseHi I’m a mouse that likes to hide, but where am I most likely to be… in the home I like to hide in locations where I can’t be seen such as behind cupboards or behind the wall voids, beneath the sink via the pipe chase holes or even in a pantry that has access holes. I only need an opening the size of your small finger to move quickly from location to location in your home. I like to stay near my nesting area where I build up a comfy spot to have my babies.

I also enjoy leaving urine trails and like to poop in corners and along edges. These little small shaped ‘football’ poops can be dangerous if you find them in locations where deer mice are present. Do not disturb this type of fecal matter as it may have hantavirus present in it and if your aerosol the fecal matter and breathe it in it could kill you. So please soak down the fecal matter with a 50:50 water bleach mixture; let it sit for 15 minutes and you better wear an N-95 mask, rubber gloves and goggles to clean it up and disinfect the area. In the home, it is unlikely to be a deer mouse but it’s always best to be careful if you do not know whether I’m a house mouse or a deer mouse.

All I need to survive and propagate is a little water, a food source and a location to hide. I really like to hide behind stoves and fridges as food stuffs and water can be there and provide me a great place to hide. If you have open food, spilled food stuffs or even an open bag of dog or cat food will give me the chance to grow, reproduce and create even more of a mess in your home.

So how should you keep me out? Well exclusion at this time of year is key! Fill, seal, repair any crack, hole or crevasse that I can fit through. Also place bait stations or Ketchall’s or snap traps or sticky traps along walls where you are seeing evidence of my presence. Calling the professionals at Poulin’s will help give you the best defense of keeping me out of your house in the fall because this is the time of year I want in.

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tales from the techI was called to a raccoon job.  This customer said they had a raccoon in their yard for a long time, knocking over their garbage and trampling through their garden.  I set and baited one of our Havahart live traps beside the deck in their backyard; they had said that it was burrowing under there. As luck would have it, we caught the racoon the next day!

I headed over to the customers property and the trap was gone.  The raccoon had managed to drag itself and the trap away from the deck and into the tall grass near the back of their yard.  The trap itself was buried in the grass so I couldn’t see what was in side when I approached it.

I picked up the trap and it turned out to be a skunk!  This skunk soaked me – at point blank range – head to toe!  The smell was so strong it almost made me sick.  I had to strip down to my underwear and drive home like that.  I took the next two days off work because the smell would not leave!

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Raccoon BabyWe share our cities and parks with many different types of animals and wildlife.  These animals are resourceful, they are scavengers, predators, prey, and survivors.  Sometimes these critters will venture a little too close to home in order to find food or shelter; when this happens, the animal becomes a pest.  But you don’t have to keep fighting with backyard critters over who gets to eat the best veggies in your garden!  There are many options to trap these pests and move them off your property.

Each animal has a different set of behaviors, habitats, bait preferences, and trapping techniques that are vital in knowing to have the best success in trapping it.  Remember that you may not catch the specific pest that you are trying to and it may take several attempts.

Please keep these important points in mind when attempting to live trap a pest animal:

  • Be aware of weather conditions. Trapped animals should not be left out in the elements as they can die from prolonged exposure to heat and cold.  You cannot leave a trap not inspected for more than 24 hours especially if it is hot and humid.
  • Check traps FREQUENTLY. Wild animals stress easily and may seriously injure themselves as they attempt to escape.  You should be looking at your trap a minimum of every 4 hours to make sure nothing is left in conditions that are inhumane.
  • You may attract non-pest animals, such as dogs and cats, in your trap.  It is imperative that you constantly monitor your trap, so if an unwanted critter gets in, you can release it ASAP from your trapping location.
  • Depending on the time of year, you may trap a nursing mother and if you relocate only her, her babies will not survive. To see if you’ve trapped a nursing female, stand the trap on one end to observe the belly.
  • Traps should be washed, disinfected with a bleach solution (1-part bleach to 9-parts water and let it remain on for 20 minutes), and thoroughly rinsed after each capture to stop the spread of any potential disease. Animals frequently defecate and urinate when captured and it is unhealthy to put bait down unless trap is cleaned thoroughly.

