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10 Bugs & Rodents That Are Dangerous to Pets

Watching your dog or cat chase after a bug, spider, or other critter can be amusing. But did you know certain creepy crawlers here in the Pacific Northwest are dangerous to your pet’s health?

In today’s blog post, we’ll help you understand which pests and rodents to keep away from your pets. We’ll also touch on what to do if your cat or dog comes in contact with a poisonous creature, and how to make sure these types of critters stay out of your home.

Let’s get started!

 

Common Diseases Bugs & Rodents Transmit to Pets

Why is it important to help your pet avoid contact with certain bugs and rodents? The same reason you don’t want to come into contact with these creatures yourself…safety!

Take a look at some diseases bugs and rodents in the Portland and Vancouver area commonly carry.

  • Heartworm (and other parasites)
  • Lyme Disease
  • Parvo
  • Rabies

 

Portland Bugs & Rodents To Keep Away From Your Pet

We all know Fleas are an annoyance, risk, and common issue for animals. While it’s important to keep your pups or kittens free of fleas, there are a number of other less-commonly thought of pests you should make sure your furry friends avoid.

Mosquitoes

Just like with humans, Mosquitoes are a nuisance for dogs and cats, too. These blood-sucking insects can bite your pet and cause itching and irritation. Even more serious is the spread of bacteria and parasites a Mosquito bite can cause.

The most problematic Mosquito-borne disease is heartworm. Mosquitoes are known to carry and transmit this disease from one animal to another. If your dog spends a lot of time outside, do your best to eliminate large areas of standing water, as this is an easy magnet for Mosquitoes.

Ticks

Ticks are very common in Oregon. These insects are often found in wooded and long grassy areas and will latch onto your pet as they cruise by. Once attached, Ticks are very difficult to remove, and if left alone, they will feed on your pet’s blood until fully engorged. This can range from 3 to 11 days, and in some species up to 3 years!

Ticks are very dangerous to your pets. These bugs have been known to consume so much of your pet’s blood that they cause anemia. Female ticks can also cause a rare paralysis in your animal as a result of a toxin it produces while feeding. Deer Ticks are especially problematic to your pet (and to you!) as they carry Lyme disease.

Use a regular Tick & Flea treatment on your pet to keep these blood suckers at bay. Additionally, make sure to inspect your pet’s coat and skin for ticks after every outdoor adventure.

Stink Bugs

Stink Bugs are mostly harmless in the sense that they won’t bite or sting your pet. However, if your dog or cat decides this bug is a nice snack, they can lead to an upset stomach, including vomiting and diarrhea.

In a worse case scenario, eating too many stink bugs can cause problems in your pet’s digestive tract, often resulting in surgery.

Caterpillars

If your pet notices and is curious about a Caterpillar, it’s best to steer him or her in the other direction. Some types of Caterpillars can sting and transmit venom to your pet.

Other Caterpillar species–the Wooly Bear Caterpillar, for example– have microscopic hairs that can get stuck in your pet’s mouth and throat, causing coughing, gagging, and excessive salivation.

Venomous Spiders & Bees

If you don’t want to be stung by it, your pet doesn’t either! Poisonous insect bites and stings from spiders and bees are very dangerous to your pet. This is especially true if you have a small animal, such as a cat or a toy-breed dog.

Venomous spiders like the Brown Recluse or the Black Widow can cause neuromuscular damage in your pet with a single bite. And Bees like Yellow Jackets are known to cause allergic reactions, mouth pain, and swelling in animals.

If you’re experiencing a Spider or Bee problem in your home, it’s very important (for both you and your pet’s safety) to eliminate the infestation as soon as possible.

Cockroaches

The good news with Cockroaches is they tend to steer clear of dogs and cats, running to hide if they encounter a pet. However, Cockroaches are attracted to pet food. If roaches are sharing your pet’s meals, there’s a good chance they’re also sharing bacteria and viral diseases with them.

A great way to avoid this problem is to only keep his or her food bowl out during meal time. A bowl filled with food, sitting out at all times is a magnet for hungry Cockroaches.

Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder Bugs aren’t incredibly dangerous to your pooch or feline, but they can make them feel sick. Thankfully, these bugs have an extremely foul taste, so most animals will avoid eating large quantities (though cats tend to be more likely to snack on these bugs than dogs).

If your pet does ingest a Boxelder Bug, it may cause him or her to salivate excessively or start vomiting.

Ants

Ants can bite and hurt dogs and cats, causing irritation to the skin. Fire Ants are especially dangerous to your pets, as their venom can cause an allergic reaction.

