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7 Compelling Reasons to Use Eco-Friendly Pest Control Techniques

7 Compelling Reasons to Use Eco-Friendly Pest Control Techniques

It’s that time of year again here in Portland; the days are getting warmer and longer…and droves of insects and pests are appearing in yards, gardens, and homes throughout the city.

Thanks to our lush insect-friendly environment, it can feel like a constant battle to keep pests away and prevent them from damaging your property – especially during the spring and summer. So, when faced with a severe infestation, often the first reaction is to use a strong chemical pesticide to quickly destroy the problem.

Here’s the reality: using harsh pesticides in and around your home is dangerous. It’s much better to take an eco-friendly approach. Using environmentally friendly techniques to manage pests in the home is safer for you, your family, and your animals. It’s also more effective.

Keep reading to learn the truly amazing benefits of eco-friendly pest control techniques and why this green approach should always be your first reaction to a pest problem.

Bugs in Your House? We’ll Take Care of Them, Naturally.

Give us a call at (503) 222-5566 for a free inspection.

The Problem with Pesticides

Over 1 billion pounds of chemical pesticides are used every year in the United States. This is highly unnerving considering pesticides are proven to cause a range of environmental and health problems.

Environmental Impact of Pesticides

Even when pesticides are applied to a small space they’ll travel outside of this area through the air, soil, or water. Pesticides can remain in the environment for a few days or for many years, causing big problems for our delicately balanced ecosystem.

For example, pesticide use has been linked to plummeting honeybee populations, which have been dropping by 29%-36% each year since 2006. Pesticide use is killing off other pollinators as well, including butterflies and hummingbirds, and even lizards and small mammals.

Health Risks Associated with Pesticide Exposure

Any amount of exposure, even tiny doses, can be hazardous to human development, reproduction, and overall health. The World Health Organization estimates there are 3 million cases of pesticide poisoning each year and up to 220,00 deaths (mostly in developing countries).

Chronic pesticide exposure has been linked to specific chronic health issues, including:

  • Birth defects
  • Cancer
  • Genetic changes
  • Blood disorders
  • Nerve disorders

Other short-term issues associated with pesticide exposure are:

  • Headaches
  • Skin and eye irritation
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Even for pets, ingesting or exposure to pesticides can cause issues ranging from fevers and vomiting to seizures and respiratory failure.

With so many adverse health effects and symptoms associated with pesticides, spraying these chemicals around your home to get rid of insects just isn’t worth it.

Can An Exterminator Really Be Eco-Friendly?

Choosing the right pest control company is an important decision. You want to make sure the company can effectively manage your pest problem without bringing poisonous products into your home and property. Choosing a pest control company that uses an eco-friendly approach is always the best option.

Can exterminators really be eco-friendly? The answer is a resounding YES.

Eco-friendly pest control companies use products that utilize biological controls like scents, tastes, and oils combined with safer, greener chemicals. Here at EcoCare Pest Control, we use a specially formulated treatment designed to specifically target pests, while being completely safe for people and most pets.

Benefits of Eco-Friendly Pest Control Methods

We’ve discussed how eco-friendly pest control methods are safer for the environment and for people, but there are additional reasons why using a minimally-toxic pest control method is always the better choice.

Better (More Long-Term) Results

Eco-friendly pest control methods are just as effective as traditional techniques. In fact, they can even have better long-term results.

For instance, did you know that insects can develop a resistance to chemical control methods? This resistance will be passed on to the offspring, making it that much more difficult for exterminate an infestation. Eco-friendly solutions, however, make it much harder for pests to develop resistance to treatments.

Additionally, eco-friendly pest control works to address the root of the problem, increasing your chances that you won’t have the same issue again down the road.

Won’t Damage Landscaping

Traditional pest control methods require re-application every month or so. Repeatedly spraying these harsh chemicals on your property is not only bad for your health, but the health of your landscaping as well!

Toxic pest control methods often cause grass, bushes, and other plants to shrivel and die. Additionally, since these chemicals can stay buried in your soil for a long period of time, you may find regrowth very difficult.

Does Not Harm Useful Insects (Or Your Pets!)

