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Author: Wesley Parker (Page 1 of 2)

Look who’s on This Old House!

Do you own a fixer-upper? Are you a die-hard DIYer? If so, you probably know and love This Old House almost as much as Wesley Parker, owner of Parker Eco Pest Control. She recalls waking up on Saturday mornings as a kid to watch This Old House with her Dad. Now as a homeowner herself, she and her husband Chris do a lot their owner DIY projects on their 1905 American Foursquare house.

So you can imagine how excited the Parkers were to see Parker Eco Pest Control recently featured in a This Old House article on the Best Pest Control Companies in Seattle.

This Old House has evolved quite a bit since the 1990s. Their website has how-to guides for everything A-Z including attics to yards and loads in between. They have information on common things like how to replace a bathroom faucet or how to level a floor to, the more obscure, like How to Drill into Brick.

If you can imagine your next project, the This Old House website is a great resource will probably have the information (videos or articles) to help you get it done! There are even whole sections dedicated to subjects like Home Office, Patios and Organization and Storage; things that many people are focused on and were very popular during the COVID pandemic.

By far our favorite feature on their website is the Project House and Idea House tabs. There are way too many distinctive and unique houses to pick a single favorite. Each “Idea House” is modeled after a specific style that give ideas on bringing the look to life in your own home.

Should I remove insulation from my crawl space?

Deciding whether or not to re-insulate your crawl space after a rodent problem depends on a few factors. Dirt crawl spaces are incredibly common in Seattle and it’s estimated that 40% of new construction in the area still relies on this type of foundation (per the NAHB, 2013).  Crawl spaces make accessing your plumbing and wiring for repairs simple and they’re ideal for Seattle’s hilly terrain. These benefits aside, they are extremely vulnerable to rodent problems.

When to leave a crawl space un-insulated

  • If rodents are tunneling into the crawl space (as opposed to chewing in).
  • If your crawl space lacks a permanent rodent barrier such as a rat slab, trench and screen, or rodent-proofed joists to protect insulation (keep reading for more info).

Don’t spend money on new insulation only to have another infestation next winter!

When to re-insulate a crawl space

  • If rodents are chewing into the crawl space and you’ve done a good job sealing off the entry points you could gamble with re-insulating. They may begin tunneling sometime in the future so this is still a calculated risk.
  • If you invest in permanent rodent barrier like a rat slab, trench and screen, or rodent-proofed joists to protect insulation you’ll have peace of mind that your insulation and your living space is safe for the long haul.

What is a permanent rodent barrier?

Exactly what it sounds like! There are three main long term solutions for protecting a dirt crawlspace from rodents:

Rodent-proofing insulation with wire mesh

Traditional fiberglass insulation is by far the most common type we find in crawl spaces. It is also a perfect place for rodents to nest. Protect your new or existing insulation from nesting by installing galvanized steel mesh to the underside of your joists. You’ll get end-to-end protection for your insulation and your living space if a rodent tunnels back into the crawl space.

Rodent proof insulation diagram

Trench and screen

To install a trench and screen the soil around your foundation is dug away and galvanized steel mesh is buried against the house to prevent animals from burrowing into the crawl space.

trench and screen digram to block rats

Rat slab

A rat slab is a non-structural layer of concrete that completely seals the dirt floor of your crawl space off from tunneling.

Rat slab diagram
Diagram courtesy of energy.gov

Are rodents chewing or tunneling into the crawl space?

We find that rodents are most likely to access a crawl space by chewing a hole or pushing their way in through a vent. Builder-grade crawl space vents use flimsy mesh that doesn’t stand up to a determined rat. Rodents are also incredible chewers since their teeth grow constantly. They will find a small gap around a gas line and gnaw the opening until they can squeeze through. Sealing off openings and setting poison-free traps are your go-to solution.

Tunneling into the crawl space is also very common. Norway rats are aggressive diggers and they will burrow under the side of the house and pop up in the crawlspace. You’ll need a permanent rodent barrier to stop them from entering once and for all.

Need some help with a rodent issue at your house? Give us a call or book an inspection online!

