Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Christmas tree cultivation | Pest Control London Ontario

Christmas 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
pest control london ontario
 
 
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]
pest control london ontario
 
 
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

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Pavement Ants - A Pesky Problem in Ontario

Pavement ants, a common pest in Ontario, are just one of the 100+ species of ants in Canada. They are a small ant, ranging from about 2mm - 3mm in size. Pavement ants vary between black to a medium brown in colour and their legs are often a lighter brown colour. One identifying marker of pavement ants are the parallel groves found on their head and thorax, which are best seen when using a magnifying glass. 

Where do pavement ants live?


Just like their name indicates, pavement ants are found under stones, sidewalks, concrete slabs and at the edge of pavement. Many people notice the piles of dirt that have been excavated to make room for a nest; these dirt mounds can been seen on driveways and pavement. Pavement ants can also be found nesting under objects that are sitting on top of pavement, such as patio blocks, stones and so on. In the summer time pavement ants live outdoors, but
over the winter these ant colonies often move to the foundations of a house and
can sometimes be found indoors.

Photo Credit to Cyril Weerasooryia - https://www.flickr.com/photos/7609788@N04/6897564029/

What do pavement ants eat?


Pavement ants eat nearly any type of food including insects and honeydew from aphids, to animal food, seeds, meats, fruits, and starches - but their preference is greasy and sweet items. Pavement ants can become a nuisance when they are found foraging in homes for food. When found indoors, they are specifically looking for protein or sweet substances needed to feed the queen and the young.

How do you prevent pavement ants?


There are steps you can take inside and around your home to prevent pavement ants from becoming a problem. Sweep up! Cleanliness is important inside a home or business to avoid any foragers from entering in search of food. It’s also best practice to seal up any cracks in exterior walls to discourage ants from moving indoors. Repair any water leaks and watch for problematic foundation drainage. 


 Photo credit: Wikipedia

What treatments are there for pavement ants?


There are a number of ways to treat for pavement ants depending on a variety of factors. Often people want to know if they can treat for pavement ants themselves using products found in hardware stores. It is our experience that these treatments are only a temporary fix and don’t get to the core of the problem. We recommend that one of our professionals asses the situation in person, so that the correct treatment is used to maximize results. Typically, when a nest is located a liquid insecticide agent is used to flood the area. A residual insecticide is used on areas that the ants travel along, like cracks in a sidewalk. For interior problems we apply a dust into walls and baseboards of the home. We do ask that you leave your home for four hours after the treatment is applied to allow for proper drying time. 

 Sawyer Pest Management is licensed by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and is insured. Each of its service representatives is a fully licensed Structural Exterminator, fully trained and competent in the services they provide. Sawyer Pest Management does not employ unlicensed service technicians. 


Sawyer Pest Management is proud to provide service programs in the communities of London, Melbourne, Ingersoll, Aylmer, Port Stanley, Strathroy, St.Thomas, Parkhill, Grand Bend, Bayfield, Exeter, Lucan and St. Marys.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Bee and Wasp Season has arrived!

Photo credit listed at the bottom of the article
As the days have become longer and warmer, bees and wasps have been increasing in activity and numbers. Knowing the differences between bees and wasps will help you to understand how to deal with them, how to remain safe, and when to contact a professional licensed pest control professional.
Bees are generally less aggressive than wasps, and are larger in width, and hairy. Wasps are more aggressive, narrow and hairs are less visible. Each species is beneficial in nature, providing valuable pollination services and the control of countless other insect species through predation or parasitation.  Control may be necessary when nests are constructed in or on structures or in recreational areas. 

What follows is a description of commonly found wasps and bees in the London, St Thomas, Grand Bend and South-Western Ontario areas.

1. Yellow Jackets and Bald-faced Hornets

 Yellow Jackets- are Yellow are Black colour and are 10-16mm in length, 1000-4000 individuals per colony.
 Bald Faced Hornets are white black in colour and are 15-20 mm in length, with 100-400 individuals per colony.

Nests can be located in the ground, within wall voids of structures, in shrubs, on trees, under decks or attached to homes etc. Nests may or may not be visible, are constructed of paper-like material, and are usually grey in colour. When visible, they may be football shape like in appearance.

