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What Portland Homeowners Need to Know About Rodent & Wildlife Infestations

What Portland Homeowners Need to Know About Rodent & Wildlife Infestations

While internet sensations like Pizza Rat and Rocket Raccoon may paint a friendly picture of rats, raccoons, and other wildlife, I’d still wager that you don’t want these creatures destroying your property.

For instance, you probably wouldn’t enjoy waking up to scratching noises in the ceiling, a bat flying through your bedroom, or glass bottles shattering as these “friendly” critters rummage through your garbage. Unfortunately, here in the Pacific Northwest, these are all very common scenarios.

In today’s blog post, we’ll outline what Portland homeowners need to know about rodent and wildlife infestations. You’ll learn the more serious damage these creatures can cause, what to look for, and how to (safely and properly) handle an infestation.

Have questions along the way? Give us a call at (503) 222-5566. We’re here to help!

Rodents and Wildlife Can Cause Serious Damage to Your Home

Dealing with a rodent or wildlife infestation in your home is more than a nuisance; it’s a safety issue. These creatures are frequently the cause of fire hazards, foundation issues, diseases, and bugs.

We recently shared about the costly structural damage rodents and other pests inflict on homes throughout the PNW. Below we’re sharing a recap of some of the most common issues caused by rodents and wildlife.

 

Rats, Mice, & Bats Cause Insulation and Electrical Damage

Rats, mice, and bats all love to make their home in your insulation. Can you blame them? It’s the perfect warm, quiet, and cozy spot to sleep. When these critters tear through and chew holes in your insulation, the result is a weakened structure and a home that isn’t properly protected from the elements.

These creatures will also chew through anything that’s in their way, including electrical wires. Electrical fires accounted for 9% of all fires from 2011-2015. Often, rodents and pests are the cause of these electrical home fires.
 

Possums and Raccoons Leave Holes Everywhere

A dug up lawn or garden may not endanger your family, but it is frustrating. Raccoons will dig holes to hide food or other treasures, and opossums like to look under your yard for bugs to eat.

More seriously, raccoons are avid explorers and will stop at nothing to get into your house or attic if it looks interesting. They may even suddenly crash through your ceiling one day! These critters are often the cause of siding damage, broken glass, and holes in your roof or under your house.
 

Rats and Raccoons Steal and Destroy Your Property


Racoons are sneaky little bandits. If you have something they want, they’re going to take it (or try to, anyway). Take the rogue raccoon who broke into a liquor store in Tennessee, stealing spirits and causing a lot of damage. These creatures are mischievous!

Rats and mice are also known for sneaking into your home and stealing food or other tiny objects, gnawing on whatever they want along the way.
 

All Rodents & Wildlife Bring Bugs and Disease

In addition to all the above, keep in mind that all these rodents and wildlife carry various diseases and bugs. Raccoons and bats are common carriers of rabies and rats can transmit diseases like salmonella and hepatitis. Not to mention these creatures often also have parasites, fleas, and ticks and can be dangerous to your pets.

The Best Way to Prevent a Rodent or Wildlife Infestation

There are simple steps you can take to prevent rodents and wildlife from taking over your home. However, keep in mind that no matter how careful you are, a critter may still decide that your house looks interesting and is worth exploring. In these cases, it’s best to:

  • Keep up with home repairs – Don’t let holes, leaks, or other damage go untreated. Sealing up these spaces and keeping your home in good shape will help prevent rodents and wildlife from viewing your home as a good nesting spot and getting inside.
  • Maintain your yard – Cut back trees, keep ivy trimmed, add tree guards to your trees. All these can prevent critters from crawling up and onto your roof.
  • Store food properly – Unsealed food, food left on counters, or pet food sitting in the open is very attractive to rodents and wildlife.
  • Secure your garbage cans – Make sure your garbage cans are always closed. Don’t leave trash sitting out in bags. Keep the area around your garbage cans clean and clear.

Signs That Your Property Has a Rodent or Wildlife Problem

Aside from actually seeing a rat or opossum scurrying around your house and property, how do you know if you’re dealing with a one-off situation or are on the verge of an infestation?

