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.

Tips to Prevent Spiders This Spring

Spider going across floor of home. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA talks about tips to prevent spiders this spring.

Spider going across floor trapped in cup. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA talks about tips to prevent spiders this spring.Now that it’s spring and the temperatures are warming up, you won’t be the only one who wants to get out. Spiders will also start to emerge this time of year. While most spiders are beneficial and kill most insects that enter your home, most people would rather not share a home with them. This is why we at United Pest Solutions have come up with some tips to help prevent spiders this spring.

What Attracts Spiders?

One way to help prevent spiders is to know what attracts them in the first place such as their diet. These small eight-legged creatures eat insects, like ants, flies, moths, and more. While rare, they have also been known to eat other spiders. With that being said, spiders will go wherever their prey is, so with ants and other insects becoming more active, spider activity may also run more rampant.

Spiders hatch in the spring, which is another reason you may see more spiders around your home this time of year.

How to Prevent Spiders

Exclusion

Exclusion means to put up a barrier to keep pests out. Since spiders can fit through the smallest of cracks, you’ll want to replace old/damaged weather stripping, install door sweeps, and caulk around windows as a form of spider exclusion.

Reduce Indoor Pests

As mentioned above, spiders often enter homes in search of a meal. So if you have ants or other insects in your home, you should contact a pest control technician to eliminate the problem.

Change Your Exterior Lights

Insects are attracted to lights, so don’t be surprised if you begin to see spiders near your lights as well. They’re not after the warmth, they’re after the sustenance. Replace your light bulbs with sodium vapor bulbs to help deter insects from your home.

Maintain Cleanliness

Cleanliness is important when it comes to preventing most pest infestations, including spiders. Declutter your home, vacuum thoroughly, and dust. Pay particular attention to corners and beneath furniture. Spiders often hang out in dark areas where they’ll go undisturbed.

Hire a Spider Control Expert

Whether you have a current spider infestation or simply want to prevent one from happening, contact your local pest control company. They’re experts when it comes to pests after all. They know about spider habits and behaviors. They’ll be able to inspect your home, identify vulnerable areas, and recommend solutions.

If you’re in the Seattle WA area and are in need of effective spider control, give United Pest Solutions a call. We’ve been protecting homes and businesses throughout the area for over 60 years.

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!

Treat Your Christmas Tree for Pests

People loading up Christmas tree into car. United Pest Solutions in Seattle WA talks about how to treat your Christmas tree for pests.

Freshly-cut Christmas trees are beautiful, they make our homes smell nice, and they get us in the holiday spirit! Unfortunately, when we bring a live Christmas tree into our homes, it may also come with some uninvited guests in the form of pests. Many types of pests make their homes in Christmas trees including aphids, spiders, and mites. While these pests are typically harmless to humans, their presence could be unnerving. So we’ve compiled a few steps you can take to treat your Christmas tree before you bring it into your home.

Which Types of Insects Live in Christmas Trees?

Entomologists say there could be more than 20,000 insects in a single tree including:

  • Spiders and mites: Commonly found on Fraser-fir, Douglas-fir, White pine, and Spruce trees. These pests may leave small red stains on your Christmas ornaments or floor.
  • Aphids: Usually found on White-fir, Fraser-fir, Balsam-fire, Spruce, Evergreen, and Pine trees. They are typically found on lower boughs of the tree.
  • Bark Beetles: These beetles are about the size of a grain of rice and are red, brown or black in color. They are commonly found on White-fir, Juniper, Coulter pine, Jeffrey pine, and Monterey pine trees.
  • Adelgids: Resembles dusting snow; common in fir trees, Scotch pine, and White pine.

The types of pests that live in Christmas trees varies depending on where you live and the species of tree you have chosen. It’s also important to keep in mind that many of these pests are harmless and will die off once inside your home because your home is not a suitable environment for them.

Pest-Proofing Your Christmas Tree

While most Christmas tree lots take preventive measures to help remove pests, below are some additional steps you can take to help prevent bringing bugs into your home.

  • Inspect your tree: Look for nests, eggs, and signs of insects on the tree’s trunk and branches. You may want to use a flashlight for this step. If you notice any eggs or nests on branches, prune them.
  • Shake your Christmas tree: Layout a light-colored cloth and give your tree a good shake over it. This will not only help remove any bugs but it will also remove dry, loose needles from your tree. Then vacuum up the debris.
  • Keep your tree in the garage for a few days: This will allow any eggs living in your tree to warm up and hatch in the garage and not in your home.
  • Keep your vacuum handy: Your vacuum is not only effective in picking up fallen pine needles, it is also great at helping prevent insects from spreading. If you see aphids or other insects on or near your tree you can simply suck them up with your vacuum.
  • Do not use aerosol pesticide sprays: Aerosol sprays are not needed and are flammable! Insects require humidity to live, and most will desiccate and die within a matter of days.

If your Christmas tree does have a large amount of insects in it, most tree lots will allow you to exchange it for another. If you have any questions about Christmas tree pests or other pests native to the Pacific Northwest, feel free to contact us at United Pest Solutions!

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!

Natural Spider Control Tips

Sliced coconut with a jar of coconut oil. United Pest Solutions talks about ways to naturally deter spiders.