These social insects will readily defend their nests when disturbed. Each individual is capable of stinging multiple times. Reactions to stings will vary depending on the number of stings and the individual’s body’s response. In some instances, medical attention may be required.  If prescribed an Epi-pen it should be with you at all times, it cannot help you if it’s in your home or car.

Early identification of nests within high risk areas should be completed by visual inspection. Control when warranted should be completed by an appropriately labelled dust, liquid or aerosol product.

2. Paper wasps

These wasps are brownish in colour with yellow markings. Size varies depending on the species. These wasps have long legs.

Nests range in size from that of a toonie to an open hand. Nests cells are visible and typically contain 150-250 cells. Nests may be constructed in voids of homes, in attics, at roof points, within exterior lights, and on the underside of branches. 

These insects are less aggressive than other wasps but will still defend their nests when threatened. Paper wasps are capable of stinging multiple times.

Early identification of nests within high risk areas should be completed by visual inspection. Control when warranted should be completed by an appropriately labelled dust, liquid or aerosol product.

3. Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are 12-25mm in length and are black and yellow in colour. These bees are similar in colour to Bumble bees but have a bare, shiny abdomen.
As their name suggests these insects bore into wood making a round hole 12mm in width and approximately 10-15 cm in length.

These bees are not social; they do not live in nests, or colonies. However many individual can often be found in the same area. Male Carpenter bees are territorial, often becoming aggressive towards other insects, birds and people. Male bees do not possess a stinger so they cannot sting. Females do posses a potent stinger but rarely use it.

Nest galleries are constructed in logs and stumps, unpainted boards and weathered wood. To reduce risk of activity, old logs and stumps should be removed and unpainted or weathered boards should be repainted. If galleries and bees are present treatment will be required to provide control.

3. Bumble Bees

Bumble bees are large and fuzzy sometimes containing orange markings.  They are 6-25mm in length. 

Theses bees are social; nests typically contain 50-400 individuals. Nests are usually constructed underground, often in an old mouse burrow. When constructed in a structure, it’s usually low to the ground in a void or cavity. Bumble bees are not aggressive but will defend the nest when threatened. These bees have unbarbed stingers and are capable of stinging multiple times.

4. Honey bees

These highly beneficial insects are 11-15mm in length and are orange and black in colour. 
These bees are social in nature; colonies typically contain 20000-80000 individual bees. A single queen is present in each colony, laying 1500-2000 eggs per day during the warm weather months. These bees are not aggressive but will defend their colony if threatened. Each bee can sting once prior to dying. If stung, remove the stinger quickly with a nail, knife or credit card to minimize the amount of poison absorbed. Do not grasp the stinger with your fingers or additional poison will be released.
Honey bees construct colonies of wax in tree cavities, in wall voids, attic spaces, and hollow floor spaces and on structures or bushes.
Bee swarms are produced in some colonies during the months of May, June and July. These swarms may be seen on trees, cars, homes etc. These insects are not aggressive when swarming and should never be sprayed or killed. Please contact Sawyer Pest Management or a local bee keeper for pick up and hiving.
Nests already present within walls or voids require removal of not only the bees but also the , wax and honey stores. to gain access to the nest floor boards and or drywall may require removal. It is not recommended to kill Honey bees within walls and to leave the colony in the void area as this will increase the risk of new bee activity in future years, mouse activity,  and additional bee activity as well as honey seepage into the home. Hive removal may take 3hrs to 2 days.


If you are having problems with bees or wasps please contact Sawyer Pest Management Inc. for additional information and control options.
Sawyer Pest Management Inc. is your local pest control professional and is licensed by the Ontario ministry of the Environment and is insured to provide pest management services. Each service representative is a licensed structural exterminator, and is trained and competent in the services we provide.

