fbpx

Tag: natural rodent control

A Fool’s Proof Guide to Dealing with Crawl Space Pests in Seattle

Dirt crawl spaces in Seattle are the perfect breeding grown for a range of pests! Cheeky rodents, termites, cockroaches are just some of the common Seattle pests that can invade your crawl space. At Parker Eco Pest Control, we see many homeowners struggle to keep rats out of a crawl space! In fact, providing adequate rodent control and crawl space repair is one of our most requested services. So, in this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about dealing with crawl space pests in Seattle. 

Help! How Do I Keep Rats Out of My Crawl Space?

Rats dwelling in your crawl space can leave quite a mess behind! Feces, urine, and damaged insulation are just some of the problems you may face. There are a few things you can do when it comes to keeping rats out and away from a crawl space!

Remove damaged insulation: Insulation can retain urine, and it’s a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. In the long run, urine-damaged insulation can lead to increased humidity, odor, and mold growth, all of which can affect your health and well-being. 

Rodent control is key: There are many different ways you can choose to control the rodent population around your home. Talk to us today to learn more about how we handle rats and mice naturally and effectively

Managing Rodents in a Dirt Crawl Space

diagram of how to manage rodents in a crawl space, seattle home

When it comes to crawling space rodent control in Seattle, we have your back at Parker Eco Pest Control. Managing rodents like mice and rats within a dirt crawl space will require skilled pest control professionals and time. At Parker Eco Pest Control, we deal with the problem using a 3 visit plan approach. 

So, how do we do it?

  1.  Remove those cheeky pests! Of course, it comes without saying that as part of the pest control protocol, we must remove as many rodents as we can from the crawl space. This may involve setting various mouse traps and baits to decrease the rodent population gradually.  Don’t worry; we have organic pest control options too!
  2. Seal those entry points! Mice and rats can find many ways to invade your home. A skilled pest controller will examine the exterior of your home and crawl space to determine potential entry points and openings. The aim here is to seal any cracks or holes, which decreases the risk of a population of rodents from establishing.
  3. Rodenticides and rat baits for better control: In some cases, we may recommend placing rodenticides throughout your crawl space to control the rat and mice population. 

We Have Options for Pest Control Crawl Space Barriers

Installing galvanized steel mesh along the foundation of your home and sealing off your joists will prevent rodents from damaging crawl space insulation. Buried galvanized steel mesh can also prevent rodents from entering the living area of your home. 

Got Rodent Damaged Insulation? Talk to Us About Crawl Space Repair

Rodent proof insulation diagram

Rodents can not only leave behind feces and urine, but they can also damage the insulation of your crawl space. In the long run, this can lead to many problems, including poor insulation, further pest problems, and more! 

When it comes to cleaning up, sanitizing, and re-insulating a crawl space, our Parker Eco Pest Control team is here to help. Our highly trained team of professional pest controllers works one-on-one with homeowners to sanitize, re-insulate, and repair crawl spaces throughout Seattle. 

What’s Included in Our Rodent Crawl Space Clean Up?

We understand that repairing and cleaning a rodent-infested crawl space in Seattle can sound costly! But, it doesn’t have to be. At Parker Eco Pest Control, we offer homeowners several service levels to cater to their needs and budget. 

Refresh:

This option is perfect for crawl spaces with minor rodent damages. Refreshing your crawl space will include:

  • Vacuuming rodent dropping and sanitizing the area with an industrial fogger
  • We can replace the vapor barrier
  • Our team can remove sections of contaminated insulation and replace insulation as needed. 
  • As part of our protocol, we install permanent rodent barriers and rodent-proof insulation. 

Remove:

This option is perfect for crawl spaces with moderate rodent damages. In particular, it’s a great option for homeowners who lack a permanent rodent barrier within their crawl space. This option is similar to our refresh selection which includes

  • Vacuuming rodent dropping and sanitizing the area with an industrial fogger
  • We can replace the vapor barrier.
  • Our team can remove sections of contaminated insulation and replace insulation as needed. 
  • We provide an air gap sealing service that can cut your energy bill by 15%. Air gap sealing will also stop drafts and heat loss. 
  • As part of our protocol, we install permanent rodent barriers and rodent-proof insulation. 

