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 Skunks Can Damage Your Home

Striped skunks breed from February to March, and need a den site to do so. Female skunks will look for potential nesting sites in late winter. Den sites include:

  • Under homes
  • Beneath decks and porches
  • Within or beneath sheds
  • Within wood piles
  • In crawl spaces underneath the home

Skunks will also use the deserted burrows of other animals. If they’re desperate, they will dig a burrow. The nesting is where a lot of the damage that’s caused by skunks can occur. Their claws are quite sharp, and can dig or tear through a lot of material, including metal screens and vents.

Feces and odor contamination can also cause a lot of problems. The smell from a scared skunk is not pleasant, and if they’re allowed to breed within a space, the smell will continue to get worse.

Digging in or around den sites, scratching and chewing from within the den site, and of course debris caused by skunks can all cause significant damage within and around your home.

Threats Posed by Skunks

Skunk spray is certainly the first threat that most people think of when skunks are mentioned. Skunk spray is extremely potent and can linger on clothes, animals, skin, and other organic materials for weeks and even months.

Skunks can also cause significant damage within and around their denning sites. Because they’re looking to support babies, they will forage for almost anything, including garbage, pet food, and insects found in turf and garden areas.

How to Get Rid of Skunks

Skunks are a difficult animal to remove, and the process is complicated. There are a number of steps that homeowners can take to help prevent or get rid of skunks, including:

  • Don’t feed skunks
  • Keep pet food indoors
  • Seal all garbage cans
  • Use secure containers for compost
  • Close all entry points, paying special attention to spaces underneath structures

If you already have skunks, don’t close den sites! You’ll end up causing more damage as the skunk family tries to dig their way out.

Contact Pioneer for Skunk Removal

Removing a skunk on your own property does not require a special license, but unless you’re familiar with trapping animals, we don’t recommend it. There are local companies (including ourselves) who are happy to perform this service for you, minimizing your risk of coming into contact with a skunk.

At Pioneer Pest Management, we take care of everything, including blocking the den after skunk removal. We also make sure to treat for other insects that might attract skunks, so they won’t come back. Because we look at your entire home and yard, your skunk issue can be completely eliminated.

5 Telltale Signs of a Rabid Raccoon

Typically between 2-3 feet long, these mammals can weigh between 10-30 pounds. Raccoons have distinctive black markings around the eyes, and alternating dark and light rings around its tail.

Because of their agile paws, raccoons are capable of opening almost anything, including door knobs, garbage cans, windows, and even garage doors! They can swim and climb trees, and can stand on their hind legs. In short, raccoons can cause a lot of damage and chaos around human homes and businesses.

Raccoons can pose serious threats.

The major threat of raccoons is the rabies virus. While all mammals are technically able to carry rabies, raccoons can spread this virus more easily than some other animals.

Rabies is a virus that causes inflammation in the brain. This inflammation then causes paralysis, confusion, fever, erratic movements, and other symptoms. Once symptoms appear, death is almost always inevitable.

Rabies can be transmitted to humans. It can be transferred via bite, scratching, or even saliva coming into contact with eyes, nose, or mouth. Rabies is an easily transferable, very dangerous virus.

There is a vaccine for the virus, which is recommended for both humans and pets in areas where rabies is a significant threat. The vaccine can also be used post-bite, to prevent the virus from spreading to the central nervous system. If bitten by a suspected or confirmed rabid animal, treatment must begin immediately to prevent death. If treatment has not begun before symptoms appear, death is extremely likely.

5 Signs a Raccoon is Rabid

  1. Difficulty walking
    • Rabies can cause fully or partially paralyzed hind legs.
    • It can also cause raccoons to walk in circles.
  2. Confusion, disorientation
    • Healthy raccoons are always doing something, or looking for something. A sick raccoon will almost appear drunk, or very lost.
  3. Strange noises
    • Raccoons do typically chatter among themselves, and they can make loud noises while fighting or mating, but sick raccoons will make very strange noises or whimpering.
  4. Foaming at the mouth
    • This is a classic sign of a rabid raccoon, and a very obvious one.
  5. An ill appearance
    • A healthy raccoon and a sick raccoon look very different. A sick animal will pant heavily, look lethargic or limp, and generally look sick.

