What Puts My Home At Risk For Termites?

What puts your home at risk for termites in Washington - Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt PestThere is a common misconception that termites are only interested in ingesting wood homes. The bad news is that, given the right conditions, termites can infest non-wood homes as well. This puts brick homes, stone homes, and other types of buildings at risk of termites. Because of this, it’s important to learn what may be attracting termites to your property in the first place.

This Termite Awareness Week, the team at Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest is here to share all you need to know about what may put your home at risk for termites in the Pacific Northwest.

Top 6 Termite Risks

No matter what type of home you have, the following may make your home more attractive to termites.

  1. Moisture. Leaky pipes, broken sprinklers, or clogged gutters can all lead to moisture problems in your home. In turn, this could attract subterranean termites (not to mention hoards of other pests) inside.
  2. Access to soil. Subterranean termites need contact with soil to live. Any wood items, whether it’s your home, porch, or firewood in the yard, in contact with soil is at risk for a termite problem.
  3. Cellulose. Termites may be infamous for infesting wood, but they’re actually after the cellulose contained within! This cellulose is the main component that can be found in wallpaper, plants, mulch, drywall, and more.
  4. Warmth. Termite problems are generally more common in warmer, humid parts of the world. This puts our rainy state at a higher risk of termite activity.
  5. Decaying wood. If you have logs, trees, or stumps that are rotten or in decay, you can be sure termites will seek them out.
  6. Landscape. Termites can infest mulch, making it important to keep it away from the perimeter of your home. Also, trim back tree branches that may be too close to your property.

Prevent the Risk of Termites in Washington

If you’re unsure whether or not your home is at risk for termites, it’s best to team up with your local termite control experts. At Western Exterminator, we will thoroughly inspect your property to pinpoint any vulnerabilities that could cause an infestation down the road. Contact us to get started today!

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.

Do Termites Stay Active in the Fall & Winter?

Termites can infest homes in Snohomish WA in the fall and winter - Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt PestSome pests are known to overwinter or go dormant in the fall and winter to wait out the colder months of the year. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for termites, which are active all year round. Termites are often seen in the spring and summer when they swarm, but they are very much still around in the other seasons. Queen termites lay their eggs throughout the year, making it easy for a colony to continually grow. Because termites are a year-round threat, it’s crucial to get year-round protection. At Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest, we can help ensure you are protected against termites all year long.

Termite Activity in the Fall and Winter

Termites are most likely to swarm in the months between March and November. However, this doesn’t make it impossible for them to do so in the early fall! Regardless of whether you see a swarm or not, termites remain active as the queen continually lays eggs and colonies grow. The more mature a colony is, the more damage can be made to your home. If you have an infestation festering in your property for more than two years, it is very likely to begin to notice the signs of damage, even in the fall or winter. When we experience colder temperatures in the winter, a termite colony will tunnel deep underground to stay warm until spring rolls around once more.

What are the Signs of Fall Termites?

Termite infestations infamously are often not discovered until extensive damage has been done. During the fall months and throughout the entire year, look for the following signs of a termite colony in your property:

  1. Discarded swarmer wings
  2. Termite frass (feces)
  3. Thin or hollow-sounding timber
  4. Mud tunnels or galleries
  5. Uneven or bubbling paint
  6. Quiet clicking sounds in your walls

How to Prevent Fall and Winter Termite Infestations

Your best defense against a termite problem is to get year-round preventative services. At Western, we offer a number of termite treatment options designed to stop infestations before they begin. To learn more about how our termite exterminators can keep termites away for good, contact us today!

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.

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.