Pest control is an issue that requires care and diligence. When you find that there’s been a pest outbreak in your home or yard, you need it to be dealt with quickly and efficiently.
So how do you know who to call? There are probably lots of exterminators in your area that all claim to provide the best service, but you are the one that has to decide which company will do the best work for you. With this in mind, here are some questions that you can ask to make sure you’re hiring the right pest control company:
How safe are your pest control treatments?
Some commonly used pesticides make use of chemicals that could potentially harm innocent animals and plants. Ask a pest control company that you’re considering if their products are:
Approved by the EPA
Competitive with the latest innovations in pest control
At Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest, we make sure to exclusively use environmentally-friendly chemicals in our products so as to never put our customers, their families, or their pets at risk.
How do you determine your treatment plan?
Every pest outbreak requires a different control approach, so ask the companies that you’re choosing between how they consider the needs of their new clients.
Our method starts with an initial inspection. After we assess your property, we draft a plan for our return visit which includes the equipment we need to bring and the steps we need to take to stop your infestation. We will continue to send technicians back over until the problem is resolved and we believe your house is protected from future outbreaks.
Where can I read your reviews?
Transparency is an important quality for any trustworthy company to have. If you can’t easily access an exterminator’s reviews on their website, ask them about how their customers have rated their service.
At Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest, we display our reviews in the bottom right corner of every one of our website’s pages. We currently hold a 4.2 out of 5 star cumulative rating, which accounts for over 50 customers. Our hard work has led to satisfied customers on many occasions, and we will happily work hard to solve your pest problem.
Do you have the right licenses and insurance?
A pest control company that’s worth hiring will be able to show that they have licenses and insurance to validate their claims to professionalism. It’s very important that your trusted exterminator has liability insurance to protect you against any unintended damage that occurs during the extermination process.
What do you do to prevent pests from returning?
A good exterminator stops a pest problem where it started. This entails identifying why it became an issue in the first place. Ask your local exterminators what techniques they use to prevent pests. We at Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest follow IPM (Integrated Pest Management) practices, meaning that we find ways to prevent future pest outbreaks while paying close attention to our environmental impact.
If you’re in the middle of a pest problem, contact us right away. We will quickly put a plan in place to inspect your home, determine the best method of extermination for you, and continue to send out our experts until the pests are gone.
There is a common misconception that termites are only interested in ingesting wood homes. The bad news is that, given the right conditions, termites can infest non-wood homes as well. This puts brick homes, stone homes, and other types of buildings at risk of termites. Because of this, it’s important to learn what may be attracting termites to your property in the first place.
This Termite Awareness Week, the team at Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest is here to share all you need to know about what may put your home at risk for termites in the Pacific Northwest.
Top 6 Termite Risks
No matter what type of home you have, the following may make your home more attractive to termites.
Moisture. Leaky pipes, broken sprinklers, or clogged gutters can all lead to moisture problems in your home. In turn, this could attract subterranean termites (not to mention hoards of other pests) inside.
Access to soil. Subterranean termites need contact with soil to live. Any wood items, whether it’s your home, porch, or firewood in the yard, in contact with soil is at risk for a termite problem.
Cellulose. Termites may be infamous for infesting wood, but they’re actually after the cellulose contained within! This cellulose is the main component that can be found in wallpaper, plants, mulch, drywall, and more.
Warmth. Termite problems are generally more common in warmer, humid parts of the world. This puts our rainy state at a higher risk of termite activity.
Decaying wood. If you have logs, trees, or stumps that are rotten or in decay, you can be sure termites will seek them out.
Landscape. Termites can infest mulch, making it important to keep it away from the perimeter of your home. Also, trim back tree branches that may be too close to your property.
Prevent the Risk of Termites in Washington
If you’re unsure whether or not your home is at risk for termites, it’s best to team up with your local termite control experts. At Western Exterminator, we will thoroughly inspect your property to pinpoint any vulnerabilities that could cause an infestation down the road. Contact us to get started today!
We all know that pests love to try to get inside our homes. However, there may be an even more suitable shelter for many types of pests: your garage! Whether you keep your holiday decorations stored away in the garage or your gardening tools, you likely want to avoid dealing with pests every time you have to rifle through your garage. Unfortunately, garages can be somewhat of a haven for pests considering the food, shelter, and water they can provide. In order to protect your garage from a potential infestation, it’s important to learn how to prevent pests from getting inside in the first place.
What Pest Problems Are Common in Garages?
Garages can provide pests the perfect shelter, especially in the colder winter months. The most common pests you’ll encounter in garages include:
Mice & Rats. Particularly in the winter, rodents will seek shelter in garages. They can easily build nests in storage boxes and wall voids or even sneak into your car.