If you see any of these signs, please do not approach or circle the raccoon. Remove yourself from proximity, and call animal control or a wildlife removal professional.

Pioneer Provides Local Raccoon Removal

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of being safe around rabid animals. Professionals have the resources to trap these animals successfully and without harming themselves or other nearby people. Rabies is a very serious virus, and should never be underestimated. If you see a rabid animal, find shelter immediately. Contact Pioneer Pest Management for services or questions anytime!

What’s That Smell? A Guide to Skunk Proofing Your Home

Skunks are part of almost every homeowner’s life, whether in rural or urban areas. Skunks are not necessarily dangerous, but they can be quite a nuisance. When a skunk sprays, the scent can linger for months! Protect yourself and your home by reading our guide to skunk proofing your home.

The risk for skunk infestations is higher in the spring.

Like a lot of animals, striped skunks breed from February to March. They will look for denning sites around this time, typically searching to den under:

  • Homes
  • Low clearance decks
  • Sheds
  • Wood piles
  • Porches
  • Concrete slabs
  • Drain pipes

Skunks will also use the deserted burrows of other animals. If they’re desperate, they will dig a burrow.

After finding an appropriate nesting site, they’ll give birth in late April and early May. The baby skunks will remain in the den site for about 60 days.

How to Get Rid of Skunks: Best Practices for Homeowners

Skunks can be a complicated animal to remove. Preventing skunks is much easier! Here are a list of things to keep in mind to prevent skunks, though they also work to get rid of skunks as well:

  • Don’t feed skunks
  • Keep all pet food indoors!
  • Don’t give access to garbage
  • Keep pet food away from pet door and closed pet door at night
  • Don’t put food in compost piles
  • Secure in compost containers to prevent access
  • Clean up outdoor food area such as barbecue areas
  • Eliminate access to denning sites by making sure the structure has no potential entry sites

Seasonal inspections can prevent skunks.

We recommend seasonal inspections for every home for two reasons: you can discover infestations that are just beginning, and you can prevent potential infestations from finding their way inside your home.

Spring is an especially important time to complete an exterior and interior inspection. We recommend looking for any entry holes, loose screens, broken siding, and other ways animals or insects could potentially gain access to your home. If you’re not quite sure you have the time or the expertise to catch every potential entry point, contact Pioneer Pest! We conduct seasonal inspections as well as scheduled pest treatments.

Call a Professional for Skunk Removal

Removing a skunk requires a special license. You can obtain one as a homeowner, but there are local companies who are happy to perform this service for you, including Pioneer Pest Management! We’ll take care of everything, including blocking the den after skunk removal.

It’s Raccoon Mating Season—5 Facts You Need To Know

1. Breeding season can start in January and ends in June.

Peak mating season is March through April, but raccoons will begin to breed as soon as the weather gets warmer. We recommend seasonal inspections of the outside of your home, to make sure prevention is in place before breeding season. Raccoons have a 65-day gestation, and they will remain in the den for up to 7 weeks after birth.

2. Dens are usually temporary.

Outside of the breeding season, raccoons will change dens frequently. They don’t build these dens, but rather take advantage of already empty spaces.

If you have a raccoon setting up camp in a tree outside, chances are they’ll be moving on in a day or so anyway. When it comes to your home, however, you’ll want to be sure they’re fully gone before boarding up the hole or taking other exclusion steps.

3. Raccoons will “den” where they feel safe and removed from humans.

When a female raccoon is going to breed and give birth, she’ll establish a more permanent den. Raccoons prefer to be off the ground in hollow trees, attics, and chimney flues. If these places aren’t available, they’ll look for places where they won’t be disturbed, like under homes, low clearance decks, and sheds.

Because she’s about to give birth to kits, she’ll be even more careful about her choice.

4. You can prevent raccoons.

Raccoons rely on their immediate surroundings. If you make your home inhospitable to raccoons, they won’t stay! These are the best and simplest ways to make sure you can prevent raccoons:

  • Don’t feed raccoons
  • Seal all sources of garbage
  • Feed pets indoors
  • Keep pet food away from pet door
  • Close pet door at night
  • Don’t put food in compost piles
    • Instead secure in compost containers to prevent access
  • Clean up outdoor food areas, such as barbecue areas or picnic tables
  • Eliminate access to potential dens by filling or blocking all holes
  • Talk to your neighbors
    • If an entire area takes these prevention steps, your yard has a better chance of remaining raccoon-free

5. Raccoon relocation is illegal in Oregon and Washington.

We know it might be tempting to trap and relocate raccoons, but it’s illegal. Relocation has several serious consequences for both the raccoons and the surrounding environments, including the death of the raccoons, the spread of disease, and ecological collapse.