Additionally, if you have an ant problem in your home, chances are they’ll find a way into your pet’s food. Other than just being a huge nuisance, this can lead to ants biting your pet’s face and your pet not wanting to eat anymore.

Mice & Rats

Though it may seem natural for your cat or dog to chase down a Mouse or Rat, ingesting these rodents can have bad consequences for your furry best friend. Rodents are known for carrying many awful diseases–from parasites like Roundworms to infections such as Toxoplasma. These diseases can be transferred to your pet.

Additionally, there’s a small risk of secondary rodent bait poisoning, where your pet eats a rodent who has recently ingested poisonous bait.

If you’re dealing with a Mouse or Rat problem in your home, keep your pet safe by seeking help from an experienced exterminator.

Raccoons

They may look cute, but Raccoons are not an animal you want to mess with. Not only can these critters cause property damage, they’re also known to attack cats and dogs.

Raccoons carry many diseases, but the most frightening is Rabies. Rabies can be transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal and is a public health threat that is fatal to both pets and animals.

Always avoid allowing your pet to chase after or get near a Raccoon.

 

What if My Pet Eats a Poisonous Bug or Rodent?

Was your cat just playing with a poisonous spider? Did your dog get in a fight with a raccoon? Depending on the type of critter you pet comes into contact with, emergency care may be necessary.

It’s always best to consult with your veterinarian immediately following an insect or rodent incident.

If you’re not sure whether or not your pet has been in contact with a poisonous creature, keep an eye out for some common signs of a problem, including:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Swollen face or mouth
  • Rash
  • Worms in the stool
  • Changes in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Other uncharacteristic behavior

 

Be Careful When Exterminating Bugs & Rodents

Even if a bug or rodent isn’t hurting your pet, extermination treatments can. A rodent trap may snap closed on your pet’s curious nose or paw. Pets often accidentally ingest extermination sprays and other poisonous substances meant for insects and rodents.

According to the ASPCA, every year thousands of beloved family pets suffer and may die from accidental ingestion of household poisons…particularly insecticides and rodenticides.

When considering a pest extermination method, always choose a pest control company that uses a method that’s safe for you and your family…including your animals!

 

Keep Your Animals Safe with Pet-Friendly Pest Control

At EcoCare Pest Control, we eliminate pests in the most environmentally sensitive manner. Our approach to pest control is tough on pests, and completely safe for both people and pets!

If you have pets and are dealing with an insect or rodent problem in your home, contact us! We’d love to talk with you and learn how we can help make your home a safer place for your pet.

Say No to Bugs! How to Insect-Proof Your Clothes, Food & Valuables

With more than 300 species of bugs and insects living in Oregon, are you fighting an uphill battle trying to keep bugs out of your home?

Of course not! Tackling this issue on your own will take some work, but by following a regiment of preventative measures and partnering with an experienced pest control company, you’ll successfully keep insects away from your clothes, food, and valuables.

Keep reading for some important tips on bug-proofing your Portland home.

 

Before Getting Started

Keeping bugs from taking over your home and personal items is a two-step process:

  1. Eliminate any bugs already inside your house
  2. Prevent (more) bugs from getting inside your house

There’s no point in eliminating insects inside your home if you don’t immediately stop them from coming back, so do both of these steps in tandem.

Here is an initial checklist to cross off before you begin:

  • Determine where in your house you have insect and bug problems
  • Understand what types of bugs are in your home OR if you don’t currently have a problem, research what types of bugs your home is at risk for
  • Find out how the insects are getting into your home
  • Determine what in your home the bugs are attracted to

Once you’ve finished this sleuthing, you’ll have a better understanding of how serious your problem is. If you’re dealing with a full-fledged infestation, it’s always best to immediately call an experienced pest control company.

If your bug problem is less serious or if you want to do some precautionary bug-proofing, then it’s time to get started.

 

Bug-Proof Your Kitchen

There are a number of preventative measures you can take to keep bugs from crawling into your kitchen and dining area. Of course, prevention is only the first line of defense. You can also try some DIY methods for getting rid of small issues, like occasional Ants, Fruit Flies, or Spiders.

Don’t Leave Food Sitting Out

Creepy crawlers are attracted to food, so it makes sense that keeping your kitchen clean would be a good way to avoid a bug problem.

This isn’t a one-time fix, but rather a way of life. Adopt these tips to keep bugs from taking over:

  • Get in the habit of wiping down your counters after every meal.
  • Don’t leave dirty dishes stacked in the sink or on the counter.
  • Keep your trash can sealed, emptying it regularly.
  • Sweep your kitchen floor at least once a week.
  • Don’t leave fruit sitting out for too long.

