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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.

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.

DIY Pest and Rodent Removal Tactics That Simply Don’t Work

DIY Pest and Rodent Removal Tactics That Simply Don’t Work

When you’re facing a rodent or pest infestation, taking matters into your own hands can be dangerous. If you’re not careful and don’t follow proper pest control methods, even the most sincere DIY removal efforts will backfire, leaving you worse off than before.

So if unwanted pests are poking around your home and property, don’t make the mistake of making mistakes. Keep reading to learn the DIY pest and rodent control tactics that simply do not work.

Dealing with pesky intruders? Don’t be afraid to call an expert!

Call (503) 222-5566 or contact us online

1. Placing mouse traps in high-traffic areas

While a Rat or Mouse may venture out to wide open areas on occasion, these critters tend to stick close to walls and corners. After all, their instinct is to always have an escape strategy close by.

So while you might think placing a trap in the middle of your kitchen, a better strategy is to stick them against walls, behind furniture, and in tight corners. Plus, a trap set out in the open makes it more likely that a family member will accidentally pinch their toe.

2. Overloading traps with bait

When setting a trap, the more cheese, peanut butter, and other bait, the better, right? Wrong!

Overloading a trap with too much bait can actually cause the device to malfunction, giving the critter a better chance of getting away. Instead, a small amount of bait will entice your intruder and ensure the trap can do its job.

3. Using dangerous pesticides or raticides

While the first instinct is often to hit any pesky intruders with a dose of deadly chemicals, using poisons can actually do more harm than good — especially if you have curious kids or animals in the house.

There are serious health and environmental risks associated with pesticide exposure. And with The World Health Organization estimates 3 million cases of pesticide poisoning each year, mostly caused by overzealous and untrained do-it-yourselfers. Spraying harmful chemicals as a way to quickly get rid of pests just isn’t worth it.

Don’t let your DIY efforts lead to sacrificing your health or the safety of your home. It’s better to use biological controls (like scents, tastes, and oils) or enlist the help of an eco-friendly pest control company.

4. Controlling fleas and ticks by only treating your pets

If Fleas and Ticks are your problem, treating your pets with a veterinarian-recommended medication is a great first step — but it isn’t enough to completely stop or prevent the problem.

You’ll also need to eliminate the Fleas and Ticks that may be hidden in your home or yard and ensure they can’t pop up again.

5. Setting off bug bombs

A bug bomb spreads a fog of chemicals into your space. While this tactic is meant to control pesky critters, the chemicals in these bombs can also seep into your carpet, furniture, and walls and hurt your health.

Bug bombs often have very high toxicity ratings — frequently higher than a professional exterminator would use. This isn’t something you want in your home. Plus, some studies show that your pests will sense the chemicals and immediately flee deeper into your walls, escaping the effects of the poison. Additionally, bug bombs have a very low residual so there is no longer term benefit to preventing a return of the infestation.

6. Killing bugs with electric swatters

An electric bug swatter will definitely help get rid of a few Mosquitos, Flies, or Moths, but if that’s your only method of control, you have a long road ahead.

Zapping away a bug here or there won’t make a significant impact on an infestation. Plus, these kinds of swatters are dangerous for houses with young families and could even cause an electrical fire.

7. Using gasoline to control Bees and Wasps

A common myth is that pouring or throwing gasoline (or any other type of chemical) into or around a beehive is an effective way to control infestations. This is not true!

Not only will using gasoline contaminate groundwater and kill plants, it’s a great way to start a fire and damage your property.

8. Setting out some bait (and that’s it)

Many people think setting bait is enough to control a problem like ants or cockroaches. In fact, truly eliminating an infestation involves solving the root of the issue. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in a loop of laying bait forever.

Fixing the root of the problem may involve…

  • Sealing openings in your walls
  • Checking doors and windows for gaps
  • Cleaning up your pantry or sealing food in airtight containers
  • Improving the condition and cleanliness of garbage cans or dumpsters

You also need to makes sure you don’t forget about the bait you’ve set out. For example, if your bait is in a trap (like a mouse or racoon trap) then you need to check these traps every few days for captures. And if you’re using a liquid poison bait, you should ensure it doesn’t sit for so long that it gets moldy.

9. Waiting for the problem to resolve itself

If you’re dealing with pests in your crawlspace, basement, or attic, you may not feel directly affected by the problem. Afterall, you probably don’t venture into these areas often (if at all).

