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Storing Your Prized Possessions: How to Prevent Pest and Wildlife Damage

Storing Your Prized Possessions: How to Prevent Pest and Wildlife Damage

Everyone has those items that are special or essential to them — the family photograph, the favorite sweater, the chocolate truffles you’ve been saving for a bad day. So it’s understandable you’d want to keep these things protected and pest-free, but maybe don’t know where to start.

In this blog post, we’ll review some tips for how to prevent pests and wildlife from damaging your stuff, and how to safely store items in common household areas.

Clothing

When it comes to protecting your clothing, the two biggest pests you need to worry about here in the Pacific Northwest are Clothes Moths and Silverfish. They are attracted to dark, warm corners of your home and love chewing up your clothes, especially natural fibers like wool, silk, or cotton. Contrary to popular belief, adult moths actually don’t eat your clothes — but the larvae from the eggs they lay do.

Let’s look at a few tips for storing your clothes to protect them from pests. 

Tip #1: Don’t forget to deep clean your closet a few times each year

A key part of pest control in any home is prevention. When it comes to the dark corners of your closets, that means taking time every 2-3 months to perform a deep clean. Our short checklist includes: 

  • Vacuuming your closet’s corners, baseboards, and floors
  • Wiping down your closet walls
  • Picking up any clothes off the floor
  • Taking a quick look over your clothes (especially less worn ones) for signs of pest damage

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your closet will help deter pests from the area and can help you spot signs of potential entry points later on.

Tip #2: Only store clean clothes

Silverfish are attracted to human food, and therefore clothes with food on them. Clothes Moths have also been known to choose clothing — even synthetic fabrics — with organic food matter on them. That’s why it’s important to make sure your clothes are clean and clear of stains before you shove them back into your closet. 

Be extra careful with any clothing you purchase from a vintage or second-hand store too. Always make sure to wash and dry any secondhand or hand-me-down items before introducing them into your closet, especially if they are made of wool.

Tip #3: Use natural cedar to repel pests

You might be tempted to try mothballs to keep pests away from your clothes, but did you know that they release chemicals into the air that are toxic to both humans and pets over long periods of time? 

Instead, consider storing cedar blocks or cedar chips with your clothes, or investing in a cedar-lined closet or wardrobe. Cedar smells great to most humans, but Clothes Moths and Silverfish simply don’t like it and will avoid it. 

Two important things to note about using cedar as a pest repellant: 

  • Cedar loses its scent over time, so if you use it, set a reminder to lightly sand down the cedar every 2-3 months or so
  • Cedar releases an essential oil that repels pests but also effectively stains your clothing. Keep cedar from directly touching your clothing to prevent staining. 

Tip #4: Try hanging lavender with your clothes

Like cedar, lavender also releases a scent that Clothes Moths and Silverfish can’t stand. And it can make your clothes smell good, too! One easy way to protect your clothes from pests using lavender is to hang or store lavender sachets with your clothing. Alternatively, you can dab lavender essential oil onto cotton balls and hang them near your clothes.

 

Tip #5: Store precious or susceptible clothing in airtight bags

For clothing items you absolutely adore but don’t wear very often, consider storing them in an airtight bag, a garment bag, or a dry, airtight container. Look for something without holes or gaps in it — the idea is to block adult moths from getting into the container and laying eggs on your prized clothing. If there is a hole or a crack, simply tape it closed for extra security.

Food

Have you ever experienced the disappointment of going to eat some cereal and finding it covered in ants? Or discovered gnaw marks through the wrapper on that chocolate bar you were stashing for later? Mice, Ants, Fruit Flies, and Spiders are all common pests that infest kitchens around the Portland metro area. 

