Tag Archives: winter pest control

How to safely clean up mouse poop


Mice are often hard to spot as they are nocturnal and like to stay hidden. However, a single mouse produces between 50 and 75 pellet-shaped droppings (aka poop) every day! Although disgusting this means that droppings are a good indicator of an infestation. It’s very important to follow proper safety precautions whenever you may be in close contact with mice, their nests, their droppings or urine as mice are known to carry and transmit disease – read on to learn how. 

Canadian Mice 

There are many species of mice but the most common mice that cause problems for homeowners in Canada are the house mouse and the deer mouse. The house mouse is found throughout southern Canada including in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Unlike deer mice which mainly invade homes in the fall when temperatures start to drop, house mice enter homes year-round. Deer mice are found throughout every province and territory in Canada except for Newfoundland and Nunavut, however they are more common rurally as they thrive in grasslands and forests. 

How to Identify Mouse Droppings?

It can be difficult to tell mouse droppings from rat droppings or those of other pests but the size is really the key indicator. Mouse droppings or pellets resemble dark grains of rice about 3 to 6 mm in length whereas rat droppings are larger, around 12 mm in length. The colour will change depending on how old they are, over time the pellets dry and transition from a shiny black colour to a chalky brown. 

Mouse droppings

Are Mouse Droppings Toxic?

The droppings of deer mice have been known to cause a serious lung disease called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) when inhaled. Although cases are rare it still warrants precaution as it has a 40% mortality rate. Hantavirus can also be spread through their urine and through any food contaminated by mice. This is why it’s so important to take proper safety precautions when cleaning mouse droppings. 

How to Clean up Mouse Droppings

What you’ll need: 

  • Rubber or disposable gloves
  • N95 mask
  • Garbage bags 
  • Paper towels 
  • Diluted bleach or disinfectant in a spray bottle 
  • Long pants & long sleeve shirt

Step 1 – Protect yourself 

Never touch mouse droppings with your bare hands and avoid breathing in the same area. 

As discussed above mouse pellets can carry diseases that can be transferred in a variety of ways including becoming air born. To protect yourself, rubber or disposable gloves and an N95 respirator should be worn when cleaning up mouse droppings, as well as long pants and a long sleeve shirt. 

Step 2 – Air Out 

If possible, open surrounding doors and windows at least 30 minutes before cleaning so that the area is well-ventilated. However, if the wind could blow in and move the droppings around do not proceed with this step. Additionally, make sure that pets and children have no access to the area for the entirety of the cleaning. 

Step 3 – Soak

Do not sweep or vacuum up droppings! These will both promote pathogens becoming air born. Instead, dampen the dropping and surrounding area with a diluted bleach solution (one part bleach and 9 parts water) or an appropriate household disinfectant making sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Let the bleach or disinfectant sit for at least 5 minutes before continuing. 

Step 4 – Wipe & Remove 

Wipe up the dropping with a bleach-dampened paper towel and immediately place them in a garbage bag. After all the droppings have been removed tie the garbage bag up securely and dispose of it in an outdoor bin that is emptied regularly.

Step 5 – Disinfect the Area

Clean the area thoroughly with diluted bleach or disinfectant. Make sure to disinfect your gloves as well before removing them and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after.

Step 6 – Monitor

You will want to reinspect the area where you cleaned up the droppings regularly. If droppings reappear it’s a strong sign of an infestation

Mouse chewing wire

If you are dealing with a heavy accumulation of mouse droppings the situation becomes more hazardous and it is best to contact a pest control specialist like Terminix to keep you and your family safe. The same goes for if you feel unsure about any of the steps outlined above – don’t risk it, call in a trusted professional. 

Terminix Canada offers expert pest control services for both residential and commercial properties. We have local pest control experts at locations across Canada including BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Call us today to learn how we can help.

Pest-Free Christmas Tree Disposal

The holiday season is finally here! With it comes warm fires, carols, twinkling lights, and jovial cheer. For many, the beginning of December starts the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree to decorate with the family.

There are many important decisions to be made during this time. Real or fake, how big, and what kind? Many opt for real Christmas trees. This is because you really can’t beat the smell of a wonderful fir, pine, or spruce tree. Is there really any smell that signifies the start of the holiday season more than a real Christmas tree?

When opting for a real tree over a fake one, you must figure out what you’re going to do with your tree after Christmas. It’s also important to note that before that tree was a part of your living room décor, it was grown outdoors. That means there’s a very real possibility that bugs and other creepy crawlies were using it as their home before it entered yours.

