Pest Organisms of the Puget Sound Region

Your Source of Information on Northwest Pests, their identification, biology, and more.

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Insects and other Arthropods

Aggressive House Spider
(Hobo Spider)
Ants
Bees
Bald-faced Hornets
Bats
Bed Bugs
Blow Flies
Brown Recluse Spiders
Bumble Bees
Carpet Beetles
Carpenter Ants
Centipedes
Fungus Gnats
Honey Bees
Houseflies
Cockroaches
Clothing Moths
Cluster Flies
Crab Louse
Drug Store Beetles
Earwigs
Fleas
Flies
Fruit Flies
Indian Meal Moths
Lice
Mason Bees
Millipedes
Mites
Moisture Ants
Odorous House Ants
Pavement Ants
Pharaoh Ants
Polistes Wasps
Powder Post Beetles
Psocids
Silverfish
Sow Bugs
Spiders
Termites
Thatching Ants
Wasps
Yellow Jackets
Wood Boring Beetles


Rodents, Other Animals, Birds and Wood Decay Fungus

Rats
Mice
Opossums
Racoons
Birds Wood Rot

Insects and Other Arthropods

Wood Destroying Insects

Carpenter Ants
Carpenter Ants are the most commonly encountered wood destroying insect in our area. Here’s some of what makes them so tough on our homes:

  • Only 1 in 10 homes that are infested with carpenter ants have them appear indoors where they’d be easily seen. Carpenter Ants only destroy wood in their nesting process and do not eat it. Since their food consists of other insects and aphid “honeydew,” they seldom forage indoors, but instead leave the structure to forage outdoors.
  • They divide their huge colony into multiple nest sites, often spreading out over several different homes, or stumps and trees in the vicinity.
  • Many homes have more than one Carpenter Ant nest sites in the structure (i.e., wall framing, substructure beneath bathroom, attic/roof structure).

Carpenter Ants are complex and formidable. We highly recommend seeing the link below for more information. Every homeowner needs to know about this serious Northwest Pest. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More info about Carpenter Ants (pdf)


Termites
Termites are the classic “home destroyer” and we actually have two very different species: one that is found throughout Western Washington-and happens to be one of the largest termites in North America-and another that comes up from the soil and is limited to certain parts of our region. All termites actually eat and digest wood cellulose. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More info on Termites (pdf)
Identification to NW wood destroying pests (pdf)



Pacific Dampwood Termites

These are some of the largest termites in North America, perhaps the world, but thankfully they only attack wood that is so wet and moist that rot (wood decay fungus) is likely to set in. They are found throughout the Puget Sound and are commonly found in wood that is laying on the ground, partially rotted. Homes only encounter these termites when there is some excessive moisture condition such as a chronic roof leak, a chronic pluming leak, or excessive moisture in a substructure crawlspace (standing water, lack of ventilation, etc.) Dampwood Termites swarm – that is, they send out their winged-reproductives, in the late summer. We at Cascade emphasize moisture control and repairs over chemical application for this termite pest. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.



Western Subterranean Termites

The “subterranean” termite is the infamous termite that does so much damage to homes. They send troops out of the ground nest lying somewhere beneath the home and it is these worker termites that tunnel through the timber and framing of homes and, over time, cause significant destruction. This kind of termite is found in certain geographic areas of King County and southward. (It’s whereabouts in Snohomish County is not clearly known.) The only “sturdy” way to control this termite involves treating the soil around the structure. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.



Wood Boring Beetles

There are numerous kinds of beetles, actually the grub-like beetle larvae, that infest wood and destroy it. The various beetles each prefer different kinds of wood, such as either hardwoods or softwoods, and particular moisture levels. The female beetle lays eggs into pores within the woods surfaces and it is the larvae that tunnel though the timbers as they eating and digesting it along the way. The mature larvae tunnel there way nearly to the surface of the wood to pupate, then they emerge from just below the surface as adult beetles. A couple of the most important wood boring beetles follow.Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment. More info on Wood Boring Beetles (pdf) See photo (right) for damage made by Wood Boring Beetle.



