Overwintering Pests in the Portland and Vancouver Area

Rat sticking its head out of a hole. Pioneer Pest Management reveals which pests overwinter in the Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA areas.

Rat sticking its head out of a hole. Pioneer Pest Management reveals which pests overwinter in the Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA areas.

Birds migrate and bears hibernate but what do pests do during the colder winter months? In this blog post, you’ll learn more about overwintering pests, and what you can do to keep them out of your home.

What Does Overwintering Mean?

Before we get into overwintering pests it’s important to know what overwintering even means. Overwinter describes how organisms survive through winter. Overwintering organisms include plants, animals, and insects.

Boxelder Bugs and Stink Bugs

When the temperature begins cooling down in the fall, boxelder bugs and stink bugs will seek shelter so they can ride out winter away from the elements. This includes under rocks and woodpiles and in hollow tree trunks. These pests will also look for dry spaces on your home like cracks or crevices in your home’s foundation and in window moldings. These pests are more of a nuisance. They aren’t harmful to people. You can prevent these insects from invading your home by sealing up cracks in your siding, near roof soffits, and your foundation. You can learn more about boxelder bugs and stink bugs in our helpful Stink Bugs – Boxelder Bugs information page.

Carpenter Ants

These overwintering pests come in brown, red or black and are larger than most ants in our area. Carpenter ant colonies are typically dormant in winter, however, if they’ve found warm shelter, they may skip their overwintering phase and continue on with their daily habits.

Carpenter ants are considered one of the most structurally damaging pests in our area. They hollow out wood to make nests inside. So if you have an infestation, it’s important to address it. If neglected, carpenter ants will significantly damage your home. We talk more in-depth about carpenter ants in our Carpenter Ants informational page.

Spiders

These cold-blooded insects generally like it outdoors. In fact, when it starts getting cooler, their bodies adapt to prevent them from freezing. They will begin producing protein and glycol compounds in their hemolymph– which is their form of blood. This works similarly like antifreeze for a car. Spiders will shelter under cracks and crevices of a structure, roof or leaf piles and in tree bark. They aren’t drawn to the warmth of a home and typically won’t try to get in your home to “hibernate” for the winter as most people believe. If you do see spiders in your home, they were likely there already, and you are just now noticing.

Spiders like dark, undisturbed places. They may be found under furniture, on ceilings, cluttered areas, and spaces like your garage, attic or basement. You can seal up potential entry points to keep spiders out of your home and keep your home clutter-free. Our Spider Extermination – Removal – Control page goes deeper into spiders. There you’ll find more ways to keep spiders out of your home, learn the different species, and learn what to do if you’re bitten by a spider.

Rodents

Our homes provide everything a rat or mouse needs to live comfortably through the harsh winter– warm shelter and food. Because they can fit through holes the size of a dime, they can easily get into your home unnoticed. And they’ll find other creative ways to gain access into your home like chew through electrical cables or climb up drain spouts.

Rats and mice are not only a nuisance, but they also carry various diseases and bacteria and they can also cause significant damage to your home because they’ll chew through anything. You can learn more about rats and mice in our Rats & Mice Extermination, Removal & Control page.

If you do end up with a pest problem Pioneer Pest Management can help! We provide professional and affordable pest control solutions for all types of pests. So we’ll help ensure your family and your home are well-protected from pests this winter. Contact us today for a free quote!

Late Summer Pests in the Portland and Vancouver Area

Pioneer Pest reveals pests that are common in late summer in Portland OR and Vancouver WA.

It’s summer, the days are long and the temperature warm, and pests are still very active. Don’t let them ruin your outdoor enjoyment! Below are the common late-summer pests you should be on the lookout for, and ways you can keep them off your property.

Which Pests Create Problems in the Late Summer?

  • Ants: These tiny pests come out in the spring but stay around during the summer. They may move inside of your home after a good rainfall as they look for dry shelter.
  • Bed Bugs: With their great hitchhiking abilities, bed bugs can infest any home or business. They are one of the most common pests found in hotel rooms.
  • Flies: Flies like warmth and food. And since many people may be outside having picnics or BBQs, you may see an increase of flies outside your home.
  • Mosquitoes: Summer is known for high numbers of mosquitoes, especially after rain, since standing water is a common breeding site for these pests.
  • Stinging Insects: Bees, yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets prefer warm weather. They may become hostile if someone ends up near their nest.
  • Termites: Subterranean Termites and Dampwood Termites are active in Washington and Oregon. They live in the soil and wood found around and in homes. They love wood, wallpaper, flooring, cardboard, and more. They can damage your home. Keep an eye out for them in old wood stumps, timbers, or other wood items around your home.
  • Ticks: Ticks breed during the summer. They live in wooded, brushy, grassy areas or even on animals. Some are even harmful to humans as they can transmit diseases.
  • Wildlife: Raccoons, squirrels, birds, and other critters are out and about this time of year. As summer comes to a close, these animals may be preparing for the colder months ahead and may damage your home doing so.

