How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Bowl of fruit

Nothing’s worse than reaching for a piece of fruit, just to realize it’s covered in dozens of tiny flies. Fruit flies are one of the most common household pests in the United States and infestations can spread incredibly quickly. Though it can be frustrating to deal with these tiny pests, there are some simple techniques you can use to treat an outbreak. Here are a few steps you can follow to get rid of fruit flies:

Eliminate Water Sources

Like most pests, fruit flies need water to survive. Removing any sources of water is a great way to prevent fruit flies from settling into your home. Check for moisture issues caused by problems like leaky plumbing or a dripping faucet, and avoid leaving cups of water out in the open.

Store Food in Airtight Containers

Fruit flies feed on a variety of foods, from ripe produce to juice to leftovers. To keep fruit flies away from your snacks while also preventing them from feeding and breeding, be sure to store your food in airtight containers. If you like to keep fruit or vegetables out on the counter, protect them with mesh covers.

Sweep Up Food Crumbs

It doesn’t take much to feed a tiny fruit fly. Even small crumbs on the counter or floor could be enough to sustain an infestation. Regularly wiping down your countertops and sweeping or vacuuming your floors will cut off their food supply. 

Clean Away Food Residue

Fruit flies are attracted to food residue as much as they are to crumbs and leftovers. Try to routinely wipe down your chairs, tables, garbage bins, and other areas that may come into contact with food. If you have a garbage disposal, you may also want to regularly clean it or flush it with water.

Dispose of Trash in Lidded Bins

Many pests feed on trash, and fruit flies are no different. Disposing of trash in tightly lidded bins – both indoors and outdoors – is a great way to keep fruit flies and other pests from feeding on your food waste.

Contact a Professional

A fruit fly infestation can be frustrating and difficult to control. If you have tried these steps and still aren’t seeing results, it may be time to contact a pest control expert who can identify and treat the root cause of the problem. At United Pest Solutions, it’s our goal to provide you with reliable solutions that will keep your home pest-free long-term. With over 60 years of experience serving the greater Seattle WA area, our skilled team is prepared to help you get rid of fruit flies for good. To get great pest control services, contact our team today!

Are Carpet Beetles Dangerous?

What a carpet beetle looks like in the Seattle WA area - United Pest Solutions

What a carpet beetle looks like in the Seattle WA area - United Pest SolutionsCarpet beetles are a very common pest in the Pacific Northwest, and they’re known for sneaking indoors – especially once the weather gets cold. Though these insects are not known to bite or spread serious diseases, they aren’t totally harmless. Carpet beetles can actually lead to a number of health issues, including:

  • Digestive issues. The small hairs of carpet beetle larvae can get on food and cause irritation throughout the digestive tract.
  • Respiratory problems. Carpet beetles can be particularly dangerous for individuals who suffer from allergies or asthma. Over time they may shed tiny particles or hairs, which can lower indoor air quality and cause respiratory issues.
  • Eye irritation. Tiny airborne fibers or hairs from carpet beetle larvae can cause eye irritation, though this is usually only a problem during serious or long-term exposure.

Are Carpet Beetles Destructive?

In addition to being a health hazard, carpet beetles can be very destructive to your home and personal belongings. Since these beetles are omnivores, they will eat almost anything they find. While foraging around, carpet beetles can damage all sorts of household items, such as:

  • Carpets
  • Blankets
  • Leather
  • Furniture
  • Clothing
  • Bedding
  • Food

How to Prevent Carpet Beetles

A carpet beetle infestation can be damaging to your home and health, but thankfully there are some steps you can take to prevent these pests from getting indoors in the first place. Here are some ways to keep carpet beetles out of your home:

  • Keep your yard clean and tidy.
  • Avoid bringing pollinated plants indoors.
  • Declutter your home and vacuum regularly.
  • Store food in airtight containers.

A carpet beetle infestation can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to deal with it alone! If you are struggling with carpet beetles in your home, call United Pest Solutions to get professional help! Our pest control specialists can help you find long-term solutions that treat the root cause of the infestation, so you can enjoy a pest-free and stress-free home. Just give us a call today to get started!

Late Summer Pests in the Pacific Northwest

United Pest talks about the late summer pests in the Pacific Northwest.

Family enjoying a BBQ. United Pest talks about the late summer pests in the Pacific Northwest.

[2021 Update]

Summer brings warm weather and longer days, but it also brings pests. As you anticipate your pest control needs this summer, keep in mind the various pests that invade homes and businesses in the Pacific Northwest during this time of year.