If you’re not careful when it comes to Christmas tree disposal, those insects may decide to stay inside your home. You want to make sure they follow the tree to the trash pile.

Never fear! Terminix Canada is here to give you top-notch regarding pest-free Christmas tree disposal.

How To Get Rid Of Christmas Tree Bugs

Before it comes time for Christmas tree disposal, it’s important you don’t bring bugs into your home when bringing the tree in. This means taking certain precautions at the start of the season.

These gross bugs can range from microscopic aphids to spiders, to even praying mantises.

Christmas tree bug prevention can be as easy as shaking your tree outside. Give it a good shake until you’re certain that it contains no more creepy crawlies or their eggs. This also benefits your home by removing any loose pine needles, helping to contribute to less mess come Christmas morning.

It’s also a good idea to store your chosen tree in your garage for a few days, if possible. This will allow any eggs on the tree to have a chance to hatch in the garage, instead of your home.

Keep Your Home Pest-Free With Our Christmas Tree Disposal Tips

When Christmas has come and gone, it’s time to store away your holiday decorations. It’s also time to drag your tree to the curb. During this stage, any remaining eggs or bugs can get dislodged from the tree and fall onto your floor. To help prevent this from happening, you should lay a tarp on your floor, following the path you’ll be taking out the door. Once the tree is removed, the tarp can either be taken outside and shook, or thrown out.

Even after the tarp has been shaken or tossed, it’s a good idea to dust and vacuum the entire living room. This will get rid of any eggs that may have escaped the tree or tarp. This step should be done immediately after disposing of the tree. If you wait too long, you’ll give the eggs a chance to hatch or the bugs a chance to creep away.

Alternative Methods Of Christmas Tree Disposal

For many, Christmas trees are dragged to the curb to go out with the garbage. However, if you’re looking for other options for Christmas tree disposal that might benefit others, keep reading! Below we’ve gathered some different options available all over the country that help outdoor animals keep warm, bring joy to the public, or raise money for charities.

Help The Birds

According to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, leaving your Christmas tree in your backyard can do a lot to help birds survive a cold winter. You can prop the tree up against another tree, a back fence, or even lay it down in your garden. This will give them shelter and help keep them warm. In the last 50 years, we’ve lost 2.9 billion birds to climate change, loss of habitat, and cats, so any bit of help they can get is a good thing.

Additionally, come springtime, the tree branches and trunk provide a good environment for wildflowers as the tree holds moisture and helps build soil. This essentially mimics what happens in nature when trees die and go back to the soil. Additionally, the logs provide shelter for toads, and pollinators such as carpenter bees can burrow in the wood.

If you decide to go this route, it’s important that you put the tree in the far back of your yard, away from your house. You don’t want these birds or bees making a nest in or around your home, therefore this might not be the right option for those with a smaller yard.

Donate The Tree

Depending on where you live, there may be organizations that will take the tree off your hands. For instance, if you live in Ottawa, you can donate your Christmas tree to be put on display at the Rideau Canal Skateway. Every year, the National Capital Commission receives more than 1,200 trees. After the trees are used, they are chipped and composted.

Additionally, some non-profits offer Christmas tree pickup in exchange for a small donation. In some locations, Boy Scout troops will offer Christmas tree pickup for a donation. You’ll have to call around to your local charities and see if any are offering this program.

Some cities offer tree-chipping events, with the money often going to charity as well. This is a great option if you are looking for an environmentally friendly way to dispose of your Christmas tree.

Turn Them Into Firewood Or Mulch

A great way to reuse your Christmas tree is to make mulch or compost out of it. You can utilize both the woodchips and the needles to help keep your yard trees healthy during the winter. Pine needles contain tons of nutrients, and they enhance the PH of your soil, to allow it to breathe without becoming compacted or dense.

If used for firewood, woodchips should only be used outdoors as evergreen trees contain lots of sap so are prone to creosote build-up. These trunks should be left to dry out for a few months before cutting or lighting on fire, to help dry out the sap. Evergreens often burn very hot and quickly, making them ideal for outdoor bonfires.

However You Choose To Dispose Of Your Christmas Tree…

It’s important that you always do so safely, without breaking any of your municipality’s laws or regulations. Before donating, throwing away, or putting outside for the birds, it’s important that you remove all the decorations. You don’t want to leave any garbage behind. 