Sawyer Pest Management is proud to provided service programs in the communities of London, Melbourne, Ingersoll, Aylmer, Port Stanley, Strathroy, St. Thomas, Parkhill, Grand Bend, Bayfield, Exeter, Lucan and St. Marys and in the surrounding communities.

http://www.themomonline.com/blog/bee-and-wasp-season-has-arrived

Photo credit: "Xylocopa virginica male face" by USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab from Beltsville, Maryland, USA - Xylocopa virginica, m, face, talbot, md_2015-05-17-16.49.24 ZS PMax. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Xylocopa_virginica_male_face.jpg#/media/File:Xylocopa_virginica_male_face.jpg




















Thursday, 2 July 2015

Lots of Pests, Many Solutions

Sawyer Pest Management is an industry leader in the development and implementation of proactive pest management solutions for residential homes, cottages and commercial facilities.
Our mission is to provide quality services that exceed industry safety and environmental standards while providing guaranteed solutions for each and every service we perform.

Sawyer Pest Management provides One-Pest, Home Protection and Home Protection Plus services to residential homes and cottages in addition to providing weekly and monthly inspection, monitoring and treatment programs to commercial facilities.

Sawyer Pest Management specializes in providing insect, rodent and bird-related solutions. We work with each of our clients to develop a solution for their specific pest and budget. Sawyer Pest Management incorporates Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles prior to initiating or recommending a service program.  Some of the things Sawyer Pest Management will take into consideration prior to completing a pest management service include:

1. The type of pest requiring control: Different pests have different weaknesses; what works well on one pest might not work well on another type. Sawyer will select the safest, most effective product, material or control technique for the insect or rodent requiring control.

2. Time of year: Some pests, including carpenter ants, rats, mice, cockroaches, pavement ants, silverfish, centipedes, bedbugs, fleas, spiders and cockroaches, are active in the spring, summer, fall and winter. Other pest species, such as starlings, sparrows, exterior spiders, wasps, carpenter bees, earwigs, crickets and box elder beetles, are more seasonal in nature. The time of year will dictate whether an interior, exterior or interior/exterior service is required to provide control.

3. The construction type of the home, cottage or business: The age of the property, construction style, and materials used in the original construction or during renovations will dictate the type of control program or materials required to gain control. Cottages with a crawlspace will require a different service than a home with a finished basement and a well-insulated property will require a different service than an un-insulated property.

There is no one service solution or product for every pest type or situation.
Sawyer Pest Management is licensed by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and is insured. Each of its service representatives is a fully licensed Structural Exterminator, fully trained and competent in the services they provide. Sawyer Pest Management does not employ unlicensed service technicians. 

Sawyer Pest Management is proud to provide service programs in the communities of London, Melbourne, Ingersoll, Aylmer, Port Stanley, Strathroy, St.Thomas, Parkhill, Grand Bend, Bayfield, Exeter, Lucan and St. Maryshttp://www.themomonline.com/blog/lots-of-pests-many-solutions

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Honey Bees - Behaviour, Facts and Control

Honey Bees - What’s All The Buzz About?  


Bees are found all around the globe, with more than 20,000 species known of to date. Honey bees represent a small percentage of these species, but as pollinators they are incredibly important to the survival of mankind. One quarter of the food humans consume comes from crops pollinated by honey bees. It might be surprising, but beekeeping is one of the oldest agricultural efforts known to humans. Today, beekeeping is both a hobby and a business.

honey bee pest controlHoney Bee Appearance  

Honey bees can be recognized by their golden, light brown colour and oval shaped bodies with dark-to-light ridges along their abdomen. They are typically about 15mm long and are covered with a golden fur. These herbivores are typically non aggressive, but they do have a stinger, which they will use if they feel threatened. For this reason, it is best to have a professional come and remove any honey bee nests that might be located near your home or business.





Habits and Behaviour 

pest control london ontario
bee control london ontarioHoney bees are unique from other bee species because they are extremely social creatures and live co-operatively among other members in the hive. In the wild, hives can typically be found in hollow trees; although, in rocky areas, caves and crevices in rocks can also be a good spot for bee hives.  Honey bee hives can also be found in homes, most commonly in wall voids. A honey bee hive is made entirely out of a wax that the worker bee secretes from a highly specialized gland in its abdomen. The  worker bee takes a couple pieces of wax from their abdomen, mixes it with saliva until it’s soft enough to form into the comb cells that make up the hive. In Canada and the rest of North-America, man-made bee hives are called apiaries and are constructed out of wooden box frames stacked on top of one another to make the hive.



