Common Summer Pests in the Pacific Northwest

Image of a wasp on a flower - common summertime pests - United Pest Solutions in Seattle WA

Few things are better than sitting outside on a warm summer’s day… that is, unless you’re having to battle pests the whole time! It can be difficult to relax if you need to defend yourself from bugs every few minutes, which is why it’s useful to know what pests to expect in the summer and how you can avoid them. Here are the most common summer pests in the Pacific Northwest and what you can do to keep them away:

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are infamous for their annoying buzzing and itchy, irritating bites. Though these pests are one of the most common in the world, they are also one of the most dangerous. Since they are blood-sucking parasites, they are capable of spreading serious diseases to their hosts – despite only feeding for a few seconds or minutes. While it may feel impossible to completely avoid mosquitoes, there are a few preventative measures you can take to avoid infestations or bites:

  • Remove sources of standing water from your property
  • Wear thick and long-sleeved clothing when possible
  • Consider wearing an EPA-certified insect repellent

Bees, Wasps, & Hornets

Stinging insects are one of the most feared summertime pests, and understandably so. Stings can be quite painful and for some people could even be deadly. Especially for individuals with allergies or vulnerable small children, it’s important to avoid these pests as much as possible. Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to stay safe from bees, wasps, and hornets:

  • Properly dispose of trash and food scraps in lidded bins
  • Avoid leaving out pet food or other possible food sources
  • ALWAYS contact a wasp specialist if you encounter an infestation

Ants

A pile of ants can be unsightly – especially if they start moving toward your home or kitchen. Since these pests are most active in warm weather, it’s useful to know how to keep ants at bay no matter the season. Here are some ways you can keep ants out of your home this summer:

  • Regularly clean your floors and countertops
  • Avoid leaving food out and store trash in lidded bins
  • Seal any cracks or openings that lead into your home

Bed Bugs

Since bed bugs are active year-round and primarily infest indoor spaces, many people are surprised to discover that their populations surge in the summertime. Bed bug infestations are more likely to occur during the warmer months for two main reasons: first, the heat encourages the insects to feed and breed. And second, humans do a lot more traveling over the summer. Luckily, there are some preventative measures you can take to avoid bed bugs even while traveling:

  • Carefully inspect hotel or guest rooms before staying the night
  • Vacuum your luggage and wash your laundry upon returning home
  • Cover your luggage as you travel or use a hard-backed suitcase

Your Local Pest Control Experts

While there are several steps you can take to keep yourself safe from the common summertime pests here in the Pacific Northwest, sometimes infestations are inevitable. If you are dealing with pests in your home or property, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at United Pest Solutions! We have proudly served the Seattle metropolitan area since 1960, and it’s our goal to provide you with effective, affordable, and long-term solutions that you can rely on. Contact us today if you need help getting rid of your summer pests!

How to Spot a Bed Bug Infestation

Identifying a bed bug infestation in Seattle WA - United Pest Solutions

Identifying a bed bug infestation in Seattle WA - United Pest SolutionsBed bug infestations can be very challenging to get rid of, especially if they have the chance to spread throughout your home. Spotting an infestation early can help you get rid of these pests quickly. However, since bed bugs are so small and good at hiding, it’s important to know where to look for these insects in your home so you can spot an infestation early on.

Common Places Where Bed Bugs Hide

The best place to search for bed bugs is where a person spends the most time sleeping, like the bed, or sometimes the sofa or recliner. Look for sheltered or protected areas with lots of nooks and crannies that bed bugs could be using as hiding places. Here are some of the most common hiding places for bed bugs at or near the areas described above:

  • Windowsills, including drapery
  • Baseboards
  • Piping or seams of mattresses
  • The bottom of box springs
  • Headboards and bed frame
  • Electrical outlets
  • Pet beds or kennels
  • Furniture like nightstands or dressers

Signs of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are tiny insects, measuring from very tiny to about the size of an apple seed. Because of their small size, you’ll want to look for several signs of an infestation rather than just relying on finding live bed bugs. The biggest signs of an infestation to look out for include:

  • Shed skins. As bed bugs grow through the different stages of their lifecycle, they shed pale amber-colored skins. If you are experiencing an infestation, you will likely spot these skins in nooks and crannies that are near food sources.
  • Fecal matter. After bed bugs consume a meal, they may leave behind some fecal matter. Their feces are small and usually look like small, black dots about the size of a pen tip, and they are generally located near their host.
  • Bloodstains. To help feed on blood, bed bugs will insert an anticoagulant into the skin of their host. This can cause the host to bleed a little, which may cause smears or spots of blood on your bed, sofa, or other feeding areas.
  • Eggs or shells. Bed bug eggs are only about 1 mm in length, so they can be difficult to spot. However, these small and whitish eggs may be located near prime feeding areas, and they are a telltale sign of an infestation.
  • Strong odor. Heavy bed bug infestations often come with a distinctive odor, which has been described as smelling like coriander, moldy shoes, or musty clothes. If you notice a similar scent and can’t find the source, it could be bed bugs.
  • Live insects. Bed bugs usually don’t come out until after you’re asleep. However, if you do happen to see live insects, then you are definitely dealing with an infestation and should call a professional as soon as possible.

