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.

Keep Bugs Away From Your Outdoor Living Space

Tips to stay pest-free in your Marysville WA yard - Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt PestBugs and pests are a common part of outdoor life. If you’re spending more time outdoors this year than ever, you’ve likely noticed the influx of insects! Especially here in Washington, pests are at full-force in the summer and early fall. But they don’t have to ruin your time spent outside. To avoid mosquitoes in your birdbath, ants on your barbecue, or wasps in your deck, it’s important to learn how to make your yard less attractive to pests. At Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest, we are committed to ensuring our customers live pest-free—both inside and outside their home. Keep reading to learn more about our best bug-free outdoor living tips and tricks.

Top Tips to Prevent Pests in Your Yard

Most pests are simply a nuisance. House flies surrounding your outdoor trash cans or spiders crawling around in your garden are to be expected. But what about mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas? Because these pests in particular can be dangerous for you and your family, it’s important to learn what to do to prevent them. Our top tips to keep pests away from your outdoor living space are:

  1. Remove standing water. Mosquitoes only need a half inch of standing water to breed.
  2. Keep your lawn and shrubs trimmed. Overgrown grass provides mosquitoes and ticks with shelter.
  3. Be on the lookout for ant hills. Even a tiny mound can contain thousands of ants inside.
  4. Thoroughly inspect wood structures. Your deck or porch may be vulnerable to termite or carpenter bees.
  5. Regularly clean up your outdoor space. Crumbs or spilled liquids will attract ants and other insects.
  6. Burn a few citronella candles. While not a long-term solution, this will repel mosquitoes.
  7. Try replacing light bulbs. Yellow bulbs or sodium vapor lights will not attract as many insects.
  8. Apply an insect repellent. Any repellent with DEET will help repel mosquitoes and ticks.
  9. Wear appropriate clothing. If you are going to be outdoors for a longer period of time, consider wearing long sleeves or pants to keep pests from biting.
  10. Use a tight-fitting lid on your trash can. Food items in an unsealed container will attract all types of pests.
  11. Store firewood away from the home. Piles of wood are a magnet for multiple kinds of pests.
  12. Plant a garden. Certain plants and herbs, including marigolds, mint, and basil, act as a natural insect repellent.

Hep With Outdoor Pests

To avoid a pest infestation inside, you need to prevent them outside first! If you are looking to implement pest prevention into your yard maintenance routine, the pest control and lawn care experts at Western are happy to help. Call our team today to learn more!

Are Insects Carriers of COVID-19?

Mosquitoes do not cause coronavirus worldwide. Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest in Everett WAAt Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest, our team is aware of how uncertain times are right now during the current pandemic. With a dedication to the health and safety of our communities here in Marysville WA, we are keeping up-to-date with all of the information coming out each day about COVID-19. There is a lot of misinformation spread about the nature of the virus, and we are here to set one of those myths straight. From what we know according to the CDC, COVID-19 is not transmitted by mosquitoes or ticks. Although these two insects play a role in the transmission of some of the most deadly diseases across the globe, coronavirus is not one of them. Keep reading to learn what we know so far.

Mosquito Bites & Coronavirus

There has been no research or evidence to suggest that mosquitoes or ticks transmit COVID-19. From what we know, coronavirus is a respiratory virus spread to pass from person to person. Droplets from saliva or nasal discharge are often the cause of transmission, often generated when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Contaminated surfaces also are contributing to the virus, which is increasingly being considered an airborne virus. Infection are best avoided by avoiding exposure with infected persons. Diseases that are caused and spread by mosquitoes and ticks are spread and transmitted in an entirely different way.

What Diseases do Mosquitoes and Ticks Transmit?

Ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes are considered vectors for a number of infectious diseases. Vector pests are organisms that transmit diseases to humans through bites. Mosquitoes and ticks especially are capable of transmitting a few very dangerous diseases:

  • Malaria, Zika virus, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, and more are just several of the diseases transmitted by mosquitoes.
  • Lyme disease, which is currently the most common vector-borne disease in the nation, is transmitted by ticks.
  • It’s important to know how these are transmitted. When these vector pests feeds off a diseased host, they can transmit pathogens that may infect other hosts it subsequently bites. 

We Are Here For You!

Mosquitoes and ticks may not transmit coronavirus, but they can still be dangerous. More so than ever, it’s important to take caution in the presence of pests and to always enlist the help of a professional exterminator to prevent dangerous insects. The team at Western Exterminator is proud to continue to provide essential pest control services to our communities during these times and all year long!

As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold, we want to encourage our customers to seek more information and follow guidelines released by the WHO and the CDC.