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Seattle Pest Control and Home Services: July 2013

Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer Pests Are Out In The Seattle Area

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It is a beautiful Friday afternoon in the Pacific Northwest.  The sun is shining in Seattle, Washington today and temperatures are soaring in the mid 80's without a cloud in the sky.  You were probably so busy having fun in the sun that you haven't even paid attention to the pests that are also enjoying the weather and are all over your home.  So, you just take it easy and let me give a few things to look out for this week and if you see them, be sure to give me a call.

Carpenter Ants:  If you see any large black ants, you are probably seeing a carpenter ant.  They are a wood destroying insect and should be taken seriously.  It is very common to see trails of them around your home when the weather is warm.  Since they do not actually eat the wood in your house (they just through it to make nests), you will see them gathering food like plants and other insects around your yard to take back to the nest.  If you see just one ant, know that others are not far behind.  Try following it back to its nest and you will see his friends.  If that trail leads back into your house, you are going to need to call me.

Wasps, Bees and Yellow Jackets:  These guys are everywhere at this time of year.  In fact, probably half of the calls I get are for one of them.  We are always happy to treat for wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, etc, but be on the lookout for honey bees.  Nobody really knows why, but they are dying off at an alarming rate.  We do not want to contribute to this decline and will not treat honey bees unless they pose a serious risk to humans.  Since about 3% of the population is fatally allergic to bee stings, we would have to exterminate the nest if it was in a high traffic area.  But, even in that scenario, we would probably first refer you to a local bee keeper to see if they could safely remove the nest.  If you have anything that is not a honey bee and need it taken care of quickly, safely and effectively, you can definitely give us a call.

There are  a few other pest issues that we have been hearing about this week, but those are definitely the most common right now.  I could go on, but like I said, it is Friday afternoon and the sun is shining, so I think I will call it day.  Enjoy the nice weather and be sure to call us for Seattle Washington Pest Control.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Puget Sound Area Ants And What To Do About Them

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Ants are by far the most common phone call that we get for pest control in Seattle.  Sometimes these ants are just a nuisance and other times they are just plain destructive.  Either way, I have found that rarely do people know what kind of ant they are dealing with when they call us.  It's no big deal.  I mean, we can kill them either way, but I just think you should know if an ant is wood destroying or not to help you make a more informed decision about the health of your home.

Basically, if you have ants, you have about a 50% chance of having a wood destroying ant since there are mainly just 4 types of ants in the Pacific Northwest.  If you are an insect enthusiast, you will call me on this since there are actually several more types of ants, but we rarely get calls outside of the main four.  So, here they are:

Carpenter Ants
We start with carpenter ants since they are the most common.  Many people have carpenter ants for years and do not realize it because they just think it is just a "black ant" and is harmless.  However, if you have an ant that is larger than 1/4 inch, you got yourself a carpenter ant most likely.  These ants are a wood destroying ant and can do considerable damage if left unchecked for long periods of time.  They do not digest the wood, but excavate it to create nests and galleries.  For more detailed information on identifying Carpenter ants, click on this link from New Leaf Pest Control in Portland, Oregon.

Moisture Ants
Also a wood destroying ant, a moisture ant is smaller and much harder to identify.  They operate much like a carpenter ant, but are less destructive because they only are attracted to wood that is moist or rotting.  They are small like a sugar ant and are reddish in color.  The back of their bodies are almost translucent and shaped like a top.  If you see these types of ants, you should probably be on the lookout for water damaged wood.  Click here for more help in identifying moisture ants.

Pavement Ants
A very common type of ant found in driveways.  They are as small as a sugar ant or moisture ant, but have a very large head and smaller body.  They can be found inside the home, but tend to stay low on the ground.  They are less of a nuisance because they don't spread like a sugar ant does.  These ants are really easy to get rid of.  I found some in my driveway while watering the grass last night and will easily get rid of them with just one simple pest control treatment.

Sugar Ants
These are the hardest ants to get rid of.  Just about everyone will deal with sugar ants at some point in their homes.  They are strictly a nuisance pest and do no damage, but are extremely hard to get rid of.  They are the tiny black ants that are all over your kitchen and are attracted to anything sweet.  There are a lot of ways that you can make these ants worse if you try and treat them on your own, so I recommend reading this article. 

What To Do About Them

I have noticed that a lot of pest control companies in the Seattle area will come out to do a pest control treatment and charge you for each type of ant that you might have.  They can do a carpenter ant treatment and a sugar ant treatment and a moisture ant treatment (well, you get the point).  But, in reality each of these pests are treated in the same way.  There are different points of emphasis depending on the ant, but the products that they would use are the same, so don't let them charge you extra just because you have a few different types of ants.  No matter what type of ant that you have, it is always best to act quickly so that they do not spread and get worse.  You can also have a Seattle pest control company do a preventative treatment at the beginning of spring to decrease your chances of getting ants at all.  If you need help with any of this, especially if you live in Kitsap County, be sure to give me a call and I would be happy to help you!