Spiders. Arachnids are known to spin webs in boxes and in rarely-accessed corners. You can be sure to come across spiders when pulling out holiday decorations from your garage every year.
Silverfish. These tiny insects are especially fond of garages and cardboard boxes. Once they are in your garage, they can feed on a number of items: paper, glue, clothing, flour, and more. While mostly harmless, silverfish are nonetheless a nuisance.
Flies. Especially in the hot summer months, flies can be a major nuisance. House flies can be found resting on nearly any surface including on walls, floors, window sills, and other various objects found in the garage.
How to Keep Pests Outside Your Garage
Similarly as you would for your home, it’s crucial to eliminate pests’ access points and make the garage less inhabitable to them in general. This includes installing effective weather stripping, as well as sealing cracks and crevices with silicone-based caulk or steel wool (or both). Promptly fix any leaky pipes or moisture problems. Lastly, consider storing all goods in plastic containers with tight-fitting lids instead of cardboard boxes, and always store everything up off the ground.
Need Help Pest-Proofing Your Garage?
If you’ve done all you can to prevent pest problems in your property but still have problems, it’s best to consult your local pest control experts. The pros at Western Exterminator will work with you to ensure pests stay out of your garage for good.
Entomologists from Western Exterminator Provide their Pest Predictions for 2021
READING, Penn. (Jan. 4, 2021) — As if 2020 didn’t present enough challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 could be a banner year for pests around the country.
To help residents prepare for 2021, entomologists from Western Exterminator used field knowledge and data to provide their predictions for pests in the upcoming year.
1. Rodents, Rodents Everywhere:
With shutdowns across the country, it’s no surprise that rodents are on the rise nationwide. Empty buildings, the scarcity of food and warmer winters have combined to create a rodent apocalypse.
“We’re seeing more rats in urban, suburban and rural settings because of the shutdowns,” said Marc Potzler, Board Certified Entomologist with Western Exterminator. “Food sources are cut off, and rats are having to travel to scavenge for food. We’ve seen rats out in public during the day, which is highly unusual.”
Warmer winters have also allowed for mice populations to boom in residential areas as it allows for a longer breeding season and there is a lower population loss due to hard freezes.
“Right now is the perfect time to rodent-proof your home,” said Potzler. “Make sure to repair any gaps on the exterior of your home, such as around garage doors, windows or pipes.”
2. Mosquitoes on the Move:
Mosquitoes populations have been increasing over the last few years. Aedes species, which are disease-carrying mosquitoes, are also moving to new areas. These mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Zika virus, among other diseases.
“There is an increase of mosquitoes across the country, but notably on the West Coast, and they are adapting each year,” said Eric Sebring, Associate Certified Entomologist with Western Exterminator. “We have seen evidence of behavior adaptation, where mosquitoes lay their eggs strategically to hatch throughout the season.”
Protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes by removing any standing water on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one teaspoon of water. Also, wear EPA-approved insect repellent while spending time outside.
3. Bed Bugs:
The chatter about bed bugs was quiet in 2020, but that’s not because they have gone away.
“As people begin to travel again, we will start to hear about bed bug infestations,” said Sebring. “Bed bugs can be dormant for several months at a time, so they can emerge when a food source, humans, become available.”
Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers, traveling from place to place on people, luggage, clothing and other personal belongings. Homeowners and businesses such as hotels, colleges, hospitals, senior living facilities, retail stores, and libraries have experienced problems with bed bugs.
If traveling, inspect the bed by pulling back the sheets to examine the mattress. Check your luggage before packing and unpacking, and look for signs of living or dead bugs the size of an apple seed or black fecal smears.
4. More Time Outdoors = More Pests.
From hiking to gardening to dining al fresco, there is no doubt that the pandemic has forced people to spend more time outdoors.
In 2021, we will see the outdoor pest pressures continue:
Ticks: Ticks are responsible for transmitting several diseases, including Lyme disease, to humans and animals. These small insects are found in grassy areas and in the woods, so it is important to inspect yourself and your pets after spending time outdoors. Cover as much skin as possible while outdoors, wear long pants, long sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and tuck pant legs into socks. Light-colored clothing will also help any ticks you pick up stand out.
Ants: “As soon as the weather starts to warm up, we will see an increase in ant populations,” said Tom Dobrinska, Board Certified Entomologist. “Most of the ants we are dealing with are odorous house ants. When spending time outside, make sure to clean up any food, water or sugary substances and ensure that your home is free of any holes or cracks for them to enter.”
