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What Bugs Aren’t Worth Worrying About

What Bugs Aren’t Worth Worrying About

Scientists have identified around 925,000 species of insects in the world. That’s a lot of bugs! 

While there are lots of harmful bugs out there (even here in the Portland and Vancouver area), there are some you don’t need to worry about, either.

Read on to learn what bugs you can leave alone here in the Pacific Northwest without worrying about any danger to your property, family, or self.

What bugs SHOULD you worry about?

Before we get into what bugs you DO NOT need to worry about, it’s important to remember that there are lots of little pesky insects out there that need to be controlled for you and your property’s safety. 

Some insects that need to be controlled to keep you and your family safe include:

If you see these troublesome insects, get in touch with EcoCare Pest Control. Our insect extermination solution is 100% safe for people and most pets. We’ll target and eliminate your insect infestation and prevent future infestations from popping up. 

Contact us online for advice and a firm price for getting rid of your insect infestation.

Ladybugs

While they can potentially cause harm if they make their way into your home, for the most part Ladybugs are a positive presence in your outdoor space. Why is this? It’s because they themselves act as a natural pest exterminator! 

Ladybugs actually eat many pests that are harmful, such as Fruit Flies, Mites, Thrips, and other harmful plant damaging insects like Aphids. Some Ladybugs may consume up to 5,000 Aphids in their life.

Further — Ladybugs won’t damage your home, your pets, or your family. In the meantime, they are an active member of the ecosystem and remove pests bad for the flora and fauna around your home. Now that’s what I call a symbiotic relationship. 

Just watch out. Mexican Bean Beetles and the Squash Beetle can cause some minor harm to your plants, so make sure to identify insects to make sure they are in fact Ladybugs.

Honey Bees 

While still possessing the ability to cause some mild harm, Honey Bees are one of the most valuable members of the animal kingdom. These super insects pollinate flowers and crops. This is done by collecting nectar and pollen, which is then turned into delicious, sweet, and nutritious honey. This actually makes them the only insect that produces food eaten by humans! 

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be wary of Honey Bees, and it certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t worry about their similar (yet very different) relatives, Wasps, Yellowjackets, and Hornets. While Bees eat nectar and pollen, Hornets and Wasps are carnivores and have a different place in the ecosystem. Importantly, Hornets and Wasps are a lot more aggressive and more likely to injure you and your family.

Luckily, there is an easy way to differentiate. If the Bee-like insect you see is furry, breathe easy, as all Honey Bees appear furry. If not, it’s likely an aggressive Hornet or Wasp that needs to be dealt with.

Earwigs 

Let’s face it, Earwigs look scary. Their gigantic pincers look like they could do some serious damage. Fortunately, despite their scary appearance Earwigs are not poisonous, do not sting, and cause no harm to humans or pets.

In fact, Earwigs are a great member of your neighborhood ecosystem by eating dead bugs and gobbling up dead and decomposing plant matter. This actually helps your garden and the other plant life on your property thrive.

Praying Mantis 

Despite their size (a Praying Mantis can grow up to 6 inches long!) they are not to be feared! These bugs cannot hurt you and are a form of pest control themselves. So much so that many gardeners actually buy Praying Mantises to release into their gardens. There is such high demand that many gardening stores keep the bugs stocked up during the gardening season!  

Why are they such good pest controls themselves? These buggers munch on everything from flies, to Beetles, to Moths.  Fun fact — the Praying Mantis is the only insect able to rotate its head 180 degrees, making it a flexible little predator.

Butterflies

Given their beauty and natural wonder, we probably don’t need to do too much convincing for you to leave Butterflies alone — but just to be sure: Butterflies cannot do you any harm.

Butterflies, in addition to being beautiful creatures, pollinate flowers, eat other insects, and are a valuable member of the ecosystem. They’ll actually promote the health of your garden and any other plants on your property. Plus, many are endangered and have regulations protecting them.

If you see a gathering of Butterflies on your property — enjoy. If anything, you’ve been blessed with a natural wonder that will bring both health and beauty.

