Dont let the bed bugs bite!

Up close image of a bed bug. Interstate Pest Management serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about bed bugs and their habits.

Not just a nursery rhyme anymore… Bed Bugs are very real in the Northwest!

Calls to local pest control companies are on the rise. And Interstate is getting a jump on the season. In an effort to bring you the best possible service and knowledge IPM sent head technician and company co-owner, Dwayne Clement to Trenton, New Jersey to the Bed Bug “University”, Bed Bug Central for an intense week of courses both in the class room and hands on training on identification and treatment. Also learning the latest in techniques and the latest chemical applications.

Thus making IPM, a Certified Bed Bug Service Provider and having someone who specializes in this increasingly common pest!

What are Bed Bugs?

  • Bed bugs are wingless and cannot fly or jump, but are able to enter into extremely small locations in the home because of their flattened bodies.
  • Bed bugs can live for several weeks to several months without feeding, depending on the temperature.
  • Bed bugs can go without feeding for 80 to 140 days; older bed bugs can go without feeding longer than younger ones. Adult bed bugs have been known to survive for as long as 550 days (over a year and a half!) without feeding.
  • Bed bugs prefer to feed on human blood, but will also bite mammals and birds. Bed bugs typically bite at night, but if hungry enough have been known to bite during daylight. After feeding, bed bugs turn dark red and become bloated

If you feel like you may be experiencing Bed Bugs in your home, call Interstate Pest Management, Inc. for a thorough inspection and quick response! 360-218-2463

The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah!

Ants in kitchen. Interstate Pest Management serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about the ants go marching one by one hurrah, hurrah.

There’s nooo reason to cheer when you have Carpenter ants.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are the monster trucks of the ant world in the Pacific Northwest.  Big- (.25 to 1 inch long), black and noisy even. People have reported to hear them moving about in the walls at night.

Like a termite they can have wings. Swarming queens and kings have wings which they loose after mating. So they get mistaken as termites often, when winged queens are present. Remember, if its winged, black, and has a bent or “elbowed” antenna,  its a Carpenter ant. Carpenter ants are know to swarm twice a year in the Northwest, so they will be seen all over outside, or crawling in your homes during these times.

Carpenter Ant Infestation?

Seeing them during a swarm does not mean  that you have a infestation, but it is very important that you are taking steps to make sure your home is protected from them.

They have also been known to bite! Ouch!! Their powerful jaws can make quite a pinch and they release a formic acid into the bite which causes a burning sensation. But they are NOT venomous.

Carpenter ants do not eat wood, unlike termites, but they burrow and carve causing major damage to wood structures.  Carpenter ants forage for food during the night and return to the colony in the early morning hours.

Carpenter ants will cut “galleries” out, which are like little roadways or tunnels for them to move about from one section to the other of the nest. Galleries are smooth and very different from their termite counterparts, which leave mud behind in the hollowed out areas. Carpenter ants leave a sawdust like material called  frass which can help locate the nest area.

Moisture and Carpenter Ants

They are attracted to areas in or around a house that is susceptible to moisture, such as around window sills, roof eves, decks, porches, rail road ties used for landscaping, bathroom ceilings and walls. These are all areas that come in contact with moisture and often contain wood rot which is very attractive real-estate for Carpenter Ants.

Keeping your home protected from moisture damage and pests is a great way of detouring Carpenter ants from your home. Interstate Pest Management has several different programs that could be tailored to your needs, for protection and also eradication of any present Carpenter ant infestation that you may have.

Just say NO to Bugs!

Up close of a small insect. Interstate Pest Management serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about just saying no to bugs.

Bugs … something that usually gives most people the shivers and the ring leader of such disgusting thoughts is the common cockroach. Cockroach or just “roach” is one of the nastiest, dirty, and resilient, out of control forms of pest, found literally all over the world.

They get into everything! Multiply rapidly and can survive for several months with out food and up to two weeks with out water. They love to travel, often climbing into luggage and hitching a ride home from college with an unsuspecting student, only to make them selves right at home at mom and dads house. There are a couple types of these “exchange students”, German, American, brown banded, oriental and the smoky brown. They range is size and color from under ½ an inch to almost 2 inches long.