Mice or rodents in the attic? Your roof needs drip edge flashing

One of the most common ways for rodents to enter an attic is through a gap between the shingles and the gutter. Gaps like this are extremely common in Washington State due to a quark in the residential building code. This gap, sometimes called a carpenter’s gap or construction gap, can be sealed off using a piece of metal flashing called a drip edge. This piece of metal is also known as gutter flashing or rake edge flashing.

How to check for drip edge flashing

If you’re stumped on how mice, rats, birds, or squirrels are getting into your attic, we highly recommend looking at the exterior of the roof line. If you have a hipped roof (shaped like a pyramid) you should check the entire perimeter. If you have a gabled roof you likely only need to check the two sides with gutters.

Slide your hand to the back of the gutter where it’s secured against the house. If you can fit your hand under the shingles it’s big enough for a rat to squeeze through. Remember, rats only need a gap the size of a quarter and mice only need a gap the size of a dime. Rodents usually leave signs on the areas they frequent the most. Look for chewing, greasy smears called rub marks, and of course droppings.

Drip edge wasn’t in Washington code until 2015

Washington State residential code only began requiring drip edge in 2015, meaning If your home was built in 2014 or earlier, there is a good chance you have a large gap running continuously around the perimeter of your roof. You can read the code yourself online.

Should you install drip edge flashing to seal the attic from rodents?

Yes, you should definitely install a drip edge (AKA gutter flashing) to seal out mice, rats, squirrels and birds. At a cost of $10 to $20 per foot installed, it’s fairly inexpensive and will save you money down the line compared to the cost of damage from an infestation.  

In addition to blocking pests, drip edge flashing protects your house from wind and water dripping behind the shingles, hence the name “drip edge.” It’s a wise investment for any roof.

Yes—We’re still open!

Parker Eco Pest Control is open during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll update this website if anything changes. We’re keeping regular hours Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm. You can make an appointment by calling 800-326-1698 or booking online. We expect to stay open for the foreseeable future.

We cannot overstate how much we appreciate your business. Our small team supports 8 households and keeping everyone employed is vital.

Increasing protective equipment

We will approach your home or business wearing a face mask and gloves.

Wesley Parker is ready for appointments!

Practicing social distance

Our technicians will not shake your hand. We understand that you may wish to follow us around your property, particularly during an inspection, but we ask that you please stay 6 feet away from us at all times.

Collecting no-touch payments

As part of social distancing we are no longer asking you to write your signature on our iPhones. We’re collecting credit card info by asking you to read the card number to us so we can hand-key the information into the processing system. We will write your signature on your behalf and issue a receipt via email.

Focusing on exterior service

Even during regular operations we don’t always treat the interior of the home for insect or rodent activity. We will continue this practice and treat rodent and insect problems from the exterior as often as possible.

As an eco-friendly pest control company we pride ourselves on thorough inspections. As part of social distancing we might ask you to report on pest activity inside your house so we don’t have to go inside. For example, we might ask you to check under your kitchen sink for ants instead of looking first-hand. If we do enter your home please stay 6 ft away from us.

Need to hire a pro? Meet Fresh Chalk

Parker Eco Pest Control recently discovered Fresh Chalk, a cool new platform for finding professional services in the Seattle area. If you need a handyman, dentist, or a barber, this is the place to go.

Fresh Chalk operates differently than other review platforms since they focus on recommendations from people in your social network. Their model tries to replicate word of mouth recommendations in the digital age.  

We found out about Fresh Chalk when a client recommended us on the platform. Since our business thrives on reviews, we were immediately intrigued. After doing some digging, we learned that they are local, women-led, and committed to transparency. That puts them miles ahead in our book!

Oh yeah…and people love us there

Parker Eco Pest Control reviews on Fresh Chalk

So we encourage you to check out the platform, make some honest recommendations, and see what Fresh Chalk holds for you. And hey…why not give Parker Eco Pest Control a thumbs up while you’re there?

Our 15 minutes of fame on HiHo Kids TV

Ever wondered what kids think about pest control? HiHo Kids set out to answer that question on a segment of “Kids Meet A…”. They gather people from all walks of life to answer the random, silly and downright bizarre questions that can only come from kids. Owner Chris Parker spent a few hours in the studio talking about bed bugs, squishing spiders, and protecting bees.