Here are some tips for how to keep them away from your food: 

  • Store your bulk food in airtight containers
  • Keep kitchen surfaces clean — wipe up any spills and crumbs right away 
  • Don’t leave food sitting out or dirty dishes piled up 
  • Use a trash can with a sealed lid in your kitchen, and make sure to empty it regularly 
  • Store pet food in a sealed container 
  • Clean out your pantry every few months, and wipe down the shelves to keep them clean 
  • Don’t leave fruit sitting out for too long

Attic and basement storage

Whether you’re wanting to protect your coveted Christmas decoration hand-me-downs from your great grandmother or simply trying to free up some extra space in your house, when you decide to store items in your attic or basement, it’s important to plan how you will keep them safe.

To do this, consider what exactly you’ll be storing in the basement/attic.

 

Do store Don’t store
Seasonal decorations Food
Unused pots and pans or other kitchen items (as long as they’re clean) Clothing
Suitcases and other infrequently used travel items Important documents or photographs

Especially here in the Pacific Northwest, know that your basement runs the risk of flooding or developing moisture that can damage stored items. The same is true for the attic if the roof leaks or the temperature changes. Not only that, but due to their dark, moist, and unfrequented nature, basements and attics are often ideal places for pests and rodents to hide. 

Keep your items safe by: 

  • Stowing items in plastic containers with lids rather than cardboard boxes. Cardboard can attract some pests, like Cockroaches, Silverfish, and Termites, especially if it gets wet. 
  • Store items in the basement off of the ground. If the basement does flood, this can help keep your items dry, and elevating your bins will eliminate easy access for rodents.
  • Check for signs of pests or rodents before you bring storage there, and for every few months afterward. If you notice signs of an infestation, work with your local pest control company to eliminate the problem and further prevent them in the future.

Outdoor items

To keep pests from infesting stored items in your garage, your garden shed, or generally around your home, it’s important to: 

  • Keep clutter, garbage, standing water, and compost away from your house or shed. The idea is to eliminate things that will attract pests and rodents and encourage them to come closer inside. Make sure your garbage, recycling, and yard waste bins are securely closed at all times, and that compost is situated at least 10 feet away from your house. 
  • Don’t store food in the garage — it should be stored inside in airtight containers inside your home 
  • Keep items off of the floor. Store items in plastic bins on shelves, and hang tools, bikes, and lawn equipment up on sturdy hooks to help keep things clean and harder to reach. 
  • Seal up any noticeable openings. Walk around the interior and exterior of these spaces to look for any place a pest or rodent might enter. Keep in mind mice can fit through holes the size of a dime!

Need help? Contact EcoCare today

There are many things you can do at home to prevent pest infestation and help keep your treasured items safe. But if you’re really worried about them, a licensed, experienced pest control company can be a lifesaver! 

Here at EcoCare, we’ve been helping Portland and Vancouver-area clients prevent and eliminate infestations for more than 15 years. We’d love to help you too! 

Contact us today to set up an appointment, or to learn more about our eco-friendly, non-toxic approach to pest control.

Pest Control Tips for Landlords & Property Managers

Pest Control Tips for Landlords & Property Managers

As a landlord, the last thing you want is trouble renting out your property, or for your phone to ring alerting you of damage to your property. However, if you notice signs of a pest infestation and leave it untreated, it’s probable both of these things will happen. That’s why it’s important to take pest control seriously and handle it quickly to help keep your property in tip-top shape.

In this post, we’ll review some of the common problems rodents and insects can cause, plus some tips for controlling pests on your property.

Problems pests can cause

It can be tempting to just ignore a pest problem and hope it will go away. But it won’t. Once a pest has found a safe, comfortable home for itself, it isn’t likely to leave. As a landlord in the Portland or Vancouver area, it’s your responsibility to control naturally occurring pest infestations and keep them away from the property.

As pests settle into your property, they are more likely to cause property damage, safety issues, or spread illness. Let’s take a closer look below.

 

Property damage

It’s not hard to find examples of pests causing property damage. Rats can cause electrical problems. Bees can burrow around your property to hatch larvae or start their hives around the exterior of your property. Ants or Beetles can chew through wood until they cause structural damage. Even the best tenants can leave Bedbugs behind — infestations following travel are particularly common.