By following the above tips for the setup and removal of your tree from your home, you can ensure a safe, happy, and pest-free Christmas celebration.

For a rodent-free holiday season, check out our top five tips here.

If you need help with insect control, wildlife control, or any other pest plaguing you, Terminix Canada can help. Our expert team of pest control specialists offers effective, and affordable integrated pest control solutions. This helps to ensure that your pest problems buzz off for good.

Find your local Terminix Canada branch or give us a call at 1-888-801-6348 today. We will help you find the right pest control solutions for your individual needs.

Bed Bugs – The Best (And Worst) Ways To Remove Them

This probably goes without saying, but the last thing you’d ever want to do in a zombie outbreak is to pretend like you know what you’re doing. Because the chances are, you’re not going to make things any better, regardless of what your intentions may be.

Bed bugs are a little bit like zombies. Not only can they also survive for lengthy periods of time without feeding (18 months!), but they also feast on humans and can multiply rapidly.

There are many courses of action that may seem logical to you in the heat of the moment. You might even come to believe that you’re capable of single-handedly winning against the overwhelming horde of bed bugs living in your home. You might dream of valiantly driving them away from your abode, graciously winning your family’s praises for your cunning wit and valour. But we assure you, you’ll most likely be doing the very opposite.

Bed bugs are known to be extremely resilient and devilishly crafty. Here’s our list of the best ways to treat bed bugs, as well as some of the worst!

Bed Bugs Warning Signs  

The best time to deal with any infestation is before it actually happens. Don’t let bed bugs catch you off guard! A single female bed bug can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime. But if you find and eliminate the source early on (aka, her), you can stop her from breeding and increasing her followers.

Here are some signs that you should look out for:

1. Bed Bugs Leave Spots

If you have bed bugs, you’d normally see small, dark spots on furniture, walls and flooring near their hiding spots. They’re composed of your undigested blood that the bed bugs had to excrete. Gross!

2. Bed Bugs Dispose Of Exoskeletons

These annoying pests molt five times in their lifetime.  They molt and grow in size with every life stage from instar nymph, to full adult.  You might find their empty shells in the crevices and corners of your home.

3. Bed Bugs Leave A Musty Scent

Individually, they probably won’t smell of anything. But when huge groups of them are clustered together, you’ll most likely detect a distinctly musty-sweet odour wafting in the air. What, you can’t recognize a bed bug infestation when it hits you right in the nose?

Don’t Use A Bed Bug Fogger

Where do we even begin with this one?

A bed bug fogger, also known as the bug bomb, sounds like a quick and easy solution to exterminate those nasty suckers from your home in one clean sweep, right? WRONG!

Foggers use an aerosol propellant to disperse its contents through the air, which settles onto open surfaces. However, bed bugs tend to hide when they aren’t feeding. And guess what? They tend to hide in spots the foggers don’t reach.

Not only are the foggers ineffective, they’ll cause the bed bugs to scatter and dig deeper into the nooks and crannies of your home to get away from the source of the chemicals. Ultimately, this means a more settled in, hard-to-reach pest infestation.

Foggers also contain a very low concentration of pesticide, which means that they’ll likely fail at killing the bed bugs they DO reach. And the bad news doesn’t stop there. The low-level exposure to pesticides actually helps the little buggers to develop immunity – and they’ll only continue to get stronger as time passes. You’ll actually be making them harder to kill!

Do Protect Your Bed From Bed Bugs With A Mattress Encasement

If you encase your mattress and box springs, you can trap the bed bugs inside and keep them from gorging on your blood. They’ll be unable to feed and eventually starve to death.

Furthermore, bed bugs will be very easy to spot and remove, since they can only scuttle around the white surface of the encasement. Mattress encasements are easily one of the best ways to prevent these bloodsuckers from making your home theirs! Just make sure you install them properly and get a handle on how they should be maintained. Remember that the encasements should stay on for at least a year.

Don’t Dispose Of Your Bed

We can’t stress this enough. It’s very common for people to assume that they have to get rid of their beds and textiles once their homes are infested with bed bugs.

No, no, and no. Doing so will do more harm than good:

  1. Hauling that infested mattress could spread the infestation even further throughout your home.
  1. You’ll be giving the remaining bed bugs a chance to throw another housewarming party on the new mattress that you’ll be bringing in.
  1. Your hard-earned money will be spent for no reason.

