One of the joys of purchasing a home is finally being able to take ownership of every aspect of the house. Whether it’s the bushes you plant in the beds outside or the flooring you put down in the living room, every decision is yours to make. Unfortunately, that responsibility also extends to situations that are a lot less pleasant, like dealing with autumn pests.
Ontario and the Essex County region are home to a huge variety of wildlife, most of which keeps to itself as much as possible. However, as the weather starts to get colder, there are some species of animals, rodents, insects, and other creatures that gravitate towards human habitation in search of warmth, food, and shelter.
Is Your Home a Pest Haven?
When you first purchase a house for sale, it’s a good idea to ask the seller or the seller’s agent whether there have been any pest issues in the past.
If you do a professional inspection before or after closing, this is also something that the home inspector should be watching out for. Many species of pests leave visible evidence once they’ve settled in somewhere, and any trained home inspector should know the signs of a previous or ongoing infestation.
5 Common Ontario Pests
Even if you love animals and don’t want to harm them, it’s important to protect your space from would-be intruders. Before the cold winter hits, many pests try desperately to make their way into a home, so they can live and feed without fear of the elements, or hungry outdoor predators.
Our changing habits due to COVID-19 have also exacerbated this situation. One recent National Geographic story chronicled rising cases of rodent infestations all around the world. As these hungry little creatures have lost popular sources of food like commercial food waste, restaurant garbage, and litter, they have increasingly made their way into our homes to try and find sustenance there.
If you want to protect your home from long-term damage associated with pest infestations, it’s important to take action before they enter your home.
Today, we’ll showcase some of the most common pests Windsor and Essex County homeowners may see this fall, and what they can do to prevent them from entering their new home.
Cockroaches are small insects that can grow up to 1.5 centimetres. They have a hard, brownish-red shell, six legs, and 2 antennae. They’re primarily attracted to food, and the warmth found inside our homes, so it’s most common to find them in the kitchen. They often hide under appliances, in the cracks of a countertop, or even in the dark crevices of drawers. They love to be warm, so you may also find them clustering under large plugs, or near the humming motor of a fridge or dishwasher.
Cockroaches are most active at night, so it can be difficult to identify an infestation until you see a live insect. Having them in your home is not just unsanitary: they can carry bacteria that are transmissible to humans, which can cause digestive issues leading to food poisoning, diarrhea, and gastroenteritis.
To avoid cockroaches, make sure you double-check anything that comes into your home, as they can hide in packages, boxes, and groceries. Getting rid of cockroaches is difficult, but can be done with bait or growth regulators.
Bees are beneficial insects in your garden but can be a nuisance or even dangerous if they enter your home. In the fall, bees stop ranging out to gather pollen and typically begin to swarm together. This is natural part of the lifecycle of bees, but it can be alarming to see huge clumps of bees, especially when they’re clustered around a home, garage, or shed. Bees can also swarm indoors, if they can get access through a broken pipe, open window, or crack in the foundation.
According to the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association, this type of swarming is normal, and shouldn’t be interrupted by humans if at all possible. If you have bees swarming on your property, you can call the association to have them removed humanely. Do not try and clear them away on your own.
Mice, rats, and other rodents have been more attracted to homes than ever because of changing human habits due to COVID-19. These rodents can maneuver through tiny spaces and can do costly, long-term damage to your home’s structure as they chew through wiring, insulation, and even wood to create a cozy nest. Once they have a nest and a source of food, they’ll breed, producing up to 10 litters per year with 6-8 young every time.
You’ll know that you have a mouse infestation once you begin to see droppings or notice that your food has marks from the rodents’ sharp teeth. Mice can easily chew through food containers and will contaminate dry goods with their droppings and urine.
To get rid of mice, you’ll need to first make sure they can’t get back inside your home by covering any openings. Mice can slip through a hole the size of a dime. Then, you can use traps or poison to get rid of the pests that remain indoors.
Like bees, spiders are beneficial insects when you find them outdoors. They eat many different garden pests, keeping your flowers, fruits, and veggies safe. However, when they make their way indoors, they can be a nuisance and make a mess.
Fortunately, there are only two types of spiders that have been identified as common indoor pests in Ontario – the orb weaver, and the cobweb spider. Neither of these are poisonous. The orb weaver is especially common in homes near lakes, as it hatches eggs in the water.
To help avoid attracting spiders to your home, make sure to tidy and trim back plants that are touching the side of your house, including vines, trees, and bushes. This helps eliminate the opportunity for spiders to crawl inside. You can also vacuum up webs and spider egg sacs whenever you see them, to prevent them from multiplying.
5. Asian Lady Beetles
Asian lady beetles look like regular, beneficial ladybugs, but with a few significant differences. Instead of being entirely red, their color is more red-orange, and they have more black spots. They aren’t poisonous, but when they cluster in large numbers, especially inside your home, they can be a nuisance. If they’re crushed, they release an unpleasant odor and a yellow fluid that can stain paint, furniture, and clothing.
Getting rid of Asian lady beetles without crushing them in the process can be tricky. First, make sure to seal up any cracks or holes where they can enter. Then, use a broom or vacuum to collect them gently, and place them outside. If you have a severe infestation, it may be worth calling a professional pest control company.
Find More Resources on Homeownership
When you purchase a home, you’ll need to be ready for whatever comes your way – including rodents, insects, and other pests. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone.
Whether you bought your home with a Dan Gemus Team real estate agent or not, we have plenty of resources on our site for all homeowners. Come check out our blog to learn about homeownership, the latest Windsor real estate news, and much more.