5 Tips to Help Keep Rodents Away this Fall

Rodent eating. Pioneer Pest Management in Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about how to help keep rodents away this fall.

Jack-o’-lanterns are being carved, apples are being bobbed for, and families are excitedly walking their neighborhoods in search of sweet treats. Meanwhile, small, hairy, disease-ridden creatures are lurking in the shadows also looking for a treat.

While this sounds like the premise of a horror film, it isn’t. This time of year as the temperature drops, rats and mice are looking for a warm, safe place to call home … and unfortunately, this sometimes means your home.

Rodents can fit into the smallest of spaces and if you have a reliable source of food and water, they’ll do whatever it takes to get inside of your home. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help keep them out. Keep reading to learn them now!

1. Seal Cracks and Holes

Rats and mice often get inside of homes through cracks in the home’s foundation. If it’s big enough to see, it’s big enough for a mouse to get in. Use a combination of steel mesh or steel wool along with a silicone-based caulk to seal all of these potential entry points to make it harder for these pests to get inside. Don’t forget those small gaps where utility lines enter your home!

2. Install Door Sweeps

Rats can squeeze through holes as small as a quarter, and mice even smaller. Install door sweeps to the bottoms of your doors to block that gap between the door frame and the door.

3. Replace Weatherstripping

Your weatherstripping are those black-colored strips that run along your door and window frames. Over time they can become damaged or worn. If you close the door and light seeps through, it’s probably time to replace it. Weatherstripping will not only help keep rodents out, but it will also improve your heating and cooling.

4. Trim Shrubs and Eliminate Debris

Make your home look less appealing from the get-go! Rodents are attracted to shrubs, vegetation, stacked firewood, and anything else nestled near your home because they act as harborages. Rodents, particularly roof rats are skilled climbers. They often climb trees, scurry across branches, and leap off to gain access onto your roof and then in your home. Clean up outside and prune your landscaping to help deter these small pests.

5. Cover Vents and Downspouts

Rats and mice may climb up your downspouts to gain access to vents or other openings near the roof of your home. To help prevent this from happening, cover your vents and downspouts with ¼ inch mesh screens. Make sure to inspect them regularly because rodents might chew on them.

Rodents can spread harmful bacteria and diseases, contaminate your food, and damage your home and personal belongings so if you feel your home is vulnerable, give Pioneer Pest Management a call. We use Integrated Pest Management practices which are environmentally sensitive and effective.

Eek! Spider Mating Season is Here!

Spiderweb with spider in the background. Pioneer Pest Management in Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about spider mating season and how to help keep spiders away.

You may be decorating your home with cobwebs and fake spiders as you prepare for Halloween, but real spiders can be a frightening sight. In fact, it’s estimated that around 3.5% to 6% of people across the world have arachnophobia.

What’s important to note is that spiders are natural predators. They attack and kill insects and generally prefer to keep to themselves, hiding out in cool, dark places. That isn’t to say you won’t ever see them. During the fall, male spiders are in search of a mate. While female spiders stay put, male spiders will walk around your house, even right in the middle of your living room desperately looking for a female spider.

If spiders give you the creeps, keep reading. We at Pioneer Pest Management are sharing our favorite spider control tips.

How to Keep Spiders Away

Spiders will go wherever their prey is which includes small insects and sometimes other spiders. They also like cool, dark, vacant spaces. So here are some tips you can try to help keep them out.

Indoor Spider Control Tips

  • Vacuum and sweep regularly, paying attention to the corners of your home, your ceiling, and underneath furniture
  • Remove clutter like laundry piles, boxes, and toys
  • Store your belongings in plastic containers with airtight lids
  • Replace torn or worn weatherstripping on your doors and windows
  • Install door sweeps

Outdoor Spider Control Tips

  • Seal any cracks on the exterior of your home using a silicone-based caulk, pay particular attention to where utilities meet your home
  • Store firewood out and away from your home
  • Replace your porch light with an insect-resistant type light bulb to deter insects spiders are attracted to
  • Trim back landscaping shrubs so they don’t touch your home
  • Using a broom, sweep down spiderwebs
  • Remove debris and clutter, including leaf piles

These tips can help you in your war against spiders, but if you want to get rid of these creepy pests for good, you’ll want to contact a professional pest control technician, like Pioneer Pest Management. We have a unique knowledge of the spiders native to the Pacific Northwest. We know their habits and how to effectively keep them out using safe and effective measures. So if you’re looking for a fast and reliable way to keep spiders at bay this fall, give us a call.

Is Your Edible Garden Attracting Pests?

Up close image of a wasp on a raspberry. Pioneer Pest Management serving Portland OR and Vancouver WA talks about if your edible garden is attracting pests.