Tips to Control Late-Summer Pests

Now is a good time to be vigilant about pests. Below are some ways to prevent a pest infestation on your property.

  • Maintain Your Yard: Keep your grass trimmed to prevent ticks and limit mosquitoes.
  • Move Wood and Other Debris: Stacked wood is a prime territory for termites as well as wildlife, wasps, and bees. Keep the wood away from the house and make sure other debris like grass clippings and garbage is thrown away in a sealed receptacle.
  • Remove Standing Water: Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and attracts other insects too. Removing any water from sources including buckets, birdbaths, and pots will prevent these pests from coming. Water after rainfall can accumulate in toys and yard equipment too, so ensure that water from these is dumped as well.
  • Ensure Your Home is Properly Sealed: Taking the time to ensure your windows and doors are sealed will prevent flies, mosquitoes, and other insects from getting inside your home. This can also include making sure screens are intact and cracks in your home’s foundation are sealed.

Pest Control Near Me

If you’re experiencing a pest problem near your Portland or Vancouver area property Pioneer Pest Management can help! Our highly-skilled exterminators will come to your home and find a solution to your pest problem so that you can enjoy the rest of your summer pest-free! So contact Pioneer Pest Management today, we provide pest control in Vancouver, Portland, and surrounding areas.

How Can I Get Rid of Carpenter Ants?

Up close look at a carpenter ant on a piece of wood. Pioneer Pest Management, serving Portland OR and Vancouver WA talks about how to get rid of carpenter ants.

As one of the most common wood-destroying insects, carpenter ants are well known for their capability for widespread destruction. They can tunnel out support beams, collapse wall supports, and destroy a house from the inside out. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat wood–they remove it from their tunnels. Carpenter ants also nest within these tunnels.

What Do Carpenter Ants Look Like?

 

There are over 1,000 species of carpenter ants. Larger in size than most ants in the Pacific Northwest, queen carpenter ants can range from 16-18 millimeters long, while worker ants range from 6-13 millimeters long. While many carpenter ants are black in appearance, they can also be red or brown in color. Carpenter ants can be highly destructive to structural wood beams and other areas, like woodpiles, furniture, or sheds.

Indications that You Have Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants don’t eat wood like termites, but instead, create tunnels called “galleries”, and the sawdust-like material (called frass) left from their destruction can be a key indicator of carpenter ant activity. Look for these signs to see if you have a carpenter ant problem:

  • Piles of sawdust-like material
  • “Kickout” holes, from where carpenter ants have kicked out sawdust
  • Discarded wings around door frames, window frames, etc.
  • Flying carpenter ants inside the house

If you see any of these signs, call a professional exterminator who has experience with carpenter ants. It’s impossible to tell how far the colony has spread, or where they might be within the walls, without careful inspection. The faster you find the issue, the faster you can eliminate the problem and minimize damage.

Treating for Carpenter Ants

Inspection is the first and major step towards getting rid of carpenter ants. An exterminator who is familiar with carpenter ants is your best bet for getting a thorough and comprehensive investigation. Carpenter ants engage in “budding” behaviors: they will establish a single nest, build it to capacity, and then send out new queens to establish satellite nests. This is a huge problem, because once they begin to spread, it gets more and more difficult to find each and every one of the nests.

After inspection and confirmed carpenter ant nest discovery, there are steps that you should take immediately:

  • Fix all leaks, so they can’t dampen wood
  • Remove all damp wood
  • Seal all potential entrances into the walls or home.
  • Commit to inspecting the exterior of your home four times a year. Professional inspections are a great way to make sure you’re protected.

Complete elimination may be more complicated. Once carpenter ants are within your home’s walls, professionals will need to remove them. Fully removing carpenter ants takes time, as all nests will have to be identified.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

If you’ve taken steps to prevent carpenter ants and you still have them in your home, contact Pioneer Pest Management. We use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to get rid of your pest issues, using our knowledge of their habits and behavior to eliminate them completely. You don’t need to battle carpenter ants alone–give us a call today!

