Prevention Suggestions for the Most Common Pests in Portland

It is usually obvious when it is time to pick up the phone and call a professional pest service to solve a pest problem. However, before a problem even appears is the best time to take some preventative measures that will help avoid bad infestations. Hopefully these simple prevention ideas will help keep you pest free.

1) Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are the most common damage-causing pests in the Portland area.  It is well worth your while to make your home unattractive to them.   Dead and rotting wood is the favorite habitat of carpenter ants, so scour your yard looking for tree stumps, large dead or rotting branches on the ground and even very diseased or sick trees.   Not all bad wood is in the yard, however, so check nearby woodpiles and even the crawlspace for old, rotten scraps of structural wood.   Also, check your exterior water faucets for leaks or sources of steady moisture.   A review of the foundation for cracks in need of sealing will also help prevent easy access by them.   Keep vegetation and branches clear of the structure.

2) Odorous Ants

The good new is that these pesky ants are not destructive.   The bad news is…well, they’re pesky!   Very pesky.   It is very common for an infestation to actually grow after being erroneously treated with over the counter pest sprays.   They try very hard to keep their colony thriving and any threat to this will make them try all the harder.   Also check for leaks, even minor ones, within your house’s plumbing.   Make sure that roof and gutter systems are working properly and are not causing excess moisture to enter the siding or foundation.   Moisture is the main attraction with odorous ants (often called sugar ants) so try to avoid excessive water buildup.   Also, make an effort to keep shrubs and vegetation away from touching the structures exterior.

3) Wasps (bees, yellow jackets)

Wasps and bees are attracted to proteins (earlier in the summer) and sugars (later in the year) so any reduction in these will help a lot.   First, looks to your landscaping and avoid planting heavy nectar producing plants and flowers too close to the structure, particularly doors and windows.   Bird feeders that supply sugary water should also be relocated.   Review outdoor dining and cooking areas for scraps of meats or grease spills.  If you spot an fresh nest that is still very small, determine whether you can safely knock it down with a broom or water from a hose.  If a bee or wasp shows any sign of aggression, quickly get everyone out of the area and call a professional pest control company.

4) Mice & Rats

Start your rodent prevention by reviewing the surrounding areas of your house.   Try to keep woodpiles away for leaning against the house and even preferably 20-30 feet from the house.   Ensure ground clearance under the pile.   Garbage and garden supplies need to be kept secure and sealed with tight lidded containers.   Review all exterior door jambs, garage door seals and wall vents for gaps or areas of check through.  Foundation vents must be properly screened.   Do not leave doors open longer that a few seconds when entering and exiting.   Finally, be careful to clean up pet feeding areas of excess spilled food.

5) Moles

Moles will always reside where the food source is most pleasing and abundant.   An overabundance of worms, insects and grub in a lawn will most certainly be inviting.   While a proper amount of these is desired, excessive amounts will be a welcoming dinner table to a mole.   Your local garden center will carry treatments to carefully reduce these populations.   Physical barriers, such as mesh screening, sunk at least two feet into the ground work as a good method when you have raised beds of flowers or vegetables.

As with most things in life, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!  We encourage you to spend a few ounces of effort this spring and early summer and maybe save yourself several pounds of cure (and maybe a few dollars too!)  However, it the problem is already there or if you still get pests even after these measures, we are always glad to come help your out.  You can contact or call us anytime at 503-968-5950.