Pests Commonly Found in British Columbia

Norway/Brown Rats (Rattus norvegicus)

Common in British Columbia, the brown or Norway rat can pose a threat to health, homes and commercial buildings. Norway rats differ from black or roof rats by their larger size, their semi-aquatic habits, shorter tails, and smaller eyes and ears. Norway rats droppings can be quite large (up to 2 cm) and oval.

Norway rats enter buildings through open doors or other openings as small as the diameter of a quarter. These rats prefer moist conditions, crawlspaces and the lower portions of buildings. Norway rats inhabit low lying shrubbery, ditches, outbuildings and woodpiles.

See icwdm.org/handbook/rodents/ro_b105.pdf for more information.

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Black Rats (Rattus rattus)

Black rats are common in the Greater Vancouver area. They tend to inhabit the upper parts of buildings. Their behaviour is quite secretive and their presence is often not detected until the population is growing within a structure. Averaging around 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) in length plus an equally long tail, these rats often live close to people. They are capable of carrying a number of disease-causing microorganisms. Rats defecate and urinate extensively thus contaminating living quarters, cupboards, dropped ceilings . Their chewing can destroy food, electrical wiring or valuables. Control requires that existing populations are controlled and further entry is excluded.

See cals.arizona.edu/pubs/insects/az1280.pdf for more information.

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House Mice (Mus musculus)

The house mouse is one of the most common rodents found in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Mice are a risk to human health by spreading disease and parasites, and are a potential threat to food supplies, personal belongings, and homes. Able to start electrical fires by chewing on wiring and destroying insulation, mice are more than just a nuisance.

Weighing roughly 14 to 28 grams (.5 to 1 ounce), the house mouse can fit through the tiniest of spaces throughout buildings.

It has light brown to grayish fur, a pointed nose, large ears and a tail.

Mice can live for two years or more and breed throughout the year. The gestation period of females is roughly 18 to 21 days; each litter produces anywhere from 2 to 13 mice.

RIDpest can help the rodent problem in your establishment by eliminating the reasons you have mice, by blocking the routes of entry, and by getting rid of the rodents themselves.

See icwdm.org/handbook/rodents/HouseMice.asp for more information.

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Gray Squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis)

Although called Gray Squirrels, this variety can be black, brown or gray. Eastern Gray Squirrels commonly nest in attics and other voids in homes and outbuildings. Feeding on seed, acorns, nuts, bird eggs or the young of other small animals, these furry creatures can be quite destructive. RIDpest’s professionals can help by live trapping and removing these small animals. Our service includes an inspection of the affected buildings, removal as necessary and minor repair work to exclude these pests from houses.

See icwdm.org/wildlife/gray-foxsquirrel.asp for more information.

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Fleas (order Siphonaptera)

These small, flat jumping insect parasites can infest rugs, upholstered furniture, the cracks and crevices in wood flooring as well our pets. Feeding on warm-blooded host, the common ‘cat’ flea often feasts on humans as well as cats and dogs. Fleas can transmit bacterial disease. Their saliva can also cause serious allergic reactions and dermatitis. Fleas can transfer tapeworms, causing pets to become anaemic. Signs of a flea infestation include visual sightings of the insects, characteristic bite patterns on human ankles, and changes in the behaviour of household pests as they try to relieve their discomfort through biting or scratching. Fleas can cause distinct and itchy red bumps. RIDpest can help you prevent further flea populations while treating your current infestation.

See trurovet.com/petLibrary/.../FleaControlCats.pdf for more information.

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Stored Products Beetles and Moths

Many grains, grain products, nuts, dried fruit are stored in homes. These products can contain the eggs of various stored products insects . If the products are in storage too long or under warm conditions that enhance the development of the insect’s eggs, the product may become infested with the larvae, pupae and adults of the affected product(s). Stored product insects are found in pantries and kitchens as well as in food processing areas, and food warehouses. If you should get one of these insects in the home, please call us so that we may help you to find the source as well as treat the affected areas and prevent future infestations.

See uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef612.asp for more information.

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Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius)

Bed bugs look similar to a flattened apple seed. Adults are roughly 6.35mm (1/4 inch) long, and are a red-brown shade. Newly emerged immature forms are the size of a grain of sand. Bed bug bites can cause significant itchy, red welts and be extremely distressing. Many people, however, have no reaction to bites. Not limited to mattresses, these bugs live in warm cracks and crevices that are within proximity to food sources (people). They hide in couches, box springs, bed frames, headboards, bedside tables, dressers, electrical outlets, wall voids, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and wallpaper. 