Seal Pantry Items

Take a look inside your pantry. Are your bulk food items stored in an airtight container? Foods like rice, flour, and even cereal are magnets for bugs when left open. Pet food is especially attractive to bugs, so keep this sealed, if possible.

Periodically clean out your pantry and cupboards. Wipe down shelves to remove any crumbs and check your food items to make sure they haven’t been tampered with.

Move Appliances

Often bugs will enter your kitchen through holes or spaces you cannot see. These are commonly behind your kitchen appliances.

Carefully pull your appliances out to check the walls behind them. This includes your fridge, microwave, stove, and even under the sink. You don’t have to completely remove them from the wall– just enough for you to get back there and assess the situation.

Look for any holes or open spaces. Pay special attention to the area where pipes or plugs enter the wall– there are often gaps here. Use caulk to close off spaces.

Set Bug Traps

If you’re dealing with some occasional intruders, it can be helpful to leave out bug traps. Glue traps can work well at catching bugs like stink bugs and spiders. Plus, these are easy to tuck out of the way and are safe for you and your family.

You can also test out some natural bug traps in your kitchen. For example, to help get rid of fruit flies, set out a glass of apple cider vinegar and dish soap. The vinegar attracts the flies and the soap traps them.

 

Bug-Proof Your Closet

Bugs like dark, quiet, warm, or humid corners, so your closet is a natural place to find them. Here in the Pacific Northwest, Clothes Moths and Silverfish can get into the dark corners of your closet and chew away at your clothes.

There are a few things you can do to avoid these problems.

Clean and Vacuum Regularly

As you’re doing your regular house cleaning, don’t forget about your closet. Every few months, clear out your closet and give it a deep clean. Vacuum hard-to-reach corners, pick up any wardrobe items left on the ground, and check your clothes to look for bug problems, especially those with natural fabrics like wool or silk.

Store Only Clean Clothes

Before shoving your suit, dress, or other wardrobe item in the back of your closet, make sure it’s clean. Be especially careful about second-hand clothes. Always wash and dry woolen items bought from thrift stores or given as a hand-me-down.

For these items you rarely wear and store in the back of your closet, every so often consider getting them dry cleaned (without starch, which can attract bugs) or throwing them in the dryer on high heat to eliminate any insect eggs or mildew. Use garment bags made of cotton or vinyl only.

Use Cedar

Though mothballs are an option, there are natural remedies you can take, such as a cedar block or cedar chips. Cedar loses its scent over time, so for this to be effective, you’ll need to sand the cedar lightly every few months.

Additionally, make sure your clothes do not touch the cedar directly, as staining can occur thanks to its natural oils.

 

Bug-Proof Your Living Spaces

We know bugs don’t just bother you in your kitchen and closet. Make sure to take some general preventative steps all throughout your home to keep bugs away from your valuables.

Close Entry Points

Just as locked doors help keep intruders out, a properly sealed door can stop pests in their tracks. Examine your entryway carefully to look for unsealed gaps– chances are, you’ll find some great entry points for unwanted insects.

Keep bugs from crawling under your door by installing an aluminum or steel threshold. You can take this a step further by also installing a door sweep, which covers the small gap between your threshold and door bottom.

Weatherstripping and caulking can also be effective around your doors and windows. If you really want to go above and beyond, purchase plastic outlet covers to plug up those outlets not currently in use.

Repair Cracks

Sealing off cracks and holes on your home’s interior and exterior can be a great way to avoid, and stop, a bug problem. A good rule of thumb is if a crack or gap is wide enough to fit a pencil, you should fill it.

Inside your house, look along your moldings,baseboards, flooring, and walls. Outside, look at your foundation and siding. If you notice cracks, rotting wood, or exposed pipes, take time to repair and seal these against bugs.

 

Partner with an Experienced Pest Control Company

Eliminating bugs and insects in your home is a big undertaking. While there are things you can do to prevent bugs from getting into your things, working with a local pest control company is always a faster, more effective solution.

At EcoCare Pest Solutions, we’ve been helping homeowners in the Portland and Vancouver area eliminate bugs and insects for over 15 years. All our services are carefully designed to be safe for your family and tough on pests.

Whether you have an Ant colony taking over your kitchen or Silverfish bugs in your closet, we can help eliminate and insect-proof your entire home. Contact us today for a free inspection!

Do You Need Pest Insurance?

