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Oregon Pest Control Tips: Western Tent Caterpillars

Tent Caterpillar

Oregon pest control experts warn that parts of the state, particularly the along the Columbia River, are infested with Western tent caterpillars. The caterpillar is a native species, but its destructive habits have already affected about 13,000 trees this summer.

Caterpillars under Attack

Nature is doing its own type of Oregon pest management when it comes to the over-abundance of Western tent caterpillars, according to a June 2014 article in “The Oregonian.” The article states that the caterpillars are under attack as small parasitic wasps and other natural enemies feed on them.

Identifying Western Tent Caterpillars

Western tent caterpillars are the larval form of the Malacosoma californicum moth. The caterpillar is a light turquoise blue with a pair of brown racer stripes running down its back and brownish-orange fuzz on its body. The caterpillars produce one generation per year and mature within 30 to 40 days, which is when they pupate in silken cocoons.

When the caterpillars emerge in the spring, they feed as a colony and create silk tents that resemble glorified spider webs strung between tree branches. The caterpillars don’t pose a threat to humans, but they defoliate their host trees.

Oregon Pest Control Tips for Western Tent Caterpillars

The best thing to do if you have Western tent caterpillars in your trees is get them away from their food source by pruning the affected branches or knocking down the silk nest with a high-pressure spray of water. Never burn the silken nest because this will do more long-term damage to the tree than the caterpillars.

The Oregon Department of Forestry recommends using non-chemical pest control methods in regards to Western tent caterpillars. If you believe you have an infestation on your property, contact Eden Pest to identify the caterpillars and control the outbreak using earth-friendly techniques.

Call Eden Pest to schedule an inspection today.

[ Photo by: born1945, on Flickr, via CC License ]

Bed Bug Awareness Week (April 20-26)

Bed Bug Awareness Week

In April, National Pest Management Month coincides with Bed Bug Awareness Week. As the weather warms and people travel, Washington and Oregon pest control experts want to raise awareness about bed bugs and offer prevention tips that you can use at home and while on the road. 

Bed Bug Pest Control: The Basics

Bed bugs are among the top pest problems in the U.S. While they’re commonly found in homes, Oregon and Washington pest control technicians share that bed bug encounters often occur in public places like libraries and changing rooms.

Adult bed bugs resemble apple seeds in shape and color. Their eggs and larvae are translucent and pale in color. They often nest in mattresses, furniture near a bed, closets, curtains and in other areas that are out of sight.

The most obvious sign of a bed bug infestation is seeing red, itchy splotches on your skin if you’re sensitive to the insect’s saliva. If your body doesn’t react to the saliva, you may notice reddish-brown blotches on your bed sheets, which may be dried blood or bed bug waste.  

Bed Bug Treatment and Prevention

Bed bugs are harder to treat than cockroaches, termites and ants. Therefore, the best control method is prevention:

  • Keep your home clutter-free and regularly vacuum and dust.
  • Conduct regular bedroom inspections to look for signs of bed bugs. Look under mattresses, behind headboards, in and behind nightstands and dressers, and in closets.
  • Regularly wash bed sheets and other laundry on the hottest water and dryer settings possible.
  • Do not purchase or accept used mattresses, sofas and upholstered furniture. Inspect all second-hand items before purchasing them.
  • Use bed bug-preventing covers on mattresses.

Travel Tips

One of the best places to contract bed bugs is in a hotel room. Some bed bugs are so small that they can crawl through the closed zipper of a bag or suitcase and hitch a ride to your home.

Avoid bed bugs while traveling by:

  • Inspecting the hotel room for signs of bed bugs under the sheets and mattress and along mattress seams. Also look behind the headboard, as well as in and around furniture.
  • Changing rooms if you find signs of bed bugs. Ask for a room on a different floor, on the opposite end of the original room.
  • Keep your clothing and personal items sealed in plastic bags.
  • Unpack your suitcase outside or in the garage when you get home. Inspect your luggage for bed bugs.
  • Wash all your travel clothes in the hottest water and dryer setting possible.

If you think you have bed bugs in your home or place of business, call Eden Pest immediately. The technicians use green techniques to find and control bed bugs that are more effective than harmful chemical treatments. To make sure your business stays bed bug-free, sign up for Eden’s Bed Bug Response Plan, a proactive program that prevents, monitors and protects your facility. 

