Walla Walla Valley Current Pest Features and 2014 Previews

Over the last couple of days, the Z Pest phone has been ringing more and more as we haltingly move closer to spring time. Here's a short list of the things you can expect to see in the coming weeks that most often bother Z Pest customers, most of which can be dealt with at prices ranging from $40-$65 (plus tax), in rough order:

Odorous House Ants

Though on most days it's still a bit on the cold side as far as ants are concerned (and me, for that matter), the recent retreat of the snow we had around the Walla Walla valley has been followed by waves of ants emerging indoors from hiding places; specifically, it's everybody's tiny friends, the Odorous House ant ("OHA" for short). Or maybe it's just that ants get cabin fever, too. In any case, they're in your home and/or office and you're probably thinking that they have to go.

I can definitely help. But before I head on over, there are a few things you can do to help yourself and me:

1. Don't spray the ants! Most over-the-counter insecticide sprays, even the ones labeled for ants, contain what are known as "repellent" insecticides. They will kill whatever ants you can see, but it's the ants you don't see that matter the most: the queens (unfortunately, that's plural because OHA can have multiple queens in each colony). The surviving worker ants will smell the repellent insecticide and simply avoid that area, and the unaffected queens will continue to crank out eggs. What's worse, sometimes the ants will react by splitting up their colony and spreading out all over your house! Leave any spraying to me, as I use non-repellent, slow-acting products that will reach into their nests.

sugar ants, ants, odorous house ants, walla walla, dayton, milton freewater, pest control, exterminator
If the bait you're using works, this is how OHA will react.
2. Baits are ok! Not all baits are equal when it comes to OHA, as some are definitely better than others. What I tell people as a rule of thumb is that if the bait comes in a solid form, the ants are probably going to ignore it. Generally, a liquid form bait will perform better, and as far as over-the-counter baits go, Terro is the one I recommend you use for minor ant incursions. I use something different that avoids some of the flaws of baits like Terro, but it will at least get the ball rolling in the right direction for you.

3. Don't worry about cleaning! I know this can be a difficult thing for some to do, especially when a guest is going to be visiting your home. Let me assure you that after witnessing the chaos generally referred to as the "freshman dorm experience" at Washington State U., seeing a bit of clutter doesn't phase me. That said, I'm not saying that mountains of belongings and trash don't matter, as that would negatively affect my results, but your kitchen counter tops do not need to be squeaky clean just because I'm coming over. The reason cleaning can actually make things a bit harder for me when I come to treat your ants is that you may inadvertently remove the thing the ants were interested in, which in the case of OHA will cause them to go back into hiding. That doesn't make treating them impossible, but it can make it a longer process.

Ready to get rid of your ants? I can be reached at 509-540-7946!


Spiders maintain both an indoor and and outdoor presence, and some species live up to a couple of years, which prompts them to spend winter indoors with us. The vast majority of spiders that you encounter in your home, office, and yard are NOT potentially harmful (physically, that is), and the species folks around here most commonly fear, the dreaded brown recluse spider, doesn't even live in this part of the United States!

spiders, brown recluse, wolf spider, pest control, exterminator, walla walla, dayton, milton freewater
This is a mother wolf spider that briefly lived with me, with
her newly hatched babies riding on her back.
Spiders you will commonly see around here are brown house spiders, jumping spiders, various types of orb weaving spiders, and swift little grass spiders. On occasion, you may encounter black widow spiders, but these shy, non-aggressive spiders will typically stay as far away as they can from you as you will from them.

During the winter months, I can help you reduce or eliminate populations of spiders inside your home or office with some simple crack, crevice, and spot spraying with appropriate pesticides. During the spring, summer, and fall, I mostly address spiders with exterior treatments (which can reduce or eliminate the presence of spiders indoors the following winter). If your home or office has a crawl space, I can also treat those spaces with insecticidal dusts that will provide even more long-term control of spiders (typically for six to eight months).

