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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!
Proper home maintenance can help reduce the likelihood of a pest infestation in your home stemming from issues involving:
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Ant infestations are the worst. Unfortunately, here in the Pacific Northwest they’re a regular part of life. In addition to being gross and inconvenient, they can be hard to truly get rid of.
At EcoCare Pest Solutions, we have tons of experience purging Ants from Portland homes once and for all. In this month’s post, we’ll go over…
Depending on the type of Ant that has taken up residence in your home, your infestation could be caused by a variety of factors. For most households though, the cause comes down to 1 of 2 factors (or in many cases both):
Did you know that the Ants you see are only 1-5% of the Ant population in your home?
While Ants can be found anywhere in the home, there are a couple places that are particularly vulnerable. These include:
Given that most Ant infestations start with a food source and develop unchecked from there, the simplest way to stop Ants is to prevent the infestation from developing in the first place.
Ant colonies work by having “scout Ants” head out in search of food. Once they find sustenance, more Ants will follow to bring back food to the colony.
We recommend making sure all of the hotspots listed above are cleaned. Some other cleaning and storage tips to prevent Ant infestations include:
Locating and sealing entry points will help stop the flow of Ants into your home. While it may seem like an impossible task given how small Ants are, the spots you should try to find are actually quite easy to locate and will go a long way. These spots include:
By sealing up these areas, you will help stop the flow of Ants and prevent a worsening of any infestation. Even if you don’t notice any Ants right now, looking and attempting to discover any entry points now may stop an infestation from developing.
Ants love rotting wood. While even Carpenter Ants can make their way through solid, dry wood, they prefer and will tunnel through wet or water damaged wood.
If there are any areas that’ve been water damaged in your home, remove and repair the area immediately with new material. Even if it’s dry now, the wood has still been weakened if it’s suffered water damage, giving Ants an excellent opportunity to tunnel into your home and build a nest. This is particularly important in your bathroom, where water damage is common underneath flooring and behind cabinets and showers.
It’s what every homeowner fears — getting home from a long day at work to see a trail of Ants in the kitchen. When you see this, act fast! Wipe up all of the Ants and dispose of them.
Clean the trail with a mixture of 1 parts vinegar to 3 parts water. This will stop the flow of Ants into your home from wherever they are traveling from, likely the outdoors. Unfortunately, while this will be an effective way of disorienting new Ants from getting to the nest, the Ants already in your home will not be leaving without further action.
Eliminating an Ant colony nest is crucial to solving an Ant infestation. Any other solution will not truly rid your home of Ants. Unfortunately, in order to exterminate a nest you need to find it and come up with a safe way to destroy them.
While at times they can be easy to find, Ant nests are often found deep in walls, under floors, or even outside the home. This detective work often requires tasks that can be damaging to your home’s structure if not completed correctly.
And even if you do find the nest, making sure you destroy it with the proper extermination technique is extremely important. Sprays can be ineffective if not used correctly and bait solutions will not truly destroy the nest.
With more than 300 species of bugs and insects living in Oregon, are you fighting an uphill battle trying to keep bugs out of your home?
Of course not! Tackling this issue on your own will take some work, but by following a regiment of preventative measures and partnering with an experienced pest control company, you’ll successfully keep insects away from your clothes, food, and valuables.
Keep reading for some important tips on bug-proofing your Portland home.
Keeping bugs from taking over your home and personal items is a two-step process:
There’s no point in eliminating insects inside your home if you don’t immediately stop them from coming back, so do both of these steps in tandem.
Here is an initial checklist to cross off before you begin:
Once you’ve finished this sleuthing, you’ll have a better understanding of how serious your problem is. If you’re dealing with a full-fledged infestation, it’s always best to immediately call an experienced pest control company.
If your bug problem is less serious or if you want to do some precautionary bug-proofing, then it’s time to get started.
There are a number of preventative measures you can take to keep bugs from crawling into your kitchen and dining area. Of course, prevention is only the first line of defense. You can also try some DIY methods for getting rid of small issues, like occasional Ants, Fruit Flies, or Spiders.
Creepy crawlers are attracted to food, so it makes sense that keeping your kitchen clean would be a good way to avoid a bug problem.