What to Do If You Have Bed Bugs

A bed bug infestation is a nightmare for a lot of homeowners, especially because of how difficult these pests are to eradicate. However, you don’t have to deal with it alone. If you notice the signs of bed bugs in your home, call a professional bed bug exterminator to help you eradicate these pests as quickly as possible.

At United Pest Solutions, we are proud to offer bed bug extermination services with personalized treatments that address the root cause of the infestation. We have served the greater Seattle WA metropolitan area for almost 60 years, and we are prepared to help you get rid of these pests once and for all. Call us today to get started!

How to Prevent Bed Bugs When Traveling

How to avoid bed bugs while traveling in Seattle WA - United Pest Solutions

How to avoid bed bugs while traveling in Seattle WA - United Pest SolutionsThis time of year, many of us are packing our bags and getting ready to travel for the holidays. The last thing you want to deal with is a surprise visit from a horde of bed bugs! These tricky pests can be more than just bothersome; in addition to leaving behind itchy bite marks, bed bugs can trigger serious allergic reactions and may cause anxiety or insomnia in victims.

Bed bug infestations can also be very challenging to get rid of, which is why it’s so important to avoid picking these pests up in the first place. Unfortunately, travel is the number one way that these insects spread from place to place. Knowing how to avoid bed bugs while traveling is a crucial step in keeping yourself safe from these pests. Here are our top tips for preventing bed bugs while on vacation:

Carefully Inspect Hotels and Guest Rooms

Though bed bugs can travel through clothing or luggage, you’re most likely to pick these pests up by unknowingly staying in an infested hotel or guest room. That’s why it’s so important to carefully inspect your room for signs of bed bugs before getting too cozy. Here are some of the main signs of bed bugs to look out for:

  • A strong and musty or pungent odor
  • Dark or rusty spots on bedding or walls or bloodstains on bedding
  • Fecal spots, which look like small black ink spots from a Sharpie pen
  • Pale white eggshells, which are difficult to see against light surfaces
  • Shed skins, which look like a bug but will shift or float away when disturbed

Use a Mattress Protector or Encasement

Mattress protectors and encasements are water-resistant sheets that can be placed on top of or zipped around a mattress. They are intended to shield you from all sorts of contaminants, including bed bugs. After inspecting your room for bed bugs, you can use a mattress protector or encasement for an extra layer of defense.

Seal Your Clothes in Plastic Bags

Bed bugs often travel by hiding in the folds of our clothing. So, if you leave your clothes out near an infested area, some insects could crawl into your luggage and spread to your home that way. Keeping your clothes sealed in plastic bags, even while inside your suitcase, is a great way to keep these pests from attaching to your belongings.

Vacuum Your Luggage Upon Returning

Vacuuming your luggage immediately upon returning from a trip can help you eliminate any stray insects that may have wandered into your bags. This step is particularly important if you carried your luggage through an airport, which jumbles your belongings with that of hundreds of other people.

Immediately Wash and Dry Clothes on High Heat

High temperatures can kill adult bed bugs and their eggs. Just 20 minutes of 118°F heat is enough to wipe out any existing insects. So, washing and drying your clothes on high heat is a quick and easy way to eliminate stray pests and stop an infestation before it has a chance to begin.

Store Your Suitcases in Plastic Bags

After you’ve vacuumed your suitcases, it may be valuable to wrap them in plastic bags before storing them. That way, if you missed any insects or eggs while vacuuming, they will suffocate and not be able to spread into the rest of your home.

Experienced Bed Bug Exterminators

While these steps are great ways to prevent bed bug infestations, these pests are incredibly tricky. Even a few bugs could lead to a full-blown invasion, which could be very challenging to get rid of. Thankfully, if you’re dealing with a bed bug infestation, you’re not alone. The experts at United Pest Solutions are prepared to help you quickly and safely remove these pests so you can rest easily. Just give us a call to get started!