Photo credit: Marshed / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How Rat Populations Get Out Of Control And How You Can Stop It!

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Seattle has rats.  For those of you who have dealt with them before, this is an obvious statement.  But, for those of you living in the Seattle area that don't realize this yet, you will.  I used to work for a pest control company in Portland and we had some rats, but nowhere near what we are seeing here in King County!  Hundreds of years ago, there were not any rats in the area.  The entire filthy, disease ridden population was brought here on ships and has just kept reproducing until we arrived at the problem that we now have.

I go into homes everyday (especially in the city of Seattle) that are torn to pieces by rats and horribly contaminated. So, why are some homes so bad and other homes in the same neighborhood completely untouched?  How can you avoid an out of control rat problem in your home? 

The answer is usually prevention.  Here is a typical scenario that leads to big trouble for a home owner.  A rat gets underneath the home because a foundation vent was left open.  Once the rat gets in there, two things start to happen.  First, they start to leave feces and urine around, contaminating the crawl space and other rats become attracted to the smell.  Basically, the scent tells them that other rats are living under your home, so they can join them.  The problem gets worse and worse as the population grows.  Secondly, when female rats are in a place that feels safe and warm they reproduce at a faster rate and there is not a safer warmer place than in your crawl space.

So how do you stop this from happening?

Some simple prevention can stop this whole scenario from unfolding.  First of all, make sure that there are not easy entry points that they can get through.  Do a quick walk around the home and look for golf ball sized holes or larger.  Make sure that they are not getting in through a wide open screen and check for any burrow holes.  If you see possible entry points, you should probably call a Seattle pest control company to investigate underneath your home.  The last thing that you want to do is plug up their exit and have them die in the walls.  Secondly, remove any conducive conditions.  Conducive conditions would include food sources like pet food left out or things that they can hide in like tall grass, wood piles, etc.  If you were to just do those simple steps, you could be saving yourself thousands of dollars in repair costs.

If you think you have rats under your home or in your attic, the very best thing that you can do is act quickly.  Every day you waste, the problem can get worse.  If you are hearing scratching or seeing other signs of activity, please give us a call as soon as possible and we would be happy to help you out!  Here a Seattle pest control coupon that you can use towards a rat treatment.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4 Clues That A Raccoon Might Be Living Under Your Home

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A crawl space is a creepy place.  It is a dark and foreboding place that none of us really want to be in.  With the all the spider webs hanging down and the tight places, it seems like a perfect place for a horror movie (actually there has been a couple) and as uninviting as it seems, it makes a perfect home for raccoons or other wildlife.

If you think about it, they have everything that they need in there.  Your subfloor insulation provides warmth and makes the perfect bed when they tear it down and put it on the ground.  Also, it is safe because larger animals like dogs, can't fit in.  They love the place and quickly make themselves at home like in this Allstate commercial where Mayhem is a raccoon.

A raccoon can do a lot of damage very quickly and it can be dangerous to come in contact with a mother and her kits, so it is better to try and avoid this situation altogether.  Here are some helpful hints on how you can quickly recognize the signs that a raccoon might be living under your home so that you can do something about it.

1) Broken foundation vent screens

This should be an immediate red flag.  If you have a broken vent screen, you have left the door wide open for animals or rodents to get in.  Many times, cable companies will run wires under your home and simply punch out a screen and leave it open.  I have seen this a lot and it has cost home owners ton of money because of it.  If you have an open screen on your home right now, that is a problem that needs to be fixed right away.  You will want to have someone do an inspection to make sure something is not living under there before you patch the screen, so it does not die trying to get out.  Most pest control companies in Seattle will do this service for free.  As long as your screens are intact, you should not have a problem under your home.

2) A pile of poop

Okay, I will try and keep this clean.  Raccoons like to go to the bathroom in the same place.  They are pretty picky about it and won't just go anywhere like your dog will.  Once they pick a spot, they use it over and over again.  If you see lots of droppings in one area, this is a sure-fire sign of raccoons in the area.   If they are in the area, they are going to be looking for a home and you should be extra cautious to make sure that you do not have an entry point. Also, be careful about coming in contact with the droppings because they can carry roundworm egg that can be transmitted through their feces.  Although rare, this can be fatal, so be careful.

3) Your pets are freaking out

If you have a dog that is barking at one of your foundation vents, this could be a bad sign.  Raccoons will not get along with your pets and will make them extremely agitated.  If you recognize this, it might be time to start looking around for the other signs.  I had a raccoon outside of my house a few weeks ago and was alerted to it because the neighbor cat kept freaking out at night.  If they are roaming your neighborhood, then they are living somewhere.  Make sure that place is not in your home.

4) Hearing noises

So this would be the obvious one, but it is amazing how many people ignore it.  If you are hearing a scratching noise under your home or in your attic, you should always do something about it.  Too much damage can happen while you wait.

If you suspect that you have a raccoon living in your home and need Seattle area pest control, please give me call and I would love to assist you with that.  Or, click here if you need a Portland pest control company.

Photo credit: alasam / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND