For most of us, pests and plants are a part of everyday life: from the mosquitoes that bug us, to the algae that grow in our swimming pools. Health Canada is responsible for evaluating and registering pest control products so that your health and safety, and the environment, are protected.
Learn about common pests, pest control, and how to properly use, store, and dispose of pesticides.
Use pesticides safely
If you choose to use a pesticide in or around your home, you are responsible for using it safely.
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Are pesticides safe?
Pesticides are made from both man-made (synthetic) and naturally occurring (biochemical) active ingredients. For example, the lawn care product 2,4-D is synthetic, while a pesticide with acetic acid (found in vinegar) is biochemical.
Preparing, storing, and using homemade pesticides can be dangerous to your health and the environment. Any pesticide should be used carefully, whether it is store-bought or homemade.
Pesticide spray drift near homes
Pesticide spray drift happens when a pesticide stays in the air long enough to drift off the area being sprayed and onto other areas by accident. Pesticides commonly sprayed include herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. Spray drift near your home could come from pesticides being applied to lawns, gardens, parks, or nearby farming areas.
Pest control tips
Ants may be black, brown, red or yellow and can create new colonies by a process of swarming or budding. The appearance of winged queens and smaller winged males means that swarming is taking place.
Bats are flying creatures of the night, not much bigger than a house mouse. Bats can live up to 10 years. The wingspan of the two most common Canadian species, the little brown bat and the big brown bat, ranges from 20 to 35 cm (8 to 14 inches) although some can be larger.
Centipedes, millipedes, sowbugs and pillbugs
Although unattractive and considered a nuisance, especially when found indoors, these creatures are not harmful.
Homeowners are often bothered by the appearance of sluggish flies in their homes in late winter and early spring. These flies are collectively called "clustering flies" but may actually be any of the three most common types of flies.
Despite their scary appearance and reputation, earwigs are not directly harmful to humans. In fact, they are often beneficial, acting as scavengers of decaying matter and predators of insect larvae, slug eggs, aphids, and other garden pests.
Gypsy moths are a concern because the larvae feed voraciously; mostly on the leaves of deciduous trees, but also on some conifers. During the larval stage, a gypsy moth caterpillar can eat an average of one square metre of foliage.
Moles and voles
Moles are insectivores. Most do not eat plants, but feed mainly on earthworms, insects and grubs. Voles resemble house mice, but have a shorter tail, a rounded muzzle and head, and small ears.
Pigeons tend to breed and roost in groups. The largest problem that they cause is the amount of feces they produce. It is the accumulation of pigeon feces that may pose a health hazard to the general public.
Silverfish and firebrats
Silverfish are covered with shiny silver scales that give the body a metallic sheen. Silverfish and firebrats are nocturnal insects that are commonly found in attics, basements, bathrooms, wall voids, subfloor areas and cracks or crevices.
Spiders commonly found in Canadian homes include house spiders, wolf spiders, cellar spiders, fishing spiders and, much more infrequently, black widow spiders.
The three most common types of tent caterpillars in Canada are the Eastern tent, the Western tent and the Forest tent caterpillar. Tent caterpillar outbreaks are periodic but do not happen on a regular cyclic basis because they largely depend on several environmental and biological factors.
Wasps are medium-sized insect pests 10 to 25 mm, and are easily recognized by the bands of black and yellow or white on their stomachs. However, many other types of harmless wasps look similar and can be mistaken for pests.
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