As your trusted pest control professional in Winnipeg, Low-Cost Exterminators Ltd. is pleased to provide information on common pests in our area. We’ve included some general tips on how to identify and prevent these unwanted guests. Our licensed technicians can control and offer guidance on any of the pests mentioned on this page. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.
As the name suggests, these pests are commonly found in mattresses, box springs, bedding, clothing, furniture, baseboards, mouldings and cracks in floors. They are usually brown or reddish-brown, oval-shaped, flat and can give off an unpleasant sweet or musty odour. They can grow up to ¼’’ in length. Eggs usually hatch in about 14 -17 days. They can be hard to detect as they are nocturnal, but evidence that you may have bed bugs are black droppings, dark or red stains, cast-off skins from nymphs and live or dead bugs. They feed off the blood of humans and other warm-blooded hosts and can live up to a year without feeding. Reactions from bed bug bites can range from no reaction to raised, itchy red bumps. There is no evidence that they spread diseases to humans, and therefore they are not considered a health hazard. However, they can cause a lot of stress.
There are over 3,500 species of cockroaches around the world. The most common cockroaches found are the German, American, Brown-banded and Oriental. They are usually black, brown, light brown, or red in colour, with large antennae and move very swiftly. They also give off an unpleasant odour and may produce clicking or chirping sounds. Cockroaches are nocturnal which can make them difficult to spot. They are attracted to food sources that contain sugars, starches and proteins, but they will eat almost anything. Cockroaches can be carriers of diseases. To help avoid these pests, you should keep the property clean and sanitized at all times.
Did you find food remnants on the kitchen floor, holes in food packaging or hear chewing, gnawing or scratching noises in walls or ceilings? You may have mice. An obvious sign would be finding droppings or urine. Mice characteristically have pointed snouts, small rounded ears and a body-length tail. They are typically about 2-3 inches in length and can range in colour from light brown to dark grey. They feed on fruits, grains and any type of food scrap. Mice can damage property and they are carriers of diseases. The deer mouse is the most common carrier of the rare, but deadly Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. Deer mice can range in colour from reddish-brown to grey and are easily identified by the white fur on their belly, feet, and underside of their tail. Mice reproduce at a very fast rate, the gestation period is between 19-21 days with a litter that can range from 6 to 12.
These rodents are larger than mice and grow up to a foot long (which includes the tail) and are mostly nocturnal. There are few species of rats and they can range in colour from brown to black. They are the brown rat (commonly known as “Norway rat”, “sewer rat” or “street rat”) and the black rat (commonly known as the “roof rat” or “house rat”). Rats like to feed on human foods such as vegetables, fruit, cereals and pet foods, but because they are omnivores, they will eat almost anything including insects and birds. Rats can carry diseases and also contaminate foods with their droppings and the parasites they carry. They can also cause damage to your home by chewing through materials, including wiring. Rats reproduce quickly with a gestation period from 20-22 days and produce a litter from 6 to 16.
Known for their silver, metallic, fish-like appearance, silverfish are typically attracted to damp areas of your home including kitchens, bathrooms and basements. They are often difficult to spot as they move very quickly and are nocturnal. They will feed on almost anything including flour, cereal, oats, and even paper, which includes pictures and books.
These ants range from dark brown to black and are about 1/8” in length. They make nests under cracks in the pavement, foundations, hollow walls, and rocks. They feed on a variety of foods such as sweets (sugars, nectar, fruits, and syrups), grease, small seeds, and dead insects.
Watch out for these ants as they have a painful bite. They are a dark reddish colour and make their homes in nests in the ground. Typically not found indoors, they can still be a nuisance around your home. Fire ants are omnivores and feed on vegetable or animal sources such as plants, seeds, spiders, earthworms, and ticks.
Carpenter ants are among the largest ants found in North America and can range from 1/4" to 1” in length. They range in colour from reddish-brown to dull black depending on the species. Female and male adults have wings during mating time. They are often confused with termites. Carpenter ants are well known for their ability to damage wooden structures. They can enter buildings around door and window frames, eaves, phone and electrical lines, firewood, and branches that touch structures. Indoors, nests usually originate in moist, decayed wood and wall voids, and may later expand to sound wood. They build nests by chewing into wood (not eating it), and throwing it from the nest as sawdust shavings. Outdoors, nests are commonly found in dead or damaged portions of trees, rotting logs, and under the stones. Carpenter ants feed mainly on plant and fruit juices, insects and insect honeydew. Indoors, they will feed on food debris such as sweets, cakes, meats, eggs, pet food, and grease.
