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Pest Control – A Brief History

Ever heard of the Black Plague? You know, one of the most devastating pandemics resulting in the death of approximately 75 to 200 million people in Europe?

Or how about Phylloxera? Did you know that in the late 1800s a little creature called Phylloxera travelled all the way from the United States to France? Phylloxera had no effect on grapevines in America, because they were resistant. However, when these tiny little insects made their way to France, they were able to devastate the French wine industry.

Doesn’t Sound At All Like The Pest Infestations You’re Used To Seeing, Do They?

Pests have been around long before humans. And let’s face it – they’ll probably be around long after. Ever since mankind first decided to settle down, build shelter, and grow crops, we’ve been looking for ways to keep these pesky freeloaders out of our lives!

Sure, we’ve gotten quite good at pest control, but our high level of expertise didn’t come easy! We’re talking about thousands of years of learning and embarrassing trial-and-error that led to the pest control methods we use today.

To honour this human achievement, let’s take a walk through the history of pest-busting, from ‘pest’ to present.

Ancient Pest Control

The earliest record of pest control is a sad one.

Before 2500 BC, our forefathers probably didn’t understand what it meant to put up a front. When they came around to brainstorming a method of pest management, what they settled on wasn’t exactly… managing anything.

What the earliest farmers did was rather lucrative: they planted a ridiculous excess of crops so that once the pests had their fill, there would be enough left over for themselves.

Oh, well. Points for critical thinking, right?

The Dawn Of Pest Control

Things got a little better from there. In 2500 BC, mankind finally grew a backbone and began to take arms, hunting those ruthless pests gnawing away at the product of their hard work and dedication.

Ancient Sumerians were the first. They used sulfur compounds to kill the insects that would feed on their crops!

The Emergence Of Phenology

It’s around 1500 BC that civilizations began to realize that there’s a whole science to pest control.

Some Chinese civilizations came to develop and understand the basic workings of phenology, the study of cyclic and seasonal phenomena. They would experiment with crop rotations to account for sporadic ecological events, such as dry seasons and pest swarms.

It’s an impressive turnaround, considering mankind used to let these same pests walk all over them.

You Say You Want A Revolution

As people began to understand more and more about pest infestations, more control experiments began to occur. Individuals in China would take their phenological studies further by using botanical insecticides as fungicides for seed treatments.

And it wasn’t just China! Almost every ancient society began to develop more complex pest control practices. By 1200 BC, Romans would use hellebore to kill mice, rats, and insects, while Egyptian and Chinese societies would use herbs and oils to either repel or kill crop-destroying pests.

It was absolutely imperative for pest management to advance for mankind to develop as communities. After all, pest control was really a matter of life and death back then. A single bad harvest could’ve led to an utter annihilation of a village and its people!

Early Breakthroughs In Pest Control

The evolution of extermination didn’t stop there. Ancient developments were taken and refined into more effective pest control solutions.

Fast forward to the 1750’s, and scientists began to experiment with various natural ingredients (derris and pyrethrum) to make botanical insecticides!

Pest Control Gone Too Far

Unfortunately, the sudden spur of research and development led to some severe consequences to public health and the environment.

It turns out science went a little too far, too soon. In 1829, arsenic and other harmful chemicals were used for means of pest control. And of course, no one had any idea just how harmful they were.

At least, not until a decade later, as officials finally started recognizing the dangers of this pest control method.

By 1929, almost 30 million pounds of arsenate were spread across the United States’ fields and orchards. Crops were so plastered with the toxic chemical that they began to poison human consumers! That’s right – what was originally developed to kill pests ended up coming around to kill us.

The Pest Control Industry Emerges

It was after such devastating events that people realized pest control required trained professionals. After all, if there’s one thing the arsenic incident has taught us, putting pesticides in the hands of amateurs can be disastrous!

And so, in order to meet the demand for experts specialized in driving away pests without hurting the environment and its people, the pest control industry got off to a flying start.

This led to the passage of several laws dedicated to make the practice of pest control safer followed after.

For instance, in 1927 Canada begun regulating the importation and sale of pesticides through the federal Act to Regular the Sale and Inspection of Agricultural Economic Poisons. In 1939 this Act was replaced by the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) and other various regulations.

These Acts are in place to regulate the pest control industry and ensure it’s doing its job while taking the environment and its inhabitants into consideration.

Pest Control Today

It’s thanks to a long history of development that the pest control industry is where it’s at today.