Honey bees are social creatures that live in colonies; a single colony consists of: 

  • One Queen  - The queen lays eggs in the cells of nest and establishes new colonies; she can produce up to 2,000 eggs daily. The queen bee mates with drones; this happens only once in her life. She has a special organ that allows her to store sperm and release it, as needed, to fertilize eggs. The queen honey bee will produce worker bees for the remainder of her life, usually lasting up to five years.

  • Drones - These are male bees that have only one job, to mate with virgin queen bees; they die shortly after mating which happens in spring and summer. Drones are the minority in the hive; because their only purpose is to mate with virgin queens, they are forced out of the hive in the fall to conserve on food for the queen.

  • Workers - These are infertile females with several important duties in their short life span of 35-40 days. Her first job, as a one day old worker, is to:  clean the cells in which the queen will lay eggs, clean the new bees, and seal brood cells once an egg has be laid. At three days old she will tend to larva and the queen.  As she ages she will take care of: feeding and cleaning the queen, cleaning the comb, making honey, and protecting the hive from outside intruders.  As worker bees get older they will take care of: secreting wax and building cells, cleaning the hive, pollen packing, nectar ripening, sealing honey cells, and maintaining hive temperature by fanning the comb.  The last stage of the workers life involves working outside of the hive, including: protecting the hive, foraging, making sure the hive is well ventilated.

Swarming is a natural part of a healthy bee colony and will happen when a hive has limited space. This happens when the honey production is so great that the bees being fill cells that were intended for eggs. With limited space for egg laying, the queen with leave and split the colony. In this case, a queen bee will leave, bringing with her half of the worker bees and leaving behind a new virgin queen to ensure the survival of the hive. A honey bee swarm may consist of thousands of worker bees that temporary form a cluster on tree branches or shrubs, and will remain there for up to a few days; during this time a scout honey bee searches for a new location for the colony. Once a site is located, the swarm immediately flies to the new site. 

Pollination 

Honey bees and flowering plants live in symbiosis, depending on one-another to carry out their jobs on planet earth. Our planet would be drastically different without honey bees here to cross-pollinate flowering plants and fruit blossoms, which is why these creatures are of such high importance to humans. They are responsible for pollinating a vast amount of crops that produce seeds and food for our survival. This is why it is important to understand the significance of pollination by honey bees and to protect them through education and research. 


Professional Removal and Relocation of Honey Bees

Honey bees serve an important purpose, but they can also pose a problem and sting you if they feel threatened. This is why it’s important to have a professional remove a honey bee nest that may be located in or around your home or business.  Honey bee nests can often be found inside of wall voids and the roof of a home. It is vital that you do not try to kill a honey bee’s nest. These creatures are decreasing in numbers and need to be protected, not killed. 

Sawyer Pest Control is available to remove bee swarms and or nests located within structures. Once captured or removed, bees are placed into a hive and relocated from the site to a foster location or one of our yards. This is a time consuming and labor intensive process that requires skill, proper equipment and the specialized clothing. Sawyer Pest Control uses environmentally friendly methods to deal with honey bees, ensuring the least amount of damage to the area requiring removal, if any. A professional will safely remove the bees and relocate them to an awaiting hive or apiary, where the bees can continue with their job of pollination and humans can benefit from their honey production. This is a unique control process which supports the survival of the honey bee allowing for continued pollination services.

Below are some photos of a honeybee removal from a home.


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Holes in the exterior of a house allow bees to move inside and locate a nesting place.


wasp control london ontario

The honey bees are nested under the floor.


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Carefully, we access the sub flooring to expose the nesting site.


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The honey bee’s have made a hive in the insulation beneath the floor as shown here.


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The bee’s have been carefully removed and placed in a bin for relocation.




If you are having problems with bees or wasps please contact Sawyer Pest Management Inc. for additional information and control options.

Sawyer Pest Management Inc. is your local pest control professional and is licensed by the Ontario ministry of the Environment and is insured to provide pest management services. Each service representative is a licensed structural exterminator, and is trained and competent in the services we provide.


