Learning Center

Do you have a pest problem but aren’t sure exactly what you’re dealing with? Let us help! The experts at Interstate Pest Management have put together an informative list of the most common bugs found in the Pacific Northwest. We share detailed information about each pest, where they are commonly found, and our recommended solution.

Ants

Ants in the Northwest

Ants play an important role in they ecosystem of the forest they help break down fallen timber and clean up debris from the forest floor. But, when they inside a structure they can cause serious problems. The two types of ants that cause the most problems in Northwest are the Carpenter Ant and they Odorous House Ant.

Carpenter Ants

Facts

The Northwest’s largest ants are known as carpenter ants because they nest in wood. Nests consist of numerous tunnels chewed in logs, stumps, tree trunks, firewood, decks and porches, window and door frames, wall voids and foam insulation. The ants expel piles of sawdust, dead ants and parts of dead insects from the nest and these can help inspectors determine the nest’s location. Indoor nests are usually “satellite” nests connected to the colony’s main nest outdoors. Satellite nests are often established in wood where moisture problems exist (e.g., around leaking pipes, inadequately sealed window frames and roof leaks).

Our Solution

Because the ants are nest inside the wood of a home, we rely on a wall void injection system to insure that the carpenter ant nest or nests is taken care of during the 1 year warranty. Upon arriving at your home the technician will inspect the home looking for the source of your ant problem. After they inspection the technician will apply a wall void injection treatment to assemble areas, perform a perimeter treatment and treat any interior areas needed.

What You Can Do

As a homeowner you can decrease your odds of having a carpenter ant infestation by removing all decaying wood from around the home, making sure that no plants are touching the home, and having a quarterly pest control service like our All Season program.

House Ants

Facts

This 1/8-inch long, brownish-black ant gets it name from the rotten coconut like smell that is released when the odorous house ant is crushed. In recent years it has become an increasingly common household invader. Nests are found under rocks, boards and other debris, and in floor and wall voids. These ants will move indoors during rains and in the fall. They feed on sweets, honeydew, plant and fruit juices, meat and dairy products.

Our Solution

We can take care of any odorous house ant with our combination of interior and exterior treatments. This service includes an inspection for conditions conducive to ant activity, a thorough perimeter treatment, and the treatment of all necessary interior areas.

What You Can Do

Odorous house ants are often referred to as moisture ants. As a homeowner you can reduce your chance of having an ant infestation by making sure that all moisture problems around your home are resolved. The back splash area behind the kitchen sink is especially prone to these ants.

Stinging Insects

Yellow Jackets

Facts

More people are stung by yellow jackets than any other type of wasp or bee. Notoriously aggressive, the yellow jacket’s shiny yellow and black striped abdomen is an unmistakable warning. Often called “bees,” yellow jackets are in fact wasps. They construct paper nests up to several feet across that contain combs arranged like the floors of a building covered by a papery envelope. Up to 3,000 (many more in warmer states) wasps can be present in the yellow jacket colony.

Nests of the Eastern yellow jacket (Vespula maculifrons) are located in the ground, while the German yellow jacket (Paravespula germanica) nests in cavities including crawl spaces, attics and wall voids. Adults consume nectar and sweets, but feed the larvae on captured insects. When temperatures cool in late summer, yellow jacket numbers peak just as their insect food supply begins to decline. They scavenge more aggressively at this time, taking food from trash containers and picnickers. When disturbed, yellow jackets can sting repeatedly; their stingers are not barbed nor lost after stinging like those of honey bees.

Paper Wasps

Facts

Paper wasps are perhaps the most common wasps around structures. They are also known as “umbrella wasps” because their nests look like umbrellas hanging upside-down from eaves and overhangs. There are many species, but the typical paper wasp is up to 3⁄4-inch long, reddish brown in color with a long, cylindrical abdomen. A paper wasp nest is a single comb of hexagonal cells made of a papery material the wasps form by chewing wood and mixing it with saliva. Larger nests can harbor up to 75 paper wasps including larvae and pupae developing within the cells.

To feed the larvae, paper wasps capture insects, especially caterpillars. Late in the year, colonies of paper wasps, yellowjackets and hornets produce new queens that abandon the nest (it will not be reused) and seek shelter for winter. Many find their way into structures and are later seen crawling sluggishly across the floor when temperatures rise in late winter or early spring.