Thankfully, our arsenic days are long behind us. The philosophy of “integrated pest management”, which is a broad-based approach that cultivates pest-removing practices without using invasive and potentially dangerous chemicals, is the mindset today.

As a result, pest control has ‘gone green’, which is a natural consequence of the experience’s mankind has gained over years of experimentation. Nowadays, pest exterminators pride themselves on non-chemical methods of control, such as freeze and heat-based treatments.

The Future Of Pest Control Is Buzzing

And guess what? It’s not done yet!

Pest control studies are on-going. As the industry continues to learn and develop new technologies and biological breakthroughs, who knows what the pest control scene will look like a hundred years from now?

Maybe one day, our predecessors will look back to our age and laugh at our modern pest management techniques – just like how we now laugh at our reckless use of arsenic solutions in the past.

Regardless of how much the industry will continue to change, some things will always stay the same.

For one, Terminix Canada has been providing clever and innovative pest control methods for over 90 years! We’re true sticklers to integrated pest management techniques, specializing in fast & organic pest control services.

8 Tips For Rodent Prevention This Holiday Season

“Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house
All the creatures were stirring, led by a mouse;
The pest-filled stockings were hung by the chimney to air,
In hopes that Terminix soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of cockroaches danced in their heads”

Christmas isn’t the same when you’re welcoming more guests than your in-laws. But unlike your in-laws, by employing these rodent prevention tricks, you can make sure your holiday season is pest-free.

We’ll help you deck the halls with pest-free holly, so your home is warm and festive for your family for the holidays, but cold and frigid for unwanted pest guests.

If You’re Bringing In A Tree, Check It Twice.

Santa double checks his naughty and nice list every year, and you should do the same with your Christmas tree.

The easiest way for insects and their eggs to breach your home is taking a ride on your Christmas tree, straight into your living room.

Rouse and remove the hidden bugs that could be cocooning their eggs in the boughs of the tree, giving your tree a good shake and once-over before bringing it into the house. Spiders, moths, and mites are the likeliest unwanted Christmas ornaments you’ll find littering your tree, so look out for webs, cocoons, and egg sacs especially.

When the holidays have ended and it’s time to dispose of your tree, make sure to clean up any remains thoroughly with a vacuum to remove pine needles, insect eggs or anything else that might’ve been left behind by the tree.

Storing Your Artificial Tree

If you opt for an artificial tree over a live one, the way you choose to store it matters in order to ensure proper rodent prevention. Instead of keeping it in its original cardboard box, switch to a tree bag to stop rodents from chewing through the box and destroying the tree.

RELATED: Wondering How To Get Rid Of Mice? Here’s 10 Top Tips

Clean Your Ornaments Before Packing Away

Even if you think you’ve gotten rid of all possible pests or eggs before bringing your tree in, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to packing away your cherished Christmas ornaments. As you take your ornaments off the tree, inspect them for any possible pest activity such as spider webs, mouse droppings, or chew marks. Even if you don’t see any pest remains, it’s a good idea to give your ornaments a quick wipe down with a damp cloth or duster. Not only will these ensure any remains have been cleaned up, it’ll also leave your ornaments dust-free for next year.

Clean Up Thoroughly After Hosting

Everyone knows to wash the cutlery and dishes after dinner, but it’s also very important to wash any linens such as tablecloths or napkins before returning them to their drawers for proper rodent prevention. Spills, crumbs, or other food leftovers are exactly what rodents and insects go looking for. Don’t help out these pests by leaving a smelly trail for them to follow, right into your drawers.

Inspect Your Firewood

Sitting in front of a roaring, crackling fire with a cup of hot chocolate is an ideal Christmas setting.

But that firewood can bring more into your home than warmth and comfort, namely, household pests that are notorious tunnelers. Ants, termites, wood-boring beetles, and carpenter ants regularly refuge in stacks of firewood, especially if it’s somewhat damp, or piled onto the ground.

To keep your firewood pest-free:

  • Examine and clean any firewood you’re bringing into the house
  • Shake the logs, to remove any clingy insects on the bark
  • Bring inside just enough firewood, which should be used immediately
  • Stack firewood on elevated surfaces and away from your house; dry wood is less inviting to tunneling pests

Open Decoration Boxes Outdoors

Insects appreciate the confines of dark, undisturbed locations to do whatever it is insects do in solitude.

