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The ant invasion

Update: Feb. 4

There have been concerns over the organic spray used by the pest control company in regards to the toxicity to pets.

The pyrethrin spray used by Bug Master has been approved by Health Canada.

Pyrethrins affect the nervous system of insects and result in repeated and extended firings of the nerves. All pyrethrins are easily hydrolyzed and degraded by stomach acids so toxicity following ingestion by pets is very low.

Toxicities, although rare, do occur. A cat or dog with pyrethrin toxicosis generally will salivate, tremor, vomit, and may seizure.

The spray used by Bug Master has a low concentration of pyrethrin.

However, Rose Valley Veterinarian Dr. Oz says pyrethrin is also used to control ticks, fleas and lice on pets. It is administer to the skin only and can be toxic if ingested.

Although the concentration of pyrethrin is low in the spray used by the pest control company, anything of too much can be dangerous.

In theory Dr. Oz says if a toxic amount of the spray was ingested by the pet it could be harmful, and he recommends keeping pets and small children away from the area that has been sprayed, until it is dry and has been cleaned.

Those living in the Okanagan are dealing with yet another unwanted guest in their homes.

Bug Master Pest Control is receiving up to three calls a day for the last several weeks, from residents living in Kelowna and West Kelowna who are dealing with an infestation of ants.

The ants causing issues aren’t your typical carpenter ants. George Forgie, with Bug Master, says the problem pests this time of year are odorous house ants.

“They are quite common in this area and 24/7 they are hauling sap up to your attic,” he said, adding when squished they smell of sap. “They are coming out of your baseboards, going to the food and water areas looking for water, and they will be there all of the time. And these ants to a colony are 30, 40, 50,000 ants.”

These ants aren’t causing any structural damage to your home, according to Forgie.

“They’re a nuisance ant, they eat away at your brain,” he joked, saying those who keep a tidy home are driven crazy by a pest like this.

He doesn’t recommend dealing with these ants yourself.

“Aerosol spray is the worst thing you can use with these odorous ants because they smell an aerosol and they will go to the furthest place in the house and start up a colony.”

Instead Forgie recommends calling a professional to deal with these intruders. Bug Master uses an organic pyrethrum spray derived from Chrysanthemum that has a potent insecticide that targets the nervous systems of insects.

“It is basically odourless, it won’t stain your hardwood floors or carpet and doesn’t affect dogs (or pets).”

However, calling in a professional pest control operation won’t mean a one-time fix for the issue. Forgie says he must return every 28 days for several months, or whenever the home owner needs, to re-spray the area.

“The home owner has to basically try not to clean it up, we ask them not to clean close to the baseboards, but it happens and that is why we have warranties and that is why we return to re-do it.”

While the spray Bug Master uses to treat the pests isn’t harmful to humans or pets, Forgie does recommend keeping children away from the area that has been sprayed.

“Once it is dry there is no problem at all, but while it is wet we like to keep everyone away from it.”

While this pest problem currently is persisting in the Okanagan, Forgie warns more issues will be on the way for residents, as each year calls for service increase.

“Our most common intruders are odorous house ants, carpenter ants, thatching ants, carpet beetles, common house spiders, black widow spiders, millipedes and earwigs,” he said, noting rats are also a growing issue.

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