Behind the scenes

As it turns out, filming is hard work! The shoot took about 4 hours and resulted in just 4 minutes of footage. We have to give the HiHo Kids production team serious credit for weaving it all together.

Chris and the kids played with an apiary suit

In just two weeks the episode has been seen over 100,000 times on YouTube and Facebook. We owe HiHo Kids a HUGE thank you for involving us in this fun opportunity!

Ant control cost calculator: Apartments, condos, HOAs

Figuring out how much ant control costs for an apartment, condo, or homeowner’s association shouldn’t be hard. While it’s impossible to provide a firm bid without seeing the property, we’ve decided to share our basic quote formula with the world.

How to use the ant control cost calculator

Ongoing service or one-time treatment?

Some ants are polygenic, meaning they have multiple nests. It can be extremely difficult to solve an ant issue in a single visit to a multi-family building. We offer that option because it’s possible…but to be honest we usually require at least 2 visits. The first visit is the most expensive and takes the longest. Follow up visits are faster, easier, and less expensive. If your building gets ants every year it is probably less expensive and less of a pain to set up regular visits throughout the year. Deferring treatment can actually be more expensive than regular maintenance because we will charge more to get the issue back under control.

Treat all units, or only some?

Most pest control companies charge “by the door” or unit and assume that all units of a property should be treated. We believe that over applying pesticides is wasteful and potentially harmful. We’ll inspect all the units and advise which should be treated. You will be charged per unit, per visit. For example, we might treat 10 units on the first visit and only 5 on the next visit, saving you money.

Why use “ground floor” square footage?

We apply a perimeter spray around the exterior of the building’s ground floor
— basically anywhere that touches ground and ants can enter. It takes less time and fewer materials to apply a perimeter spray around a tall skinny building than a short and squat building.

Perimeter size matters for condos and apartments

Other factors that impact ant control cost

This calculator is a great starting point but it is not fool proof. Other factors that impact cost are:

  • Your location. Some areas like Ballard are ant hotbeds. That entire neighborhood is basically one giant ant nest and you will almost certainly need ongoing service.
  • The size and location of the ant nests. Ant nests outside the building are much easier to treat than nests inside the walls or foundation.
  • Cleanliness of the residents. As an apartment manager or HOA it can be frustrating when one unit or resident is the source of the issue. If they aren’t willing or able to put food in air-tight canisters and keep the apartment clean, you will have ongoing issues.

Are condos, apartments and HOAs priced the same?

Generally yes. We don’t distinguish between who owns the property or how it is managed when setting prices. One exception might be a property manager who has multiple buildings and is seeking bulk pricing on multiple properties.

Checking your log home for rodents

Log homes are beautiful and unique structures that come with unusual maintenance challenges. Four generations of the Parker family have enjoyed a log home on the Washington peninsula and we’ve learned that proper maintenance is key. Log homes are often more susceptible to rodents, crawling insects, and wood destroying organisms, especially when they are used as vacation homes instead of a primary residence. Today we’re doing a deep dive on the scariest threat to your log home and your family’s health – rodents.

Looking for rodent activity

With the risk of transmitting Hantavirus, rodents are the most dangerous log home pest you might face. They can enter the home at any time, but the highest risk for activity is when the home has been sitting vacant over the winter. Mice and rats are driven inside by the cold weather and can gather in large numbers if humans aren’t around to kick them out. If you are opening the home for the season follow these steps to inspect for rodents:

  • Follow your nose. If you open the home and smell urine, you’ve definitely got a rodent issue. If it seems pee-free then continue down this list and conduct a deeper search.
  • Look for droppings in the kitchen and closets. Mice love tight spaces with food and bedding. Check the corners of drawers, the bottom shelf of the cabinets, and anywhere else that is dark and secluded.
  • Check for nests. As with droppings, closets are a favorite spot for rodents to gather fluffy material and make nests.  Some less obvious nesting locations are inside of furniture such as the underside of a couch, inside of mattresses and pillows, and tucked away in heating ducts.
  • Identify rub marks. Mice can fit through a hole the size of a dime. Sometimes its tough for humans to find these tiny holes. Lucky for us, mice are creatures of habit, meaning they use the same “roads” often. The little highway across your kitchen window sill can get stained with rub marks as the mice shuffle along the wall and around corners. These dark, greasy smudges are a classic sign of an infestation.