This isn’t a one-time fix, but rather a way of life. Adopt these tips to keep bugs from taking over:
Take a look inside your pantry. Are your bulk food items stored in an airtight container? Foods like rice, flour, and even cereal are magnets for bugs when left open. Pet food is especially attractive to bugs, so keep this sealed, if possible.
Periodically clean out your pantry and cupboards. Wipe down shelves to remove any crumbs and check your food items to make sure they haven’t been tampered with.
Often bugs will enter your kitchen through holes or spaces you cannot see. These are commonly behind your kitchen appliances.
Carefully pull your appliances out to check the walls behind them. This includes your fridge, microwave, stove, and even under the sink. You don’t have to completely remove them from the wall– just enough for you to get back there and assess the situation.
Look for any holes or open spaces. Pay special attention to the area where pipes or plugs enter the wall– there are often gaps here. Use caulk to close off spaces.
If you’re dealing with some occasional intruders, it can be helpful to leave out bug traps. Glue traps can work well at catching bugs like stink bugs and spiders. Plus, these are easy to tuck out of the way and are safe for you and your family.
You can also test out some natural bug traps in your kitchen. For example, to help get rid of fruit flies, set out a glass of apple cider vinegar and dish soap. The vinegar attracts the flies and the soap traps them.
Bugs like dark, quiet, warm, or humid corners, so your closet is a natural place to find them. Here in the Pacific Northwest, Clothes Moths and Silverfish can get into the dark corners of your closet and chew away at your clothes.
There are a few things you can do to avoid these problems.
As you’re doing your regular house cleaning, don’t forget about your closet. Every few months, clear out your closet and give it a deep clean. Vacuum hard-to-reach corners, pick up any wardrobe items left on the ground, and check your clothes to look for bug problems, especially those with natural fabrics like wool or silk.
Before shoving your suit, dress, or other wardrobe item in the back of your closet, make sure it’s clean. Be especially careful about second-hand clothes. Always wash and dry woolen items bought from thrift stores or given as a hand-me-down.
For these items you rarely wear and store in the back of your closet, every so often consider getting them dry cleaned (without starch, which can attract bugs) or throwing them in the dryer on high heat to eliminate any insect eggs or mildew. Use garment bags made of cotton or vinyl only.
Though mothballs are an option, there are natural remedies you can take, such as a cedar block or cedar chips. Cedar loses its scent over time, so for this to be effective, you’ll need to sand the cedar lightly every few months.
Additionally, make sure your clothes do not touch the cedar directly, as staining can occur thanks to its natural oils.
We know bugs don’t just bother you in your kitchen and closet. Make sure to take some general preventative steps all throughout your home to keep bugs away from your valuables.
Just as locked doors help keep intruders out, a properly sealed door can stop pests in their tracks. Examine your entryway carefully to look for unsealed gaps– chances are, you’ll find some great entry points for unwanted insects.
Keep bugs from crawling under your door by installing an aluminum or steel threshold. You can take this a step further by also installing a door sweep, which covers the small gap between your threshold and door bottom.
Weatherstripping and caulking can also be effective around your doors and windows. If you really want to go above and beyond, purchase plastic outlet covers to plug up those outlets not currently in use.
Sealing off cracks and holes on your home’s interior and exterior can be a great way to avoid, and stop, a bug problem. A good rule of thumb is if a crack or gap is wide enough to fit a pencil, you should fill it.
Inside your house, look along your moldings,baseboards, flooring, and walls. Outside, look at your foundation and siding. If you notice cracks, rotting wood, or exposed pipes, take time to repair and seal these against bugs.
Eliminating bugs and insects in your home is a big undertaking. While there are things you can do to prevent bugs from getting into your things, working with a local pest control company is always a faster, more effective solution.
At EcoCare Pest Solutions, we’ve been helping homeowners in the Portland and Vancouver area eliminate bugs and insects for over 15 years. All our services are carefully designed to be safe for your family and tough on pests.
Whether you have an Ant colony taking over your kitchen or Silverfish bugs in your closet, we can help eliminate and insect-proof your entire home. Contact us today for a free inspection!
