Showing posts with label pest control London. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pest control London. Show all posts

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Pest Control for Bed Bugs, a Professional Job!

Act quickly to avoid spread of bed bugs

MARILYN LINCOLN, Special to QMI Agency
It has been three months since I discovered bed bugs have invaded my condo townhouse. I have spent $700 on a pesticide company and still have the problem. I am a spotless housekeeper so this cannot be my fault. I am afraid to go to sleep at night because of the bites. My life has become a nightmare. My family and friends won't visit. When I first discovered the bed bugs I thought they came from one of the adjoining townhouses on either side of me. However, my neighbors had no signs of bed bugs but became very alarmed regarding my situation. The condo management has informed me that is my duty to get rid of these bed bugs before they spread. What more can I do? Please help. I am at the end of my rope.
When parents tucked their children into bed years ago the old saying was: "Sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite." Once thought to be eradicated after the Second World War, bed bugs are making a huge comeback.
Pesticides such as DDT were once used to control bed bugs, but concerns about health and the environment led to many of these pesticides being banned.
Bed bugs can originate from various sources. Some common places are infested furniture in hotels, motels and carried around in the luggage of travelers. They have made there way into libraries, hospitals and movie theatres.
No matter how clean you are, if someone brings bed bugs into your home they will spread quickly.
Bed bugs feed on blood not on trash. They bite exposed skin and leave behind small, red, itchy welts. They can cause serious emotional problems for people who can't get rid of them.
Bed bugs are big enough to be seen. They hide under mattresses and in the seams, in and around bed frames, along any cracks or peeling paint in the wall, picture frames, wooden furniture, behind baseboards, in carpets, behind wallpaper.
Once you discover bed bugs, time is of the essence before a huge infestation occurs. READ MORE about Bed Bug Pest Control
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Bed bug pest control
Marilyn Lincoln is a condominium owner, director and author of The Condominium Self Management Guide, 2nd edition. Send questions to marilyncondoguide@hotmail.com.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Pest control

Pest control refers to the regulation or management of a species defined as a pest, usually because it is perceived to be detrimental to a person's health, the ecology or the economy.


History

Pest control is at least as old as agriculture, as there has always been a need to keep crops free from pests. In order to maximize food production, it is advantageous to protect crops from competing species of plants, as well as from herbivores competing with humans.
The conventional approach was probably the first to be employed, since it is comparatively easy to destroy weeds by burning them or plowing them under, and to kill larger competing herbivores, such as crows and other birds eating seeds. Techniques such as crop rotationcompanion planting (also known as intercropping or mixed cropping), and the selective breeding of pest-resistantcultivars have a long history.
In the UK, following concern about animal welfare, humane pest control and deterrence is gaining ground through the use of animal psychology rather than destruction. For instance, with the urbanRed Fox which territorial behaviour is used against the animal, usually in conjunction with non-injurious chemical repellents. In rural areas of Britain, the use of firearms for pest control is quite common. Airguns are particularly popular for control of small pests such as rats, rabbits and grey squirrels, because of their lower power they can be used in more restrictive spaces such as gardens, where using a firearm would be unsafe.
Chemical pesticides date back 4,500 years, when the Sumerians used sulfur compounds as insecticides. The Rig Veda, which is about 4,000 years old, also mentions the use of poisonous plants for pest control. It was only with the industrialization and mechanization of agriculture in the 18th and 19th century, and the introduction of the insecticides pyrethrum and derris that chemical pest control became widespread. In the 20th century, the discovery of several synthetic insecticides, such as DDT, and herbicides boosted this development. Chemical pest control is still the predominant type of pest control today, although its long-term effects led to a renewed interest in traditional and biological pest control towards the end of the 20th century.

Causes

pest control london ontario
Many pests have only become a problem because of the direct actions of humans. Modifying these actions can often substantially reduce the pest problem. In the United Statesraccoons caused a nuisance by tearing open refuse sacks. Many householders introduced bins with locking lids, which deterred the raccoons from visiting. House flies tend to accumulate wherever there is human activity and is virtually a global phenomenon, especially where food or food waste is exposed. Similarly, seagulls have become pests at many seaside resorts. Tourists would often feed the birds with scraps offish and chips, and before long, the birds would become dependent on this food source and act aggressively towards humans.
Living organisms evolve and increase their resistance to biological, chemical, physical or any other form of control. Unless the target population is completely exterminated or is rendered incapable of reproduction, the surviving population will inevitably acquire a tolerance of whatever pressures are brought to bear - this results in an evolutionary arms race.