Generally, if you begin to notice these critters on a recurring basis, it’s a good sign you have a problem. However, there are other specific things to watch out for, including:

  • Animal noises and droppings – Do you frequently hear scurrying or scratching noises in your walls or ceiling? You may also notice urine stains on your ceiling, floors, and walls, or find animal droppings in your pantry, attic, or living spaces.
  • Signs of internal or external damage – Around your house, look for holes in your siding, fences, and lawn. Garbage strewn about or broken glass is another sign. Inside, keep an eye out for teeth marks, frayed wires, or wood chips.
  • A foul smell – Creatures living in your home will soon start to stink up the place. This can come from their urine and droppings, old food they’re storing, or from those that have died in your walls or attic.

Never Try Removing these Animals on Your Own– It’s Dangerous

One of the most important things Portland homeowners need to know about a rodent or wildlife infestation is this: trying to trap and remove these creatures on your own can be very dangerous.

Raccoons can be aggressive. Rats may bite when provoked. Bats may attack if they feel threatened.

If we can leave you with one piece of advice today, it’s to never handle bats, raccoons, or other wildlife on your own. There’s simply too much risk involved. If you’re dealing with a rodent or wildlife issue, it’s best to work with an experienced Portland exterminator.

Always Clean Up after a Wildlife or Rodent Infestation

Did you know that simply removing the animals from your home is not enough? There are a series of steps that need to happen in order to repair damages and prevent a future infestation.

For example, rats and bats can leave behind feces and urine in your home, contaminating your insulation with dangerous viruses and parasites. Plus, the scent of a previous infestation can also attract other species. This needs to be removed and cleaned up to keep your home and family safe.

How We Can Help You Handle a Rodent or Wildlife Infestation

Whether you’re facing a full infestation or dealing with a just couple stubborn raccoons, we can help.

Here at EcoCare, we take a proven and eco-friendly approach to rodent and wildlife control and extermination, not only removing the infestation, but preventing future issues as well. We even partner with a sister construction company to perform larger, more technical cleanup and repairs.

Have questions about working with us? Visit our FAQ page to learn more. Or contact us. We’d be happy to hear from you, answer your questions, and help you take care of your rodent or wildlife issue.

How Bugs & Rodents Cause Structural Damage To Your Portland Home

Imagine hundreds of termites slowly eating away at your home’s foundation. An ant colony infestation weakening your walls. Rats and mice chewing away at your roof and support beams. Sounds like something out of a horror movie, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s also a scary reality for many homeowners in the Pacific Northwest.

Thanks to the rainy and wooded environment of Portland, bugs and rodents are very prevalent in the area. Regular pest inspections and extermination treatments around your property keep bugs and critters from secretly making their home in the hidden areas of your home.

In this month’s blog post, we’ll help you understand a little bit more about the serious (and expensive) structural damage bugs and rodents can inflict on your home. Plus, you’ll learn why most homeowners don’t know this is happening until it’s too late.

If you have any questions or feedback on this post, feel free to send us an email. We love hearing from our community.

Roof Damage

Let’s start at the top of your home!

Pests and rodents can cause all sorts of damage to your roof– from broken shingles, cracks and holes, to damaged wiring and pipes running through your attic. While this type of damage is problematic all on its own, the biggest issue is that it makes your home susceptible to water leaks and flooding.

The structural damage caused by water leaking through your roof into your home can be devastating. Mold, mildew, rot, and fried electrical wiring (fire risk!) are all caused by moisture buildup. Water leaks can also cause damage to your rafters, ceiling joists, and wall framing.

Repairing or replacing your roof is a significant investment, so take special care to keep bugs and rodents as far away as possible.

Common Bugs & Rodents That Damage Your Roof

Rats & Mice
Rats and Mice are a risk to your roof all year long. However, you’ll want to keep an extra close eye on things during the fall and winter. During these months, these critters will be trying to escape the cold and make a warm nest for the winter.