Green Lacewings

These delicate insects, sometimes called Stink Flies, are a valuable bug neighbor. While adult Green Lacewings eat pollen and actually don’t eat bugs, their offspring are aphid munchers!  

These Green Lacewing larva eat aphids and other critters, such as Spider Mites, Thrips, and many more small insects. Much like Praying Mantis, you can actually buy Green Lacewing eggs at gardening stores to help you naturally control pests in your garden.

Just don’t touch these bugs! While they’ll do no harm, they do release a mildly unsettling odor when threatened. The mild smell of the Green Lacewing is nothing compared to the good they’ll do for your home’s ecosystem.

Dragonflies

One of the most misunderstood bugs in the animal kingdom, Dragonflies are one of your home ecosystem’s most beneficial insects.

Dragonflies are straight-up insect killers. In fact, Dragonflies are known for their love of small, flying sects such as Mosquitos — the bane of a relaxing summer evening barbeque. While you may have confidence in your fly swatting ability, Dragonflies will do a much better job of controlling the Mosquito population. They’re not called Mosquito Hawks for nothing! 

Further, Dragonflies won’t do you much harm. While Dragonflies can bite, it is extremely rare. Even when provoked, they are much more likely to fly away than attack. If you do get bitten — there is never a reason to fret. Bites from Dragonflies will not cause any lasting harm.

Do you have questions whether an insect poses a threat to you and your family? Let’s talk.

Learn more about how we can help protect your home from insects by contacting us online today.

Home Pest Control in Portland: Clearing up the Confusion

Home Pest Control in Portland: Clearing up the Confusion

We get it. Pest control isn’t something you want to think about very often. When you see a bug or think you see signs of a pest infestation, you might find yourself doing some quick internet research looking for the answers. But this can lead to confusion and even costly mistakes. 

Today our pest control experts are going to answer some of the most common questions they hear and clear up the confusion so many people have about pest control.

Do green pest control treatments really work?

It’s unfortunate that many eco-friendly products have a reputation for not being as effective as other options. Studies have confirmed this misconception so when it comes to our pest control treatments, it’s something we try to educate our customers about.

In the past (think decades ago), many pest control treatments were very toxic and had bad consequences for the environment. Today, modern pest control treatments are not only environmentally friendly, but more effective, too.

How is this even possible?

Over the years, advancements in scientific research have created powerful pest control treatments that are targeted to specific types of insects. They’re also designed to be safe for people and most pets. Because of their potency, less treatment is needed to kill the same amount of bugs! Overall, the impact on the environment is greatly reduced.

Keep reading to learn more about our approach to eco-friendly pest control.

Are all bugs bad?

Moths eat holes in our sweaters and Ants march along our countertops to get at the sticky little bits of food we leave behind. Sure it’s frustrating, but are bugs really “bad”? It’s important to remember that they’re just doing what bugs do — looking for places to nest and food to eat.

Believe it or not, there are plenty of insects that are actually beneficial! Take Bees, for instance. They pollinate flowers and the food we grow in our backyard gardens. They’re not aggressive like Wasps or Hornets and really pose little risk. During certain times of the year, you might see a swarm of bees clinging to a tree or maybe your home’s roof. Don’t worry! You can contact an apiarist (beekeeper) to remove them safely.

Another great example of a friendly bug is the Ladybug. These little Beetles eat Aphids and other insects that feast on the leaves of veggies growing in our gardens. You can thank the Ladybugs when you’re harvesting your tomatoes this summer!

So remember, just because you see a bug, it doesn’t mean that trouble’s just around the corner. We’re happy to answer any questions and provide a free quote. Just contact us online to get started.

How much pest control is enough?

What most people don’t realize about insects is that they’re seasonal. Different insects are active at different points throughout the year. For example, here in the Portland area, here’s what you can expect:

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

You can’t expect the treatment that worked to get rid of Wasps in the summer to do anything for the Ants you find in the winter. The best way to keep your home pest-free is to invest in regular preventive treatments designed to target the most active bugs and pests.