Up close image of a wasp on a raspberry. Pioneer Pest Management serving Portland OR and Vancouver WA talks about if your edible garden is attracting pests.Many people in our area grow their own produce. It’s fresh, affordable, and it tastes great. But did you know that your edible garden may unintentionally invite unwanted pests? It’s true. If your fruit and vegetable gardens are not tended to, you may begin to suffer issues with ants, stinging insects, and fruit flies that are attracted to rotting and fermenting produce.

Which Pests are Attracted to Edible Gardens?

  • Ants: Ants are attracted to fruit plants for one of two reasons: the fruit is overripe and they’re feeding on it or the plant is infested with aphids, mealybugs, scale, or another honeydew-producing pest. It depends on the ant species.
  • Wasps: In late summer and early fall, wasps become more attracted to sugary substances, including ripe fruit. They’ll swarm around your garden and other populated areas looking for a quick snack and they’ll attack anyone who tries to keep them away from their food source.
  • Fruit Flies: It’s no secret fruit flies are attracted to overripe fruits but they’re also attracted to overripe vegetables too. In fact, these tiny nuisance pests favor tomatoes, melons, grapes, and squash. Fruit flies will lay up to 25 eggs a day on your produce and although they’re tiny, these pests can carry harmful bacteria that can grow on your produce.

What Plants Help Keep Pests Away?

Did you know some plants can help ward off pests? Here’s a list of a few plants and the pests they may help repel.

  • Basil: Basil may help discourage flies and mosquitoes
  • Chrysanthemum: Chrysanthemums have been known to help deter ants, ticks, silverfish, Japanese beetles, spider mites, and more. In fact, some insect repellents have chrysanthemum extract in them because of their effectiveness
  • Marigolds: Marigolds give off a scent that’s been known to ward off mosquitoes, plant lice, and rabbits
  • Mint: Mint smells refreshing and it may help prevent ants, spiders, and mosquitos from invading your garden

These plants may be helpful but keep in mind pests are clever and will often find ways past your defenses.

Is Your Edible Garden Protected from Pests?

While small insects like aphids are known to damage plants, larger pests like ants, wasps, and fruit flies are also attracted to some plants. But if you’re dealing with a pest infestation, you don’t want to turn to over-the-counter products as these can affect your plants. Instead, contact your local pest control company. They’ll be able to offer safe and eco-friendly methods to your pest control problem.

6 Winter Pest-Proofing Tips

Rodent standing up. Pioneer Pest Management talks about 6 Winter Pest-Proofing Tips for homeowners in Portland OR and Vancouver WA.The official start of winter is almost here and as temperatures begin to drop, pests may be trying to get inside. Cockroaches, rats, mice, spiders, and ants are common winter invaders so it’s important to not only seal your home against these pests but to also make your home less appealing to them. This is why we’ve compiled a list of 6 winter pest-proofing tips to keep your home pest-free this winter.

1. Store Your Food Properly

Pests seek a reliable source of food when looking for shelter. So keep your food in airtight containers and throw out the trash regularly.

2. Seal Cracks and Crevices

Inspect your attic and walk around the exterior of your home for signs of pests. Seal up any noticeable cracks in your foundation, including where utilities enter your home and along the roofline. If they are small cracks, use caulk. For larger holes, you can use screens to create barriers that are harder for rodents to breach. Also, inspect window frames and door jambs. You can apply window stripping in these areas.

3. Store Firewood Properly

Rats are attracted to firewood for shelter. So if you like to keep firewood handy, we recommend storing it at least 20 feet away from your home and at least 2 feet off the ground.

4. Keep Shrubs and Trees Well-Trimmed

Rodents are attracted to vegetation so keep the lower branches of your shrubs short enough to expose any rats and make them more vulnerable to potential predators.

Roof Rats are excellent climbers. It’s not uncommon for them to run along branches to gain access into your home through a window or the roof. So you’ll want to trim branches at least 4 feet away from your home or utility lines.

5. Store Boxes on Shelves

Rodents and spiders will inhabit undisturbed areas like unsealed storage boxes. So keep your boxes sealed and off the floor to prevent them from setting up homes inside of them.

6. Eliminate Moisture

Clogged drains and leaking pipes create the perfect environment for pests to breed. So, properly replace or repair any damaged pipes in your home to help eliminate moisture.

Experts in Pest Control

Rats, mice, and cockroaches can transmit diseases and some spiders can bite if they feel threatened. So if you have a pest infestation that you want properly taken care of, it’s best to contact a professional like Pioneer Pest Management. We will inspect your home, diagnose the problem, and provide an effective solution!

Pest-Proof Your Christmas Tree in 5 Steps

If you’re among the 30 million households that plan to have a fresh, live Christmas tree in your home this year, there’s one thing you should be aware of — it could have over 20,000 pests living in it! Don’t panic, most of these pests are harmless, but there are some steps you can take to pest-proof your Christmas tree.