Although many of the reasons roaches are attracted to certain homes are due to sanitation, or the lack there of, a lot of the times they are brought in. They can hitch a ride on a sofa, microwave, chair, television, box of stuff, brought in from the garage, a garage sale find, storage unit, or any area that might be a roach habitat.

They are extremely messy, leaving there droppings everywhere, and at times, their egg casings as well, that look like a brown tic-tac. A few things you could do to discourage roaches from hanging out at your pad is to:

  • Discard any old boxes and piles of papers where they can hide.
  • Use waste bin or trash cans with a tight fitting lid and keep trash in a closed plastic bag overnight.
  • Fix leaky drains and faucets; roaches can live on water alone.
  • Clean kitchen appliances thoroughly
  • Empty pet food containers at night, or place them on the back porch or in a plastic bag.
  • Vacuum regularly, and restrict food consumption to one room of the house. This will help keep roaches and other pests from spreading into other areas such as bedrooms.
  • Thoroughly inspect any objects that you bring into your home, that might have questionable previous storage.

Bee All You Can Bee

UP close image of a bee on a flower. Interstate Pest Management talks about bees and wasps.

Brad, suggested I explain the life cycles of the bees and wasps. Now at first I was, like…“Really?”  Cause that seems like something I would do if I was down to my last Ambien and it was late at night. But the more I did research into this subject the more it became quite comical to me. And understanding ones foe, helps eliminate fear and creates more of an understanding and sort of respect.

Physical Differences:

First off, the Wasps, apparently are the super model of the stinger family. They have a slender body with a narrow waist, and long slender, cylindrical legs,  and appear smooth-skinned and shiny.  The boldfaced hornets, paper wasps, and the more fashion forward – Yellowjackets,  are the most common types of wasps encountered by people.

Bees- They are more of your hard working uncle Vinnie type of the stinger family. They are robust-bodied and very hairy compared with wasps. Their hind legs are flattened for collecting and transporting pollen. Although not as sleek as their wasps cousins they are  very important pollinators and play an important roll in our eco-system.

Wasps and the Picnic Basket

During the late summer and into the fall when people are trying to squeeze that one last family reunion, or vacation in before its back to school, yellow jackets become aggressive scavengers and frequently disrupt outside festivities where food or drink is served.
Control of this Diva like behavior is difficult, as there are no insecticides that effectively repel or discourage them.

The best strategy is to minimize attracting them. Wait to serve food and drink until people are ready to eat. Promptly put away food when done and throw garbage into a container with a tightly fitted lid. I also recommend to pour all pop from cans into a cup as well, to reduce the visual blocking the can lids provide for wasps when they slip into your pop can and you try taking another drink just find their antennas tickling your lip before you get stung by one for unknowingly trying to drown it! If a wasp flies into your food, wait until it flies away or gently brush it away. If you crush them , they will give off an alarm scent that will attract other wasps. Not to mention how attractive a squashed wasps looks in Aunt Ethel’s apple pie she just made for you.

The Cycle of Life

Wasps have annual colonies that last for only one year. The colony dies in the fall with only the newly produced queens surviving the winter. With the exception of honey bees which are perennial insects with colonies that survive more than one year. Honey bees form a cluster when hive temperatures approach 57 degrees  Fahrenheit. As the temperature drops, the cluster of bees become more compact and consume honey and generate heat so that those in the cluster do not freeze. Hmmm, they might be on to something.stop shaving and eat sweets for the winter? Uh…ok guess not. As long as honey is available the colony can withstand temperatures down to -30 degrees or lower for extended periods. Honey-cicles…hmmmm, not bad guys.

If any of these interesting facts still don’t make you feel comfortable with your flying friends, feel free to call Interstate Pest Management for more detailed info or options in thwarting our little pollinating buddies from being too much of a nuisance in your back yard. DO NOT try removing a yellow jacket nest on your own as they can be extremely aggressive at times. Let a protected professional give those guys an eviction that is safe for you and your family. Call 1-888-844-4476 for more information or free quotes.

Carpenter Ant Prevention

Carpenter ants on a piece of wood. Interstate Pest Management serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about carpenter ant prevention tips.

