Why Are Wasps More Aggressive in the Fall?

Wasp on an orange autumn leaf

Wasps are notorious for their aggressive behavior and painful stings. Since these pests are capable of stinging multiple times in a row without dying, they can be deadly – especially to young children or those with an allergy. While wasps are dangerous year-round, they become particularly active and hostile when winter is approaching. But, why are wasps more aggressive in the fall?

Limited Food Sources

From fruit and nectar to barbecue leftovers, wasps have easy access to all sorts of food sources throughout the spring and summer. However, as fall sets it, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to find anything to eat. Not only does this prompt the wasps to search through your trash and other high-traffic areas for food, but it also causes them to become more aggressive. To deter wasps from invading your space in search of food, be sure to:

  • Pick up fallen fruit
  • Store pet food bowls inside
  • Avoid leaving leftovers out
  • Use lidded trash bins

Higher Populations

Queen wasps begin laying eggs in the spring when the weather begins to warm up, and they continue to reproduce all throughout the summer. That means the colony’s population is at its highest once fall comes around. Paired with the limited access to food, this peak in population increases competition and hostility in wasps during this time of year.

Protecting the Queen

Wasp colonies are very protective of their queens all year long. If even one wasp detects a threat, they will release special pheromones that alert the entire colony of a nearby danger. This can lead to deadly swarms, which become even more harmful in the fall because of the increased populations and higher level of aggression.

Searching for Warmth

Though most wasps will die once temperatures drop, queens typically seek out a warm and protected area where they can survive the winter. That makes your home the perfect place for a wasp to wait out the cold season. For this reason, it’s important to keep an eye out for wasps in spaces such as:

  • Attics
  • Sheds
  • Wall voids
  • Eaves
  • Porches

Get Professional Wasp Extermination Services

If you notice the signs of a wasp infestation, it’s important to get professional help as soon as possible. An experienced wasp exterminator will have the tools and expertise needed to safely remove these pests while preventing more wasps from invading your space in the future. At United Pest Solutions, we strive to provide you with exceptional service so you can rest assured that your home and family are protected from wasps this fall. If you need quality wasp extermination services, contact us today!

How to Prevent Mosquitoes This Fall

Mosquito against an orange background

With colder temperatures rolling in and days getting shorter, mosquitoes are probably the last thing on your mind. However, this time of year is actually one of the most important for preventing mosquitoes long term. By taking a few extra precautions, you can eliminate these pests from your property and lower your chances of an infestation come next summer. Follow these steps to prevent mosquitoes this fall:

Remove All Sources of Stagnant Water

Mosquitoes begin breeding in the early fall by laying eggs in stagnant water. These eggs go dormant in cold weather, which allows them to survive even the harshest of winters. Since most adult mosquitoes die off during the cold season, eliminating their eggs is a great way to prevent infestations from growing or spreading.

To keep mosquitoes from breeding on your property, you’ll want to remove any sources of stagnant water that you can find. These pests only need about an inch of water to reproduce, so you’ll want to be as thorough as possible. Check for standing water in places like:

  • Playground equipment
  • Old tires or buckets
  • Ponds and puddles
  • Garbage bins
  • Planters or garden tools
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Grill covers
  • Bird baths
  • Pet food bowls

Clean Your Gutters and Fix Leaky Plumbing

Overflowing gutters and leaky plumbing can cause serious damage to your home, all while making your property the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and other pests. To keep your house in great shape, save money on utilities, and prevent pests, it’s a good idea to address any plumbing issues and dirty gutters as quickly as you can.

Keep Your Landscaping Tidy

From overgrown shrubs to piles of lawn clippings, there are lots of spaces that mosquitoes can hide in a messy yard. Maintaining your space makes it much easier for you to identify areas where these pests may be reproducing. To keep your property tidy, follow these steps:

  • Trim back your landscaping
  • Regularly rake leaves and debris
  • Remove lawn clippings
  • Store toys and tools indoors

Get Professional Mosquito Extermination Services

Mosquitoes are considered one of the deadliest insects on the planet for all of the diseases that they are capable of transmitting. Even though they aren’t a huge problem in the fall, now is the time to eliminate these pests and prevent infestations next year. While it can feel overwhelming to mosquito-proof your yard, you don’t have to handle it all alone! At United Pest Solutions, it’s our goal to help you protect your property all year long. Just give us a call to get started!

