The 5 most frustrating pests you’ll face in the Canadian outdoors

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These tiny bloodsuckers are ubiquitous at the cottage, whether they’re biting you at the crack of dawn when you’re out fishing or when you’re stargazing with your family at night. To prevent bites, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, and avoid perfumes and fragrances during peak biting hours. Mosquitos breed in standing water, so clean out your rain gutters and any old pots that could be collecting rainwater. Finally, your best defense is using various bug sprays or an OFF!® PowerPad® Mosquito Lantern to ward off these pests.

Black flies
It’s a familiar scene: you’re lying dockside when you feel something flying around your head. You flick it away, but the buzzing never seems to relent. You look around and realize there’s an entire swarm of black flies surrounding your head. Black flies emerge around mid-spring and stick around until the end of June. To help keep them at bay, wear screened bug hats and light-coloured clothing, or use a repellent.

Dock spiders
Dock spiders can do it all. They can swim, catch fish, walk on water, and terrify even the toughest cottager. They make their home on our docks, where they can easily hunt for insects, minnows and tadpoles. But when the temperature drops, dock spiders can seek refuge in cozy boathouses or even worse, your cottage. Although these massive arachnids—which are one of the biggest spider species in Canada—are relatively harmless to humans, nobody wants them inside their own home. Keeping your home clean will reduce the number of insects indoors, thus reducing the potential food source for spiders. Sweep floors regularly and remove spider webs when they’re vacant.

Hornets and wasps
If you spot a hornet or wasp nest near your cottage, it’s time to take immediate action. Although taking down a nest may seem intimidating and scary, there are effective products out there, such as Raid Max® Wasp & Hornet Foam Bug Killer. Be sure to spray the nest in the early morning or early evening—when most of the insects will be inside the nest and less active—and be sure to stand a safe distance away. After spraying, you should also wait 24 to 48 hours before destroying the nest. Once you’ve taken care of the nest, make sure you have screens for all your windows and doors.

Resembling miniature crabs, ticks will feast on both you and your pup. Although ticks are more common in the United States, they’ve been migrating north partially to Canadian cottage country due to climate change. Their bites are usually pretty painless, but some types of ticks can transfer Lyme disease. If you’re heading out into wooded areas or overgrown spaces (favourite spots of both ticks and cottagers), wear close-toed shoes, long sleeves and pants, and pull your socks over your pant legs. And for extra protection, you can use an insect repellent containing DEET. You should also do a full-body check when you’re back indoors, and shower or bathe within two hours of your expedition.