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Rat or Mouse: Does It Even Matter?

Rat or Mouse: Does It Even Matter?

Do you have a sinking feeling your Portland or Vancouver home is suffering from a Rat or Mouse infestation? Unfortunately, here in the Pacific Northwest this is an all too common occurrence. If you’ve found droppings or noticed signs of rodent damage, you may not know whether it’s a Mouse or Rat. If you don’t know, does it matter?

In this post, we’ll answer that question. We’ll also outline the main differences between Rats and Mice and the damage they cause.

Already know you have a problem? Learn more about our Portland and Vancouver area Rat and Mice extermination services.

What’s the difference between Rats and Mice?

While both Rats and Mice are rodents, they have distinct characteristics that are important to recognize to help you identify which has infiltrated your home.

Rats

The two main types of Rats in the Portland and Vancouver areas include:

  • Norway Rats: Also known as Sewer Rats, these brown Rats are known for invading homes and will generally stay in the basement or first floor. They are larger than Roof Rats (generally 7-10 inches long not counting the tail). Their tails are always shorter than the body.
  • Roof Rats: While these black Rats are somewhat smaller than Norway Rats at around 6 inches long, they cause just as much trouble. Roof Rats have long tails and are climbers known to live in trees. When they make their way into homes, they generally live in walls, ceilings, or other elevated and enclosed spaces.

Mice

The most common types of Mice found in the Portland and Vancouver areas include:

  • House Mice: Also called “Field Mice,” these tiny creatures reside in fields when not leeching off humans. Once inside, these Mice reproduce rapidly and wreak havoc on your home. House Mice are generally 2.5-3.5 inches long not counting the tail, and have a light gray color.
  • Deer Mice: Found more frequently in rural areas, Deer Mice prefer seeking cover in less insulated structures like barns or sheds. When conditions are bad outside however, Deer Mice will infiltrate your home. Deer Mice are about the same size as House Mice, but with a gray and brown complexion.

Is it a Rat or Mouse in my home?

Though the problems Rats and Mice create are similar, they are distinct creatures with different behaviors and signs of infestation.

Rat and Mouse droppings

One of the most common ways to diagnose a rodent infestation is through the discovery of droppings. Simply put, rodent droppings will be found where they are most active. You’ll usually find the droppings near where rodents nest or eat. This could include:

  • Kitchens, including anywhere food is stored
  • Attic or basement
  • Cardboard boxes or other storage bins
  • Under furniture
  • Wherever you store clothes

Generally, you can determine the species of rodent by the type of droppings they create. Consult the below chart to determine whether your home has been infiltRated by Rats or Mice.

Take note: rodent droppings should be handled and inspected with extreme care. Rodent feces carries dangerous bacteria, viruses, and disease. If picking up, make sure you use rubber gloves and keep away from your face.

Rat

Mouse

Shape ¾ inch and curved and capsule shaped ¼ inch and spindle shaped
Quantity A few dozen droppings total a day 100-150 droppings total a day
Location

Places humans visit infrequently, including:

  • Attics
  • Garages
  • Basements
  • Roofs
  • Walls

They can also be found around kitchen areas

More apparent, Mice droppings can be found:

  • Behind kitchen appliances or furniture
  • Silverware drawer
  • Inside pantries
  • Storage boxes or containers

Can also be found in hidden places like walls, basement, and attics

Color Dark with shiny wet surface when fresh, turning gray and crumbly when old Fresh droppings will be black, with old droppings turning gray

Physical damage

Both Rats and Mice are tremendous chewers, working their way through anything in their path. A Rat’s front teeth actually grow 4.5-5.5 inches a year! This length is whittled down as they gnaw through objects.

The damage the two rodents inflict to Portland and Vancouver homes is actually quite similar to one another. Rats are bigger however, meaning that the damage they inflict is generally more severe than damage caused by Mice.