This mindset is what leads many homeowners facing an investigation to simply cross their fingers and hope the problem will eventually just go away.

It’s a nice idea, but left alone, a pest problem will only multiply and get worse (not better). The longer you wait, the more likely these pests will cause serious damage to your home — from electrical damage to disease.

10. Trying to DIY more than twice

Sometimes, a simple DIY pest control solution is enough to stop and prevent any future problems. Maybe you really did just have one mischievous mouse in your house. However, if you’re repeating your efforts, it’s a good sign you have a bigger issue and need to call in the professionals.

We’re here to help with eco-friendly pest control

We know that there’s nothing more annoying than a pest infestation or rodent problem in your home. Thankfully, you don’t have to handle it on your own. Our pest and rodent removal tactics are quick, effective, and safe.

We use specially formulated pest removal and extermination treatments to target and eliminate pest infestations — all while being 100% safe for your entire family.

Contact us today and let us know how we can help.

Homebuyer’s Guide to Insect & Rodent Infestations

Homebuyer’s Guide to Insect & Rodent Infestations

Knowing everything you can about a property you’re purchasing will always save headaches down the road. While buyers don’t overlook many aspects of a home during an “inspection” period — plumbing, roofing, electrical work — most don’t think of having a home checked for infestations. But a house with a pest infestation can result in lasting and costly damage. This means unnoticed infestations could be degrading the value of your new home before you even sign on the dotted line. Read on to learn everything you need to know about pests when buying a home.

What can happen to a home with a insect or rodent infestation?

A lot can happen when an infestation has overtaken your property. Not only can these pests affect your chief investment — your home — but they can damage your personal property as well. Pest infestations can destroy

  • A home’s structure: Leaky roofs and cracked siding can corrupt your home’s integrity, including its roof, siding, electrical systems, and foundation. Even more, it can also cause unsafe air conditions, creating an unhealthy environment for you and your family.
  • Belongings: Once pests are in your home, the next target will be your personal belongings. This means wool shirts and blankets, along with other natural fibers, furniture, and clothing, can be destroyed by moths. Ants and rodents can get into food, soiling your supply and making a mess.
  • Yard and landscape: One of the more glaring and immediate issues will be damage to your yard and outdoor spaces. Pests will dig holes in your yard and uproot vegetation, creating problems that could take years to solve.
  • You and your pets: The most pressing issue will always be you and your family’s health. When pests leave waste and insects carry disease into your home, it can severely harm you, your family, and even your pets. Animals can get fleas or fight with potential rodents. You and your children might get stung by bees, suffer from a bed bug infestation, or have a scary run-in with a rabies infected pest.

What animals to be on the lookout for — and what to ask the homeowner before buying

In the Portland and Vancouver area there are a number of pests to look out for. While they might not all be immediately seen, ask the homeowner about the home’s history with pest control. Has the home ever had a pest issue? Did the homeowner have pest insurance? If there was a pest issue, did they take care of it themselves, or hire a reliable pest control team? Some pests to ask about include:

If the homeowner or realtor discusses any prior history with these pests, dig further. Ask if the infestation is a lingering issue or was a one-time problem. Also ask what was done to correct the issue and what damage was inflicted on the home.

Past pests? Ask what kind of pest control was used

Using environmentally friendly pest-control treatments is good for more than just the planet (though that’s pretty great, too). When pesticide or other damaging chemicals are used to control pests, those treatments can stick around. The World Health Organization estimates there are 3 million instances of pesticide poisoning each and every year. Repeated pesticide exposure has been linked to chronic health issues such as:

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

Short term health issues that can develop include:

  • Headaches
  • Skin and eye irritation
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

These are real problems that can happen to not only humans, but to pets, too. Ingesting pesticides or other damaging chemicals can lead to vomiting, seizures, or even death.

Environmentally friendly pest control

If the homeowner has indicated that they had pest control completed, make sure they used environmentally friendly pest control treatments to ensure that your new home will be a safe environment for you and your family. Some examples of environmentally friendly pest control treatments include:

  • Biological fluids that control pests such as scents, tastes, and oils
  • Safer, greener chemicals
  • Targeted treatments over a wide “catch-all” chemical treatment

These treatments are not only safer, but more effective since they’re targeted and focused on holistic treatment of the infestation.