Powder Post Beetles

These are the most famous wood boring beetles, and nest only in hardwoods, such as oak flooring and furniture. They are, for the most part, not native to our area, but are brought in the ‘previously infested wood’ of our new flooring or furniture. This often means that some hardwood manufacturer didn’t properly kiln dry the timber prior to milling. Their damage can be significant, but will not re-infest nor will they spread into the structural timber of our structures (as structural framing consists of softwoods that powder post beetles do not like.) Treatment may or may not be needed even if found to be emerging and the methods vary according to the particular situation. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More info on Powder Post Beetles
More info on Powder Post Beetles from Clemson University



Anobiid Beetles

These are the beetles that can infest structural timber in Western Washington. They love softwoods (the Douglas Fir and Hemlock that make up our homes), particularly the sapwood portions, and can only thrive in wood that has a high moisture content. As such, they are most often found in log homes, very old homes with timber that was not kiln dried, and situations where homes are exposed to too much moisture. Control is achieved through some combination of moisture control and direct treatment. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More info on Anobiid Beetles
More info on Anobiid Beetles from Clemson University


Ants

Carpenter Ants
(see above, under “Wood Destroying Insects”)
Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.
Moisture Ants
Moisture Ants are sometimes considered a wood destroying insect since they nest in wood. However, these ants only nest in wood that has such a high moisture content-such as from a plumbing leak-that the wood is usually already rotting by the time they’ve tunneled throughout it to create their nests. As such, Moisture Ants are both a nuisance ant that can invade a bathroom or kitchen, and they indicate a serious moisture problem and/or rot damage hidden behind a wall. Moisture Ants swarm-that is, they send out their winged-reproductives, in the heat of the summer, usually in August. Cascade can provide treatment to control the ants, but plumbing repairs and/or rot damage repairs may also be needed by the time Moisture Ants are present. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More info on Moisture Ants (pdf)



Odorous House Ants

These ants got their names from the smell that is sometimes apparent after squashing one of them.  These small black ants breed in the many thousands and are extremely persistent causing many households a great deal of trouble.  Few other pests rival them as nuisances as they can show up in many parts of a house, though often favoring the kitchen.  Unfortunately, like a few other ants species, should someone use a common “spray” the nest merely splits into two and now the problem is even tougher to handle.  Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More info on Odorous House Ants (pdf)



Pharaoh Ants

These tiny, light-colored ants have some of the greatest colonies in terms of shear numbers.  They plaque kitchens and other areas of the home and, as happens with a few other ant species, they split their colony into multiple, separate, smaller new colonies when treated with conventional sprays.  And this seriously compounds further control efforts.  Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.



Pavement Ants

These are dark brown to black ants that are found on sidewalks and parking lots, wandering crazily in search of food. They commonly kick up sand in pavement expansion joints, and this is often seen in the joint between the garage slab and the driveway of a home. In their proper place they are natures garbage collectors, but when infesting your patio or when they come indoors, they’re nearly unbearable. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.


 

Thatching Ants
These red and black ants create mounds of straw over their ground nests. By opening tunnels throughout the mound the ant colony can regulate the temperature and humidity of their nest. Thatching Ants make well defined trails through forest floors and grassy areas outward toward their foraging areas. While amazing in the wild, these ants can inflict painful bites by injecting a bit of formic acid into the bite wound. Unfortunately, when found in or near a home, they can be terribly difficult to control. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.



Wasps & Bees

Wasps and bees are loosely related to ants, only they continually use winged flight as their primary means of motion.

Wasps
Wasps differ from bees in that they are basically hairless and have narrow waists. There are hundreds of kinds of wasps, many of them too tiny to sting humans, and others that are good pollinators of plants. But there are a few wasp species-all of them “paper wasps”-that can cause severe stings to people, pets, and livestock and that sometimes even cause death due to severe allergic reactions. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More information on Wasps (pdf) provided by Purdue University, Extension Entomology



Yellow Jackets & Bald-faced Hornets

Yellow Jackets, including “Bald-faced Hornets*,” are some of the most notorious stinging pests, causing a great number of trips to hospitals due to the proteins in their venom. Yellow Jackets, depending upon the species, are either predators-eating spiders and/or other insects, or scavengers-eating carrion (dead animal or fish flesh.) In nature they make up an important part of the balance of nature. However, when their nests are located near, on, or in our homes they can cause significant human harm. Part of the problem stems from the fact that they are so extremely defensive of their territory, attack in numbers, and can sting repeatedly. Some species immediately think they own whatever food they find or land on, even if it is our dinner!