Winter Pest Control Warning: Keep an Eye Out for Rodents!

In November 2013, rodent pest control company Rentokil issued a press release regarding the dangers that rodents pose during the winter months. Eden Pest is a Rentokil-approved pest control company in the Pacific Northwest.

The press release highlighted that rodents infest about 21 million homes in the U.S. every winter. They often enter and exit homes through cracks as small as a dime. When it comes to rodent control, Portland homeowners find that prevention efforts always pay.

Rodent Risks to Health and Property                                  

Rodents are carriers of the deadly hanta virus and salmonella, which a person can contract by handling an infected rodent or coming into contact with rodent waste. Rodents can also spread bacteria and trigger allergic reactions.

Rodents have sharp teeth that expertly gnaw through several different materials. In addition to gnawing through walls, they often sink their teeth into items like cardboard boxes, paper and plastic bags as they nest and search for food. Rodents are also keen at gnawing on electrical cords, exponentially increasing the risk of a fire on a property.

Signs of an Infestation

  • Gnaw marks and holes in food packaging.
  • Noises in the walls or ceilings, or at night.
  • Droppings and urine.
  • Musky odors.
  • Trails and tracks in dusty areas.

Rodent Control Methods

The best way to control a rodent infestation is to prevent one. Simple rodent pest control methods include:

  • Sealing your home. Inspect the interior and exterior walls of your home and seal any cracks that you find, regardless of how small they are. Mend or replace broken screen.
  • Removing access to food and water. Avoid leaving food out in the open, particularly overnight. Store pantry items that come in a paper, cardboard or thin plastic packaging in glass, metal or hard plastic containers with secure lids. If there’s a leak in your home or on your property, promptly fix it.
  • Being clean and tidy. Rodents love messes. Avoid clutter and vacuum and dust regularly. Store seasonal items in hard plastic bins with lids instead of cardboard boxes.
  • Have a beautiful yard. A messy yard is like an open invitation to rodents. Keep your lawn trimmed, weed often and avoid leaving debris (like leaves) on the ground. In addition, cut back tree limbs that overhang the roof. 

If you think that your home has a rodent problem, immediately call a rodent control Portland professional like Eden Pest. The expert will inspect your home and can clean rodent waste in a way that keeps you and your family safe.

Call Eden Pest for a free inspection today.

Preventing Mosquito-Borne Illnesses: Genetic Modification and IPM Practices

Live mozzie under the microscope

Baby critters arrive in the spring. As this happens, mosquitoes buzz around to find the perfect breeding grounds for fertilizing and laying eggs. As if being itchy wasn’t enough, Portland pest control experts warn that people on the West Coast are at risk for contracting the West Nile virus.

Advances in Mosquito Genetic Modification

To reduce the risk of dengue fever, scientists in Key West developed a genetically modified male mosquito that passes on birth defects to its offspring. The targeted species of mosquito is the Aedes aegypti because it’s a known carrier of the illness, which causes severe flu-like symptoms.

Since there isn’t a vaccine against dengue, the British company Oxitec developed the non-biting male mosquito that passes on genetic materials to prevent young offspring from reaching maturity. If the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approve the project, the hope is to release thousands of male mosquitoes and kill off the Aedes aegypti population within a few years.

Mosquito Control and Prevention

West Nile and dengue aren’t the same illness, but the viruses are similar in structure. If the Florida project is a success, there’s a chance genetically modified mosquitoes could also help eradicate the West Nile virus. Until then, West Coast residents will have to rely on tried-and-true integrated pest management methods, such as:

Eliminating sources of standing water. Mosquitoes breed and lay eggs in still waters. To prevent a mosquito presence around your home or business, empty water features that don’t have pumps; cover your pool; dump out water collected in planters; jump in puddles; and refresh the water in your bird bath regularly. When it comes to pest control, Eugene residents and those throughout the west should get rid of standing water as soon as they see it.

Planting mosquito-repelling plants. Such plants include citronella, horsemint (beebalm), marigolds, ageratum (flossflower) and catnip.

Wearing long sleeves and pants when mosquitoes are most active. Mosquitoes don’t like the heat, so they tend to come out at dawn and dusk. If necessary, use a DEET-based repellent according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Contact us to learn more natural pest control techniques.

[ Photo by: John Tann, on Flickr, via CC License ]