Your home is likely your biggest investment and the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. In the Portland area, homes are selling for a median price of nearly $420,000. When considering such a significant investment, doesn’t it make sense to protect yourself (and your home)?

When financing your home purchase, your lender will require you to purchase homeowners insurance. However, did you know that many, if not most, policies don’t cover pest infestations and possibly the damage that is done to your home by insects and rodents?

In today’s post, we’ll talk more about the limitations of homeowners insurance policies and the advantages of Pest Insurance.

 

Does Homeowners’ Insurance Cover Insects & Rodents?

The answer is: not always. The only way you can know for sure what is covered by your homeowners’ insurance policy is to actually read it (or even better, have it reviewed by a lawyer who can explain it to you).

Commonly, homeowners insurance policies consider bug and rodent infestations to be maintenance issues that aren’t covered. However, if the infestation damages your home, repairing the damage might be covered – it all depends on the specifics of your policy.

One phrase to watch for in your policy is “sudden and accidental”. Your policy may use this type of clause to limit coverage to sudden and accidental damage to your home (like a pipe that bursts during a hard freeze vs. a pipe that leaks for months and months, causing water damage).

Even if your homeowners’ insurance policy does cover the damage caused by common pests like termites, ants, and rats, keep researching the issue. Depending on your policy’s deductible, will it be worth filing a claim? Preventing infestations from taking hold might make more sense financially and actually save you money in the long run.

 

How Does Pest Insurance Work?

Think of Pest Insurance as preventive, proactive maintenance built around 4 seasonal inspections and treatments. At EcoCare, as part of our Pest Insurance program, our exterminators will visit your home each season. Our schedule and the common pests we look for include:

  • Spring & Early Summer – Wasps, Box Elders, Ants, Spiders, Rodents
  • Mid-Summer – Fleas, Yellow Jackets, Hornets, Bees, Rodents, Ants
  • Fall – Wasps, Hornets, Box Elders, Spiders, Rodents, Ants
  • Winter – Rats, Mice, Ants

What to Expect From Each Visit

On your initial visit, our exterminator will do a full inspection and treatment of your home, inside and out. We’ll walk the perimeter of your home and treat the exterior and foundation of your home for nearly 40 covered pests. Then we’ll head inside and treat interior walls, your attic, and crawlspace. On subsequent visits, our technician will inspect and treat the outside of your home, coming inside if needed.

Best of all, our pest control treatments are eco-friendly! All of our treatments are specifically formulated to be safe for both people and pets while being tough on bugs and other pests! You, your pets, and your children can stay in your home while our exterminators do their work.

 

Portland Pest Insurance FAQ

Who Should Buy Pest Insurance?

New Homes: Since builders and subcontractors are not trained to keep pests out, there are often small gaps and openings which will allow a rodent easy access and should be excluded or repaired

Older Homes: Often draftier and have more gaps to allow pests to enter your home.

Homes Near Greenbelts, Wooded areas, and Open Spaces: While space around your home is often desirable, this same space provides significant harborage for rodents and insects in your local ecosystem.

High-density Housing: Pests can easily travel from home to home.

What Pests Cause the Most Property Damage?

Did you know…

  • Rodents can tear up insulation and wiring in crawl spaces, attics, and walls, leaving unhealthy germs and odors along with thousands of dollars in damage.
  • Carpenter Ants and Moisture Ants can hollow out wood in order to nest inside and cause structural damage to your home.
  • Even though their life cycle is about 10 days, moth larvae can destroy your favorite wool sweaters!
  • A termite colony can eat an entire 2x4 piece of lumber in under 6 months!

How Does Pest Insurance Save Money?

Pest Insurance is an investment! With Pest Insurance,

  • Predictable yearly costs are less expensive than unscheduled emergency visits.
  • Prevention is less expensive and less invasive than treatment of an infestation.
  • Proactive treatments protect against costly repairs for pest damage.

What If a Pest Isn’t Covered?

Not every insect is covered by our Pest Insurance program. For example, Bed Bugs are not included in pest insurance due to the larger amount of time required to inspect and treat for them. Each infestation of bed bugs needs to be individually evaluated and assessed for the treatment protocol.

Additionally, treating for an active rodent infestation is not included in the pest insurance program, but once the problem is solved, a rodent maintenance plan can be added to the regular pest insurance agreement.

With those two exceptions, there is a very low risk of encountering a pest we don’t cover!

What If Something comes up in between my quarterly visits?

We offer emergency touch-up visits in case something becomes an issue on the inside and needs a treatment before the next scheduled visit.

 

Interested in Learning More About Pest Insurance?