Stinging Insects: Stinging insects, such as wasps and yellow jackets, emerge at the first sign of warm weather, and as warm weather seasons are getting longer, stinging insects have more time to create issues. Make sure you check for nests early in the spring as they are smaller and get early nest treatment. Make sure to keep windows and doors shut, and secure outside bins so stinging insects are not attracted to the contents.
5. Termites Aren’t Going Anywhere
Termites are a pesky problem, and unfortunately, are not going anywhere. Termites can cause extensive damage to structures, especially homes. As people are moving out of cities during the pandemic to more suburban areas, education about termite protection is key.
“We received more calls for termites this past year than we have in many years,” said Potzler. “It’s important to raise awareness for homeowners now to have proactive protection to keep from costly repairs in the future.”
6. Pests in the News:
There are a few pests that will continue to steal the limelight in 2021.
The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive pest that has been making its way across the country since it was first introduced from Asia in 2001. Besides its pungent odor, this stink bug has become a nuisance for homeowners as it gathers in large numbers on the sides of houses and buildings and enters through small cracks in the home. “The brown marmorated stink bug is here to stay,” said Dobrinska. “We will continue to see this species emerge in late spring in large numbers.”
The Spotted Lanternfly will continue to wreak havoc across the Northeast and beyond. The invasive pest, first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, is spreading across the Northeast, with New York reporting its first sighting this year. The pest can significantly damage trees and plants.
“The Spotted Lanternfly is becoming a big problem in the Northeast, and it will continue to spread,” said Potzler. “It can be devastating for agriculture and is a nuisance for homeowners.”
The egg masses look like a smear of mud on trees and outside of homes. It’s important to scrape the egg mass off, put it in a bag with rubbing alcohol and throw it away, and then call the state department of agriculture.
The infamous “Murder Hornet,” also known as the Asian giant hornet, grabbed many headlines, causing homeowners to panic trying to decipher the difference between stinging insects in their yards and this aggressive species. The Asian giant hornet is the largest hornet species in the world, growing up to 3 inches in length. Currently, the Asian giant hornet has only been found in the Pacific Northwest.
“We know that there was one colony found and eliminated in Washington State,” said Sebring. “Unfortunately, if there is one, there will be more.”
While your chances of being stung by an Asian giant hornet are fairly low, the sting can be dangerous as the venom volume is higher, causing more pain. The hives are primarily built underground or in hollows in trees. If you suspect it is an Asian giant hornet or any stinging pests, call your pest management provider to assess the situation as soon as you spot activity.
Mice and rats are two of the most dreaded pests for homeowners here in the Pacific Northwest. Rodent problems can leave a big mess behind when they infest properties, and they can be dangerous as well. All rat and mouse species share the common identifying feature that is their constantly growing incisor teeth. But how do they differ? Rats are obviously bigger than mice, but their differences don’t stop there. At Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest, we want our customers to be well aware of the pest they are dealing with. For that reason, we are outlining all you need to know when it comes to learning how to identify rats and mice here in Washington.
What to Know About Mice
We all know that mice are significantly smaller than rats, but how else do they differ?
The house mouse is usually just 2–4 inches long. Mice have larger ears and a longer tail compared to its body length.
Mice are often gray or brown in color, with a lighter shade or white color on their bellies.
Mice droppings have pointed ends and are just 1–2 mm long.
Most mice feed on fruits, seeds, grains, and occasionally meat.
They produce 5–10 litters a year with up to 14 mice in each litter.
Mice forage at dusk and nest in attics, garages, basements, and more.
7 Rat Facts
Rats are known to be more aggressive than mice, but their differences don’t stop there.
Rats have thicker bodies and tails that are shorter than the length of their body.
They possess small hairy ears and larger feet.
They weigh anywhere from 150 to 300 grams.
Rat droppings are banana-shaped and much bigger than mice droppings at 10–20 mm.
Rats produce 3–6 litters a year with up to 10 pups in each litter.
Rats are adventurous, omnivorous eaters who will feed on a variety of grains and meats.
They forage overnight and nest in garages, trees, and basements.
Do You Need Rodent Exterminators?
Rats and mice may differ in many ways, but they’re similar in the dangers they can bring into your home. Rodents can spread germs and disease, trigger allergies in people, and make a huge mess with their droppings and chewing habits. If you suspect you have these pests in your property, it’s time to call your local rodent exterminators at Western. We can identify which species you’re dealing with before implementing the best rodent control plan. Contact us today to learn more!
Here in Washington, pest problems tend to be in full force in the spring and summer months. But what about fall and winter pests? While you may not see them as often, fall and winter pests can be some of the most troublesome as they often look to get inside your property. With our wet climate, pests of all kinds can infest our homes for warmth and shelter. At Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest, we believe the key to preventing pests is knowing what pests are looking to infest your property during certain parts of the year. With help from the NPMA, our team is here to share information on pest seasonality in the Pacific Northwest.