If you have a mother and kits under your porch or in another space on your property, don’t attempt to remove them physically. It’s always best to call a wildlife removal specialist as soon as possible, so the animals can be removed safely and you can minimize any structural damage caused by the animals.

What can I do about the raccoons on my property?

If these prevention steps aren’t working, or you’re concerned about the raccoons on your property, give Pioneer Pest Management a call. We can perform an inspection to make sure all of the available prevention steps are complete, and we can spot any particular areas that raccoons might take advantage of.

Homeowners Guide to Keep Raccoons Away

Homeowners guide to keeping raccoons away in Portland OR. Pioneer Pest Management.As cute as raccoons may look, they are the last thing you want near or in your home. Raccoons can not only cause structural damage to your property, but they can also cause an infestation of fleas, parasites, and roundworm. They are also the most-reported wildlife species with rabies, making them even more dangerous to the inhabitants of your home. Learning what attracts raccoons to your house and how to keep them away for good is essential to not worrying about the destruction they could cause.

If you have raccoons invading your yard or house, it’s important to call a professional. Pioneer Pest Management has the experience necessary to properly and safely keep raccoons away from your home. We also will help you learn how to raccoon-proof your home to avoid them for good! Read on to learn some of the most effective ways to keep wild raccoons at bay.

Raccoon-Proofing Your Home

Raccoons are relentless in their search for food, which is why your trash cans are a huge target. However, they are also often brazen enough to find a way into your home to raid your food sources. To ensure raccoons aren’t attracted to your home in the first place, a professional may implement or suggest the following prevention methods:

  • Seal trash more effectively: Raccoons have the ability to chew through plastic trash cans, which is why it may be smart to invest in metal, locking garbage cans.
    • If they still get in the trash, you may be advised to place cinder blocks on top of each can.
    • In serious cases, it’s sometimes best to keep trash cans inside a shed with a padlock or encased within a wired-off fence with a roof.
  • Protect your chimney: Chimneys provide a perfect place to nest, and raccoons can easily enter the home through a chimney. Installing an inexpensive screen or using hardware netting can help deter raccoons.
    • An even more effective way of raccoon-proofing your chimney is by investing in a chimney cap. A professional can help accurately prepare a chimney for protection methods by checking for existing nests and removing hazardous debris.
  • Cover vents: By properly covering dust vents and outdoor vents, you can eliminate another source through which wild raccoons can enter.
    • While wire mesh cloth or screening can do the job, heavy-duty steel screens will ensure raccoons can’t fight their way through.
    • Also consider investing in enclosed gutters or protection for overhangs to keep raccoons off the roof.
  • Protect porches and decks: The space underneath a porch or deck can be the ideal environment for raccoons, especially when they need to take shelter from rain or heat.
    • Cover any openings under a porch or deck with mesh, wood, or hardware cloth.
    • To keep raccoons from digging under the porch, install a barrier about 12 inches into the ground.
  • Keep trees and yard tidy: Making sure your yard doesn’t provide a raccoon places to hide or easily climb can help keep them away.
    • Cut back tree branches to at least six feet away from the home to ensure raccoons don’t have easy access to the roof.
    • Clean up any leaf piles and debris and keep compost piles secure.

Professional Help for Keeping Raccoons Away

Following the tips above will go a long way in helping a homeowner in keeping raccoons from taking up residence at their home. If these tips don’t fully succeed in preventing wildlife entry to your home, it’s time to call Pioneer Pest Management. Raccoons are destructive and can be dangerous, and an infestation should always be taken care of by a professional. Our removal experts will eradicate raccoons quickly to keep your family and home safe. Call us today to learn more about our raccoon-proofing methods!