It’s important to be both diligent and proactive in your pest control approach. 

Tenant turnover

No one wants to live in a home with a pest problem. Consistent problems in a home or apartment complex due to improper pest solutions will likely cause your tenants to look for somewhere else to live and make it harder for you to fill the space once it is empty again.

 

Health and safety concerns

Many pests can be harmful to people and other animals. Did you know that Rats and Mice can be carriers to over 35 different diseases? Not only that, but Fleas and Ticks carried into your home from rodents can spread illnesses like Lyme disease and even the plague.

Signs your property has a pest infestation

If you’re worried about your property developing a pest problem, there are a few signs you can look for: 

  • Electrical problems 
  • Structural damage to the roof, gutters, or siding 
  • Holes or cracks around the exterior of the house
  • Rodent footprints or droppings 
  • Scratching sounds inside the walls
  • Grease marks or buildup along walls or on the floor
  • Bad smells
  • Damage to fabric on clothes, drapes, or furniture

The attic, basement, and crawlspace are all very common places for a pest infestation, so make sure to check these regularly. 

Most common pests in the Portland metro area

If you’ve noticed signs of an infestation on your property, or your tenants have reported signs to you, it’s important to first identify what kind of pest you are dealing with. A few of the pests common to the Portland/Southwest Washington area include: 

  • Ants
  • Spiders
  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Bees
  • Ticks
  • Fleas 
  • Boxelder bugs 
  • Mosquitos 

If you’re not able to identify the pest on your own, you can: 

  1. Take a picture and then check out our pest library to help you compare
  2. Make a note of the time and location when you see the pest(s), as well as any additional notes or conditions that might help you quickly identify the species
  3. Contact us! Our team has seen it all and can help identify what you’re dealing with

Tips to prevent pests

The best piece of advice you will ever receive for controlling pests is to do everything you can to prevent them in the first place. A few ways you can do this for your property include:  

Keep common areas clean

If you’re the landlord or property manager of an apartment complex, ensure that all common areas like lobbies, hallways, utility rooms, community kitchens, game rooms, etc., remain clean and clutter-free. Pests are really just seeking food and shelter — not trying to be pests — so the more you can limit the option for them to choose your property, the better. 

Ensure you have sturdy and sealable trash and recycling bins 

It’s true — pests love trash. It might be gross to us, but there is a ton of food and other waste that is still appetizing to pests even after we discard it. That’s why it’s important to invest in rodent-proof garbage, recycling, and yard waste containers. Additionally, it’s good practice to keep these containers clean and set away from the property. 

Remove clutter from around the property 

In an effort to eliminate more opportunities for pests to take shelter, eliminate as many possible nesting sites on the exterior of your property as possible. This includes: 

  • Wood piles (or keep them at least 100 feet from the structure) 
  • Old cars or tires 
  • Hay piles
  • Shrubbery 

Keep grass cut short to remove hiding places for pests, and make sure all garbage, compost, and recycling is secured. 

Eliminate standing water around the property 

Especially in our rainy climate, this one can be a challenge. But, when left unattended, standing water attracts all sorts of pests — especially insects, who thrive in moisture-rich environments. 

Educate your tenants

You aren’t going to be able to monitor the property for pests all the time, especially when you’ve rented it out. That’s why it’s a good idea to send your tenants seasonal reminders about common pest infestations so they themselves can take preventive measures and watch out for warning signs. Additionally, you could include a pest history for the property upon move-in, so the tenant knows what to look out for.

Tips to control pests

Once they’re there, they can be difficult to get rid of. If you do find signs of a pest infestation, make sure to: 

  1. Identify the source 
  2. Seal off entry points 
  3. Contact your tenants to alert them of the problem and what you’re doing about it
  4. Call an exterminator 
  5. Consider setting up regular pest inspections or trying a maintenance program 

Here at EcoCare Pest Control, we offer a Pest Insurance Program with 4 seasonal inspections and treatments a year, providing protection from nearly 40 different common pests. Learn more about the program here.