Replace

This option is perfect for crawl spaces with significant rodent damages, including damaged insulation. The replace option includes everything listed above.

  • Vacuuming rodent dropping and sanitizing the area with an industrial fogger
  • We can replace the vapor barrier.
  • All insulation is removed and replaced with new rodent-proof insulation. We even insulate HVAC ducts and water lines to prevent heat loss.
  • We provide an air gap sealing service that can cut your energy bill by 15%. Air gap sealing will also stop drafts and heat loss. 
  • As part of our protocol, we install permanent rodent barriers and rodent-proof insulation. 

Getting rid of rats from your crawl space doesn’t have to be a difficult task! Talk to us today to learn more about crawl space repair and pest control services in Seattle. 

Dealing with Rodent Damaged Insulation in Seattle

Rats in the attic or crawl space are common problems Seattle homeowners know all too well. And as the cold Seattle winter sets in, these pesky critters are in search of a warm cozy place to nest. Don’t let rodents ruin your home. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about rodent damaged insulation and effective pest-control

Replace Vs. Refresh your Rodent Damaged Insulation

In the wild, rodents, be it mice or rats, will seek soft fibers for their nests. And unfortunately, insulation found within our crawl spaces, walls, and attics appear to be their favorite nesting material. As a result, rats and mice can damage the insulation in your home by either collecting insulation fibers for a nest elsewhere or directly making a nest within the insulation itself. 

Effective Rodent Control: Crawl Space and Attic Hygiene

In the wild, rodents, be it mice or rats, will seek soft fibers for their nests. And unfortunately, insulation found within our crawl spaces, walls, and attics appear to be their favorite nesting material. As a result, rats and mice can damage the insulation in your home by either collecting insulation fibers for a nest elsewhere or directly making a nest within the insulation itself. These can gradually lead to long-term problems which can affect both your home and health.

Effective rodent control in your Seattle home is essential when it comes to preventing the spread of disease. The feces and urine produced by rodents accumulate over time, leading to an increased risk of spreading zoonotic diseases. According to the CDC rat infestation guide, rats and mice in Washington spread diseases (viral and bacterial) directly and indirectly. Some of these zoonotic diseases include:

  • Leptospirosis: which spreads through urine and waterways.
  • Hantavirus: is a virus that spreads through rodent urine and feces.
  • Salmonella: A bacteria that spread via the fecal-oral route.
  • Rat-Bite Fever: A bacterial disease that spreads through bites and scratches caused by rats. It can also spread through the oral-fecal route (i.e., consuming food or water contaminated by rats).

Do You Need to Replace Insulation After a Rodent Infestation?

replacing rodent damaged insulation in crawl space, Washington

Rats have damaged the insulation in your beautiful Seattle home. What do you do? Replace, refresh, or remove? We completely understand that removing and replacing insulation from your crawl space and attic is time-consuming and extremely expensive. 

If the damage to the insulation is minimal, then our team at Park Eco Pest Control will choose to refresh the existing insulation material. Now, refreshing existing insulation simply entails that only sections (damaged) insulation are replaced. We only ever completely replace insulation from a crawl space or attic when the damage caused by rodents is extensive due to long-term uncontrolled rodent destruction, or if you’d like to increase the energy efficiency of your home.

How to Keep Rodents Out of Insulation in Seattle

Keeping rodents out of your crawl space, attic, and insulation will require some time and effort. And since these pesky critters pose a risk to human health, we recommend reaching out to a professional pest control service in Seattle for an initial first clean.

