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 To post an answer choose a question number and click here.
 
BATS  
#196
I have been told a story about a bat that was in a friends house and actually flew toward his face. Is this common? Also what could possible explain this bat's behavior? Amber.    Sydney.
 
Question #81
Need to know all the information that you have on BATS including health problems related to BATS (guano) you see I've been living in this house for know 4 years and I have notice that we've been having problem with these bats in my attic for these past years an I need to know everything that you can about BATS.  My son has had problems and I need to know if it has any relation with them. So please help me.
Margueritte.  Kapuskasing, On
We have just added information about bat related health problems on the page:  BATS
You will also find some good answers to your question on the "Questions about animal pests" page. 
Question # 43
We have been having a problem with bats. One even got into the house, we have learned that our neighbors have also had problems with them and are taking measures to evict them. I however think that they will return by making new holes. I have found an electronic pest control product on the American market that you plug into the electrical outlet and it omits an electronic interference to the pests. My question is do they work and where in Canada if at all can you find them. Thank you for your time, Mrs. Bonny --------. 
The best solution to bat problems is to screen them out. In British Columbia bats are considered beneficial and are a protected species. Read this short information sheet and check the links on this page.   BATS    It is not likely you will be able to buy an electronic pest control device from a professional pest control service business in Canada. 
Read also the answers to question # 17 and # 4.
A word to the wise about this whole group of "miracle electronic pest repellers"... none of these work.. they do nothing.. except make those who market them a bit richer. Solving bat problems takes a professional who knows something about bats. In Canada the two most common species in houses are ... the little brown bat and the big brown bat.. Those are not merely ways of describing them, those are the actual common names of these individual species. The little brown bat does not stay in structures during winter. They leave and overwinter in other locations. The big brown bat, as I recall, does stay in structures. A bat specialist can learn which species you have by checking the bat "scat"... or .. for if you are lucky enough to get someone who really knows bats, they actually measure the pitch of their ultrasonic squeaks... and identify them that way.
If you live in an area where there are lots of mosquitoes you might even consider installing a bat house on a tree nearby.. The bats do return to the same location if it is little brown bats. You can prepare for their return by having a professional learn where they are getting in, and blocking this area.
There is an excellent resource for bats on the web.. it may even be on this site. I can't remember the name at this second, but it may be Tuttle... A small booklet that is available on the net and gives you a truly complete perspective on getting bats out of your home. If it is not on this site, I will post the actual location of the book on the web for you.
Sam Bryks,  Manager, Pest Control MTHC,  Toronto. email: sam.bryks@mthc.on.ca 
Webmanager comment:  Thanks Sam.  We look forward to getting the link to that web site. 
I found the link for bats.....it is: http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/uh081.html   
This is a booklet in PDF format which can be downloaded for free.
Title is... "Guide to Northeastern Bats and Bat Problems."
Most of the principles apply to any location.  There is also a good brochure from BC that is on the links section of the Bats International.   Sam Bryks.
Webmanager comment:  Sam is 
the Manager of Pest Control Programs at Metro Toronto Housing Corporation, the largest public housing organization in Canada, based in Toronto, Ontario.  He has been in the pest control industry now for nearly 23 years and working in the housing area for the last 14 years. He has the unique situation of being both a pest control professional and also a client of pest control companies. He is certainly not seeking monetary rewards here. 
We sincerely appreciate his unselfish and knowledgeable input through his answers to many questions on this web page.  Thanks Sam.
Question # 44
I have a problem concerning bats. Normally I don't worry about them too much, if they would stick to their natural Cliffside hangouts. However, some of them are entering the crevices around the mainsail cover on my sailboat and are leaving one heck of a mess in the folds of my sail, as well as scaring the heck out of my crew when we raise the sail and they come swooping out and their droppings along with them. I've tried moth balls, and that doesn't work. It's very inconvenient trying to seal them out with plastic wrap. On average we use our boat twice a week and they come back every time. They don't bother the neighbor's boats in the yacht club. We all assume it is because I have a very black sail cover, versus blue or red, etc. Any lethal ideas? Frank
Your problem with bats is a little more serious than the one below but you may find some answers on the BATS page or the links. Perhaps you could make a light net cover with draw strings to cover your sail cover. This is a tough one. 
 