Do Eliminate Any Clutter In Your Home

Bed bugs are great at hide-n-seek. Giving them a playing field will only make it worse! Try to reduce clutter and organize your personal possessions as much as you can.

In particular, don’t store anything under your bed, and keep the floors neat and tidy. If you’ve got any piles of laundry, newspapers, magazines, shoes and toys lying around, you better clear them out. They give bed bugs millions of hiding spots, and bed bug treatment will become close to impossible!

And if you need to dispose of any items, make sure you seal them tightly in plastic bags before tossing them in the outdoor trash.

Don’t Escape To A Friend Or Relative’s Home

You don’t want to be doing this since these pests are notorious hitchhikers. They’d definitely be more than happy to tag along and settle into your friend’s humble residence too. Furthermore, bed bugs can live up to 18 months without feeding, so escape just isn’t an option.

Have Bed Bugs? Call A Licensed Exterminator For The Best Results

This is THE way to go for a complete extermination. There’s only so much you can do alone! Remember, the safest and best bed bug treatments can only be performed by an experienced team of professionals. Foggers and other pesticides come with a list of health risks and other dangers that you don’t want to be dealing with! Licensed exterminators can provide effective heat treatment options, which require specialized equipment and expertise.

Save yourself the trouble and let us take care of your bed bug problems right now! Terminix Canada has provided superior bed bug extermination services all over Canada for over 90 years. Our chemical and steam bed bug treatments will get rid of your unwanted visitors once and for all.

For more information regarding our pest control services, call us at 1-888-801-6348!

10 Nightmare-ish Facts About Bed Bugs

Looking for some bed bug facts to keep you up at night? Keep reading.

Canada is known to be a country that gets very, very cold winters in many of its provinces and territories. Naturally, these harsh conditions turn our beds into fortresses of solitude. We bundle ourselves in warm and toasty blankets, shielded from the frigid Fahrenheit plaguing the winter months.

Sadly, we have some bad news for our bed-loving brethren. Winter doesn’t slow bed bugs down. They actually like cozying up in your bed as much as you do, and your one safe space may not be so safe after all.

Here’s what you need to know about the foul beasts who dare to sully our sleep.

Bed Bug Fact #1 – They Are Worthy Of Night Terrors

There’s a reason why your parents told you not to let the bed bugs bite. It wasn’t simply platitude, but a genuine cry of concern. These harbingers of horror love the darkness, and are mostly active during the night time, feeding fruitfully whilst you slumber.

Bed Bug Fact #2 – They Have A Keen Fashion Sense

Bed bugs will happily harbour in your Hilfiger jeans and Helly Hansen jacket. Most bed bug infestations occur after people come back from vacation, having picked up an unwanted passenger in their clothing or in your luggage during their trip. This is how bed bugs are capable of traveling such long distances!

Bed Bug Fact #3 – They Fear Nothing

There’s an ongoing myth that bed bugs are scared of light, but it’s completely unfounded. It’s true that they prefer the dark, but they will still bite when the lights are on. The heat and carbon dioxide emitted from our bodies are far too appetizing for bed bugs to resist.

Bed Bug Fact #4 – They Feed Off Chaos

One of the best bed bug prevention methods is decluttering. If your house belongs on Hoarders, you are primed for a bed bug infestation. They love using clutter as hiding spots.

So, it’s time to let go of your 25-year-old collection of 2L pop bottles. Come on, you weren’t going to reuse them!

Bed Bug Fact #5 – They Wouldn’t Thrive In The Arctic

While bed bugs can adapt under duress, there’s a limit to their durability. Scientists discovered that adult bed bugs can’t survive below -25°C. Having said that, we still can’t suggest taking your infested mattress on a scenic drive up north on any given January afternoon. We love the creativity though.

Bed Bug Fact #6 – They Wouldn’t Do Well In The Desert Either

Extremely cold temperatures are proven to kill bed bugs, but they also can’t survive on the opposite side of the thermometer.  Bed bugs that are exposed to 48°C or higher will die in a mere 20 minutes.  Don’t pack your bags moving to the hottest parts of the world just yet.  There are easier ways utilizing heat to prevent bed bugs besides setting up a shack in Death Valley.  The use of steam is a tried and proven method to roast away both bed bugs and their eggs.