There is plenty of insect food in the natural environment, but when we clear a house lot and build a home, we remove much of the natural food supply and replace it with a built environment.  Just like you Carpenter ants would rather live in a nice warm home rather than a cold wet log. With a little thought, we can limit the potential for insect infestation. Preventive practices include:

  • Remove wet or decayed building elements.
  • Fix and inspect for moisture problems: roof, walls, appliances and plumbing leaks
  • Remove all wood that is in contact with soil in and around home.
  • Separate all wood from the soil around perimeter and in crawlspace by at least 18″.
  • Inspect around heat ducts and all heat producing appliances in crawl space annually.
  • Do not bury wood and tree stumps on the building lot.
  • Move or rotate firewood, scrap wood, and lumber away from the home.
  • Remove vegetation and mulch from area next to house and out buildings.
  • Avoid using rail road ties or cherry logs for landscaping.
  • Avoid using foam insulation on foundation walls when possible.
  • Schedule quarterly inspections, and treatments using non-replant insecticides.

Odorous House Ant

Ants in kitchen. Interstate Pest Management serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about odorous house ants.

I would have to say one of thee most unpopular pests in the Pacific Northwest that is often encountered is the mighty Odorous House ant aka “sugar ant”. I have long often thought of them as not the Goliath of ants like their larger counterparts the Carpenter ant, but the David. Although tiny in stature, they are one to be reckoned with and often most difficult to battle. (Sling and stones excluded)

The Odorous house ant has many “nicknames” it is referenced as. Most commonly the “sugar ant”. Not because they taste sweet (just sayin’), or have a pleasant personality but because they are often found on or near any sweet substance that are left about for them to congregate too. (In my best British acent) Like wilder beasts during an African drought, they trail in droves from whence they came, and line the edge of a drop of syrup or splash of cool-aid like a popular drinking hole in the Serengeti. Another name is the “ #iss ant”. Probably because they tick people off so much….but why odorous? Are they hygiene ignorant? A hint…Another name is a “coconut ant”. This comes from the odor the ants produce when crushed, which is very similar to the pungent odor of a coconut. Thus the “Odorous House ant”.

Odorous house ants or OHAS as we here in pest control refer to them, are very common in the Pacific Northwest and many areas throughout America. They range in color from brown to black and range in length from 1/16 to 1/8 inches (1.5–3.2 mm). Their antennae have 12 segments. Little is known about the lifespan of the ant, though it has been shown that queens can live at least 8 months (and probably much longer), workers at least a few months (and show every indication of living as long as queens), and males appear to live only approximately a week.

OHAS are very tough, and injured workers have been observed to continue living and working with little hindrance. Some queens with crushed abdomens could still lay eggs, and there are documented instances of T. sessile queens surviving without food or water for over two months. They also appear highly tolerant to heat and cold. These ants are difficult to remove from the home. Many times, leaving an area that is being treated and popping up on the other end of a structure weeks later. They are attracted to moisture, sweets and electical curents. Often we find them in electrical outlets, computers and smoke detectors. They will often seek a random house for warmth and nesting or no aparent rhym or reason so remember this for beating your self up over literally, spilt milk. They are not a structural pest but can contaminate food.

Although very frustrating, they can be maintained or eliminated. Diligence on taking action makes a big difference in outcome for pest control.

Portland Rose Festival’s Grand Floral Parade

Up close image of pink roses. Interstate Pest Management serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about Portland Rose Festival’s Grand Floral Parade.

Saturday, June 7, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

For over 100 years, the Grand Floral Parade has been the centerpiece of the Portland’s Rose Festival. This year is no different.

The Rose Festival begins Monday, June 2, and culminates with one of America’s greatest parades. This year, the Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade will be held on Saturday, June 7 beginning at the Memorial Coliseum at 10:00 AM and ending up in downtown Portland, concluding at 2:00 PM.

Tickets to special reserved seating (both indoor and outdoor), can be purchased online. Don’t miss this special event!

Summer Wishes 2014
Saturday, June 7, 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM

Make-a-Wish Oregon is sponsoring the hottest party of the summer to raise money for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Come dance the night away with great music, cocktails, and food at MotoCorsa on 2170 NW Wilson Street in Portland!

Help us bring hope, encouragement, and joy to the most courageous kids in Oregon. Take part in silent auctions and raffles and have a fun, magical evening while supporting a great cause.

Black Widows

Up close image of a black widow. Interstate Pest Management serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about black widows.