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BIRDS
Question #126
In our factory at work we have had pigeons living for some three years now. They are becoming extremely annoying - what can we do to get rid of them. We are a metal fabrication company and the birds go to the toilet over sheets of metal and on the roof of our truck. 
Tim.  Belfast, Northern Ireland.
You could probably find a local professional to install bird netting to restrict their access to the roosting areas. This is the most effective way to deal with pigeons.
Question # 20
We have found your item for relocation birds from vineyards. We are interesting about a system, which will drive away birds, especially starlings (Sturnus Vulgaris) from area of vineyards (large about 10ha). We turn to you to get more information about new generation of electronic sound devices. Which kind of detection is used? Does the system operate automatically? Can we, please, get more information about prices and technical data? Thank you;  Pavel,   Kocourkova, Czech Republic
Webmanager's note: Here is a chance for Canadian suppliers to show some true goodwill and perhaps develop an export market. E-mail me for contact information. 
Question #10
 How can I keep pigeons from landing on my balcony?  Jess
Most bird control professionals now use mechanical devices to keep birds from becoming pests.
You may be able to install netting or wires temporarily and hope the pigeons move down the street.
Solving pigeon problems on balconies can be pretty difficult as this is so often a community based problem. When a few people feed the birds on the property or from balconies, then the birds tend to stay in the area, and start to establish nesting sites on balconies. Your landlord, or if it is a Condo corp, then your corporation has an obligation to ensure that tenants do not do things that interfere with other tenants or owners being able to "enjoy" their homes. As the previous recommendation stated, netting does work well, but you should check with your landlord or the Condo corp before you have this installed. The cost of installing netting can vary from around $100 - $250 or more depending on the size of the balcony. Installations using wood are no good.... the wood will get wet and rot eventually, and if your installer damages the cement floor or the railing, you may be responsible for the costs. By letting your landlord or condo corp know the problem, you would then have an approved firm do the installation. A good installation will last for years, and can be repaired fairly easily. The Bird Barrier site noted by the previous professional will give you a good idea of the low tech, but sturdy type of installation. Shooing the birds off by being persistent and destroying the eggs, and cleaning up nesting material also works very well, if you do not have many pigeons on the building. It is a difficult problem for sure....
Sam Bryks,  Manager, Pest Control MTHC,  Toronto. email: sam.bryks@mthc.on.ca 
 
CHIPMUNKS & SQUIRRELS  
#193
I have squirlls or chipmunks in my ceiling. How do I get them out? Thay are munching on something in the walls you can hear them I am afraid thay are gona eat through a wire and cause a fire. thay are making sleep impossible! there is one spot in the house to put a live trap ( were we have a drop ceiling) there is one there but thay have not gone in yet i put peanut butter in it I am at a loss. Can you help? Carrie.  Albion, N.Y.
 
Question # 36
Chipmunks, cute little creatures that they are, get in to my shed and in to the crawl space under my house. They tunnel everywhere and litter my shed with nuts etc...I don't want to kill them if I don't have to. I tried moth balls.....help. Jacob in Manitoba, in the Interlake north of Winnipeg.   
You might try buying or renting a live trap and relocating them some distance away. Use nuts for bait.  They are quite capable of destroying the insulation under homes and this is a serious problem where you live. You should try to determine the entry points and screen them. 
Question # 48
We are overrun with chipmunks at our cottage, and there are several getting into the cottage. How do I get rid of them please. We also have had red squirrels in the cottage this year, and we have sealed up any holes we found with the foam spray can, but the chipmunks don't seem to be in that area. Peggy, Orleans, On
You must find the entry points and screen them off. Foam will probably not work properly. You may also need to use a live trap and relocate the chipmunks. 
Question # 59
I have squirrels (red) climbing a tree that is close the roof of my house - they get on the roof, go into the eaves trough, and squeeze into the adjoining pieces of wood at the roof peak and consequently get into the house (attic, I believe). How can I rid myself of these squirrels. I am having the tree cut down. However, if they are in the house, can I trap them and with what, ie food, trap, etc.  M.J.
Squirrels can be trapped with live traps (see http://www.livetrap.com/) which pest control professionals in your area will have available for sale, or rent. These traps are best baited with peanuts and peanut-butter and animals should be relocated a significant distance away (preferably crossing a body of water). Sealing off entry points in the roof will prevent a reinvasion. Jamie.  North Shore Pest Detective.   Web page and e-mail link.
MJ... live-trapping squirrels can create some unexpected problems that the homeowner is not aware of. Squirrels tend to be territorial, so if you take them to another location, there is a good chance they will not survive. If you trap them when there are young squirrels inside the attic, you should know that the youngsters which are blind for a considerable time will die of thirst, and then you may have an odor problem. Not a nice thing to be responsible for. In addition, if squirrels have found location in your attic, there is a chance that others in the neighborhood may arrive there as well. If you build out the current squirrels in your house, they will still be in the neighborhood, -- squirrels often have more than one nest, sometimes in different locations, and while they have been evicted from your home, they may still hold their own territory and keep others away. If a tree is too close to your house, it is probably a good idea to take it down, but there are a number of less drastic solutions - have the tree branches trimmed so that branches do not overhang your roof less than about 3 meters in height. Squirrels will jump from tree to house, but if the height is increased, they may be more encouraged to stay in the tree. Another strategy is to band the tree with a brown coloured aluminum sheet about a yard wide, at about 10 feet off the ground. Squirrels can't manage to scale that 3 feet of smooth smooth sheeting (the kind used for siding.. but it must be smooth, not textured.). Keep in mind that squirrels are perfectly capable of climbing up stucco or brick or wood surfaces without much trouble. I have seen squirrels running along the surface of a 12 story building that had a stucco surface - much like the Spiderman of comic book fame. If you choose to get a wildlife removal company, then choose one which has a good reputation both in quality of work, in warranty (a one year warranty is always good -- but the warranties are usually conditional... understand the specific conditions of the warranty before you sign the contract. Firms that respect wildlife and do their work without harming wildlife are the best really. Their ethical values in their treatment of animals are usually also translated into their good business practices. A firm that doesn't care about the well being of the animals is not really going to worry too much about your complaints if you have problems. Professional and ethical firms will know when the time is right to exclude the animals and if there are young, they will make every effort to ensure that the female squirrels get their young out or that the young are removed, put into a cardboard box on the roof or in another safe place so that the females can retrieve them. 
Sam Bryks,  Manager, Pest Control MTHC,  Toronto. email: sam.bryks@mthc.on.ca 
 