So, there’s arguably no better place for insects to colonize than those decoration boxes that go virtually untouched for 11 months a year.

The chances of a pest infestation only intensify when the holiday boxes are stored in a humid, quiet setting, like your basement, crawlspace, or attic. It’s not uncommon to find mice, rodents, and other household pests in your box of ornaments.

To ensure you’re not opening a can of worms, or a box of bugs, take the decoration boxes outside, and inspect them for live pests, dead pests, droppings, bite marks, and any other pest damage. Wipe everything down, and you’re ready to deck the halls of your home with Christmas cheer!

How To Store Your Christmas Decorations In The Off-Season

While opening your decoration boxes outside is always a good idea to ensure any pests that managed to sneak in stay out of your home, you can do more to ensure pest-free decorations in the off-season.

Mice and rats can sneak into the boxes, destroying your decorations and leaving their waste behind to contaminate your holiday cheer. In order to aid in rodent prevention, choose your storage bins wisely. Cardboard boxes or paper bags are no match for rodents trying to dig their way in. Instead, opt for plastic storage bins with tight fitting lids to keep these pests out. As a bonus, these bins will prevent moisture from seeping in, preventing water damage or mold from ruining your decorations.

Check On Your Stored Items Periodically

It’s always a good idea to peek in on your stored items a few times a year. Not just to check for any proof of pests, but also to ensure there’s been no water damage or leaks. Keeping your space tightly secured by repairing any cracks in your foundation, floors or walls will help to keep both pests and water out, keeping your decorations and other memories safely stored.

RELATED: Why Your Need Pest Control In The Winter

RELATED: How To Get Rid Of Rodents In The Attic This Winter

Our advice should reduce the likelihood of a pest infestation during the holiday season, keeping your family safe and worry-free.

If you notice any pest activity or waste left behind in your attic, basement, crawlspace or garage, we can help. Don’t hesitate to call Terminix Canada to handle your pest problems in a humane and responsible way.

But if your pest infestation is already in your home for the holidays, contact the professional exterminators at Terminix Canada today. We’re experts at ruining pests’ holidays!

How To Get Rid Of Rodents In The Attic This Winter

Trying to sleep but can’t? There’s no greater impediment to a good night’s rest than the frenzied sounds of an animal in the attic scratching at night. If you’re wondering how to get rid of rodents in the attic, look no further. Whether it’s mice or squirrels in the attic, the idea of wild animals scratching and defecating above you is not a recipe for restful sleep.

We’ll teach you how to identify and then deal with mice control, rat control, squirrel control, bat control, or any other pest you may have living above you.

The good news is; if you’re hearing squirrels in your home outside of March – October, it’s unlikely they are nursing their young. So, you won’t be displacing baby squirrels that can’t fend for themselves.

What Should I Do For Wildlife Control?

When you need animal removal in the winter, you can trust Terminix Canada’s wildlife control and removal. Our team are experts at humane wildlife removal and are backed by over 90 years of experience getting rid of pests and ensuring they don’t come back.

Though you might want to skimp out on removal costs for rodents in the attic, we don’t recommend DIY animal removal, due to the risk of rabies, injury or illness.

Why Do I Have Rodents In My Home?

Many different rodents will seek warmth and shelter in the winter, often finding warm homes to be the perfect solution. No matter how cold or uncomfortable the weather outside gets, these rodents will find warmth, comfort, safety and security in your attic.

If your home has any cracks or holes in the walls or foundation, rodents, especially tiny ones like mice, can easily get in and make themselves at home. Raccoons and squirrels have very sharp claws, teeth and dexterous hands. This allows them to rip open shingles or weak spots like rotten wood or loose soffit along your roofline to gain access to your attic.

How To Get Rid Of Mice In The Attic In Winter

Winter is a common time to find mice in the attic, as they begin to search for refuge from the cold in the fall. Unlike other larger rodents, mice likely won’t stick to just your attic, moving all throughout your home. They look for nooks and crannies to slip through in order to access the entire home, often leaving evidence behind in the form of droppings.

They will set up their home in your walls, attics, vents, basements and other dark, secluded corners of your house.

While mice may seem cute and tiny, they are a serious concern that you should remove before they take over. Mice can and will breed year-round with a female, producing 5-10 litters in a single year. Each litter will have 6-8 babies, so two tiny mice can quickly turn into a big problem.