Wife shrieks, daughter jumps, startled, and I reel back, gasping. We were crowded around the sprinkler box in the front yard, trying to diagnose some issue with our decades-old sprinkler system. I pulled off the lid only to find that dreaded, tingle-inducing little monster—the black widow. Sleek, jet-black except for the infamous red hourglass on its abdomen, and with those long legs, you can imagine it being the sexy femme fatale of the arachnid family.

It’s a spider with a lot of fear and stigma swirling around it. Let’s take a look at the facts:

The Good News

  • Obviously, they are just as scared of you as you are of them. Without the fangs, this little spider wouldn’t stand a chance against a two-year-old in a fair fight. I’ve run into them in my garage a few times and the rush of adrenaline plus the tip of my shoe provided adequate weaponry.
  • Their poison isn’t usually deadly. In fact, most of the time a black widow spider bites a human, their fangs don’t even break the skin. Between bites from the black widow and the brown recluse, only around six or seven people die in the U.S. per year. And these are usually young children or the elderly who don’t seek immediate medical attention. What am I saying? That sounds like bad news to me.

The Bad News

  • Black widows prefer to stay incognito. They tend to take up residence in the dark corners of your garage, basement or crawlspace. Or, in my case, the sprinkler box. It’s dark, moist and only inhabited by other creepy-crawlies that provide for the black widow’s food source. (They don’t eat their mates, contrary to popular belief.) The point: they could be in your house right now and you wouldn’t know it.
  • If a black widow does bite you, yeah, you’re probably not going to die, but you’re in for a bad few days. They release a neurotoxin that results in severe muscle cramps, abdominal pain, dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting and elevated blood pressure. You’re not going to make it into work that week. Luckily, most employers probably won’t question the old “I got bitten by a black widow” excuse.
  • Black widows are especially tough. A bug bomb, for example, while effective against smaller “house spiders,” probably won’t get rid of your black widow problem.

What You Can Do

  • Keep your garage and basement organized, clean and as dry as possible. They want secluded, out-of-the-way places. If you don’t have any of those, they’re going to look for a more suitable habitat.
  • Keep quarterly inspections with a pest control service as well as regular treatments on your house. Not only will this control any black widow issues you might have, it will help eliminate other insects, reducing the black widow’s food supply and causing them to move on to greener pastures.

Don’t live in fear in your own home. Take the garage back from those eight-legged invaders. Call Interstate Pest Management, Inc. for a free quote and fast action: 1-877-619-4117. You won’t be disappointed.

Rats!

White rat inside cardboard. Interstate Pest Management serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about rats.

Some of the movie masterpieces of the 1970’s that were eventually forgotten after Star Wars became the only recognized movie from that decade, starred rats—that’s right, rats. Two memorable films were Willard and Ben. Each of these films featured thousands of rats attacking and tormenting people. Ben featured Michael Jackson singing a love song to a rat, the main character of the film.

After seeing those films, the thought of a rat racing around in my attic or in any of the crawlspaces of my house would make me want to burn my house down. So when I see websites suggesting do-it-yourself methods for eliminating rats from your house, all I can think is, “Are you kidding me?” These are rats! 650 years ago, they killed half of Europe by spreading the Black Death. I refuse to try my hand at rat killing. If I have rats, I am calling in the professionals, or a nuclear strike.

I have learned all the ways to determine if I have rats, however. I think that is just smart.

Signs that you may have rats

  • Rat droppings:

Rats are like horses; wait a minute, they are nothing like horses. However, similar to horses and even people, rats usually select one area of your house to be the bathroom. If you happen upon a spot in your basement that has a pile of brown Mike & Ike sized pellets, you know you have rats.

  • Rat sounds:

Rats are loud chewers or gnawers. Through your wall or ceiling, it may sound like a scratching sound. I have no idea what mating rats sound like but if you hear rat screams then you know the rats have made your house theirs.

  • Rat holes:

When I was a kid and did something foolish, my mom would say I didn’t have sense to pound sand down a rat hole. To this day, I still wouldn’t pound sand down a rat hole. I would call an exterminator or put three sticks of dynamite down the hole.

  • Your house burns down:

That’s not a sure sign, but if your house does burn down, the fire department may investigate and find some electrical wires that have been gnawed on and maybe a well-done rat nearby.