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GROUNDHOGS & GOPHERS  
Question # 15 
I work on a diary /cash crop farm. My boss and I have been trying to get rid of the ever so annoying groundhog (gopher) or the last couple of years. We have tried smoke bombs, gun and the farm dog without much success. Any info you might have on some method or product and where to access would be greatly appreciated.  Toby.
Getting rid of gophers is never easy.. There are a number of products registered for this use. You need to check to see which products are still available. Some years ago Phostoxin (phosphine fumigant) pellets were available for this use for farmers under permit with required basic training. There are also some other products - which may not require a permit as such - such as a "smoke" or "sulfur" bomb.. as it is called. Please confirm that these are still available. Getting any of these fumigant type of products to work really depends on the use of good application techniques. Putting in the pellets in mid-day is useless. The gophers will leave their burrows as they are active during the day.
First step is to survey your farm and identify where all the burrows are located. Each burrow usually has a a secondary escape hole. Equip yourself with a flexible plastic hose (the kind used for sump pumps).. about 3 - 4 feet is fine. Also get some gravel to be able to put into each burrow. With some of these products (phostoxin for example), the soil needs to be damp. Then drive to each burrow .. late afternoon or early evening.. put the hose down.. insert a pellet, withdraw the hose, and try to fill the burrow with the gravel. The gophers tend to retreat into the burrow at night, and you may get good results. You need to check them the next day to see if any have been re-opened... and if so, then do the procedure again. This works very well. Be sure to  read the label and follow the directions. It is best to do this work as a team..  good luck...
Sam Bryks,  Manager, Pest Control MTHC,  Toronto. email: sam.bryks@mthc.on.ca 
Question # 38
I have an infestation of groundhogs around my house. They dig holes around my garage and lawn. How do I get rid of them?  Bruce
 