Though you may not want to admit it, certain insects help your property. While toxic chemicals kill everything in their path, eco-friendly pest control methods are specifically targeted so as to avoid killing off every living organism.

This is especially important for your pets. By using a minimally-toxic pest control, your dog or cat will not be at risk of ingesting harmful (and potentially deadly) chemicals.

No Strong Smell

Conventional products will linger in the air after application. These products have a strong scent and leave you and your family sitting in a smelly home, inhaling air laced with toxic chemicals. Eco-friendly methods, on the other hand, do not have a harsh smell and will not linger or spread in your home.


Other pest control methods may require you to seal all your food, clear out your fridge, and leave your home overnight. However, since eco-friendly pest control methods are minimally-toxic, you and your family don’t have to worry about “evacuating” your home during a treatment. Eco-friendly pest control won’t disrupt your life at all.

Our Eco-Friendly Approach to Pest Control

Since 2001, our team at EcoCare Pest Control has been dedicated to providing the best eco-friendly pest control services to Portland and Vancouver homeowners. Our specially formulated eco-friendly extermination methods are 100% safe and effective.

Our commitment to quality and safety has helped us win the Super Service Award from Angie’s List every year for over 10 years and received an A+ BBB rating! We’re proud to offer the best, most effective eco-friendly pest control services available…and we’ll always do it with a smile.

Why EcoCare? Hear What Clients Have to Say

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What Portland Homeowners Need to Know About Rodent & Wildlife Infestations

What Portland Homeowners Need to Know About Rodent & Wildlife Infestations

While internet sensations like Pizza Rat and Rocket Raccoon may paint a friendly picture of rats, raccoons, and other wildlife, I’d still wager that you don’t want these creatures destroying your property.

For instance, you probably wouldn’t enjoy waking up to scratching noises in the ceiling, a bat flying through your bedroom, or glass bottles shattering as these “friendly” critters rummage through your garbage. Unfortunately, here in the Pacific Northwest, these are all very common scenarios.

In today’s blog post, we’ll outline what Portland homeowners need to know about rodent and wildlife infestations. You’ll learn the more serious damage these creatures can cause, what to look for, and how to (safely and properly) handle an infestation.

Have questions along the way? Give us a call at (503) 222-5566. We’re here to help!

Rodents and Wildlife Can Cause Serious Damage to Your Home

Dealing with a rodent or wildlife infestation in your home is more than a nuisance; it’s a safety issue. These creatures are frequently the cause of fire hazards, foundation issues, diseases, and bugs.

We recently shared about the costly structural damage rodents and other pests inflict on homes throughout the PNW. Below we’re sharing a recap of some of the most common issues caused by rodents and wildlife.


Rats, Mice, & Bats Cause Insulation and Electrical Damage

Rats, mice, and bats all love to make their home in your insulation. Can you blame them? It’s the perfect warm, quiet, and cozy spot to sleep. When these critters tear through and chew holes in your insulation, the result is a weakened structure and a home that isn’t properly protected from the elements.

These creatures will also chew through anything that’s in their way, including electrical wires. Electrical fires accounted for 9% of all fires from 2011-2015. Often, rodents and pests are the cause of these electrical home fires.

Possums and Raccoons Leave Holes Everywhere

A dug up lawn or garden may not endanger your family, but it is frustrating. Raccoons will dig holes to hide food or other treasures, and opossums like to look under your yard for bugs to eat.

More seriously, raccoons are avid explorers and will stop at nothing to get into your house or attic if it looks interesting. They may even suddenly crash through your ceiling one day! These critters are often the cause of siding damage, broken glass, and holes in your roof or under your house.

Rats and Raccoons Steal and Destroy Your Property

Racoons are sneaky little bandits. If you have something they want, they’re going to take it (or try to, anyway). Take the rogue raccoon who broke into a liquor store in Tennessee, stealing spirits and causing a lot of damage. These creatures are mischievous!

Rats and mice are also known for sneaking into your home and stealing food or other tiny objects, gnawing on whatever they want along the way.

