Ants in your shed, bugs in your bed, who ya gonna call?

Wayne Mackie, that’s who.

Fortunately, Lagois Design-Build Renovate only had an invasion of ants, but Wayne takes care of anything creepy, crawly, gnarly, chewy, and just plain icky.

Herb Lagois didn’t know there was a problem in his backyard shed ‒ until one day he noticed suspicious piles of sawdust. Lots of them. He thought it was likely insect damage and called Wayne’s Pest Extermination.

Wayne found the varmints: a whole colony of carpenter ants. Of all the ant species, these are the worst when it comes to damaging wooden structures because they create tunnels through the wood and weaken the walls without any obvious signs that they are there.

They usually get into buildings like Herb’s shed through any small hole or cracks around doors or windows. They like wet, decayed wood best, but once they get in, they build paths everywhere ‒ through dry wood as well.

Wayne explained the moisture around Herb’s backyard pool probably attracted the ants in the first place, and they made a beeline, or rather antline, straight to the shed.

Wayne injected a product called Drione into the walls using a duster. It was immediately successful. The carpenter ants ate a tiny bit of it and went straight to ant heaven.

“It works for crawling insects in general,” he says.

Herb found carpenter ants at the Lagois office, too, so Wayne moved in and dealt with them swiftly: “We treated the office once and it worked.”

Carpenter ants burrow through the wood; they don’t actually eat it.

“Eventually they can compromise structures, especially sheds that might ultimately collapse,” Wayne explains.

He advises if you suspect ants, look for the signs: piles of little shavings, like sawdust, that are “greyish beige”, anywhere near wood.

“They love mulch,” he says. “It’s damp, it’s outside. They’ll hide under there or under decks where a piece of wood might be rotting away. Then they come out to investigate, and they’ll go into cracks and crevices.”

In winter many are killed, but not all. The ones that survive have found areas where it’s warm deeper inside a home, in walls. And then, when spring arrives, they come out again and start whole new families. They populate quickly.

Wayne knows his bugs – and rodents of all kinds.

He says the worst insect pests are bed bugs because they hide so well and produce aggressively. He adds they are more prevalent than you might think, because people can bring them home in suitcases when they travel, or the bugs can come in on used furniture.

“Once they’re in, there are a lot of factors. They don’t feed on everyone. They’re selective about their hosts. People wake up with bites on them and wonder what the heck it is.”

For bedbugs, he uses a new method called Apprehend. He describes it as a biological spore that works like a virus. One bedbug crosses the path and transmits it to the rest of the colony. Without such a method, exterminators have to treat and retreat because bed bugs hide so efficiently in any little crack or crevice.

“Apprehend takes about three weeks,” he says, “but it does eventually kill them all off. There are many methods out there that are hit and miss, so It’s nice to have a product that does what it says it will do.”

Cockroaches are really nasty. Wayne says they’re everywhere, along with mice and rats, especially in unsanitary situations or, unfortunately, in some restaurants.

“In most cases cockroaches need several treatments because they hide so well,” he says. “They get into hidden places and keep breeding. Most are in the city, but I have cleared a couple of farmhouses of them. They get out of control. You have to get them early on.”

He has done mosquito treatments, gotten squirrels out of attics, dealt with pesky groundhogs.

“There’s everything in Ottawa,” he says. “It’s a growing area with lots of construction, and it’s amazing when you realize how much activity is out there.”

Before he started his company, Wayne was a pest control product salesman for 14 years. He was working for a restaurant rebate company when it was shut down because of COVID, and he saw this as his opportunity to get his license as a certified exterminator. He was already an expert on the products and the many different pests they targeted, so it was a natural progression. Even better, he was considered an essential service throughout the pandemic, and he was busy.

“In hindsight I should have started this years ago,” he says. “It’s a business in big demand.”

His company is small, and that’s the way he likes it for now. He would be glad to grow it some more, but he doesn’t want to lose the personal touch.

“When people call Wayne’s Pest Extermination, they speak to me,” he says, “and I think customers like that. I’ve worked for bigger companies, and it’s just not the same level of service.”