We call this our Pest Insurance program. It’s a proactive approach to pest control that helps homeowners avoid the hassle of dealing with bug infestations as they pop up. Instead, we can visit your home for 4 seasonal inspections and treatments to protect against nearly 40 species of common pests. Plus, we’ll treat any infestations of covered pests for free!

Do I need to do more than just kill the bugs?

If all you do is kill the bugs you see, pests will keep coming back time and again. The pests you see make up just a fraction of the pests present in your home or on your property. Insects like Ants make hidden nests and only venture out to find food. Many insects are also nocturnal, meaning that you might never see the pests themselves, just the damage that they do to your home and possessions.

Here at EcoCare, we go beyond just killing bugs with our 3-step process:

  • Inspect – We want to see the scope of the infestation and exactly what pests are around. This allows us to tailor our approach to produce superior results.
  • Exclude – This is key. Our technicians seal off access points and create preventive barriers that prevent new infestations from taking root in your home or on your property.
  • Exterminate – Then we target all the insects, even those you might not have noticed yet. They won’t be bugging you anymore!

It’s only with this methodology that goes beyond just killing bugs that we can eliminate and prevent pest infestations in your home.

Have more questions? We’re here for you.

We hope today’s blog post cleared up the most common misconceptions you might have about pest control. But if there are still questions buzzing around in your mind, let’s talk! 

Contact us online for more info.

Common Causes of Insect & Wildlife Infestations in Portland Homes

Common Causes of Insect & Wildlife Infestations in Portland Homes

Pests don’t want to be pests, it’s just their nature. They’re simple creatures looking for food, warmth, and safety. Unfortunately, your home is a prime target, offering everything these pests are looking for.

But how do they get into your home? Let’s find out!

Structural issues

Proper home maintenance can help reduce the likelihood of a pest infestation in your home stemming from issues involving:

Roofs

Leaks, loose or broken shingles, damaged insulation, and other areas in need of repair are a common cause of both insect and wildlife infestations. Damaged roofs are an easy access point for opportunistic critters. Plus, most people don’t spend much time on their roofs or in their attics, so it’s easier for an infestation to go unnoticed and take hold.

Gutters

When we’re not getting much rain, your home’s gutters can be a nesting spot for many types of bugs. During the wetter times of the year, leaky and clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to water damage on your home’s roofs, eaves, siding, and even the foundation. Water-damaged spots are softer and might make it easier for bugs and pests to get inside your home. Standing or pooled water also attracts bugs and pests.

Basements

Basements have lots of nooks and crannies for pests to hide. Plus, they offer easy access from your yard. Like your roof, they’re often not inspected and maintained as well as they should be. Cracks in your home’s foundation caused by tree roots, water damage, or other issues are among the most common ways pests get into your home. 

Vegetation

Whether for nesting or as a source for food, pests and animals are attracted to trees, bushes, shrubs, gardens, and other plant life. When vegetation is too close to the home, or when a tree branch touches or hangs over your home, it increases the risk of pests finding their way onto and into your house.

Pruning and trimming vegetation, as well as inspecting plants for signs of pests, are good ways to reduce your risk of infestation. In some cases, diseased, decaying, dead, or damaged trees and plants may have to be removed as they are particularly likely to attract pests.

Gaps and holes

Rodents like Mice and Rats can squeeze through even very tiny spaces. An adult rat only needs ½” of space to fit through and mice, being smaller, need even less! Sealing holes, gaps, and cracks, particularly around your roof, crawl space, doors, windows, and foundation can help eliminate this common source of rodent infestations.

Firewood

If your house is the city of Troy, then firewood (or anything you store outside and bring inside) is the Trojan Horse! Ants, Spiders, and other pests love to nest in firewood piles and can hitch a ride and get inside your home when you bring wood in from outdoors. Additionally, a firewood pile placed against your home as protection from the elements can also attract bugs and hide signs of infestation on your home itself. Think about it: How often do you look behind your woodpile?

Pets

Indoor/outdoor cats are well-known for causing flea infestations. But even a dog on a walk can bring bugs in from outdoors. Keeping your pet clean and brushed is a good way to keep an eye out for bugs. But also watch for itching and scratching or other common signs of insect infestation if you have a pet.

