Common Household Pests in Ontario

By Drazen D

A common desire amongst homeowners and tenants is to live in a place free of pests. The reality is that there are many different types of pests that infest Canadian homes every day and they can be difficult to deal with.

It is important to understand some of the more common pests that you may come across in order to avoid having them infest your home. Some common precautions can be used to prevent a variety of pests from invading your home.

This article briefly describes of the most common pests found in Ontario homes outlining their appearance, where they dwell, dangers that they may present to humans and how you can protect yourself against them.

If you come across any of the pests mentioned below, make sure to contact your local exterminator for a consultation. For all your Pest control needs in Mississauga check out our pest control Mississauga website.

6 Common household pests in alphabetical order

The list below is by no means a complete list of the pests that can infest your home but it does cover the more common pests and is a good starting point for a home-owner that wants to avoid an infestation.

1. Ants

carpenter ant

Appearance: Considering that there are over 12,000 different types of ants worldwide, their appearances can differ quite significantly. Ants that you may come across in Ontario can vary from thief ants that are brown in colour and less than 1 mm in length, to the larger carpenter ants, which are black in colour and can reach lengths up to 13 mm. Generally, ants can be red, black, brown or yellow and have 6 legs plus 2 antennas that look like legs.

Where they live: Ants typically build complex colonies underground and, as with most pests, like to live near their food source. As a result, ants may build their nest in the soil next to your house or under your side walk. They can also live closer to you if they can find a warm damp spot inside your home such as near heating systems and behind cupboards.

Danger to humans: Most ants found in Canadian homes do not pose any serious risk to humans, however, some of them can bite leaving an itchy feeling on your skin. The main danger to Canadian residents is the structural damage that can occur from carpenter ants as they destroy wood in your home to build their nests. If you notice ant infestations make sure you contact your local ant control services provider.

How to avoid them: Ants are attracted to many different types of food, especially sweet and greasy foods such as peanut butter. There are several ways to avoid these pests such as:

  • Keep attractive foods in air-tight containers
  • Thoroughly clean any juice or food spills with water and soap
  • Regularly dump the crumbs out of your toaster

2. Bed bugs

bed-bugs-toronto-exterminator

Appearance: Bed bugs are small and wingless parasitic insects with flat oval shaped bodies. They are naturally brown in color which changes to a red-blood color after feeding. A fully mature bed bug can reach lengths of 5 mm with a 3 mm width

Where they live: Contrary to what their name suggests, bed bugs do not only live inside of your mattress. They do, however, inhabit places near your bed for quick and easy access to their only food source, human blood. Due to their small flat bodies, bed bugs tend to inhabit hard to reach places such as inside electrical outlets, mattress seams, sofas and base boards.

Danger to humans: Nobody wants to be bitten by bed bugs while they sleep even though their bites are rarely a serious physical concern. The main concern with bed bugs is the psychological impact that they can have on their hosts. When infested with bed bugs, people are well aware of their presence and the fact that they feed at night, however, they have no way of protecting themselves from these creepy crawlers without the help of a professional. As a result of this knowledge, many bed bugs victims have shown feelings of anxiety, sleep deprivation and depression caused by the social stigma of having bed bugs. If you notice any suspicious marks on your body or any signs of bed bugs make sure you contact your local and reputable bed bug exterminator.

How to avoid them: Bed bugs can be transferred from one place to another very easily without even knowing it. Here are a few suggestions to help prevent these critters from entering your home:

  • Thoroughly examine second hand furniture for bed bugs prior to bringing it home
  • When staying in a hotel room, examine the seams of your mattress and other common hiding spots
  • Eliminate easy hiding spots by using a protective cover on your mattress and box spring

3. Cockroaches

cockroach extermination toronto

Appearance: With over 4,000 cockroach species worldwide, only about 30 of them are common household pests. Of those 30, one of the most common species, which is often found in Canada, is the German cockroach. These roaches reach lengths of 1.6cm when fully grown and range in color from a light brown (or tan) color to a very dark, almost black color. They also have wings, although they barely use them to fly and only glide with them when disturbed.

Where they live: Similar to the other pests mentioned in this article, household cockroaches can be found living anywhere in your home that is near a food source such as kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, garages and basements or any other warm damp area. Roaches are nocturnal insects that sleep in narrow cracks and crevices during the day and exit at night in search for food.

Danger to humans: Cockroaches do not bite and rarely cause structural damage to your home, however, they have been linked to spreading diseases. When roaches walk over food or kitchen countertops they can contaminate these areas by defecating or leaving traces of bacteria that have attached to their bodies while they were roaming around sewers, garbage’s and other unsanitary areas. The feces or bacteria that contaminates your food can have negative effects on your health. If you notice cockroaches at your work or home consult our expert cockroach control professionals.

