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

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.

Wasp Nest Identification Guide

Wasp nest identification guide in Snohomish WA - Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt PestBlooming flowers and warm weather is enjoyed by all in Washington summertimes, including wasps. These stinging insects come out in full force this time of year, making it likely you’ll come across them when you spend time outdoors. Wasps are generally safe, unless they build nests on or near your property. There are a few different types of wasps, and they all build different types of nests.

The team at Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest is here to provide you with the information you need to know to help identify wasp nests.

4 Common Wasp Nests

Paper wasps, mud daubers, yellowjackets, and bald-faced hornets are the main kinds of wasps we’ll see here in the Snohomish area. Here’s what to know about these nests:

  • Paper wasps
    • A paper wasp nest often looks like an upside-down umbrella.
    • These nests tend to be more open, and can get quite large in size.
    • They are typically supported by a single stalk and made out of a papery substance.
    • Nests can be located under and within the eaves of structures, in attics and wall voids, and in other enclosed areas.
  • Mud daubers
    • Female wasps construct their nests out of mud.
    • The nests are small and tubular in size, often looking like organ pipes.
    • They are typically found in cracks or crevices.
    • Tend to build their nests in sheltered areas, including under eaves, garages, attics, or on the sides of buildings.

Wasp nest identification in the Snohomish WA area - Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest

  • Yellowjackets
    • Nests are a papery material and have a single opening.
    • The inside of a yellowjacket nest can have up to 100 tiers of cells.
    • Yellowjackets can also build underground nests that can be enormous in size.
    • Favor areas near the ground, in hollow trees, under porches, and a number of other areas.
  • Bald-faced hornets
    • These nests are almost always at least three feet off the ground.
    • They are made of chewed wood fibers mixed with saliva.
    • They can grow to the size of a football or basketball.
    • Builds its nest oftentimes in trees, bushes, or wooded areas, but they also can be on buildings.

What to Do About a Wasp Nest

If you see any of the above wasp nests forming on or near your property, it’s important to take caution and stay away. Certain wasps can get very aggressive when it comes to defending their nests. Even worse, many are inclined to sting repeatedly—needless to say, this can become very dangerous. If you have a wasp nest nearby, always contact the professional wasp control experts at Western.

Here’s What to Know About Murder Hornets

Murder hornets - Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest - Snohomish WALiving in the Marysville and Snohomish WA area, there’s a large chance you’ve heard all about the Asian giant hornet, infamously dubbed as the “murder hornet”. With two sightings of these dangerous hornets in the northernmost part of our state, it’s understandable why you may be worrying about these insects. As the biggest hornet in the world, the Asian giant hornet can administer a potentially lethal sting. Besides that, they are also extremely threatening to the honeybee population. The team at Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest is here to share all you need to know about the murder hornet.

Where are Asian Giant Hornets Being Spotted?

True to their name, these hornets are historically found in China, Japan, and some other Asian countries. However, the first sighting of them in North America occurred several months ago in an area that probably feels a little too close for comfort: the Blaine area. And another sighting has just been recorded in Bellingham! As of now, it’s still unknown how they arrived in North America, but it’s predicted to be through international cargo shipments.

How to Identify Murder Hornets

Asian giant hornets have very distinctive features and are best identified by their size.

Some of their features include:

  • Workers are 1 ½ – 2” in length while queens can exceed 2”
  • Light orange head with an orange, black, and brown striped body.
  • Large, prominent eyes
  • Distinctly sharp mandibles
  • Six legs and a set of antennae
  • ¼” (6 mm) length stinger

The Dangers of Asian Giant Hornets

These hornets are predators of honeybees and can quickly devastate the population. They attack honey bee hives, killing adult bees and devouring bee larvae and pupae. A single murder hornet can kill dozens of honeybees in minutes, and a group of 30 hornets can devour a hive of nearly 30,0000 bees in just a few hours. 

Of course, people are very concerned about the lethal sting these hornets can administer. Like many stinging insects, the murder hornet will not attack humans unless they feel provoked or threatened. Their stings contain neurotoxins and are extremely painful. If someone is stung multiple times, the neurotoxins can cause organ failure and eventual death. In Japan, these hornets are responsible for nearly 50 deaths a year.

How Worried Should We Be?

Thankfully, scientists are working hard to find, trap, and eradicate these pests before they become a real problem. Because they thrive in the wooded landscape and mild, wet climate, there is a chance more sightings can occur. If you think you’ve caught sight of an Asian giant hornet, it’s important to stay away and contact a licensed professional to report the sighting.