Hornets

Facts

The so-called bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata), about 3⁄4-inch long, black and white, with white face is actually a larger yellow jacket species. Its nest is the familiar basketball-size papery oval hanging from tree limbs and structures. Colonies are relatively small, containing up to 700 wasps. An even larger wasp is the European hornet (Vespa crabro). The European hornet is a true hornet that is more than an inch long and reddish brown in color with dull orange stripes. Nests occur in trees and attics as well as wall voids of structures near forested areas.

Our Solution

We are capable of taking care of any nest - no matter the location. For multiple nests on the home, our eve treatment service includes the removal of all nests from your home and a preventative treatment of the eves. If any nest reappears during the three month warranty period, we will retreat at no charge.

What You Can Do

Preventing the formation of nests is a difficult task for homeowners. The only way to make sure the home remains free of stinging insects is to have a quarterly pest control service like our All Season program.

Stinging Insects in the Northwest

Our moist springs provide the perfect environment for nest formation of this region’s most aggressive pests - wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets.

Our Commitment to Bees

Here at Interstate Pest Management we recognize the important role that bees play in the environment and the danger of Colony Collapse Disorder. All of our services are designed with the safety of bees in mind. We only treat the insects in situations where bee keepers can’t remove the nest.

Birds

Birds in the Northwest

Everyone in the Northwest including us here at Interstate loves listening to and watching our native birds, but in some situations certain non-native species of birds can cause serious problems around homes and businesses. Our company has the experience and equipment to exclude any birds from any structure without harming any animals.

Sparrow

Facts

The house or English sparrow is the most common bird in cities. They are the all too familiar 6-inch long, brown and buff colored birds. Nests are a bulky arrangement of twigs on any available horizontal surface. Sparrows feed on grain, seeds, buds, fruit, insects and trash. The male is easily identified by its black “bib” and white cheeks.

Our Solution

We have access to the latest in bird exclusion technology, the only question is to figure out which method of exclusion will work best for you. Contact us today for a free bid so we can evaluate your problem.

What You Can Do

As a homeowner you can reduce your chance of experiencing a bird problem by closing off all entry points and roosting areas with some form of physical barrier.

Starlings

Facts

The starling’s aggressive nature and nesting habits have probably displaced more native songbirds than either the house sparrow or pigeon have (all are species introduced from Europe). The birds are so aggressive that up to 10 percent of starling deaths are caused by fighting each other for nest sites. The birds will lock legs and peck each other in the face until one dies. Preferred nesting sites include holes or cavities in trees and structures. One in every three starling nests is “parasitized” by females that lay eggs in other females’ nests.

Our Solution

We have access to all of latest in bird exclusion technology, the only question is to figure out which method of exclusion will work best for your situation. Contact us today for a free bid so we can evaluate your problem.

What You Can Do

Preventing the formation of nests is a difficult tasks for homeowners the only way to make sure that home remains free of stinging insects is to have a quarterly pest control service like our All Season program.

Box Elder Bugs

Northwest Box Elder Bugs

Facts

Box elder bugs, Boisea trivittatus, are familiar insects to most people. They are generally not noticed during summer, but often can become an issue when they try to move into homes during fall as they search for overwintering sites.

Adult box elder bugs are about 1/2-inch long, black with orange or red markings, including three stripes on the prothorax, the area right behind the head.

Their wings lay flat over their bodies, overlapping each other to form an ‘X’ . The immature nymphs are 1/16th-inch long and bright red when they first hatch. As they grow older and become larger, they are red and black. You can potentially see all stages at any given time during the summer.

During late summer and fall, box elder bugs start to leave the trees from where they were feeding to find protected areas for the winter. Although nymphs may be present in the fall, only fully grown adults survive the winter. Adult box elder bugs typically can fly several blocks, although in some cases they can travel as far as two miles.

Our Solution

Getting rid of box elder bugs requires treating both the insects themselves and the cracks and crevasses around your home. Our solution to these bugs includes the treatment of the exterior of your home and any interior access points of the bugs. This service includes a three month warranty.

What You Can Do

Box elder infestations are hard for homeowners to deal with they only way to prevent the bugs from coming back annually is to find and remove the tree that the bugs are feeding off of.