Sliced coconut with a jar of coconut oil. United Pest Solutions talks about ways to naturally deter spiders.While most spiders prefer to stay outdoors, some may find their way into your home. But don’t grab the bug spray just yet. Fortunately, there are some natural methods you can use now to help deter spiders away from your home.

Use Essential Oils

Spiders hate strong scents. And essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, and cinnamon give off quite the strong smell. Make an essential oil spray by mixing a few drops of essential oil and warm water in a spray bottle. Then spray the solution in entryways, along windowsills, and anywhere else you would like ward off spiders. (This also makes your home smell nice in the process.)

Create a White Vinegar Mixture

White vinegar is another product that gives off a very strong scent. Mix a cup of white vinegar with water and spray it in areas where you would often see cobwebs. (Just remember to wipe the cobwebs away first.) White vinegar mixed with a teaspoon of coconut oil is known to have the same effect.

Sprinkle Baking Soda

Baking soda is not only helpful for deodorizing but it can also help deter spiders. Sprinkle baking soda on potential entry points like doorways and windowsills. Keep in mind you may want to re-apply the baking soda once or twice a week.

Create a Salt Solution

Salt is poisonous to spiders. Mix about ⅛ cup of salt and a gallon of warm water. Pour some into a spray bottle and the solution will kill spiders instantly and naturally.

Keep in mind spiders help benefit our ecosystem. They also are a natural exterminator as they help keep insects at bay. If you’d like to learn more about the spiders that live in the Seattle area, take a look at our spider informational page. There you learn about the different species, their habits, and their biology.

Experts in Pest Control

If you’re experiencing a bad spider infestation, you may consider contacting a pest control technician. We at United Pest Solutions are highly-experienced in the pests that live in the Puget Sound area, including spiders. We’ll quickly identify which type of spider you have and remove the infestation, safely and effectively. We use environmentally responsible pest control techniques to help ensure your home, family, and pets are all protected. So contact United Pest Solutions today for all your pest control needs.

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!

Why do I have so many spiders?

United Pest Solutions provides expert advice on "Why Do I Have So Many Spiders?" in Seattle WA.

Spiders in your homepest inspections Seattle WA Everett Tacoma Washington

Fall has fully settled in, longer nights and shorter days, turning colors and falling leaves, and spider webs glistening in the morning dew.  Spider webs!  They are everywhere this time of year, around doorways, windows, along the path out to your car in the morning, everywhere you turn your house is covered with spider webs.  They look cool… kind of, but to a home owner, they can become messy reminders that they have a problem to address.

To be sure, spiders are…beneficial.  Not only that, spiders are amazing.  Spiders easily and gracefully build huge, intricate nests in a matter of minutes.  These webs made of sticky, silk like material catch the prey the spider needs to survive and in a small way help to reduce the pest population, but since spiders can go days, even months, without a meal the amount of benefit the spiders bring may be minimal.  A caveat to this is for those who find themselves living along a lakefront, here spiders are very helpful in controlling the thousands of gnats that fly around in the mid and late afternoons.

But for most of us, spiders are a nuisance.  For some of us, they are a reminder of fear.  And while many of us don’t mind spiders outside of our home, we have very little tolerance for spiders in our bedrooms.

Why do I Have So Many Spiders

It seems like every season people are surprised by the number of spiders around their homes.  The truth of the matter is that they have had a large amount of spiders around all spring and summer.  It’s just that now that the seasons are winding down, the spiders are reaching their maturity.  They are larger, more noticeable, as they spin their webs and hunt their prey.

How and Why are Spiders Inside?

Most spiders live out of doors, in their natural environment.  There they have the most natural way of finding food, moisture, and protection.  But the outside world is not always so perfect.  Many spiders find their way indoors to find a more stable environment.  Crawl spaces beneath homes provide a great environment of relatively stable conditions and other pests to eat along the way.  Cellars and basements provide the same cool environment where spiders seem to thrive.  A second reason spiders come inside is to search for a mate.  In the fall, mature spiders roam looking for mates, even species we usually think of as confined to their webs will be on the prowl.

What is the Danger?

While most spiders are not aggressive, there are some whose venom can be quite problematic.  The Brown Recluse, the Hobo, and the infamous Black Widow are among these, but fortunately for those of us in the greater Seattle area, there are not known populations of these spiders.  Hobo spiders are in pockets, but for the most part have been driven out by the wolf spider and larger house spider.

The bigger problem with spiders indoors is that we roll over on them in our sleep, we inadvertently put them on with our clothes when getting dressed, or …they just plain scare us.

What is a Homeowner to Do?

In the greater Seattle area homeowners are facing a real pest problem and are turning to pest control companies to help keep their spider infestations to a minimum.

It all begins with inspection.  Is there something on your property that may not be breeding spiders but increases the amount of other pests, spider food that is increasing the spider pressure on your home? Are there environmental & changes that can decrease the pressure? Can moisture be eliminated? Are there places that need to be caulked and screened?  For the outside, a professional treatment is necessary.  Trained professionals know how identify conditions on your property and what to do to rectify the situation.  Additionally, it is likely necessary to deliver the appropriate control material in the right amounts to reduce your spider population without allowing residual pesticides to end up in the water supply.  Given the dense foliage found around the Puget Sound Area and the amount of streams, rivers, and lakes around the Seattle area, homeowners are fighting an uphill battle, but with help from a professional pest control company, we can keep the spiders to a minimum, outside, and spooky fun for Halloween.