When it comes to cleaning and refreshing your damaged insulation, our team at Parker Eco Pest Control will:

  1. Locate and seal up any holes, burrows, vents, and gaps that allow rats and mice to enter your crawl space.
  2. Do some dirty work and safely remove all dead rats and mice from your crawl space or attic. We will even humanely remove any active nest sites present in your attic or crawl space. 
  3. Our Seattle pest-control team will most importantly remove and dispose of all rat feces and droppings present in the attic or crawl space.
  4. Sanitize and disinfect the entire area with an eco-friendly, enzyme-based product that actually eats the organic material left by feces and urine. It leaves behind water and CO2 as an odorless, harmless bi-product. 
  5. Replace the vapor barrier in your crawl space if it’s damaged. 
  6. Finally, depending on the degree of damage and contamination, we will either refresh or replace the insulation.

Attic and Crawl Space Cleaning by Parker Eco Pest Control

rodent control services in seattle

Winter is on its way, and so are the rats! Getting a good rodent control regime is crucial in preventing rats and mice from damaging your insulation. Parker Eco Pest Control provides excellent and professional pest control services all the way from Seattle through to Marysville. So, talk to us today about rodent pest control and crawl space cleaning in Seattle. 

Barn Owl Box: The Natural Rat Repellent in Seattle

Are you looking for natural rodent control methods? Well, let us introduce you to the power of the barn owl nest box. Keeping rats and mice out of your home and garden can be an incredibly tedious task. Often we find that rat control options such as rat bait aka rodenticides, only provide short-term control of rodents, not to mention that the toxic substances are incredibly cruel. But, what if we told you there’s a better way to keep the rodent population in your area at bay? In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about barn owl boxes as natural rodent control. 

Here’s Why You Need a Barn Owl Nest Box 

Barn owls are exceptional predators that often go unappreciated. These deadly hunters possess powerful vision and hearing, which allow them to track and kill prey quickly. But, perhaps the greatest feature of this predator is its appetite for rodents. Yes, that’s right! Barn owls love rats and mice, and in fact, in a single nesting season, a pair of barn owls can consume up to 30,000 rats.

Installing your Barn Owl Nest at Home

Installing a barn owl box for rodent control in Seattle home

For this natural rodent control method to work, you’ll need to make the nest box appealing to the barn owls. This might be a particularly tedious task if you live in a busy Seattle suburb. So, here are our top tips to consider when installing a barn owl nest in your backyard.

  1. A Good-Sized Nest Box: Barn owls require adequate space to nest and grow their young. We recommend creating a nest box that is anywhere from 10 to 15 cubic feet. Entry holes into the nest box should be a minimum of 6 inches. 
  2. Keep it Attractive: Adding straw and untreated natural fibers in the box will encourage barn owls to begin nesting.
  3. The Right Placement: Barn owls prefer to hunt rodents in big grassy open fields. As such, we recommend installing your barn owl nesting box with the opening facing a wide open space. An ideal position protects the entry hole from the wind while offering a great view of prey.
  4. High Above: In the wild, barn owls nest high up on buildings, trees, or mountain cliffs. So, make sure to place your nest box at least 10 feet above the ground. 

Don’t want to build a barn owl box yourself? Don’t worry we sell the perfect pre-made barn owl boxes that are sure to attract some owls to your property. Make sure you reach out to us to learn more!

Do Fake Owls Keep Rats Away?

Yes! Installing fake owls around your property can act as a great rat repellent. It’s a great little trick that works similarly as a scarecrow on a field, although they do become less effective over time as rats outsmart the decoy. That being said, it’s not the best natural rodent control method as it does not reduce the rodent population on your property like a real owl would. 

3 Reasons for Humane Pest Control

Installing a barn owl nest box isn’t the only way to control your rodent problem. If you’re interested in learning more about natural rodent control methods in Seattle, check out our top tips

  1. Rodenticides kill animals slowly. Did you know that rat bait kills rodents slowly? These poisons result in coagulopathies, which means that the animal will die slowly from uncontrollable bleeding. 
  2. Rodenticides can harm your pets and owls: Rat bait toxicity is a common problem seen in companion animal medicine. It often occurs due to a dog or cat eating either the rat bait directly or eating way too many mice that have consumed rat bait. Wild animals like our American barn owl can also die from rat bait toxicity when they consume large amounts of poisoned rats or mice. So, keep your pets and wildlife safe by avoiding rodenticides. 
  3. Barn owls provide better long-term control: Barn owls that nest in your nest box will continue to nest on your property each season. It’s a great way to reduce the overall rodent population on your property and acts as a long-term rodent repellent. 