Contact EcoCare and schedule your free in-home consultation today. We’d love to help you protect your home and keep your family, pets, and possessions free of insects and rodents.

 

7 Common Summer and Fall Pests in Portland & Vancouver

The first step in creating a year-round pest control plan for your home is to understand the types of pests you’re dealing with. After all, how can you plan to tackle a problem if you don’t know it exists?

Here in the Portland and Vancouver area, there are a variety of insects and rodents homeowners need to be aware of. Many of these pests hibernate in the winter months and venture out during late spring and summer months.

Let’s take a look at 7 of the most common summer and fall pests homeowners in Portland and Vancouver need to be aware of.

Boxelder Bug

As a Portland and Vancouver area resident, you’ve likely come into contact with a Boxelder Bug at one point or another. This black and red bug is often referred to as a Garage Beetle or Maple Bug and is quite the annoying character. This bug is known for crawling into your home, staining curtains and walls with its excrement, and munching away at indoor plants.

Boxelder Bugs are especially attracted to warm air currents so are much more prevalent during summer months. These bugs like to crawl into any cracks and crevices around the exterior of your home during the fall and hibernate through the winter. When warmer weather rolls around, they emerge in large numbers.

An eco-friendly pest control solution will exterminate these bugs if they’re in your home. But the best way to combat these pests is to prevent them from entering your home in the first place.

Ants

For Pacific Northwest residents, ants can be a year-round problem. We deal with many types of ants in Portland and Vancouver, but Carpenter Ants are the most destructive to your home. These ants have a nasty habit of hollowing out wood and causing structural damage.

Carpenter Ants tend to appear in warmer months. As spring and summer arrive, keep an eye out for Carpenter Ants both inside and outside your house. Here are a few things to watch out for:

  • Piles of wood shavings
  • Foraging trails outside your home
  • High moisture areas of your home (basements & crawlspaces)

Be careful because carpenter ants have a strong bite and can break your skin. Calling a professional pest control company is always recommended.


Rodents

Rainy weather contributes to large rodent populations in the summer, making Portland and Vancouver prime locations for rodent infestations. Critters like mice and rats can cause damage to your home by gnawing on materials and eating your food.

There are a few things you can do to prevent rodents from being an issue:

  • Maintain your yard, keep weeds and plants from growing up against your house
  • Seal off entrance points into your house
  • Keep food stored in airtight containers

Bed Bugs

Though Bed Bugs often appear in hotel rooms, hostels, and motels, these tiny parasites can also live in your home. These bugs are especially irritating since they enjoy feeding on humans, are hard to see, and even harder to get rid of.

As temperatures rise here in the Pacific Northwest, so does a Bed Bug’s need to feed. Though these bugs can be present all year long, you’re more likely to deal with them during the summer months. There are a few common signs of Bed Bugs to watch out for on your bed:

  • Reddish-black spots on your sheets
  • Small brown ovals in the crevices of your mattress
  • A musty odor
  • Small red bites on your skin

If you believe you have a bed bug infestation, it’s important you deal with it as quickly as possible.

Bees, Hornets, and Yellow Jackets

Bees pollinate plants, produce honey, and control spider and other insect populations– but they’re not the kind of thing you want hanging in or around your home- especially if a family member is allergic to their stings.

Bees and other members of the Hymenoptera order of insects are common during the summer months. Use the following precautions to avoid getting stung:

  • Do not swat at insects or flail your arms
  • Stay calm and slowly walk away from the area
  • Keep garbage cans tightly sealed
  • Be on the lookout for nests when mowing the lawn or doing other yard work
  • Always contact a professional; don’t attempt to remove a nest on your own

Yellow Jackets

Yellow Jackets are beneficial since they eat spiders and other insects. They are also typically slow to sting. But if you approach their nest they can become extremely aggressive and sting multiple times.

 

Honey Bees

Honey Bees not only provide honey and wax, they are also vital to our natural ecosystem. Honey Bees are unlikely to sting you unless you approach their hive. In this case, they will become defensive.


Hornets

Hornets are fierce and relentless if provoked. Bald Faced Hornets, in particular, can even shoot their venom at an attacker’s eyes. A hornet’s nest is light gray about the size of a basketball with a teardrop-like opening at the bottom and often found in trees and bushes.

Mosquitos

When summer weather hits in Portland and Vancouver, so do the mosquitos. High temperatures combined with our heavy rainfall during winter and spring months create the ideal environment for mosquito larvae to hatch.