 
MICE

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Question # 117
Recently, due to the cold weather, our new home has become a condo for mice. We have a new baby and my wife is positively phobic. I would like to know what I can do myself not just to destroy but to discourage them from taking up residence with us. Do you have any suggestions? David.  Windsor, Ontario.
There are a number of suggestions to stop entry and discourage mice on the rodent page. Understanding their travel habits and food sources will give you some good ideas.
Question #112
I have recently discovered that I had some mice in my house. I checked around the house and found a crack around a basement window where mice might have been able to get through. I plugged it using steel wool. I set up a bunch of snap traps and caught 2 mice the first night and I haven't caught any more since. My concern is that the mice that I did catch appeared to be deer mice (dark brown with white underbelly). I know that deer mice are know to carry the hantavirus so here is my question: How common is the deer mouse in urban areas? I thought deer mice were mostly just found in rural areas. Also, is it known how widespread are hantavirus infected mice are in Ontario (Ottawa region specifically)?   Marc.   Ottawa.
Contact the regional, city or provincial health health department. They should have records of any testing done on mice in the area.  If the hair on the underside of the mouse tail is white, it is likely a deer mouse. In some areas deer mice are the most common species.  They can survive anywhere there is a food source and they especially like bird feeders.
Question #110
I have used a professional pest control company that used a poison now I fear the animal has died in my wall due to the foul odour in my home . is this decay dangerous to my family (hanta) and how long will the smell last.  Krista,  Delta, B.C.
If it is one or 2 mice the smell should dissipate in less than a week as the carcass dehydrates. A rat could smell for up to 2 weeks. If you can determine which cavity it is in, cut a hole in the wallboard and remove it.
There is no risk of hantavirus unless you do open the cavity.
Question #109
I have recently discovered mice in the attic space of my house. I am in the process of finding and sealing access points but have a question about elimination. The attic is insulated and they seem to live under the insulation which prevents me from using snap traps. I have begun using poison and a Tin Cat with limited success (none in the Tin Cat but have disposed of a few corpses from those that have been poisoned), but am considering removing most (or all) of the insulation to allow the use of snap traps. I am strongly considering calling a professional to nip this quickly, but if they are likely to recommend removal of the insulation then I would like to give that a shot first. What have your experiences been in dealing with mouse infestations in insulated attic spaces?
D.J.  Mississauga, ON
Mice love to nest in insulation, but they must leave for food and water. They are likely following pipes up from the crawlspace or basement. Poison is a food that should attract them, so put it in the basement, or use snap traps if you prefer. Do not disturb the insulation.  There is always a slight risk of hantavirus attached to the small particles that will become airborne when you move the insulation. In fact, I would stay out of the attic unless you wear a hepa filter respirator and protective clothing. Read the information about hantavirus on this page.
Question #100
We recently purchased a home in the country. After purchase we discovered that there had been mice living in the house particularly the basement. Over the past two years we have set traps, plugged holes etc and believe that we may have the problem under control. Recently we removed that drywall from the external walls in the basement. It was no surprise to find that the mice had burrowed through the insulation (the pink stuff) leaving a tremendous amount of excrement.
We are preparing to reinsulate  and drywall the walls. Please advise whether we should sanitize the walls first and with what ( bleach and water?). Also can you tell me whether there is an insulation that we should use that we not allow the mice to nest ( maybe a type of product by Roxul or foam?). Should we be placing some type of pesticide in the walls in the event we have mice entering? and if so what type? Thanks for your help. We are determined to rid our house of these pests!!
Kathryn,  Campbellville, Ontario
You have done the right thing, plugging the entry points. You could spray the walls lightly  with bleach and water, (10 to 1 mix) to kill potential Hantavirus and mold spores. Ridged foam insulation is good for basement walls because it does not absorb moisture and is not easy for mice to nest in.  Use expansion foam to fill difficult gaps.  You should not need to put poison in the walls.
Question #96*
I have mice infestation in my house and despite professional advice and help, they keep coming. I have done everything to ensure that all the holes, cracks, etc are sealed wherever I detect these with steel wool, cement, and have used poison recommended by the pest control professional. All this to no avail. My neighbour has a bird feeder and doesn't understand that ever since she put this in, mice have been attracted. I am sure she is overrun as well.
My question is whether or not there is legal recourse. Are there provincial/municipal bylaws that may help me in having the bird feeder removed to my neighbour's back yard rather than near our driveway or better still, have her remove it entirely. They are obviously a great health hazard and I've ensured all food items and garbage areas are sealed. If anyone can help with this question, I'd be most grateful. As well who else in the industry can I approach to help me aggressively to get rid of the pests. My problems began only a year ago and I've lived in this house for over 17 years!  Taz.   St. Catharines, Ontario
This is not an easy situation as it involves one person getting pleasure from a birdfeeder while this is creating problems for the neighbour. Birdfeeders are very common, and lots of people love having them, so taking any kind of legal approach may only create a lot of animosity without really solving the problem.
I think the best approach would be to speak to your neighbour and acknowledge that she gets pleasure from the bird feeder, but you are concerned about the problems it could cause with mice for both of you. The position of the feeder may have to do with your neighbour being able to see the birds, so moving it if that is a helpful approach to reducing your problem should also take into account her wish to see the birds. The other help is for your neighbour to not overload the feeder... the more seeds the birds eat the less there for the mice.
The steps you are taking are the right ones. Snap traps are always a good way to control mice. If they are coming to a garage area you could consider buying an automatic mousetrap such as a ketch-all or a Tin Cat which will catch more of them (you could then either take them a distance away 1/4 mile or so, and let them go, or drown them in your laundry tub..
A good pest management firm will do a thorough inspection of your house inside and outside to see where there may be a need for more sealing and blocking of points of entry. Also keep in mind that with the milder winter weather we have been experiencing in Ontario over the past ten or more years, this has been very beneficial to mouse population increases.. Last year was not that cold, so part of the problem could also be related to this as well.     good luck...