Bed Bug Fact #7 – They Have A Culinary Curiosity

Bed bugs are low maintenance when it comes to living accommodations, not limiting themselves to your mattress, clothing, or other furniture. They’ll happily inhabit your kitchen appliances as well. Given their preference of heat and darkness, a recently turned-off oven is as luxurious as a stay at the Ritz Carlton.

Bed Bug Fact #8 – They Are (Disgusting) Creatures Of Habit

The feeding patterns of bed bugs are about as predictable as your life has become in lockdown. And their choice to live under our mattress is a mere crime of convenience. These creatures will nest as near to food sources (e.g. humans) as possible, feasting on their blood for up to 10 minutes at a time.

Bed Bug Fact #9 – They Are Dedicated To The Cause

Bed bugs have a passion for feeding, and they’ll slog it out just for one bite if they have to. While their preference is to live under a mattress in the name of limited effort, these menaces will travel up to 30 metres to feed. When your average height is 5-6mm, 30 meters is quite the commute‚ especially in this weather!

Bed Bug Fact #10 – They Have Child-Bearing Hips

Of all the bed bug facts on the list, this might be the most disturbing of them all. A female bed bug lays about 200 to 500 eggs over her lifetime, which results in 1 to 5 new bed bugs a day. If you don’t keep a watch on cracks and crevices where bed bugs and their eggs could hide, you might find yourself sucked dry in the middle of the night!

Think about those stats and then apply it to your hypothetically infested mattress and bed frame. This should be enough motivation keep an eye out for any warning signs of bed bug infestations!

If you’ve had enough of these terrifying bed bug facts, it’s time to call in the experts to take care of the problem.

Your home could be a breeding ground for pests such as bed bugs during the winter months, and you must remain vigilant, keeping an eye out for any warning signs of a bed bug problem. Or you can always hire a professional pest control company, such as Terminix Canada, for expert bed bug detection and extermination

If your home has been overrun by a bed bug infestation, Terminix Canada provides environmentally friendly pest and bed bug removal, control, and prevention services throughout Canada. With over 90 years of experience, our team of pest control experts know best how to efficiently and effectively eliminates bed bug infestations and prevents them from coming back.

What Happens To Ants In Winter?

Synonymous with Canadian spring and summertime, everybody is familiar with ants but what happens to ants in winter? When Canada starts experiencing colder weather in autumn and winter, these crawling critters seemingly disappear into the abyss. Just question it yourself for a second. When was the last time you saw a rogue ant or ten in your home or business at this time of year?

The answer is usually very few and we’d forgive you for thinking that ants make like geese and vacation down in Tijuana until Daylight Saving Time ends! Feed your curiosity and carry on reading because this Terminix Canada blog will explain exactly what happens to ants in winter.

Do Ants Hibernate In Winter?

Do ants hibernate in winter? You must be thinking they do considering that ant infested gap in your skirting has gone quiet all of a sudden. Ultimately, ants don’t exactly hibernate at this time of year. However, they do enter a state of dormancy within their colonies once the temperature drops a few degrees. Cold-blooded creatures, ants can go without food but they’ll never survive Canada’s harsh winter without seeking shelter and warmth. That’s why they pitch up inside our homes to extend their lifespan.

Unlike true hibernation, ants will continue their usual activities during a very mild winter. Just because you can’t see ants during winter, this doesn’t mean they’ve completely disappeared. It’s important to note that most Canadian ant species aren’t outright foragers willing to risk their life in plain sight. Therefore, you won’t see the majority of ant species traversing your home in search of food. Instead, they will be prioritizing their newfound shelter and warmth behind the scenes, remaining evasive, out of sight, and ultimately, out of our minds.

This is why it’s so important not to forget the threats that ants pose to your home during winter and thereafter. If an ant colony is located within your home structure itself, they could be doing damage unknowingly as we speak.

What Is Ant Diapause And How Does It Change Ants’ Behaviour?

So we’ve established that ants aren’t true hibernators. However, they will enter a slower metabolic state that is referred to as “diapause”. When the mercury drops on thermometers during winter, this coincides with ants naturally slowing down or ceasing their activities. We’re talking about things like eating, drinking, and laying eggs.

Ants won’t perform any of these activities when cold temperatures arrive, becoming sluggish in nature. Conserving their energy at this time, ants won’t hibernate in the traditional sense but will instead burrow deep into the soil, in areas beneath rocks, and underneath tree bark. Why? Because these are the places where ants can maintain body heat via consistent temperatures. At this time, an ant colony will encircle a queen to defend their population.

