ants crawling on dirt

What You Need To Know About Pests

Maybe you just saw a big ant on your wall, and you're worried it's a carpenter ant, or perhaps, you can't ignore the scratching and squeaking sounds you hear in the walls of your business any longer. Whatever your question, our Pest Library has the answer. In it, you'll find information about the most common pests to get into homes and businesses in the Grays Harbor County area, including how to get rid of them. Learn more about the following pests:

 

Carpenter Ants

an ant on wood

If you are noticing large black or black and red ants wandering around your Washington yard or inside your home, they are most likely carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are one of the largest household invading ant species living in the United States. Having carpenter ants nesting near your property, in your yard, or worse yet in your home, is never ideal and has the potential to cause significant and costly damage. Carpenter ants are a destructive species that nest inside of wood, usually choosing older or water-damaged wood. If carpenter ants are nesting in your home, you not only need to worry about the damage they are causing but where the excess moisture that is attracting them to your home is coming from.

Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat the wood they are tunneling through, they only tunnel inside of wood to nest. Like other ants, carpenter ants have a varied diet of sweets, proteins, and greases. Since most of our yards and kitchens provide ants with food sources, it is only natural that they are attracted to our outdoor and indoor spaces. Ants foraging for food for their colony move into homes and other buildings through spaces under doors, cracks in the foundation, and gaps that form around windows and doors. Once inside, if they discover food and moisture, it is common for them to want to stay and create a satellite nest to expand their colony. Taking immediate action to eliminate carpenter ants from your home or yard is best to protect it and your bank account from their damage.

With the help of our professional pest control services and the following prevention tips, you can help to protect your Washington property from carpenter ants:

  • Remove things from your yard that can collect moisture and attract carpenter ants like fallen trees, tree stumps, or unnecessary landscaping ties.
  • Never stack firewood against the side of your home or on your porch or deck.
  • Cut shrubbery back from your foundation to allow the sun to hit the soil around its perimeter and keep it dry.
  • Inspect your home for entry points carpenter ants could utilize, and seal any you find.
  • Minimize their access to food by maintaining gardens, placing lids on trash cans, and keeping indoor and outdoor eating areas free of food debris.

German Cockroaches

a german cockroach on a rock

German cockroaches are the most common cockroach species to be found in Washington homes and businesses. Adapting to living inside our temperature-controlled buildings (houses, restaurants, warehouses, schools, and more), German cockroaches can become a problem for anyone. These roaches have a tannish-brown body and two dark parallel lines running between the head and thorax. They have wings but rarely use them, preferring to run instead of flying. Though German cockroaches want to live with us, we don’t want to live with them. These insects spread diseases, parasites, and contaminate our food.

German cockroaches prefer to live in areas with a lot of heat and humidity and gather in our homes’ warmest areas such as kitchens, behind appliances, in damp basements, laundry rooms, and wall voids near heating units or air conditioners. Even when many cockroaches live throughout your home, it is still possible to be unaware of their presence. Their dark color and ability to squeeze their bodies into tight spaces make it easy for them to hide. German cockroaches emerge from their hiding spots at night to forage for food. Homeowners often discover a problem with roaches after turning on a light in the middle of the night and seeing them scurrying back to their hiding spots. Preventative pest control services are the best way to keep German cockroaches and other pests from taking over your property!

With the help of our professional pest control services and the following prevention tips, you can protect your Washington home from German cockroaches:

  • Fix leaky pipes and fixtures, regularly inspecting under sinks for leaks.
  • Use dehumidifiers to get rid of excess moisture.
  • Store all food in airtight containers or the refrigerator.
  • Vacuum floors and wipe down counters to remove food debris that German cockroaches can use as a food source.
  • Seal spaces around baseboards, door trim, door sweeps, and cracks in walls to make it more difficult for German cockroaches to move throughout your home.

Mosquitoes

mosquito on a persons hand

Mosquitoes are prolific outdoor pests that develop large into populations very quickly. It only takes a little more than a week (when environmental conditions are right) for an egg to develop into a biting, breeding mosquito. With a single female capable of laying more than 100 eggs, it is easy to see how quickly these tiny insects can become a big problem in our outdoor spaces. Not only do these biting pests make it impossible to enjoy being in our yards, but they are dangerous. Though mosquitoes are frail and easily squashed, they can spread deadly diseases and parasites to both people and animals. Minimizing our expose and our pet’s exposure to these pests is essential.

The mosquito is a type of fly with a slender body, long legs, and two wings. Females feed on human and animal blood to get the protein required to create eggs that produce viable adults. A female mosquito will feed on the blood of people, birds, livestock, and wildlife. Males do not have blood meals; they, along with the females, feed on plant nectar and other liquid sweets as their primary food source. Standing water is where the female mosquitoes lay their eggs; any property with or near any amount of standing water can become infested with mosquitoes. Some favorite breeding sites include buckets, flowerpots, clogged gutters, ponds, wading pools, low lying areas, woodpiles, and tree stumps.

With the help of our professional pest control services and the following prevention tips, you can protect your Washington home from biting mosquitoes:

  • Eliminate standing water from your yard. Fill in low lying areas and make sure your yard has good drainage.
  • Remove tree stumps, woodpiles, and brush piles from your yard that collect water.
  • Store containers that collect water upside down when not in use.
  • Regularly clean out and refill wading pools, pet water bowls, and birdbaths with fresh water.