Travel

The most common source of Bedbug infestations in single-family homes is widely believed to be travel. You’ll find Bedbugs in airports, buses, and especially hotel rooms. It’s easy enough for them to get into your luggage and clothing, hitching a ride back home, and causing a frustrating and itchy infestation.

When traveling:

  • Avoid storing luggage or clothing on the floor of a hotel room
  • Check the seams and edges of the mattress for signs of Bedbugs
  • Look for red/brown dots on bedsheets, a common sign of Bedbug activity
  • Be aware that Bedbug bites are usually itchy and frequently come in groups of 3, often in a straight line

If you’re returning home from an area known for Bedbugs, inspect, wash, and dry your clothes when you get home. You can also spray shoes and luggage with alcohol, just to be extra safe!

Seasonal changes

As winter days get colder and shorter, we see more infestations of Rats, Mice, and Ants as these creatures look for food and warmth. During the summer, Fleas and Hornets tend to be more common as they’re more active during warmer weather.

The best way to combat seasonal pests and the recurrence of pest infestations is with our Pest Insurance program. You’ll get 4 seasonal inspections and eco-friendly treatments to prevent and eliminate nearly 40 common Portland-area pests.

How can you stop pests from infesting your home?

Preventing pest infestations in your Portland area home is challenging. It’s a constant battle that requires regular home maintenance and preventive measures. Here at EcoCare, we offer pest inspections, and eco-friendly pest control services that are effective and safe for people and most pets. We work throughout the Portland and Vancouver metro areas.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help protect your home from pests, let’s talk! Contact us online today.

Step-by-Step Guide for Getting Rid of a Pest Infestation

Step-by-Step Guide for Getting Rid of a Pest Infestation

Pest infestation? You’re probably here wondering how to get rid of those bugs FAST! We know insects and critters can be frightening and gross. EcoCare is Portland’s go-to pest control company — we’ll help you through this one step at a time.

Stop What’s Bugging You

Contact us for a free pest inspection & extermination quote.

Step 1: Identify the bug 

The elimination strategy you take will depend on the type of infestation. Before you can stop the problem, you need to figure out what kind of bug you’re dealing with. 

Here in the Portland and Vancouver area, there are a variety of insects that could be causing you problems. The 9 most common pest infestations in the PNW include:

  1. Ants
  2. Spiders
  3. Moths
  4. Boxelder bugs
  5. Bed bugs
  6. Bees
  7. Mosquitos
  8. Ticks
  9. Fleas

You probably have a good idea of what all these insects look like and can identify the species right away. But if you’re not sure, here’s how to find out.

  • Take a photo of the bug
  • Browse through our pest library, comparing the photo of your bugs to those in the library
  • Note the location, timing, and any other unique factors about the infestation, comparing those details to information you find about the species

If you’re still not sure what kind of bug is bothering you, reach out to our team. We’ll help you figure it out.

Step 2: Ensure your family’s safety

Depending on the type of insect, you should take some precautions to ensure it won’t affect your family or damage any more of your property. 

  • Kiddos: If you have little ones in the house, make sure they won’t come in contact with the infestation. 
  • Pets: Some bugs are poisonous to pets, so take steps to ensure they can’t get near the infestation. Or, if your pet is infested (with fleas, for example), quarantine them to help limit the spread and call your vet immediately. 
  • Food: Do a sweep of your house to clear away and store food. Wipe down counters, make sure all your food is sealed in the pantry, and toss any old fruit or veggies sitting on the counter.
  • Belongings: Depending on where you found the infestation, you may want to move your personal belongings so they won’t come in contact with or be damaged by the bugs.
  • Protect yourself! Many bugs and insects can be hurtful to you. Bees, mosquitos, ticks, and more all pack a punch. Protect yourself to ensure you don’t get stung or bit. Always err on the side of caution and call a professional if you’re dealing with a hive or serious infestation.