Fleas

Fleas in the Northwest

We are most familiar with adult fleas, those specks that jump and occasionally bite, but spend most of their lives on cats and dogs. Fleas reproduce rapidly. Eggs are laid on the animal while it sleeps or rests.They are not sticky and fall down into the pet’s bed – where the offspring are most likely to find food.

Facts

The eggs hatch into tiny (1/8-inch) larvae; white, worm-like, legless and blind. They shy away from light and wiggle their way down into the animal’s bedding, carpet, grass, etc. This stage has chewing mouth parts and does not suck blood. They do, however, feed on digested blood in the form of feces from the adult fleas, as well as bits of dead skin, feathers and other organic debris. After growing through three molts (shedding of the exoskeleton) the larvae become pupae, spinning silken cocoons, which they camouflage by attaching bits of debris.

Perhaps a month after the eggs are laid, adult fleas emerge from their pupal cocoons. Emergence of adults is triggered by heat (of people and pets), carbon dioxide (breath) and by physical pressure (e.g., from people and pets walking or lying on them). Thus the movements of unsuspecting humans can attract newly-emerged cat fleas that would otherwise prefer cats and dogs. To improve chances of contacting a passing host, newly-emerged fleas tend to move upward on vegetation, carpet, drapes and furniture. Their eyes are most sensitive to yellow-green light – the color of vegetation – and they are attracted to dark moving objects against a light background, such as a dog against foliage, or a person against a wall. To contact a host, they jump a distance of up to one foot after detecting the presence of warmth and carbon dioxide. Once it makes contact, the cat flea begins feeding on the host’s blood. If dislodged, it usually dies within two days.

Our Solution

Getting rid of fleas requires treating both your home and pets if both are not treated the fleas will re-infest. As a company we do not treat pets but we can recommend over the counter flea treatments for your pets. To take care of the interior flea problem we provide a treatment of all of the areas in your home where the fleas are living. This service includes a three month warranty.

What You Can Do

As a homeowner you can prevent your chances of having a flea infestation by giving your cats and dogs frequent flea treatments, vacuuming frequently, and having a quarterly pest control service like our All Season program.

Flying Insects

Mosquitoes in the Northwest

The abundant rains of the Pacific Northwest give us lush green forests that we all of love, but the standing water from these rains provide a breeding ground for Mosquitoes. These pests cannot only ruin any evening outdoors they can also carry the West Nile Virus.

Facts

Mosquitoes are insects which make up the family Culicidae. They have a pair of scaled wings, a pair of halteres, a slender body, and long legs. The females of most mosquito species suck blood (hematophagy) from other animals, which has made them the most deadly disease vectors known to man, killing millions of people over thousands of years and continuing to kill millions per year by the spread of diseases.

Our Solution

We have solutions to most persistent mosquito problems. Call today to schedule an inspection of your property.

What You Can Do

As a homeowner you can reduce your chance of having mosquitoes by eliminating all standing water around your home.

Roaches

Northwest Roaches

Wherever man can survive, so can cockroaches. Cockroaches are born scavengers. Indoors, cockroaches are fond of starchy materials, such as cereals, sweetened or sugary substances and meat products. A few of the substances upon which they feed include cheese, beer, leather, hair, wallpaper, artwork, paper documents, postage stamps, draperies, paper currency, plus dead or rotting organic matter.

Facts

They eat books, and the book bindings. Cockroaches acquire pathogenic bacteria simply by walking over cultures and these pathogens are subsequently transferred to foodstuffs during the normal foraging behavior of the infested roach.

The phrase “cockroach asthma” has been used to describe instances of broncospasm brought on by inhalation of cockroach allergens. The worldwide estimate of the number of cockroaches is given as 3,500 species, but that number is likely far greater. Many homes and business establishments become infested with German cockroaches when they are introduced inside infested cartons, foodstuffs and other materials.

American cockroaches are commonly found in sewers and basements, particularly around pipes.

Our Solution

Providing long term protection against Cockroaches requires both the removal of food sources and they treatment of the areas where the cockroaches are living. This treatment comes with a three month warranty period in which any new cockroach issues will be treated at no charge.

What You Can Do

As a homeowner you can reduce the chance of encountering a cockroach infestation by maintaining a clean household, fixing all moisture problems promptly, and maintaining a quarterly pest control service like our All Season program.