Some common household items or features of your home that Mice and Rats damage include:

  • Electrical wiring
  • HVAC units
  • Foundations
  • Ductwork
  • Plastic and even lead piping (primarily an issue with Rats)
  • Siding
  • Insulation
  • Crawlspaces
  • Roofs

The damage caused by Mice and Rats can result in serious, long-term problems for your home, such as:

  • Water damage, leading to rotting and mold
  • Fires caused by electrical issues
  • Structural weakening caused by issues in a home’s foundation
  • Energy waste, with heat and AC escaping through torn heat ducts or weakened siding and insulated walls
  • Broken appliances due to electrical or even structural damage to the appliance

Disease

Rodents are notorious for spreading disease, particularly Rats. Notably, the Roof Rat is responsible for the bubonic plague! The disease is generally carried and contracted either through fecal matter or insects. Getting rid of the rodents as soon as possible is extremely important!

This importance is compounded by the fact that Rats and Mice are notorious for making their way into stored food (The United Nations estimates that Rats alone destroy $19 billion worth of food annually).

Once they’ve made their way into your stored food, they’ll then leave droppings right where you eat. If you don’t notice, the situation can turn extremely toxic and dangerous. Don’t let this happen to you!

Diseases Rats and Mice potentially carry include:

  • The plague
  • Salmonellosis
  • Trichinosis
  • Lyme disease
  • Rat-bite fever

Pest control for Rats and Mice

The question we’ve all been asking – does it matter whether you have been infiltRated by a Mouse or a Rat? The answer is unsurprising – a little bit of both.

Both Rats and Mice require a targeted and unique approach to extermination. While both can cause similar damage, they can reside in different parts of the home and have unique behavior. Due to this, they require different methods to truly rid a Portland or Vancouver home of the issue.

Whether you have a Rat infestation or Mouse infestation, make sure to call a pro!

While both Rats and Mice require specific solutions, as a homeowner the end result should be the same – calling a professional and ecologically friendly pest exterminator like EcoCare Pest Solutions.

When you work with EcoCare, we’ll use our targeted and precise methods to rid your home of Mice or Rats. Our approach includes:

  • Inspection and Analysis: Our experienced exterminators will begin by inspecting the entirety of your home, identifying the species and how they got into your home in the first place.
  • Exclusion: Once we find where the rodents are gaining entry, we’ll make sure they stay out for good by closing up openings around pipes, crawl spaces, roof adjoinments, and more.
  • Eco-Friendly Extermination: At EcoCare Pest Solutions, we focus our extermination on eco-friendly methods. We’ll rarely use poison inside your home. This is bad for the environment and causes rodents to die inside your home, causing horrible odors and unsafe air-quality.

Talk to the Rat and Mice extermination experts at EcoCare Pest Solutions. We can help your rid your home of rodents for good. Best of all? We do it in a safe way to ensure your family and pets are unaffected.

Learn more about our Rat and Mice extermination services today!

6 Problems Caused By Raccoons and Large Pests

6 Problems Caused By Raccoons and Large Pests

Large pest cause serious issues here in Portland, OR. Whether it’s a raccoon, squirrel, or other large pest, your safety and your wallet could be affected in substantial ways if wildlife have decided to take up residence in your home.

In this post, we’ll go over what types of large pests you need to be on the lookout for, as well as the issues caused by these critters.

Is your home overrun with wildlife? EcoCare Pest Solutions can help get rid of them today. Contact us today or visit our wildlife page to learn more.

What type of wildlife causes home damage?

Just because an animal is cute doesn’t mean it can’t cause serious damage to your home. Wild animals will do what they please in order to survive – even if that means inflicting damage to your property.

Many homeowners don’t even know that some of these animals can do damage to their home. Since most large pests only do damage when they’re out of sight, some issues are a mystery until the pest is caught in the act.

Before we get into the issues that large pests can cause, here are the large pests you need to worry about coming onto your property and wreaking havoc:

  • Raccoons: One of the most damaging pests,Raccoons have adapted to living with humans and are drawn in by the convenience of trash cans and human shelter
  • Squirrels: Despite their size, Squirrels cause a lot of issues around Portland homes, including spreading disease and destroying property
  • Opossums: Opossums are known for entering a space and nesting, stealing food, and leaving waste, causing serious damage and creating unpleasant odors
  • Bats: Generally making a home in your attic or chimney, Bats can cause real problems in your home. In addition to carrying rabies and other diseases, Bats will leave droppings and cause unpleasant odors around your home.

