How Do You Get Rid of Those Creepy Crawly Pests Around Green Lake?
Did you read the story recently that spiders could theoretically eat every human being on earth in one year? I did and it gave me the heeby jeebies. Especially when I think about the spring cleaning I need to do to my backyard soon to open up our patio and prepare for more time outdoors.
So we asked a local expert, Chris Parker, who has lived in the Green Lake area since 2008 for some advice on controlling pests of all varieties. Chris owns Parker Eco Pest Control, which offers a greener approach to taking care of pests.
Seattle Greenlaker: What kinds of pests are involved in your most frequent Green Lake pest calls?
Chris: As we move into the second quarter of the year the sunshine is making it warmer and the flowers are beginning to bloom. This means creepy crawlies like ants are finding their way into kitchens and spiders are crawling out of cracks and crevices. But our most common pest control calls are about rodents. Year-round, mice and rats seem to hold constant in terms of numbers; nesting in walls during the winter months and being more active during the warmer months.
Seattle Greenlaker: Is anything unique about Green Lake and pests than the other neighborhoods you service?
Chris: Green Lake is a great climate for insects and rodents because of the ample greenspace combined with lots of human activity. It’s also home to many, many rain gardens. Seattle Public Utilities subsidizes rain gardens through the RainWise program in an effort to divert rain water and keep our waterways clean. Due to the topography, most homes in the Green Lake area qualify for the program. While these rain gardens are highly beneficial to the city’s infrastructure (and attractive too!) they’re also havens for pests. These rain gardens provide food, water and shelter for creepy crawlers and rodents alike.
Seattle Greenlaker: How do you normally “take care” of them?
Chris: At Parker Eco Pest Control we use a combination of physical interventions, eco-friendly products, and education. Physical interventions include things like destroying nests, sealing entry points around the home, and laying traps in strategic places. Some of our green products include vinegar sprays, mint-scented repellents, borax similar to what you might find in your laundry room, and my favorite – diatomaceous earth (a mineral that kills insects but is completely safe for human consumption). Educating our customers is one of the most important ways to control pests. Simple steps like wiping down your counters more frequently, storing your food in air-tight container and trimming plants within a foot of your home’s exterior can make a big difference.
Seattle Greenlaker: What makes you an eco pest control service?
Chris: Eco-friendly pest management means we’re employing all means of pest control techniques before jumping straight to harsh chemicals. The technical name for this approach is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). A lot of pest control companies use chemicals as the default solution, which can pollute ground water, ponds, rain run-off, and even impact the homeowner and their families. When chemicals are required we opt for the lowest impact option possible, starting with eco-friendly products and escalating to federally regulated products only when needed.
Seattle Greenlaker: With so many neighborhood alleys do you have recommendations on how to keep rats and other pests out of the neighborhood?
Chris: The stereotypical alley full of rats is somewhat true. Alleys have food, cozy nesting spots, and standing water. If your neighborhood is experiencing high numbers of pests there are a few simple things you can do. Hose your garbage bin inside and out every month and sprinkle a bit of borax inside. Make sure the lids fit tightly and consider a bungee cord (especially if you suspect raccoons). Also make sure the storm drains are working properly to reduce standing water. Clutter is a pest’s best friend. Wood piles, lawn clippings, and junk in general make for great nesting spots. By eliminating food, water and shelter from the vicinity, you’ll send a message to any pest that they’re not welcome in your neighborhood.
Seattle Greenlaker: Okay, I’m going to get super specific on a creepy crawly that we have seen at our house and I bet other Greenlakers have too. Every year we have to de-spider the area next to our kayaks and every year we see a spider that looks like a black widow. We’ve gone online and found that there is a black widow look a-like that is far more common. Have you run into these things before? Are they common here?
Chris: Being worried of poisonous spiders is a common feeling that isn’t totally unfounded. Here in Washington we have two poisonous spiders, the black widow and the hobo spider. Both the black widow and hobo spiders are rare to find in Western Washington are more commonly found in Eastern Washington. That being said they do still live in our area. If you find what may be poisonous spiders I recommend wearing gloves, vacuuming them up, and applying preventative treatments before you re-storing your items. For items like clothing, a tightly sealed plastic bag will do just fine. For bigger items like boats, try filling some old pantyhose with cedar chips and placing the bundles inside. Make sure to replace once a month for best results.
Thanks for the advice Chris!