Signs of a home infestation

Of course, asking can never give you complete confidence that the infestation has been totally solved. Successful pest control is centered around 3 pillars:

  1. Inspection: We’ll come to your home and ensure that there is no current infestation. We’ll also ensure anywhere future pests could access your home are closed off. We’ll inspect the whole kit and caboodle — all rooms, pipes, electrical systems, foundations, and much more.
  2. Exclusion: With a mixture of preventative actions and comprehensive repairs like sealing gaps and holes, we create an impenetrable barrier pests can’t cross.
  3. Extermination: If we do indeed discover an infestation, we’ll use our eco-friendly treatments to target the exact pests infested in your home. This ensures your family and pets stay safe.

Are you concerned your potential new home has a pest problem, or just want peace of mind that your newest investment is sound? Contact EcoCare Pest Solutions today to schedule a free in-home consultation.

Self inspection

If there is any suspicion of a pest control issue, we always recommend having a professional pest control specialist come out to check on the property. If you decide to go at it yourself though, look for the following issues to determine if the house may have a potential pest control issue.

  • Physical signs of pests
  • Clusters of dead bugs under cabinets and other inconspicuous places
  • Droppings of any kind
  • Pest control products anywhere in the home — this is a sign that the homeowner has been self-treating
  • Holes and signs of animal damage around the home
  • Peculiar smells and noises around the home and property
  • Damaged plants on the property
  • Mole or ant hills
  • Lawn damage

Have the sinking feeling pests are in the home? Call EcoCare Pest Solutions

We’re available to answer questions and come out to inspect your potential new home to either confirm or disprove your suspicions. When it comes to such a large investment, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Call (503) 222-5566 to learn more.

Simple Ways to Stop Ants in Their Tracks

Simple Ways to Stop Ants in Their Tracks

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…

  • Why Ant infestations develop
  • Home hotspots for Ant infestations
  • How to get rid of Ant infestations

Why do Ant infestations develop?

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):

  • Food source: Ants are always looking for food. Once they find a supply, they won’t leave until the supply is gone. Pet food, sugary food, and rogue crumbs are common targets for Ants.
  • Ant nest: Once an Ant nest has been established, your home will be a target until it’s eliminated. Ants love wet and rotting wood, so if your home has recently experienced water damage or is currently experiencing a leak, it’s particularly vulnerable.

Where are common hotspots for Ant infestations?

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:

  • Kitchens: Given an Ant’s drive for food, it should be no surprise that kitchens are the largest hotspot for Ant infestations in the home. This is especially true if food is left out, dishes pile up, or food is not well stored.
  • Bathrooms: Bathrooms are a hotspot of Ant behavior. Leaked water and moisture build up from showers providing an ideal home for Ants.
  • Walls and insulation: Ants (particularly Carpenter Ants) are quite commonly found inside walls and insulation. This can be particularly damaging since they may not make themselves immediately visible.
  • Rotted window frames: A particularly common way for Ants to get into your home, Ants often congregate around rotted windows. This provides both a place for nests to develop and a way for them to access the home in the first place.

5 Simple ways to stop Ant infestations

Keep danger areas clean

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:

  • Cleaning up grease spills as soon as they happen
  • Thoroughly rinsing soda and juice containers before recycling
  • Not leaving any food in open air storage containers like bowls
  • Making sure any sugary foods are stored in tight containers and the containers are wiped clean after use
  • Be careful with pet food — bowls should be cleaned regularly and food should not be left out for long periods of time. Make sure to store in something other than an open bag, too!
  • Cleaning water build up in sinks or next to pipes immediately
  • Cleaning and scrubbing bathroom thoroughly
  • Making sure shampoo and soap containers in showers and bathtubs are sealed
  • Make sure any water or food spills in your bedroom are cleaned promptly. This is a particular issue in children’s bedrooms.

Find potential entry points and seal

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:

  • Torn window or door screens
  • Large openings under doors
  • Rotted windows
  • Cracks in your foundation

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.

Remove rotted wood

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.

Eliminate Ant trails

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.

Eliminate Ant nests

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.

Hire an experienced Ant exterminator to locate and safely kill Ants

EcoCare Pest Solutions knows Ant extermination techniques and how to eliminate them safely from Portland and Vancouver homes. We’ve been doing it for over 18 years!

Learn how we can help you remove Ants from your home safely!