Here are some of the most common invaders and tips to help control them.

Common Late Summer Pests in the PNW

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are one of the most common pests discovered in hotel rooms. Since summertime is a time when many families travel, it’s important to stay on guard. Remember, these pests are great at hitchhiking.

Ticks

Ticks can transmit diseases to humans, some of which are considered harmful. These pests breed in the summer and live in tall grassy, or wooded areas and on pets.

Ants

These tiny pests start to come out in the springtime and stay around during the warmer summer months. You’ll most often see them out on pavement but after a good rainfall, they may make their way into your home seeking dry shelter.

Flies

If you’re having a lot of gatherings outside your home that involve food, you’re likely to see flies buzzing around. They like food and warmth. So summer BBQs are a good recipe for attracting flies.

Stinging Insects

Like flies, stinging insects including bees, hornets, and wasps prefer warmer weather. Since they’re out more during this time of year, the chances of someone coming near a nest are higher.

Mosquitoes

This time of year is famously known for its high number of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so mosquito problems may increase after heavy rain.

Wildlife

As summer turns to fall several critters, including squirrels and raccoons, may start planning ahead to the winter months, looking for warm shelter. This may involve them invading your home, damaging it in the process.

Termites

Subterranean termites and Dampwood termites live in the Pacific Northwest. They will make nests in your soil and in any wood items you may have around your home including old wood stumps.

How to Prevent Pests During Late Summer

  • Eliminate standing water: like previously mentioned, mosquitoes breed in standing water. So eliminating these sources will help reduce mosquitoes on your property. Think buckets, tarps, birdbaths, and flower pots.
  • Keep your grass trimmed: this will help reduce mosquitoes and help
    prevent ticks.
  • Relocate firewood: if you keep firewood on your property, store it away from your home and if possible keep it elevated.
  • Properly seal your home: ensure windows, doors, and garage doors aren’t kept open for long periods of time and install or repair any screens.

Pest Control Seattle

If you’ve tried these methods or already have a pest infestation on your property, we can help! United Pest Solutions is your local source for pest control in the Seattle area. Our certified technicians will identify which type of pest you have and find a solution. So contact us today!

7 Ways to Prevent Yellowjackets

Man trimming shrub. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA and Everett WA offers 7 tips to help prevent yellowjackets.

Man trimming shrub. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA and Everett WA offers 7 tips to help prevent yellowjackets.

The arrival of summer means grilling, hiking, and vacations, but it’s also peak season for yellowjackets. To help prevent painful stings and swarms while you enjoy your outdoor areas, follow these tips from United Pest Solutions.

1. Trim Trees

If you have trees that are touching your home, you may want to prune them. This is a great way to help prevent many pests from easily invading your home, from rodents to yellowjackets.

2. Remove Standing Water

Yellowjackets need water to stay hydrated, so your birdbath or clogged gutters may be attracting these stinging insects to your home. Consider removing these sources of standing water to help deter yellowjackets.

3. Make Repairs

Yellowjackets will take advantage of small holes in your home to build nests. Inspect your soffits on a regular basis and make sure to seal up any holes that would allow the yellow jacket access to a wall void. Check your windows for gaps as well, so these stinging insects don’t fly into your home. If necessary, consider touch-up painting. Yellowjackets love bare wood, so any flaking or peeling paint areas will be prime candidates for nesting or obtaining nesting materials.

4. Clean-Up Food Waste

Yellowjackets love soda, juice, and other sweets, especially in late summer. They’re also meat-eaters which is why you often see yellowjackets swarm your BBQs and picnics. Clean up crumbs, keep your garbage bins tightly closed, as far away from people as possible, and cover your drinks to help keep yellowjackets away.

5. Avoid Perfume

If you’ll be spending a lot of time outside, consider skipping scented bath products as yellowjackets are attracted to sweet-smelling scents.

6. Landscape Wisely

Yellowjackets are attracted to certain plants, especially blossoming flowers. Keep these stinging insects away from your property by avoiding plants they love such as cherry blossoms, hydrangeas, and clover.

7. Work With a Pest Professional

More than 500,000 people are sent to the emergency room every year because of stinging insects. So if you’re dealing with yellowjackets or other wasps on your property, don’t attempt to remove the nest on your own. Turn to a pest professional such as United Pest Solutions. We provide yellowjacket removal services in the greater Seattle WA area. We’ll quickly and safely remove your yellowjacket nest so you can return to enjoying your outdoor activities.