 

How to Check for Bed Bugs on Holiday Travels

Bed bug check. United Pest Solutions in Seattle WA offers tips to help prevent bringing bed bugs home with you this Thanksgiving travel season.

Bed Bug. United Pest Solutions in Seattle WA offers tips to help prevent bringing bed bugs home with you this Thanksgiving travel season.

‘Tis the season to visit family and friends! We all want to  avoid bed bugs on holiday travels, but how do you check for bed bugs in hotels and living quarters? They hide in trains, planes, and hotel rooms. These tiny blood-sucking pests will hang out anywhere people sit for long periods of time. And unfortunately, they don’t stay put. Bed bugs will latch onto you, your luggage, purse, or backpack and hitch a ride with you to infest your next location.

Bed bugs are known for being resilient, so staying vigilant is a surefire way to help prevent an infestation. Take these precautions to keep bed bugs from ruining your travel plans this Thanksgiving.

Cover Your Luggage

It’s not uncommon to see bed bugs on planes, trains, and other modes of transportation. So before you head out on your travels, consider protecting your luggage. Use a garbage bag or other sealed cover and place your luggage inside to help keep out any potential hitchhiking bed bugs.

Inspect & Check for Bed Bugs

Regardless of where you’re staying, you’ll want to inspect and check for bed bugs. Bed bugs don’t discriminate when it comes to living quarters. Pull back the bedsheets, paying particular attention to the mattress seams as you look for bed bugs, spots, and stains. Bed bugs are small, about the size of an apple seed and their eggs look similar to a grain of white rice. Additionally, don’t forget to check chairs, headboards, nightstands, and other furniture. Bed bugs will hide out anywhere people sit for long periods of time.

If you do notice bed bugs or eggs, contact management right away and ask for a room that’s not adjacent to the infested room. Bed bugs have been known to travel by way of housekeeping carts, wall sockets, and suitcases.

Check For Bed Bugs in Luggage Upon Returning Home

Upon returning home from your travels, carefully inspect your luggage. Place suitcases and travel bags on a smooth surface, like your garage floor, as it is difficult for bed bugs to climb out of a smooth surface. Next, vacuum and hand steam your suitcases or bags before storing them.

Dry Your Fabric Items

To stay extra vigilant, before storing away your clothes, put them in the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes, even if you didn’t wear them. This also includes blankets, towels, and any stuffed animals.
If you do check for bed bugs, and find them, you can attempt DIY methods, however, professional intervention is almost always required for complete bed bug control and eradication.  It is best to contact a professional pest control company like United Pest Solutions, as bed bugs not only multiply quickly, but they are also very resilient.

Your Ghoulish Guide to Halloween Pests

Fake spiders next to fake pumpkin. United Pest Solutions talks about pests common in October and what homeowners can do to deter them.

Fake spiders next to fake pumpkin. United Pest Solutions talks about pests common in October and what homeowners can do to deter them.

It’s common this time of year to see fake spiders, cobwebs, and rats on people’s porches as Halloween approaches, but there are some real-life spooky pests that are common in the Pacific Northwest. Read more to learn about pests you’ll typically find in our area.

Spiders

While spiders are a commonly feared pest, only a few species in our area are actually dangerous. Here in the Pacific Northwest, Black Widows, and Hobo spiders are the ones you should be worried about. These spiders typically hang out in dark cooler areas where they will go undisturbed, like garages and sheds. It’s rare to be bitten by one of these spiders, but if you do get bit and you are experiencing a severe reaction, you should see a doctor immediately.

Brown Recluse spiders are another venomous spider, but contrary to belief, they aren’t native to our area. The only way you may see a brown recluse is if it traveled here from another part of the country.

If you have a spider in your home you’d like to identify, we have a helpful spider informational page. There are nearly a dozen species you can learn more about.

Rodents

The sight of a rat or mouse scurrying across your living room floor may cause you, and anyone else at that matter, to jump and shriek. The rodents common in the Pacific Northwest are the Norway rat, Roof rat, house mouse, and deer mouse. These rodents are nocturnal and are perfectly adapted to life in the Seattle area.

These rodents can be quite destructive. Not only will they chew through your belongings, electrical wires, and wood inside your homes, they can contaminate your home with their urine and droppings. And they can transmit diseases.

If you have fall decor in cardboard boxes, it may be a good idea to inspect it for any signs of rodent activity. This includes gnawing marks or droppings. And when you want to store it again, we recommend putting your decor in plastic boxes with sealed lids. If you’d like to learn more about each rodent species in our area, take a look at our rodent informational page.