Need help controlling pests at your property? Contact us today!

The continuous inspection and maintenance required to keep pests out of your home or from damaging your property gets overwhelming quickly. Save yourself time and stress by working with a local exterminator! 

Here at EcoCare Pest Control, we’ve been helping Portland and Vancouver-area landlords and property managers safely remove pests for years. Our clients love our eco-friendly, non-toxic pest control, preventative treatments, and friendly service.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

What You Need to Know About Rats, Mice, Wildlife and Electrical Problems

What You Need to Know About Rats, Mice, Wildlife and Electrical Problems

Rodents might look cute, but you DEFINITELY don’t want them in your home. Not only can they carry disease, but their constant need to chew can wreak havoc on your electrical system, opening up your home to unforeseen fire danger.

But how do they cause electrical problems, and what can you do to stop them? Let’s take a look!

Why do Mice and Rats chew on wires?

Contrary to how it might seem, Rats and Mice aren’t always on the lookout for wires to chew. Really, they’re looking for just about anything to chew, because their teeth never stop growing!

While our own teeth are rooted into our jawbone, a rodent’s incisors don’t have any roots. So they aren’t constantly chewing things to be a pain — they are constantly chewing to grind down their teeth and prevent them from growing into their brains.

They often go for wires simply because they’re there, and they’re hidden where the rodent is also hidden (like between walls).

Unfortunately, when rodents chew on wires, it opens up your home to a greater chance of an electrical fire. This can be caused by frayed wires or a short circuit.

Dangers of electrical fires

Electrical failures or malfunctions cause 13% of home fires in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association. They are the second leading cause of home fires.

Unfortunately, the risk of an electrical fire increases when rodents come into contact with loose wiring, electrical panels, and more. That’s why it’s important to prevent rodents from entering the home as much as possible, and to recognize the common signs of electrical problems.

Signs of electrical problems

Rats and Mice are nocturnal creatures, meaning that the majority of the time, you probably won’t notice them in your home right away. Because Rats or Mice usually choose to chew on wires that are hidden away, it’s likely you won’t even know they are chewing on the wiring until your home starts showing signs of electrical problems.

If you notice signs of any of these electrical problems, look around your home for signs of rodents.

  • Flickering lights
  • Bite marks on wiring you can see, or frayed wires
  • “Blinking” appliances or computers
  • Acrid burning odor 
  • Droppings near outlets or wiring runs 
  • Power failures

Regardless of these signs, it’s a good idea to regularly check the electrical wiring in your home to ensure it’s functioning properly and safely. Many electricians recommend scheduling an inspection every 3-5 years or so.

Tips to keep Mice and Rats out of your home

Tip #1 – Seal holes, cracks, and gaps in your house

Did you know Rats and Mice can fit through openings less than ½” in diameter? This creates a lot of opportunity for them to make a home in your home. Common places to check for holes include:

  • Near doors
  • Inside closets (near the corners)
  • In, around, or under kitchen cabinets
  • Around pipes under the sink
  • Inside the attic, basement, or crawl space
  • Adjacent to windows

 

Tip #2 – Clean up and properly store food

We all love food, but so do rodents. Make sure you properly store food both inside and outside of the home. You can do this by:

  • Store your food in containers with tight lids
  • Wipe up any spills and keeping kitchen surfaces clear of food debris (including dirty dishes)
  • Keep all cooking areas — including outside patios and grills — clean at all times
  • Cover garbage cans with a tight lid
  • Don’t leave pet food outside overnight and keep bird feeders away from your house
  • Store pet food in a sealed container
  • Pick produce from your garden or backyard before it goes bad
  • Keep compost at least 100 feet away from your house

 

Tip #3 – Don’t give them a place to call home

We know you won’t always be able to control this, but here are a few simple things you can do to eliminate living spaces for rodents in or around your home:

  • Move wood piles at least 100 feet away from the house
  • Keep your grass and shrubbery cut short
  • Trim tree branches at least 4 feet away from your home
  • Remove old cars, trucks, or tires that you aren’t using — these make great homes for rodents

 

Tip #4 – Call the professionals at EcoCare

One of the best ways to prevent rodents from infesting your home and causing electrical problems is to work with professionals, like the skilled team at EcoCare. We’ll help you set up regular inspections and recommend a maintenance plan.
 