What Types of Bugs Live in Christmas Trees?

The types of bugs that infest Christmas trees will vary depending on your location. But trees can be infested with tens of thousands of pests. The most common types of pests that make their homes in Christmas trees include:

  • Aphids
  • Adelgids
  • Bark beetles
  • Moths
  • Mites
  • Praying mantises
  • Sawflies
  • Spiders
  • Weevils
  • Webworms

Most of these insects are harmless to people and they won’t damage your home. It’s also important to understand that many of these insects are living in the tree, not living off of it. Christmas tree pests need humidity to survive and your home is not a suitable environment for them. Over a period of a few days, these insects will simply die of starvation or desiccation, becoming completely dry and dying off.

Getting Rid of Pests in Your Christmas Tree

Most Christmas tree farms take precautions to ensure their trees have very few pests. Pesticides are used while the tree is growing and when selling trees, most farms and lots will mechanically shake it before a customer takes it home. Additionally, there are preventive steps you can take to make sure you aren’t bringing bugs indoors.

  • Inspect the tree: Thoroughly inspect your tree’s trunk and branches and prune any branches that have insect eggs or nests.
    Shake the tree: Give your tree a good shake over a light-colored cloth to remove bugs, critters, and loose needles.
  • Use your Vacuum: Your vacuum is not only effective in picking up fallen pine needles, it is also great at helping prevent insects from spreading. If you see aphids or other insects on or near your tree you can simply suck them up with your vacuum.
  • Leave your tree in the garage: Pest-proof your Christmas tree by letting it sit in the garage for a few days will allow any insect eggs to warm up and hatch in the garage and not your home.
  • Do not use aerosol pesticide sprays: Aerosol sprays are not necessary and are flammable! Insects require humidity to live, and most will desiccate and die within a matter of days.

If you do have a large infestation on your tree, you may want to take it to the tree lot you purchased it from and see if you can trade it for another one. Most lots will offer this. We also highly recommend that you do not spray any pesticides on your tree because aerosols are typically flammable. If you have any questions about Christmas tree pests or other concerns feel free to contact us. Also, be sure to read more of our blog posts for insight and tips on pests in the Pacific Northwest.

You Ghoulish Guide to Spooky Pests

Fake spiders next to small fake pumpkin. Pioneer Pest Management talks about the common pests during fall and what you can do to deter them.

While it’s fun to decorate your home with cobwebs, spiders, and rats this time of year, you don’t want to deal with the real thing! Read more to learn about the real-life creepy crawlers that are common in the Pacific Northwest.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs, like the fictional vampires, like to feed off human blood at night. They don’t transmit diseases to humans, but if you suffer bed bug bites, you may be left with red, itchy welts. However, not all people react to bedbug bites. Some may not even know they have bed bugs. Despite their name bed bugs can also be found anywhere from couches to behind picture frames, and behind baseboards. You can typically find bed bugs anywhere their host is for long periods of time.

Bed bugs are also quite the little hitchhikers. These pests will often hide in luggage, purses, and backpacks and easily infest a new location. If you plan to buy a second-hand Halloween costume this year, inspect it for any bed bugs, or signs of eggs– which are sticky, and white in color. You can learn more about bed bugs including the damage they can cause and their life cycle in our bed bug informational page.


Rodents scurrying across the floor will likely cause any person to jump and shriek. Rodents that are common in the Pacific Northwest include deer mice, house mice, Norway rats, and Roof rats. These rodents are primarily active at night and are well-adapted to our area. Roof rats will nest in attic spaces or up high, like in trees, while Norway rats will nest in or near the ground.

All four of these rodent species are quite destructive. They will chew just about anything they can find using their sharp teeth. Rodents can also transmit diseases and contaminate your belongings and food in your home. If you have boxes of fall or Halloween decor stored in your attic, basement or garage it might be a good idea to inspect it for rodent droppings or gnaw marks.

To gain a deeper knowledge about these rodents, take a look at our rodent informational page. There we have images of the different species and we talk about their biologies and habits.


Although spiders are one of the most feared pests, most in the Pacific Northwest are not venomous. The types you should be worried about are the Black Widow and the Hobo spider. Another venomous spider in the United States is the Brown Recluse spider. However, contrary to popular belief, it is not native to the Pacific Northwest. These spiders can be found in the dark corners of rooms, garages, sheds, and more. And If these spiders are disturbed or feel threatened they can administer a painful bite. If you are bitten by one of these spiders, it is important to recognize common signs and symptoms and if your reactions are severe, you should see a doctor immediately.

You can learn more about all the different types of spiders in the Pacific Northwest in our spider informational page.

Residential Pest Control

If you are dealing with bed bugs, rodents, spiders or any other ghoulish pests in your home, contact Pioneer Pest Management. We have been providing pest control services to the Portland, OR and Vancouver WA metro areas since 2001. We understand the pests that live in the area and we know how to properly and efficiently take care of them. When you contact us you’ll sleep well knowing that your family, home or business is well protected from pests. So contact Pioneer Pest Management today for professional pest control services.

