Ticks, Lice and Fleas


I’m dealing with a damp basement in Ontario that is practically covered in tiny white bugs.  From the best I can tell they are not booklice, springtails, or any other pest I’ve encountered. I am planning to address the moisture problem and hope that will help because it’s become a real headache. 

Even without a significant pest problem it’s probably a good idea to take care of the moisture issue.  Based on your description I am inclined to think mites are probably the culprit.  There are several species of pest mites that could be responsible for these basement problems including cheese mites, grain mites, flour mites, and other closely related species.  They are probably feeding on microscopic mold that’s growing due to the excess humidity, though some of these species are more closely associated with infesting particular stored products (as evidenced by the common names mentioned above).  Going after the moisture is definitely a great start and could take care of the problem on its own.  Check out what products are labeled for this situation and consider making a treatment following, or in conjunction with, you efforts to control moisture.  You will probably be surprised by how quickly the population dissipates once their preferred environmental conditions are no longer present.

What’s the best protection for pest management professionals against ticks?

Pest management professionals spend a lot of time in areas where they might encounter ticks as they perform exterior inspections and perimeter treatments. One of the best pieces of advice is to know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in moist and humid environments, particularly in or near wooded or weedy natural areas. Ticks are typically not found in well kept, sunny lawn areas, but if you venture into wooded areas, and ecotone areas (weedy transitional areas where the woods and grass areas meet) you are in prime tick habitat. Since ticks can transmit a number of different pathogens, including the germ that causes Lyme disease, its important to remain vigilant.


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers these tips, which are helpful for work or play:

  • Products containing permethrin kills ticks. Permethrin can be used to treat boots and clothing and can remain protective through several washings. Check the label and follow instructions carefully.
  • Use a repellent with DEET on skin. Repellents containing 20% or more DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) can protect up to several hours. Remember, repellents are pesticides. Always follow product instructions.
  • Check your clothing for ticks and remove them. Placing clothes into a dryer on high heat for at least an hour effectively kills ticks.
  • According to the CDC, showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
  • Check your body for ticks after being outdoors. Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Check these parts of your body for ticks:
    • Under the arms
    • In and around the ears
    • Inside belly button
    • Back of the knees
    • In and around the hair
    • Between the legs
    • Around the waist