Pest Prevention for Commercial Buildings

Commercial pest control services

A pest problem can be detrimental to your business. In addition to scaring away your customers and damaging your reputation, an infestation could put your staff at a health risk or even cause costly destruction to your property. The best way to protect your business from pests is to prevent them from entering your building to begin with. Here are some ways that business owners can implement pest prevention for their commercial buildings:

Seal Off Entry Points

Pests typically get indoors by crawling through small gaps or cracks, which are usually located along a building’s foundation or around doors and windows. Sealing off these entry points is a great way to keep insects, rodents, and other pests out of your property.

However, even the tiniest crack may be large enough for something to get through. It can be very difficult and time consuming to identify and close off all entry points. To ensure your space is properly protected, it’s best to work with a pest control expert who can perform a thorough inspection of your building.

Perform Regular Maintenance

Keeping up on your building’s maintenance is a great way to prevent pests from entering or settling into your property. Common problems like worn-out roofing or damaged weather stripping could create entry points for insects and rodents. Leaky plumbing and moisture issues could also attract various pests. Performing regular maintenance not only keeps your building looking great, but it also prevents infestations from taking root.

Trim Back Your Landscaping

Thick landscaping attracts pests and provides shelter for them to hide in. If there are lots of trees, shrubs, and bushes situated right up against your building, it may be a good idea to trim back your landscaping a little. Doing so will keep pests farther away from your building, which also prevents them from seeking shelter indoors.

Properly Store Trash

Especially if you are in the food industry, it’s crucial to properly dispose of your trash in lidded receptacles that are placed as far from your building as possible. Leaving food waste out in the open could attract all sorts of pests and wildlife to your property, which brings you one step closer to a full-blown infestation.

Hire a Professional

Infestations can be damaging to business and difficult to eradicate, which is why it’s important for companies to focus on pest prevention. However, protecting a commercial space can be a challenging and tedious process, especially if your property is large or has multiple buildings.

Thankfully, you don’t have to manage it all alone! A pest control professional can inspect your space and implement a customized plan that will protect your business from infestations. If you need great commercial pest control services, United Pest Solutions has you covered! We have served businesses throughout the greater Seattle WA area for over 60 years in industries ranging from restaurants to healthcare. For unparalleled pest control services, contact our team today!

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!

Why Do Termites Eat Wood?

Termite on a piece of wood

Termites are infamous for their destructive tendencies. By chewing through wooden structures, they’re capable of causing serious damage – experts even estimate that these pests cost home and business owners around $5 billion each year in repairs. But why do termites eat wood, and how can such a small pest cause so much damage to such a strong material?

Termites Use Wood for Fuel and Shelter

Termites are detritivores, which means they primarily feed on dead or decaying organic matter. These pests rely on one substance in particular for energy – cellulose, which is mainly found in plant cells. Wood is an excellent source of cellulose, making it a great fuel source for termites.

Wood also offers another advantage for termites. While chewing through wood, these pests are able to make tunnel systems that also act as shelter. Some species will even plug holes in the wood with their frass, or droppings, to seal in moisture and block predators from entering.

How Do Termites Eat Wood?

Wood is a very tough material that not many organisms can chew through, let alone digest. However, termites are built for the job. They have special mouthparts and incredibly strong mandibles that are able to break wood apart into bite-sized pieces that the termites can easily consume.

Termites also have special enzymes and microbes in their gut that allows them to properly digest the wood. Protozoa are the microorganisms that are mainly responsible for the digestion of wood, as they help turn the cellulose into simple sugars that termites can process into energy.

How Quickly Do Termites Eat Wood?

With how durable wood is, many people assume that it would take termites years and years to consume a considerable amount of it. However, colonies can grow incredibly large and termites never stop working – even to sleep. For this reason, termites are able to consume wood at an alarming rate.

Though the species will largely determine just how quickly a colony can consume wood, most dampwood or drywood termites can consume enough to cause structural damage within one year of infestation. Subterranean termites are even more aggressive, with the average-size mature colony able to eat through a few feet of a 2’x4’ within the same time period.

Get Professional Termite Control Services

With how quickly termites can consume wood, it’s important to seek help immediately if you notice the signs of an infestation on your property. For reliable termite control services in the greater Seattle metropolitan area, you can count on the experts at United Pest Solutions! Our team has been implementing long-term termite control solutions for home and business owners for over 60 years. To get started, get your free estimate today!

Common Summer Pests in the Pacific Northwest

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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!

Why Are Pests Attracted to Light?

