Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Spiders / Scorpions: Black Widow: Most Venomous Spider in North America

Hornet Vespidae

Photo: Close-up of a hornet on a plant
Hornets eat leaves and tree sap but are also accomplished predators, feeding on flies, bees, and other insects.
Photograph by H.L. Fox/Animals Animals


Map: Hornet range
Hornet Range

Fast Facts

Average life span in the wild:
Several months (the queen lives through winter)
1.25 in (3.2 cm)
Group name:
Grist or hive
Size relative to a paper clip:
Illustration: Hornet compared with paper clip
Hornets are wasps of the genusVespa, closely related to (and resembling) yellowjackets. There are about 20 hornet species. Most live in tropical Asia, but the insects are also found in Europe, Africa, and North America, where the European hornet was introduced by humans.
These social insects construct hives by chewing wood into a papery construction pulp. They mature from egg to adult inside the community hive.
Queens dominate hornet hives and are the only females to reproduce. Most other hornets are asexual female workers that perform essential community duties such as building the hive, gathering food, feeding the young, and protecting the colony. Males are few and they have only one real role—mating with the queen. Males typically die soon after their sexual task is complete.
In colder climes, hornet nests are abandoned in winter and only new, young queens (and their eggs) survive the season by finding protected areas under tree bark or even inside human dwellings. In the spring, such a queen will begin a new nest, and soon her young will become workers and take over the chores of the new hive—leaving the queen to tend to reproduction. She will produce more workers to expand the hive and then, before she dies, yield a breeding generation of new queens and males (drones) to restart the cycle of life.
These insects eat some tree sap but they are also accomplished predators. A hornet hive will eliminate many flies, bees, and other insects.
Workers defend their hive with potent stingers. Though these insects do not sting humans unless provoked, some people are allergic to their venom and can have very dangerous reactions to a sting.
Hornets are often considered pests, particularly when they nest near humans, because they will defend a nest aggressively if they feel it is threatened. Though many people fear their sting, hornets usually get the worst of such encounters when their nests are poisoned or destroyed. In some areas, such as Germany, they are granted protection to preserve their role in the ecosystem.

Living with Skunks

Living with Skunks

striped skunkSkunks are found all over Ontario, in forests and towns and cities.  This highly adaptable animal is very common in many cities.

Skunks discharge a bad smelling fluid to defend themselves from threats.

A skunk is not an aggressive animal and will always try to retreat from a human. An angry skunk will growl or hiss, stamp its front feet rapidly, or even walk a short distance on its front feet with its tail high in the air.  Before spraying, it usually humps its back and turns in a U-shaped position so that both the head and tail face the enemy.

Skunks eat a wide variety of foods: insects, mice, shrews, squirrels, young rabbits, birds' eggs, and various plants. During the autumn and winter they eat about equal amounts of plant and animal foods, but eat mainly insects in the summer.

The scent of the skunk is an effective defence against most natural enemies. Nevertheless, it is preyed upon by many large birds.

Conflicts happen

In urban areas, skunks may spray pets or people that startle them.

Skunks can cause damage to lawns and gardens.  They may make homes inside buildings or under porches.

Please keep in mind…

Wild animals have the same basic needs as humans – food, water and shelter. Sometimes, humans and wild creatures come into conflict when animals are trying to meet their basic needs. Often, conflicts can be prevented if we're willing to make small changes to how we think and act.

People and wild animals live side by side in Ontario. We all share responsibility for preventing and handling human-wildlife conflicts. If you must take action against wildlife, please consider all your options and follow all relevant laws and regulations.

Conflicts with Skunks

How Can I Prevent Conflicts?

Limit food sources
  • Never feed skunks.
  • Feed pets inside and lock pet doors at night.
  • To prevent skunks from digging up lawns for grubs, apply natural remedies from garden stores (microscopic worms called "nematodes" can be effective in killing grubs) or lay down one-inch mesh chicken wire.
  • Store garbage indoors until collection day.
  • Keep compost in containers that keep skunks out while allowing for ventilation.

Make your property unwelcoming
  • Block off potential access points to your garage and other buildings.
  • Secure the perimeter of decks, sheds and crawl spaces.
  • Complete home repairs in the autumn, so mother and young won't be trapped inside.
  • Use flashing lights, motion sensors and noise makers to deter skunks.
  • You may choose to let skunks occupy an area, such as under a deck, if they don't pose a problem. If you'd like to remove the animals, a wildlife control company can be hired.
  • If a skunk gets into your house, stay calm. Close all but one outside door, and let the animal find its own way out.

How Can I Handle a Conflict?