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.


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.


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!

Rodent Season is Coming: 10 Tips to Keep Rodents Away This Winter

Pioneer Pest offers tips homeowners can use to keep rodents away this winter.

We know it’s early to start preparing for fall, but when it comes to rodents, now is a perfect time. Because as soon as the temperature drops, rodents like mice, roof rats, and Norway rats will start getting ready to hunker down for winter.

When looking for a place to live, rodents will look for access to nest-building materials, a dependable food source, and somewhere that’s warm and safe. Unfortunately, this can sometimes include our homes. So what can you do to prevent an infestation? Here are 10 tips you can do now to keep rodents away this winter.

  1. Seal exterior doors: repair any damaged doors and install door sweeps to the bottom. Roof rats, Norway rats, and mice can squeeze easily into small spaces like these. Keep in mind your garage doors too.
  2. Add screens to vents and chimneys: installing mesh to these areas will prevent them from gaining access to the inside of your home. Always verify your local building code requirements before installing screening over any vent or chimney. Not only can rodents squeeze into small spaces, but they can also scale siding and chimneys.
  3. Seal potential entry points: you can use caulk/spray foam and steel wool to seal holes rodents may use, but many times they will chew right through it. Sealing entry points should be done using proper materials such as metal flashing or rodent excluder in conjunction with caulking or spray foam.
  4. Seal basement and windows: replace any old weather stripping or mortar around your basement foundation, windows, and window sills.
  5. Seal pipes: fix, cap or replace any broken sewer, drain or exhaust pipes you have. Rodents may use these pipes to get inside your home. Rats are great swimmers too.
  6. Properly store food and maintain cleanliness: leaving food out can cause a serious infestation. Store food in airtight containers and regularly throw out your garbage.
  7. Ventilate: keep the crawlspaces, basements, and attics of your home dry and well ventilated.
  8. Move firewood: if you have stored firewood, keep the pile at least 20 feet away from your home. Even better if you can keep the wood elevated.
  9. Inspect vehicles: regularly check under the hood of your vehicles and look for signs a rodent has been there. Things like gnawed wires, rodent nests, and rat or mouse droppings — which are typically dark in color and shaped similar to a piece of rice.
  10. Inspect Items: Another thing you may want to inspect are packages, bags, and anything else you are bringing into your home, especially if they’ve been outside for quite some time.

Experts in Rodent Removal

If you’ve tried these tips and are still not seeing success. It may be time to contact a professional. At Pioneer Pest Management, our expert certified technicians will identify entry points and seal them off, keeping those rodents out for good. So contact Pioneer Pest Management today for your rodent removal.

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.

Prevent Pests From Infesting Your Garden

Gardens can take a lot of work and the last thing you want is for pests to come in and destroy it. Read more to learn the insects that most commonly invade gardens, and how to discourage them from coming in the first place.Pest Control Services in Multnomah

Good Insects vs Bad Insects

Not all insects are harmful to gardens. Some are actually beneficial and naturally help keep bad insect numbers down by eating them or using them to house their offspring.

Beneficial insects include:

  • Ladybugs
  • Praying mantises
  • Honey bees
  • Dragonflies
  • Lacewings

To attract these insects to your garden, you can provide them with pollen or nectar-rich plants like dill, marigolds, and sunflowers.

Pests That Threat Gardens

The insects you don’t want to encourage in your garden include:

  • Aphids
  • Caterpillars
  • Slugs or snails
  • Japanese beetles
  • Spider Mites

Preventing Garden Pests Naturally

Some pests are hard to get rid of once they’ve infested your garden, so the most useful technique to keeping your garden pest-free is preventing them from nibbling on your plants in the first place. Many pesticides and insecticides can be dangerous, fortunately there are less invasive methods.

  • Use row covers: These lightweight fabric sheets cover plants in the garden, protecting them from small pests and insects. They can prevent pollinations, so row covers should be raised while flowers are blooming.
  • Use raised beds: With your garden higher than the ground, insects may have a tougher time finding their preferred meal and are more exposed to their predators.
  • Contact your local garden store or nursery: Ask for recommendations about all natural products that are available.
  • Add companion plants: Some herbs and plants, like garlic or sage, have a strong aroma that works well to keep a variety of insects away.
  • Invest in cultivating predators: Wildlife like toads, frogs and hummingbirds eat insects and can also protect your plants. You can attract them near your garden by creating a mini-habitat for them. Think bird boxes and ponds.

Protecting your garden can be a daunting task. If you’ve tried everything you can and pests are still harming your garden, contact the experts at Pioneer Pest Management to learn how we can keep your garden safe and healthy!