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!

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?

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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!

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!

Top Tips for Preventing Termites

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Image of a termite in Seattle WA - United Pest Solutions termite exterminationEven though termites are active year-round, these pests emerge every spring and fall looking for new structures to infest. Though termites are tiny insects, they are capable of causing serious damage and can even compromise your home’s structural integrity. Fortunately, you may be able to prevent these pests with a little bit of preparation. Here are some steps you should follow to prevent a termite infestation in your home:

Fix Moisture Problems

Termites need moisture to survive, so they generally only infest damp areas with easy access to water. Subterranean termites in particular are notorious for infesting homes with moisture issues, as this species is very sensitive to dehydration. To prevent termites, repair anything in your home that may be causing moisture problems such as leaky plumbing, a defective roof, or overflowing gutters.

Seal Any Holes or Cracks

Like most pests, termites will search for easy openings into your home. To keep termites and other pests out, you should go around your home and carefully search for any cracks or gaps that could lead indoors. Look at areas such as your foundation, along windows or doors, and near electrical or plumbing fixtures. Caulk can seal most openings, but larger ones may need a full repair.

Store Firewood Away From Your Home

Termites are wood-infesting pests, so they are often accidentally transported in firewood. If you store your firewood right next to your home, these pests won’t have to travel far to get indoors. To prevent an infestation, store your firewood on a raised structure that is at least 20 feet away from your home and only take firewood inside when you plan to use it immediately.

Consider an Alternative to Mulch

Many homeowners use mulch to insulate their flowerbeds and boost their curb appeal. However, mulch retains moisture exceptionally well, which may attract termites to the area. This can become a big problem if you use mulch directly next to your home’s foundation. In areas that are close to the home, consider using a landscaping alternative to mulch such as stone.

What to Do If You Have Termites

Though termites are small, they can cause serious (and expensive) damage to your home. By chewing through important support beams, they could weaken the structural integrity of your house and lead to hazardous conditions for you and your family. Additionally, termites are able to hide in walls, which makes them very difficult to detect and eradicate.

If you notice the signs of a termite infestation on your property, it’s important to contact a professional exterminator right away. At United Pest Solutions, we offer termite inspection, control, and removal services to help keep your home protected. We have proudly served the greater Seattle WA area for nearly 60 years, and we are committed to providing you with friendly and reliable service that you can trust. Call us today to get a free estimate!

Are Carpet Beetles Dangerous?

What a carpet beetle looks like in the Seattle WA area - United Pest Solutions

What a carpet beetle looks like in the Seattle WA area - United Pest SolutionsCarpet beetles are a very common pest in the Pacific Northwest, and they’re known for sneaking indoors – especially once the weather gets cold. Though these insects are not known to bite or spread serious diseases, they aren’t totally harmless. Carpet beetles can actually lead to a number of health issues, including:

  • Digestive issues. The small hairs of carpet beetle larvae can get on food and cause irritation throughout the digestive tract.
  • Respiratory problems. Carpet beetles can be particularly dangerous for individuals who suffer from allergies or asthma. Over time they may shed tiny particles or hairs, which can lower indoor air quality and cause respiratory issues.
  • Eye irritation. Tiny airborne fibers or hairs from carpet beetle larvae can cause eye irritation, though this is usually only a problem during serious or long-term exposure.

Are Carpet Beetles Destructive?

In addition to being a health hazard, carpet beetles can be very destructive to your home and personal belongings. Since these beetles are omnivores, they will eat almost anything they find. While foraging around, carpet beetles can damage all sorts of household items, such as:

  • Carpets
  • Blankets
  • Leather
  • Furniture
  • Clothing
  • Bedding
  • Food

How to Prevent Carpet Beetles

A carpet beetle infestation can be damaging to your home and health, but thankfully there are some steps you can take to prevent these pests from getting indoors in the first place. Here are some ways to keep carpet beetles out of your home:

  • Keep your yard clean and tidy.
  • Avoid bringing pollinated plants indoors.
  • Declutter your home and vacuum regularly.
  • Store food in airtight containers.

A carpet beetle infestation can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to deal with it alone! If you are struggling with carpet beetles in your home, call United Pest Solutions to get professional help! Our pest control specialists can help you find long-term solutions that treat the root cause of the infestation, so you can enjoy a pest-free and stress-free home. Just give us a call today to get started!

How to Prevent Pantry Pests

Pantry pests in Seattle WA - United Pest Solutions

Pantry pests in Seattle WA - United Pest SolutionsIf you’re cooking up a storm, the last thing you want is to realize that your flour is filled with bugs! Unfortunately, pantry pests are common throughout the United States, and they can cause significant destruction in your kitchen by chewing through all of your food.

The term “pantry pest” doesn’t just refer to one type of insect; rather, it refers to a group of pests that are known for sneaking into homes in search of food. Most pantry pests consume a wide variety of dried products, such as flour, cornmeal, cereal, pet food, and rice. To help you keep your kitchen safe, we’ll describe the most common pantry pests and provide tips on how to keep them out of your home.

Common Pantry Pests

Knowing how to identify the most common pantry pests can help you recognize an infestation early. Here are the most common pantry pests in the Pacific Northwest:

  • Indian meal moth: These small moths have a wingspan of 16 to 20 mm. Their wings are cream-colored with distinctive bronze or copper coloration on the lower half, and their larvae are yellowish with pink heads. They are known for eating dried foods like cornmeal, flour, and cereal.
  • Cigarette beetle: Measuring just 2 to 3 mm, these brown beetles are tiny and known for infesting tobacco and dried food products. Their heads are usually bent downwards, which gives their body a “humped” appearance. While they primarily feed on dried food, they have also been known to eat paper products and other items.
  • Drugstore beetle: Though they look similar to the cigarette beetle and are roughly the same size, they have a slightly thinner body with distinct grooves down their body. Drugstore beetles are also known as “bread beetles” for their habit of infesting bread.
  • Weevil: These are small insects, measuring less than 6 mm. They have distinctive long snouts and are light brown. Weevils commonly infest pantry products such as flour, pasta, rice, and nuts.

Tips for Preventing Pantry Pests

The best pest control begins with prevention. If you can stop an infestation before it even starts, you’ll save a lot of time, effort, and money. Here are some tips for keeping pantry pests out of your home:

  • Don’t purchase boxes of food that have been damaged.
  • Avoid leaving food out in the open.
  • Store your food in airtight containers.
  • Keep your pantry closed as much as possible.
  • Fix any broken window or door screens.
  • Seal off any gaps or cracks that could lead into your home.

If you’ve tried everything and are still struggling with pests in your pantry, it may be time to call in a professional. That’s where the experts at United Pest Solutions can help! Our experienced technicians can help you identify the root cause of the infestation while providing you with effective solutions to remove the pests – and keep them out for good. Call us today to schedule an appointment!

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!