The Scene of the Crime
Detective work is the first step to battling insects, bedbugs and other pests
The evidence was unmistakable: bites on the victim, small black spots on the sheets, tiny little eggshells stuck under the bed. Bedbugs had struck at another cottage.
“Many people think bedbugs are just a city phenomenon, or they’re only found in low-income housing,” says Mark Sampson, owner of Muskoka Pest Control. “In fact, they’re everywhere that people congregate.”
Bedbugs are superb hitchhikers, catching rides on clothing, bedding, luggage, or even pets. And, just like most people, there’s nothing they like better than an invitation to visit a cottage.
As with many pests, it takes a bit of detective work to confirm what you’re up against. Bites alone aren’t enough: those marks can come from spiders, fleas or other insects or noxious weeds. To be sure it’s bedbugs, Mark and his team will also look for eggs and egg casings, tiny black fecal spots in the sheets or blood stains from bedbugs being crushed, or even the adult bugs themselves (an adult bedbug is about the size of an apple seed.) Where there is a low infestation, Mark can even call in a canine bedbug detection team that can find as little as an egg or single bed bug.
Muskoka Pest Control uses an Integrated Pest Management approach in dealing with all pests: know the pest you are dealing with, and use the right tools for the job. Solving a pest problem without the use of pesticides is always a preferred method. “You can’t just spray chemicals around and try to kill everything in the house,” says Mark. “It doesn’t work that way.”
Fleas and bedbugs, for example, both require a mix of chemical treatment and deep cleaning, but the focus is different. “If a bedbug infestation is caught early, we may be able to treat and clean just a few rooms,” says Mark. “With fleas, we’re treating every place the pets go.”
With all pests though, a fast response is important. “Whether we’re treating for mice or carpenter ants, blocking bats out of the attic or deterring woodpeckers, you’re always going to get better, faster results by treating the problem early,” says Mark.
A cottage care program is the best way to ensure that any pest issues are dealt with in their infancy. An annual or biannual inspection can quickly pick up on any pests that have made their way in, so they can be dealt with quickly. It will also identify any trouble spots, such as small holes in the walls that can allow invaders to enter.
“Pests are like burglars, always looking for a way in,” says Mark. “The best defence is to keep them out in the first place.”