Inspection

First, our exterminators will visit your home and conduct a detailed inspection of the property. They’ll inspect the inside of your property, including the attic or crawlspace, and search for signs of nests, infestations, or electrical damage. Additionally, they’ll scour the foundation and outside of your home for holes or small cracks that might allow a rodent in.

Depending on what our exterminators find, they’ll recommend a customized treatment plan to best suit you and your home.
 

Exclusion

With so many opportunities for rodents to invite themselves in, “Rat proofing”  your home can be a daunting task. But not for us! Our exterminators will thoroughly examine holes and cracks in your home. Then, they’ll seal off any questionable openings, like those found around pipes, vents, wires, and more. This is an important step in preventing future infestations.
 

Eco-friendly extermination

We are dedicated not only to ridding your home of pests, but to doing it in a safe and non-toxic way. With that in mind, our exterminators will only use rat poison inside of your home as a last resort. The use of poison inside your home might lead the rodent to die inside your walls, causing even more problems. Instead, we’ll use rat traps to humanely capture the rodents inside your home without posing any risk to your children or pets.
 

Rodent maintenance program

Keeping rodents out of your home takes a lot of work and effort. This is especially true for homes in areas with: compost piles, feeding stations for chickens, birds, or squirrels, homes on a greenbelt, and homes in a neighborhood with a Rat problem. Luckily, there’s a rodent maintenance program for that!

Rodent maintenance with EcoCare looks like:

  • Setting up bait traps outside your home at common entry points to capture rodents before they enter your home
  • Regularly coming to inspect your home and remove any rodents based on a schedule that’s convenient to you

Schedule an appointment with EcoCare today!

Preventing rodents from infesting your home and damaging your electrical system is both an important and never-ending task. We can help!

Learn more about our eco-friendly rodent control options and how we can help by contacting us today.

Kid Safety and Pest Control: What You Need to Know

Kid Safety and Pest Control: What You Need to Know

When you’re a kid, bugs are cool! Furry Caterpillars, Banana Slugs, Potato Bugs, Lady Bugs — they love them!

As a parent, you might encourage their young bright minds to learn more about insects through bug catchers, books, or other insect educational resources. But that doesn’t require you to live in a bug-infested house!

Plus, some pests are dangerous to kiddos. How do you prevent problems there?

Keep reading to learn more about kid safety when it comes to bugs and pest control.

What insects are dangerous to kids?

Biting insects are the ones you have to worry about most. These bugs are dangerous to humans and children alike because they’ll look to you as a food source or as something to attack if threatened.

You’ll want to help your children avoid the following types of pests.

Fleas

Fleas are a common pest that causes discomfort by biting and can also transmit diseases. Fleas are most often found in and around homes with animals. Thankfully, there are easy treatments to get rid of Fleas.

Bees, Wasps & Hornets

Honey Bees are pollinators and essential to our environment. But they don’t like to be messed with and will sting humans and kids when they feel threatened. Your children need to be especially careful of Yellow Jackets, as they are extremely aggressive and more likely to chase down and sting someone who bothered them, especially in late summer.

If your child is stung by a Bee of any kind, make sure the stinger still isn’t in the skin, then apply a calming salve to relieve any stinging sensation. Also pay attention to the symptoms your child displays after being stung and contact your doctor if anything seems off — many children are allergic to Bee stings.

Ticks

Ticks attach to the skin and suck blood. Though your child won’t usually feel the bite itself, there may be some redness around the area of the bite. Always check your child for Ticks after being out in the woods, camping, or other outdoor playtime. If you find a Tick, contact your doctor immediately to ensure you remove it correctly. Additionally, Ticks can carry Lyme Disease, so save the Tick in a container or bag to show to your doctor.