Image of moths on a porch light - why are pests attracted to light in Seattle WA - United Pest Solutions

If you leave your porch light on at night, then you probably know what it’s like to discover dozens of insects fluttering around the bulb within a matter of hours. But, why exactly are so many pests attracted to light? While there isn’t one set scientific explanation, there are a few theories as to why insects are drawn to sources of artificial light:

Natural Attraction to Light, or Phototaxis

Phototaxis is a reflexive reaction to light, which causes an organism to instinctively move either toward or away from the light source; attraction toward the light is known as positive phototaxis, and repulsion is called negative phototaxis. These are hard-wired behaviors that impact all sorts of organisms, from single cells to larger creatures. That’s why many people believe phototaxis is the reason some insects, such as fruit flies and moths, are instinctively attracted to light.

Easier Flight and Navigation

Another popular theory is that insects rely upon sources of light to navigate in the dark. This theory is rooted in the idea that insects use natural light from the sun or the moon to navigate. Thus, if they encounter a fixed source of light, they become confused and mistakenly use the bulb as their navigational landmark.

Increased Sense of Safety

Many people also believe that insects follow light as a “beacon” of safety. The idea here is that insects use natural sources of light – such as the sun or the moon – to move upward and away from potential predators. Since most natural light sources are positioned high in the sky, they would lead insects away from the ground and out of harm’s way.

Tips For Keeping Pests Away From Your Porch Light

A giant swarm of insects swirling around your porch light can be unsightly and stressful, especially if you have to deal with it on a nightly basis. While it can be challenging to completely avoid pests outdoors, there are a few ways you can prevent pests from swarming near your porch light:

  • Turn off any unnecessary lights and consider installing a screen
  • Try using an orange or yellow-colored LED lightbulb
  • Light citronella or geraniol candles if you plan to remain outdoors

If you have tried everything and are still struggling with insects swarming your porch at night, it may be time to call a professional. For quality pest control services in the Seattle metropolitan area, you can count on the experts at United Pest Solutions! We have over 60 years of experience providing homeowners with affordable services and long-lasting results, so you can enjoy a pest-free porch in no time. Contact us today to get started!

Are Tick Bites Dangerous?

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With spring in full swing and warm weather rolling in, it’s almost camping season! Though this time of year can be filled with endless outdoor fun, it also puts you and your furry friends at risk of tick bites. A tick bite may not seem like a big deal, especially if you are able to safely remove the pest on your own. However, these small pests can cause a number of serious complications, such as:

  • Tick-borne diseases: Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of their host. By jumping from host to host, they can spread serious diseases between people. Common but serious diseases caused by ticks include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, and tularemia.
  • Allergic reaction: Though most people will only experience a mildly irritating red or itchy spot after a tick bite, some people may have bigger reactions. From hives and blisters to shortness of breath, a tick bite could trigger a serious allergic reaction in some.
  • Infection: Ticks feed by breaking through and burrowing into their host’s skin, where they may remain for up to 10 days. This kind of open wound can leave the body vulnerable to infections that may require medical attention. Improper tick removal could also leave the head behind, which could lead to issues during the healing process.
  • Pet health issues: Most pet owners understand how challenging it can be to keep your furry friend tick-free, especially if they frequently go outdoors. However, ticks are not just itchy and uncomfortable for your pets; these pests can also cause health issues such as anemia, Lyme disease, and canine ehrlichiosis.

Tips for Avoiding Ticks

Avoiding ticks may seem like an impossible task, especially given how small these tiny pests are. Thankfully, though, there are a few precautions you can take to avoid tick bites this spring and summer. To keep yourself and your pets safe, follow these tips for avoiding ticks:

  • Avoid grassy, brushy, or wooded areas.
  • Check your pets, clothing, and gear before coming inside.
  • Shower and change clothes after being outdoors.
  • Consider using an EPA-registered insect repellent.

Why Do I Get Ants When it Rains?

Image of ants during a rainstorm in Seattle WA - United Pest Solutions

After a heavy downpour, many homeowners will discover new ants in or around their house. While it may seem strange to suddenly discover ants after a storm, it’s pretty common for these pests to appear after rainfall.

Since ants are generally able to sense a storm before it hits, they will usually work to protect their nest by plugging entry holes and digging deep tunnels. However, very heavy rains can still wash away a whole colony, so many ants will still seek shelter elsewhere. Our homes provide great protection for these pests, which is why so many people get ants when it rains.