Sawyer Pest Management is proud to provided service programs in the communities of London, Melbourne, Ingersoll, Aylmer, Port Stanley, Strathroy, St. Thomas, Parkhill, Grand Bend, Bayfield, Exeter, Lucan and St. Marys and in the surrounding communities. Below are some action photo’s of honey bee removal by Sawyer Pest Control.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

How to Kill Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are exceptionally common, exceptionally destructive pests. Left unchecked, a carpenter ant infestation can spread rapidly. Because of this, identifying and exterminating carpenter ants as early as possible can help prevent serious structural damage, which can be quite costly to repair. See Step 1 below to start stamping out a carpenter ant infestation before it grows out of control.

Part 1 of 3: Spotting an Infestation

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    1
    Learn how to identify carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are a group of ants belonging to the genus Camponotus, of which there are over 1,000 species.[1]Carpenter ants live on every continent except for Antarctica and, as individual species, have a wide variety of differentiating features. However, certain traits common to the entire genus are useful to know when attempting to decide whether the ants in your home are carpenter ants or another variety. Some common traits to look for are:[2]
    • Color: Usually red, black, or an intermediate shade
    • Shape: Segmented with oval abdomen and boxy, thin thorax. The tops of carpenter ant thoraxes typically have a smooth, even curve, rather than an uneven or bumpy one.
    • Size: Approximately 3/8”-1/2", depending on caste
    • Antennae: Yes
    • Wings: Typical worker ants do not have wings. However, relatively rare male drones may possess them.
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    2
    Learn where carpenter ants live. Carpenter ants can (and will) establish a nest inside or outside of any type of structure, but wooden homes are especially at risk because carpenter ants like to bore tiny tunnels into wood. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don't eat wood - they only tunnel into the structure to create a nest.[3] Because moist wood is easier than dry wood for carpenter ants to tunnel through, the interior locations of carpenter ants will often be near a moisture source, like a leaky sink or bath.
    • Sometimes, carpenter ants build a network of one or more satellite or parent colonies outside a structure and travel between these colonies and their foothold indoors, entering the structure through small cracks or openings. In these cases, outdoor colonies will often be located in tree stumps, landscape timbers, wood piles or other sources of damp wood. You can often locate carpenter ant trails between colonies in the early morning or early evening when the carpenter ants are foraging.
    • When carpenter ants tunnel, they can leave “frass", a substance resembling tiny wood shavings or sawdust, behind. Frass often contains dead insects. This can provide clues to their nesting location. If you come across small piles of frass in or around your house, carefully inspect the wood nearby for tunnels - probing the suspected wood with a thin screwdriver can reveal hollow spots.[4]
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    3
    Know where to look for carpenter ant activity. Though they usually nest in wood, if a carpenter ant colony is within the wall of your home, you may have a hard time finding it. If you suspect you have carpenter ants, it's a good idea to look for them in easily-accessible places where you are likely to find them. Certain common household sites are more supportive of carpenter ant activities than others - especially if these sites are damp and/or have access to food. Look for ants in the following areas:
    • Carpets – Check around doors, fireplaces, and other areas with easy access to the outside.
    • Patios and foundations
    • Areas with vegetation - Ants like to nest and forage in trails out of sight behind any vegetation, tree stumps, branches which rests against foundations, patios, etc. Pull back the vegetation to look for ants. When you find foraging ants, attempt to follow them back to their colony.
      • Mulch and leaf litter can harbor numerous types of ants in addition to carpenter ants, such as pavement ants, fire ants, and Argentine ants. Rake mulch back from the ground to check for colonies.
    • Floors – Potted plants, compost bends, or any other suitable item that has ground contact can contain carpenter ants.