Mouse poop and Hantavirus

If you find evidence of rodent activity you should assume that the droppings contain Hantavirus and follow safety precautions. Hantavirus is carried by deer mice and is fatal to 36% of people who catch it. Sadly there is no way to know what type of mice were in your home. Even if you find a house mouse carcass you can’t guarantee there were not also deer mice present.

The key to cleaning up safely is NOT breathing in particles. Spray everything down with a water/bleach mixture since damp particles won’t circulate as freely as dry ones. Wear a mask and gloves. Bag all the rags and throw them out. Do not vacuum or sweep since it stirs up dry particles.

Sealing holes and trapping

How to get rid of Mice Naturally
Download our free ebook “How to get rid of mice naturally”

The last step is preventing mice from entering your home moving forward. We recommend our free eBook, The Complete Guide: How to Get Rid of Mice NaturallyIt’s packed with tips for sealing holes, everything you need to know about traps, and lots of photos for the DIYer in all of us.

One aspect of mouse control that is specific to log homes and not covered in the eBook is chinking. Gaps in chinking are an extremely common method of entry for mice. Be sure to visually inspect your chinking from the interior and exterior, preferably on a ladder. Given the rounded shape of a log it can be difficult to see gaps from the ground.

Wondering how mice fit through the chinking? Check out this experiment:

Preventing rodents

The two best things you can do to prevent rats and mice are 1) Keeping up with all recommended maintenance and 2)Living on the property year round.

Log home maintenance can be a DIY affair for the brave at heart but some jobs require an expert. The Parkers use Madrona Log Homes for log home maintenance because they’re dependable, local, and use eco-friendly materials. Who knew walnut blasting was so cool to watch?  Tell the owner Travis that we sent you!

The second recommendation is often impractical for home owners. But if someone is living in the home it’s very easy to spot problems and head them off early. You’re unlikely to develop a large deer mouse infestation if there is constant human oversight.

Feel free to call or email us if you have additional questions about keeping your log home pest-free.

How to Get Rid of Common Household Pests

Parker Eco Pest Control teamed up with Redfin to bring you this guest post. They’ve compiled answers to common pest questions from experts around the United States.

Ants in a colony

There is nothing like an infestation of cockroaches, termites, stink bugs or other common household pests to make your skin crawl. Though you have probably thought about packing up your things and leaving, moving isn’t the answer as these pests can pop up anywhere and in any household. It’s time to draw a hard line and get rid of these little critters once and for all. From mosquitos to mice, we asked the professionals of pest control from all over the country how they would get rid of these unwelcome guests.

How to get rid of Cockroaches

Cockroach prevention is necessary for protecting your health! There are few things more hated than a cockroach sighting in your home. These pests can also pose a significant threat to your health as well as your home.

Often times, when people are experiencing allergy and asthma symptoms they automatically attribute it to the time of year without considering that their stuffy nose and itchy eyes could actually be triggered by the presence of cockroaches in their home. In addition to exacerbating asthma and allergy-related symptoms, cockroaches are also capable of spreading 33 kinds of bacteria, including Salmonella and E. coli. This makes it all the more important to take the necessary steps to eliminate food, water and harborage sites for cockroaches within your home.

Maintaining excellent sanitation is one of the best practices in protecting the home against cockroaches. To help you further, here are some cleaning tips to help you stay roach free:

  • Keep counters, sinks, tables, and floors meticulously clean every day. Clean dishes, crumbs, and spills right away. Store food in airtight containers and always avoid leaving food out, including pet food. Vacuum any crumbs stuck in corners and around cabinets and regularly clean cabinets out with soap and water. Check under sinks and clean under appliances for moisture issues and quickly clean up any if found.
  • Cockroaches are attracted to moisture and can only survive for a week without water, so always wipe up standing water around sinks, tubs, and toilets. Fix leaky faucets and ensure sinks are clear of water before bedtime. Cockroaches are nocturnal and will typically emerge to search for water and food at night when the house is dark and quiet.
  • Eliminate clutter where possible to reduce hiding spaces for cockroaches. Garage windows and areas where weather-stripping has become worn are frequent points of access for cockroaches. Be sure to seal any cracks or crevices you see using caulk, steel wool or a combination of both.