Termites
Termites love to eat wood and will often target roof decking, rafters, and trusses. Thankfully, as long as you catch the issue early-on, termite damage in the roof can usually be easily repaired.

Birds
Though you may not pay attention to birds sitting on your roof, be aware that a buildup of acidic bird droppings can eat away at the shingles and sheathing of your roof.

Insulation Damage

Insects and rodents living in your insulation mean trouble.

The purpose of insulation is to keep your house warm or cool, depending on the time of year. Bugs that chew holes through this material allow air and energy to easily pass through your insulation, completely undermining the effects of the material.

Creatures living in your insulation can also lead to food accumulation in your walls. This exposes your home to mold growth and rot. Left unchecked, you may be faced with having to open up your walls and completely replace your insulation.

Common Bugs and Wildlife that Live in Your Insulation

Raccoons
These little bandits love the quiet and cozy insulation of your home and are known for being very destructive. They also carry diseases and ticks into your home and so should always be handled by a professional.

Carpenter Ants
Carpenter Ants are known for clearing spaces for nesting purposes. These little insects can inhabit all types of insulation, including plant-based and fiberglass materials.

Bees
Bees – especially bumblebees – love making their nests out of dry materials. This makes insulation the perfect candidate. Bees of any variety can be very aggressive if disturbed, so never attempt to remove a nest on your own.

Hardwood Flooring Damage

Hardwood flooring is a popular (and beautiful) home feature, but it’s also the prime target for a number of wood-boring creatures. Insects that feed on, chew through, and live in your wood flooring can create small to large holes and can even cause your floor to disintegrate and crumble.

Insect damage is a top reason Pacific Northwest homeowners end up replacing their hardwood floors. Hardwood floor installations are expensive, so make sure you watch for signs of bugs and take care of any issues right away.

Common Pests That Damage Hardwood Floors

Carpenter Ants
Carpenter Ants are particularly attracted to older hardwood flooring, or a floor that has previous damage from water or other pests. These big ants are experts at hollowing out wood.

Termites
When it comes to wood damage, Termites are often the main culprit. Termites eat wood and their bodies convert the fiber of the wood into sugar. Because they munch on your floor from the inside out, Termite damage often isn’t noticeable right away.

Beetles
Wood Boring Beetles can cause damage to both hard and softwoods, so these insects are ones to watch out for. Beetles damage your flooring when their larvae bore into the wood through surface cracks. Wood Boring Beetles also cause a lot of damage within your flooring, not just on the surface level.

Foundation Issues

Your home’s structural integrity relies on the strength of its foundation. Your foundation supports your walls, windows, floors, and roof, so when it’s damaged, it can set off a domino effect for the rest of your home’s structure.

Foundations made out of wood are prone to insect damage. Additionally, moisture and water leaks around your foundation can attract and fuel the infestation of a variety of bugs that will continue to weaken your home’s structure.

Pests That Cause Foundation Issues

Carpenter Ants
As we mentioned above, Carpenter Ants love wood surfaces. Even if your foundation is primarily made of concrete, these insects will still be attracted to any wooden support features. This is especially true if you have any moisture in your foundation.

Termites
Just like Carpenter Ants, Termites cannot damage concrete foundations. However, they will be attracted to structural supports made of wood. This is especially true when there is direct wood to ground contact.

Prevent Structural Damage to Your Home

If you’re concerned about a bug infestation or rodent damage in your Portland home, contact us immediately. It’s important to get professional pest control help as soon as you notice an issue. Even if you don’t notice any structural damage, it’s best to get an annual pest inspection to ensure there aren’t problems hidden below the surface.

Learn more about our eco-friendly and effective pest control methods here. Or give us a call at (503) 222-5566 to learn more.

10 Bugs & Rodents That Are Dangerous to Pets

Watching your dog or cat chase after a bug, spider, or other critter can be amusing. But did you know certain creepy crawlers here in the Pacific Northwest are dangerous to your pet’s health?

In today’s blog post, we’ll help you understand which pests and rodents to keep away from your pets. We’ll also touch on what to do if your cat or dog comes in contact with a poisonous creature, and how to make sure these types of critters stay out of your home.