What to do About Wildlife in Your Home

What to do about wildlife in your home - Pioneer Pest Portland ORWhen wildlife finds its way into your home, it can lead to destructive damage and can cause health hazards. In Portland, some of the most common creatures that invade our home include squirrels, skunks, and moles. If you suspect a problem, it is best to consult with a professional pest control company.

Squirrels Removal

Your home is the ideal warm place for squirrels to store food and nest. Unfortunately, these creatures can cause extensive damage. As they chew through everything, your home’s entire structure may be at risk. Some of the most dangerous hazards may include electrical fires, which result from them chewing on your wires. Although a homeowner may attempt a DIY solution, it is best to consult with pest control experts who use effective and humane methods of removal.

Skunk Control and Management

Besides emitting a terrible smell, skunks are known to carry diseases. On the exterior of your home, they may damage your grass as well. Normally the first sign of a problem will be a mess around your garbage cans. These pests eat fruit, old food, worms, insects and pet food, and often nest under decks, in crawlspaces, structural foundations, or wood piles. To avoid being sprayed, it is smart to hire an experienced pest management company.

Mole Management

Even though moles are generally harmless and rarely enter homes, they can wreak havoc on your yard or garden. Moles dig tunnels beneath the ground in search of food. Along the way, they loosen plants and dry out their roots, which creates an ugly landscape. Since these animals spend a great deal of time out of sight, it may be difficult to catch them without assistance.

The Pioneer Pest Management Difference

Do you want a pest control company that has a proven record of success? At Pioneer Pest Management, we take pride in serving the Portland Metro area, and we understand what creatures create the biggest headaches in this region. We are ready and able to resolve your issues through humane and environmentally friendly control methods. Unlike other businesses, we are trained and licensed to trap and remove these pests in little time. For a free quote, call us today.

Home Vapor Barriers – How to tell if it needs to be replaced

How important is it to replace your vapor barrier once it’s been damaged?

Unfortunately it happens, vapor barriers in homes across Portland and Vancouver get damaged from a whole host of reasons. Wildlife infestations, like Raccoons and Opossums, rodent activity like rats and mice, and even flooded crawlspaces can leave a homeowner wondering how important their homes vapor barrier is, and if it needs to be replaced once one of the above has happened.

Your homes vapor barrier

First, understanding what the purpose of your homes vapor barrier is can be helpful. Your homes vapor barrier is generally a thick plastic sheeting that is placed in your homes crawlspace. In Oregon and Washington, in order for this plastic sheeting to be code, it should be black, and no less than 6mm thick. This sheeting is placed initially when the home is constructed, and covers the entire ground from the foundation walls, to the center leaving no exposed ground. Many times in older homes, there is no vapor barrier as it wasn’t required until recent years.

The purpose of your homes vapor barrier

The purpose of a home’s vapor barrier is pretty simple, it controls the humidity in your homes crawlspace by placing a barrier between the ground, and your home. The plastic sheeting acts as a barrier between what could be moist dirt and the air in the crawlspace. Here in the damp Pacific Northwest, vapor barriers will also keep moisture in the air from penetrating the soil as well, again controlling the relative humidity of your homes crawlspace.

In order for a vapor barrier to work properly, all ground must be covered, and it is generally recommended that seams are overlapped and secured together using a construction grade tape, or sealing system. It is also recommended by most crawlspace professionals that the plastic sheeting should be run up the foundation walls to provide additional protection.

Why your homes vapor barrier is important

Vapor barriers are important, especially here in the Pacific Northwest because it’s important to control the relative humidity in your homes crawlspace. A home that has too much humidity in the crawlspace will often develop musty smells coming from the crawlspace, which can be transmitted through the homes heating and cooling system. Too much moisture in the crawlspace can also create structural, insulation, and mold problems.

When it’s time to replace a home’s vapor barrier

Typically a home’s vapor barrier should last for many years, but there are times when circumstances warrant the vapor barrier being replaced. If your home has encountered any of the below issues, it can be wise to have a crawlspace professional inspect your vapor barrier to ensure it’s protecting your home the way it should.