Pulling the welcome mat to rats

After rats killed 75 million people in Europe, the people declared a war on rats. Yeah, it’s still going. In any good war, you have to reinforce your borders. Here are some good ways to keep rats away from your home short of putting up a “No Rats” sign.

Seal all of your entrances: No, I don’t mean seal off your doors, but you do have to make sure that your doors seal when they are closed. You also need to block any holes in the exterior of your house ¼ inch or larger. Check a tape measure, ¼ inch is tiny. Rats are Houdini with tales.

Secure all food and garbage: Why did I lump these together? Because rats think your garbage is food. They like your food too, but they like it better when it has aged a little, or a lot.

The simple answer to food and garbage is seal and elevate. Seal all food in your pantry in rat proof containers elevated on shelves. Don’t leave food out. Your fruit bowl can only have plastic fruit. Don’t leave dirty dishes out.

Store your pet food the same way

Make sure your outdoor garbage cans have lids and don’t put them near anything that a rat could climb on and gain access to the lid. They will get it open.

Give your yard a haircut

A shaggy yard with overhanging bushes, leaf piles, low-hanging branches give rats a great habitat to bivouac while they wait for you to let your guard down when you put out the trash. A well-trimmed yard takes away the rat’s hiding places.

In every possible way, you need to be a clean freak and perfectly organized; don’t be a hoarder. Rats love pack rats.

I do all the above and still call Interstate Pest Control every year for an inspection for rats and all the other pests Portland sends my way. Call them today. If you need further inspiration, I have a couple movies you could cuddle up and watch.

Seven Tips to Deal with Bugs

Little girl eating a watermelon slice. Interstate Pest Management serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about 7 tips to deal with bugs.

Take Back Your Summer: Seven Tips to Deal with Bugs

Summer brings out the best activities. From hiking to barbeques, the outdoors awaits. But every good thing comes with a price. Summer brings out pests that can ruin the fun. Here are seven tips for dealing with summer bugs.

1. Insect Repellent

Use Insect Repellent. If you’re going to be outside, a little bit of repellent will keep the bugs from biting. Mosquitoes, ticks, and chiggers can make summer fun miserable. The first two can carry numerous diseases including, West Nile Virus and Lyme’s Disease. There are many repellents which will keep you safe. If using a spray that contains DEET, the CDC recommends brands containing at least 20%.

2. Heavy Scents

If It Smells Nice to You, It Smells Nice to Them. Scented deodorant, hairsprays, and perfume will keep foul odor at bay but the same can’t be said for insects, they’re attracted to good smells. If bees and wasps are attracted to you, it might be a good idea to lay off the scents or at least switch it up a bit.

3. Underbrush

Avoid Thick Underbrush. When hiking, stay to the middle of the trail. Ticks will climb up bushes, hold on with their rear legs leaving 4 to 6 arms ready to snag the next unsuspecting victim that walks too close. Chiggers do the same. Avoiding their bushy hangouts will reduce your chances of contact.

4. Check Yourself

Bug Check. Ticks favor warm areas such as your armpits, neck, back, head, and stomach. Don’t forget to check your belly button and below the belt. Though tiny, fleas can be a problem as well. They will hitchhike in on your clothes and even on Max and Kitten. Don’t forget to check your pets.

5. Light Colors

Wear Light Colored Clothing. First off, light colors reflect sunlight, making it cooler on hot days. Secondly, bees and wasps are attracted to bright colors but not light colors. White clothing will keep stinger armed insects from thinking you are a flower. Light clothing makes it easier to check for bugs as well.

6. Avoid Swarms

Stay Away From Swarms. This goes for wasps, bees, and ants. If you see a mass of shiny, fat-bodied wasps buzzing around a hole in your yard, stay clear. Yellow jackets are looking for any reason to defend their nest. Armed with a rapid fire stinger and chewing mouth parts, yellow jackets are mean. If you live in warmer climates and see a swarm of bees, do not approach it. The Africanized honeybee or “killer bee” makes yellow jackets seem friendly. The same goes with fire ants. If a nest is disturbed, a mass of tiny little soldiers will swarm up the invader and bite all at once.

7. Pest Control

Look into pest control services. If your yard is an insect playground, Interstate Pest Management can solve the problem. No matter what pest has your fun on lockdown, we’ve got the key to take back your summer.