Bruce Tennenbaum

Arizona Pest ControlTucson, AZ

How to get rid of Mosquitoes

Most people can agree that mosquitoes are a nuisance, keeping many families indoors during some of the most enjoyable times of the year. Moreso, they can also pose several health risks. From Zika and West Nile viruses to yellow fever and malaria, diseases spread by mosquitoes can be extremely serious.

Once you have your mosquito problem under control, it’s important to take preventative measures to ensure that they don’t come back. Here are several tips to keep mosquitoes from breeding in and around your home.

  • Eliminate standing water from bird baths, empty garden planters, kiddie pools, etc.
  • Remove debris such as decaying logs and leaf piles
  • Plant “mosquito repellent plants” like rosemary, lavender, and lemongrass
  • Light citronella candles in areas where people congregate and always use
  • EPA-approved personal repellents when staying outside for extended periods of time

Christopher Slade

Clements Pest & Environmental ServicesVero Beach, FL

How to get rid of Stink Bugs

Unfortunately, when dealing with stink bugs, it’s not as easy as most people would think. If they want to get into your home, they’re going to do it. However, there are a few options available to you to try to cut down on the stink bug population in your home.

Most don’t consider that the key to stink bug control is actually preventing them from entering the home in the first place. This part of their life cycle is called “over-wintering” and will take place in the fall to prepare for surviving the winter. Begin by looking around your home for places of entry (think cracks and crevices). Places like utility pipes, doors, windows, siding, your soffit & fascia are key points of entry that should be sealed up with quality caulking.

Another popular entry point is broken and/or nonexistent screens on your windows & doors. Make sure screens are properly installed and don’t have any holes that these guys can squeeze through.

Stink bugs, much like most insects, are attracted to light. After the sun goes down consider closing your blinds & turning your exterior lights off. At the very least, dim them in the evenings to reduce the stink bug attraction to your home. You want to deter them, not attract them.

Clean up the clutter around your house. That woodpile you have outside sitting right against your house is a huge contributing factor to your problem. That beautiful landscaping you have around your home isn’t helping either. You’re providing them even more harborage than they originally had which will pull them closer to your home, along with providing them places to safely lay their eggs.

Stink bugs that already made their way into your home are unfortunately here to stay. I would advise against squishing them as they emit a pretty nasty odor, but sucking them up with a vacuum or flushing them down the toilet seems to be the preferred method of discarding these little guys.

Zak Staab

Spectrum Pest ControlPittsburgh, PA

How to get rid of Mice

Are you sharing your house with the most common mammal in the world? The house mouse transmits viruses, destroys your insulation, and chews your wires—accounting for 25% of housefires with unknown origins. Here are some simple tips for getting rid of mice naturally.

Step 1) Make your house less attractive to mice

Do you have a dirt crawlspace? Is there a chicken coop, park, or a vacant house on your block? While you can’t remove all these attractive places to mice, here are some tips everyone can follow:

  • Keep brush, rocks, wood piles, etc. at least one foot away from your house
  • Clean up after your dog daily (mice eat dog poop)
  • Invest in airtight canisters for pantry goods
  • Drain bird baths and other standing water
  • Get a rodent-proof bird feeder to keep seeds off the ground

Step 2) Seal up your house

Mice can squeeze through holes the size of a dime. Check for holes to the outside of your house along plumbing lines, gas lines, dryer vents without screens, doors without weather stripping, aging attic vents, seams where dormers meet the roofline, and chimneys without caps.

Holes can be sealed with various products but wire mesh is the best bet.

Installing wire mesh is as simple as overlapping it at least one inch past the hole in every direction and screwing it down. We recommend using galvanized products that resist rust.

Step 3) Trap mice already in the house

Our favorite mousetrap is a plastic T-Rex snap trap. Unlike wooden traps, these are heavy duty, reusable and have interlocking teeth for instant results.

