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.

Exploring Common Myths About Bed Bugs

Common myths about bed bugs in Everett and Snohomish WA - Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt PestBed bugs are one of the most dreaded pest problems in the nation, and it’s easy to understand why. Not only do these bloodsucking pests bite you in the night, they also can spread throughout your home. Bed Bug Awareness Week is here, making now the perfect time to learn what’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to bed bugs. Because these pests incite so much fear, it’s important to separate the myths from reality in order to be better prepared for a possible infestation. The team at Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest is here to dispel common myths about bed bugs–read on to learn more!

Bed Bug Myths–Debunked

If you have had bed bugs in the past, you know they can cause a lot of distress. Much of the fear surrounding these bugs, however, is based off of common myths about bed bugs. Here are some of the ones we hear most often:

  1. Bed bugs are nocturnal.
    • Bed bugs are active when their hosts are at rest. This obviously means they are often most active at night, but they can also adjust their schedule to feed during the day!
  2. Bed bugs only infest beds and bedrooms.
    • Bed bugs gather near areas where people rest. This can include sofas, chairs, cracks in the wall, and even power outlets in any part of your home.
  3. Bed bugs are too small to see without a magnifying glass.
    • Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed and often group together, making them easy to spot. Nymph bed bugs are much smaller and translucent, which is why they’re rarely seen.
  4. Bed bugs jump and fly.
    • Unlike fleas and ticks, bed bugs cannot jump or fly. They have underdeveloped wings, and can only move by crawling.
  5. Bed bugs are attracted to messy or dirty homes.
    • This is one of the most common myths about bed bugs. Whether your home is clean or dirty, a bed bug infestation can happen in any property.
  6. Bed bugs latch onto or burrow into your skin.
    • Bed bugs will not latch onto you. After they feed, bed bugs prefer to retreat back to their hiding spot.
  7. Bed bugs transmit dangerous diseases with their bites.
    • Bed bug bites will leave you with red, itchy marks. Thankfully, their bites do not transmit any dangerous diseases as mosquitoes do.
  8. Bed bugs can live a year without a blood meal.
    • While they definitely can survive months without a meal, it is very unlikely for bed bugs to survive an entire year unless under optimal conditions

Can You Get Rid of Bed Bugs Yourself?

In addition to the above myths about bed bugs, there is a lot of false information online claiming you can get rid of bed bugs with a hair dryer, DIY or all-natural methods, or throwing out infested items. Unfortunately, these are not true. The only way to make sure you get rid of all bed bugs in your property is to enlist the expertise of a professional bud bug control company. To learn how Western Exterminator can keep you safe from bed bugs, contact us today.

How to Stay Pest-Free This Winter

A rodent is one of the many winter pests that may infest Snohomish WA homes - Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt PestPest infestations are most common in the spring and summer, but that doesn’t mean they don’t happen in the winter, too! In fact, pest infestations this time of year are more common than you think. Just like us, pests and insects seek out warmth in the winter, which is why they squeeze their way inside of homes this time of year. To stay pest-free this winter, it’s important to learn how to protect your property. Keep reading for expert tips on preventing winter pests from Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest!

Pest Problems in the Winter

Some pests enter homes in the colder months to wait out the freezing temperatures in favor of the spring. A few common winter insects are ants, stink bugs, Asian lady beetles, and boxelder bugs. These insects typically won’t be seen until the springtime. In addition to these insects, there are a number of other winter pests that may invade your Washington home this holiday season:

  • Rats & mice: The house mouse and Norway rat are able to squeeze their way indoors.
  • Spiders: House spiders and even black widows will hide indoors in dark, secluded corners.
  • Cockroaches: German cockroaches hitchhike indoors in grocery bags and boxes.
  • Bed bugs: Known to withstand extreme temperatures, bed bug infestations are common in the winter.

Preventing Winter Pests Infestations

To properly protect your property from winter pests, it’s important to implement preventative measures into your home maintenance routine. To start, it’s crucial to thoroughly inspect your home before the months of winter hit to locate any vulnerabilities.

If you find any cracks or crevices in the foundation, seal them properly. In addition, you should place screens over vents and chimneys, store firewood away from your property line, promptly fix leaks or broken pipes, and keep a clean home to prevent winter pests.

When to Use Professional Winter Pest Control

Everyone knows pests are a nuisance in the spring and summer months, but they can cause problems in the winter, too. If you’ve done all you can to prevent pests and are still noticing pests inside your property, it’s time to call in the experts for winter pest control services. The team at Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest can help with preventing winter pests—call today!

5 Ways to Prevent Bed Bugs This Holiday Season

Hard-case suitcases to prevent bed bug infestations while traveling in Snohomish WA or Everett WA - Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt PestEveryone knows there’s no place like home for the holidays. Unfortunately, bed bugs think so too! Because so many people travel during the holiday season, bed bug infestations can be more of a risk than you think. Infestations are commonly traced back to vacations or trips due to the fact that bed bugs can be found in hotels and spread through suitcases. Whether you’re traveling for Thanksgiving or inviting guests to stay, continue reading for Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest’s top tips to prevent bed bugs.

Bed Bug Behavior in the Winter

Especially during the holidays, no one wants to deal with a bed bug infestation. Although bed bugs don’t hibernate in the same way that some pests do, they sometimes enter a state of diapause. In this state they can survive several months without a meal. That said, this is rare and bed bugs are typically capable of surviving the winter months inside of heated homes. As extremely resilient pests, it’s important to know how to prevent bed bug infestations.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs While Traveling

As much as you may hate to admit it, bed bugs are often spread through traveling in hotels and airports. Five ways to prevent bed bugs before and after a trip include:

  1. Packing your clothing in sealed plastic bags and using a hard-case suitcase
  2. Researching before booking a hotel room by reading through reviews for mentions of bed bug problems
  3. Inspecting your hotel room thoroughly by pulling back the sheets to look for live bugs or signs of bed bug activity
  4. Placing your suitcase on luggage racks, on top of furniture, or inside of a bathtub inside hotel rooms
  5. After your trip, washing all clothing in hot water and steam-cleaning your suitcase before storing it away

Bed Bug Control Services

If you’ve done all you can to prevent bed bugs and still find yourself with an infestation, it’s time to call a bed bug exterminator. At Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest, we know how frustrating bed bug problems can be and have the experience needed to provide effective bed bug removal. To learn more about our bed bug control methods, give our team a call today!