“Picnic” Yellow Jackets
are often small, unusually aggressive, black-and-yellow wasps. They are not at all intimidated about landing directly on the food we are preparing, serving, or trying to eat. Many people get stung while eating outdoors each year. However, the presence of their nests poses an even greater hazard, housing up to 5,000 workers they can inflict an enormous amount of pain and venom. In one Seattle case, when a small boy and his dog came across a ground nest, the dog was killed and the boy, unconscious, had to be rushed to the hospital. This group of yellow jackets consists of species that nest in the ground; inside hollow logs, stumps & landscape timber; paper nests hanging from trees or under roof eaves, or within house wall voids or within attics. When their nest is unprotected outdoors, they build a paper envelope around it with an entrance near the bottom. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.



*Bald-faced Hornets
are actually not a true “hornet,” but a type of Yellow Jacket that nests only in shrubs and small trees. Since they always build their nest unprotected outdoors they build a paper envelope around it with an entrance near the bottom. They are unusually large, and colored black-and-white, and only eat live insects so they don’t bother us when eating outdoors. These yellow jackets become a problem when they nest in our yards and other locations that conflict with us, often resulting in numerous painful stings and periodic allergic reactions. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.



Polistes Wasps

Polistes are a kind of solitary paper wasp that makes rather small, “umbrella-shaped” nests that hand from beneath roof eaves, porch stoops, and the underside of roofs within attic spaces. These nests have not paper “envelope” around them for protection, and are only “occupied” by up to 30 wasps when the young are all hatching and preparing to start on their own. While Polestes can pack quite a powerful sting, they are not aggressive. In fact, they almost seem docile. It is when their numbers are too big that they can pose a collective threat to children, adults, and pets. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.



Bees

Bees differ from wasps in that they are hairy and have “thick” bodies. There are many types of bees, some of them solitary loners and many of them very small. Bees of all types are renowned as the great pollinators of flowering plants. Bees are considered beneficial insects until they happen to nest in homes or other locations that make them difficult to avoid. Except for such rare cases bees seldom sting people. But when bee nests are close to our activity they will aggressively defend themselves resulting in repeated stinging. The pain of a sting is bad enough, but some people have severely allergic, life-threatening reactions. In such cases bees have to be removed or controlled.



Bumble Bees

Bumble Bees are beneficial insects and only when their nest is located such that it compromises human health due to stings should any control measures be taken. It was long held that Bumble Bees “shouldn’t be able to fly,” and only recently have the secrets of these large “bumblers” begun to be understood. Bumble Bees pollinate a great variety of plants, however, they can at times choose rather unfortunate nest locations. Contact Cascade to determine whether a treatment is necessary or to schedule an appointment.



Honey Bees

Honey Bees are, of course, famous not only for pollinating crops, but also for their honey which has been a delicacy of humans throughout history. Honey Bees occasionally swarm in the late spring or early summer. When this happens they split their colony and a mass of bees fly along with a queen to a new nest site. A swarm of bees can be massive, noisy, and downright scary. If found soon after landing, a swarm of honey bees can be caught by a beekeeper, placed in a hive box, and transported to another site-saving nearly all the bees. However, once honey bees set up a hive within a house wall void, or other similar location, they often have to be treated. Moreover, the remaining honey in bee hives attracts bees from other colonies, flies, beetles and rodents. And if that’s not bad enough, old honey trapped in walls can create serious mildew problems. So the siding has to be removed in order to reach and extract the old honey. Contact Cascade to determine whether a beekeeper, treatment, or hive extraction is necessary or to schedule an appointment.



Mason Bees

Contact Cascade to determine whether a beekeeper, treatment, or hive extraction is necessary or to schedule an appointment.