Get Rid of Carpenter Ants Before They Damage Your Home

Pioneer Pest Management provides exceptional carpenter ant control and extermination in Portland OR and Vancouver WA.Carpenter ants are almost as well known as their wood-destroying counterpart, termites. Like termites, carpenter ants can and will remove wood from a building’s wooden structure. But unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat the wood they chew through! This is the crucial difference that can help identify a carpenter ant infestation.

Carpenter ants can cause intense amounts of damage.

Why do carpenter ants chew through wood, anyway?

These ants chew smooth tunnels and “rooms” in wood for nesting and shelter. While carpenter ants prefer decaying wood, they will also nest in man-made materials, like foam insulation boards.

Carpenter ants have to travel outside of their tunnels for food sources, which include both protein and sugary substances. Outdoors, they prefer to eat dead and live insects, as well as “honeydew” from aphids (the sugar substances aphids excrete). Indoors, carpenter ants will scavenge for protein sources, including food crumbs and pet food.

If you have a carpenter ant infestation, you may be able to catch them in their hunt for food. Look for trails of ants going outside, especially around utility openings, door frames, windowsills, and any cracks in external walls.

Carpenter Ant Prevention Tips for Homeowners

The best way to avoid having a carpenter ant problem is simple: prevention! We recommend a variety of prevention techniques, and all of them also work to prevent other pests, too!

1. Inspect your home to spot an ant problem before it begins.

By having your home regularly inspected, the potential beginning of a carpenter ant infestation can be stopped before it spirals.

  • Inspect the exterior of your home for any cracks or gaps in walls.
  • Look for decaying wood or sources of leaking water, both inside and outside.
  • Damp wood is the first place carpenter ants will go to begin an infestation.

2. Modify your landscaping to discourage carpenter ants.

  • While carpenter ants won’t typically choose to live in mulch, it can conceal activity or hide a temporary nest.
    • Choose inorganic mulch if possible, or choose large chunks of wood–not fine.
    • Keep mulch away from the house, and limit it to three inches thick.
  • Trim back any shrubs or vegetation from the foundation to allow airflow.
    • Sometimes plants can conceal or even encourage damp conditions, especially along the foundation walls, the siding of your home, or near crawlspaces.
  • Examine your deck or porch for damp wood.
    • If a nest is established, this colony may expand into your home.
    • Keep any stacked wood or old logs away from your home.

3. Water sources need to be carefully controlled to prevent carpenter ants.

  • Outside:
    • Limit or eliminate water collecting plants.
    • Remove all standing water sources, like old tires, tarps, or flower pots.
    • Limit items like old stumps and old railroad ties in your yard, but especially in shady areas, where they might not dry out entirely.
    • Eliminating any decaying wood from your yard is a great way to cut down on carpenter ant risk.
  • Inside:
    • Fix leaks immediately, whether in the plumbing or in a roof, and properly dry any wood affected by the leak.
    • Eliminate dampness in bathrooms and kitchens by controlling humidity.
    • If your basement floods, install a sump pump and a de-humidifier to eliminate any lingering water.

4. Use exclusion practices to further prevent pest issues.

  • Your home should be properly sealed against water damage and weather–and against pests.
  • Seal any foundation cracks.
  • Continually restore caulking, especially around doors, windows, and siding. Use weatherstripping around doors and windows.
  • Seal or close off utility pipes and entrances.

Use professional pest control resources to further eliminate carpenter ants.

If you see piles of sawdust, small holes in your walls or window sills, trails of larger black ants, or flying ants inside your home, you should call a professional immediately. You may have a carpenter ant or other pest infestation, and the sooner you treat the problem, the less damage you’ll have as a result. Pioneer Pest Management uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to get rid of carpenter ants, using our knowledge of their habits and behavior to eliminate them completely. You don’t need to fight carpenter ants alone–give us a call today!

Those Flying Ants in Your Home Could Be Moisture Ants

Swarms of flying ants inside your home can be the first sign of trouble.

Pioneer Pest Management provides exceptional moisture ant control and extermination in Portland OR and Vancouver WA.Like their name suggests, moisture ants love living in damp, humid environments. The Pacific NW is their ideal, which makes infestations here relatively common, especially during spring. Carpenter ant infestations are associated with rotting or water-saturated wood in homes.