Your home is likely your biggest investment and the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. In the Portland area, homes are selling for a median price of nearly $420,000. When considering such a significant investment, doesn’t it make sense to protect yourself (and your home)?
When financing your home purchase, your lender will require you to purchase homeowners insurance. However, did you know that many, if not most, policies don’t cover pest infestations and possibly the damage that is done to your home by insects and rodents?
In today’s post, we’ll talk more about the limitations of homeowners insurance policies and the advantages of Pest Insurance.
The answer is: not always. The only way you can know for sure what is covered by your homeowners’ insurance policy is to actually read it (or even better, have it reviewed by a lawyer who can explain it to you).
Commonly, homeowners insurance policies consider bug and rodent infestations to be maintenance issues that aren’t covered. However, if the infestation damages your home, repairing the damage might be covered – it all depends on the specifics of your policy.
One phrase to watch for in your policy is “sudden and accidental”. Your policy may use this type of clause to limit coverage to sudden and accidental damage to your home (like a pipe that bursts during a hard freeze vs. a pipe that leaks for months and months, causing water damage).
Even if your homeowners’ insurance policy does cover the damage caused by common pests like termites, ants, and rats, keep researching the issue. Depending on your policy’s deductible, will it be worth filing a claim? Preventing infestations from taking hold might make more sense financially and actually save you money in the long run.
Think of Pest Insurance as preventive, proactive maintenance built around 4 seasonal inspections and treatments. At EcoCare, as part of our Pest Insurance program, our exterminators will visit your home each season. Our schedule and the common pests we look for include:
On your initial visit, our exterminator will do a full inspection and treatment of your home, inside and out. We’ll walk the perimeter of your home and treat the exterior and foundation of your home for nearly 40 covered pests. Then we’ll head inside and treat interior walls, your attic, and crawlspace. On subsequent visits, our technician will inspect and treat the outside of your home, coming inside if needed.
Best of all, our pest control treatments are eco-friendly! All of our treatments are specifically formulated to be safe for both people and pets while being tough on bugs and other pests! You, your pets, and your children can stay in your home while our exterminators do their work.
New Homes: Since builders and subcontractors are not trained to keep pests out, there are often small gaps and openings which will allow a rodent easy access and should be excluded or repaired
Older Homes: Often draftier and have more gaps to allow pests to enter your home.
Homes Near Greenbelts, Wooded areas, and Open Spaces: While space around your home is often desirable, this same space provides significant harborage for rodents and insects in your local ecosystem.
High-density Housing: Pests can easily travel from home to home.
Did you know…
Pest Insurance is an investment! With Pest Insurance,
Not every insect is covered by our Pest Insurance program. For example, Bed Bugs are not included in pest insurance due to the larger amount of time required to inspect and treat for them. Each infestation of bed bugs needs to be individually evaluated and assessed for the treatment protocol.
Additionally, treating for an active rodent infestation is not included in the pest insurance program, but once the problem is solved, a rodent maintenance plan can be added to the regular pest insurance agreement.
With those two exceptions, there is a very low risk of encountering a pest we don’t cover!
We offer emergency touch-up visits in case something becomes an issue on the inside and needs a treatment before the next scheduled visit.
Contact EcoCare and schedule your free in-home consultation today. We’d love to help you protect your home and keep your family, pets, and possessions free of insects and rodents.
The first step in creating a year-round pest control plan for your home is to understand the types of pests you’re dealing with. After all, how can you plan to tackle a problem if you don’t know it exists?
Here in the Portland and Vancouver area, there are a variety of insects and rodents homeowners need to be aware of. Many of these pests hibernate in the winter months and venture out during late spring and summer months.
Let’s take a look at 7 of the most common summer and fall pests homeowners in Portland and Vancouver need to be aware of.
As a Portland and Vancouver area resident, you’ve likely come into contact with a Boxelder Bug at one point or another. This black and red bug is often referred to as a Garage Beetle or Maple Bug and is quite the annoying character. This bug is known for crawling into your home, staining curtains and walls with its excrement, and munching away at indoor plants.