What Pests Are Active in the Fall and Winter?
Due to our wet climate and mild winters, the NPMA has predicted that ticks may be more active in the fall than usual. In the coming months, a less rainy season and cold weather will drive rodents into homes for water, warmth, and shelter. Other fall and winter pests we need to keep an eye out for include ants, which do not like the rainy weather we are accustomed to. Roaches and spiders are also likely to seek shelter inside our property this time of year.
Spring & Summer Pests in the Pacific Northwest
A rainy spring and hot summer is a haven for many types of pests, which is why this time of year results in a lot of infestations. Some of the most common pests we deal with in the northwest region this time of year include:
Ants. Rainy weather drives ants out of their colonies and into homes for shelter.
Stinging insects. Bees, wasps, and hornets will construct nests near residential properties and can be a threat to families.
Mosquitoes. These insects lay a lot of eggs in standing water during the summer months, which is when they’re most problematic.
Termites. Our climate is a haven for termites, who swarm in the spring and are at full force in the summertime.
Preventing Seasonal Pest Problems in Washington
Your best defense against seasonal pests is to work with a professional pest control company that can protect you year-round. At Western, we believe that pest prevention is the best form of pest control, and we can work with you to ensure you do not deal with pest infestations in the fall, winter, spring, or summer! Call us today to learn more.
With everything else going on this year, the last thing you have time to deal with is a rodent infestation. Unfortunately, rats and mice are more rampant than ever right now in due part to the pandemic. When restaurants and bars shut down here in Washington, rodents were suddenly deprived of their once-reliable food source. This has directly correlated to a rise in residential rodent problems. And with the weather getting colder, rats and mice will be looking to make themselves at home in your property soon. Because rodent infestations can be so dangerous, it’s crucial to learn how you can protect your property from rats and mice. With Rodent Awareness Week upon us, Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest is here to share their top tips for prevention.
Why Are Rodents More Aggressive During the Pandemic?
The shelter in place shutdowns caused an uptick in residential rodent sightings as rats and mice became bolder in their hunt for resources. This has since caused an uptick in infestations and rodent-spread issues. While their presence may be more prevalent than ever, you thankfully do not need to worry about rodents transmitting COVID-19 to you or your family.
That said, rodents still can spread other diseases including hantavirus, salmonellosis, and many more. They also can cause significant damage to your home. Because rodents are competing for more food sources, they have been a tad more aggressive as of late. This can lead to more dangerous infestations in your home, making it crucial to learn how to prevent them.
Prevent Rodent Problems In Your Home
To avoid a rodent infestation, try out our top tips for preventing them:
Seal off cracks and crevices around openings. Mice can squeeze inside holes the size of a dime.
Clean up pet food and bird seed debris, and store pet food in robust containers with fitted lids, preferably above ground level.
Securely store all food in metal or glass containers with tight-fitting lids.
Clean inside the house and around the garden. Less clutter means fewer places to hide.
Put outdoor garbage bags in metal garbage cans with securely fitted lids to stop them from feeding on contents.
If you have a compost heap don’t include organic food waste, as this will attract them.
Inspect your garage, attic, crawlspaces, and vents for potential rodent hiding spots.
Rodent Awareness Week 2020
Rodent Awareness Week may just be a week out of the year, but Western strives to educate our customers about the dangers of rodents all year long. With infestations on the rise, now is the time to protect your home. Our rodent exterminators can help. Contact us today to learn more!
Some pests are known to overwinter or go dormant in the fall and winter to wait out the colder months of the year. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for termites, which are active all year round. Termites are often seen in the spring and summer when they swarm, but they are very much still around in the other seasons. Queen termites lay their eggs throughout the year, making it easy for a colony to continually grow. Because termites are a year-round threat, it’s crucial to get year-round protection. At Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest, we can help ensure you are protected against termites all year long.
Termite Activity in the Fall and Winter
Termites are most likely to swarm in the months between March and November. However, this doesn’t make it impossible for them to do so in the early fall! Regardless of whether you see a swarm or not, termites remain active as the queen continually lays eggs and colonies grow. The more mature a colony is, the more damage can be made to your home. If you have an infestation festering in your property for more than two years, it is very likely to begin to notice the signs of damage, even in the fall or winter. When we experience colder temperatures in the winter, a termite colony will tunnel deep underground to stay warm until spring rolls around once more.
What are the Signs of Fall Termites?