All Rodents & Wildlife Bring Bugs and Disease

In addition to all the above, keep in mind that all these rodents and wildlife carry various diseases and bugs. Raccoons and bats are common carriers of rabies and rats can transmit diseases like salmonella and hepatitis. Not to mention these creatures often also have parasites, fleas, and ticks and can be dangerous to your pets.

The Best Way to Prevent a Rodent or Wildlife Infestation

There are simple steps you can take to prevent rodents and wildlife from taking over your home. However, keep in mind that no matter how careful you are, a critter may still decide that your house looks interesting and is worth exploring. In these cases, it’s best to:

  • Keep up with home repairs – Don’t let holes, leaks, or other damage go untreated. Sealing up these spaces and keeping your home in good shape will help prevent rodents and wildlife from viewing your home as a good nesting spot and getting inside.
  • Maintain your yard – Cut back trees, keep ivy trimmed, add tree guards to your trees. All these can prevent critters from crawling up and onto your roof.
  • Store food properly – Unsealed food, food left on counters, or pet food sitting in the open is very attractive to rodents and wildlife.
  • Secure your garbage cans – Make sure your garbage cans are always closed. Don’t leave trash sitting out in bags. Keep the area around your garbage cans clean and clear.

Signs That Your Property Has a Rodent or Wildlife Problem

Aside from actually seeing a rat or opossum scurrying around your house and property, how do you know if you’re dealing with a one-off situation or are on the verge of an infestation?

Generally, if you begin to notice these critters on a recurring basis, it’s a good sign you have a problem. However, there are other specific things to watch out for, including:

  • Animal noises and droppings – Do you frequently hear scurrying or scratching noises in your walls or ceiling? You may also notice urine stains on your ceiling, floors, and walls, or find animal droppings in your pantry, attic, or living spaces.
  • Signs of internal or external damage – Around your house, look for holes in your siding, fences, and lawn. Garbage strewn about or broken glass is another sign. Inside, keep an eye out for teeth marks, frayed wires, or wood chips.
  • A foul smell – Creatures living in your home will soon start to stink up the place. This can come from their urine and droppings, old food they’re storing, or from those that have died in your walls or attic.

Never Try Removing these Animals on Your Own– It’s Dangerous

One of the most important things Portland homeowners need to know about a rodent or wildlife infestation is this: trying to trap and remove these creatures on your own can be very dangerous.

Raccoons can be aggressive. Rats may bite when provoked. Bats may attack if they feel threatened.

If we can leave you with one piece of advice today, it’s to never handle bats, raccoons, or other wildlife on your own. There’s simply too much risk involved. If you’re dealing with a rodent or wildlife issue, it’s best to work with an experienced Portland exterminator.

Always Clean Up after a Wildlife or Rodent Infestation

Did you know that simply removing the animals from your home is not enough? There are a series of steps that need to happen in order to repair damages and prevent a future infestation.

For example, rats and bats can leave behind feces and urine in your home, contaminating your insulation with dangerous viruses and parasites. Plus, the scent of a previous infestation can also attract other species. This needs to be removed and cleaned up to keep your home and family safe.

How We Can Help You Handle a Rodent or Wildlife Infestation

Whether you’re facing a full infestation or dealing with a just couple stubborn raccoons, we can help.

Here at EcoCare, we take a proven and eco-friendly approach to rodent and wildlife control and extermination, not only removing the infestation, but preventing future issues as well. We even partner with a sister construction company to perform larger, more technical cleanup and repairs.

Have questions about working with us? Visit our FAQ page to learn more. Or contact us. We’d be happy to hear from you, answer your questions, and help you take care of your rodent or wildlife issue.

How Bugs & Rodents Cause Structural Damage To Your Portland Home

Imagine hundreds of termites slowly eating away at your home’s foundation. An ant colony infestation weakening your walls. Rats and mice chewing away at your roof and support beams. Sounds like something out of a horror movie, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s also a scary reality for many homeowners in the Pacific Northwest.

Thanks to the rainy and wooded environment of Portland, bugs and rodents are very prevalent in the area. Regular pest inspections and extermination treatments around your property keep bugs and critters from secretly making their home in the hidden areas of your home.