Beyond being an itchy nuisance, mosquitos can also carry and pass along disease. There are a few simple steps you can take for keeping mosquitos away from your home and backyard area:

  • Use insect repellent when spending time outside
  • Set up mosquito repellent stations in your yard
  • Drain standing water from unused flower pots, tarps, or anything else in your yard that collects water

Fleas & Ticks

If you have a pet then you’re well aware of Flea & Tick season. At the first sign of warmer weather, it’s time to get ready to protect Fido and your entire family from an infestation.

Fleas

Though Fleas typically don’t bother humans, they can be a big nuisance for your pets. If left unchecked, a Flea infestation can transmit disease to your pet and take over your house. Make sure to use a flea collar or use a topical medication on your pet every summer and fall.

Ticks

Ticks are most often found in rural areas. If you live in a particularly wooded area, ticks are definitely something to be aware of. After spending time outdoors, do a quick once-over to check for ticks.

Deer Ticks are especially dangerous as they can cause Lyme disease. If you get bit by a tick, make sure to talk with your doctor– and bring the culprit with you, if possible.

Rest Easy All Year With Eco-Shield Pest Insurance

There’s nothing quite as wonderful as summer and fall in the Portland and Vancouver area. Partner with a reliable pest control company and don’t let annoying pests and rodents put a damper on this beautiful time of the year.

At EcoCare Pest Solutions, we offer a year-round pest protection service called Eco-Shield Pest Insurance. This service keeps you from worrying about pests or insect infestations in or around your home. We’ll make seasonal trips to your property to look for and eliminate 39 different types of common pests.

Eco-Shield Pest Insurance is designed to save you money and give you peace of mind knowing your home is protected from pesky insects and rodents.

Interested in learning more? Give us a call!

How to Spot 7 Common Pest & Insect Infestations

The best way to know if your home is infested with insects or rodents is an inspection from an experienced exterminator. However, there are some warning signs you can be on the lookout for. In today’s post, we’ll talk about the 7 most common pests in the Portland and Vancouver area, as well as how to spot them!

 

1. Ants

Who in the Portland area hasn’t walked into their kitchen and seen a line of tiny black ants marching towards an almost invisible speck of food on the counter? Here in the Pacific Northwest, you’ll likely start to notice signs of ant infestations during the springtime. Ants become more active after the colder winter months.

However, ants aren’t just a pest! Moisture Ants and Carpenter Ants can do damage to your home’s wood structure or to trees on your property. Here’s what to look for:

  • Moisture Ants – About ⅛” long and are yellowish-brown in color. If you see them in your home (particularly in the bathroom), they may be a sign of rotting wood caused by leaking pipes or built-up moisture. Outdoors, look for moisture ants in dead or decaying trees or stumps. If needed, have the tree inspected and removed.
  • Carpenter Ants – Carpenter Ants are bigger than other ants and build hollowed out nests in the wood of trees and buildings. Look for sawdust-like shavings and small openings in any exposed wood on the outside of your home. If your home has moisture problems, it’s more likely to attract Carpenter Ants.
  • Soil Ants – One of the most common Portland pests, you’ll often find these small black ants searching out food in your home. Spilled juice, bits of pet food, even tiny crumbs can attract these unwanted pests!

 

2. Spiders

Spiders are an important part of the ecosystem, eating a variety of insects that you might not want in your home! Unfortunately, however, spiders do bite humans on occasion. Depending on the species, the bites can be itchy and painful and can even become seriously infected.

Spiders are commonly found in:

  • Wood piles
  • Dark nooks and crannies
  • Crevices around windows and door frames
  • High places that aren’t cleaned often
  • Crawl spaces and attics

Be extra careful when cleaning in these areas as most spider bites occur when spiders are startled or provoked by a human.

 

3. Rats & Mice

There are several species of rodents found in the Pacific Northwest. Mice are generally smaller (with a body around 3” in length) while Rats might be twice that size. Rodents reproduce quickly, so it’s important to catch an infestation in its early stages. Be on the lookout for:

  • Droppings – Even a single small House Mouse can produce over 50 droppings per day.
  • Damaged Food Containers – Rodents can easily chew through cardboard food boxes. Rats can even chew through plastic!
  • Unusual Sounds – Especially at night (when rodents are most active), you might hear rustling within your walls or along floorboards.
  • Dark Marks on WallsNorway Rats, the largest rats in our area, will leave dark marks on walls where they rub their oily fur.
  • Changes in Your Pets – Pets (especially cats) may get very interested in an otherwise unremarkable area in your home if they hear, see, or smell rodents.