Types of pest control

Biological pest contro

Biological pest control is the control of one through the control and management of natural predators and parasites. For example: mosquitoes are often controlled by putting Bt Bacillus thuringiensis ssp. israelensis, a bacterium that infects and kills mosquito larvae, in local water sources. The treatment has no known negative consequences on the remaining ecology and is safe for humans to drink. The point of biological pest control, or any natural pest control, is to eliminate a pest with minimal harm to the ecological balance of the environment in its present form.[1]

Mechanical pest contro

Mechanical pest control is the use of hands-on techniques as well as simple equipment, devices, and natural ingredients that provide a protective barrier between plants and insects. For example: weeds can be controlled by being physically removed from the ground. This is referred to as tillage and is one of the oldest methods of weed control.

Elimination of breeding grounds

Proper waste management and drainage of still water, eliminates the breeding ground of many pests.
Garbage provides food and shelter for many unwanted organisms, as well as an area where still water might collect and be used as a breeding ground by mosquitoes. Communities that have proper garbage collection and disposal, have far less of a problem with rats, cockroaches, mosquitoes, flies and other pests than those that don't.
Open air sewers are ample breeding ground for various pests as well. By building and maintaining a proper sewer system, this problem is eliminated.
Certain spectrums of LED light can "disrupt insects’ breeding."[2]

Poisoned bait

Poisoned bait is a common method for controlling rat populations, however is not as effective when there are other food sources around, such as garbage. Poisoned meats have been used for centuries for killing off wolves, birds that were seen to threaten crops, and against other creatures. This can be a problem, since a carcass which has been poisoned will kill not only the targeted animal, but also every other animal which feeds on the carcass. Humans have also been killed by coming in contact with poisoned meat, or by eating an animal which had fed on a poisoned carcass. this tool is also used to manage several caterpillars e.g.Spodoptera litura,fruit flies,snails and slugs,crabs etc.

Field burning

Traditionally, after a sugar cane harvest, the fields are all burned, to kill off any insects or eggs that might be in the fields.

Hunting

Historically, in some European countries, when stray dogs and cats became too numerous, local populations gathered together to round up all animals that did not appear to have an owner and kill them. In some nations, teams of rat catchers work at chasing rats from the field, and killing them with dogs and simple hand tools. Some communities have in the past employed a bounty system, where a town clerk will pay a set fee for every rat head brought in as proof of a rat killing.

Traps

With the many traps available on the market today you can easily remove mice and rats from homes. You must first know what rodent needs to be removed, you can then decide what type of trap is the best suited to your needs. The snap trap is the most widely used, it utilizes a trigger (sometimes shaped like cheese) to hold bait, and kills the rodent by striking it behind the head with a wire rod or jaw. In some instances you may wish to use glue traps also called glue boards. This type of trap requires the mouse or rat to attempt to cross the trap so the glue can hold the rodent. After a catch is made you can euthanize the rodent and dispose of it trap and all, or some glue boards will release the catch when you pour vegetable oil on them, as the oil reacts with the glue to lose its grip. The last type of trap are live catch traps, this type of trap is typically a repeating style so more than one animal can be caught at a time, they can also be released from this trap in a new location if desired.

Pesticides

Spraying pesticides by planes, handheld units, or trucks that carry the spraying equipment, is a common method of pest control. Crop dusters commonly fly over farmland and spray pesticides to kill off pests that would threaten the crops. However, some pesticides may cause cancer and other health problems, as well as harming wildlife.[3]

Space fumigation

A project that involves a structure be covered or sealed airtight followed by the introduction of a penetrating, deadly gas at a killing concentration a long period of time (24-72hrs.). Although expensive, space fumigation targets all life stages of pests.[4]

Space treatment


pest control london ontario
A long term project involving fogging or misting type applicators. Liquid insecticide is dispersed in the atmosphere within a structure. Treatments do not require the evacuation or airtight sealing of a building, allowing most work within the building to continue but at the cost of the penetrating effects. Contact insecticides are generally used, minimizing the long lasting residual effects. On August 10, 1973, the Federal Register printed the definition of Space treatment as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):[4]
the dispersal of insecticides into the air by foggers, misters, aerosol devices or vapor dispensers for control of flying insects and exposed crawling insects

Sterilization

Laboratory studies conducted with U-5897 (3-chloro-1,2-propanediol) where attempted in the early 1970s although these proved unsuccessful.[5]Research into sterilization bait is ongoing.
Another effective method of soil sterilization is soil steaming. Pest is killed through hot steam which is induced into the soil.

