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What Can Happen When You Ignore a Pest or Wildlife Infestation?

What Can Happen When You Ignore a Pest or Wildlife Infestation?

Let sleeping dogs lie. Don’t rock the boat. Go with the flow. Let the chips fall where they may.

Sometimes it makes sense to just let things be and see what happens. But when it comes to pest and wildlife infestations in your home, ignoring the problem is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

In today’s post we’ll talk about the damage that can be done by uncontrolled pest and wildlife infestations. You’ll also learn about how early detection and preventive treatments can keep your home, property, family, and pets safe.

Why do homeowners ignore pests?

There are many reasons homeowners may not want to acknowledge a pest problem in their homes. In many cases though, it’s not intentional. Many homeowners just don’t realize there’s a problem until it’s too late.

If they are ignoring pests in their home, generally it’s for one of these reasons:

  1. It’s a common but misguided belief that pests are seasonal or that they will “move on.” This just isn’t true. When pests have easy access to a food source or a place to nest and breed, they won’t be going anywhere!
  2. Some homeowners may worry about the toxicity of pest control treatments. In reality, our modern and eco-friendly treatments are completely safe for people and pets. You don’t even have to leave your home!

What’s at risk?

Bugs, rodents, and wildlife infestations aren’t just an annoying hassle. They’re serious sources of potential damage to your home, a common cause of destroyed property, and are even a potential health hazard to people and pets.

Let’s take a closer look at the damage pests and wildlife can do, the most common types of infestations, and the warning signs you need to watch out for.

Your home

Your home is your biggest investment. You wouldn’t ignore a leaky roof or a broken window, but too many Oregon and Washington homeowners overlook or ignore the warning signs of a potential bug or wildlife infestation.

Common culprits

What can happen

  • Structural damage to roof, siding, insulation, electrical systems, and foundation
  • Hard to clean and disease-causing droppings
  • Eventual possibility of damage to property and injury to pets

What to look for

  • Droppings
  • Footprints
  • Holes or other entry points for rodents and wildlife
  • Scratching sounds inside walls
  • Signs of wood chips or insects boring

Your belongings

Sure, your property is insured and things can always be replaced. But the headache and heartache of losing sentimental belongings due to damage from wildlife and insect infestations is completely avoidable.

 

Common culprits

What can happen

  • Moth larvae eat wool and other natural fibers, damaging clothing, furniture and other possessions
  • Ants, moths, and rodents get into stored food, meaning it all has to be thrown out
  • Rodents and wildlife chew through and nest in belongings stored in your garage or attic

What to look for

  • Damage to food containers or any container where belongings are stored for long periods of time
  • Moths in or around clothing – especially in attics or in seasonally stored garments
  • Adult insects of any kind in your home

Your family and pets

Don’t overlook the threat that some insects and pests pose to the people in your family – and to your pets, too! Even “helpful” insects like spiders that eat other bugs can inflict painful bites.

 

Common culprits

  • Raccoons
  • Bats
  • Opossums
  • Squirrels
  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Ants
  • Fleas
  • Spiders
  • Bed Bugs
  • Hornets and wasps

What to look for

  • Pets scratching or itching themselves as the result of Flea bites
  • Swollen and inflamed insect bites
  • Wasp or Hornet nests outside your home or in gutters and eaves
  • Signs of Bed Bugs like dark spots on bedsheets
  • Spider webs especially in sleeping areas

What can happen

  • Dogs and cats can fight with potentially diseased rodents and wildlife
  • People may suffer painful stings or allergic reactions to insect bites
  • Hornet and Wasp stings can be very painful and trigger dangerous anaphylactic shock even if you think you’re not allergic
  • Stressful Bed Bug infestations that are very difficult to eradicate
  • Wild mammals may carry rabies or other diseases

The importance of preventive pest and wildlife control

Inspect. Exclude. Exterminate.

It’s great to be on the lookout for the signs of pest infestations and invasive wildlife. But if you’re seeing damage to your home or property or your pets and family are being stung or bitten, the problem is already very advanced.

Preventive pest control can keep unwanted pests and critters out of your home and far away from your family, pets, and possessions. At EcoCare Pest Solutions, our experienced pest control technicians take a multi-faceted approach involving:

  1. Inspection – We not only look for signs of existing pest and wildlife infestations, we also look for the places pests may eventually use to gain access to your home. During our inspections we thoroughly examine the interior and exterior of your home, including pipes, electrical systems, your home’s foundation, and much more.
  2. Exclusion – Through the application of preventive treatments and repairs like sealing gaps and holes, we create a barrier pests can’t cross.
  3. Extermination – If an infestation is discovered, our eco-friendly treatments are specifically targeted to the pests we find. That means there’s no danger to your family or pets from toxic chemicals.

Protecting your home isn’t a one-time job

Just like your home’s roof that needs regular inspections and repairs, you should look at pest control as an ongoing investment. Here in the Portland and Vancouver area, different pests and animals are more active at different times of the year.

Seasonal inspections help keep pests out of your home all year round. Our annual Pest Insurance program includes:

  • 4 seasonal pest inspections
  • Eco-friendly pest control treatments
  • Protection against nearly 40 common pests

Compared to the cost of fighting entrenched pest infestations and the damage caused by pests, our Pest Insurance program can save homeowners hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year.

Ready to learn more?

If you’re ready to take action against pest and wildlife infestations, contact us today for a free in-home consultation. We’ll tell you more about our services and how we can help you protect your home and your family.

There’s no time like the present.

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

Read Our Reviews

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.

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.

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.