How to avoid them: A cockroach infestation does not necessarily mean you have a dirty home but it can be frustrating to find out you have an infestation of these creepy crawlers. Here are a few tips to prevent an infestation:

  • Keep dark and damp areas in your home clean, especially those near a food source such as under your oven
  • Dispose of your garbage daily and do not store it in places that can be easily accessed
  • Wash your dishes immediately after eating. If this is not always possible, at least soak them in water and soap

4. Earwigs

earwigs close-up

Appearance: Earwigs have an eerie appearance with long antennae in relation to their body length. They have flattened and elongated bodies reaching lengths from 5mm to 50mm with two pairs of wings. Their most distinct feature is the pincer like cerci, which is a pair of claw-like appendages attached to their back end.

Where they live: Due to their sensitivity to hot and dry conditions, earwigs hide in cool and damp places during the day, such as under leaves or under wood, and become active at night to feed. They prefer to live outside, however, can end up in your home, usually on hot summer days when they’re looking for shelter in a cool space such as a basement or crawl space.

Danger to humans: There is an old urban legend stating that earwigs can crawl into your ears at night and lay eggs but the reality is they are completely harmless to humans. The most danger that an earwig can impose on a human is frightening you with their creepy appearance. In fact, earwigs can serve as a benefit in your home considering that they eat insect larvae, garden pests and decaying organic matter.

How to avoid them: Although they do not pose any danger to us, earwigs are still an unpleasant site to see in your home. You can decrease your chances of an infestation by doing some of the following:

  • Trim vegetation and remove organic matter or other objects that they may use as shelter around your home
  • Ensure that all of your water drains are directed away from your foundation
  • Maintain your garden by removing any damaged produce which they would feed on

5. Mice

house mouse, mice

Appearance: There are two types of mice that are known to invade homes in Ontario. The most common one found in urban areas is the house mouse, which is light brown or grey in color with large ears. An adult mouse weighs anywhere between 12-30 grams and can reach lengths of 20 cm from head to the tip of the tail.

Where they live: Mice have become highly adapted to human environments all over the world, from big cities to remote desert towns. In Ontario, you can find mice in both rural and urban areas hiding in places such as barns, garages, tool sheds, behind your walls or between floors. They can squeeze through holes the size of a dime and thus can be very hard to locate in your home. They are also nocturnal creatures so it is rare that you would encounter one during the day.

Danger to humans: Considering their vast population in urban areas, and the fact that they can impose varying types of threats to humans and their homes, mice have been one of the most troublesome pests in history. The biggest danger to humans is their ability to transmit viruses and diseases by contaminating your food or food prep areas with their feces. On a larger scale, mice can destroy large food supplies by contaminating an entire farms output. They can also cause structural damage to your home as they gnaw on electrical cables and wood in your home. Call us today and our mice control experts will help you get rid of mice once and for all.

How to avoid them: Having a mouse infestation can be very stressful and, as usual, prevention is the best measure when dealing with them. Try these tips to keep your home mice-proof:

  • Seal all cracks in your foundation
  • Use garbage bins with tight fitting lids
  • Eliminate any small opening around windows and doors with strong weather stripping

6. Wasps

wasp nest

Appearance: With approximately 30,000 species of social and solitary wasps, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most common wasps, and also the ones of most concern, are social wasps such as yellow-jackets and hornets. They range in size from 10 to 25 mm and can be recognized by the black and yellow stripes or a metallic blue coloring on their body. Yellow jackets look very similar to bees but can be distinguished by their thin waste and pointed abdomen.

Where they live: Yellow-jackets and hornets build their nests out of a papery material that they make by chewing up wood pulp and mixing it with their saliva. The queen begins construction in spring and eventually begins laying eggs to build her colony. Nests can be found in a variety of places such as in old rodent holes, hanging from a tree, in building attics and under eaves troughs.

Danger to humans: Despite the feeling of fear due to their painful stings, wasps are actually beneficial to humans more so than they are dangerous. Sure, a sting can be very painful, and in the odd case of an allergic reaction or multiple stings can even be fatal; however, wasps will only sting when they feel threatened and offer the benefit of preying on almost every pest insect on earth making them very beneficial to farmers. Don’t wait to get stung call our wasp nest removal experts today.

How to avoid them: To avoid having wasps on or near your property, you should start preparing in spring when the nests are being built and the hive is much easier to deal with. Follow these steps to reduce your exposure to wasps:

  • Inspect around your home and property in the spring for paper nests
  • When eating outside, cover your food and drinks and clean up all leftovers when
  • Seal your garbage and recycling bins tightly to eliminate any attractive scents
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