Destruction of infected plants

Forest services sometimes destroy all the trees in an area where some are infected with insects, if seen as necessary to prevent the insect species from spreading. Farms infested with certain insects, have been burned entirely, to prevent the pest from spreading elsewhere.

Natural rodent control

Several wildlife rehabilitation organizations encourage natural form of rodent control through exclusion and predator support and preventing secondary poisoning altogether.[6]
The United States Environmental Protection Agency agrees, noting in its Proposed Risk Mitigation Decision for Nine Rodenticides that “without habitat modification to make areas less attractive to commensal rodents, even eradication will not prevent new populations from recolonizing the habitat.”[7]

Repellents


Thursday, 8 August 2013

Big bugaboo – London Free Press

pest control london ontarioThey’re creepy little biters and they’re everywhere — London, Bayfield, Exeter, Sarnia and Goderich.
Bed bugs are hitchhiking into hotels, apartments and houses more and more every year.
“It’s definitely increasing and it’s been increasing substantially over the last six to seven years in the London area,” said Ryan Sawyer, owner of Sawyer Pest Management.
“People don’t understand where it’s going. It appears to be getting worse every year.”
While bed bugs once were found mostly in hotels or high-density housing, Sawyer said he receives many more calls from residents of single-family homes, townhouses and condos about them.
He has seen infestations so bad people were sleeping in their bathtubs and balconies to get away from the bugs.
“When you go into some place and people are sleeping on their balconies . . . you really have to feel for people,” he said.
Last month, a Sarnia police office responding to a call to assist a man in medical distress found bed bugs crawling on him.
This month, Lambton County council passed a motion to hold a public meeting on the growing problem. A staff report is expected next month.
Five years ago, Sawyer received one call a month from someone fearing they had bed bugs. Now, he gets two or three a day.
The story is the same at the Middlesex London Health Unit, where calls about bed bugs have doubled in two years.
Four years ago, the London Middlesex Housing Corp., pest control budget was $25,000.
Now, it’s more than $300,000 — all because of bed bugs………..SEE MORE

Pest Control London On – Bed Bugs


If you think you don’t need to worry about bed bugs in London, talk to the London International Academy boarding school students.
Or better yet, take a close look at them.
It won’t take long to find clusters of red bug bites on the students — whose parents pay $20,000 per year for accommodation at the Park Tower on King St. and pre-university courses at the downtown private school.
“Right here,” said one teen yesterday, rolling up his sleeve to show where he was bitten the week before. “My neck,” said another, gesturing to a grouping of six angry red welts just under his chin.
Many of the students have arrived during the past month to start school meant to prepare them for Canadian university. Their English is still spotty, but when stopped out front of their residence at 186 King Street Thursday, all were familiar with the term bed bugs.
“Oh yes bed bugs,” said one boy, who declined to give his name or have his picture taken. “I’ve been here two weeks. I was bit three or four nights.
“I don’t sleep well.”
Another student said he had seen the bugs and killed some, but still he wakes up with bites “every night.”
Inspectors with the Middlesex-London Health Unit are aware of the situation at the building, said environmental health director Wally Adams.
He said a health unit inspector called out for something else in August noticed some bed bugs and ordered the building manager to “beef up integrated pest management measures.
When the inspector returned Aug. 23, he was satisfied that the manager had complied. SEE MORE

Sawyer Pest Management Inc. 519-661-6886

pest control London Ontario

Seasonal Pest Control

When the seasons change, so do the pests that come with them. For information, please continue reading below.
Here are some of the pests that may show up during the different seasons in Ontario.

