Afraid of Rodents and Bugs? 2021 May Not Be Your Year

Formerly Pratt Pest, N-viro, a Western Exterminator Company: Your local pest control expertsEntomologists 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.

Pest Seasonality in the Pacific Northwest

Rodents are a common seasonal pest in Everett and Snohomish WA - Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest

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.

Winter pests in the Northwestern United States map
Rodents
Ticks

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.

8 Ant-Proofing Tips for Your Home

Sweeping your floor is one of the best ways to ant-proof your Marysville WA home. Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt PestAnyone who has had an ant infestation will tell you how frustrating they are. Ants are notoriously difficult to control without an ant exterminator, which is why it’s so important to learn how to prevent them in the first place. With the weather warming up here in the Marysville WA area, ants are coming out in full force as the worker ants leave their nest in search of food and water. Now is the time for ant-proofing your property! Here at Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest, we’ve prepared our top ant prevention tips for you to keep ants out in the coming months.

What Are Ants Drawn To?

Like most types of pests, ants are always in search of food and water. Kitchens in homes tend to be a hot spot for ant infestations. If you have crumbs on your counter tops, stovetop, or floor, you can be sure ants will find them. They are also attracted to excess moisture problems–if you have a leaky faucet or pipe that causes a surplus of humidity or moisture, ants will likely be drawn to the area. Usually, ants get indoors through tiny cracks and crevices in your foundation. Once inside, they will gladly take up residence should you give them a source of food and water!

Ant-Proofing Tricks and Tips

Along with info gathered from the NPMA, we’ve compiled a list of ant-proofing tips and tricks for homeowners. Implement the following into your spring cleaning routine this year to lessen the chance of getting ants:

  • Inspect the foundation of your home and seal any cracks or crevices using a silicone-based caulk.
  • Keep any pet food bowls clean and always clean up after messes and spills. Pick pet bowls up off the floor after meal times.
  • Make sure downspouts and gutters are all functioning properly so that water is flowing away from the foundation.
  • Regularly check under sinks for excess moisture problems and repair leaky pipes promptly.
  • Trim trees and shrubbery in your yard to be at least 6 inches away from the home.
  • Wipe down any countertops and sweep floors regularly to clean up spills and remove crumbs.
  • Store food (including pet food) in airtight containers and refrigerate ripe fruit.
  • Dispose of garbage on a regular basis and use trash cans with a tight-fitting lid.

You Have Ants–Now What?

If you’ve done everything you can to prevent ants and implemented the above ant-proofing tips but still find yourself with a growing infestation, it’s time to call the team at Western Exterminator. Our ant exterminators know how to get rid of ants and make sure they don’t come back. Give us a call today to learn more!

How to Keep Spring Pests Away

Prevent spring pests by deep-cleaning your Everett WA home! Learn more from Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest.Anyone that lives in Washington knows that pests are a problem year-round, but infestations surge in numbers every spring. As the weather warms up, pests that may not have been as active in the months prior come back with a vengeance! However, spring is just the beginning of pest season.

Now is the time to safeguard your home or business against pests in spring, summer, and fall! Keep reading for expert tips from the team here at Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest.

Most Common Spring Pests in Washington

While some of these pests are active year-round, there tends to be a peak in activity this time of year. The pests you should be aware of in spring include:

  • Ants. Warming temperatures encourage ants to start invading once more.
  • Flies. In the spring and summer, flies are more active than ever and can be a big nuisance.
  • Rodents. Although they’re active year-round, rats and mice are a problem in the spring.
  • Stink bugs. After overwintering, people report a resurgence in stink bugs.
  • Stinging insects. Wasps and hornets are gearing up to build nests this time of year.

Spring Cleaning Tips for Pest Prevention

If you’re already planning on deep-cleaning your home this spring, why not implement pest prevention measures as well? To keep pests out of your building, it’s important to adhere to a number of protocols. On a regular basis, inspect your property for pests or vulnerabilities that could contribute to a pest problem. Thoroughly sanitize, ensure doors and windows are securely sealed, and focus on keeping a tidy environment free of clutter.

Spring cleaning applies outside, too! Keep a tidy yard, get rid of debris, trim tree branches and shrubs away from the foundation, and clear out gutters.

Preventing and Controlling Seasonal Pests

If you’ve done all you can to prevent pests this spring but still are dealing with flies, rats, or stink bugs, it’s best to enlist the help of a professional pest control company. Here at Western Exterminator, our team will work with you to ensure you, your family, and your home is safe from pests this spring and all year long.

How Are Termites and Carpenter Ants Different?

Carpenter ants are commonly mistaken for termites in Everett WA - Learn more from Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt PestAs wood-destroying insects, termites and carpenter ants share a lot of similar behaviors. They even look quite similar in the swarmer stage of their life. However, these two pests are quite different. Termites are responsible for the most destructive pest infestations across the nation, and are dangerous for being silent destroyers. So how do you tell the difference between termites and carpenter ants? Read on for info from the experts at Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest!

What do Swarming Termites and Carpenter Ants Look Like?

As swarmers, termites and carpenter ants can look very similar. There are a couple key differences that help differentiate the two:

  1. Carpenter ant swarmers
    1. Black in color, with an occasional red tint.
    2. Measure 1/2″–5/8″ with antenna bent at a 45-degree angle. Carpenter ants are by far the biggest ant species in the nation.
    3. Wings are translucent with a reddish brown hue, laying over the posterior of the ant.
  2. Termite swarmers
    1. Very dark brown to black in color, and measure 3/8″ long (including the wings).
    2. Wings are a translucent to slightly milky or smoky color.
    3. Their wings may overlap, and are typically as long as or slightly longer than the body. This is an easy way to tell them apart from carpenter ants!

Winged ant vs. termite in Snohomish County WA - Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest

Behaviors of Termites and Carpenter Ants

As wood-destroying insects, termites and carpenter ants share many similar habits. Carpenter ants establish nests in wood that is already in decay, and later expand into sound wood, insulation, or wall voids. When you notice the damaged wood, the galleries they excavate appear to have been sanded. Although they destroy wood, the damage caused by carpenter ants does not amount to the potential damage of a termite infestation.

Termites, on the other hand, often make their way into a structure around basement windows, doorways, porches, or any other area of the property in contact with soil. Grown colonies can range from 60,000 to over a million workers and can consume nearly 5 grams of wood per day. With this growth rate, termites are considerably more dangerous than carpenter ants.

Professional Termite & Carpenter Ant Extermination

Wood-destroying insects are any property owner’s worst nightmare. Because infestations are often found late when considerable damage has already been done, it’s recommended to get annual inspections from a professional exterminator. The team at Western Exterminator can thoroughly inspect your Everett WA property for signs and risks of these insects. Our goal is to keep you, your family, and your property safe from wood-destroying insects year-round.