Parker Eco Pest Control: Natural Rodent Control in Seattle 

Controlling those pesky rodents is tricky! But, you don’t have to do it alone. At Parker Eco Pest Control, we proudly support customers who choose natural rodent control methods. We can help you create and install the perfect American barn owl nest box, so you don’t have to worry about getting the niggly details right. Correctly installing a nest box to suit the barn owls’ natural behavior is critical to ensure adequate rodent control. So, reach out to us today to learn more about finding and installing barn owl boxes for pest control in Seattle. 

How to Get Rid of Mice Naturally: The Complete Guide

A preview of the free ebook: The Complete Guide: How to get rid of mice naturally
Download the free eBook

This comprehensive ebook will tell you everything you need to know about getting rid of mice in your house using natural, poison-free methods. A printable PDF version is available for free download.

Looking for specific info? Jump to a step:

  1. Make your house less attractive to mice (risk factors & tips)
  2. Seal up your house (how to find & seal holes)
  3. Trap mice already in the house (trap varieties, placement & more)
  4. Natural mouse control outdoors (owl boxes & automatic traps)

Step 1. Make your house less attractive to mice

en skirting and a dirt crawlspace

Common risk factors for mice

  • Dirt crawl spaces
  • Vacant structures nearby
  • Vegetable gardens
  • Rock retaining walls
  • A deck or porch up against the house
  • Greenspace next door
  • A poorly maintained home on the block (we know you know the one)
  • A chicken coop nearby

It’s like the old adage, “You don’t have to run faster than the bear, just faster than your friend.” You don’t have to make your house mouse-proof, you just have to make it less attractive than your neighbor’s house. Mice will go where it’s easiest to get water, food, and shelter.

Natural ways to reduce interest from mice…

Keep mice out of trash
Bungee your garbage bins to keep the lids snug
GlassCanisterMice
Seal food in airtight containers like glass canisters
WoodPilesAttractMice Clear a 1 foot perimeter around your house, including brush, wood piles, rockery, etc.
Birdbathwatermice
Remove standing water like bird baths
DogpoopattractsmiceClean up dog poop since it is full of protein, carbs, and other things mice like to eat
BirdseedattractsmiceKeep bird seed off the ground by investing in a rodent-proof bird feeder and installing it at least 6 feet from “launch pads” like fences or trees
BerrysattractmiceTrim fruit trees and berry bushes on the bottom and sides to prevent rodents coming up for a snack

Step 2. Seal up your house

How to find mouse entry holes

Check your utility lines to ensure pass-through holes are snug:

  • Sink supply and drain lines
  • Plumbing stacks on the outside of the house
  • Gas lines coming into your kitchen or laundry room
  • Electrical lines, particularly through exterior walls

Verify all utility vents have tight wire mesh and snug pass-through holes:

  • Dryer vents
  • Bathroom fan vents
  • Kitchen fan vents

Weather-proof your doors:

  • Garage doors should have weather stripping to close gaps
  • Cracks in concrete pads (such as the area below your garage door) should be filled for a seamless seal with the door above
  • Exterior doors should hang plumb and square so they seal tightly

Scope out your roof for easy access points, then double down on wire mesh:

  • Dormers have complex joints between shingles, fascia boards, and windows that require precise cuts to stay mouse-proof. Time and poor craftsmanship can create gaps.
  • Attic vents are necessary to keep moisture at bay but can decay with time. Wasp nests, bird nests, and other animal activity can also puncture your vent grates.
  • Chimney caps are metal boxes that cover the hole at the top of your chimney. Check yours for gaps or rust. If you don’t have one, buy one for less than $100.

