Pest-Proof Your Home for Winter in 6 Steps

Rodent outside next to snow. United Pest Solutions talks about how homeowners in Seattle WA can pest-proof their home for winter in 6 steps.

Rodent outside next to snow. United Pest Solutions talks about how homeowners in Seattle WA can pest-proof their home for winter in 6 steps.Winter is coming and just like us, some pests will want to move indoors where it’s warm. The most common winter invaders are spiders, rats, mice, and cockroaches. Having an infestation by these pests can be damaging to both your health and your home if not properly treated. Rats and mice are destructive. They can also contaminate food and bring ticks, fleas, and lice into your home. Cockroaches carry harmful diseases including Salmonella, and spiders can bite if they feel threatened — which can result in a serious reaction for some people. This is why it’s important to make sure these pests can’t gain access into your home. Read more to learn how to pest-proof your home for winter in 6 easy steps.

6 Steps to Pest-Proof Your Home for Winter

1.Inspect

Walk around the interior and exterior of your home looking for signs of rodents. Inspect wires, walls, and your home’s insulation for gnaw marks.

2. Seal Cracks and Holes

While inspecting your home you’ll also want to be on the lookout for any cracks in your foundation and gaps in windows and doors where pests can easily fit through. You can use caulking to seal small cracks and weather stripping for windows and doors. If you have a chimney or air vents that need covering, use mesh screens to help keep them out.

3. Trim Tree Branches and Shrubs

Keep your trees and shrubs well-trimmed away from your home. Roof rats are highly-skilled climbers and will scale across branches to gain access to your roof and into your home.

4. Store Your Food in Airtight Containers

Left out food attracts rodents and cockroaches. So use airtight containers to store your food. Also, throw out the trash regularly.

5. Store Your Firewood High and Away From Your Home

If you keep firewood on your property, we recommend you store it at least 2 feet off the ground and at least 20 feet away from your home. Rats and mice are attracted to woodpiles and debris.

6. Keep Storage Boxes Off the Floor

Rodents and spiders like to live in areas that are undisturbed. So use sealed boxes and store them off the floor and on shelves to help prevent pests.

Whether you’ve tried these methods or believe you already have a pest infestation, it’s important to contact a professional like United Pest Solutions before it spreads. We’ll inspect your home, diagnose the problem, and eliminate your pest problem for good!

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!

It’s Almost Rodent Season: 10 Ways to Keep Rodents At Bay This Winter

United Pest Solutions reveals ways to keep rodents away this winter.

United Pest Solutions reveals ways to keep rodents away this winter.

In just a few weeks fall will be upon us and as soon as that temperature drops, rodents like Norway rats and Roof rats will be looking for a warm place to shelter. Don’t make your property appealing to them. At United Pest Solutions, we understand how important it is to protect your home from these pests, especially since some can transmit harmful diseases to humans. We’ve compiled 10 ways you can protect your home from rodents this winter.

How to Deter Rats

Fix or Replace Pipes

Rats are great swimmers. Fixing any broken pipes you may have can help prevent them from gaining access to your home through your plumbing.

Install Screens to Chimneys and Exterior Vents

Roof rats, Norway rats, and mice can wiggle their way into spaces much smaller than it may appear and they’ve been known to scale chimneys and siding. Screening vents and chimney openings will help keep them out.

Seal the Exterior of Your Home

As previously mentioned Roof rats, Norway rats, and mice will squeeze into tiny spaces. So, ensuring any cracks or holes on the side of your home and foundation are sealed will help keep them out.

Seal Your Doors, Garage Doors, and Windows

If your exterior door or garage door is uneven at the bottom, a rodent will easily squirm its way in. You can add door sweeps to the bottoms of doors and garage doors to keep them out. As for windows, use weather stripping or caulk.

Ventilate

Basements, attics, and crawl spaces provide rodents access to food and moisture. Keep these spaces dry and ventilated.

Store Food Properly

Use airtight containers for food as leaving food out attracts rodents.