Spring is when moisture ants swarm. “Swarming” refers to the process by which a percentage of a colony leaves to form another colony. This happens with some other insects, including bees, carpenter ants, and termites.

If you see a swarm of flying ants in your home, you may have a serious moisture ant problem! It’s crucial at this stage to get professional help, because these ants could be any number of species, including carpenter ants. If you’re not familiar with the difference between ants and termites, it’s even more important to get a professional opinion.

Where do moisture ants come from?

Unlike carpenter ants, moisture ants will eat damp wood as a food source. These ants thrive in walls around plumbing fixture leaks, roof leaks, and any other source of water that has made wood damp. They will also eat sugary substances, which makes them an even greater threat to homes and businesses. If left unchecked, moisture ants will continue growing their colony.

The damage caused by moisture ants can be extensive.

Just like carpenter ants or termites, moisture ants can do significant damage to the structure of your home. Depending on the location of the initial leak, the colony could grow to substantial numbers within a year.

To get rid of moisture ants, you need to remove the infested wood and control the moisture issue, whether it’s a leak or exposure to the elements. This could mean replacing a small section of your outside wall, or it could mean replacing an entire section of your roof. A professional exterminator can help diagnose your moisture ant problem, and recommend steps to treat and control infestations in the future.

Get rid of moisture ants for good.

  1. The remedy starts with finding exactly where the moisture is coming from.
    • Proper inspection involves checking roofs, basements, plumbing, and crawl spaces to find the location of both the nest and the source of moisture.
  2. Even after the wood decay is found, inspection should continue to be sure all areas of the home are thoroughly investigated. If you’ve had a swarm of flying moisture ants, it’s even more important to find all possible locations of nests and remove them. Moisture ants can be hidden nearly anywhere in your home, including in inaccessible areas, wall voids, roof sheathing, or enclosed sub floors.
  3. Remove all decayed wood and eliminate sources of water.
  4. Eliminate ant colonies.
  5. Regular inspection should then be scheduled, to make sure the problem doesn’t return.
    • It can be especially helpful to work with either the same company that treated your house initially, or produce documentation for another company to follow.

The best way to avoid a moisture ant problem is to prevent it.

Pest maintenance plans are a great way to avoid pest problems. When you work with a professional pest company, they can inspect your home, showing you any areas that are vulnerable to insect infestation.

5 Springtime Pests in the Pacific Northwest

Pioneer Pest Management answers common questions about top 5 springtime pests in the Pacific NW, and how to prevent them in Portland OR and Vancouver WA.

As the rain begins to slow and spring emerges, pests begin to come out as well! Here at Pioneer Pest Management, we believe that preparation is a great way to prevent seasonal pests. We’d like to help you prepare for the 5 springtime pests we see most often in the Pacific NW.

  Boxelder Bugs

  • These sun-loving nuisances can overwhelm houses in spring.
  • Boxelder bugs have most likely crawled into a home in fall, preparing for winter, and are now emerging as the weather begins to warm up.
  • They will congregate on sun-warmed walls and surfaces.

There is good news: box elder bugs don’t breed inside, they don’t eat human food sources or personal belongings, they don’t lay eggs inside, and they don’t bite. Boxelder bugs do have a tendency to be annoying, as they fly around inside trying to get out. Their feces can also stain curtains and upholstery.

The best way to get rid of boxelder bugs is to vacuum them up. Once you’ve eliminated them inside, seal exterior surfaces and interior holes. If you don’t seal your home properly, the problem will repeat itself next fall and spring.

Odorous House Ants

  • Infamous for their odor when crushed, these ants are also known as “sugar ants”, because of their attraction to sugary substances.
  • Odorous ants use a complicated network of pheromones to establish trails, both inside and outside of your home.
  • These pheromones tell the ants where resources, possible danger, and their nest can be found.
  • While they can be found inside homes in any season, spring seems to bring a surge of them every year.

Controlling food sources is a big part of preventing and eliminating odorous house ants. Although they prefer sugar, house ants will eat anything. Regular sweeping and mopping, as well as counter cleaning and proper food storage, can help a lot with ant control.

The key to eradicating odorous house ants is to eliminate the trails they have established. As you remove ants from walls or counters, we recommend wiping down surrounding surfaces with a mix of soap and water.