Paper wasps are 0.7 to 1.0 inch (1.8 to 2.5 cm)-long wasps that gather fibers from dead wood and plant stems, which they mix with saliva, and use to construct water-resistant nests made of gray or brown papery material. Paper wasps are also sometimes called umbrella wasps, due to the distinctive design of their nests[1] or other regional variants such as Trinidad & Tobago’s use of Jack Spaniard.[2]
Paper wasps like to stay in the attic during the winter months and/or walls, and they re-appear during the intial warm day period in March or April, staying until late fall.

Carpenter ants are large (.25 to 1 in/0.64 to 2.5 cm) ants indigenous to many parts of the world. They prefer dead, damp wood in which to build nests. They do not eat it, however, unlike termites.[1] Sometimes carpenter ants will hollow out sections of trees. The most likely species to be infesting a house in the United States is the black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus). However, there are over a thousand other species in the genus Camponotus.
Carpenter ants are more active during early spring inside the home, and sometimes continue into the summer. Look for them on the outside of your home, near trees and/or shrubs.

The Little Black Ant (Monomorium minimum) is a species of ant. Members of the species are tiny and shiny black in color. These ants are usually found outdoors or in wood inside a home that causes it to decay.
Workers are 1/16 inch in length and the queens are 1/8 inch in length. Also the Soldiers are 1/13 of an inch in length. There may be 100, 000 in one colony. They use recruitment to deal more effectively with large prey. They form colonies with multiple queens.
Ants give birth to live pupa. Ant pupa laid by the queen can take just 10 days to mature. Winged ants may fly away and start a new colony if the current colony is overpopulated.
Small ants are one of the most common problems we come across in the Summer. They often stay outside of the home in gardens and patio stone walkways.
Carpenter bees (the genus Xylocopa in the subfamily Xylocopinae) are large bees distributed worldwide. There are some 500 species of carpenter bee in 31 subgenera.[1] Their name comes from the fact that nearly all species build their nests in burrows in dead wood, bamboo, or structural timbers (except those in the subgenus Proxylocopa, which nest in the ground). Members of the related tribe Ceratinini are sometimes referred to as “small carpenter bees”.
Carpenter bees show up in the Spring and stay around well into the summer. Infestations cause woodpeckers to poke holes into trees attempting to eat the larvae. This damage is serious and harms the trees.
Mud dauber (sometimes called “dirt dauber,” “dirt digger,” “dirt dobber,” “dirt diver”, or “mud wasp”) is a name commonly applied to a number of wasps from either the family Sphecidae or Crabronidae that build their nests from mud. Mud dauber may refer to any of the following common species:
Mud dauber wasps are around all summer long. They like to be around water, shrubs, bush, and flowers to hunt for caterpillars and spiders. They can build up into large numbers around your home, although not usually aggressive.

Yellowjacket is the common name in North America for predatory wasps of the genera Vespula and Dolichovespula. Members of these genera are known simply as “wasps” in other English-speaking countries. Most of these are black and yellow; some are black and white (such as the bald-faced hornet, Dolichovespula maculata), while others may have the abdomen background color red instead of black. They can be identified by their distinctive markings, small size (similar to a honey bee), their occurrence only in colonies, and a characteristic, rapid, side to side flight pattern prior to landing. All females are capable of stinging. Yellowjackets are important predators of pest insects.[1]
Yellow Jackets start in the Spring and are easy to treat early. By late summer or fall however, they are more difficult to deal with.
A mouse (plural: mice) is a small mammal belonging to the order of rodents, characteristically having a pointed snout, small rounded ears, and a long naked or almost hairless tail. The best known mouse species is the common house mouse (Mus musculus). It is also a popular pet. In some places, certain kinds of field mice are also common. This rodent is eaten by large birds such as hawks and eagles. They are known to invade homes for food and occasionally shelter.
Mice are an issue more so in the Summer, gaining access to the home through the garage or attic.

The mosquitoes are a family of small, midge-like flies: the Culicidae. Although a few species are harmless or even useful to humanity, most are a nuisance because they consume blood from living vertebrates, including humans. In feeding on blood, various species of mosquitoes transmit some of the most harmful human and livestock diseases. Some authorities argue accordingly that mosquitoes are the most dangerous animals on earth.[2]
Mosquitoes come in waves, usually initially in the Spring, then the summer. The number of them depends on the temperature and rainfall.