Sam Bryks.  Business: Manager, Pest Control, TCHC (Toronto Community Housing Corporation)
Question #94*
How do I get rid of mice? I have 2 dogs and I don't think I can use poison. I have trapped 1 and seen another one. So where there is 2 there is more. What should I do? Jo-Anne,    Winnipeg, Manitoba
Have you checked the information on the Rodent Page?  There are a number of useful tips.
Read  "The three R's of rodent control"/
Question #93*
Where do I buy a live trap for squirrels.  Andrew.   Toronto, Ontario
Phone a few of the professionals listed on the Toronto page in our directory.
Question #82*
We have a mouse problem in our house. We have gone over every nook and cranny, crawled around to find holes and cannot locate or find how they are getting in. Is it possible that they could live in the house if they have enough food stored or is this impossible? thank you....we have been dealing with this for five years and are going crazy!!!  Andrea.   British Columbia.
Mice can squeeze through a crack as small as it's skull size. Any openings around pipes, vents, wiring, fireplaces should be plugged with steel wool.  If you still have a problem, perhaps the experienced eyes of a professionals will see something you don't.
Question # 28
I reside in a townhome. Under a bathroom sink cabinet, the drywall does not fit tightly around the sink pipe leading out of my home. I feel this is where the bugs are entering my house, since is the only locate they seem to be. The bugs are around 1/4 inch in length, and very thin, there are no wings, they are black in color, their mouth appears to be elongated and bent down at a 45 degree angle. I find two to three dead bugs weekly, but only in this bathroom. I've checked the drawings of the different bugs on your pests page, but can not find "my bugs". Thank you for your assistance! I'm going to put a foam spray around the sink pipe where it meets the drywall hoping to keep these insects out of my house!  Coleen
Are you sure these are not mouse droppings? Try stuffing steel wool tightly around the pipe. If there are no more droppings, you probably have a problem with mice in the walls and below floor level. 
Question # 52
We just got back from a 2 month vacation and found mouse droppings all over. On the carpet, in the cabinets where I keep the pots and I'm sure it's in more places that I haven't found yet. 
I have young children including a crawling infant. Is it dangerous? How do I clean up properly? vacuum? is washing the pots with soap and water enough? Should I have the carpets cleaned? And then how do I get rid of the mice?   Thanks.  Pnina.
A list of health hazards related to rodents could fill this web page. You must take immediate action before allowing children to play where there are mouse droppings. Anything used for food preparation that may be contaminated should also be cleaned with a solution of bleach and water. If the mouse urine was visible you would probably consider moving out. Read the information on these pages for helpful tips on control and clean up.  RodentsHantavirus. 
Question # 53
I have field mice in the house. Are they a risk for the family and what damage can they cause. Should I trap them or what?  Judy.
All mice in a residence can be a health hazard. Mice are suspected as the cause of many fires when insulation is chewed off wiring. See the answer to question # 52 above 
Question # 58
We live in a 25 year old 3 story apartment block in Vancouver. Just this year we have been experiencing mouse problems. Many apartments have seen them. We have been putting down poison and glue traps and wrapping up food. Is there anything else that we should be doing? Are mice a cyclical problem? Thank you.   Deb.
Mice can be a cyclical (or seasonal) problem. When the whether cools, as it has recently at night in Vancouver, rodents begin to seek a warm place to live out the winter. One needs to be sure to put out a sufficient amount of bait, so that the mice will not outbread the baiting program (one breeding pair can produce up to 144 pups in a year and the young can reproduce within 2 months). In order to prevent the problem from being cyclical the goal needs to be finding the potential entry points for the mice and sealing them. Additionally, you might benefit from an ongoing external baiting program in order to deal with the rodents before they make their way into the apartment complex. Feel free to click on our link to discuss this more.
Jamie.  North Shore Pest Detective.   Web page and e-mail link.
Question # 67
I am staying in xxxxxx Towers at  Toronto. On 13th Sept. 2001 the XXXXXXXX  Pest Control personal came in to the house and left a few yellow packets of poison for the mice inside my house, based on my request. On 15th evening the only mice which I am keeping a track ate the poison. It continued to eat every day. Today is 20th and the mice is still alive. It is active damaging the wall, paint, thermo cool, wood, etc. My question is whether the mice is immune to the poison applied ? Is there any strong doses available for application which is not harmful for the residents. Are there fictitious chemicals in circulation ?
Thank You. Sreekumar
Mice rarely live alone. The building you live in could have many mice that have discovered the food (poison) that has been placed for them.  The poison is likely killing all the mice that eat it. If poison has not been placed in other critical areas of the building, it may take some time before they stop coming to your apartment. 
One of the major problems with mice in high rise buildings is travel between units. If you are on higher floors and are having problems, it likely means that the problems exist in a lot of locations. For your own unit, it is very useful to check all the possible points of travel for the mice such as where your rad pipes go into walls, plumbing pipe passages (especially under sink), and other potential hiding places. If you plug these with steel wool to reduce ability of mice to travel, it is a big help. You might put rodent bait in a more solid form into the openings before you plug them. Within your own unit the best device for mouse control is the snap trap. These are inexpensive and if you check out the best way to place them, you will destroy any mice in your own unit. The landlord also has an obligation to ensure that pests are being kept out and eliminated from the building.
Sam Bryks,  Manager, Pest Control MTHC,  Toronto. email: sam.bryks@mthc.on.ca 
Question #104
I would like to know if the pest control act would allow to put Quintox (grain formulation ) in dishes along the walls of a restaurant kitchen . When I said dishes I refer to the small black dishes made for this only purpose. Thank you very much.   Luis.  Oakville, Ontario
This is really not a great approach. The cheap little plastic trays for mouse bait is an antiquity that should be tossed in the garbage.
Mouse control really requires a good overview to see where the mice are gaining entry, and if there are points at which they can get inside walls. Good storage practices, and good housekeeping are important as well. Mechanical trapping using snap traps or automatic mouse traps is far better than bait. If you must use bait, Quintox is a good product, but put into a plastic bag and then inside a proper tamper proof bait station.
The other way is very sloppy and the bait will get spilled and likely get damp .. Not a very good way to do it at all. That kind of placement could also be a violation of local legislation about safe rodenticide placement. In most locales, it would be forbidden in any area where food is being prepared.
Sam Bryks
Business: Manager, Pest Control TCHC (Toronto Community Housing Corporation)
 
