asian ladybird beetle

Photo courtesy of Victoria Rutkowski

QUESTION: I thought that bugs died in cold temperatures, can insects live through the winter season?

ANSWER: Even though here in Canada we can experience some VERY cold temperatures in the winter, we know that bugs don’t all disappear forever—so where do they go?

There are some bugs that overwinter, only to come to life in the spring. Depending on the bug, they will spend the winter as an adult, a larva/nymph, a pupa or as an egg. They could be under ice, under bark, underground, or inside structures. Some – mainly the ones inside of structures – are considered pests by many.

Examples of bugs that survive the winter underwater are dragonfly and damselfly nymphs, and a few other aquatic bugs. As eggs, you can find grasshoppers, crickets (both underground) and tent caterpillars (in egg masses on branches). Fall cankerworms are also found as eggs in the winter, which can be in many different places – even park benches and fences! As pupae, many moths, including the spring cankerworm moth, live out the winter, waiting for the spring to emerge as adults.

The bugs that overwinter in the adult stage are often the ones that are regarded as pests. These are fairly common bugs, and more often than not are inside our homes to stay warm. They are not eating, mating or laying eggs – just staying warm. Examples of these are Asian lady beetles, boxelder bugs, stink bugs, cluster flies, and the queens of wasp colonies. Be on the lookout for these bugs come the spring!

For many of these adult-overwintering bugs, there isn’t too much to do about them right now other than collecting them any way you can. For Asian lady beetles, as an example, using a vacuum or insect light trap works well. Try not to use insecticides at this time, as often this results in many dead bugs in one area. This creates an unpleasant odor and can attract other bugs to your home.

In the summer, do some late summer home inspection. Look for cracks and crevices that an insect could slip through, which does not have to be any wider than the thickness of a credit card. Start with the sides of the house that are the warmest, often the south side, where many insects hang out. Caulk cracks around windows and doors, check around anything that is cut into the exterior of the house like a dryer vent, gas line or light fixtures that do not have a bead of caulk surrounding them. Check or repair door sweeps. Vinyl and aluminum siding also offers many places for insects to slip under.

Come late summer or early fall, you can use a residual insecticide outside the home, around all areas mentioned above. This acts as a barrier and helps keep the bugs out of the home.

Need help battling the bugs? Unsure of what you have? Come down to our retail store or email us to get an ID, then ask our staff for some great tips and product options to deal with your pests. Alternatively, you can give us a call at 1-888-768-5467 and we will be happy to help you out! Remember – there’s no foolin’ with Poulin!

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mice eating corn

1) How do rodenticides work?
Most domestic rat and mouse poisons are anticoagulants; they affect the rodent’s blood, reducing the ability of blood to clot so that exposed rodents bleed internally and die.

2) How long does it take before they die?
Rodents that have ingested a lethal dose of single feed anticoagulant bait will die in 4-6 days.

3) What happens after they die?
A dead rodent in a warm environment is going to decay and as a result, and may leave an odour. In some cases, you may find the carcasses in the vicinity of their nest. However, nobody can guarantee that dead rodents will die in an accessible location. The use of anticoagulant baits accelerates their decomposition and consequently produces less odour.

4) Do place packs have to be opened?
No, because rats and mice can smell the bait through the bag and will have no problem eating through the pouches.

5) Can I touch the bait?
All rodent baits can be safely handled but always wash your hands with soap and water after handling rodent baits.

6) Are other animals or birds at risk from eating dead carcasses?
The amount of rodenticide that is required to kill a rat or mouse is quite minimal and rodenticides are not very toxic to larger animals. An animal would likely have to eat dozens of mice or rats in a short period of time to ingest enough active ingredient to make them sick. The carcasses dry up quickly becoming very unappealing but it is important to pick up dead carcasses immediately to avoid any possibility of secondary poisoning.

7) Is one feeding enough?

  • Diphacinone (Ditrac, Tomcat) requires multiple feedings over several days before a lethal dose is consumed. It is important to provide a continuous supply of bait if you are using this type of rodenticide.
  • Bromodialone (Contrac, Hawk) and Brodificoum (Final, Jaguar) are single feed rodenticides that will kill warfarin resistant rats and mice in one feeding. However, they may continue to consume bait for several days afterwards and bait supply should be continuous to ensure all rodents have an opportunity to feed.