Clean Up

In addition to properly storing your food, keep your property clean as well. Throw debris and trash away in sealed receptacles.

Keep Firewood Away From Your Home

Like debris, stacks of firewood can also attract Roof rats and Norway rats. So keep your firewood at least 20 feet away from your home and if possible, keep the wood elevated.

Check Your Vehicles Regularly

Rodents may find shelter in your vehicle like underneath your hood. Check your vehicles regularly looking for any droppings, chewed wires, or nests.

Regularly Inspect Items Being Brought into the Home

Inspecting also goes for anything that is taken from the outside and being brought in. This can include groceries, packages, boxes, etc. If it’s been out for a while, a rodent may have snuck its way in.

Experts in Rodent Control and Removal

Rodents like rats and mice can cause damage to your home and transmit diseases. So if you believe you have a rodent problem it’s important to take care of the issue immediately. At United Pest Solutions, our highly trained technicians will inspect your home and determine the most effective treatment to eliminate rodents from your home in the long term.

Overwintering Pests in the Pacific Northwest

Rat peeking out of hole. United Pest Solutions talks about what you can do to keep overwinter pests out of your home during the winter months.

Rat peeking out of hole. United Pest Solutions talks about what you can do to keep overwinter pests out of your home during the winter months.

It’s the middle of winter, and pests that don’t like the cold, seek shelter, food and water in your home, where it’s nice and warm.  When insects come inside for the winter, there is a term you may hear called  “overwintering.”   Learn what overwintering means, which pests overwinter in the Pacific Northwest, and ways you can prevent them from invading your home.

What Does Overwintering Mean?

Overwinter is a term used to describe organisms, whether plants or animals, that wait out winter. So in regards to pests, an overwintering pest is one that lives through the cold temperatures of winter. They typically find a warm, safe place and stay put until winter passes. Kind of like how a bear hibernates in the winter.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are larger than most ants here in the Pacific Northwest. They can be black, brown or red. Carpenter ant colonies will typically remain dormant in the winter. But if carpenter ants have found a place to stay warm, say your house or a shed, they may forgo hibernating.

Carpenter ants are one of the most structurally damaging in the Pacific Northwest. They’ll destroy sheds, furniture, and even structural beams. So if you have a carpenter ant infestation, it’s important you contact a pest control technician immediately. You can learn more about carpenter ants in our helpful Carpenter Ants information page.

Spiders

Spiders are cold-blooded. They can survive cold temperatures because their bodies adapt to keep them from freezing. Think antifreeze in a car. Many spiders will take shelter in sheds, leaf or rock piles, and in tree bark. They are not drawn to a warm home and typically don’t try to get inside of it for the winter. This is a myth. However, if you do see spiders in your home, it’s likely they were already there. You just didn’t see them before.

Spiders like areas that go undisturbed like cluttered areas in garages and basements or underneath furniture. So to prevent spiders from getting inside your home seal up any potential entry points and keep your home clutter-free. Our Spider information page goes more in-depth about which spider species are native to the Pacific Northwest.

Rodents

Our homes have everything rodents, like rats and mice, need to live comfortably through the winter; food and warm shelter. And because they can fit into such tiny spaces, they can easily infiltrate your home. Not only are these overwintering pests a nuisance but they also pose health hazards as they carry various bacteria and diseases like Salmonella. Rats and mice can also cause significant damage to your home. They will leave their droppings and urine throughout your home, get into your food, and even chew through electrical wires and wood. You can read more about the various types of rodents we have here in the Puget Sound area in our rodent informational page.

Once a rodent has infiltrated your home for the winter, they’re likely going to stay even when spring emerges. Rats and mice are intelligent so these pests are not easy to remove. That’s why it’s important to find a technician who’s highly-experienced in rodent control.

If you are experiencing a pest problem, contact United Pest Solutions. Our certified pest control technicians are trained to deal with a wide range of pests. We’ll ensure your home or business is well protected. We also offer an Enhanced All Seasons Plan, to keep your home pest-free all year round. So contact us today for all your pest control needs!