Selecting the right bait to attract your specific pest is key, as the variety of options is almost endless.  Chicken, sardines, eggs, bacon, and many vegetables can all be used as attractants to lure wildlife into traps.  Below is a list of the best options for trapping some of the common pest animals that you may come across:

Bird Bait: Sunflower seeds or scratch grain
Stray Cat or Bobcat Bait: Fish, meats, oil of catnip, sardines or canned tuna, chicken
Chipmunk Bait: Prune pits, un-roasted peanuts, corn, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, cereal, grains, popcorn
Flying Squirrel Bait: Apples, seeds, red rubber ball, whole roasted peanuts
Fox Bait (Red and Gray): Scented bait from a reliable fox trapper, chicken
Gopher Bait: Peanut butter mixed with molasses, spread on whole wheat bread
Groundhog Bait: Fresh string beans, sweet corn, lettuce, peas, cantaloupe, strawberries, cucumbers, peaches, vanilla extract
Mouse Bait: Peanut butter, bread and butter, small nuts, cherry pits, oatmeal, sunflower or similar seeds. Mixed peanut butter and oatmeal is very good bait, also gum drops
Muskrat Bait: Fresh vegetables, parsnips, carrots, sweet apples, oil of anise, or musk from another muskrat
Opossum Bait: Vegetables, sweet apples, chicken entrails, sardines, crisp bacon, canned cat food
Otter Bait: Fish
Porcupine Bait: Apples, salt, carrots
Rabbit Bait: Fresh vegetables (Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, lettuce), apples. In the wintertime bread is a good bait, Spraying the inside of the trap with apple cider is also effective
Raccoon Bait: Fish, fresh or canned, honey or sugar covered vegetables, smoked fish, watermelon, sweet corn, cooked fatty meat, crisp bacon. Special favorite is marshmallow!
Rat Bait: Cheese, chicken or fowl flesh, cereal grains, peanut butter and oatmeal mixed, peppermint candy
Skunk Bait: Chicken entrails, cracknels, fish-canned or fresh-insect larvae such as may beetles, crisp bacon, cat food
Squirrel Bait: Cereal, grains, nuts (especially peanuts) sunflower seeds, anise oil (a drop or two on bread), shelled corn, apples. Mixed peanut butter and oatmeal or peanut butter and molasses, popcorn.
Vole Bait: Peanut butter mixed with molasses, spread on whole wheat bread
Weasel Bait: Fish, fresh liver, chicken entrails
Woodchuck Bait: Fresh string beans, sweet corn, lettuce, peas, cantaloupe, strawberries, cucumbers, peaches, vanilla extract

It is always good to have several Havahart wire traps handy. These traps are a quality product, they are designed to be efficient, effective, and a safe option for both wildlife and yourself.  A poorly designed live trap may allow for the animal to escape, injure itself, or even destroy the trap.  Place a small amount of the selected bait around the entrance of the trap to gain the animal’s interest, the majority of bait should be placed inside.  Once the pest animal enters the trap to get the bait, they will trigger the spring to lock them in.

If you have a fenced garden or any fences or walls where animals are found, then set the trap with both ends open along the fence, with or without bait. Most wild animals will follow along the fences and through the trap to get caught. If you can, locate regular runaways by putting up a short fence in a V-shape with an opening to set a trap in, you can direct the animal through the trap.

Once you trap an animal they should be released a good distance away from your property.  Squirrels and rabbits can be released in the city at a park or by the riverside.  For other wildlife, we recommend releasing them outside of the city.  If you are unsure about where you should release an animal you have caught you can call your local animal services or wildlife rehabilitation center for more precise information.

Stop in any of our 8 Poulin’s locations for friendly, effective advice and control products. We carry all the necessary equipment to help with your situation.  So, if you’ve got some visitors you’d rather see less of, but want to make sure that the pest control company you hire treats the animals ethically, contact Poulin’s Pest Control.  We’re proud to say that we’ve helped numerous families rid their properties of pests without harm to the animals themselves.

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