The most common cottage infestations in Canada

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Updated: October 29, 2019

Among the most common types of cottage country pests in Canada are spiders, wasps, and hornets, mice and other rodents, ants, and bats. Whether you own an all-season getaway or a summer cottage, the key to successfully dealing with the arrival of these common critters is to diagnose the problem quickly and get them out before they cause property damage or become a long-term infestation. 

Here’s how these pests usually get in, and how you can get (and keep!) them out. 

Mice 

Bird feeders, pantry food, and even grass seed can all draw in mice and other rodents. Spring-based traps and standard rodenticide should take care of these common pests, or you can call in a professional exterminator or try more humane methods such as no-kill traps (if you’ll be around to relocate them promptly). Once the problem has been resolved, make sure to seal every hole in your exterior walls, roof, and foundation larger than a dime, and stuff hard-to-seal spaces, like around pipes, with a mouse-proof material like steel wool.

Ants

It’s important to keep your food sealed, especially over the winter or when you’ll be away from the cottage for an extended period of time—open packaging will draw pests such as ants and mice to your cupboards. For standard household ants, bait traps and treatments like boric acid or diatomaceous earth will help you resolve an infestation.

Carpenter ants, however, can cause major wood damage, notes Ross Proudfoot of Cottage Country Pest Control near Midland, Ontario. They’re attracted to moisture, and will enter your buildings through tree branches, firewood, foundation cracks, and window and door gaps. To deter them, trim nearby trees, keep your woodpile far from exterior walls, quickly deal with any interior and exterior leaks or water problems, and apply a spray-on bug barrier.  

Bats

According to a B.C. government guide, bats can enter a building through a hole or crack the size of a dime! You’ll want to check and block potential entry points including around and near chimneys, roofs, eaves, pipes, vents, doors, and windows. You may want to call a professional pest-removal company to safely remove them—in B.C., for example, all bat species are protected against being killed or harassed under the Wildlife Act—although installing a one-way escape hatch can help prevent them from re-entering. And once they’re all out, be sure to find and seal up every entry point!

Spiders

There are many types of spiders in cottage country, and only a few species are poisonous. It can be helpful to be able to identify species such as black widow and brown recluse spiders—they might require professional pest control. Otherwise, recommended tactics for dealing with spiders include keeping your cottage clean, eliminating access to food (which attracts the insects that act as prey for spiders), sealing entry points such as broken door or window screens, and removing spider webs.

Wasps and Hornets

Having a wasp or hornet nest close to your cottage, whether it’s on a nearby tree or on your actual dwelling, can greatly affect your enjoyment of the outdoors. While these insects play a helpful environmental role, their stings are painful, and some types can be aggressive.

If you want to remove an active wasp or hornet nest, it’s best to wear protective clothing and wait until evening, when there is less activity. One Government of Canada site recommends enclosing it in a plastic bag and placing the nest in a freezer for a minimum of 48 hours. Or you can wait until the nest has been abandoned in November or December, when it will be easier and safer to remove.  

Want to keep your cottage safe from critter infestations and other off-season issues? A high-definition, weatherproof cottage-security system from Lorex lets you keep tabs on your cottage when you’re not there. Learn more here.