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!

Where Do Pests Go in the Winter?

Rodent in the snow-United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA talks about where pests go in the winter.

Rodent in the snow-United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA talks about where pests go in the winter.As temperatures drop and weather conditions become harsher, wildlife goes into survival mode. Some animals migrate, some hibernate, and others have unique traits that allow them to endure months of cold.

But, where do all the pests go during winter? Though it may seem like they simply die off, many insects actually have survival tactics that allow them to withstand freezing conditions. Here are what some common pests do during winter.

Ants

Ants are incredibly common during the summer, but it’s rare to see them once winter rolls in. That’s because ants use a special survival tactic called diapause, which is very similar to hibernation. During diapause, the ant’s body fills with a substance called glycerol that keeps them from freezing.

Ants prepare for diapause over the summer by eating in a surplus to gain fat, which allows them to survive when food is scarce. Then, as the cold sets in, the ants will begin to slow down and gradually become less productive. When temperatures are low enough, the ants will close off the colony and remain underground until warmer weather arrives.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are a common household pest that are incredibly resilient. Even the cold of winter isn’t enough to cause these pests to go into survival mode, because their bodies can withstand temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for a few days before dying.

Since bed bugs are so hardy, they are pretty much a year-round problem. Freezing temperatures aren’t enough to keep these pests away, and our homes make the perfect environment for them to thrive no matter the season.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches are known for their incredible ability to survive even the harshest of conditions. However, these pests are typically drawn to warmer climates with more humidity. Many types of cockroaches – such as the German cockroach or the American cockroach – will migrate to warmer spots when winter sets in.

Unfortunately, as cockroaches search for a warmer place to stay, they may end up inside homes, offices, or industrial buildings. Homes are more susceptible to a cockroach infestation over the winter, as they often provide the perfect mixture of warmth and moisture for these pests to flourish.

Fleas

Fleas are known for piggybacking on your pets, causing an itchy or painful reaction for anyone who’s bitten. While the cold weather certainly slows these pests down, fleas can still be an issue during the winter – especially if they can hitch a ride into your home.

Fleas thrive in warmer areas with a little bit of humidity. Around 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for them, which makes your house the perfect spot for them when winter rolls around. Continuing to treat your pets and watch for these pests can help keep your home flea-free, no matter the season.

Mosquitoes

As bothersome as mosquitoes can be during the summer, they seem to disappear as soon as winter comes around. During the colder months, many mosquitoes do actually die off. So, how do they come back year after year?

Right before everything freezes over, female mosquitoes lay their eggs in still bodies of water. The eggs only need about half an inch of water to survive, and they are hardy enough to endure harsh winter weather. So, even though mosquitoes aren’t a bother during winter, they always make preparations to come back in the spring.

Pest Control During the Winter

Since so many pests seek a warm and cozy home for winter, it’s still important to keep your eye out for an infestation even when it’s cold out. If you’re struggling with pests during the winter, a local pest control company like United Pest Solutions may be able to help! From thorough inspections to quick extermination, our experts have been serving the Seattle metropolitan and Puget Sound area since 1960. Give us a call to keep your home pest-free, without the hassle!

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!

Why do I Have Ants?

Large ant infestation - United Pest Solutions in Seattle WA explains why homeowners have ants in their home.

Ant infestation in home - United Pest Solutions in Seattle WA explains why homeowners have ants in their home. Although ants prefer to live in their native outdoor environment, they may find their way into your home in search of food, water, and shelter. While you may need to contact a professional to effectively remove your ant problem, you can help prevent them from returning with these helpful tips from United Pest Solutions.

What Attracts Ants?

Most ants prefer moist areas, sugars, and protein but it all comes down to the ant species. Carpenter ants in particular are also attracted to moist and rotting wood.

How to Prevent Ants

The key to preventing ants is to eliminate harborage sites around your home. Follow these steps to help deter an ant infestation.

  • Block of access points: apply a silicone-based caulk to any holes or gaps around your home. Pay particular attention to cracks in your foundation and areas where utility pipes enter. Replace damaged weather stripping.
  • Trim back shrubs: shrubs that are close to the home can often act as little highways for ants. Ensure they’re well trimmed away from your home.
  • Eliminate moisture: consider using a dehumidifier in damp attics, crawlspaces, and basements to help reduce moisture.
  • Repair water leaks: take the time to inspect your plumbing and repair any leaks that may be attracting ants. Also, ensure your gutters and downspouts are functioning properly so that water flows out and away from your home’s foundation.
  • Maintain cleanliness: wipe down your countertops, sweep, and vacuum to remove crumbs and food residue. Don’t forget about your pantry shelves. Also, make sure to toss out your garbage regularly.
  • Store food properly: store your food in airtight containers, including pet food.

Experts in Ant Removal

Eliminating ants can be challenging. Once they’ve gained entry into your home, they may build satellite nests in hard-to-reach locations, and before you know it, you have a full-blown infestation.

Some ant species can pose health risks while others, like carpenter ants, can cause serious property damage with their excavating habits. So if you’re dealing with ants, contact your local pest control company like United Pest Solutions. We’ve been serving the Seattle metropolitan and Puget Sound area since 1960. We’ll inspect your property, identify the ant species, and recommend the best course of treatment. Give us a call today for fast and personalized service!

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.

 

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.

What You Should Know About Odorous House Ants

Up close look at odorous house ants near water. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA talks about what you need to know about odorous house ants.

Up close look at odorous house ant. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA talks about what you need to know about odorous house ants.Ants can be a big nuisance to Seattle area homeowners. In fact, ants are the number one nuisance pest in America. Although odorous house ants are not particularly dangerous, they can transfer bacteria to food. Keep reading to learn more about odorous house ants, including how to help prevent an infestation.

What are Odorous House Ants?