Other Insects

Flies
Within the insect world flies are unique in that they have only two wings. Other winged insects always have four. Flies range in size from nearly microscopic to well over 2 inches long, and they eat nearly anything from carrion (rotted flesh)-Blow Flies; to flower nectar-Hover Flies; to grass roots-Crane Flies; to sucking blood from live animals and humans-Mosquitoes & Horse Flies; to fruit juice-Fruit Flies. Only certain flies are pests to humans, but those that are pests can cause severe harm. For example, thousands of people are killed by mosquito-borne diseases each year. Others became pests by transmitting diseases by carrying filth, tainting and spoiling our food, ruining our lawns, or simply creating havoc by coming indoors in droves.

More information on Fly Control Around the Home (pdf) provided by Purdue University, Extension Entomology



Blow Flies (note: blow flies often indicate a nearby rodent problem)

Blow Flies are rather large, dark flies that make quite a noise when they fly about. Since their larvae eat carrion their presence indicates dead rodents or other animals nearby, often in the attic or under the house. This often enough means that Blow Flies represent 3 problems: The obvious problem of nuisance flies, the need to locate and remove a dead animal, and likely an ongoing rodent infestation. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.



Cluster Flies (note: blow flies often indicate a nearby rodent problem)

Cluster Flies generally breed in pastures, meaning that their larvae live in grassy open areas. However, these flies get their name because once they become adults, they “cluster” on open surfaces, usually on the sunny side of a house or other structure. Here they can gather in the many hundreds and, worse yet, they will eventually crawl under crevices in the siding and into the wall voids to spend the winter. Unfortunately, they feel the warmth of indoor heating and migrate indoors causing great disruption. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.



Fruit Flies

Fruit Flies are infamous for hovering in kitchens, often around ripened or over-ripened fruit. They love ripe bananas, but just about any ripe fruit, and many vegetables, will do. Fruit Flies most often require an alteration of conditions.meaning that the homeowner will need to store fruit in a different manor (perhaps in the refrigerator), and/or manage fruit and vegetables more closely either eating the food before it gets too ripe or tossing it out right away when it does. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.



House Flies

Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.


 

 

Mosquitoes
(blood-sucking flies) – see Parasitic Insects below.


 

 

Cockroaches
Cockroaches are loosely related to grasshoppers and crickets, however they have a greasier appearance and spread filth since they spend so much time living in and around it. Cockroaches are most often found in the kitchens of homes and restaurants, but can also be found in bathrooms and other parts of a home. Besides being disgusting and spreading filth, cockroaches are significant contributors to asthma, particularly in children. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

Cockroach Prep Sheet (pdf)


Parasitic Insects

These are various insects that live off of humans or our pets, either by sucking blood or by consuming skin.

Fleas
Fleas are notorious for infesting dogs and cats, “biting” them and causing them to itch and scratch. Fleas actually suck blood and can transmit diseases in the process. They usually prefer to feed on dogs or cats. And the flea population in a home can be staggering, but so long as there are enough dogs and/or cats for the fleas to feed on people may remain unaware. However, when the flea population increases to where they need to compete for “food sources,” or when a dog or cat dies or moves away, they are then more than happy to feed on humans! Since their numbers increase in the summer, some of the worse cases take place when the family goes on vacation and the pets have been kept at the kennel. With no pets to feed on, and the fleas increasing in numbers, they are poised for any motion-and are ravenous when everyone comes home. People sometimes cannot reenter their home until it is treated. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More info on fleas (pdf)
Flea Treatment Prep Sheet (pdf)



Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs, once a commonplace nuisance and health threat, are making a huge comeback right here in our 21st century living spaces. Bed Bugs are part of a unique group of insects that are actually called “true bugs!” While we may encounter true bugs outdoors on plants, we don’t want to find these in our homes as they usually live in and/or around our beds or other upholstered furniture where they wait patiently to feed on us by sucking blood. Besides the welt they can leave, they also are known transmitters of diseases, some of them quite serious. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.



Lice

There are several kinds of Lice, most notably Head-Lice and Body-Lice. These insects live off either blood or skin, depending upon the species. Head-Lice are spread through the sharing of hats and combs, and the close proximity of children playing together. Body-Lice usually require more intimate contact. Lice problems require direct treatment of a person using pharmaceutical products. Although cleaning or treatment of clothing and/or hair grooming items may be required, treatment of homes is not necessary. Cascade does not treat for Louse problems. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More info on Head Lice
More info on Crab Louse



Fungus Gnats

Fungus Gnats are small flies that breed in slimy fungus, hence their name. They can become pests indoors when they breed in drains-of showers and sinks, or in moist indoor plant soil. Locating the source of moisture and slime, or fungus, is paramount to gaining control. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More info on Fungus Gnats (pdf) provided by Purdue University, Extension Entomology



Fabric Pests

Fabric Pests are those insects that destroy cloth and other items made of wool, hair, leather, and/or silk. These insects have a unique ability to digest wool and cause havoc to clothing, wool carpeting and tapestries, furs, animal trophies, and some leather goods.