Part 2 of 3: Exterminating Carpenter Ants

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    1
    Use caution when dealing with carpenter ants. Though it's unlikely to happen, this warning bears mentioning: don't handle carpenter ants or their nests directly. Carpenter ants are not particularly aggressive and will not usually bite humans. However, when irritated or threatened, they can and will inflict a painful bite. Carpenter ants are also known to spray formic acid into bite wounds, increasing the pain. Though it's not the end of the world to be bitten by carpenter ants, you can avoid unnecessary pain by avoiding touching the ants or their nests unless it's absolutely necessary, in which case you should use long sleeves and gloves.
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    2
    Locate the colony or colonies. The first step to exterminating a carpenter ant colony is to find it. To pinpoint the location of colonies in your home, look for ants, small holes, and piles of frass in the locations discussed in Part One, paying special attention to any areas that appear to contain moist wood. You can also test wood for infestations near the surface by firmly tapping. Wood with extensive burrowing can sound thinner or hollower than unaffected wood. Tapping can also agitate ants, causing them to leave the nest, where you may be able to see them more easily.
    • Don't forget that mature nests often have smaller satellite nests nearby, which also must be located to ensure the entire ant infestation is exterminated.
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    3
    Destroy or remove the colony. In the case of smaller colonies, or ones that are fairly easy to access, it's sometimes possible to simply get rid of the colony itself. If the colony is outdoors, simply dispose of the affected wood carefully, using impenetrable materials like tarps to protect yourself from the ants as you handle the wood. If the colony has been located indoors, some pest control websites recommend using a vacuum cleaner's hose attachment to disrupt the colony and suck the ants out.[5]
    • If using the vacuum cleaner method, be sure to carefully seal and dispose of the dust bag to keep any ants that survive from escaping.
    • If you find a colony that has extensively burrowed through the wood in your wall, don't cut the wood out - you risk compromising the structural integrity of your house. Instead, call a professional.
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    4
    Use baits for ant colonies that cannot be treated directly. You may not always be able to find carpenter ant colonies. However, if you can find significant numbers of the ants themselves, placing insecticides in their trails can control and eliminate the colony. A variety of baits, traps, and other ant-killing products are available for sale to the general public - visit your local hardware store to check which options are available to you.
    • Be very careful when using poison ant bait in houses with small children. Make sure that the child knows not to eat the poison, or, if s/he is too young to understand, keep the child under close supervision.
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    5
    Contact a professional. If you can't quickly locate and eliminate the colony and you haven't had success with insecticides, it's usually best to contact a professional exterminator. Professionals have access to insecticides and other tools that aren't available to the general public, but, more importantly, their training and experience allows them to locate and assess carpenter ant infestations much more intelligently than the average person.
    • Keep in mind that certain methods that exterminators use to kill ants may require your family to temporarily vacate your house for a day or two.
    • Don't delay in contacting a professional - the longer you wait to deal with a carpenter ant infestation, the larger the colony can grow and the more extensive the damage to your wood structure may be.


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    1
    Eliminate sources of moisture. Moisture is a big factor in carpenter ant infestations. Often, a patch of wood will become susceptible to infestation after it's been exposed to moisture. By fixing or sealing any leaks that allow water into your house, you can make it much more difficult for carpenter ants to nest. Below are a few suggestions for eliminating the moisture that can contribute to carpenter ant infestations:[6]
    • Check around windows for signs of an improper seal
    • Check your roof and weather-facing walls for leaks
    • Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well-ventilated
    • Look for and fix leaky pipes
    • Clean clogged gutters to eliminate runoff water
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    2
    Seal up entry points, cracks and crevices. If carpenter ants can no longer get in and out your house, any indoor satellite colonies that are being fed by larger outside colonies will become isolated and may die off. Inspect the outside of your home for cracks, holes, and other small spaces that allow the passage of ants - pay special attention to the areas of exterior walls that are closest to the ground or foundation. Seal any holes you find with caulk or a strong putty.
    • Also check around the points where water and electrical lines enter your home, as these points are extra vulnerable to ant infestation.[7]
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    3
    Eliminate wood materials near your home. Because carpenter ants like to make their nests in wood both inside and outside of buildings, finding and eliminating infested wood outside your wood can keep ants from making their way into your house. Carefully inspect any sources of wood near your home - if infested, move or carefully dispose of these wood sources. Places to look include:[8]
    • Stumps
    • Firewood piles
    • Old trees, especially if their branches touch your house.
    • Piles of yard waste
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    4
    Consider installing an artificial barrier. If carpenter ants are a recurring problem, you may want to think about installing a small strip of gravel or stones around your home. This "barrier" zone is fairly inhospitable to carpenter ants and may discourage them from crawling into your house through holes near the foundation. Consult with a contractor to discuss the practicality and affordability of such a project at your house, or, if you're particularly handy, tackle this home improvement project yourself.