6 Tips for Keeping Ants Away This Summer

Woman stacking clear food containers. United Pest Solutions offers 6 tips for preventing ants.

Woman stacking clear food containers. United Pest Solutions offers 6 tips for preventing ants.Ants are everywhere in the Seattle area. While you may not think they’re a problem, the truth is they can contaminate your food and affect your home’s structural integrity. To help keep these tiny pests outside where they belong, follow these tips from United Pest Solutions.

Indoor Ant Prevention Tips

Store Food Properly

This may come as no surprise, but ants are attracted to food. Store your food in airtight containers and avoid leaving pet dishes out all day.

Clean Up

Ants feed on crumbs, trash, and pantry products and will likely invade your home if they sense food in your pantry or garbage can. In addition to storing food properly, also make sure to clean up spills immediately. This will help disrupt any pheromone trails they’ve left behind.

Reduce Moisture

Many pests are attracted to water, including ants. Repair any water leaks or drips in your home.

Outdoor Ant Prevention Tips

Seal Entrances

Ants can easily fit through the smallest of cracks in your home. It is helpful to seal these gaps with caulk. Pay particular attention to windows, doors, and around pipes that lead into your home.

Remove Debris

Stones, leaves, and other yard debris make great nesting grounds so clear yard debris to help deter ants from your property. If possible, cut back trees touching the house or roofline as this acts as a superhighway for ants. Also, ants love dense low-lying vegetation or ground cover. Work to either eliminate those areas if practical or attempt to keep those areas at least 3 feet away from the house if possible. Basically, the less vegetation near the house the better.

Relocate Firewood

Firewood, especially moist and damaged firewood is a huge ant attractant. If you keep firewood on your property, move it away from your home and on a raised structure.

Experts in Ant Control

In some cases, the only way to completely treat and prevent an ant infestation is to work with a qualified pest professional who can locate and remove the nests, like United Pest Solutions. We’ve been offering safe and effective pest control solutions in the greater Seattle WA area since 1960. Contact us today to learn how we can help you have a pest-free home.

 

Prevent Starlings From Nesting in Your Home

Perched Starling. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA provides expert advice on how to prevent Starlings from nesting in your home.

Perched Starling. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA provides expert advice on how to prevent Starlings from nesting in your home.European Starlings are a common nuisance pest in the Pacific Northwest. These birds were introduced to North America in the late 1800s and since then, have grown significantly in population, making Starling control necessary.

Starlings are loud, they can spread harmful diseases, and can cause damage to homes. Learn more about Starlings and how to help keep them away from your home.

Problems Caused by Starlings

Starlings are known for the millions of dollars of crop destruction they cause yearly. They are also aggressive with native birds, and they’re known to carry diseases including Salmonella and blastomycosis — which can be harmful to livestock and people.

These birds are also quite adept at establishing nests in small cracks and crevices in buildings. They will use their beaks to break through any air vents around your home. Nests will not only damage your home, but they can also:

  • Create potential fire hazards
  • Clog drainpipes and gutters
  • Clog air vents
  • Cause water damage
  • Spread mites

How to Protect Your Home from Starlings

There are several things you can do to help keep Starlings away from your home.

  • Apply wood, sheet metal or other materials at an angle to help prevent Starlings from roosting on building ledges
  • Seal gaps and crevices with sealant
  • Install fixing wire, netting or plastic over areas that are vulnerable to Starlings
  • Remove bird feeders or install wiring over them to only allow smaller birds access
  • Remove nest boxes that have perches
  • Cover fruit and vegetable crops with flexible bird netting
  • Try a visual deterrent like a plastic owl

In addition to the above tips, sanitation is also important for deterring Starlings because it helps eliminate food and water sources for these pests. You’ll want to keep your gutters clean to prevent water from pooling and keep your trash in sealed receptacles. Sound devices are another method of controlling Starlings.

If you’ve tried these methods and Starlings still won’t leave your property, you may want to contact your local pest control company. They will be able to provide you with other control techniques to get rid of your Starling problem for good.

10 Tips to Keep Your Backyard BBQ Pest Free

Charcoal grill outside of home. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA offers tips to keep your BBQ pest-free.

United Pest Solutions provides expert advice on keeping your BBQ pest free in Seattle WA

[2021 Update]

It’s officially summer and one of the highlights during these warm months are backyard BBQs. To ensure your BBQ isn’t ruined by ants, flies, or wasps, follow these helpful tips from United Pest Solutions.