  • You experience a water problem in your crawlspace. Water issues in crawlspaces are pretty normal here in the Portland and Vancouver area. If your crawlspace has water, and/or drainage issues, these need to be fixed as standing water creates a moisture rich environment that can wreak havoc on your home. If you have water issues in your crawlspace, the source of the water must be identified and fixed before the vapor barrier is replaced.
  • Wildlife and/or rodent issues in your homes crawlspace. If you are, or have experienced rodent issues in your homes crawlspace, it’s advisable to have a crawlspace professional inspect your home. Wildlife and rodents will not only tear the underside of your home up, they will also leave droppings and other contaminates behind. Finding and sealing the entrance sources for these critters, as well as ensuring they’ve all been evicted before cleaning up the mess they’ve left behind is important to keeping your crawlspaces air clean, which is where by some estimates 70% of a homes breathable air comes from.
  • Vapor barrier that is beyond repair, or not up to code. This can been seen many times, especially on older homes. Often over the years, with different contractors (cable, alarm systems, etc.) crawling around under your home, vapor barriers can become damaged. There are also times when past wildlife issues, or water issues were taken care of, but fixing the vapor barrier was not. Sometimes these issues can be solved by conducting simple repairs, other times the size and scope of the damage may necessitate the replacement of the entire vapor barrier. An experienced crawlspace contractor can help you determine the best course of action to get your homes crawlspace back in order.

The value of keeping your homes crawlspace healthy

Aside from what we’ve covered above, keeping your crawlspace humidity in relative proportion to outside humidity is important for the overall health of your home for years to come. Crawlspaces that are damp or wet attract all kinds of issues.

  • On the pest side of things, damp and wet crawlspaces are a haven for pests like moisture ants, and dampwood termites.
  • Structurally wet and damp crawlspaces can cause wood to rot, and home insulation to become saturated, which then loses its ability to insulate your home.
  • The health of your family can also be put at risk as damp and wet crawlspaces are a haven for mold spores that are easily transferred throughout your home via the heating and cooling ducting.

Rats and Mice Move Indoors in the Winter

When the Temp Goes Down…

Rats and Mice Move in

Every winter we field many phone calls about rats and mice invading properties through the season in the Portland, Vancouver, Camas, Gresham, and Beaverton areas. People want to know why rats and mice and invading their garages, walls, and crawlspaces. The answer is rather simple- rats and mice tend to infest homes in the winter in order to escape the harsh Pacific Northwest weather. When rodents find a vulnerable home, they will take advantage and begin nesting to survive comfortably.

Consequences of a Rat and Mice Infestation

Unfortunately, rats and mice can and often do, cause significant structural and property damage. These little critters are capable of costing you thousands of dollars in repairs, in a short amount of time. Furthermore, if your business encounters a rat infestation, it could easily result in the closing of the business as people will not frequent a place known for rodent sightings. Even more troublesome, is that rice and mice tend to attract other pests as well. Additionally, rodents breed and multiply at a fast rate exemplifying the problem at a brisk pace. To top it all off, rodents also carry various diseases which you can become vulnerable to through droppings and urine.

Preventing Rat and Mice Infestations

Preventing rats and mice in your house or business always begins with a clean property and secured entries. Making sure your property is not vulnerable to rodent infestations is the key in prevention. Always ensure there is no food left out, spills are always cleaned up, and garbage container are maintained and secured so that food is never easily accessible to rats or mice looking for a new home. Stored food should also always be secured in airtight containers and pet food areas should be carefully maintained as well.

The prevention of rats and mice in your crawlspaces, walls and attics also includes making sure that all entry ways are completely sealed and secured. Sealing entry points means plugging up any holes/cracks in doors/vents or other areas that rats or mice could potentially infiltrate. You should routinely inspect entry ways to ensure they are sealed throughout the year.

Rodent Infestation Signs

Often times, people realize they have a rat or mice problem when they notice one scurrying across the floors within their properties or encounter their feces or urine. Usually, rodents can be found running on the edges of surfaces. Their droppings can frequently be found in cabinetry throughout the property. It is also common to notice chewed up walls, furniture and clothing as a result of a rodent infestation too. Other signs of a rodent infestation include finding their nesting area and hearing them running in the walls in the evening.

Rat and Mice Extermination

The best way to resolve your rodent infestation is to call a licensed pest control professional. Any reputable pest professional will guarantee the service and offer a warranty against reentry. Pest control professionals will know the fastest and most efficient way to rid you of your rat and mice infestation and can help with cleaning up potentially contaminated rodent droppings.

Serving Washington and Oregon