Bed Bugs

Like rodents, bed bugs are most active at night. However, they will adjust to the sleeping pattern of their host– which are humans. They will live in box springs, mattresses, couches, baseboards, and anywhere else their host stays for long periods of time. Bed bugs can travel in backpacks, purses, or clothing and then infest another location.

While their bites don’t transmit diseases to humans, they will leave you itchy, and damage your peace of mind. If you plan on buying a Halloween costume from a yard sale or thrift shop, it may be a good idea to inspect it for bed bugs or eggs and wash it prior to wearing it. You can learn more about bed bugs in our bed bug informational page.

Experts in Pest Control

If you have spiders, rodents, bed bugs or any other creepy crawler infestation contact United Pest Solutions. We have been providing environmentally responsible pest control to the Seattle area since 1967 so we are highly knowledgeable about the pests that live here and we know how to properly remove them. We’ll also ensure your family and pets are cared for in the process. So contact United Pest Solutions for quick and reliable pest control services in the Seattle area!

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs in Your Home

United Pest Solutions provides expert advice on "Tips & Advice on Getting Rid of Bed Bugs in Your Home " in Seattle WA.

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs – Tips and AdviceBed Bug on skin Seattle WA Tacoma Everett Washington

Bed bugs are among the most devastating of household pests, attaching themselves to  almost anything and spreading from room to room with astonishing speed. Getting rid of bed bugs takes time, and if you follow our tips, you can may be able to avoid an infestation.

Treating Mattresses and Bedding

Mattresses are often the first areas to be infested. Cover all mattresses, pillows and comforters in the home with cotton or polyester covers specifically rated to block out bed bugs and bed bug eggs. This will contain existing infestations and protect un-infested areas.

Sheets and other loose bedding, including pillows, should be washed on the hottest possible settings. Eliminate fabric-covered bed frames, including padded headboards and footboards, and remove excess decorative fabrics like bed skirts. Vacuum around beds regularly, disposing of the vacuum bag after each use.

Using Repellents

Keeping bed bugs away from un-infested areas can keep damage to a minimum. Certain essential oils are repulsive to bed bugs. Lavender and tea tree oil are two of the most potent. Add them to cleaning solutions you use around your home, and sprinkle a few drops in the corners of your bed frames. A 2% solution of essential oils in water can be sprayed directly on soft materials like couches and bedding. Adding essential oils will possibly aid in repelling them, however oils may stain where applied and have a fairly short residual life.

Eliminate Clutter

Getting rid of bed bugs involves reducing clutter. Untidy, cluttered areas are difficult to clean and give bed bugs places to hide. De-clutter extensively. As you sort through items, bag any infested items you don’t want to or can’t save and carefully seal the bags before discarding.

Steaming

Steam and certain insecticides can help you reclaim some of your infested belongings, like furniture. You can rent a steam cleaner or hire professionals. Keep in mind that the surface must reach 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure sterilization.

Vacuuming

Vacuum daily, switching the bag or emptying the canister each time and sealing the vacuumed material carefully before discarding.

Professional intervention is almost always required for complete bed bug control and eradication. If you live in an apartment building, townhouse, duplex, or single family home, make sure you get your neighbors to sign on to your action plan. It can be the key to preventing re-infestation.

Diatomaceous Earth as a Bed Bug Treatment Option?

United Pest Solutions does not recommend using Diatomaceous Earth as a treatment option for Bed Bug infestations in your home. Many studies have been completed, two of which are referenced below, that show the potential dangers of this substance outweigh any benefits you may see from it.

Oregon State University Study Notes on Diatomaceous Earth –

“If breathed in, diatomaceous earth can irritate the nose and nasal passages. If an extremely large amount is inhaled, people may cough and have shortness of breath. On skin, it can cause irritation and dryness. Diatomaceous earth may also irritate the eyes, due to its abrasive nature. Any dust, including silica, can be irritating to the eyes.
When mice were forced to breathe diatomaceous earth for one hour each day for a year, there was an increase in lung cancers. A very small amount of crystalline diatomaceous earth may be found in pesticide products. Long-term inhalation of the crystalline form is associated with silicosis, chronic bronchitis, and other respiratory problems.”

From PCT Magazine, August 2014 –

“Results. Silica gel was substantially more effective than diatomaceous earth when bed bugs were exposed briefly to deposits. Almost all of the bugs (97.5 percent) died within 24 hours of walking over silica gel dusted carpet, while only 10 percent succumbed by then to diatomaceous earth .”