 

4. Bed Bugs

Bed Bug infestations can be very stressful. Everyone’s heard the horror stories! In addition, Bed Bug bites can be painful and itchy! Here’s what to look for:

  • Travel Safely – Inspect hotel rooms for signs of Bed Bugs. Also check the Bed Bug registry online before making reservations.
  • Check Your Mattress – Look for reddish-black spots along the edges, seams, and underside of your mattress. These are a very common sign of Bed Bug infestations.
  • Common Bite Pattern – About 80% of people are allergic to Bed Bug bites. Bed Bug bites swell up and look blotchy and red. Another telltale sign is 3 or 4 bites in a straight line.
  • Think Before Buying Used Furniture – Besides traveling, one of the most common ways Bed Bugs enter the home is through used furniture purchases. So carefully inspect anything before you bring it into your home!
  • Look For Tiny Blood Spots – If you suspect a Bed Bug infestation in your home, switch to white sheets on your bed. In the morning, look for tiny red dots. These are small drops of blood from Bed Bug bites.

 

5. Moths

Moth infestations can ruin food and damage your favorite sweaters! In the Portland area, there are several common species of Moths. However, contrary to popular belief, adult moths aren’t a danger to your clothes or pantry! Instead, it’s the larval (juvenile) moths that are the troublemakers.

That said, if you’re seeing lots of adult moths in your home, it’s likely that they’re laying eggs which will turn into potentially-damaging larvae. Adult moths are attracted to light, so inside your home, you’re likely to see them flying near lamps, overhead lights, and TV screens.

If moth larvae are present, you’ll likely see these signs:

  • Silk threads and webbing
  • Larval casings
  • Damage to wool

 

6. Wasps, Yellowjackets & Hornets

For the most part, Wasps and Hornets are considered beneficial insects because they usually feed on other insects. However, when they nest near (or inside) a home, they need to be removed. People who are allergic to their stings can suffer life-threatening allergic reactions if stung. Even if you’re not allergic, stings can be very painful!

The most obvious signs of Wasps and Hornets are their papery, egg-shaped nests. Look for nests in trees near your home, tucked into the eaves of your home, or anywhere else that’s protected from the elements. Yellowjackets on the other hand, usually build nests underground or in a confined space. These can be much harder to spot! Keep an eye out for Yellowjackets swarming around the ground.

 

7. Termites

In the Pacific Northwest, we have both Dampwood Termites and Subterranean Termites.

Dampwood Termites (as their name implies) prefer to eat wood that’s wet and has a consistent source of moisture. Most often, this means Dampwood Termites will be found in logs, stumps, and dead trees. Unfortunately, they can also burrow into homes where exterior wood touches the ground or where wood is dampened by leaky pipes. Subterranean Termites, on the other hand, usually live underground and burrow into the wood from underground nests which can be up to 30 feet below the surface.

Termites can cause serious damage to your home or any other wooden structure. Be on the lookout for:

  • Termite Swarms – Winged Termites swarm in the air on dry days during the spring.
  • “Layered” Wood – As Termites eat away at wood it will take on a “layered” appearance.
  • Tunnels – If you see wood with tunnels bored into it, that’s a sign of a Termite infestation.
  • Feeding Tubes – Subterranean Termites may use feeding tubes made of mud to reach wood that’s above ground level. If you see these, DO NOT disturb them as it can cause the colony to move and become harder to eliminate.

 

Sleep Easy With Year-Round Pest Protection

At EcoCare Pest Solutions we’ve developed a year-round pest protection service called Eco-Shield Pest Insurance. With Eco-Shield Pest Insurance, you won’t have to spend your time wondering and worrying about potential pest and insect infestations. Instead, we’ll make regular visits to your home to seek out and eliminate 39 different types of pests.

You won’t be bothered by any covered pest again, or we’ll correct the problem at no additional cost! Compared to individual service calls, Eco-Shield can save you hundreds of dollars every year- not to mention the added peace of mind knowing that your home is safe from insects and rodents.

Want to learn more? Contact us today.

The Ultimate Guide To Ants

the ultimate guide to ants

Nothing can sink your heart like the sight of an ant in your home. Where there is one ant, there are more ants. In fact, there are probably thousands of more ants. What’s a homeowner to do?

Don’t panic! The first step to handling an ant problem is to learn as much as you can. Ants may be fascinating creatures, but they are certainly not welcome in your home. Learn how to identify the ant species you’re dealing with and how to remove them from your home for good.

Why Do Ants Invade Houses

You may be wondering why ants are invading your home in the first place. The answer is actually quite simple. Like all animals, ants are constantly in search of food, water, and shelter. Your home is an excellent source for all of these needs.