Rodents

a house mouse on the floor

Rodents aren’t just a problem for Washington residents, many rodents have become accustomed to living with people and are among the most common pest invaders into homes and businesses across the country. Mice and rats have learned to take advantage of the food, water, and shelter our properties provide. Having rodents foraging for their basic needs either in our yards or homes is problematic for many reasons, including that they spread diseases, cause structural damage, destroy our personal property, and contaminate food.

Specific species of rodents that are problematic in our area include deer mice, house mice, Norway rats, and roof rats. Any of these rodents, when living outside near your home, can find their way inside. Rodents are most problematic during the late fall and winter months when the weather is cooler, and food sources are scarce. Over time, rodents have learned that when it becomes too tough to live outdoors, moving indoors with people is the way to go. After moving inside, they will nest in secluded, quiet areas and move around at night to look for food and water sources. Some telltale signs of rodents living with you include finding dropping in drawers, on counters, or under furniture, smelling a musty odor within your home, or finding boxes or food packing with gnaw marks and holes in them.

With the help of our professional pest control services and the following prevention tips, you can protect your Washington home from rodents:

  • Place weatherstripping around windows and doors and install door sweeps on exterior doors to keep rodents out.
  • Repair cracks in the foundation and exterior walls of your home and seal spaces around utilities.
  • Keep lids on trash cans to prevent rodents from feeding in them.
  • Store dry goods in containers with airtight lids, place produce in the refrigerator, and regularly clean to keep food debris off floors and counters.
  • Storage areas like closets and basements should be kept free of clutter and organized, keeping boxes and other containers up off the ground to help prevent rodents from hiding in your home.

Spiders

close up of a hobo spider

Two of the most common spiders living throughout Washington State are the giant house spider and hobo spider. While most of us don’t want large numbers of these spiders in our yards or homes, the good news is that neither the hobo spider nor giant house spider has venom potent enough to affect our health. Hobo spiders are large brown spiders with long thin legs that resemble brown recluse spiders. This resemblance has given a bad rap. As its name suggests, the giant house spider is impressive in size, with males reaching up to a four-inch leg span. These spiders are dark orange, brown, or beige, and some have mottling on the abdomen.

Both hobo and giant house spiders often move in our homes after following their prey inside. They also regularly hitchhike their way indoors in cardboard boxes, on firewood, and inside plant pots. Once indoors, they are attracted to damp basements where they build their webs and hunt prey. If spiders are happily living in your home, usually it is because there are plenty of insects for them to hunt. When living outside, a spider’s feeding habits are quite helpful, controlling populations of mosquitoes, flies, and aphids; inside, however, they and their prey are unwelcome and need to be eliminated!

With the help of our professional pest control services and the following prevention tips, you can protect your Washington home from spiders:

  • It is essential to take away entry points from spiders. Seal cracks in the foundation, place covers on vents, and seal spaces around cables and other utilities entering your house.
  • Make sure open windows and doors have tight-fitting screens in them.
  • Cut back overgrown shrubbery and landscaping plants from the outside walls of your home.
  • Place garden areas a distance away from your house.
  • Inspect things like cardboard boxes for spiders before bringing them inside.

Termites

a termite on wood

In Washington, we have two species of termites that may invade our homes and cause structural damage —  subterranean termites and dampwood termites. Termites are wood-eating insects that can convert the cellulose found in wood and other plant materials into a usable food source. Subterranean termites create their large nests underground in damp soil, traveling back and forth from their nest to the wood they are feeding on each day. They prefer to feed on wood previously damaged by water or decaying. Dampwood termites have very high moisture needs and do exceptionally well in cool, humid areas. They typically infest decaying wet wood making direct contact with the soil or directly exposed to water (leaking pipes, leaky roofs, damp basements).

Subterranean termites are much more widespread than dampwood termites, but both cause extensive damage to our Washington structures that can become costly to repair. Subterranean termites most often enter our homes through cracks they find in the foundation while out foraging for food. Once inside, they move through floor joists and into structural wood found under floors and behind walls near water pipes and around windows and doors. Dampwood termites prefer to feed and nest outdoors inside decaying trees, tree stumps, logs, and woodpiles. If they do find a way into our homes, they often attack the wood near leaky roofs or wooden beams under floors near leaky pipes.

With the help of our professional pest control services and the following prevention tips, you can protect your Washington home from termites:

  • Eliminate damp or rotting wood from your yard that termites find attractive.
  • Keep gutters clear of clogs that cause rainwater to build up and seep into your home’s roof.
  • Repair damage to your foundation, exterior walls, or the roof that termites could use to access your house.
  • Use vent fans and dehumidifiers to reduce humidity levels and get rid of excess moisture from your home. Make sure crawlspaces are properly ventilated and free of wood debris.
  • Regularly inspect for leaking pipes, fixtures, and air conditioners, and quickly repair any leaks discovered.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of partnering with Beacon Pest Control to protect your residential or commercial property from termites, give us a call today! Find out more about our home pest control and commercial pest control services.

 

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