Spiders

There are about a dozen common household Spiders here in the Pacific Northwest. Most of these long-legged insects are harmless, at most leaving an itchy bump. However, there are 2 species that are considered dangerous: Black Widow Spiders and Hobo Spiders. Learn how to identify these Spiders and if your child is bitten by one of these insects, contact your doctor immediately.

Mosquitos

Mosquitoes bite and feed on the blood of humans and animals. In summer months here in the PNW, these insects can ruin an evening on the patio or turn a fun camping trip into an itchy nuisance. Mosquitos can also carry disease. Around the world, these insects are known for infecting people of all ages with the Zika virus, yellow fever, dengue, malaria, and other diseases.

Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs are exactly that — bugs that live in the bed. These insects are nearly invisible, coming out at night to feed on the bed’s occupant. Bed Bugs will leave little red dots on the skin, usually clustered in groups of three. These annoying critters are difficult to kill and spread easily. If you notice symptoms, make sure to take care of them as soon as possible.

What happens if my child eats a bug?

Kids love to put things in their mouth — even creepy crawlers like Beetles and Ants. The idea of your child swallowing a bug might make you feel a little squeamish, but there’s probably not anything to worry about.

Most insects contain protein, a little fat, and in many countries are considered delicacies!

Of course, you don’t want to encourage your child to gobble down bugs either. If your kid is observing some insects and is at risk of turning them into a midday snack, act as a chaperone or remove them from the area.

While most bugs are harmless for kids to consume, don’t hesitate to contact Poison Control if you’re worried.

Concerned about a bug that your child just swallowed? Contact Poison Control through their easy-to-use online tool, or call 1-800-222-1222.

Is pest control harmful to babies and children?

Babies and children are much more susceptible to pesticides and insecticides than adults.

How are pesticides harmful to children? Consider that a child’s body and immune system are still developing. They don’t have the ability to fight off or deflect the toxic chemicals or irritants.

Plus, you have to consider that kids are much lower to the ground (perhaps only just crawling), and are much more likely to be exposed to pesticides. And then there’s that habit of always putting things in their mouths!

How to handle a pest infestation with kids in the house

Do you have a pest infestation in or around your home? Knowing that traditional pesticides are dangerous to children, how do you get rid of the insects while also keeping your kiddos safe?
If you’re set on handling a pest problem on your own, make sure you know the pesticide warning labels to look for. The three big ones are:

  1. Caution — Slightly toxic if inhaled or eaten, causing minor eye or skin irritation.
  2. Warning — Moderately toxic if inhaled or eaten, causing more severe irritation to eyes and skin.
  3. Danger/Poison — The pesticide is highly toxic if eaten or inhaled, causing severe damage to the eyes or skin.

Never, ever leave pesticides or chemicals sitting around in the house. They should be stored under lock and key. Additionally, read the label carefully to understand instructions. Keep children away from any treated areas or get out of the house until it is considered safe. If your child comes into contact with a pesticide with any of these labels, call Poison Control or take them to the emergency room.

You can try your own methods — chemical or natural — for getting rid of bugs in the house. But considering the risk, the best way to get rid of bugs and keep kids safe is to work with an eco-friendly pest control company.

Keep your kids safe with eco-friendly green pest control

Don’t risk your child’s health. Don’t put yourself through the stress. You don’t need to use harmful chemicals to keep your home safe from pests.

At EcoCare Pest Solutions, we can help keep your home safe from pests and dangerous chemicals alike. We use green pest control treatments that are free from dangerous chemicals and pesticides to effectively target and eliminate pests from your home.

Our targeted treatments are highly effective but most importantly, always safe for kids, pets, and your entire family.

Questions about pest control and kid safety? Contact us

As an eco-friendly pest control company, we answer many questions from parents about how to safely eliminate pests. We’re dedicated to offering safe, green, and effective pest control treatments to our community and are here to help.

Contact us and let’s chat.

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.