Step 3: Find the source & seal off entry points

To successfully eliminate a pest problem, focus on the root of the issue. For example, killing the ants currently in your home will do you no good if they can easily find their way back in.

You must figure out the source of the problem.

Sometimes you can follow the trail to find the culprit. But depending on the type of bug, it might take a bit of investigating on your part. 

A few things to look for include:

  • Cracks, openings, and holes in your wall, baseboard, or ceiling
  • Bushes, plants, trees, or branches touching your house
  • Fruit trees or with fallen/dead/rotting fruit
  • Unsealed food
  • Standing water in your basement or around the exterior of your home
  • Nests or webs in corners of your house
  • Hives and ant colonies around your home

You might also want to take a look in your attic or crawl space to make sure it’s clear of any signs of infestations. These places are often a source of bug problems in your home.

Once you find the issue, take steps to resolve it. For example, fix leaks or seal off and reinforce any holes and gaps around your property. Trim back bushes and clear away debris from the perimeter of your house. Seal trash cans or pick up fallen and rotting fruit or veggies in your yard.

Step 4: Eliminate 

Now comes the time to exterminate the pest. This needs to be done very carefully and requires a personalized approach. You know what kind of pest you’re dealing with, so do some research to learn the best extermination methods. 

Whenever possible, we recommend taking a conservative, eco-friendly approach. Dealing with strong chemicals and poisons is very dangerous. More than that, it’s often unnecessary. Start small and see what works and what doesn’t. 

Always understand exactly what kind of pest control product you’re using and how it affects your family before using it. Keep any traps or bait safety away from kids, pets, and the rest of your family. 

Remember, if you’re dealing with more than a few pesky bugs, a professional exterminator is the safest, most effective option. Often, DIY pest removal options don’t work. Be willing to call in the professionals when necessary.

Step 5: Keep a watchful eye

Once your pest problem has been handled, stay alert for any signs that the bugs might be making their way back. Take matters into your own hands by using a preventive approach. By taking some preventive measures, you can keep insects away from your clothes, food, and valuables.

Read our helpful guide on how to bug-proof your home through everyday preventive habits.

If you do notice the signs of an infestation forming again, don’t wait to solve it. Jump on the problem right away.

Or… solve the problem the easy way

DIY isn’t your style? Facing an infestation that’s just too big to handle on your own? Working with a local pest control company is always a faster, more effective solution.

We’re happy to take care of the problem for you.

For almost 20 years, EcoCare Pest Control has been helping homeowners throughout Portland and Vancouver eliminate bugs and insects. All our services are carefully designed to be safe for your family and tough on pests.

Contact us today for a free pest extermination quote.

Winter Pests: What to Watch For & What to Do

Winter Pests: What to Watch For & What to Do

Insects and wildlife infestations are a year-round problem in our neck of the woods. Whether it’s tiny Ants on your countertops, angry Yellow Jackets buzzing around, or pesky Squirrels making a mess of your attic, there’s always something to be on the lookout for.

Most homeowners don’t realize how seasonal these infestations are. Below, you’ll find a quick chart showing the most common pests throughout the year. Keep reading to learn more about the signs to look for during the cold and wet winter months.

Seasonal Pest Control Cheat Sheet

Spring

  • Wasps
  • Box Elders
  • Ants
  • Spiders
  • Rats & Mice
  • Squirrels
  • Raccoons
  • Opossums
  • Bats

Summer

  • Fleas
  • Yellow Jackets
  • Ants
  • Hornets
  • Bees
  • Rats & Mice

Fall

  • Wasps
  • Hornets
  • Ants
  • Box Elders
  • Spiders
  • Rats & Mice
  • Squirrels
  • Raccoons
  • Possums

Winter

  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Ants
  • Squirrels
  • Raccoons
  • Possums

Think like a pest 

During the winter, are you looking forward to spending time in the outdoors? Are you planning picnics at the park? Is it a good time to get out and about? Or are you staying home where it’s warm, toasty, and most importantly dry?

Insects, rodents, and wildlife have the same things on their minds. 