Make Necessary Repairs

Inspect your home, looking for any signs of cracks or holes in window screens or doors. This will keep summer pests outside. Also, remind guests to close doors tightly behind them when entering and exiting your home.

Carry Mosquito Repellent

Mosquitoes are most active at night. If your BBQ is in the evening, have an EPA-approved repellent with DEET or picaridin on hand to ward off mosquitoes.

Remove Standing Water

Remove or drain any sources of stagnant water in your yard including bird baths, garden ponds, and wading pools. Mosquitoes and wasps are especially attracted to standing water. In fact, mosquitoes only need about a bottle cap full of water to breed.

Avoid Perfumes

Yellowjackets and other stinging insects are attracted to sweet-smelling fragrances that can come from perfumes, hair products, candles and food so consider skipping scented bath products if you know you’ll be spending a lot of time outside.

Keep Food Covered

Keep food and drinks covered or keep them in sealed coolers to help deter ants, flies, and wasps.

Clean Up Spills

Pick up trash and crumbs immediately and wipe up any spills. Ants and flies are especially attracted to leftover food.

Serve Indoors and Eat Outdoors

Serving food and drinks indoors and using the outdoor space for eating and entertaining keeps the majority of food inside, therefore keeping pests away.

Pest Removal Solutions

We hope these tips help but if these measures still don’t work, you can count on your local pest professionals at United Pest Solutions. We’ve been providing high-quality pest control services in the greater Seattle WA area since 1960. To schedule a personalized quote, contact us today!

Common Spring Pests in the Pacific Northwest

Yellow jacks on a sandwich. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA talks about the common spring pests in the Pacific Northwest.

Yellow jacks on a sandwich. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA talks about the common spring pests in the Pacific Northwest. Ah spring, a time for warmer weather, sunshine, blooming-plants…and pests! When the cold weather subsides, we often get caught up in the excitement of the season change that we forget about pests being abundant this time of year.

Many pests emerge in spring looking for places to nest and food to eat–which can lead them into your home. To help prevent your spring from being ruined by a pest infestation, here are some common pests to lookout for and what you can do to stop them in their tracks.

Ants

The two most common ant species in the Pacific Northwest are odorous house ants and carpenter ants.

Odorous house ants, commonly referred to as sugar ants, are a nuisance more than anything. They’ll send scouts into your home in search of food, and when they find it, they’ll signal the others to come on over.

Carpenter ants are wood-destroying pests that cause a lot of property damage every year. These ants are smaller than most ant species and they favor damp or rotting wood. When they find favorable wood, they’ll excavate through it to build their nests. Because they’re most active at night and are hidden, carpenter ants are difficult to locate.

There are several steps you can take to deter ants, including:

  • Trimming back shrubs away from your home
  • Keeping all surfaces clean
  • Sealing holes and gaps
  • Ensure windows and doors are sealed

Spiders

Most spiders are harmless and don’t have enough venom to cause severe harm, but there are a couple that are considered dangerous in the Seattle area–the black widow spider and the yellow sac spider. However, the most common spiders you may encounter are the giant house spider, domestic house spider, jumping spider, and the funnel web spider.

Many people often forget that spiders are beneficial to our environment as they help control other pests such as flies, moths, and earwigs.

Here are some tips to help protect your home from spiders.

  • Remove clutter
  • Trim vegetation
  • Fill gaps around the home
  • Ensure windows and doors are snug fitting
  • Remove other insects, which spiders feed on

Stinging Insects

Yellowjackets and honey bees are the most common stinging insects during spring. Honey bees are considered beneficial as they pollinate growing plants and trees. Yellowjackets, on-the-other-hand, are very aggressive and territorial. If they’re provoked or feel threatened, they may sting multiple times.

Here are some tips to help keep yellowjackets away from your property.

  • Remove standing water
  • Cover trash cans properly
  • Cover any holes in the ground
  • Keep doors and windows shut
  • Inspect decks, under eaves, and other wood structures as some wasps build their nests using wood fiber

Spring Pest Control in Seattle WA

Now that you know more about the common spring pests in the Pacific Northwest, you are one step closer to preventing an infestation. If you’ve tried the suggestions above or want professional help, turn to United Pest Solutions. We’ve served the greater Seattle area since 1960.

Common Ants in the Pacific Northwest

A close up of an ant on a leaf. United Pest Solutions, serving Kirkland WA and Seattle WA talks about common ants in the Pacific Northwest.