3 Summertime Wasps in Washington

Paper wasps are a common summertime wasp in WA - Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt PestIt’s nearly summertime here in the Snohomish WA area, and the weather is warming up. During the summer, everyone wants to spend more time outdoors hiking, camping, having barbecues and picnics, etc. Unfortunately, pest season can make it hard to enjoy spending time outside this time of year. One of the biggest concerns: wasps! Nationwide, there are over 4,000 species of wasps. There are three summertime wasps in particular that cause issues for residents. Keep reading about summertime wasps and how to prevent them from the team here at Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest.

How to Identify Summertime Wasps

Wasps are difficult to identify, and it can be dangerous to get too close to them to attempt to! The best way to identify wasps is by their behaviors and nests:

  1. Paper Wasps. These wasps are known for the papery nests they build, which look like upside-down umbrellas. These nests often hang from tree branches and twigs, as well as porch ceilings and door railings. Paper wasp nests typically contain up to 30 wasps. Paper wasps aren’t as aggressive as yellow jackets, but they may sting to defend their nests. Their sting is known to be especially potent and dangerous*.
  2. Mud Daubers. As their name suggests, mud daubers build their nests from mud. They are mostly black in appearance but may have light-colored markings. They are most known for their thin, thread-like waist. Nests are usually located in covered areas such as porch ceilings, sheds, and attics. These wasps prefer to be solitary rather than social. Mud daubers aren’t as aggressive and will only sting when directly handled.
  3. Yellow Jackets. During the summertime, yellow jackets are infamous for being aggressive. Yellow jackets congregate in colonies of up to or more than 1,000 workers. Their nests can be a ticking time bomb if anyone tries to knock it down without a professional pest control company. Yellow jackets will not bother you unless they feel threatened, in which case they may sting repeatedly*.

* If you are stung by a wasp and are having a severe reaction, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately.

Common summertime wasps in Snohomish WA - Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest

Preventing Wasps in Your Yard

To avoid encountering summertime wasps, it’s important to know what keeps them away. Your first line of defense is to regularly look for the signs of wasp nests forming on or near your property, often in porches, decks, sheds, and garages. To prevent being stung:

  • When outdoors, wear shoes, especially in grassy areas.
  • Do not leave drinks or food in accessible areas.
  • Keep windows and doors properly screened.
  • Keep garbage in sealed receptacles.
  • Do not swat at wasps as it increases the likelihood of an aggressive reaction.

Safe Wasp Removal

If you spot a nest on your property, it’s important to take caution. Nests can contain many more stinging insects than you may think. Always call a professional wasp control expert when it comes to wasp control. The team at Western Exterminator can take care of your wasp problem quickly and safely!

Which Pests Trigger Springtime Allergies?

Pests pay cause allergies in Marysville WA - Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt PestSpringtime in Washington is one of the most beautiful times of the entire year. Unfortunately, it’s also the time of year when residents suffer from bad allergies. Runny nose, itchy eyes, the symptoms go on and on. But is it only the blooming trees and weather causing your allergies? There’s a chance pests are triggering your springtime allergies. Pest allergens in the home can be dangerous for you and your family, making it important to learn how to prevent pests in your home in the first place.

Here at Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest, we’ve gathered info on how to stay protected against pest allergens into our latest blog post.

Allergies Caused by Pests

Pest infestations can be hazardous for a number of reasons, including allergies! Cockroaches are one of the biggest contributors to allergies, especially in children. Roach droppings, saliva, shed skins, and other parts contain allergen proteins that cause allergic reactions and can exacerbate asthma as well. Other pests tied to allergies include stinging insects–yellow jackets, fire ants, wasps, and more. Stings can trigger a wide range of reactions in people, from itching and hives to more serious symptoms.

**If you experience severe symptoms of an allergic reaction such as swelling, wheezing, dizziness, or trouble breathing, call 911 or get medical attention immediately!

Keeping Pests & Allergens Outside

Thankfully, you can avoid pest allergens making your symptoms worse in springtime by learning how to keep pests out of your home in the first place. Some basic measures to take to keep pests away include:

  • Store food in sealed containers and clean kitchens on a daily basis.
  • Dispose of garbage regularly and use a tight-fitting lid.
  • Seal cracks and holes in homes, including entry points for utilities and pipes, screen doors, and windows.
  • Keep your basements and crawl spaces well-ventilated and dry!
  • Wash blankets, rugs, and bedding in hot water or get them dry-cleaned.
  • Vacuum and dust your property frequently.
  • Keep pet food sealed in a tight container and wash food bowls.

What to Do About Pests Triggering Allergies

Pests can cause a hazardous environment in your property in many ways. The allergens they create can be particularly dangerous for your children, which is why it’s crucial to avoid pests at all costs. If you’re having trouble keeping your home protected from pests, give the team at Western Exterminator a call today.

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.