What Happens To Ants Come Springtime?

Spring is when ants experience their great awakening. This is why it’s so important to get professional ant control performed on your premises before warmer weather arrives. This will spare you from ants wreaking havoc in your home once they’re ready to start hunting for food again.

You should be aware that once worker ants have discovered a food source in your home, they will return straight back to alert the wider colony about its location. Leaving behind odour trails to memorize the path from nest to food source, these trails are commonly spotted in rooms like kitchens.

Got Carpenter Ants In House? Why Is This The Case This Winter?

As we alluded to earlier in this blog, ants are a species that dislike the cold and love things like damp wood. One of the most commonly discovered home invading ant species, our Terminix Canada teams regularly gets called to treat carpenter ants.

If you have carpenter ants in house, it may well be the case that a satellite colony from outside established a new colony within the warm confines of your home. Think about it for a second. Ants get everything they need in the house with delicious damp wood, food sources, and warmth. It’s practically a vacation resort tailored to their every whim!

It’s important to catch early signs of carpenter ants in the house in order to prevent the full establishment of a satellite colony within your walls, otherwise you could be in for a serious ant problem come springtime. At that point, you’ll be wishing ants did hibernate in the winter!

Best Ways To Get Rid Of Carpenter Ants And Other Species.

In order to successfully control a carpenter ant infestation, or an infestation of another ant species, you can’t simply remove the ants you can see. Instead, you must work with a professional ant pest control company. Terminix Canada removes ant nests, both the satellite and primary nests.

Ultimately, the worker ants belonging to a carpenter ant colony will continue spawning and tunnelling until the queen is eliminated. DIY ant control tactics will only get you so far. Why? Because locating the precise location of every single satellite and primary nest is incredibly difficult.

Therefore, you should contact our professionals at Terminix Canada. Whether you need Toronto pest control, Vancouver pest control or help someplace else, we know what it truly takes to get rid of carpenter ants and other species. Now you know what happens to ants in winter, trust our team. They can protect your home this season and year-round too. Offering 24/7 support, learn more about our residential ant control services in Canada today.

5 Best Ways To Prevent Rodents 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 using the best rodent prevention tips right now, 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.

Rodent Prevention Tip #1 – 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 Right Now? Read Our 10 Best Tips

Rodent Prevention Tip #2 – 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.

Rodent Prevention Tip #3 – 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.

Rodent Prevention Tip #4 – 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

Rodent Prevention Tip #5 – 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!

Best Ways 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 Winter Pest Control Right Now

Our best rodent prevention tips should reduce the likelihood of a pest infestation during the holiday season. By following our best tips, you can keep 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, Terminix Canada can help. Contact our professional exterminators right now. We’re experts at ruining pests’ holidays!

5 Reasons Why You Need Pest Control In Winter

Many Canadian homeowners feel they don’t need pest control in winter. However, we’ve written this blog to convince you that winter pest control is indeed a worthwhile investment for your home. During the long, cold and seemingly never-ending winter months of December, January and February, the popular sentiment is that everything goes dormant.

We don’t blame you for feeling this way either. During fall, we all bear witness to trees shedding their leaves with bulbs and plant life re-emerging in spring. Additionally, we understand that species like birds migrate south to flock to warmer climates. You may even notice that your cockroach infestation that you’d been putting off doesn’t seem as severe as it did in the summer. All these things make us feel like winter pest control falls into the category of nice-to-have rather than necessity.

But this is false. To educate you about the importance of pest control in winter, Terminix Canada has listed five reasons why should be battening down the hatches and defending your home at this time of year.

Why You Need Pest Control In Winter

  1. Rodents like mice and rats seek shelter and warmth in winter
  2. Cold winter weather doesn’t affect wall dwelling pests
  3. Winter pest control prevents unwanted spring intrusions
  4. Attics provide winter shelter for spiders and wasps
  5. Carpenter ants and termites still destroy wood internally and unknowingly

1. Rodents Like Mice And Rats Seek Shelter And Warmth In Winter

First and foremost, both house mice and rats do not hibernate during winter. At this time of year, these rodents ride out Canadian cold season by seeking shelter in our homes. Setting up shop in dark and secluded spaces in our properties, the bad news is that rodents get awfully comfortable, awfully quick. Both incredibly cunning species, if human food is nearby, and mice and rodents have easy access, these rodents have no reason to leave. Ultimately, shelter, warmth and food sources provide them a safe haven until they can begin foraging for fruits, plants and seeds in springtime. Winter rodent control is also important given how quickly these species breed.