Ants on a kitchen counter. United Pest Solutions, serving Kirkland WA and Seattle WA talks about the common ants in the Pacific Northwest. From spiders to rodents, the Pacific Northwest is home to many pests, but the most common household pest is the ant. Not all ants are the same and if you have an ant infestation, you’ll want to know which type you’re dealing with so you can take appropriate action.

Fortunately, United Pest Solutions is here for you. In this article, we’ll list the common types you may encounter and how you can prevent them.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are generally easier to identify than other ants because of their large size and dark color. They’re also the most damaging of all the different ant species because they build nests by tunneling through wood–a behavior that homeowners often mistake for termite damage.

To help prevent carpenter ants, you’ll want to remove any dead stumps from your property and repair water leaks.

Odorous House Ants

Odorous house ants are generally dark brown to black and measure around 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch. They typically nest in walls and under floors of buildings. These ants get their name for the foul odor they emit when crushed, which smells similar to rotting coconut. In addition to producing unpleasant odors in your home, odorous house ants can also contaminate your food.

The best way to treat odorous house ants is to have pest control technicians seal wall openings and apply treatments. You’ll also want to store food properly and clean up spills to help keep odorous house ants away.

Pavement Ants

Like odorous house ants, pavement ants are also dark brown to black in color. They’re about ⅛ of an inch in length and are usually found near paved areas of the home, hence their name. Pavement ants often get inside of homes through cracks in the foundation. Once inside, they’ll feast on greasy foods, sweets, and even pet food. Pavement ants also have the ability to contaminate your food supply.

To keep pavement ants away, seal cracks around your home and clean up spills.

Moisture Ants

Moisture ants are yellow, brown, or black in color and measure around ⅛ of an inch. As their name suggests, these ants prefer moist environments. You’ll typically find them in damp soil, underneath rocks, and near dead wood.

Repair water leaks and ensure your rain gutters work well to help keep moisture ants away.

Professional Ant Control

Ants are social insects, which means they live in large and structured colonies—so if you see one ant, there are likely many more nearby. If you suspect an ant infestation or want help deterring ants, United Pest Solutions can help.

When you contact us, we’ll conduct a thorough inspection of your property to locate entry points, identify the ant species, and determine how severe your infestation is. Then, we’ll discuss our findings with you and recommend an action plan.

If you’re interested in our ant control services, contact us to schedule an appointment!

5 Rodent Control Tips for Winter

Rat in a cupboard. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA talks about 5 rodent control tips for winter.

Rat in a cupboard. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA talks about 5 rodent control tips for winter.Cold weather can cause more than just higher heating bills. Cooler temperatures can also lead to rodent infestations. Rodents can contaminate food and spread potentially harmful diseases to your family such as salmonella and Hantavirus. Plus, rodents can also cause structural damage by chewing on wood, insulation, and electrical wiring.

At United Pest Solutions, we know preventing a rodent infestation is much easier than treating one so we are offering tips to help keep rodents away this winter.

1. Trim Back Shrubbery and Trees

Rodents will climb on tree branches and shrubs to access your home, especially roof rats. Make it harder for rodents to reach your home by cutting tree branches that hang over your home and trimming hedges that hug your home.

2. Secure Windows and Doors

Rodents can squeeze through openings smaller than their bodies. With this in mind, you’ll want to repair or replace any damaged window screens. As for doors, you can install a door sweep to the bottom of your door and add weather stripping to the door frame. This will prevent rodents from gaining access into your home and improve your energy efficiency.

3. Seal Cracks

Seal cracks and holes outside of your home, including areas where pipes and utility lines enter, using caulk, steel wool, or a combination of both. Homeowners with chimneys should also consider a chimney cap.

4. Store Food Properly

Rodents are looking for more than just a warm place to stay–they also need food. Store food, including pet food in airtight plastic storage containers with lids. This will keep curious rodents out as well as keep food fresh. Also, wipe countertops and pantry shelves to remove food residue and sweep up crumbs.

5. Declutter

Eliminate clutter wherever possible to reduce nesting places for rodents. These pests will gnaw on cardboard, newspapers, insulation, and books to create nests so store your belongings in plastic containers with lids.

Need Rodent Control?

We know how troublesome rodents can be, so make sure your Seattle WA area home is protected against rodents by contacting United Pest Solutions. We specialize in rodent control and exclusion so we’ll treat your rodent problem and help prevent it from recurring.