Pest Control London Ontario

pest control london ontario
Structural Pest Management Association of Ontario

Structural Pest Management Association of Ontario


SPMAO – Who We Are

The SPMAO is the largest and oldest professional Structural Pest Management industry Association in Ontario.
As the most experienced and largest professional association of our kind in Ontario, we are a strong advocate and voice for our members. We will help you comply with ever-changing health and safety standards, no matter how strict, and protect your interests.
Through workshops and training seminars, we make it easy for our clients to obtain their professional licenses and stay current with the latest policies, standards and best practices.
We are a non-profit organization with a Board of Directors comprised of representatives from our members. SPMAO represents over 150 licensed companies that actively protect the health and safety of all Ontarians.
While SPMAO members are diversified, they all have one thing in common: they care about the health and welfare of everyone. Whether it’s by ensuring the safety of our province’s food stocks, health care and educational facilities, residential dwellings, hotels, restaurants or food processing plants, each one makes a vital contribution.

Pest FAQs

• Fleas have changed history. More human deaths have been attributed to fleas than all the wars ever fought. As carriers of the bubonic plague, fleas were responsible for killing one-third of the population of Europe in the 14th century.
• Two fleas breeding, under ideal conditions, have the potential to produce two trillion descendants in nine months
• The Anopheles mosquito was the cause of six to seven million cases of malaria annually in the United States in the 1930′s
• Ticks transmit the organisms for relapsing fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.
• Since 1980, 80,000 cases of Lyme disease have been reported in 48 states.
• The house fly can harbor more than 100 kinds of pathogenic organisms and may transmit more that 65 human and animal disease organisms.
• Cockroaches may transmit food poisoning, cholera, dysentery and typhoid.
• Seven to eight percent of the general population has an allergy to insects. In a study conducted in Atlanta concerning the chronic flu symptoms of inner city children, it was learned that as many as 45 percent were allergic to cockroaches READ MORE

Pest Control London Ontario

Risks of Using Rat Poison


Rats can cause extensive damage to property and carry diseases and parasites.  Most people think of using rat poison to get rid of these rodents.  Before you decide to use this method, consider the dangers associated with rat poison.
pest control london ontario
Rat Poison

Risk to Children

Leaving bait traps or containers with rat poison in areas occupied by children can lead to disastrous results.  Children are naturally curious, and an unfamiliar object attracts their attention.  Some rat poison comes in the shape of pellets, which looks like candy to children.  Even worse, the rat poison tastes sweet, giving children more reason to try it.  Incidents involving children eating rat poison have increased forty percent over the past ten years.  This is an alarming statistic.

Risk to Pets

There is a large risk that your family pet will try to eat rat poison that is left unattended.  Pets can often reach objects that you think are out of reach.  There is always the chance that your pet will find the rat poison that you thought was well hidden.

Health Risks of Dead Rats

There are two types of rat poison:  anticoagulant and non-anticoagulant.  Anticoagulant rat poison, such as those made with warfarin, brodificoum, or bromadiolone, work by causing internal bleeding in rats.  This type of rat poison usually takes two to six days to kill a rat.  Non-anticoagulant rat poisons are usually made with zinc phosphide, bromethalin, or cholecalciferon.  These poisons can kill rats within a few hours.
Rat poison does not kill rats instantly, allowing them to travel back to their hiding places.  Sometimes this means they die inside your walls.  After a few days, this will cause a terrible odor.  This also means that you need to remove the dead rat.  Handling dead rats puts you at risk for contracting any number of diseases that the rats are carrying. READ MORE