In this month’s blog post, we’ll help you understand a little bit more about the serious (and expensive) structural damage bugs and rodents can inflict on your home. Plus, you’ll learn why most homeowners don’t know this is happening until it’s too late.

If you have any questions or feedback on this post, feel free to send us an email. We love hearing from our community.

Roof Damage

Let’s start at the top of your home!

Pests and rodents can cause all sorts of damage to your roof– from broken shingles, cracks and holes, to damaged wiring and pipes running through your attic. While this type of damage is problematic all on its own, the biggest issue is that it makes your home susceptible to water leaks and flooding.

The structural damage caused by water leaking through your roof into your home can be devastating. Mold, mildew, rot, and fried electrical wiring (fire risk!) are all caused by moisture buildup. Water leaks can also cause damage to your rafters, ceiling joists, and wall framing.

Repairing or replacing your roof is a significant investment, so take special care to keep bugs and rodents as far away as possible.

Common Bugs & Rodents That Damage Your Roof

Rats & Mice
Rats and Mice are a risk to your roof all year long. However, you’ll want to keep an extra close eye on things during the fall and winter. During these months, these critters will be trying to escape the cold and make a warm nest for the winter.

Termites love to eat wood and will often target roof decking, rafters, and trusses. Thankfully, as long as you catch the issue early-on, termite damage in the roof can usually be easily repaired.

Though you may not pay attention to birds sitting on your roof, be aware that a buildup of acidic bird droppings can eat away at the shingles and sheathing of your roof.

Insulation Damage

Insects and rodents living in your insulation mean trouble.

The purpose of insulation is to keep your house warm or cool, depending on the time of year. Bugs that chew holes through this material allow air and energy to easily pass through your insulation, completely undermining the effects of the material.

Creatures living in your insulation can also lead to food accumulation in your walls. This exposes your home to mold growth and rot. Left unchecked, you may be faced with having to open up your walls and completely replace your insulation.

Common Bugs and Wildlife that Live in Your Insulation

These little bandits love the quiet and cozy insulation of your home and are known for being very destructive. They also carry diseases and ticks into your home and so should always be handled by a professional.

Carpenter Ants
Carpenter Ants are known for clearing spaces for nesting purposes. These little insects can inhabit all types of insulation, including plant-based and fiberglass materials.

Bees – especially bumblebees – love making their nests out of dry materials. This makes insulation the perfect candidate. Bees of any variety can be very aggressive if disturbed, so never attempt to remove a nest on your own.

Hardwood Flooring Damage

Hardwood flooring is a popular (and beautiful) home feature, but it’s also the prime target for a number of wood-boring creatures. Insects that feed on, chew through, and live in your wood flooring can create small to large holes and can even cause your floor to disintegrate and crumble.

Insect damage is a top reason Pacific Northwest homeowners end up replacing their hardwood floors. Hardwood floor installations are expensive, so make sure you watch for signs of bugs and take care of any issues right away.

Common Pests That Damage Hardwood Floors

Carpenter Ants
Carpenter Ants are particularly attracted to older hardwood flooring, or a floor that has previous damage from water or other pests. These big ants are experts at hollowing out wood.

When it comes to wood damage, Termites are often the main culprit. Termites eat wood and their bodies convert the fiber of the wood into sugar. Because they munch on your floor from the inside out, Termite damage often isn’t noticeable right away.

Wood Boring Beetles can cause damage to both hard and softwoods, so these insects are ones to watch out for. Beetles damage your flooring when their larvae bore into the wood through surface cracks. Wood Boring Beetles also cause a lot of damage within your flooring, not just on the surface level.

Foundation Issues

Your home’s structural integrity relies on the strength of its foundation. Your foundation supports your walls, windows, floors, and roof, so when it’s damaged, it can set off a domino effect for the rest of your home’s structure.

Foundations made out of wood are prone to insect damage. Additionally, moisture and water leaks around your foundation can attract and fuel the infestation of a variety of bugs that will continue to weaken your home’s structure.

Pests That Cause Foundation Issues

Carpenter Ants
As we mentioned above, Carpenter Ants love wood surfaces. Even if your foundation is primarily made of concrete, these insects will still be attracted to any wooden support features. This is especially true if you have any moisture in your foundation.