Ways to Prevent Ants When It Rains

Ant infestations can be difficult to get rid of once they take hold. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to prevent ants from getting into your home in the first place. Here are some tips for keeping ants out during a rainstorm:

  • Trim back your landscaping: If water begins pooling on the ground, many ants will climb up tall plants to avoid drowning or being washed away. So, any tall plants up against your home could lead ants right indoors. Trimming back your landscaping is one of the most effective ways to make it more difficult for these pests to sneak inside.
  • Seal off openings to your home: Another effective way to keep ants out is to physically block them from entering your home. To do so, try sealing off any cracks or gaps with caulk and repair your door or window screens. Be sure to check for gaps along doors, windows, and your home’s foundation.
  • Check pipes and electrical for gaps: Electrical wiring, utility boxes, and plumbing often have small cracks that pests can crawl through. Sealing these off with caulk can add an extra layer of protection against ants.

What to Do If You Get Ants After a Storm

Ants are tricky insects that can squeeze through even the tiniest of openings, so it’s possible that you may still encounter them even after taking preventative measures. If you notice ants in your home after a storm, try these tips to get rid of them quickly:

  • Remove food and water sources: Ants are more likely to remain in an area if it has easy access to food and water. To make it more difficult for them to settle in, be sure to store your food in airtight containers. Also use lidded trash bins, and fix any plumbing leaks or moisture issues that they could be using for water.
  • Get rid of pheromone trails: Ants use pheromones to communicate with one another, and they often leave behind pheromone trails to alert their colony of nearby food. Washing away these trails with soapy water or vinegar can disrupt their communication and make it more challenging for a colony to establish itself.
  • Call a professional ant exterminator: An ant infestation can be difficult to get rid of, and sometimes it seems like these pests will stick around no matter what you try. If you are struggling with an ant infestation, the experts at United Pest Solutions are here to help! Our experienced ant exterminators can help identify and treat the root cause of your infestation, so you can enjoy an ant-free home in no time. Just give us a call to get your free estimate!

What Are Swarming Termites?

What swarming termites look like in Seattle WA | United Pest Solutions

With warm spring weather comes flowers, sunny days… and swarming termites. Though many people assume termite swarmers are just flying ants, these pests could actually be a warning sign of an infestation that you shouldn’t ignore.

Termite swarmers, also known as alates, are winged termites that are responsible for the colony’s reproduction. Alates come out as the weather warms up to mate and establish new colonies, which is why it’s important to watch out for signs of them on your property.

Are Swarming Termites Dangerous?

Though it can be alarming to come across a termite swarmer, these pests are generally not aggressive or dangerous to human health. That said, swarmers could be an indicator that there’s an infestation nearby, which may put your safety at risk.

Since termites chew through key wooden components in homes and buildings, they could weaken the structural integrity of your house. So, while swarmers themselves may not be particularly harmful, a termite infestation can be dangerous to you and your family.

How to Tell Swarming Termites and Flying Ants Apart

Termite swarmers and flying ants look very similar, which causes many people to mistake the two. To determine whether you are dealing with relatively harmless ants or if you are potentially facing a destructive termite infestation, it’s useful to know how to distinguish the two. These key differences can help you tell swarming termites and flying ants apart:

  • Wing size: Termites have two sets of wings that are roughly the same size. Though flying ants also have two sets of wings, the bottom ones are much smaller.
  • Antennae shape: Termites have straight antennae, while ants have bent elbow-shaped antennae.
  • Body size: Flying ants have a narrower body and thin waist, while termites have a thicker body shape with a wider waist.

What to Do If You Notice Swarming Termites

Swarming termites are often one of the first signs of an infestation, which is why it’s important to be vigilant if you spot these pests on your property. Here are some steps you can take if you find swarmers near your home:

  • Try to contain the termite swarmers: Collect multiple samples in a jar so a professional termite exterminator can identify exactly which species you are dealing with. Swarming termites, generally speaking, are harmless to your home, but can be a big nuisance, especially indoors. Vacuuming is one of the more effective ways to remove these from indoor environments.
  • Fix potential entry points to your home: Correct any situation where wood siding is touching the ground or tree roots are pressing through or under the foundation.
  • Call a termite exterminator as soon as possible: Termite infestations are no joke – it’s even estimated that these pests are responsible for $5 billion in damages every single year. Since they are able to cause so much destruction so quickly, it’s important to call an experienced termite exterminator to address the problem as soon as possible. If you need termite control services, United Pest Solutions is here for you – give us a call today to speak with one of our experts.