If you encounter a skunk
  • If a person or pet is sprayed, the faster you clean up, the more completely you can remove the odour.
  • If eyes get irritated, flush them liberally with cold water.  Next, wash with mildly acidic substances such as carbolic soap, tomato juice, diluted vinegar, or the following home remedy: One litre of three per cent hydrogen peroxide solution 80 millilitres of baking soda and 5 millilitres of liquid soap.
  • Always mix the solution in a large, open container. Use the entire mixture while it is still bubbling. Wearing rubber gloves, apply the solution, work it into lather, and leave it on for 30 minutes.
  • After washing, follow with a long hot shower. You may have to repeat the process two or three times.
  • When washing a dog, wash the body first and then the head to keep the dog from shaking off the mixture.
Lethal action is a last resort
  • Landowners may humanely kill or trap skunks that are damaging or about to damage their property. Firearm regulations and bylaws must be followed.
  • You may also hire an agent to act on your behalf. 

For more information and assistance…
To locate a local wildlife control agent…
• Speak with your neighbours, family, and friends.
• Look for "animal control" in your phone book or online.

To locate a licensed trapper...
• contact the Ontario Fur Managers Federation at (705) 254-3338 or by e-mail

For information on skunks…
• Call your local Ministry of Natural Resources office or the Natural Resources Information Centre at 1-800-667-1940.
• Check out Hinterland Who’s Who

For information on how to prevent conflicts with skunks….
• Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PDF, 143 KB)
• City of Toronto

Act quickly to avoid spread of bed bugs

List of common household pests





Thursday, 3 October 2013

Pests that require Control!

Pest (organism)

Carpet beetle larvae damaging a specimen of Sceliphron destillatorius in an entomological collection
pest is "a plant or animal detrimental to humans or human concerns (as agriculture or livestock production)";[1] alternative meanings include organisms that cause nuisance and epidemic disease associated with high mortality (specifically: plague). In its broadest sense, a pest is a competitor of humanity.[2] In the past, the term might have been used for detrimental animals only, thus for example, causing confusion where the generic term 'pesticide' meant 'insecticide' to some people. It is any living organism which is invasive or prolific, detrimental, troublesome, noxious, destructive, a nuisance to either plants or animals, human or human concerns, livestock, human structures, wild ecosystems, etc. It is a loosely defined term, often overlapping with the related terms vermin, weed, plant and animal parasites and pathogens. It is possible for an organism to be a pest in one setting but beneficial, domesticated or acceptable in another.[edit]

Pests often occur in high densities, making the damage they do even more detrimental
Often animals are derided as pests as they cause damage to agriculture by feeding on crops or parasitising livestock, such as codling moth on apples, orboll weevil on cotton. An animal could also be a pest when it causes damage to a wild ecosystem or carries germs within human habitats. Examples of these include those organisms which vector human disease, such as rats and fleas which carry the plague disease, mosquitoes which vector malaria, and ticks which carry Lyme disease.
The term pest may be used to refer specifically to harmful animals but is also often taken to mean all harmful organisms including weeds, plant pathogenic fungi and virusesPesticides are chemicals and other agents (e.g. beneficial micro-organisms) that are used to control or protect other organisms from pests. The related term vermin has much overlap with pest, but generally only includes those creatures that are seen to be vectors of diseases.
It is possible for an animal to be a pest in one setting but beneficial or domesticated in another (for example, European rabbits introduced to Australiacaused ecological damage beyond the scale they inflicted in their natural habitat). Many weeds (plant pests) are also seen as useful under certain conditions, for instance Patterson's curse is often valued as food for honeybees and as a wildflower, even though it can poison livestock.
The term "plant pest" has a very specific definition in terms of the International Plant Protection Convention and phytosanitary measures worldwide. A pest is any species, strain or biotype of plant, animal, or pathogenic agent injurious to plants or plant products.[3]
Plants may be considered pests if an invasive species. Any prolific animal or plant may be considered pests.
The greatest importance as pests (in the order of economic importance) are insectsmitesnematodes and gastropods.[4]

Invertebrate pests


Caterpillars cause crop damage

Termites cause structural damage




Some slugs are pests in both agriculture and gardens. Their significance is increasing drastically.[4] Deroceras reticulatum is a worldwide distributed slug pest.[4] Local importance slug pests include: Deroceras spp.,[4] Milax spp.,[4] Tandonia sp.,[4] Limax spp.,[4] Arion spp.[4] and some species ofVeronicellidae:[4] Veronicella sloanei.[5]
Land snail pests include:
Freshwater snail pests include:

Plant pathogens

Plant pests

Seagulls steal human food