Nimble species, mice and rats enter properties through tiny cracks, gaps and crevices in the foundations and walls of homes.  Did you know mice can expertly manoeuvre their bodies through small openings that are only a pencil width’s wide? If you’re wondering how to get rid of mice in the attic or how to get rid of a Norway rat, the answer is hiring a professional rat or mouse exterminator.

Read our blog on how to get rid of mice right now to understand the shortcomings of DIY mice control or rat removal tactics like mousetraps and pets that hunt.

2. Cold Winter Wather Doesn’t Affect Wall Dwelling Pests

Granted, winter’s cold weather means fewer pests invade your home compared to other times like summer. But what about pests that are already living in your space? Ultimately, pests that have already breached your property are not affected by freezing temperatures outdoors. We’re talking about pests that live between walls like carpenter ants, cockroaches, earwigs and termites. These types of pests can flourish indoors, riding out winter thanks to the maintenance of favourable living conditions.

We all love cozying up by the fireplace with a warm cup of hot chocolate, especially during the holidays. Sounds delightful, right? While pests obviously won’t be doing that, the same sentiment applies in that insects stand a far greater chance of survival indoors compared to outdoors. Take the cockroach for example. One of the planet’s most resilient species, this pest is infamous for being nocturnal. Hiding during the day and emerging at night, cockroaches often reside behind kitchen units, appearing on kitchen countertops, areas behind refrigerators and where dirty dishes have been left. Able to survive for a month without food, a week without water, and even without a head, resilient pests like these require professional cockroach control.

3. Winter Pest Control Prevents Unwanted Spring Intrusions

As temperatures get warmer in spring, insects like ants, cockroaches, centipedes, flies, hornets, millipedes and mosquitoes start re-emerging as they search for moisture and food sources. Being the season that falls immediately before spring, winter is actually the best time to prepare your home for unwanted spring pest intrusions.

Remember, pest prevention is the best form of defence. It all starts with sealing up entry points in your foundation and walls of your home. This means every gap, crack and opening, no matter how small they appear. A task that many leave to the professionals, things like steel wool and caulking are commonly used to deter intruding mice or rats. Elsewhere, weather stripping is popular among Canadian homeowners since it can be applied to any gaps in the doors and windows in your home. What better way to feel reassured about your home than by pre-empting spring intrusions ahead of time?

4. Attics Provide Winter Shelter For Spiders And Wasps

Many Canadians recoil at the idea of spiders hanging out in their homes, and for good reason. One of the most intimidating-looking pests by appearance, spiders cause distress and arachnophobia to much of the human population. Whether we like it not, spiders are often discovered in attics during wintertime. Why? Because spiders are cold blooded and their eggs cannot survive freezing winter temperatures. Laying their eggs in autumn, eggs are laid in a silk sac, often hidden in a web. If you’re brave enough to set foot in your attic, it’s important to remove spider webs and egg cases in order to prevent spiders re-emerging when warmer weather arrives.

The same rules apply for specific types of wasps too. If you’re questioning where do wasps go in winter, the answer is undisturbed locations like your attic. For the same reasons previously explained in this blog, wasps attempt to find quiet, safe places to survive and wait out winter. Both highly problematic species, you can leave spider removal and wasp removal to the experts at Terminix Canada.

5. Carpenter Ants And Termites Still Destroy Wood Internally And Unknowingly

We referenced them earlier in this blog but they’re both important enough to warrant their own section. That’s right, we’re talking about carpenter ants and termites. What do they both have in common? A love for destroying the wood in our homes, that’s what. While carpenter ants don’t eat wood, they excavate galleries for their nesting areas. Elsewhere, termites eat through wooden flooring, furniture, wooden frames, doors, and anywhere else in your home where there’s wood.

Why these pests require special attention in winter, and any time to be honest, is the fact they’re incredibly evasive. Like we’ve previously discussed, when these pests are indoors, they’re immune from freezing temperatures outside. Causing damage to wooden objects, fixtures and fittings in your home unknowingly, this is all part of the reason why professional ant control and termite control exists.

Want To Implement The Best Pest Control In Winter? Start Right Now With Terminix Canada

Offering 24/7 support, our winter pest control specialists will tackle the pest problems plaguing your home. Learn more about our residential pest control services in Canada today.