Add a dollop of peanut butter and follow these guidelines:

  • Place traps along walls and in corners
  • Traps should be perpendicular to the wall with the peanut butter on the inside edge
  • Mice like corners, so avoid placing traps in open areas
  • Set extra traps where you see droppings or grease marks (known as rub marks)
  • Secure traps to vertical posts with a zip tie

GO POISON-FREE: Do yourself (and the planet) a favor and skip the poison. Rodenticides thin the mouse’s blood causing it to die slowly inside your walls. Unless you’re willing to break open the drywall, expect a smell for a few weeks. Of equal importance is the impact rodenticides have on owls and neighborhood cats that eat mice.

Chris Parker

Parker Eco Pest ControlEverett, WA

How to get rid of Termites

There are around 45 Termite species in the U.S. alone and they have been roaming this planet for at least 250 million years. Termites have used all this time to adapt and evolve to a host of threats to their existence. Even with today’s science and effective treatment methods they are one of the greatest menaces to residential and commercial structures around the globe. They are responsible for around $5 Billion in damages in the U.S. each year.

The key to eliminating Termites is to practice what’s known in the industry as integrated pest management.

The non-chemical approach includes removing Termite food sources from your yard or structure, such as dead or decaying wood, tree branches, etc. or fixing any part of your home that is also beginning to breakdown. Fixing these issues will decrease the attraction of your property to Termites and prevent a thoroughfare into your home.

There is a common saying among home and building owners, “there are two types of structures: one that doesn’t have termites and one that’s going to get them in the near future.” This saying exists because Termite colonies are incredibly active as they never sleep and are constantly foraging.

Gerrit Millet

Insectek Pest SolutionsPhoenix, AZ

How to get rid of Ants

It happens out of nowhere. You’re brushing your teeth, grabbing a scrubber from under the kitchen sink, or putting the recycling in the garage, and suddenly you see them. Your calm, cozy, and clean home is suddenly overwhelmed with sugar ants. Hundreds of the little creatures marching in formation seeking out sugar, water, and the perfect place to set up shop and colonize. Gross!

How common is a sugar ant infestation?

It’s a more common scenario than you might think, and all it takes is something as seemingly insignificant as an old soda can. An ant infestation is completely normal, but more importantly, it’s totally fixable.

All these resilient and rapidly multiplying creatures need to set up shop is some soil, a structure, or a little bit of landscaping. If you have a tree in your yard that secretes a sugary, glucose-rich substance, then consider that ants might be on the way. And then also consider that your house — the one filled with sugary foods, houseplants, and has dark, humid and moist areas like under the cabinets and near plumbing — is like a luxury resort for the ant community. And they have all sorts of ways to get inside to enjoy it.

Can I prevent sugar ants from getting inside?

Poor seals on windows, doors, cracks in the foundation, the small holes where utilities enter the home, or even houseplants are common ways sugar ants can gain entrance to your home and create an infestation. Once they’ve gotten inside, they’re not gonna want to leave and they’re definitely going to try and expand their footprint.

Sugar ants do have a lot of options for entering the home, but you have just as many to prevent them from getting in. These recommendations are pretty straightforward and simple to stay on top of.

  • Empty the kitchen trash especially if it contains food waste. Trash cans are perfect breeding grounds for ant infestations.
  • Keep eating surfaces clean like tables, countertops, and all food prep areas. Don’t forget under the tables and counters, as well!
  • Run your dishwasher preferably right after you fill it. This dark, moist and glucose-rich environment is a sugar ants dream.
  • Be careful of repellents because many over the counter varieties for outdoor use can actually drive ants indoors, making a small problem worse.
  • Get rid of standing water as a perpetually wet ground is a very attractive environment for sugar ants.

Can I get rid of sugar ants myself?

There are definitely DIY options for eradicating your home of an ant infestation. Typically, these fall into two categories: quick-kill treatments and baiting. Before choosing what option is best for you, remember to be safe.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON SAFETY: Spray ant killers, baits, and other store-bought treatments can be dangerous. These products contain poison and their ingredients should be considered harmful to pets and children. Always read and follow any instructions included on the labels of these products.

Quick-kill sprays are effective to a point, but they don’t really do the whole job. They tend to kill visible or foraging ants, however, they are not designed to solve the problem at its source. They can even fragment a colony and create several colonies you will then have to deal with.

Baiting — our preferred DIY method — is sometimes more effective because ants take the poison back to the heart of the colony, stopping the infestation at its root. While it is our preferred at-home methodology, baiting still isn’t as strong or as effective as a professional grade solution.