 
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MOLES

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# 165
Both this spring and last, when the snow melted we have damage done to our lawn by what we have been told are Voles.  They are leaving long indentations in the grass with mounds of soil and sod at one end with a hole about the size of an egg in them.   The indentations are anywhere from a couple of feet long to 10 to 20 feet long.  The pile of soil that they leave behind is very sandy looking almost like that of an ant hill.  I have not seen any of these rodents so I am not sure that this is our problem or not.  We live in Middle Sackville, Nova Scotia and I have driven thru our neighbourhood and I cannot see any other lawns which seem to have this type of damage.  Can you let me know if in fact this is the work of Voles and how do I deal with them.  We have spent a considerable amount of money landscaping our property and we do have a lawn service looking after it.   Unfortunately I am right across the street from a playground so I can not use pesticides.  Anything that you can suggest will be greatly appreciated.  Also do you know anywhere on the internet that I can find a picture of a Vole so at least I know what to look for.  I have done a few searches myself and cannot find a picture.
 
Thanking you in advance for any help you can provide. 
Bev ,  Nova Scotia.
There seems to be some confusion between "voles" and "moles".. Please see Question 187 for more details.
What you are describing sounds like moles.
Here is the distinction.. "Vole" is another term for a type of mouse also called a "meadow mouse". These are larger than house mice, have a short tail, and can be mistaken easily for a juvenile rat at first glance. Moles are in a different group, and a a burrowing animal- largely blind - and they tunnel under grass searching for insect larva which they feed on. Mice do travel under snow or under things like discarded pieces of plywood panelling or cardboard, creating a depression in grass. Moles travel "under" the grass.. creating tunnels. If you have moles the control is quite different than voles. See response 187 for more details. Sam Bryks,  Manager, Pest Control MTHC,  Toronto.
Question #142
How do I get rid of a vole living in my small front yard? It has never been seen nor caught by our cats. It has entrances in the grass and two in perennial flower bed near Japanese maple and veronica, all within 6 feet of each other. I have used rat and fire ant poison, filled hole with water, rocks, and dirt.  Debbie.   Atlanta.
I am not sure if you are talking about a vole or a mole. A vole is a kind of mouse - also sometimes called a meadow mouse. You could eliminate this with a glueboard - perhaps placed inside of a small bait station. Caution is advised as you have a cat. I don't suggest using bait as your cats may eat the vole and the bait too, and then you will have a bigger problem than the rodent. If you are talking about a MOLE, then it is a totally different situation. You need to get a mole trap. I don't know where you are located, but you might be able to find these in a farm supply retailer. The traps are pushed into the mole tunnel and then set. The mole triggers it when it runs along the tunnel, and goodbye mole. Goodluck... Sam Bryks
Manager, Pest Control TCHC (Toronto Community Housing Corporation)
Question # 124
A mole or vole has entered my basement through a small opening in the outside wall about 7 days ago. I set a trap for it using peanut butter on a piece of bread. It was able to get the food without triggering the trap. This happened within a day. I reset the trap with additional bait 6 days ago and there has been no action detected. There are no apparent escape routes. I have searched the basement thoroughly and cannot find any sign of the animal dead or alive. Is it possible that the animal has died in that time because of the lack of water? Thanks for help.
Chester.  Rochester Hills Michigan
Moles and voles.. the names rhyme but the similarity really ends there (excepting of course that both are mammals).
Moles are burrowing mammals that feed on insects and one another (if two males meet in a tunnel, they are going to be in a rather disagreeable conflict and one may end up being dinner for the other). I think that the chance of a mole being in a basement is remote. They burrow just under the surface of lawns. Not really known to enter houses - or that I have ever heard of. (always good to learn new information).
Voles are a type of mouse - also known as Meadow Mouse. Larger than common housemouse.. shorter tail. Not usually found as pests inside houses though they may sometimes be found near homes.
If you haven't seen any evidence for 7 days, it may be that the "critter" has vacated the premises. Housemice do not need much moisture and can survive on finding food sources. If it got in through a crevice, it will find its way out.
If you want to confirm that it is gone, you might take some baby powder and dust it in the basement where you thought it came in, and other locations in basement at perimeter (at wall). Sprinkle a fine dust layer so if the rodent is there, it will in fact leave tracks on the talcum dust. You will need a flashlight to shine on the dust at an angle to create shadowing of tracks. The most probable --- house mouse or deer mouse.
good luck.. Sam Bryks
Manager, Pest Control TCHC (Toronto Community Housing Corporation)
Question # 18
Got shrubs and garden damage ,we been using traps and pellets poison (put in tubes to keep birds from eating them) but it look's like almost no difference is seen in the amount of damage. Some say they are volds. We been baiting them with peanut butter to some success. is there anything else we can do? thanks Lawrence
Hi: I would continue to trap them with peanut butter, but I would add a few drops of Almond Extract to the peanut butter. Hope this Helps. Ken.  Olympic Pest Control, Victoria
olympicpest@home.com 
Question #7
 