Christmas tree cultivation | Pest Control London Ontario

pest control london ontarioChristmas tree cultivation is an agricultural, forestry, and horticultural occupation which involves growing pine, spruce, and fir trees specifically for use as Christmas trees.
The first Christmas tree farm was established in 1901, but most consumers continued to obtain their trees from forests until the 1930s and 1940s. Christmas tree farming was once seen only as a viable alternative for low-quality farmland, but that perception has changed within the agriculture industry. For optimum yield and quality, land should be flat or gently rolling and relatively free of debris and undergrowth.
A wide variety of pine and fir species are grown as Christmas trees, although a handful of varieties stand out in popularity. In the United States, Douglas-fir, Scots Pine and Fraser Fir all sell well. Nordmann Fir and Norway Spruce sell well in the United Kingdom, the latter being popular throughout Europe. Like all conifers, Christmas trees are vulnerable to a range of pests.
The final stage of cultivation, harvesting, is carried out in a number of ways; one of the more popular methods is the pick-your-own tree farm, where customers are allowed to roam the farm, select their tree, and cut it down themselves. Other farmers cultivate potted trees, with balled roots, which can be replanted after Christmas and used again the following year[edit]History
The practice of cultivating evergreens specifically to sell as Christmas trees dates back to 1901, when a 25,000 tree Norway Spruce farm was sown near Trenton, New Jersey.[1] The commercial market for Christmas trees had started fifty years earlier when a farmer from the Catskill Mountains brought trees into New York City to sell.[2] Despite these pioneering efforts, most people still obtained wild-grown Christmas trees from forests into the 1930s and 1940s.[3] More trees were grown in plantations after World War II, and by the 1950s farmers were shearing and pruning trees to meet customer demands. The Christmas tree market burgeoned through the 1960s and 1970s, but from the late 1980s onward prices and the market for natural Christmas trees declined. In the early 21st century, nearly 98 percent of all natural (non-artificial) Christmas trees sold worldwide were grown on tree farms.[4]

Cultivation

Land and climate

pest control london ontario
This Christmas tree farm in southern Virginia is situated in a gently rolling valley.
Christmas tree farms are best located on relatively level land which is free of obstructions. In the past, Christmas tree farmers established their plantations on less desirable agricultural plots or “wastelands of agriculture”.[5] However, emphasis in modern Christmas tree farming has shifted toward the production of higher-quality trees, increasing land quality expectations as well.[5] Indeed, some species of tree, such as the Fraser Fir, are unable to grow on low-quality, marginal farmland.[6] Flat or gently rolling land is preferred to that with steep slopes and inclines, which is prone to erosion and fluctuations in fertility. Noticeable obstructions, such as rocks, fences or significant underbrush, are also undesirable.[5]
pest control london ontario
This Christmas tree farm in Iowa is located on flat ground and has well-mowed rows between the trees.
Like all crops and plants, Christmas trees require a specific set of nutrients to thrive.[7] There are 16 elements crucial for growth; of those, three are obtained through air and water: hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. Nitrogen,phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, boron, copper, chlorine, manganese, molybdenum, iron, and zinc are obtained from the soil. If the necessary elements are not available in the local soil, nutritious fertilizers are used.[7] Other important soil considerations include pH and drainage.[8] Certain types of soil are preferable, depending on the type of tree. Pine trees are usually better adapted to a sandy or sandy loam soil,[9] while White Spruce trees and fir trees, such as the Douglas-fir, prefer fine-texture loams and clay loam soils.[9] Some trees grow well in all types of soil, but in any case, the land must be well-drained for a Christmas tree farm to have a chance of thriving.[9]
The weather, as with other agricultural endeavors, plays a key outcome in the yield of a Christmas tree farm. Severe cold in the winter and extreme hot and dry conditions during and after harvest can cause irreparable damage to the crop.[10] Early snow can make both harvesting and shipping trees difficult or impossible.[10]

Labor and equipment

Christmas tree farming is a labor-intensive process. Depending on the quality of the land, bulldozing may need to be undertaken prior to planting, in order to remove obstacles such as large trees or rocks.[11] If the volume of undergrowth requires it, the soil may be tilled; tilling can help remove any debris remaining after tree or weed removal. Both woody plants and herbaceous weeds must be controlled prior to planting; this is most often done by application of a chemical herbicide.[11] In addition, some types of fertilizers must be introduced into the soil prior to planting.[11] The work done before planting tree seedlings plays an important role in the overall success of a Christmas tree crop.[10]
After the trees are in the ground, work on the crop continues. Animal pests (especially insects) and diseases must be monitored and controlled, and weed growth must also be minimized. Many species of pine and fir require pruning and shearing two to four years after planting to maintain the classic Christmas tree shape.[10] Late or omitted pruning can result in trees that are unmarketable due to large gaps in needle coverage. Some species of pine, such as the Scots Pine, are susceptible to dormant season “yellowing”, which is generally countered with a green dye or paint.[10][12]
The outlay of money on equipment varies greatly. Some items commonly found on Christmas tree farms are insecticide sprayers, tractors, and shaper sheers.[13] Mechanized planters, at a cost of about US$4,000, are not essential but a work-saving luxury for farmers.[13] Farmers can purchase seedlings, the lifeblood of a Christmas tree farm, from nurseries. One farmer in Oregon purchased seedlings for between US$200–300 per 1,000 plants. The farmer, a wholesaler, sold his final products for about $20 each; after the cost of the trees and other expenses, a profit of $2–3 per tree.[13]