Rodents

Rodents in the Northwest

Rodent is the general term for a mouse, rat, vole, shrew, chipmunk and even a squirrel.

The most common of the rodents that share our house holds, restaurants, barns, warehouses and other buildings are the

  • house mouse
  • deer mouse
  • field mouse
  • Norway rat
  • roof rats

Wild rodents are messy and often destructive little creatures that sometimes carry disease. If you find yourself hosting a bed and breakfast for some unwanted furry guests, there are several things that you can do.

Inspection

Walk around the exterior of your home or building and look for any droppings, tracks, gnaw marks, burrowing, urine stains, rodent sounds or odors, and foundation vent openings.

Food

Get rid of any food sources that may be attracting rodents to your home. For example, bird feeders, improperly stored pet food or uncovered barn animal grains are key for unwanted house guests. As a rule, anything left after 45 minutes of initial feeding should be properly discarded. It is very common for those who raise birds or have multiple birds in their home to attract rodents. Rodent’s love bird food. If the rodents have full little bellies, they will not look twice at any bait you may set out for them later.

Habitats 

This is any area in which rodents can utilize and thrive in such as wood piles, boards, tall grass, shrubbery, open crawl spaces, and un-sealed boxes. These areas must be eliminated from your property. 

Obstruct or Seal

Do a visual inspection around the outside of your home to reveal any openings such as broken foundation vents, cable-wire holes, drier vent openings, and open access to the crawl space area. As a rule of thumb - if it’s big enough for the rodent to fit his head through then he can squeeze his body in as well. Areas under sinks should be checked for gaps around pipes leading from the crawl space or walls into your home.

Trapping and Baiting

Setting up a baiting and trapping program, is imperative. Unlike spraying for bugs, rodents are never an over-night elimination. It takes several days to begin seeing results. There are several options when it comes to trapping. Old fashioned snap traps, sticky strips or pads, and live traps are great if you don’t like seeing a squashed mouse.

Spiders

Spiders in the Northwest

The temperate climate of the Pacific Northwest allows a variety of spiders to thrive year round in and around your home. Our combination of the physical removal of spider webs and egg sacs on your home, and eco-friendly treatments of the interior and exterior ensures that you will not have to deal with unsightly invaders in your home.

Domestic House Spider

Facts

Tegenaria domestica, the domestic house spider, is common in both the Northeast and the Northwest, while Tegenaria gigantea, the giant house spider, has been collected to date in the Pacific Northwest and in Winnipeg, Canada. Neither of these two species are known to cause serious bite reactions in humans. T. gigantea has been encountered more frequently than T. agrestis in the last few years.

Our Solution

To ensure that your home remains free of spiders we have designed a two-step service. The first step is the removal of webs and egg sacs from the exterior of your home. The second step is the treatment of the perimeter of your home's foundation and any interior areas needed. This service come with a three month warranty period.

What You Can Do

As a homeowner you reduce your chance of encountering spiders by sealing all cracks and crevices in your home and frequently sweeping the webs and eggs sacs off the exterior. Contact us today about our quarterly All Season pest control program.

Hobo Spider

Facts

The Hobo Spider Tegenaria agrestis, (sometimes called the hobo spider) is a member of the family Agelenidae, commonly called the funnel-web spiders or funnel weavers. These spiders build funnel webs in dark, moist areas, often in basements, and sit in the mouth of the funnel waiting for prey. The funnel opens at both ends, and the web expands outward into a broad, slightly curved sheet.

Although this spider was first reported from Seattle in 1930, it did not become common in the Pacific Northwest until the 1960s. In the Pullman-Moscow, Idaho area, it is clearly a prevalent spider in basements and in window wells of houses. It rarely climbs vertical surfaces and is usually found only on the ground or lower floors. These spiders are often referred to as a “aggressive house spider” because it bites with little provocation when cornered or threatened.

Our Solution

To ensure your home remains free of spiders, we have designed a two-step service. The first step is the removal of webs and egg sacs from the exterior of your home followed by the treatment of the perimeter of your home's foundation and any interior areas needed. This service come with a three month warranty period.

What You Can Do

As a homeowner you reduce your chance of encountering spiders in your home by sealing all the cracks and crevices in your home and frequently sweeping the webs and eggs sacs off your home.