vole problems calgaryAs the temperatures are starting to rise and the snow is melting, you may be seeing many grass laden tunnels appearing in your grass. This year’s vole population will likely be very high due to the heavy amounts of snow received in Manitoba and other certain parts of western Canada. Voles look like a house mouse but have small eyes, a shorter tail, small ears and a rounded snout whereas a house mouse has large eyes, long tail, larger ears and a pointed snout. The vole has a dark brown coat with a greyish belly and in the winter its belly usually turns white whereas the house mouse has a brownish, or grey fur coat. Positive identification of the pest is key so the proper pest management strategy can be implemented. Improper identification can lead to incorrect techniques and control options being attempted and no control occurring. Providing pictures of the damage, examples of the animal, its droppings, or any other evidence will provide the Pest Management Professional the ability to determine your pest problem and the best methodology to rectify it.

Voles feed on roots, succulent plants, and grasses through the winter and make many weaving tunnels throughout your lawn. The evidence is very apparent once the snow recedes to reveal these snaking tunnels. Calling in a Poulin’s Pest Management Professional to inspect, recommend and provide a treatment program with commercially registered rodenticides for controlling voles is always the best solution as the individuals are trained in baiting and have access to commercially labelled products that homeowners do not have access to purchase. As the homeowner, please only use domestically registered products that have a PCP# on it. The next step is to confirm on the label under the ‘Pests Controlled” section, that the product is registered for the control of voles. If voles are not on the rodenticide label do not use it as a control product. With any registered bait, one of the best management practices to control voles is to place the bait in the small round burrows that are usually along deck and fence edges, placing bait along the tunnels of grass created by the voles is another effective option. Please note that this method assumes that no animals, people or children will have access to the baits and snap traps. Baits and snap traps must be placed vertically to the tunnels, with the snap trap feeding bowl in the tunnel. This method will also increase the overall success of controlling voles in your backyard.

For best results, contact Poulin’s Pest Control at 1-888-768-5467. Our trained experts will know the products needed for your situation and the critical locations to where traps are necessary.

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German Cockroach - both sidesCockroaches have been on this planet for hundreds of millions of years and are expected to be here way after the human race has left. Fossil evidence shows early forms of cockroach present in the record from approximately 280-320 million years ago! Here are five interesting facts that you didn’t know about the cockroach.

  1. Cockroaches are nature’s perfectly adaptable pest, they can even survive with its head being cut off for up to 7 days.
  2. What actually causes a headless roach to die? Water loss, as it has no way in ingest water into its gut and circulatory system.
  3. How can it survive without a head? Cockroaches are not like humans as their brain is actually along its back in little neural packs that allow the roach to adapt to not having a head.
  4. Why wouldn’t a headless roach bleed to death? Well, because of the cockroaches ‘skin’, which is not like our skin, it can close the wound that was created and seal it up, therefore saving any water in its system until it dies of water loss approximately 7 days later.
  5. But what about food? A cockroach can live without food for approximately 30 days, depending on conditions. That means that if it’s getting water at reasonable intervals, and its warm and comfortable, then the cockroach can survive easily until a food source can be found.

Did you know that cockroaches spend approximately 75% of their time in very small and tight cracks and dark crevasses? That’s why if you walk into your kitchen or bathroom and turn on the light, the cockroaches will quickly scatter back into their hiding spots. It’s important to see where they go because you can determine their hiding spots or harbourage areas.

As a Pest Management Professional, this kind of information will help us destroy the cockroach problem in your home. We follow procedures and policies that will rid your home of these pests quickly and effectively using an integrated pest management program. This program includes making your home unhospitable to cockroaches by removing any food, water, or other sources of materials which allow cockroaches to spread. This includes the use of vacuums to remove as many cockroaches as possible before either a gel bait treatment or a chemical treatment occurs. This way any remaining cockroaches will be exposed to the non-allergenic gel bait or to the permethrin based chemical treatments. A Poulin’s professional will return as soon as 7-10 days to follow up and re-treat or re-bait your home to quickly remove the cockroach problem. Remember this, cockroaches can literally get into anything as long as there is a water and food source and its room temperature.

To find out more about our integrated pest management program give us a call at 888-768-5467 or find a location near you and visit us in store.

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how to kill bed bugs

QUESTION: How do I know if I have bed bugs?

ANSWER: Are tiny bugs crawling on your bed and keeping you up at night? Do these bugs that have six legs, a small apple shape and bodies smaller than 6mm? Do you smell crushed coriander or do you see rusty brown blood spots on your skin or bedding? Do you see discarded skins of previous molted bugs in and around your bed and baseboards? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have bed bugs! Bed bugs are true bugs that have a 3-segmented part beak and two tubes that inject saliva and an anticoagulant to draw up your blood directly into its waiting gut. They have a scent gland and 4-segmented antennae. Click here to see what a bed bug looks like.

One adult female bed bug can lay 2-5 eggs per day. In 10 – 14 days those eggs will hatch into baby bed bugs, called nymphs, which are only about 1.5mm in size and yellowish white in color. Those nymphs must find a blood meal, preferably a human one, within 24 hours or it will likely die. Bed bugs go through 5 nymphal developmental stages, called instars, and molt between each one until they reach the adult stage where they are sexually reproductive. An adult bed bug, depending on conditions, can survive in your home for approximately 3 months with a host present. If the host leaves, all stages will go into a semi-hibernation state and wait for a warm-blooded host to return so they can continue producing more bed bugs to feed on you.