Termite infestations infamously are often not discovered until extensive damage has been done. During the fall months and throughout the entire year, look for the following signs of a termite colony in your property:
Discarded swarmer wings
Termite frass (feces)
Thin or hollow-sounding timber
Mud tunnels or galleries
Uneven or bubbling paint
Quiet clicking sounds in your walls
How to Prevent Fall and Winter Termite Infestations
Your best defense against a termite problem is to get year-round preventative services. At Western, we offer a number of termite treatment options designed to stop infestations before they begin. To learn more about how our termite exterminators can keep termites away for good, contact us today!
Pest infestations are more common than you think in the fall. Rodents are one of the most common offenders. Just like other pests, rodents will seek out warmth, shelter, and food inside your home. Rats and mice inside aren’t just a nuisance, they can be dangerous as well. Not only are rodents destructive, they can spread germs and disease too. The team at Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest knows how important it is to keep your family safe from rodents. We also know you want to feel comfortable in your home and enjoy the fall season without worrying about an infestation in your house. Keep reading to learn our top tips to protect your home from rodents this fall and all year long.
Why do Rats Get Indoors in the Fall?
If you’re hearing rustling in the walls or gnawing noises, chances are you may have a rodent problem. When they get inside, rats and mice will take shelter in the attic, basement, and garage. They also will infest kitchens, laundry rooms, and are highly likely to invade your trash cans if given the chance. A rat or mouse problem often begins when the rodents get in through your chimney, pipes, air vents, and more. With incisors that never stop growing, their chewing habits can be destructive. They also are known carriers of germs and bacteria that can cause disease. For these reasons, it’s crucial to learn how to keep them out.
Tips to Protect Your Home From Rodents
No one wants rats or mice inside their home. Unfortunately, they can get in easier than you want to think. Some of the best ways to prevent a fall rodent problem is to keep them outside. Try out the following tips:
Cover all vents. Install mesh screens on your vents. Also consider installing screens on doors and windows.
Use a tight-fitting lid on your trash cans. Rodents love to rummage in the garbage! If possible, keep your trash cans sealed and stored.
Protect your eaves. Fix any damaged roofing and use wire mesh to seal gaps in your eaves.
Store food and items properly. Securely store food in tight-fitting containers with lids.
Seal cracks and crevices. Use caulk or wire wool to cover up gaps and openings near pipes.
Year-Round Rodent Prevention
Rodents aren’t just bothersome in the fall. To keep your Washington property protected all year long, the team at Western can help. Our rodent exterminators will customize a rodent control plan suited to the unique needs of your property. Contact us today!
Here in Washington, we are used to dealing with spiders. Especially in the late summer and early fall months, spiders seem to be out in full force! After hatching in the spring, spider populations boom in August and September. Most of the spiders you come across in your garden or home are harmless (even if they look scary). However, our region is home to a couple of the more dangerous spider species: black widows and hobo spiders. No one wants spiders in their property—especially the more dangerous ones. The team at Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest is here to share info on identifying and preventing dangerous fall spiders.
Black Widows & Hobo Spiders
No one wants to get close enough to a spider to identify it! That said, it’s important to know about black widows and hobo spiders. Both of these spiders can bite when they leave threatened, which can be dangerous. Here’s how to identify these spiders:
These spiders have a characteristic red hourglass shape on its body.
They build sticky, tangled cobwebs in garages, sheds, and near the ground.
They can bite when they feel threatened.
These spiders are light to medium brown in color
They build and live in funnel webs.
Can bite in defense. Their bites can cause mild pain and redness.
Keeping Fall Spiders Out of Your Property
No matter whether they’re dangerous or not—no one wants to deal with spiders in their home or business. Because they will gladly take up residence in your home, it’s important to learn how to keep them out in the first place. Our best spider prevention tips include:
Ensuring your lawn is trimmed and neat. Overgrown bushes, shrubs, piles of wood, and more can attract spiders to your property and eventually indoors.
Cleaning your home on a regular basis. Doing so can prevent insects that spiders like to prey on and eliminate hiding spots for pests.
Sealing cracks and crevices. Inspect the inside and outside of your property for tiny spots that may be inviting spiders in, and seal properly.
Installing/repairing screens on doors and windows. Tight-fitting screens are the key to keeping insects, spiders included, out.
Inspecting boxes and used furniture prior to bringing them inside. Adult spiders or their egg sacs could be hiding inside.
Spider Infestations in the Fall
In the Pacific Northwest, spiders are a common occurrence outdoors. That said, spiders can be a nuisance when they get inside your property, and they can be dangerous when you’re dealing with more aggressive species! At Western, our spider exterminators will work to control current infestations as well as prevent future ones.