Carpet Beetles

Carpet Beetles originally gained their name by infesting wool carpets such that all the tufts would simply fall out, leaving the carpets backing-hence “thread-bare.” Carpet Beetles can be found in most Northwest homes and often people have no idea what is leaving small holes in their sweaters or suits. Carpet Beetles can thrive off shed pet hair, allowing them to multiply until they get into our woolens. Carpet Beetles are more adaptable than all that, however, and they are also formidable pests of stored foods such as spices and some grains. Since they spread throughout a home an extensive treatment is required. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

Carpet Beetle Prep Sheet (pdf)



Clothing Moths

Clothes Moths are infamous for infesting woolens and silk, however, they only occur in the Northwest when brought in on items, especially from travels. Otherwise, in most cases, when damage to woolens or silk is found it is due to Carpet Beetles. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

Clothing Moth Prep Sheet (pdf)


Food Pests

Pests of Stored Foods
These are insects that will infest stored dry foods, such as dry pastas and noodles, grains and flour, spices, dry dog and cat food, and bird seed. Most problems occur in kitchen cabinets and pantries, but sometimes occur in other areas of the home, either where pet food is stored or where mice have horded food for future consumption. The presence alone of insects in our food is unsightly, but even if we fail to notice them they horribly taint the texture and flavor of these foods.

Thoroughly infested food items can be tossed out, and those that are questionable can sometimes be passed through the microwave (to insure that any single insect is killed before it spreads throughout the food package.) However, these insects-and especially their youngest larvae-can be extremely tiny, going unnoticed in other areas of a kitchen or pantry, so an extended treatment of the area is necessary to stop the infestation. Also, when mice infest a home they tend to store collected foods in hidden spots, such as under kitchen cabinets and within wall voids where Food Pest Insects will infest the hidden foods. This poses a special problem in that the food and insects are hard to locate, treat, and remove.and it indicates a need for rodent control.

More Information on Stored Product Pests (pdf) provided by Purdue University, Extension Entomology
Food Pests Prep Sheet (pdf)



Drug Store Beetles

Drug Store Beetles infest dry grains, grain products such as noodles, and pet foods. These beetles are tiny, making them difficult to detect until they number in the hundreds or thousands. It also makes it impossible to locate all of them throughout the kitchen or pantry so an extended treatment is required. See general information regarding Food Pests above. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More info on Drug Store Beetles (pdf)
More info on Drug Store Beetles from Washington State University, Entomology Extension



Indian Meal Moths

Indian Meal Moths do significant damage to stored flour, meal, and other grain products. Even when the food is minimally infested the larvae and their webbing horribly ruins its taste. As with other stored product pests, they are small and spread out, so an extended treatment is required. See general information regarding Food Pests above. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More info on Indian Meal Moths



Carpet Beetles

(for more information see Carpet Beetles under Fabric Pests)
Carpet Beetles, while named after their ability to destroy woolen carpets, also infest certain stored dry foods-most notably grains and spices. Regardless of where they show up in a home, since Carpet Beetles can and will spread both into kitchen/pantry areas and into clothes closets and drawers in search of wool and silk, an extensive approach to treatment is needed. See general information regarding Food Pests above. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment. Carpet Beetle Prep Sheet (pdf)   Mites Mites, although technically not insects (they are related to spiders), can occasionally infest certain stored foods. See general information regarding Food Pests above. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More info on Grain Mites (pdf) provided by Purdue University, Extension Entomology



Occasional (Insect) Pests

“Occasional Pests” is a category for insects—as well as for certain other arthropods, as shown below—that seem to stumble into our homes and become nuisances, even periodically causing damage to our belongings.