Just like Carpenter Ants, Termites cannot damage concrete foundations. However, they will be attracted to structural supports made of wood. This is especially true when there is direct wood to ground contact.

Prevent Structural Damage to Your Home

If you’re concerned about a bug infestation or rodent damage in your Portland home, contact us immediately. It’s important to get professional pest control help as soon as you notice an issue. Even if you don’t notice any structural damage, it’s best to get an annual pest inspection to ensure there aren’t problems hidden below the surface.

Learn more about our eco-friendly and effective pest control methods here. Or give us a call at (503) 222-5566 to learn more.

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.


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 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.


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.


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 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.


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.

Things to Consider When Eliminating Rats

How To Eliminate Rats in Your Portland Home

Portland-area residents have been dealing with rats ever since the late 1800s when the Brown Rat first arrived in the PNW from Southeast Asia. Today, rats are incredibly common throughout the city. In fact, Portland was recently ranked number 17 in Orkin’s annual list of most rat-infested cities in the US!

Even though Portland has more or less learned to live in harmony with its population of Rodentia, no one wants to actually “live” with them. The good news is, keeping rats out of your home is easier than you think. Plus, we’re here to help you along the way.

In today’s blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know in order to successfully eliminate rats from your Portland area home.


Need the Help of an Experienced Portland Rat Exterminator?
Call (503) 222-5566

Understanding the Portland Rat

When it comes to keeping rats out of your home, having some background information about these critters is helpful.

Mouse vs. Rat EcoCare Pest Control Portland

The Difference Between a Rat vs. Mouse

People often get these two rodents confused, but there are some simple ways to tell them apart:

Rat Mouse
Size Large (13-18 inches) Small (1-3 inches)
Tail Thick and shorter than its body Thin and same length or longer than its body
Ears Small, relative to the head Large, relative to the head
Nose Large and wide Narrow and sharp

Can you tell the difference between a rat and mouse? Take this quiz to test your ability!

Common Rats in the PNW

The Norway Rat is one of the most common rat species here in the Pacific Northwest. Despite its name, the Norway Rat likely came from Asia. This type of rat is also sometimes called a House Rat, Sewer Rat, Wharf Rat, or Brown Rat.

A Norway Rat is typically brown or gray in color, has shaggy and coarse hair and a dark and scaly tail.

Roof Rats can also be found in the area. These rats are smaller than Norway Rats and are generally black in color. They also have smooth fur and fairly large and hairless ears.

What Do Rats Eat?

Rats don’t tend to be picky about their food choices. They are omnivorous and will munch on pretty much anything.

Even so, according to one study, some of a rat’s favorite foods include scrambled eggs and macaroni and cheese. Beets, on the other hand, are their least favorite food.

Are Rats Dangerous?

One question we hear a lot from our customers is, “Can a rat hurt me?” The answer is yes. Whether by biting you or spreading disease in your home, rats can be hazardous to your health.

Rats carry and can transmit several diseases, including:

  • Salmonella
  • Hepatitis
  • Tularemia
  • Plague
  • Parasites

These diseases can be spread through their urine, feces, saliva, and hair.

Rats can be unpredictable and may bite a human if confronted or provoked. Sadly, children are often the easy victims of rat bites. Thankfully, rat attacks aren’t very common here in the Portland area. As an example, between 2010 and 2012, Oregon registered just 17 rodent bites, and none of them were near Portland.


Rat Infestation Portland EcoCare Pest Solution

Warnings Signs of a Rat Infestation

Rats reproduce at an incredible rate. If you notice rats in your home, it’s important to take care of this issue as soon as possible. A handful of rats running around your home could turn into a massive infestation in no time at all.

Be on the lookout for these tell-tale signs of a rat problem in your home:

  • Rat Droppings – Even a single Norway Rat can leave up to 30 droppings a day.
  • Damaged Food Containers – As we mentioned, rats love food. They’ll stop at nothing to get to the tasty treats you have in your house. Watch for gnawed up cardboard food boxes, plastic bags, or other food containers.
  • Sounds of Movement in Your Walls – At night (when rats are most active) you might start hearing rustling in your walls, floorboards, and ceiling.
  • Dark Marks on Your Walls – Norway Rats often rub their oily fur along surfaces, leaving dark marks on your walls.
  • Distracted Pets – Your dog or cat may become very interested in an otherwise uninteresting area of your home when they hear, smell, or see a rat.