Food is most likely the driving attraction of an ant invasion. Ants need food to survive and to feed their young. Many homes have food particles lying around that are perfect for ants like sugar, starches, and meat. Between improper food storage and inconsistent cleaning, there are several opportunities for ants to reach food in your home.

Other types of ants may be seeking shelter. Certain species look for wood to hollow out as a place to create their nest. These situations are more serious and may result in structural damage to the home.

 

Common Types Of Household Ants

Ants are not all the same. Different species of ants have different behaviors, habits, and habitats. Knowing exactly what you’re dealing with helps to determine which pest removal approach will be the most effective.

 

Soil Ants

Soil ant is a general term for a number of species of ground nesting ants. They live in large colonies of up to 200,000 ants and several hundred queens.

Characteristics of soil ants include:

  • No more than ¼” long
  • Dark brown to black in color
  • Lifespan of six weeks to one year (queens can live up to two years)

If you notice an ant problem in your kitchen, it’s likely you’re dealing with soil ants. They are known to enter buildings to scavenge for food.

Soil ants will eat just about anything of nutritional value, such as:

  • Dry pet food
  • Dried meats
  • Sugar
  • Syrups
  • Fruit
  • Flower nectar
  • Other insects

Learn more about soil ants

 

Moisture Ants

Moisture ants get their name from their tendency to use high moisture areas to create their nests. They are also known as yellow ants or cornfield ants due to their yellowish color. Moisture ants live in colonies with several thousands ants, but only one queen.

Characteristics of moisture ants include:

  • No more than ⅛” long
  • Range in color from yellowish brown to dark brown
  • Feed on sweets, nectars, and proteins

Fortunately for homeowners, moisture ants only infest wood that is already decaying. They do not cause structural damage like carpenter ants.

You may find moisture ants in these areas:

  • Behind tub wall tiles
  • Inside a wall with a leaking pipe
  • In damp areas like crawl spaces

Learn more about moisture ants

Carpenter Ants

Of all the ant species we’ve listed, carpenter ants can do the most damage to your home. A typical mature colony is home to between 10,000 and 20,000 carpenter ants or up to 100,000 for large colonies over a larger area.

Characteristics of carpenter ants include:

  • A range of ⅛” to ½” in size
  • Reproductive females can be as large as 1” and have two pairs of wings
  • Black bodies and black or sometimes reddish legs
  • Feed on insect honeydew, plant and fruit juices, and other insects

Carpenter ants make their nests by hollowing out galleries in pieces of wood. In forests, these ants serve an important function to help break down fallen trees. In houses, however, these ants can create extensive and costly structural damage.

In homes, nests are usually found:

  • In wood
  • In insulations
  • In wall voids

Keep in mind that carpenter ants will travel up to 300 feet from the nest to forage for food.
Beware of colonies close to your home in rotting fence posts, stumps, old firewood, dead trees, or under stones or logs.

Learn more about carpenter ants

 

How To Get Rid Of Ants

For moisture ants or especially carpenter ants, you should contact a licensed pest control operator to eliminate the problem before serious damage occurs (or worsens). For soil ants, there are steps you can take to try to tackle the problem yourself. Here are a few good starting points:

Clean

As mentioned, most ants are looking for food. A good strategy is to make food hard to find. Use air-tight storage containers and clean your kitchen regularly. All it takes is a couple crumbs to attract ants.

Seal Entrances

See if you can follow the ants to their place of entrance into your home. Seal off these points — there are probably multiple — so that any remaining or future ants will be blocked.

Find the Source

If you can find the ants colony, you’re in business. Destroying the colony itself is your best shot at completely eliminating the problem.

Prevention

Of course, the best way to stop an ant invasion is to prevent it in the first place. Work with a pest control professional to create and execute a plan that is unique to your needs and maintains a perimeter barrier around your home.

These methods are a good place to start. However, if your ant problem is serious or persistent, you should consider bringing in professionals.

 

Need Professional Help?

There are a lot of methods you can try to get rid of ants in your home. However, the only true, long-lasting solution is professional pest control. EcoCare Pest Solutions can help.

At EcoCare Pest Solutions, we understand that certain areas of your home are more sensitive than others. Your kitchen — the place you eat and store food — is the last area you’d want harsh chemicals sprayed by an exterminator. That’s why we have a different approach.

We only use eco-friendly pest control products that are safe for people and pets. You don’t even have to leave your home during treatment! If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help eliminate your ant problem once and for all, contact us today to schedule an inspection.