Odorous house ants are very common in the Pacific Northwest. These tiny black or brown pests commonly invade homes in search of food and will make nests in wall voids and beneath kitchen floorboards.

Odorous house ants will often have multiple queens within a colony so they may separate from their main colony and start up a separate one, making them difficult to predict. These pests get their name from the rotten coconut-like odor they emit when crushed. When indoors, ants can contaminate food and become a huge nuisance.

How to Prevent Odorous House Ants

Odorous house ants are drawn to moisture and food. So it’s recommended to perform the following to help keep ants away.

Block off Access Points

Walk around your home, inside and out and identify areas where ants can easily gain access inside. Seal cracks and holes, using a silicone-based caulk, paying special attention to areas where pipes and utilities enter. Keep shrubbery and branches trimmed far enough from your home so ants cannot use them as bridges to giant entry. Consider installing door sweeps underneath exterior doors and store woodpiles at least 20 feet away from your home and on a raised structure.

Eliminate Moisture

Another way to make your home less inviting to odorous house ants is by eliminating moisture. Check faucets and beneath sinks for leaks and repair them. Also, clear clogged gutters and downspouts so that water flows away from your foundation. For homeowners with humid attics, basements, or crawl spaces consider adding a dehumidifier to reduce moisture.

Maintain Cleanliness

Wipe down countertops and pantry shelves to remove crumbs and residue from spills. Store food, including pet food in plastic containers. Store ripe fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator. Don’t keep pet food out all day and wipe up any spills after mealtime. It’s also a good idea to sweep and throw out the trash frequently to help keep ants away.

Need Expert Ant Control?

Odorous house ants will nest in wall voids and beneath floorboards, increasing their population without homeowners even noticing. Don’t let these pesky ants take over your home. For effective ant control and prevention in the Seattle WA area, contact a professional like United Pest Solutions. We’ve been a local leader in pest control for over 60 years!

Keep Pavement Ants Out

Group of pavement ants on pavement. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA and Everett WA talks about how to keep pavement ants out.

Group of pavement ants on pavement. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA and Everett WA talks about how to keep pavement ants out.Although they get their name because they nest near pavement, pavement ants can still live inside homes, if given the opportunity. Fortunately, we at United Pest Solutions are here to help protect your home against these common nuisance pests!

What are Pavement Ants?

Pavement ants are small, typically brown or black ants that have parallel lines running down the backs of their bodies. While they prefer sweets, they will eat nearly anything from meats and fats to honeydew and insects. Pavement ants do have a stinger, but rarely bite however, they can contaminate food and surfaces.

Signs of Pavement Ants

Physically seeing worker pavement ants in and around your home is the best way to identify if you have a pavement ant infestation. These tiny pests often invade in large numbers, with colonies averaging about 3,000 to 4,000 in size.

Once inside, pavement ants will nest under floors, in insulation, and behind walls.

How Do I Prevent Pavement Ants?

  • Clean up spills and crumbs
  • Don’t keep food out, including pet food. Store all food in airtight containers or in your refrigerator
  • Use a silicone-based caulk to seal around your foundation and around doors and windows to help prevent ants from gaining access into your home
  • Prune shrubs and trees so they’re at least 18 inches away from your home as ants commonly use branches to gain entry into homes
  • Regularly take out your trash and make sure your outdoor garbage cans have tightly sealed lids
  • Keep firewood away from your home. Ants and other pests like to nest in wood, especially if its moist or rotted
  • Eliminate sources of standing water, including pet bowls

Professional Pavement Ant Control

While pavement ants are known to nest under sidewalks and in sidewalk cracks they can find their way into homes, forming colonies underneath your floor or within your walls. If you spot a few pavement ants in your home, there are likely more.

These ants are generally late-night snackers. You’ll most commonly see them after sunset foraging for food.

So if you’re dealing with a pavement ant problem, give us a call today for a free estimate!

Help Prevent Ants in Your Landscaping

Up close of ant on a plant. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA and Everett WA talks about how to help prevent ants in your landscaping.

Up close of ant on a plant. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA and Everett WA talks about how to help prevent ants in your landscaping.Odorous house ants are common in landscapes and gardens, tunneling through the soil and feeding on dead insects and sweet honeydew. While these ants are persistent, they aren’t dangerous and won’t cause any structural damage to your home. However, because these ants can live in very large nests, they’re often hard to eliminate.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about steps you can take to help keep ants out of your landscaping and thus out of your home.

Trim Plants

trim back your plants and shrubs so they’re at least 18 inches away from structures to help prevent ants (and other pests) from gaining access into your home.

Avoid Using Wood

Many people use driftwood, stumps, or railroad ties for decorating or providing borders for their landscaping. Ants are attracted to moist damaged wood, so consider stone instead.

Don’t overwater

Make sure you water your plants on a schedule that’s appropriate for them. Overwatering can make them unhealthy and ripe, attracting ants.
Eliminate honeydew-producing insects
Aphids, mealybugs, and scales excrete honeydew which is a sugary substance that attracts ants. Any plants or trees that have fruit or nectar, you may want to relocate further away from your home.

Maintain healthy plants

Dying plants are more susceptible to aphids and mealybugs. Keep your plants healthy and remove sick or dead plants from your garden or landscaping.

Your Local Ant Exterminators

Odorous house ants are one of the most common nuisance pests that plague both businesses and homeowners. These ants commonly nest under stones, mulch, logs, and other debris.

Although they feed on dead insects and meats, odorous house ants prefer sweets, especially honeydew, the sugary waste aphids, and mealybug excrete — which can explain why you commonly see ants in your landscaping or garden.

Whether you’re dealing with an ant problem or need help making your property ant-free, we can help. We provide safe and effective pest control to keep your home or business pest-free year-round. So give us a call today for a free estimate!