They’re hunkering down and nesting, getting by until the first signs of spring. Food is also scarce during the winter months, so pests will be very opportunistic. And what’s a better opportunity than a house full of food?!

When it comes to winter pest control, many home invaders are relatively inactive during the colder months. You must be vigilant and keep an eye out for what may seem like subtle warning signs.

What to watch for during the winter

Wildlife & Rodents

  • Droppings – Animal droppings in your pantry, attic, or garage are a telltale sign of an active infestation.
  • Sounds – Rats, Mice, Raccoons, and Squirrels look for places to hide where they won’t be seen. But if they’ve set up shop in your home, you may hear scratching or scurrying sounds in your attic, walls, or ceiling.
  • Smells – Pests stink — literally! Urine, droppings, rotting food, or even dead animals in your walls or attic produce pungent odors. Keep your nose open for these unexplained smells.
  • Damage – You likely won’t see nocturnal animals (those active at night) but you will see signs of their activity. Look for damaged food containers, signs of scratching on baseboards, or greasy marks caused by rodent fur rubbing on walls.

Insects

Winter insects, particularly Ants, are a bit easier to spot because you’ll likely see them on the move, searching for food. Areas to inspect include:

  • Kitchens and pantries – Anywhere there’s food
  • Exterior windows – Anywhere insects can get in and out of your home
  • Basements and attics – Anywhere in the home that you don’t visit frequently can be an inviting place for insects to live

What should you do if you see something?

If you spot signs of a winter pest infestation, immediate action is essential. Once rodents, wildlife, or winter insects are in your home, they’re not going anywhere! Here at EcoCare, our pest exterminators can come out to your home quickly, inspect your property (inside and out), and make a plan to eliminate the problem.

If you see any of the warning signs listed above — or if you’d just like peace-of-mind, contact us today.

What shouldn’t you do?

If you suspect bugs, wildlife or rodents are in your home avoid the following:

  • Ignoring the problem – It won’t go away and it will get worse.
  • Using poison to kill Rats and Mice – Our exterminators rarely use poison to kill rodents inside your home. Poison often leads to dead rats and mice stuck inside your walls, leading to an awful smell and a source of food that can attract other pests.
  • Killing bugs without investigating the source – For every winter insect you see, many more are hiding out of sight. If you kill the ants you see in your kitchen, more are waiting to take their place. You must find the source of an infestation if you have any hope of stopping it for good.

Winter pest control tips — an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

It’s a cliche for a reason — it’s true! Winter pest control starts with a preventive and proactive approach during the summer and fall months. 

  • Focus on your home’s exterior. Fill cracks, seal holes, and apply pest control treatments to prevent unwelcome guests from entering your home.
  • Clean the interior of your home thoroughly. Kitchens and bathrooms are especially appealing sources of warmth, moisture, and food.
  • Inspect your yard, patio, and outdoor furniture for signs of insect and animal activity. As the weather cools, these pests will start to make their way indoors.
  • Be vigilant about the earliest signs of Rats and Mice. The sooner you spot the problem, the easier it will be to fix.
  • Clean outdoor items. Before bringing outdoor furniture, toys, grills, etc. into your garage or attic for the winter, clean and inspect them. These could be “Trojan Horses” hiding bugs and rodents!

Invest in year-round pest control

Pest control isn’t a one-time task. The pests don’t stop so you can’t stop either. Many homeowners either get overwhelmed or lose interest in the repetitiveness of keeping their homes pest-free. But even a little lapse can lead to big problems!

At EcoCare, we offer a year-round pest control program designed to prevent pest infestations throughout the year. Our pest insurance program includes:

  • 4 seasonal inspections by licensed and experienced exterminators
  • Preventive treatments to stop infestations before they start
  • Protection against nearly 40 of the most common pests in the Pacific Northwest
  • Eco-friendly extermination methods that are safe for people and pets

If you do find signs of a covered pest we’ll come out and take care of it free of charge, including eliminating the problem at its source. We want to prevent the recurrence of the infestation.

.

Inspect. Exclude. Eliminate.

That’s the proven EcoCare approach.

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

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