Boxelder Bugs

It's still a little on the cold side most days for our local six-legged sunbathers, but they are already making occasional appearances (as of the date of this writing, I've already performed one boxelder bug treatment for a customer this year).

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Boxelder bugs sunning themselves on the side of
a building belonging to one of my clients.

Though harmless to humans and pets, boxelder bugs are nonetheless extremely annoying as they mass in the hundreds or even thousands on the sides of our homes and offices. During the winter months, they wedge themselves into whatever cracks and crevices they can find (under siding, behind rocks, even into the cracks of old telephone poles!) where they wait for the return of spring. They can also commonly be found under gravel, bark beds, piles of leaves, etc.

Treating boxelder bugs is a simple matter of placing residual insecticides on the spots where they are likely to hang out, with emphasis on their preferred harborage areas. To get an early start on them, I can do a crack and crevice treatment around your home and a landscape spray on certain areas of your yard with long-lasting insecticides that will reduce their numbers early on in the season. If it gets to be later in the season before you decide you've had enough of them, no problem, as they can be addressed after they've emerged, too.


weed control, dandelions, clover, thistles, weeds, lawn, walla walla, dayton, milton freewater
This is my front yard a few weeks after I treated it.
 I use the same stuff around my own home
and yard as I would around yours!
As soil temperatures slowly trend upward, several weed species will begin putting down roots and pushing up shoots. Others that began their life cycle in the fall months will come out of their slumber and finish up before summer sets in by producing the seeds that will restart their cycle when fall comes again.

Depending on the type of weeds you want controlled, be they in your lawn or your driveway, generally they can be stopped in advance with an application of "pre-emergent" herbicide products. If the weeds have already begun growing, such products can be combined with "post-emergent" herbicides to stop them in their tracks and help prevent more from following.

Z Pest is equipped to handle both large and small weed control jobs with hand-held and truck-mounted equipment. In many cases, these services can be scheduled along with other offered pest control services, which can potentially save you some money.

European Paper Wasps

These terrors of the eaves of your home are still a few months away from becoming a nuisance, but when their time does come again, they can be most effectively dealt with in the early days of their spring and summer life cycle.

paper wasps, bees, hornets, yellowjackets, wasps, walla walla, dayton, milton freewater
These are hibernating European paper wasps
that I found in a crate belonging to one of
my clients last winter. These wasps were
destroyed before they ever had a chance
to become a problem!
An invasive species from overseas that arrived in the United States in the early 1980's, the European paper wasp begins each season with the establishment of new nests by fertile queens that were hatched the previous year. They've spent the winter tucked away in sheltered places, waiting for warmer weather to come out and seek nesting sites.

Generally, these new queens are going to seek out eastern and southern-facing locations that offer solid surfaces to anchor a nest to. They do this to maximize their exposure to sunlight, which they require to warm their bodies. They will also tend to favor locations with accessible building materials (untreated wood - fence posts are a commonly used resource), water (your lawn sprinklers will provide plenty), and soft-bodied insect foods for their larva (any plants in your yard that harbor aphids will attract these wasps, for example).

Because the existence of entire future nests of European paper wasps depends on the success of these awakened queens, that is the ideal time to strike. Treatments around your home with long-term residual insecticides will kill these queens as they investigate your property as a potential nesting site, ensuring that dozens more wasps that each of them would have produced will never exist over the following months. As soon as you spot the young queens taking to the air, it's time to hit them. Give me a call when they do, I'll be ready.

There are plenty of other pests that Z Pest control can address for you in addition to these: earwigs, fleas, mice, birds, etc. Whatever it is that's giving you trouble, give me a call and I'll help you with it as best I can!

Z Pest Control LLC

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I liked that you said something about not getting everything squeaky clean before you come to take care of ants. I never even thought about the fact that you might be cleaning up what the ants are attracted to! I also haven't had anyone to our place to take care of spiders, but I see them the most and I'd rather not. http://www.uspestcontrolco.com/services/