Carpenter Ants

  • These well-known ants cause a lot of destruction every year, emerging in spring and remaining active through the fall.
  • Because they remain hidden as they tunnel through wood, carpenter ants can be tricky to spot. Here are some signs you have a carpenter ant problem:
  • Sawdust piles beneath wooden structures.
  • Small holes in wooden structures, known as “kick-out” holes, where carpenter ants have kicked out sawdust produced by their tunneling.
  • Discarded wings.
  • A rustling behind walls.
  • Flying carpenter ants inside the house, especially during spring.
  • More than ten carpenter ants seen inside your home at one time.

There are two steps to take when eliminating carpenter ants: finding the “parent” nest (usually outdoors), and removing ants from within the walls. It’s important to eliminate the parent nest first, because this colony has the queen in it. Without the queen, the colony won’t be able to reproduce, and will slowly die out. Removing the parent nest and the carpenter ants within the walls ensures your infestation will be eliminated.

 Starlings

  • These birds have become well-known for their nesting habits. Starlings will nest in almost any available cavity, including eaves, vents, chimneys, and ductwork.
  • They breed from January to around June, and are notoriously loud.
  • Starlings feed on grubs in spring, and will also feed on garbage.

Controlling starlings involves a practice called “exclusion”, wherein the cavities they might nest in are sealed up. As spring begins, inspect your home for any cavities that might house a starling nest, or any holes that currently have birds in them. Consult a professional pest company that has experience with birds to remove them, and then either seal the cavity or place fine mesh over the opening, thereby excluding the starlings permanently.

    Norway Rats

  • Norway rats are larger than the black rats (roof rats) that are also common in the NW.
  • Norway rats prefer to live on the ground, either underneath houses in crawl spaces, or even in burrows underground.
  • Norway rats aren’t likely to infest your attic, but will take up residence in any ground floor space they can crawl into.

Norway rats are prolific breeders year-round, but especially in warmer months. Their population can quickly get out of control. Because these rats can burrow underground, will breed quickly, and will feed off of nearly any substance, professional rodent control is usually necessary to completely eliminate their population from your home.

Once the Norway rats are gone from your home, it’s important to fully seal any holes or cracks that would allow them to come back inside. It’s also crucial to eliminate food and water sources, including securing garbage.

Professional Help for Spring Pests

Spring is a busy time for a lot of animals and insects. At Pioneer Pest Management, we want to give you the service and tools necessary to keep these pests at bay and outside–where they belong! If you’re concerned about spring pests, give us a call. We’re happy to provide long-term, seasonal pest control!

Why Do I Have Carpenter Ants in My Home?

Why Do I Have Carpenter Ants in My Home? Pioneer Pest Management answers common questions about carpenter ants, and how to prevent them in Portland OR and Vancouver WA.Carpenter ants are known for the damage they can inflict on wooden structure. Like termites, carpenter ants can destroy a house from the inside out. But unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t actually ingest the wood they are removing from a structure! So what attracts carpenter ants, if it’s not food?\

Carpenter ants seek wood as shelter. They will nest in anything that is made of dead wood, including old tree trunks or living trees with patches of decay. The decay is key: carpenter ants almost always start with damp or dead wood, working their way inward from there.

Carpenter ants will also nest in certain man-made materials, including the foam insulation boards that are sometimes used in crawlspaces and attics.

Warnings Signs of a Carpenter Ant Infestation

Carpenter ants can be tricky to spot, but there are some tell-tale signs:

  • Sawdust piles beneath wooden structures.
  • Small holes in wooden structures, known as “kickout” holes, where carpenter ants have kicked out sawdust produced by their tunneling.
  • Discarded wings.
  • A rustling behind walls.
  • Flying carpenter ants inside the house.
  • More than ten carpenter ants seen inside your home at one time.

If you see any of these signs, look for the other indications that carpenter ants are tunneling through your home. The faster you find the issue, the faster you can eliminate the problem and minimize damage.

