When summer arrives, the first thing every Canadian wants to do is enjoy the great weather while it lasts. The days are warm, bright and this is the perfect time enjoy more activities outdoors or just do more in general. Unfortunately, Canadians aren’t the only things taking advantage of these more pleasant conditions. Canadian wildlife has the same idea, and this also includes a range of pests that can make your summer life a bit more difficult. When the good weather arrives, be sure to keep an eye out for these more common pests that may try to make a new home in your home.
1 – Bedbugs
The sad fact of the matter is that we usually bring bedbugs into the home. The bedbug is a tiny parasite that feeds on blood. Unlike mosquitos, bedbugs are not especially mobile, and so prefer to live as close to their food source as possible, and pick much easier targets. A human or a pet that sleeps and remains still for many hours of the day is the perfect target. This is how bedbugs earned their name; they prefer to live in mattresses of beds, or in upholstery of furniture where people or pets may sit still for long periods of time, such as that reclining chair in the “man cave.”
The usual way bedbugs invade our homes in the summer is, surprisingly, through hotels. Some people enjoying summer vacations take a well-earned rest in a new place, but if bedbugs are at the hotel, it’s quite possible for those bedbugs, finding a new food source, to “hitch a ride” in luggage. Once they arrive at your home, they disembark and make a new home in your bed, sofa, or even nightstand or picture frames.
2 - Wasps & Bees
Spring is the time when wasps and bees send out young queens to establish new hives, but summer is the season when you actually see the results of their labours. This is the time of year when these insects will build hives or nests, and, like any sensible animal, they look for good locations close to their food for more convenience.
This sometimes means that homeowners may look up one day and see a wasp nest or beehive in a tree in the yard or built directly onto the side of the home, usually very high up where it would require a ladder to reach it. Fortunately, most bees and wasps are peaceful and do not aggressively seek out fights with humans. However, the proximity to a home can make for trouble, especially for yard activities like using the pool or a BBQ. In the case of wasps they have a variety of different dietary needs depending on species, and can eat fruit, insects or other sweets that are available. Wasps are also capable of stinging more than once, so you have to be extra careful not to provoke them.
3 – Ticks
If you’re the typical Canadian wanting to take advantage of the great outdoors in the summer, the tick—specifically the deer tick—is another summer pest you need to watch. These tiny insects are another blood sucking parasite. However, they’re not very mobile, preferring instead to simply sit on blades of grass and wait for passing victims, like the deer they get their name from, or people hiking or playing in the grass.
Once a tick gets hold of a victim, it inserts a needle-like organ through the skin, and may even secrete a substance that acts like anaesthetic so the telltale itching we expect from mosquitos to warn us of a bite doesn’t occur. If a tick can successfully feed for 36-48 hours, it has a chance of transmitting Lyme disease, which is a very difficult illness to diagnose because it has so many symptoms that can be mistaken for other conditions.
Summer is the one time of the year when Canadians can really enjoy all the natural splendour that our country offers. However, that natural splendour does come with some natural hazards, like pests. Keep an eye on your home and surroundings, and make sure to inspect your luggage—and yourself—after outdoor activities to make sure you don’t bring home new visitors.