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 Cockroaches a Summer Pest Problem?

Summer roaches are a big pest problem here in Marysville WA. Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt PestIn Washington, we are used to dealing with many types of pests in the summer months. Our warm weather and mild climate makes us a prime target for pests! Few pests are as problematic this time of year as the cockroach. While roaches are able to survive year-round in a number of conditions, summer is when they thrive. The rising temperatures encourage roaches to forage for food and breed at a more rapid rate, which is why infestations are more likely than ever during the summer months. To avoid dealing with the frustration of a roach problem, the team at Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest are here to help.

Why Are Summertime Roach Infestations so Common?

Cockroaches are a year-round pest problem for homes and businesses alike. That said, the summer months are when they are most likely to be active. Almost all cockroach species are known to be drawn toward warm or even damp environments. This is why they are most commonly seen in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and crawl spaces. This is also why they are more likely to infest homes in the summertime.

A lot of cockroaches will be less active in the winter to wait out the warming temperatures during the summer months. For this reason, summer roach infestations are one of the most common pest problems we get a call for this time of year.

Here’s How to Prevent Cockroaches

No one wants to deal with a cockroach problem, especially in the summertime. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to prevent these pests. Some of our top cockroach prevention tips are as follows.

  • Seal cracks and crevices in your property. Also install screens over doors and windows.
  • Regularly clean your bathrooms and kitchens. Promptly wipe up messes, crumbs, and spills.
  • Securely seal food and store in the refrigerator. Use tight-fitting lids on trash cans.
  • Promptly fix leaky/broken pipes to avoid excess moisture problems inside the property.
  • Pick up all pet food and pet food bowls after mealtimes—never leave food out overnight.

Seasonal Cockroach Control

If you have spotted a roach or two in your Marysville WA property this summer, it’s very likely there are more nearby. Cockroach populations this time of year can be enormous, making it important to always enlist the help of a professional cockroach exterminator. For more information on how Western can keep roaches out of your home or business, contact our cockroach control experts today!

Summer Ticks: How to Protect Your Pets

Prevent ticks in pets this summer in Snohomish WA - Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt PestIn the summertime, we are all accustomed to seeing endless insects. One many neglect to think about are ticks! These blood-sucking pests are most common in the warmer months of the year. Unfortunately, this is also the time when more people spend time outdoors! Pets are a common target for ticks: dogs and cats alike often bring them inside. The main concern with ticks is the fact that they can transmit Lyme disease, which is the most common vector-borne disease nationwide. Because these pests pose a health risk to your pets, it’s important to learn how you can keep them away. The team at Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest is here with expert tips on preventing ticks this summer in Washington — keep reading to learn more!

4 Tips to Prevent Ticks

There are several things you can do to lessen the risk of getting ticks this summer. These include:

  1. Investing in tick prevention
    • Consider speaking to your veterinarian about tick prevention methods. Some may have suggestions or solutions for keeping your pets safe.
  2. Keeping a tidy, pest-proof yard
    • Mow your lawn regularly and trim bushes or trees on a regular basis.
    • In addition, implement pest exclusion to keep rodents out as they often carry ticks.
  3. Inspecting pets and family members
    • Whenever you take your pets outdoors, make sure to inspect them for ticks. Pay close attention to areas behind the ears, neck, and under the legs. In addition, check your children for ticks after hikes.
  4. Avoiding areas with tall grass or vegetation
    • Ticks are known to be in areas with high grass or vegetation. Be careful to stay on trails when hiking or walking.

Do Ticks Bite Dogs?

Just as they would with people, ticks can easily latch onto and feed on dogs. They are less likely to do so on cats, as cat grooming behavior can expel them. In some animals, ticks have been known to cause anemia. The main danger is, of course, contracting Lyme disease. Ticks may feed for anywhere from a few hours to a few days, making it important to check your pets every time they’ve been outside.

Dogs can be seriously affected by Lyme disease and will begin to show several symptoms if affected. Always be on the lookout for signs of depression, loss of appetite, fever, lameness, or swollen joints and lymph nodes. If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately take your pet to see a veterinarian.

What to Do When You Have Ticks

Ticks need to be removed as soon as they are noticed. If you or your pet exhibits any symptoms, it’s crucial to receive medical attention as soon as possible. In general, always be on the lookout for ticks on your family and pets, especially after spending time outdoors. For more tick prevention tips, contact the team at Western today!

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.

How to Prevent Termites in Your Yard

Mulch attracts termites to yards in Snohomish WA - Learn more from Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt PestTermites are attracted to sources of wood, and some species are attracted to moisture. Here in the Snohomish WA area, properties definitely provide both! Because termites are such a feared pest, it’s important to know what you can do to make your yard and property less appealing to them. An infestation can cause a lot of damage that is costly and frustrating to repair. Unfortunately, infestations often are not found until this level of damage has been done. To avoid that, it’s important to know what attracts termites to your property in the first place. Keep reading for tips from Pratt on how to keep the termites away from your yard.

What Attracts Termites to Your Property?

Everyone knows termites are attracted to wood, but each one has specific preferences that influence what structures they infest. The following list contains the main things that often attract termites to your property:

  1. Improper drainage or clogged gutters causing excess moisture and drainage problems
  2. Firewood or wood piles stored in or near your property
  3. Wooden foundations in direct contact with soil
  4. Airflow or ventilation issues causing excess humidity inside of a home
  5. Mulch or landscaping too close to the foundation of the property

How to Prevent Termites

In addition to limiting the presence of the above attractants, there are several other things you can do to prevent termites in your yard:

  • Be proactive about checking your home for pest problems
  • Fix broken roofs and seal gaps and crevices in the home
  • Keep a neat garden with trees and shrubs trimmed back
  • Regularly inspect porches, decks, and outdoor furniture

The best thing you can do to prevent termite problems is to invest in regular visits from a pest control company that can provide inspections and preventative services.

Long-term Termite Protection

Termites are a frightening pest. Once you have them, you certainly need the help of a termite exterminator to get rid of them. The team at Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest knows how to keep termites away from your property all year long. Contact us today to learn more about how we can keep you termite-free.

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.

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.

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!