8) How do I keep rodent baits away from children & pets?
Bait stations are the ideal device to add safety to rodent control. They are extremely durable, tamper resistant and can even be anchored to ensure they will not be picked up or moved. There are also many types of effective traps to consider instead of baits. Place the bait stations under stoves, dishwasher and behind fridges.

9) What is the best way to bait?
Begin baiting as soon as you detect a problem. Place bait in areas where you notice or suspect rodent activity, that is, where rodents will find it. Mice tend to travel only 10-30 feet from their nest, while a rat’s home range is 100-150 feet from the nest. Be sure to keep bait fresh and dry, and dispose of any old or contaminated bait. Check the bait station at least once a week and replenish bait as required.

10) Where should I place baits, bait stations, or traps?
Place bait stations and traps where there are signs of heavy rodent activity. (feces, chew marks, urine stains, hair, scratching and/or squeaking sounds at night). Placement will usually be against a wall and out of reach of children, pets, and non-target animals. Rats and mice have limited vision so they always follow lines such as walls.

11) Why use glueboards?
Glueboard traps are non-toxic. Capture results are clearly visible and disposal is quick and easy.

12) I used the bait: Why do I still have rodents?

  • It can take up to 10 days to kill rats or mice.
  • Many rats and mice have developed a resistance to warfarin. Switch to a single feed anticoagulant rodenticide.
  • Not enough bait was used. Rat and mice infestations can be very large (almost always larger then you would expect – rarely just one). Continue to refill the bait station as long as they are eating the bait as it may take time to reduce the population.
  • Rodents can and will move pellets to another location and cache the bait. Switch to a single feed anticoagulant block bait that will be ingested right inside the bait station.
  • Clean up areas where rats and mice live and breed and remove other all other food sources.
  • To ensure that new rodents are not gaining access make sure all small openings around your house and foundation are sealed especially around pipes, wires, windows, and doors.
  • Rats and mice love clutter and hate open spaces. Basements, storage areas, and garages often become rodent havens due to accumulated boxes, furniture, and collectables. Clean and organize these areas as soon as possible if you see signs of rodent activity.
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tanglefootIt’s that time of year again when spring cankerworms come out to wreak havoc on our lovely trees. Tree banding prevents the female cankerworms from laying their eggs in the crowns of the trees in the spring and fall seasons. Tree Tanglefoot Insect Barrier is a sticky, non-drying paste which is effective against gypsy moths, cankerworms, weevils, ants, caterpillars, moths, cutworms, black vine weevil, and other crawling insects trying to inhabit your trees. This is a natural product that is OMRI rated and certified for organic gardening, no pesticides or harmful chemicals are involved. As the insects climb up over the sticky material, they become trapped without escape.

To control the spring cankerworm, you must have bands on your trees by mid-March and/or reapply Tree Tanglefoot to any existing bands that were originally setup in the fall.

Tree Tanglefoot is oil-based and the oils will soak into the bark. Banding material eliminates staining of the tree and offers quick, complete removal of the sticky material. In addition, Tree Tanglefoot will remain sticky longer when applied on top of a surface resistant to oil. For rough bark trees it may be necessary to plug the gaps between the tree trunk and the banding, this can be done by using insulation or other materials.

Apply Tree Tanglefoot Insect barrier in a uniform fashion. It can be applied in a heavy or light coat. Heavy coats are approximately 3″ wide and 3/32″ thick. A heavy coat is used when the insects kept from the tree foliage are large or numerous, or when there is little time available to maintain the band. Light coats are 3″ wide and 1/16″ thick. A light coat is good as a general barrier against smaller or less numerous insects, or when the band can be maintained regularly.

Generally, Tree Tanglefoot will remain sticky and effective until it is covered with insects, dust or other debris. A build-up of debris or insects will create a bridge for other insects to cross. This debris requires removal and possible re-application in spots. If an area is unusually dusty or the surface of the barrier is stiffened, Tree Tanglefoot can be rubbed around to expose a new sticky layer beneath. Remove bands at end of season.

Tree bands should be secured at 5 feet above ground level. Ensure that the bands are tight around your trees so that cankerworms and other insects cannot crawl underneath the band and bypass the sticky paste.

We sell Tree Tanglefoot Insect Barrier in all of our eight stores across Western Canada. Visit a location near you in Winnipeg, Brandon, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, or Vancouver and our staff members will help you get the information and products you need to protect your trees this spring.