How to install wire mesh for mouse-proofing

Wire mesh with 1/4 inch holes and large headed screws

Select your wire mesh: Pick a mesh with quarter inch holes and make sure it’s easy to bend. We recommend galvanized mesh since it has a special coating to resist rust, making it last longer. You can buy products like this at most hardware stores for about $10. 

Select your screws: The ideal screw for installing mesh has a large head so it doesn’t pass through the holes in the wire. Again, we recommend galvanized screws to resist rust. Try to keep the length to about an inch and keep the diameter to a minimum. Using a oversized screws means making oversized holes in your house.

Installing your wire mesh: Cut a section of wire that extends at least an inch beyond the edge of the hole in all directions. Bend the wire so it fits snuggly inside the corner or around edges. If there is slack in your mesh the mice will simply push under it. Anchor the mesh with screws, about one every four inches. When on your roof, DO NOT anchor directly into your shingles or you risk creating a leak.

Can you use spray foam or steel wool instead of wire mesh?

Yes, but we don’t recommend it.

Step 3. Trap mice already in the house

There are two key factors in making sure you’ll get rid of mice naturally– picking the right trap and placing it properly. No matter what type of trap you use we recommend baiting it with peanut butter. It’s cheap, natural, and incredibly tempting to mice.

Poison sketch

Why you shouldn’t use poison baits

By far the most common type of mouse bait is an anticoagulant rodenticide. That’s a fancy way to say that it thins the animal’s blood, causing them to bleed out and die slowly.

  • It’s cruel to kill the animals slowly over time.
  • Poison has terrible consequences for predators that eat mice like urban owls and your neighborhood cat.
  • The mice die in your walls. Some pest control companies claim the mice become thirsty, seek water, and then die outside. This is nonsense.

Get more information on the negative impacts of rodenticides from the  Audubon Society.

Owl image is courtesy of the Audubon Society

So why are poison baits so common?

Traditional pest control companies rely heavily on poison bait because it is cheap and any employee can do it without training. Setting out a bait box is faster and simpler than doing an inspection, sealing entry holes, and setting traps in strategic locations.

Types of all-natural mouse traps

T-Rex snap traps are reliable, humane, & reusable

Best natural mouse trap

The plastic T-Rex snap trap from Bell is a highly sensitive trap with interlocking teeth. They are much heavier than a traditional wooden trap so they stay put. You can also wash and reuse the traps indefinitely, so they are more eco-friendly than disposable traps. The plastic teeth have a lot of force, making for a quick and humane death. The traps have small holes in the base so you can feed a zip tie through and secure the traps on vertical pipes and beams. Parker Eco Pest Control uses these traps exclusively (and no, they didn’t pay us to say that!).

Wooden snap traps are tough to set properly

Victor snap trap

Victor mouse traps are the stereotypical trap you see in the movies baited with a piece of swiss cheese. Setting these traps involves pulling back the pin carefully, setting the bait, and putting it in the right spot without triggering it. They’re pretty finnicky and go off without catching a mouse often, especially compared to the T-Rex.

Glue traps can be cruel

Natural glue mouse trap

Glue traps come with a lot of well-deserved horror stories. Mice have been known to languish in the glue, starving to death. They sometimes chew off their own legs to free themselves. If you opt for a glue trap we suggest you use it ONLY under close supervision. As soon as you catch a mouse you should either:

  • Put on gloves and wipe the mouse down in olive oil to free it from the trap. Set it free outside.
  • Fill a bucket with water and drop the mouse and attached trap in for a quick death.

Live traps require daily supervision

Live natural mouse trap

If you can’t bring yourself to kill a mouse you might lean towards live traps. Simply place a tasty treat inside and let the door snap shut once the mouse is inside. Traps like this MUST be checked daily or you risk leaving a mouse to die slowly from starvation – this is far worse than a quick death from a snap trap.