How do I get rid of moles off my lawn???   Ron C.
There are specialized mole traps sold to control these pests. If you are handy, these work well. The trap is basically driven into the path of the mole by being inserted into the burrow and set. The mole comes to the trigger when it is running in its burrow and the trap kills it. You may need two or three or four of the traps depending on the extent of the problem.. or.. you could hire a professional mole hunter. There are some individuals that specialize in this area, but many communities do not have enough mole problems to merit this kind of specialization. Good luck...
Sam Bryks,  Manager, Pest Control MTHC,  Toronto. email: sam.bryks@mthc.on.ca 
Question # 39
I have a mole or moles uprooting my flower gardens and lawn. I've tried the juicy fruit gum and they love it, although it just seems to fatten them up, they are still digging. They have moved from the back gardens to the front now. What can I do to eliminate them before all of my plants are destroyed? Please help!!!   Sharon
Moles eat insects. Try to determine what is attracting them to your gardens. You may be wise to  have a professional treat your yard for leatherjackets. 
Question # 63
We aren't sure if they are moles or voles. How can we tell? What can we do about them? They are digging up our lawn and garden at our cottage. Our cottage is deep in the bush with no neighbors around. A good place I guess for them to trot around and play and make a mess. Can you make any suggestions on how we can get rid of them? I look forward to your ideas. Thank you,  Nicole
Nicole.. Your description doesn't tell the kind of damage you are experiencing. Voles - also called meadow mice, are not generally known for tearing up lawns. Many rodents may burrow to make nests, but not many actually tear up lawns. Moles, however, are specialized to live in tunnels. They have poor vision, and very highly developed front feet with claws that dig quite rapidly ... Mole damage would show up as a kind of tunneling through your lawn. There are mole traps available. And there are a few specialists who actually do this kind of work, but not many.. You might check some of the retail firms on this site to see if they sell mole traps. If the damage is more in the form of lawn being actually "torn up".. this is not moles. It would be either skunks or even raccoons digging up the sod to get at fat and juicy and (I am told) very tasty June "Bug" (they are really beetles) grubs (larvae).. If that is the case, you may wish to treat your lawn next spring with an insecticide to kill the grubs.
Sam Bryks,  Manager, Pest Control MTHC,  Toronto. email: sam.bryks@mthc.on.ca 
 
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OTHER ANIMALS
Question #95*
I live in an older home in the country. The back room of my home which is unheated but attached to the house lately has had some kind of major digging going on. This is happening under the stair into this storage room. A lot of soil is being dug up from the dirt floor. We first knew we had a problem when the dog food container (which is a plastic bucket tightly sealed) was chewed to pieces. Not just a little entry hole . We have kept the pet food in this location for years with never a problem. We tried putting poison right into the pet food container but it now doesn't seem to touch the food laced with poison. We have placed a rat trap, but nothing. The trap actually was buried over with the digging. The digging is still going on; we can actually hear this creature digging and scratching. Does this sound like a rat problem to you or possibly some kind of weasel. I have seen an ermine in the past. This is a large tunnel or den which is being dug.
Rhonda.    Oshawa, Ontario
It certainly sounds like some kind of larger burrowing animal, but I don't think it is an ermine .. wrong location. There are other suspects depending on the size of the hole. Rats are burrowing animals, but the burrow won't be that large, and rats are not that loud in general. You might be dealing with skunks, or if it is a very large burrow - a groundhog. If it is skunks, you will know that soon enough from the odor.
You may wish to contact a company specializing in wildlife management. Good companies will not charge you for an investigation visit to basically advise you what they can do and how much it may cost. Depending on the location, and what the animal is, it could cost around $150 - $300 to get rid of it.
If you do see what it is, you might ask professionals here again for advice. If not, then best to get a professional. You can spend a lot of time and energy without solving this kind of a problem without the services of a reliable, ethical wildlife management firm. Good luck...

Sam Bryks.  Business: Manager, Pest Control, TCHC (Toronto Community Housing Corporation)

 
RACCOONS
Question # 24
Short of shooting it. how do I get rid of a raccoon??   Bev.
Eliminate any food sources that may be attracting raccoons.  You may have some success using a trap and "re-locating it". It took me a long time to learn the tricks of trapping this smart little beast while they enjoyed fresh chickens from my hen house. Use a variety of bait in the trap but usually the food that attracted them works best. In B.C. they are considered a protected fur bearing animal. You can only deal with them on your own property unless you have a trappers license.  Calling a professional might save you a lot of time, frustration and money.    Larry       www.nobugs.ca  
Question #79*
Raccoons are ruining my lawn. What can I do to get them to move along? There are about 5 or 6 of them. I border on woods. I tried using mothballs.   Larry.   New Brunswick.
This question is very similar to # 63 and there is a good explanation of the problem and solutions in moles category above.
Moles are sometimes blamed for the damage raccoons cause.                                                                          
 
RATS

Directory of Pest Management Professionals

 