Think your home or property has been infiltrated by a large pest? Get the help you need to safely and effectively remove them from your property. Remember, just because they haven’t caused issues yet does not mean they won’t in the future.

6 problems caused by large pests

Electrical damage

Large pests love burrowing into walls and ceilings. The shelter and warmth are particularly great for them in the wet and cold weather of Vancouver winters. Unfortunately, this can damage your electrical wiring.

If pests have indeed gotten into your walls, then your electrical system may be compromised. Critters chew through electrical wires, leaving exposed wire and unsafe conditions in your walls. This can mean big trouble. Did you know that 9% of fires are started by electrical issues? And since you can’t even see if it’s happening, the risk is particularly potent.

Insulation damage

While the large pests are in your walls, electrical wires aren’t the only thing they’ll be chewing on. Another common target of large critters is insulation. Chewing through the insulation in your walls and ceiling will lead to less effective insulation in your home and a weakened structure. They may even leave a nest in your insulation!

Even critters just walking around will lead to a bad situation, as compressed insulation is not as effective and will need to be replaced. Thousands of dollars in replacements could be in your future.

Damage to your lawn and garden

Even if these animals don’t reach the inside of your home, plenty of damage can be inflicted on the outside of your home as well. Raccoons and Squirrels love to dig holes in lawns to hide their treasures, leading to destroyed lawns and plenty of lawn care costs you otherwise would never have to worry about.

They’ll also dig up garden plants and other vegetation and chew on young tree bark. Worst yet, Raccoons are known to dig into and rip trash bags, spewing trash about your property. Once they’ve done this once, they’ll keep at it as they now know it’s a source for food.

Spread of disease

Simply put, one of the top ways for disease to spread into your home is through large wildlife entering your home and wreaking havoc.

If wildlife have found their way in and made a home, they’ll be leaving droppings and urine. This waste will be left mere feet from where you live and breathe daily, causing respiratory issues and potential spread of disease. One possible disease is baylisascaris, a type of roundworm that can damage your nervous system or cause serious injury.

Many large pests also carry rabies, meaning even their presence on your property can cause serious injury or death. Signs that a Raccoon or other large pest has rabies includes:

  • Disorientation and unsteady walking
  • Uncommon voices, such as screeching or chattering
  • Drooly and frothy mouths
  • Paralyzed hind legs and difficulty moving

Pests exhibiting these symptoms are incredibly dangerous, especially to pets! If you see any wildlife exhibiting these symptoms it’s imperative you seek an experienced pest extermination team as soon as possible.

Lowered air quality

In addition to potentially giving you a disease, the feces and other waste deposited in your wall will leave the air quality in your home putrid. At first you will notice just a stink, which will only get worse and worse as time goes on. Even once you identify the issue, solving the problem completely will be hard since it will be difficult to identify the exact location it’s coming from.

Other sources of rotting smell is food they’re storing decaying and going bad, and eventually the critters themselves dying in the walls and decomposing. The last thing you want you and your family to be doing is breathing in this air and having to smell the unpleasant odor day and night.

Exterior damage to your home

Lastly, large pests and wildlife can do a number on the structure of your home. Particularly troublesome areas include:

  • Roofs
  • Siding
  • Crawlspace
  • Deck

In order to get into your walls and attic space they’ll be coming in through your walls and siding. This means destroyed roof shingles, holes in your siding, and and damage to your roofline.

This damage can lead to serious water and moisture damage around your home as the holes allow the environment access to your home. Plus, even more pests will have easier access.

Fortunately, you’ll see these issues easier than others, and can address the problem once you see signs such as chew marks on your siding or loose shingles on your roof.

Call EcoCare Pest Solutions at the first sign of trouble

Pests do not just go away.

A proactive response to large pests infiltrating your property is the only long-term solution to keeping your home safe and free from dangerous wildlife.

EcoCare Pest Solutions can help with your wildlife infestation with our proven and eco-friendly approach to wildlife pest control. We’ll remove the infestation and prevent future issues as well. Contact us to get started or to have any questions answer on our pest and wildlife control services.

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.

Convenience

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
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.

Birds
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

Raccoons
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
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.

Termites
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.

Beetles
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.

Termites
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.

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.