These flying insects are known for producing honey and beeswax, and for their role in plant pollination. There are 2 common types of bees - the honey bee and the bumblebee. They are closely related to wasps and ants. There are 3 kinds of bees in a hive. The queen is the largest bee in the nest and lays all of the eggs - about 1500 per day. The worker (all females) do all the work for the hive which includes cleaning, feeding the babies, taking care of the queen, packing pollen and nectar into cells, capping cells, building and repairing honeycombs, fanning to cool the hive, guard the hive, and collecting nectar and pollen from flowers. If a worker bee uses her stinger, she will die. The drone (male bee) is the third type and their job is to mate with the queen. They have no stingers. Bee stings can be dangerous if you are allergic.
Usually seen in paper-like nests from trees and bushes, wasp nests can also be found in or on structures such as your house, garage, shed, wall voids, and in the ground. Mostly brown in colour, wasps can have yellow and red markings. They feed primarily on nectar, fruit, and other insects. Unlike bees, wasps can sting more than one time, which can be dangerous if you are allergic.
Beetles belong to the largest order of insects called Coleoptera. Over 350,000 beetle species have been identified. Characterized by a shell-like exterior, beetles come in various shapes, sizes and colours. Beetles feed on different things such as plants and small insects. Some invade our homes and businesses and feed off food products such as flour and grain beetles. The carpet beetle feeds on fibres which can damage wool and fibres. The powder post beetle feeds on hardwoods and can damage furniture. There are beetles that can damage lawns and others that can damage trees. Some beetles are beneficial such as the lady beetle (known as the ladybug), as they feed on plant pests such as mealybugs and aphids.
Sow bugs are brownish-grey armadillo-like small crustaceans known for their flat, oval bodies with multiple segments. They are closely related to the lobster, shrimp and crayfish families. Sow bugs are commonly mistaken for pill bugs but sow bugs cannot roll up when they are disturbed. They live in moist, damp environments and are most commonly found under mulch, stones, flower pots, and behind the grass adjoining sidewalks and foundations. They are commonly found in basements during the spring and fall, as they enter through cracks in the foundation. They are also seen at ground-level windows and doors. Sow bugs can sometimes enter in large numbers, but they do not sting, bite, transmit diseases, or damage clothing. These bugs are simply a nuisance, but their presence can be very disturbing. Sow bugs are scavengers and feed mostly on decaying organic matter.
Many pet owners are familiar with these parasitic pests which are commonly found on dogs, cats and other animals. They are usually introduced into your home by your pet or other animals such as mice. Fleas are approximately 1/16” to 1/8” long and reddish-brown in colour. Their bodies are laterally compressed, hard, polished and covered with many hairs and spines that are directed backwards. This allows them easy movement on their hosts. Fleas are very agile and their hind legs are well adapted for jumping. A flea can jump 20 cm (8”) vertically, and 41 cm (16”) horizontally. If a human had the power of a flea, a 6’ person could jump 49 m (160 feet) vertically, and 90 m (295 feet) horizontally. Fleas feed on the blood of warm-blooded hosts such as dogs, cats, humans, mice, rats, birds, and other mammals. A flea bite is usually marked by a small, hard, red, itchy spot with a puncture hole in the middle. Fleas can transmit diseases such as typhus and carry parasites such as tapeworm.
Spiders are 8-legged predatory creatures that are the largest part of the Arachnid family which also includes scorpions and ticks. They are characterized by their 8 legs, can have up to 8 eyes and have chelicerae that are tipped with fangs. The fangs are used to hold their prey while the spider injects venom into them. Most species of spiders are venomous, but most are not dangerous to us. The most common species of spiders found in Canada are wolf spiders, cellar spiders (commonly known as daddy longlegs), house spiders, fishing spiders and, not as common, the black widow. They are normally found in dark crevices, corners of rooms, ceilings, closets, basements, garages, and gardens. Spiders have organs that produce silk that is used for making webs to catch prey, make nests or cocoons for their eggs. Spiders prey mostly on insects. Once the prey becomes tangled in the web, the spider will immobilize it by wrapping it in more silk and then injecting venom to paralyze it. The spider will later inject a digestive liquid into the prey and then suck out all of the nutrients from it. Not all spiders spin webs. There are many types of spiders that use other means to catch their prey, such as the wolf spider that will hunt its prey. Most spiders are nocturnal, shy, and will try to avoid a conflict by running away. They will only bite if they feel threatened. They rarely bite humans and only a few species, such as the black widow, have a venomous bite. The reaction to a bite would depend on the area where the bite was located, the amount of venom that was injected and how sensitive the person is to the venom.
These rodents can become a problem for a homeowner as they invade attics and soffits for nesting areas. The best prevention is to seal any openings and potential entries to your home.