How to Prevent Rats in Your Home

The best method for getting rid of rats is prevention. Here are the most effective steps you can take to keep rodents out of your home.

Stay on Top of Home Repairs

Keeping your home in top shape is important. Don’t let holes in your interior and exterior walls or flooring go untreated. Sealing up these spaces will prevent a rat from squeezing through. Plus, any hole at least one-quarter of an inch wide can be made larger by strong rat teeth.

Keep Rats Off Your Roof

Once a rat can access your roof, they’ll probably soon find a way (or make their own way) into your house. Don’t make it easy for them to get up there!

Pay special attention to your landscaping. Rats are great climbers and will often scurry up trees, branches, and ivy to get into your home. Ensure there aren’t any tree branches or bushes extending near or over your roof.

Cut back ivy along your house, and trim branches at least 4 feet from utility wires. Additionally, you may want to consider tree guards around the base of your tree trunks.


Rat Elimination Portland EcoCare Pest Control

Maintain the Area Around Your Home

Beyond the structure of your home, keep your surrounding property clean and tidy. This means ensuring the lid stays on your trash can, not leaving animal food sitting out, and eliminating large areas of standing water around your home.

Store Food Properly

Inside your home, you should rat-proof your pantry and kitchen. First, make sure you use sealed containers for all your food items. Keep food containers off the floor and away from walls.

Get rid of old, spoiled foods and don’t let food sit out for long. Avoid letting dishes pile up in the sink, and always wipe down your counters at the end of the day. Use lids on your trash can.

Remember, hunger is the best contraceptive for rats. If they aren’t able to get enough food, the less likely they’ll be to reproduce or stick around your home.

What to Do If You Have a Rat Infestation

Getting rid of a rat problem once it’s started can be very difficult. There are several options you can try, but depending on the seriousness of your rat problem, these may or may not be effective. It’s always better to call an experienced Portland area exterminator for help.


Rat Infestation Control Portland EcoCare Pest Control

Rat Snap Trap

This is a large wooden or plastic trap using some sort of bait. When the rat takes the bait, a metal bar will snap down on the rat and kill it. This is a good way to get rid of some rats but can be ineffective if you don’t place the trap in the right spot. And don’t get your finger caught in these traps as they have been known to break fingers!

Live Trap

A live trap lures a rat inside an enclosed area where it can’t escape. This method does not kill the rat, so you have to humanely kill the animal or release it away from your home after you’ve caught it. Keep in mind that handling a rat– especially when it’s alive– is dangerous.

Bait Stations

Bait stations do not trap the rat. Instead, they use a poisonous bait to attract the rat. The active ingredient in the bait is only around ¼ of 1% so it has a delayed reaction of two to five days before the rat dies. This way, the other rats don’t associate the bait with dying and causing them to stay away.

Trying to eliminate a rat infestation on your own–especially if using poison– is dangerous to you and your family! Children and pets can accidentally come into contact with the poison. Plus, poisoned rats will often die in the walls of your house, causing your whole space to stink.


Rat Extermination EcoCare Pest Control Portland

Get Rid of Rats in Your Home

If you’re facing a rat problem in your home, we can help! We’ve been helping Portland and Vancouver area homeowners eliminate rats for over 15 years and understand how to approach this issue effectively.

When you call us to help solve your rat problem, you can expect…

  1. A thorough rat inspection of your home and infestation analysis. We’ll explain our findings and recommend the most effective treatment plan.
  2. Expert rat-proofing. We’ll seal off and prevent any more rats from getting into your home.
  3. Eco-friendly and efficient extermination methods. Our team uses powerful rat traps to effectively and humanely move these rodents from your home. Our methods are safe for people and pets!

Ready to eliminate rats in your Portland or Vancouver home? Contact us today. We would love to help you.

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!