I have a sugar ant infestation. Who should I call?

If you’ve tried to eliminate an ant infestation on your own and you’re not seeing the results you’d hoped for, it’s time to call a professional. DIY methods can be tricky and the stress induced by putting up with these little pests may simply not be worth it.  

The best pest control companies offer free, no pressure estimates and same day service for no extra charge. Look for an exterminator that guarantees results and uses EPA approved products that are safe for your family and pets.

Joseph Hampton

Aspen Pest ControlVancouver, WA

How to get rid of Flies

Whether you have fruit flies feasting in your fruit bowl or fungus gnats flying around your Ficus, flies can be a frustrating foe to deal with in your home. Two tactics that a homeowner can use to address a fly problem are identifying points of entry and removing food and breeding sources.

The saying is true that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and your first line of defense against flies is simple – keep them out of your home. Doors and windows should remain closed or screened and any tears in your screens should be repaired along with caulking any gaps around entry points into your home.  

At the grocery store, avoid selecting produce with noticeable fly activity around it and thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables when you arrive home to remove their eggs. The same advice holds true when selecting houseplants from your local garden center, avoid plants with a noticeable issue and pay attention to the soil for the first several days.

Once flies are in your home, effective management involves identification of the fly along with the removal of food and breeding sources. Proper identification will help to narrow the search. There are many species of flies, each with their own set of behaviors and feeding preferences.

For example, drain flies like to breed in the organic buildup that occurs inside of drains and garbage disposals, while house flies prefer to breed in the garbage and other waste. Fruit flies breed in fermented materials like overripe fruit and sticky residues, whereas fungus gnats like to breed in the overwatered soil of potted plants. Some flies, like the cluster fly, don’t breed indoors but invade attics and drop ceilings just to hibernate for the winter.

Changes to some housekeeping habits, whether it requires you to remove garbage more regularly, clean neglected drains or improve your food storage strategies, will help to eliminate a fly problem and prevent the establishment of future problems.     

Dr. Christopher Taylor

Home Paramount Pest ControlForest Hill, MD

When it’s time to call the professionals

At the end of the day an infestation, although frustrating, is not the end of the world. If none of the above methods are working consider calling a professional pest management company to assess the situation and develop a pest management program to fit your specific needs and address your pest problem. Preventative methods paired with a skilled exterminator will help you reclaim your home.

Source: How to Get Rid of Common Household Pests

Infestation inferno: Mice cause 25% of “mystery” fires

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 25% of fires attributed to “unknown causes” are caused by rodents chewing electrical wires and gas lines.MiceCreateFires

Buying a commercial property is a huge undertaking and performing due diligence is critical. When buying a standalone building or a multi-unit property, be sure to have your inspector check for rodent activity. If you skip this step you might be setting yourself up for a disastrous fire down the line. Rat and mice teeth grow constantly, meaning they have to chew virtually nonstop. They gnaw metal wires and gas lines to prevent their teeth from overgrowing and suddenly you’ve got a fire on your hands.

Areas to check for rodent activity

Crawl spaces. Dirt crawlspaces in particular are vulnerable since rodents can tunnel under the skirting.

Attics are a classic spot for rat and mouse nests. Look for rub marks along walls and around entry holes.

Distinguishing between an old rodent problem from years past and a fresh infestation can be tricky. Droppings dry very quickly, so something a few days old looks similar to something a few years old. The best method is by scent (do you smell fresh urine?) and chew marks (do you see newly exposed wood or old, weathered wood?).

If you find evidence of an infestation the next step is figuring out how they got in. Look for weak points…
– Roof lines for dormers and other vulnerable joints
– Doors not closing all the way
– Entry points along supply lines

Pick the right insurance carrier

A fire in an uninsured building is devastating for almost any business owner. Every carrier is different when it comes to fire claims—that’s why it’s important to know your insurance policy inside and out. In fact it is one reason Parker Eco Pest Control has stuck with the same Seattle business insurance broker for years (shout out to Heather Hanson at Northwest Insurance Group!). We highly recommend having a relationship with a broker who understands your business model and can pull together coverage options, financing arrangements, and answer questions at the drop of a hat.

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