Earwigs

The fact that these unusual creatures come equipped with huge pincers at the rear of their bodies, plus their suggestive name, leaves much to the imagination as to the harm they might cause. Yet, earwigs are not well known to cause anyone even small amounts of harm. For the most part, they just look creepy. Earwigs are found amongst leaf litter-accumulations of decaying vegetation where they prey upon the smallest of insects and other arthropods. Nevertheless, their greasy, threatening appearance is not welcome within homes and they sometimes do find their way inside in significant numbers. This most often happens in basements. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.



Silverfish
Silverfish are perhaps the most “prehistoric” of all insect groups. They are rare amongst insects in that all of their forms have no wings. Also they have a “primitive” body shape and metamorphosis. Silverfish and their cousins, Firebrats, are capable of surviving under extreme circumstances. They are most often found in areas of a home where moisture is present, such as in bathrooms. They can be very persistent, annoying, and can damage papers goods, including wallpaper and documents. Silverfish and Firebrats are often found in great numbers in attic spaces – particularly in cases of shake roofs and/or around skylights – from which they migrate down into the home. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.



Psocids or “Book Lice”

Psocids are often called book lice because they resemble lice in size, about 1/16th of a inch long, and in color and general appearance. (They also look a little like tiny termites) Psocids feed primarily on mold. Abundant outdoors, they can be found indoors in protected, damp areas where they can contaminate food, especially flour and grains, and they can infest book binding glues-hence their name. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.



Lady Beetles (Ladybugs)

Ladybugs are a delight to find outdoors and are associated with good luck. Both their larval and adult forms are beneficial to gardens as they eat aphids. Their colors can range from black with red spots to orange-red with up to 19 black spots. Unfortunately, they occasionally accumulate in very large numbers in homes, either entering or exiting hibernation in wall voids of the home. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.



Other Arthropods

Spiders
Spiders are famous for their ominous appearance, ability to bite-often with venom, their webs and their predacious nature. Having eight legs places them in the group known as “arachnids.” Spiders vary widely in size, “personality,” and presence or type of webbing they produce. Fortunately, Black Widow and Brown Recluse spiders are not native to Western Washington and are only rarely transported here. Unfortunately, we do have Aggressive House Spiders (also known as the Hobo Spider) which produce a skin ulcer and various other symptoms. Of course, spider webs cause a great deal of aesthetic concern, covering areas of home exteriors, widow views, and indoor areas of walls and ceilings. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More info on spiders (pdf)



Aggressive House Spider (Hobo Spider)

The aggressive house spider is rather large, about 2/3rds of a inch in length, and responsible for our worse spider bite injuries in Western Washington. These spiders can be found in many locations in and around a home, they travel long distances and are swift runners. Their bite is not too painful, but the symptoms that follow can be severe. Within a half-hour a red swelling occurs that can be 2 to 6 inches across. Within 1 to 2 days this area blisters and breaks, creating an open ulcer which can require surgery. Healing of the ulcer can take months. Systemic illness, when it occurs, can include headache, nausea, weakness, and vision impairment. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.



Brown Recluse Spiders

Brown Recluse Spiders are not normally found in the Northwest. According to arachnicologist, Rick Vetter, there has only been 3 documented cases of Brown Recluse Spiders in Washington State.



Occasional Pests (arthropods other than insects)

“Occasional Pests” is a category for arthropods-including certain insects, as shown above-that seem to stumble into our homes and become nuisances, even periodically causing damage to our belongings.



Centipedes

Centipedes are long, fast-moving, wormlike animals with many legs that stick out along the sides of its body. Most in our area are about an inch long and don’t bite (but those in tropical areas can be 6 or more inches long and are venomous.) Centipedes feed on tiny insects and are found in leaf litter outside but occasionally find there way indoors. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.



Millipedes

Millipedes are worm-shaped, brown or black, and have many legs that stem from the bottom of the body near the sides. Millipedes primarily eat decaying vegetable matter but sometimes find their way into homes in great numbers. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.




Sow Bugs (a.k.a. Pill Bugs, Potato Bugs)

Sow Bugs and Pill or Potato Bugs are in the same group, but only the Pill or Potato Bug can roll up into a ball when disturbed. They are gray to light brown in color, and generally feed on decaying organic matter. Sow Bugs and Pill Bugs can enter homes and become quite a nuisance, occurring most often in basements. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.