Where to set mice free

Washington State law (and many other states) does not allow for relocation. That means you cannot release the mouse in a local park a mile away. Your best bet is releasing it back on your property and hoping you did a good job sealing up entry holes in your home.

What if the mouse isn’t dead?

Sadly, mice can sometimes set off a trap with a foot instead of their head. The humane thing to do is put the animal out of its misery
immediately. We recommend filling a bucket with water and placing the animal—trap and all—into the water until it drowns.

Where to put the traps

The simplest solution is putting traps where you find the most evidence of activity like droppings, urine smells, or rub marks.

Rub marks from a rodent

There is some finesse to how the traps are positioned. Mice are neophobic, meaning they are suspicious of new things. You need to make it as easy as possible to stumble into the trap. Look for narrow paths next to walls and hidden corners. Do not waste your time by simply opening your attic door and setting a trap on the open space inside.

Graphic on how to place natural mouse traps
Diagrams are courtesy of the
Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management

Step 4. Natural mouse control outdoors

An automatic trap from Good Nature

Automatic traps

The A24 from Goodnature is a self-resetting trap that kills 24 mice with a single cartridge. Set it up outside, sit back, and wait. Parker Eco Pest Control will gladly install one.

Owl Boxes

Owls eat as many as 12 rodents a night! Installing an owl box gives you about a 50% chance of getting an owl every nesting season. Learn more about owls for natural mouse control on our blog.

Do you have questions or suggestions for improving this piece? Let us know! Email Info@ParkerEcoPestControl.com

Attracting owls for ecofriendly rodent control

Owls and cats have long been used to control rodents naturally. Getting a cat is as simple as visiting the local shelter, but what about attracting a wild owl? You might be surprised to learn you don’t need a barn or acres of land to create a suitable owl home.

Do owls really help control rodents?

Absolutely. An adult barn owl will catch and eat up to 12 rodents per night while brooding in the late spring and early summer. Even without babies to feed they maintain a steady nightly hunting routine of several rats, mice and moles. Owls fly with almost no noise at all making it easy to sneak up on an unsuspecting rat or mouse. Washington State alone is home to 13 different species of owls.

One important thing to keep in mind if you’re hoping to attract an owl is avoiding the use of rodent poison. At Parker Eco Pest Control we avoid rodenticides (nobody wants a rat dying slowly in their wall) but the most important reason to avoid poison is the harmful impact on the food chain. Rats eat a small amount of the poison and owls eat many, many rats, concentrating the poison. The cumulative effect on birds of prey and neighborhood cats can be deadly.

Setting up an owl box

Timing: While you can install an owl box year round, most owl species begin looking for a nesting spot between January

This owl box from Looker is available on Amazon and many other online retailers.

and March. Now is the perfect time to install a box, sit back, and wait.

Position: Follow these best practices to increase the likelihood of attracting an owl.

  • Mount the box at least 10 feet off the ground.
  • The opening shouldn’t face towards the wind. For most locations this isn’t an issue, but if you live on a bluff with a constant breeze you should take that into consideration.
  • Do not put an owl box on a utility pole.
  • Make sure the interior floor of the box is level once it’s mounted.
  • Position it with a clear approach path, not hidden by branches. Owls will likely discover the box by spotting the dark entry hole.
  • Try to face the entry hole out over an open area rather than inward towards nearby trees or buildings.
  • Some research shows that owls prefer an Eastern-facing opening.

Luck: Owls are successfully attracted about half the time. Your best bet for attracting an owl in an urban environment is installing multiple boxes in the neighborhood. Placing a box approximately every 100 yards will boost your chances. Having an owl on your block will greatly reduce your rodent population, even if the owl isn’t nesting in your backyard.

How do you know if your box has a new resident? Look for stray feathers, white droppings around the entry hole, and above all listen for hoots and shrieks at night.

Want help installing an owl box in the Seattle area?

We can help you find and install the perfect owl box for your property, even if you’re in the city. Contact Chris Parker, owner of Parker Eco Pest Control, at 800-326-1698 or Chris@ParkerEcoPestControl.com.