Preventing Carpenter Ants

The best way to avoid having a carpenter ant problem is simple: prevention! We recommend a variety of prevention techniques, but here are the basic considerations:

  • Inspection:
    • This is the first step in any prevention plan.
    • By having your home regularly inspected, the potential beginning of a carpenter ant infestation can be stopped before it spirals.
    • Inspect your home for the presence of ants, but also inspect the exterior for any situations that could encourage carpenter ants, like damp or decaying wood.
  • Mulch:
    • Keep mulch away from the house.
    • Lay mulch less than 3 inches thick.
    • Choose a mulch with large chunks, not fine particles that could trap moisture or conceal ant activity.
    • Choose inorganic mulch (rocks, shells, etc) if possible.
    • While carpenter ants won’t typically choose to live in mulch, it can conceal activity or hide a temporary nest.
  • Water:
    • Limit or eliminate water collecting plants.
    • Remove all standing water sources.
    • Be strategic with shade, so your landscape can dry out and not collect water.
    • Make sure your home doesn’t have any leaks, either within the roof, the walls, or within the plumbing system.
  • Exclusion:
    • Your home should be properly sealed against the elements–and against pests.
    • Make sure any foundation cracks are sealed. Make sure caulking around doors, windows, and siding is intact, and that your doors and windows have weatherstripping properly installed as well.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants Professionally

If you’ve taken steps to prevent carpenter ants and you still have them in your home, contact Pioneer Pest Management. We use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to get rid of your pest issues, using our knowledge of their habits and behavior to eliminate them completely. You don’t need to battle carpenter ants alone–give us a call today!

10 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Sugar Ants

Sugar ants can seem like an endless plague, especially in the Pacific NW. It can be frustrating to understand where these tiny pests come from, and what attracts them in the first place!

Although a number of species are commonly known as “sugar ants”, odorous house ants are the common culprit. When crushed, these ants emit an odor that smells of coconut. Odorous house ants can be found throughout the US, and are notoriously attracted to sugar substances. Once they gain an entry into your home, it can be very difficult to get rid of them.

Pioneer Pest is here to help! We have a number of home remedies that might be able to nip your sugar ant problem in the bud. If you’re experiencing a serious ant infestation–more than fifty ants on a regular basis, or an uncontrolled infestation spreading throughout the house–we recommend professional services.

Home remedies can be effective for initial infestations. Here are our favorite natural ways to get rid of sugar ants!

Coffee, Herbs & Oils to Keep Sugar Ants Away

These are a great way to prevent ant infestations, but they have to be used in the right concentrations, and they must be applied regularly to entry points in order to work.

  • Coffee Grounds: Can be used to keep a number of pests away. We recommend only using it outside around entryways–coffee can stain flooring!
  • Bay Leaves: Placing a bay leaf in your pantry can go a long way toward deterring sugar ants.
  • Pepper: Ants don’t like the overwhelming smell of pepper. This remedy can be difficult to use in large amounts, but can be combined with other methods as a support.
  • Cucumber Peels: Sugar ants don’t like the smell of cucumber. Place around entryways, and keep those peels moist to maintain the cucumber aroma!
  • Essential Oils: Cinnamon, peppermint, and orange essential oils are a relatively easy way to keep ants at bay. Dilute around 20 drops of oil within 8 ounces of water, and spray along doorways, windowsills, and any other place where ant activity is present!

Homemade Cleaners to Get Rid of Sugar Ants

Odorous ants use a complicated system of pheromones to communicate with each other. By placing trails of different scents, they can alert their nest mates to food resources, the way back to the nest, and even danger! Removing these trails is the best way to make sure these ants don’t continue marching into your home.

  • Soap & Water: The easiest way to eliminate a constant trail of ants.
  • Vinegar: Its pungent odor is a great deterrent. Vinegar is known for its cleaning properties and ability to eliminate odors. We agree! Dilute the vinegar in water to make sure the vinegar evaporates.

Controlling and Eliminating Sugar Ants with Powders

If you still have trails of ants popping up, it’s time to double down. These powders can kill ants when they are eaten, and can also be carried back to the nest, killing nest mates as well. We do recommend using caution with these powders, especially around children and pets.

  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch is a food substance that will kill ants if they ingest it. Please use with caution, even if it is food!
  • Diatomaceous Earth: Made of fossilized diatoms, diatomaceous earth is a soft type of sedimentary rock. This substance can cause irritation of mucus membranes, lungs, skin, and eyes. If you’re not completely comfortable with this substance, we do not recommend using it.
  • Borax: A mineral commonly used in household cleaners, borax is an effective ant killer, when used in shallow dishes around entryways. Borax should never be used within reach of pets or children.

Signs of a Carpenter Ant Infestation

Signs You May Have a Carpenter Ant Infestationcarpenter ants exterminators pest control portland oregon vancouver washington

Because of their habit of nesting in houses, carpenter ants are a concern to homeowners and like termites, carpenter ant infestations can be especially dangerous for a homeowner. One nest can cause extensive damage before you even realize you have a problem. Spotting the signs early and receiving a proper carpenter ant treatment can help minimize the damage and keep recovery costs to a minimum.