Bed bugs will also bite family pets, such as cats and dogs.

Signs that you have an infestation include blood-spotting on bedding, bites, and finding bugs.

See uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef636.asp for more information.

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Ants (family Formicidae)

Ants are often a nuisance and some can be a threat to your home or commercial structure. A social insect, ants live in colonies with at least one queen, and hundreds to thousands of workers. There are many species that forage for food; color and size varies. Ants all have wings when they are in their reproductive stage.

Key to treating an ant infestation is to properly identify the variety of ant and understand its habitat and habits. RIDpest technicians are well-trained professionals who will identify your problem and treat the ants’ nesting areas and traveling paths while ensuring your education on what the corrective measures are that your home environment and building structure requires to prevent further issues.

Common varieties of ants include: Pavement Ants, Pharoh Ants, Cornfield Ants, Field/Thatching Ants, and Odorous House Ants. Most threatening to homes in British Columbia are Carpenter Ants.

See web.unbc.ca/~lindgren/ants_main.html for more information.

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Carpenter Ants (Camponotus)

The common species of these ants are large and black. their size varies with the species. Have RIDpest identify the ants before proceeding with control. Carpenter ants bore holes into wood and other materials, discarding the debris. They do not eat the wood, but burrow in wood to establish their residence. Carpenter ants feed on materials containing proteins or carbohydrates. Food can include honey, sugar, meat, grease and dead insects.

Colonies can have thousands of ants and can become very well-established; the queen can live roughly 8 to 12 years while workers live about 7 years.

If the colony is well established, the winged carpenter ants appear in spring or early summer and can swarm while leaving their nest to establish new colonies.

Our technicians can identify these ants and help you protect your home against further infestations while eliminating your carpenter ant population.

See cru.cahe.wsu.edu/.../eb0818.pdf for more information.

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Cockroaches (order Blattaria)

A most adaptable and resilient insect, cockroaches can infest any type of structure including homes and commercial buildings. They are capable of carrying pathogens that cause disease and contributing to allergic and asthmatic reactions, RIDpest can eliminate your cockroach problem.

1.6 cm (5/8 inches) long, brown in color, with two prominent black stripes running down the wide shield behind its head, the German cockroach is the most common variety found in British Columbia.

The Cockroach life cycle from egg to adult is about a month; populations can explode if not kept under control. This insect will eat most food and likes oily residues. It is commonly found in warm moist areas with access to food and water supplies.

See healthyhomestraining.org/.../10-26-07.pdf for more information.

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Spiders (class Arachnida)

For some individuals, spiders can be the source of significant psychological upset.

Two groups of spiders in B.C. that are a safety concern are Hobo spiders and black widow spiders. Typically a spider bite is less harmful than a bee sting, but some people who are very allergic to venom may react severely to any spider bite.

RIDpest professional technicians can identify the harmless from the dangerous spiders around your home and work, and help control their population.

See ipm.ucdavis.edu/.../pn7442.html for more information.

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Silverfish

Greyish or metallic in color, silverfish are roughly 1.25 to 2cm (1/2 to 3/4 inch) long and are slender in shape. They have chewing mouth parts, 2 antennae, tiny scales, and three tail-like appendages radiating from their abdomens. Preferring dark, moist, warm areas these pests frequent bathroom fixtures, baseboards, closets and attics. Feeding on the yeast, carbohydrates and proteins of starches in textiles and paper, silverfish tend to damage books, loose papers, drywall, and clothing fibres. Silverfish can live for up to six years and molt throughout most of it. The professional pest management technicians at RIDpest will provide you with prevention and treatment solutions.

See uoguelph.ca/.../Silverfish.pdf for more information.

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Bees, Wasps, Hornets

Bees, wasps and hornets can be a health threat to some individuals. While the insects are beneficial as pollinators or as scavengers, their presence near homes or playgrounds can result in serious stings, allergic reactions and for a few unfortunate individuals, anaphylactic shock. Yellow jacket wasps are the most common pests around homes. Look for paper nests on the outside of buildings and call us to treat them. In late summer, wasp nests sometimes become very large. The largest are in the soil or in wall voids. If you see wasps entering and leaving a hole at the side of the house or a specific place in the lawn or around shrubbery, don't attempt to control them without proper wasp suits and head protection. Our company has much experience in controlling wasps and hornets. In general, we do not treat honey bees since these insects are beneficial and are seldomly aggressive.

See uoguelph.ca/.../Carpenter_Bee.htm for more information.

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