Let’s get started!

 

Common Diseases Bugs & Rodents Transmit to Pets

Why is it important to help your pet avoid contact with certain bugs and rodents? The same reason you don’t want to come into contact with these creatures yourself…safety!

Take a look at some diseases bugs and rodents in the Portland and Vancouver area commonly carry.

  • Heartworm (and other parasites)
  • Lyme Disease
  • Parvo
  • Rabies

 

Portland Bugs & Rodents To Keep Away From Your Pet

We all know Fleas are an annoyance, risk, and common issue for animals. While it’s important to keep your pups or kittens free of fleas, there are a number of other less-commonly thought of pests you should make sure your furry friends avoid.

Mosquitoes

Just like with humans, Mosquitoes are a nuisance for dogs and cats, too. These blood-sucking insects can bite your pet and cause itching and irritation. Even more serious is the spread of bacteria and parasites a Mosquito bite can cause.

The most problematic Mosquito-borne disease is heartworm. Mosquitoes are known to carry and transmit this disease from one animal to another. If your dog spends a lot of time outside, do your best to eliminate large areas of standing water, as this is an easy magnet for Mosquitoes.

Ticks

Ticks are very common in Oregon. These insects are often found in wooded and long grassy areas and will latch onto your pet as they cruise by. Once attached, Ticks are very difficult to remove, and if left alone, they will feed on your pet’s blood until fully engorged. This can range from 3 to 11 days, and in some species up to 3 years!

Ticks are very dangerous to your pets. These bugs have been known to consume so much of your pet’s blood that they cause anemia. Female ticks can also cause a rare paralysis in your animal as a result of a toxin it produces while feeding. Deer Ticks are especially problematic to your pet (and to you!) as they carry Lyme disease.

Use a regular Tick & Flea treatment on your pet to keep these blood suckers at bay. Additionally, make sure to inspect your pet’s coat and skin for ticks after every outdoor adventure.

Stink Bugs

Stink Bugs are mostly harmless in the sense that they won’t bite or sting your pet. However, if your dog or cat decides this bug is a nice snack, they can lead to an upset stomach, including vomiting and diarrhea.

In a worse case scenario, eating too many stink bugs can cause problems in your pet’s digestive tract, often resulting in surgery.

Caterpillars

If your pet notices and is curious about a Caterpillar, it’s best to steer him or her in the other direction. Some types of Caterpillars can sting and transmit venom to your pet.

Other Caterpillar species–the Wooly Bear Caterpillar, for example– have microscopic hairs that can get stuck in your pet’s mouth and throat, causing coughing, gagging, and excessive salivation.

Venomous Spiders & Bees

If you don’t want to be stung by it, your pet doesn’t either! Poisonous insect bites and stings from spiders and bees are very dangerous to your pet. This is especially true if you have a small animal, such as a cat or a toy-breed dog.

Venomous spiders like the Brown Recluse or the Black Widow can cause neuromuscular damage in your pet with a single bite. And Bees like Yellow Jackets are known to cause allergic reactions, mouth pain, and swelling in animals.

If you’re experiencing a Spider or Bee problem in your home, it’s very important (for both you and your pet’s safety) to eliminate the infestation as soon as possible.

Cockroaches

The good news with Cockroaches is they tend to steer clear of dogs and cats, running to hide if they encounter a pet. However, Cockroaches are attracted to pet food. If roaches are sharing your pet’s meals, there’s a good chance they’re also sharing bacteria and viral diseases with them.

A great way to avoid this problem is to only keep his or her food bowl out during meal time. A bowl filled with food, sitting out at all times is a magnet for hungry Cockroaches.

Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder Bugs aren’t incredibly dangerous to your pooch or feline, but they can make them feel sick. Thankfully, these bugs have an extremely foul taste, so most animals will avoid eating large quantities (though cats tend to be more likely to snack on these bugs than dogs).

If your pet does ingest a Boxelder Bug, it may cause him or her to salivate excessively or start vomiting.