Rodents, Other Animals and Birds

Rodents
Rats
We in the Puget Sound region encounter both Norway Rats (sometimes called Warf Rats) and Roof Rats. Both species are “old world” rodents in that they were brought to North America by people migrating from Europe, and both species are considered “commensal”-meaning they are dependent upon living with or near human populations. Rats are infamous for their agility, ability to reproduce rapidly, their ability to damage homes and articles-especially food, and their ability to spread disease.

Rats often live in the attics or substructures of our homes for months or even years without our knowing it. While control can consist of trapping, baiting, and “build out,” the disease potential cannot be dismissed and a decontamination service may be warranted. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More info on Rodents (pdf)
More info on Rodent Decontamination and Rodent-borne disease (pdf)



Mice

There are two primary kinds of mice we encounter in the Puget Sound region, the House Mouse-and “old world rodent brought here from Europe, and Field Mice, a native rodent found in rural and some suburban areas. Both are notorious for entering through the smallest of holes, reproducing at alarming rates, contaminating food, and spreading diseases. The Field Mouse-and/or Deer Mouse-has recently been found to carry Hantavirus, a disease that is often fatal to humans. While control can consist of trapping, baiting, and “build out,” the disease potential cannot be dismissed and a decontamination service may be warranted. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More info on Rodents (pdf)
More info on Rodent-borne disease (pdf)
More info on Rodent Decontamination (pdf)



Squirrels
Squirrels and their cousins, Chipmunks, are the cute ones of the rodent clan. We often enjoy their fury little selves, their antics, even feed them. Of the various species of squirrels in Western Washington an introduced species, the Eastern Gray Squirrel, has become a serious pest. Eastern Gray Squirrels damage bird feeders, chew insulation off wires causing shorts (& possibly fires), and they can nest in attics damaging siding where they enter, as well as damaging attic insulation. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More info on Rodent Decontamination (pdf)



Other Mammals

Bats

We have two species of bats in the Puget Sound region that are far more numerous, even in suburban areas, than most people are aware. Bats often nest under eaves of homes and in attics. They are known carriers of rabies, as well as histoplasmosis-found in or near bat droppings. Since rabies is to be considered a threat from bats, any scratch or bite from a bat should be promptly washed with soap and water, followed by prompt medical attention. Control of bats often consists of “building them out” by blocking their ability to attics and other roosting sites. Decontamination is also an important consideration. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More info on Rodent Decontamination (pdf)


 

Racoons, Opossums, and Other Animals
A number of local wildlife mammals can become pests when they invade homes. Most control measures consist of “build out,” but may include live trapping and relocation. Whenever mammals have been found to nest under a house in a crawlspace, or above it in the attic, decontamination is an important consideration. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.

More info on Rodent Decontamination (pdf)


Birds

Birds – Various Species
Birds only become a serious problem when they nest in homes. Unfortunately, sometimes the number of birds and the amount of bird droppings can create a health hazard in the attic or other area in which they are nesting. In such cases there can be a risk of histoplasmosis or ectoparisites. Woodpeckers cause their own unique brand of problem when they drill holes in the siding of homes. In most cases “build out,” netting, or scare tactics are relied upon for control and a decontamination service used when the nesting has been extensive. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.



Wood Decay Fungus

Wood Decay Fungus (wood rot) Wood Decay Fungus is the proper term for the species of fungus that damage wood. Wood Decay Fungus will only set into wood when the moisture content is quite high, so most cases involve faulty roofing and gutters, faulty plumbing, or standing water in a substructure crawlspace. Control of Wood Decay Fungus must entail “moisture control,” and may also include the application of a wood preservative as well. Repairs are often necessary. Cascade can provide many of these services, depending upon the nature and extent of moisture problem and damage. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.


* All Purdue photos courtesy of Purdue University, Entomology Extension
* All Clemson photos courtesy of Clemson University Cooperative Extension
* All U of MD photos courtesy of University of Maryland
* All NCSU photos courtesy of North Carolina State University Dept. of Entomology
* All KCHW photos courtesy of Hazardous Waste Program of King County

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