Trees

pest control london ontario
Fraser Fir (cone and foliage pictured) is a popular species of Christmas tree in both the United States and Great Britain.
The best-selling species in the North American market are Scots Pine, Douglas-fir, Noble Fir, Balsam Fir, Fraser Fir, Virginia Pine, and Eastern White Pine, although other types of trees are also grown and sold.[4][14] In Alabama, for example, types of trees grown for use as Christmas trees include Eastern White Pine, Redcedar, Virginia Pine, Leyland Cypress, and Arizona Cypress.[15] In Florida, the Sand Pine and Spruce Pine are among the 20,000 grown in the state each year.[16]
pest control london ontario
Norway Spruce is a popular Christmas tree species in Europe.
In Great Britain, Nordmann Fir is a popular species, largely due to its needle-holding qualities.[17][18] Other popular trees in Britain are Norway Spruce, Serbian Spruce, and Scots Pine, the last of which is slightly rarer;[18] it has sharp needles which do not shed easily.[17]
In the U.S. Pacific Northwest, a major Christmas tree growing region, Douglas-fir has always been the primary species grown.[19] A full one-half of all trees produced in the Pacific Northwest are Douglas-fir.[19] Douglas-firs typically take five to seven years before they are mature enough to sell as Christmas trees.[19] Also common in the region are Noble Fir, a tree which commands a higher price than Douglas-fir, and Grand Fir, which accounts for about 10 percent of the annual harvest in the Northwest.[19] Other species collectively account for only 3–5 percent of the total Northwest harvest.[19]
In North America, Fraser Fir, grown in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, has been called the “Cadillac of Christmas Trees” as well as the “most popular and most valuable of Christmas tree species”.[20] In the southern United States, Virginia Pine is a popular Christmas tree species.[21] In Canada, White Pine, White Spruce, Scots Pine, Blue Spruce and Fraser Fir are commonly cultivated.[22] In the province of Ontario, Scots Pine has always dominated both the domestic and export markets.[22] Other regions of the world also have different favorites when it comes to natural Christmas trees, and Christmas tree farms reflect these; In Europe, Norway Spruce is popular.[21]

Pests, disease and weeds

Main article: Christmas tree pests and weeds
pest control london ontario
An adult Balsam woolly adelgid, a major pest in the Christmas tree industry
Many of the conifer species cultivated face infestations and death from such pests as the Balsam woolly adelgid, other adelgids and aphids. Invasive insect species, such as the pine shoot beetle and the gypsy moth, also threaten Christmas tree crops.[23] Christmas trees are also vulnerable to fungal pathogens, resulting in such illnesses as root rot, and, in California, Washington, Oregon and British Columbia sudden oak death.[24] Douglas-fir trees are especially vulnerable to infections from plant pathogens such as R. pseudotsugaeand Rhabdocline weiriiR. weirii affects only Douglas-fir trees.[25][26] The pathogen often makes Douglas-fir trees unsaleable as Christmas trees and heavily affects the Christmas tree farming industry.[25]
Mammals such as deer, gophers and ground squirrels are also threats to Christmas tree crops, due to the damage they cause to roots and buds. Certain species of birds are also considered pests, including the Pine Grosbeak, which feeds on conifer buds,[27] usually affecting Scots Pine but also affecting Eastern White Pine and Red Pine, as well as spruce trees.[28] Herbaceous weeds, as well as woody plants, also compete with Christmas tree crops for water and nutrients, necessitating control methods including mowing, chemical herbicide use, and tilling.