Ants

Ants can bite and hurt dogs and cats, causing irritation to the skin. Fire Ants are especially dangerous to your pets, as their venom can cause an allergic reaction.

Additionally, if you have an ant problem in your home, chances are they’ll find a way into your pet’s food. Other than just being a huge nuisance, this can lead to ants biting your pet’s face and your pet not wanting to eat anymore.

Mice & Rats

Though it may seem natural for your cat or dog to chase down a Mouse or Rat, ingesting these rodents can have bad consequences for your furry best friend. Rodents are known for carrying many awful diseases–from parasites like Roundworms to infections such as Toxoplasma. These diseases can be transferred to your pet.

Additionally, there’s a small risk of secondary rodent bait poisoning, where your pet eats a rodent who has recently ingested poisonous bait.

If you’re dealing with a Mouse or Rat problem in your home, keep your pet safe by seeking help from an experienced exterminator.

Raccoons

They may look cute, but Raccoons are not an animal you want to mess with. Not only can these critters cause property damage, they’re also known to attack cats and dogs.

Raccoons carry many diseases, but the most frightening is Rabies. Rabies can be transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal and is a public health threat that is fatal to both pets and animals.

Always avoid allowing your pet to chase after or get near a Raccoon.

 

What if My Pet Eats a Poisonous Bug or Rodent?

Was your cat just playing with a poisonous spider? Did your dog get in a fight with a raccoon? Depending on the type of critter you pet comes into contact with, emergency care may be necessary.

It’s always best to consult with your veterinarian immediately following an insect or rodent incident.

If you’re not sure whether or not your pet has been in contact with a poisonous creature, keep an eye out for some common signs of a problem, including:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Swollen face or mouth
  • Rash
  • Worms in the stool
  • Changes in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Other uncharacteristic behavior

 

Be Careful When Exterminating Bugs & Rodents

Even if a bug or rodent isn’t hurting your pet, extermination treatments can. A rodent trap may snap closed on your pet’s curious nose or paw. Pets often accidentally ingest extermination sprays and other poisonous substances meant for insects and rodents.

According to the ASPCA, every year thousands of beloved family pets suffer and may die from accidental ingestion of household poisons…particularly insecticides and rodenticides.

When considering a pest extermination method, always choose a pest control company that uses a method that’s safe for you and your family…including your animals!

 

Keep Your Animals Safe with Pet-Friendly Pest Control

At EcoCare Pest Control, we eliminate pests in the most environmentally sensitive manner. Our approach to pest control is tough on pests, and completely safe for both people and pets!

If you have pets and are dealing with an insect or rodent problem in your home, contact us! We’d love to talk with you and learn how we can help make your home a safer place for your pet.

7 Common Summer and Fall Pests in Portland & Vancouver

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.

Boxelder Bug

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.

Ants

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:

  • Piles of wood shavings
  • Foraging trails outside your home
  • High moisture areas of your home (basements & crawlspaces)

Be careful because carpenter ants have a strong bite and can break your skin. Calling a professional pest control company is always recommended.


Rodents

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:

  • Maintain your yard, keep weeds and plants from growing up against your house
  • Seal off entrance points into your house
  • Keep food stored in airtight containers

Bed Bugs

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:

  • Reddish-black spots on your sheets
  • Small brown ovals in the crevices of your mattress
  • A musty odor
  • Small red bites on your skin

If you believe you have a bed bug infestation, it’s important you deal with it as quickly as possible.

Bees, Hornets, and Yellow Jackets

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:

  • Do not swat at insects or flail your arms
  • Stay calm and slowly walk away from the area
  • Keep garbage cans tightly sealed
  • Be on the lookout for nests when mowing the lawn or doing other yard work
  • Always contact a professional; don’t attempt to remove a nest on your own

Yellow Jackets

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

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

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.

Mosquitos

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:

  • Use insect repellent when spending time outside
  • Set up mosquito repellent stations in your yard
  • Drain standing water from unused flower pots, tarps, or anything else in your yard that collects water

Fleas & Ticks

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.

Fleas

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

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.

Rest Easy All Year With Eco-Shield Pest Insurance

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!