Treat any bed bugs found with an appropriately labelled pesticide. Mattress and box spring encasements should be used. Depending on size of infestations found, multiple treatments may be needed. Treat night stands, stuffed furniture, baseboards, floorboards, behind loose wallpaper, light switches, door and window frames, conduits, wall voids, attics and other enclosed places with properly labelled residual insecticide. Use insecticide dust in wall voids and under carpet seams. Vacuums are a great way to physically remove bed bugs from an area. Be sure to vacuum cracks and crevices where bed bugs hide. Also, when finished vacuuming, treat the vacuum hose and throw away the vacuum bag.

It’s important to bring a sample of any suspected bed bugs to our experts at Poulin’s Pest Control. Positive identification of these blood feeding nuisance pests is critical to rid your home of these pests. Please do not be ashamed or embarrassed as anyone can get bed bugs, they do not discriminate and are great hitch hikers on almost any item or person. Know what to look for and call us to set up a program to eradicate them from your home.

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Scientific Name: Columbidae

Common Names: Pigeon, Dove, Rock Pigeon, Feral Pigeon, Rock Dove
Color: Varies
Weight: 9 – 16 ounces
Length: Between 12 – 15 inches
Wingspan: 20 – 26 inches

FACT: Pigeons have color vision, a hearing range very close to that of humans and have poor senses of taste and smell. Pigeons cannot think, but are capable of conditional learning.

There are 4 behavioural habits requiring consideration. These are feeding, nesting, roosting and loafing.

  • Feeding: Pigeons prefer to feed on seeds, grain, fruit etc. However, they will feed on garbage, animal matter, livestock manure and many other foods when their preferred foods are scarce.
  • Nesting: Nests are loosely constructed and usually consist of sticks, leaves and other debris. They are built on ledges of structures, cliffs or in caves. The considerable amount of cliff-like nesting sites, especially on older buildings, is one of the key factors that attract pigeons to cities. Often nesting and roosting occur in the same general area, but they can be distant.
  • Roosting: Roosting sites are where pigeons rest or sleep. They usually involve some kind of perch that is often high off the ground such as exposed roof girders, protected ledges, etc. Loafing is loosely defined as when pigeons are not feeding, nesting or roosting. This may occur almost anywhere pigeons are not constantly disturbed.
  • Loafing: Pigeons have very acidic droppings which can deface marble, limestone, painted surface, statues, car finishes, etc. Fresh droppings can cause objectionable odours and slippery situations on sidewalks, roads, fire escapes and other flat surfaces. Droppings, feathers and nesting materials can contaminate unprocessed grain and packaged foods. Pigeons also have diseases, ectoparasites and other pests associated with them.

Many options are available for bird control. There are 5 methods that do not utilize toxicants.

  • Exclusion which involves structural modification (eg. Change ledge angle to 45 degrees), the installation of plastic netting, and/or the use of repellents such as plastic and metal spines, monofilament and steel lines, and gels and pastes.
  • Sanitation which involves the reduction or elimination of feeding sites and temporary water sources.
  • Sound Devices such as noise-making devices (usually not suitable for urban areas).
  • Trapping which can be effective if the birds are destroyed and not released; otherwise, they will return home or create problems elsewhere.
  • Shooting can also be effective for removing birds within some kinds of buildings.

If you find yourself with a pigeon problem, we can help! Poulin’s has 8 locations throughout Western Canada. We’ll respond quickly to your call and work with you to develop a pigeon control strategy that keeps your family’s health and comfort in mind.

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QUESTION: Where do bugs go in winter?

ANSWER: Insects can adapt to survive many different climates and changes in weather conditions. Insects will go through behavioral and/or physiological changes to adapt to cold temperatures and increase their chances of survival during the winter. Many insects maintain a low level of activity during winter months while other enter a hibernation state.

Insects also survive through winter with partial dehydration and reduced feeding, which reduces the chances of excess water in their bodies freezing. Some insects can survive in certain stages of growth that are more protective from the elements, such as eggs in an egg sac or pupae in a hard cocoon, both of which do not require food or water.

Overwintering insects will seek out dry, protected areas such as bricks, wood piles, and mulch as they can provide shelter in cold weather. The lights and warm air coming from your home can also attract many insects to overwinter inside your house.

Some common overwintering pests to watch for in your home are:

  • Cluster Flies: These flies do not present any health hazards. They are slow moving flies that hatch in late summer and early fall. They can be present in very large numbers and are difficult to eradicate once inside a home. These flies are usually located in attics, window frames, and wall or roof cavities.
  • Asian Lady Beetles: These beetles produce an unpleasant odor when frightened or crushed and can stain surfaces. They have also been known to bite humans. Asian Lady Beetles enter homes in winter months by the thousands through any crack, crevice, or opening and gather in warm places once inside.
  • Boxedler Bugs: These bugs become a nuisance when they enter homes in the fall. They will crawl into houses from the ground level but can also fly to higher elevations. They enter through chimneys, electrical wiring cut-outs, doorways, and windows. They will congregate in warm places in a home.
  • Stink Bugs: Stink bugs are highly attracted to light. External and interior lights should be reducing during times of heavy stink bug movement. They search for shelter in late summer and become a nuisance inside homes.

At Poulin’s Pest Control, we’re experts in elimination of pest problems. If you want to take care of the problem yourself, we carry a number of products to assist with many pest problems, and if you need our help, our technicians are standing by. Remember – there’s no foolin’ with Poulin.

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