Rats and mice have very weak bladders and generally urinate as they walk, leaving trails of urine everywhere they travel in your space. Did you know mice can also produce 50-75 droppings in a single day? Between the amounts of waste they produce, plus the various surfaces in your home they can access, this creates a dangerous problem. It’s important to thoroughly clean and disinfect any area that a mouse has defecated on, especially if it’s in your kitchen.

The best way to make sure you get rid of all the mice in your home and keep them out permanently is to contact a professional rodent control company, such as Terminix Canada.

Our wildlife control services know how to remove mice from the attic. We use strategic traps and baits in order to isolate and remove mice in the attic in winter. From there, it’s important to seal cracks in the attic, as well as other parts of the home to ensure mice don’t return. We efficiently and effectively remove mice from your home with ethical and long-lasting results.

RELATED: 5 Reasons Why You Need Pest Control In The Winter

How To Remove Squirrels In The Attic In Winter

Not sure what is in your attic? If the footsteps are loud enough to rule out mice, the two most likely culprits are squirrels or raccoons. One good way to differentiate is to pay attention to when you’re hearing the noises. If you’re hearing them during the day, it’s likely squirrels. If you’re only hearing movement at night, then you likely have raccoons living upstairs. The only caveat to this is that flying squirrels are nocturnal, so you may still have a squirrel infestation even if you’re only hearing the noises at night.

If you want to confirm your suspicions and feel comfortable doing so, you can take a ladder to your attic and take a look inside. Don’t approach any animals you see there. By just taking a look, you should be safe. The animals are likely much more afraid of you then you are of them. But don’t approach or corner them! Squirrels will often stash leaves, nuts and other debris in the attic.

You can also sprinkle baking flour or another safe white powder on the floor in the attic to check for footprints. A squirrel’s front paw pads are an inch to an inch-and-a-half long with four toes and sharp claws. Their front feet have three large pads. Their back feet contain five toes and four pads.

Our wildlife control experts know how to remove squirrels in the attic. We are backed by over 90 years of humane animal removal services experience.

Exclusion is an integrated pest management technique that focuses on saving you from animal in attic removal costs by effectively sealing your house from intrusion.

While in the summer, our wildlife control and removal experts will often install one-way doors in order to get rid of squirrels in the attic humanely, this is not generally a feasible option in the winter due to the harsh weather conditions.

As such, our animal removal team will go up and remove squirrels in the attic humanely and institute whatever measures possible to ensure animals don’t get back in.

Do you hear animals in the attic scratching at night? Call Terminix Canada’s wildlife control team for professional wildlife removal near you. Our animal removal services extend to removing mice and squirrels in the attic.

How To Get Rid Of Bats In Your Attic In Winter

Making up 20 per cent of all known mammal species, bats are some of the most unexpectedly dynamic, interesting creatures on the face of the planet. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek bat removal services if you find a nest of bats in the house.

Besides Terminix Canada, bats are some of the best insect exterminators in the business, capable of consuming all manner of flies, mosquitoes and other creepy-crawlies up to three times their own body weight. Some even say that a little brown bat, all of six to ten centimetres long, can eat 1,000 mosquitoes in just one hour!

However, none of this is to say that they should be welcome guests should you find a few bats in the house.

What can bats do to you? Well, in addition to being known rabies carriers, their droppings, or guano, can create a fungal disease called histoplasmosis that you can catch just by breathing in its spores. Also known as the “cave disease”, histoplasmosis yields flu-like symptoms like coughing. It’s fatal if untreated with the later stages resembling tuberculosis.

On top of that, bats are notoriously difficult to get rid of safely, requiring the aid of trained pest control experts to remove them from your attic and to bat-proof your house so that they can’t come back. Our team of pest removal experts know how to remove bats from your attic in a safe, environmentally friendly manner. Contact us for a free consultation today!

Trust Terminix Canada For Your Wildlife Control Services

Stop googling how to get rid of rodents in your attic and pick up the phone. We can effectively and efficiently solve your pest problem for you.

We employ our integrated pest management service, mixing and matching the most humane and environmentally friendly residential pest control services that best fit your rodent problem. We’ll utilize rodenticides on an as-needed basis, rodent-proof your home, and instill a pest removal plan. Consequently, this will ensure unwanted intruders stay away for good.

Terminix Canada firmly believes that the health and safety of you and your family is top priority. By helping you understand and recognize the risks that rodents and other wildlife pose, that awareness and knowledge will be invaluable in preventing them from returning in the future.