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Siobhan and Karina

Siobhan and Karina, Winnipeg Branch

It is no surprise to learn that pest control is a male dominated field. Women and girls make up just over half of North America’s population, yet they occupy only 6% of the pest control industry. When thinking about women and pests the first picture that comes to mind is likely that of a lady standing on a chair screaming at the sight of a mouse, or a little girl running away from moths or wasps or mosquitoes or basically any other flying insect! This stereotype is not reality. Many young girls are very interested in learning about bugs and animals, their behaviours and habits, what they eat and what eats them. Unfortunately, due to gender roles, stereotypes, and a lack of representation these interests tend to die off more often than it does with boys.

Izabela and Bait Station

Izabela checking a bait station for activity

This International Women’s Day, we are going to #PressForProgress at Poulin’s Pest Control! We challenge these stereotypes and bias and encourage all women and non-binary individuals to do the same and pursue a career in pest control. “My favourite thing about being a pest control technician is the way it makes me feel. I love seeing my regulars and having small talk with them. And I especially love watching people smile when I tell them they are clear if their pest problems.” Says Karina, one of our female technicians in Winnipeg.

No previous experience is necessary, as we offer very thorough in class, field training, and testing to ensure that each Pest Management Professional is fully equipped with the knowledge and tools to perform the job properly. After classroom training is complete, new technicians are paired up with an experienced pest management professional for job shadowing and on-site training. We also cover the cost of testing for entry-level technicians to obtain their provincial applicators licensing and certifications.

Izabela and truck

Izabela – Vancouver Branch

Our Vancouver technician, Izabela, has been with Poulin’s for over eight years! This was her first job in the pest control industry and she said, “I like this job because it gives me a good balance of working alone and working with people, doing routine stuff and having new challenges, working inside and outside. I also like the fact that I help people solve problems and that there is always something new to learn.”

Do the women at Poulin’s, actually out there doing the job everyday recommend a career in pest control? “Absolutely! Obviously, it is a male dominated field, and we need more female representation. I often get comments about it being very uncommon to see a woman in pest control. People tend to be very surprised when the lady on the phone is, in fact, their technician and not a receptionist. It is a very rewarding career, and I believe not only that we as women are equally capable for the job, but that we also can excel in some areas comparatively.” Says Siobhan, a female technician at our Winnipeg branch. Izabela adds “I would recommend this job to other women because, though sometimes physically demanding and aesthetically questionable, it can be satisfying and financially rewarding. It is a way to break stereotypes and it’s fun to do something unusual.”

A career as a Pest Management Professional will be ideal for any woman out there who

Karina and Siobhan

Karina and Siobhan, Winnipeg Branch

loves learning new things and seeks a challenge! As Karina puts it, “Though it might not be glamorous and you occasionally get comments on how you can’t do the job as well as a man. You always get a kick out of proving the naysayers wrong!”

Anyone interested in pursuing a career in the pest control industry can send their resumes to, we are an equal opportunity employer and all races, genders, religious beliefs, and LGBTQ identifying individuals are encouraged to apply. Having a diverse team of technicians only strengthens our knowledge and skill-set and all technicians are given the same opportunities to succeed in their careers.


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bed-bug-rendering-frontNo one wants to get bed bugs and a positive identification is crucial in order to protect yourself and your belongings from bed bugs. Always keep a sample of the insect pest and bring it to us at Poulins to identify and provide a treatment program. But sometimes people bring in samples to our office and a relieved to hear that it’s not a bed bug but another insect pest. Some examples that we get in our office include cockroach nymphs (eg. baby versions of cockroaches); the nymphs look segmented like a bed bug and its colour is similar to the rusty brown of a bed bug but they are not. Another common insect brought in are spider beetles. This small bloated abdomen looking insects resembles fed bed bugs because of their reddish-brown colouring. These pests are not blood feeders but a stored product pest. Book Lice is another insect pest that resemble bed bug nymphs (eg. baby versions of the adults) but they are not. Book Lice are feeders of dead insects, mould, fabric and do not feed on blood. Carpet beetle larvae are golden brown and are sometimes mistaken for bed bugs as well. These insects do not feed on blood either and look like a furry version of a bed bug. Carpet beetles fed on fabrics, carpets and certain types of clothing. Come see the pros at Poulins for all your insect identifications.

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