Spotting Medium to Large Ants

Live carpenter ants are often the first sign of infestation. They’re typically larger than other ants, but carpenter ants can be small. They range in size from 1/4 to 3/4 of an inch long. They’ll travel quite a ways from their original nest in search of food. During spring, you may spot winged adults looking for mates. They never fly too far from their nest, so pay attention to where you spot them.

Carpenter Ant Frass

signs you have a carpenter ant infestation
Carpenter Ant Frass

Contrary to popular belief, carpenter ants don’t eat wood, they nest in wood. When a major infestation sets in, you may start seeing little piles of what looks like sawdust coming from wood items and structures. This sawdust is called “frass” and is a good indicator you are dealing with carpenter ants and not termites. Frass is created when carpenter ants use their mandibles to excavate tunnels in wood to nest in. The most common places to spot frass are near windows, skylights, doors, and baseboards of walls and in the corners of rooms.

Ant Trails

They follow foraging trails along corners, wires, pipes and logs to food sources beloved by all ants. You may spot them following set trails in your kitchen to unsealed sweets, pet food containers and spills of sweet syrups like honey and jam.

Rustling Noises

Colonies moving inside their nests produce a distinct sound. Some people describe it as a vague “rustling” while others think it sounds like crinkling cellophane. It may come from walls voids, ceilings or other hollows within your home. Tap sharply on any area you think may have a carpenter ant infestation and listen for the sound with your ear to the wall.

Carpenter Ant Nests

Carpenter ant infestations begin with one nest but can quickly spread. During the carpenter ant removal process, it may be necessary to hunt for satellite nests both inside and outside. Look for nests in hollow areas, like inside walls and doors.

The ants are partial to water damaged and decaying wood. Windowsills and the areas beneath them are good candidates, as are neglected exterior wood piles and buildings like sheds. Ivy-covered chimneys are another common nesting ground.

Professional carpenter ant elimination utilizes identifying nest location and specialized treatments using baits and specialized residual materials to take care of your unwelcome house guests. Schedule an inspection at the first hints of infestation to protect your home and family.

Pictures of Carpenter Ant Damage

Keeping Pests Out of Your Restaurant

Restaurant Pest Control – Keeping Pests Out of Your Restaurant

There are few things restaurateurs dread more than a pest problem. They can set in with little warning, and major infestations can require lengthy food service pest control processes. Stop problems before they start with these simple tips.

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Inspect food shipments and their containers for pests, droppings, bite marks and scratch marks before you bring them into your restaurant. Make sure your food storage containers are clean, well-sealed and neatly stacked. Food should be kept at least 6 inches away from walls, ceilings and floors. All storage areas should be clean and kept at the proper temperature. Restaurant pest control services professionals recommend doing daily storage area inspections for signs of pests.

Labeling and FIFO (First In, First Out)

All food should be labeled clearly with the day it was stored. Stick with a first in, first out policy for using foods. Use the oldest labeled products before the newest to reduce the chance of spoilage. The pungent smell of spoiled food is more likely to attract pests.

Handling Waste

All trash bins should be covered to seal them and lined to prevent residue and strong smells from building in the cans. Filled liners should be taken out to the dumpsters daily or multiple times a day, and the cans themselves should also be cleaned on a regular basis to eliminate any residue. Food service pest control companies emphasize the importance of keeping dumpster areas clean as well.

Clean Your Drains And Under Equipment

Another area our restaurant pest control services often see overlooked are drains and under equipment such as ice machines, fryers, ranges and refrigerators/freezers. Food collecting under equipment, in drains pipes and drain traps will rot, attracting pests like flies. Use a drain trap to catch organic matter before it can build up in the pipes. Clean floor drain traps and under equipment regularly.

Seal Pests Out

Blocking entry points is a key pest deterrent. All doors and windows should have well-fitted screening and weather seals. Holes, cracks and crevices around the restaurant should be caulked or otherwise sealed. Keep your doors closed as much as possible as well. If you need help identifying potential entry points, a food service pest control company can help.

Pests have a way of creeping inside even the cleanest, most well-sealed restaurants. At the first sign of a potential pest problem, it is critical to call a restaurant pest control specialist. Early action will help you reclaim your restaurant faster and with fewer treatments.