Question # 40
We just bought a house in downtown Toronto. The contractor who is doing some renovation told me that every morning when he arrives there are rats present. We also found rat poison deep in a kitchen cupboard. Should this have been disclosed by the seller? Also our contractor called an exterminator who said for $250. he will come out and put more rat poison. I am looking for a more complete approach to the problem, does one exist? Please Help!!!      Jennie
Laws regarding real estate disclosure statements vary from province to province. You should contact your real estate agent or lawyer in this regard. It seems likely the vendor was aware of a rodent problem if there was rat poison in the cupboard. The $250 quoted to just place poison seems out of line. I suggest you personally contact some pest control professionals and ask what services they can offer and what they charge. Most professionals will do a thorough inspection to locate entry points and food sources. They will make recommendations regarding changes that should be made and some may offer to make these changes for you. (Block off entry points) Using poison may be just part of the solution. If there is a rodent problem in the area you will probably want a service program to continue until the problem is resolved. Talk to the neighbors.   You will find listings for pest professionals in your area on this web page.  Toronto Professionals  Phone 2 or 3 of them and ask a number of questions. 
Question # 49
I have what I think is a rat on my boat. I have tried spring traps, glue board traps and now all of them , five at once.  The rodent chews up cushions, rubber, plastic, foam and roach hotels but will not go near the rat traps. Can you advise me?  Sincerely; Renee'
Most rat traps have a wood base that readily absorbs odors. Rats have a very sensitive nose. Be sure your rat traps have not absorbed the odor of something the rats will shy away from such a gasoline, dish soap, shaving lotion or anything that does not smell good to eat. Place a small piece of apple beside the trap to confuse the rat's smelling ability. Determine the route the rat is taking and place your trap with the trigger end directly in that path so the rat has to move over it.  If your boat is tied to a dock there are probably many more in the area. 
Larry.     www.nobugs.ca 
Try baiting -- perhaps you'll be more successful. Don't use Warfarin though, many rodents now have a high tolerance and will not be sufficiently affected.
Jamie.   North Shore Pest Detective
 
 
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SKUNKS
Question # 23
There is skunks smell all over between two apartment's on this side our apartment is fenced but the other is not at all, so what do you do against skunk's smell because the people cannot sleep at nights people have to close their doors and windows there is big skunk smell problems?  over here.  M. Jacobson
 
Question # 72*
I have skunk living in a patch of ivy next to my house and I want to get rid of the skunk without getting rid of the ivy and not having to bathe in tomato paste, so how do I get the skunk without doing these things????????    Lucky
The best way to get rid of the skunk is to set a live trap (a cage with a spring loaded door) baited with a couple of eggs. After capturing the skunk release it a good distance from your home (prefferably across a body of water). You will want a shield of plastic around the cage to prevent the skunk from spraying. It might also spray/mess in your vehicle during transit. IF you do not want to deal with these risks, hire a local pest control professional. Ivy is natural habitat for rats and mice and can do structural damage when allowed to grow nest to buildings.                  Tomato paste?
Jamie.  North Shore Pest Detective.   Web page and e-mail link.            
 
SNAKES
#194
my sister has a den of snakes making their home in her garage, in the middle of March is there something to use to rid her of this problem?
Barb.  Boissevain, Manitoba
 
Question # 30
Greetings: Can you please clear up a controversy? I have always understood there were snakes in the Drumheller area and, although not curtailing any outdoor activities, have always kept an eye open. Am I wrong? Are there NO snakes in the area? Diane
 
SLUGS
Question # 57
What is the best way to get rid of garden slugs?    Wanda
This question may be more appropriate on a "garden" web site but we can make a suggestion.
Pick up all the larger visible ones and throw them in a bucket of soapy water. Sprinkle  diatomaceous earth around the plants they are eating. It is much safer than slug bait.  
Slugs can't resist old cans (like tuna) recessed in the soil and partially filled with beer. Sounds half-baked I know, but it works. Just be sure to empty the cans frequently. 
 Jamie.   North Shore Pest Detective
 
 
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VOLES
 
 
Worms
Question # 34
In reference to question #3, I also have trouble with dew worms or night crawlers or whatever they are called here in southwestern Manitoba. By early July their little earth pushups can be felt in the lawn and by mid to late August it is virtually impossible to walk across the yard in bare feet, these little dirt piles are so hard and numerous. I realize they do a world of good for the soil but this is too much. If we keep our lawn well watered, to the point of too wet, the worms stay down in the ground, but this isn't good for the grass or the water table. I'm looking for some way, chemical or otherwise to control these little brutes, so my kids can run across the yard again without becoming disabled.
Question #3
My mom has problems with dew worms.  She has asked me to find out what I can to help get rid or control them. Could you please get back to me so that I can pass on the information. Thank you kindly.   Tammy R.
Tammy.
Earth worms are beneficial insect and as far as I know there are no products registered for the destruction of worms. Have to ask, why are worms being a problem? Is your lawn a Golf Green? Worms airate the soil and allow for moisture to penetrate deep into the soil. They recycle the earth and digest organic matter.  If you don't have worms you have a poor soil.  
Ted B.,    Environmental Pest Management ,    Niagara Falls
 
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