Boxelder Bugs are especially attracted to warm air currents so are much more prevalent during summer months. These bugs like to crawl into any cracks and crevices around the exterior of your home during the fall and hibernate through the winter. When warmer weather rolls around, they emerge in large numbers.
An eco-friendly pest control solution will exterminate these bugs if they’re in your home. But the best way to combat these pests is to prevent them from entering your home in the first place.
For Pacific Northwest residents, ants can be a year-round problem. We deal with many types of ants in Portland and Vancouver, but Carpenter Ants are the most destructive to your home. These ants have a nasty habit of hollowing out wood and causing structural damage.
Carpenter Ants tend to appear in warmer months. As spring and summer arrive, keep an eye out for Carpenter Ants both inside and outside your house. Here are a few things to watch out for:
Be careful because carpenter ants have a strong bite and can break your skin. Calling a professional pest control company is always recommended.
Rainy weather contributes to large rodent populations in the summer, making Portland and Vancouver prime locations for rodent infestations. Critters like mice and rats can cause damage to your home by gnawing on materials and eating your food.
There are a few things you can do to prevent rodents from being an issue:
Though Bed Bugs often appear in hotel rooms, hostels, and motels, these tiny parasites can also live in your home. These bugs are especially irritating since they enjoy feeding on humans, are hard to see, and even harder to get rid of.
As temperatures rise here in the Pacific Northwest, so does a Bed Bug’s need to feed. Though these bugs can be present all year long, you’re more likely to deal with them during the summer months. There are a few common signs of Bed Bugs to watch out for on your bed:
If you believe you have a bed bug infestation, it’s important you deal with it as quickly as possible.
Bees pollinate plants, produce honey, and control spider and other insect populations– but they’re not the kind of thing you want hanging in or around your home- especially if a family member is allergic to their stings.
Bees and other members of the Hymenoptera order of insects are common during the summer months. Use the following precautions to avoid getting stung:
Yellow Jackets are beneficial since they eat spiders and other insects. They are also typically slow to sting. But if you approach their nest they can become extremely aggressive and sting multiple times.
Honey Bees not only provide honey and wax, they are also vital to our natural ecosystem. Honey Bees are unlikely to sting you unless you approach their hive. In this case, they will become defensive.
Hornets are fierce and relentless if provoked. Bald Faced Hornets, in particular, can even shoot their venom at an attacker’s eyes. A hornet’s nest is light gray about the size of a basketball with a teardrop-like opening at the bottom and often found in trees and bushes.
When summer weather hits in Portland and Vancouver, so do the mosquitos. High temperatures combined with our heavy rainfall during winter and spring months create the ideal environment for mosquito larvae to hatch.
Beyond being an itchy nuisance, mosquitos can also carry and pass along disease. There are a few simple steps you can take for keeping mosquitos away from your home and backyard area:
If you have a pet then you’re well aware of Flea & Tick season. At the first sign of warmer weather, it’s time to get ready to protect Fido and your entire family from an infestation.
Though Fleas typically don’t bother humans, they can be a big nuisance for your pets. If left unchecked, a Flea infestation can transmit disease to your pet and take over your house. Make sure to use a flea collar or use a topical medication on your pet every summer and fall.
Ticks are most often found in rural areas. If you live in a particularly wooded area, ticks are definitely something to be aware of. After spending time outdoors, do a quick once-over to check for ticks.
Deer Ticks are especially dangerous as they can cause Lyme disease. If you get bit by a tick, make sure to talk with your doctor– and bring the culprit with you, if possible.
There’s nothing quite as wonderful as summer and fall in the Portland and Vancouver area. Partner with a reliable pest control company and don’t let annoying pests and rodents put a damper on this beautiful time of the year.
At EcoCare Pest Solutions, we offer a year-round pest protection service called Eco-Shield Pest Insurance. This service keeps you from worrying about pests or insect infestations in or around your home. We’ll make seasonal trips to your property to look for and eliminate 39 different types of common pests.
Eco-Shield Pest Insurance is designed to save you money and give you peace of mind knowing your home is protected from pesky insects and rodents.
Interested in learning more? Give us a call!
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!
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:
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:
Be extra careful when cleaning in these areas as most spider bites occur when spiders are startled or provoked by a human.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.