Quality

USDA Christmas Tree Grades[29]
GradeRequirements[30]
U.S. PremiumFresh, clean, healthy, heavy density, one minor defect allowed[31]
U.S. No. 1Fresh, fairly clean, healthy, medium density, two minor defects allowed[32]
U.S. No. 2Fresh, fairly clean, healthy, light density,
three minor defects allowed[33]
Christmas tree quality grades have been in place since 1965 in Ontario, Canada, and were included under the provincial Farm Products Grades and Sales Act.[22] While the grades in Ontario are law, in the United States the grading system is not mandated. In fact, it is common for U.S. growers to develop their own grading systems.[34] The grading systems established by individual jurisdictions are often in the spirit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) grading scheme, even if they are not entirely based upon them.[35] The Department of Agriculture’s United States Standards for Grades of Christmas Trees took effect on October 30, 1989, covering “sheared or unsheared trees of the coniferous species which are normally marketed as Christmas trees”.[29]

Harvest

See also: Christmas tree production
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Customers, armed with a saw, at a typical “choose-and-cut” Christmas tree farm
Christmas trees can be harvested and marketed in different ways. Some operations are known as “choose-and-cut” or pick-your-own farms, which allow customers to walk through the planted land, select their Christmas tree and cut down themselves.[8] Wholesale operations are more labor-intensive because they usually require the farmer to complete tasks such as baling, cutting, moving the trees to a roadside pick-up, and loading the harvest. In addition, this work must be completed during a very short period in November.[8] Growers also harvest trees by digging and balling the root and selling the trees as nursery stock or as live, reusable Christmas trees. This last option allows trees to be harvested earlier than the usual six to ten year period required to grow a mature Christmas tree.[8]
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Customers haul their own purchases off-site at choose-and-cut farms.
Larger farms began using helicopters to move tree harvests during the 1980s.[3] One 1,200-acre (490 ha) farm in Oregon lacked road access, so it began using helicopters to move up to 200,000 Christmas trees per year.[36] Helicopters reduce the amount of time between harvesting and market, cutting it from up to two weeks down to as little as three days.[36]
Not all natural Christmas trees harvested are grown on plantations. In British Columbia, Canada, for example, most of the 900,000 trees harvested for use as Christmas trees came from native pine and fir stands.[37] The British Columbia Ministry of Forests and Ranges allows any resident of the province to cut a Christmas tree for free from Crown Lands, provided the individual receive prior permission in writing from a Forest Officer.[38] In the United States, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management offer permits for individual tree cutting on government land, mostly within the National Forest system.[39]

Farmers

The people who operate Christmas tree farms range from full-time growers to part-time farmers. One farmer in Minnesota, who began planting Christmas trees in 1967, gave his trees away for free from his modest 1-acre (4,000 m2) farm for ten years before establishing a tree farming business.[40] Other farmers started growing Christmas trees as a supplemental income for retirement or college funds,[41][42] or they worked farms that were not originally established as Christmas tree farms.[43][44]
Various national growers’ associations have been founded in Christmas tree producing nations. In the United Kingdom, the British Christmas Tree Growers Association is a trade association open to membership from Christmas tree farmers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.[45] The National Christmas Tree Association serves a similar function in the United States.[46]

Environmental effect

In the United States, the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) promotes the environmental benefits of live Christmas trees over the competing artificial alternative.[47] The NCTA stated that every acre of Christmas trees in production produced the daily oxygen requirement for 18 people; with 500,000 acres (200,000 ha) in production in the U.S. alone, that amounts to oxygen for 9 million people per day.[47] The NCTA also stated that the farms help to stabilize the soil, protect water supplies and provide wildlife habitat.[47] In addition, the industry points to the reduction of carbon dioxide through Christmas tree farming.[48] An independent Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study, conducted by a firm of experts in sustainable development, states that a natural tree will generate 3.1 kg of greenhouse gases whereas the artificial tree will produce 8.1 kg per year.[49]
A 1998 report from the Michigan State University Agricultural Experiment Station predicted increasing environmental concerns about tree production and use as one possible reason people may favor artificial trees in the future. The report cited the use of fertilizers and pesticides and increasing concerns regarding tree disposal as the chief elements in its prediction.[50] Critics of tree farming have raised the concerns highlighted in the 1998 report, as well as other issues, such as the effect that large-scale tree farming operations have on biodiversity.[48] Pesticide use on Christmas tree farms is one of the main concerns of environmentalists;[48][51] fir trees are vulnerable to a wide array of pests and diseases which requires the use of pesticides and other chemicals including the widely-used herbicide glyphosate (brand name Roundup).[48] Glyphosate