If you are beginning to find daily Yellow Jackets flying around inside your home, this is a clear indication that your home actually developed a full blown nest over the past season, most likely in your attic area.  As the life span of these insects begin to wind down, they abandon their nesting site and begin to wander aimlessly through the attic area.  They will tend toward sources of light, subsequently dropping into your living space through recessed lighting fixtures or bathroom vent housings.  While their appearance is a sure sign that the nest is beginning to die-off, the pure fact that the original nest could contain as many as 900 to 1200 individual insects could mean that you could potentially start enduring 5 to 30 insects a day, invading your space, for a good portion of the early winter.  While it is indeed more challenging to exterminate the entire colony once they have begun to branch out, it is still quite possible to attempt to eliminate the majority of the remaining insects, therefore reducing the overall number of invaders that you will potentially have to deal with!  As the challenge of locating and treating the nest becomes much more difficult at this stage, it is always best to call in a professional!

In the Pacific Northwest, mid-October brings with it the return of colder, wet weather.  With this also comes the annual influx of rodent infestations into the attic and crawlspace areas of your home.  From now, until next May or June, the rodents, i.e. rats and mice, that were once content to live outside in the warm, summer climate will proactively begin to seek out the warmth and shelter provided by these places.  Once a nearby rat or mouse population finds a way into your home, they will set up a new nesting site and then settle in for the long, cold winter.  Often times, they will only give their presence away by the subtle noises that they may make in the early morning and early evening hours.  If present though, they can do considerable damage to the insulation found in the areas that they move into.  While important to take the necessary measures to exterminate these unwanted visitors, it is equally important to work towards identifying and eliminating the access points that these vermin are utilizing to gain access into your home.  Sealing off any known access points not only addresses the current problem, but is also an important aspect in the prevention of future problems.

The exceptionally cool and wet June that we experienced seemed to really put the annual development of the Yellow Jacket and Paper Wasp invasions on hold.  Once I began to again come across developing Yellow Jacket nests in early July, they appeared as the same size of nests that we would usually find in late May.  Right now, the nests that you may see hanging from your homes eaves, or a shrub in the yard will be about the size of a canteloupe, with 250-300 aggressive inhabitants inside.  These hanging nests will be shrouded in a marbled gray, paper-like material that will give it it’s rounded shape.  Inside are the layers of combs that the insects use to both live and increase in numbers.  When a Yellow Jacket Queen embeds a nest within the structure of a home, the size and number of stinging insects remains the same, but you will not see the actual nest.  What you will see is a crack or gap in the construction of your home, where the workers are continuously flying both into and out of.  These embedded nests can be both destructive to your home, and dangerous to the inhabitants should they chew through a wall or ceiling and spill out into the living space.  I have entered homes with literally hundreds of stinging yellow jackets flying around the inside of a room or two.  For this reason, a homeowner should be diligent and on the lookout for these situations where the insects are “disappearing” into a crack in the home, and proactive in their efforts to have the nest exterminated.  These nests will easily peak out at 900-1200 insects if left alone.  Spraying the opening with simple over the counter insecticides, or worse yet, sealing off the exit pathway with spray foam never works, and almost always prompts the insects to begin appearing in numbers inside.  Professional methods and products can make short work of completely eliminating these types of nests, without creating an even worse interior “horror story”!

Every Spring, the first big heat wave of the season (usually in May), triggers the annual swarms of Carpenter Ants that leave their nesting sites in search of a new home.  The 80 degree temperatures forecast for this Mother’s Day weekend in Snohomish County will most certainly start this process.  Should you notice concentrations of very large, black ants grouping together on or near your home, this is a sure sign of an active Carpenter Ant infestation.  Just because these reproductive swarming members of the colony are leaving, does not mean that the nest is going away.  They are merely spreading out to allow the overall colony size to continue to increase.  The original nest of worker ants will remain in place and continue to destroy the wood structure of your home.  As these insects are classified as a wood-destroying threat to your home, it is alway a good idea to be proactive in seeking professional help in exterminating both the colony you are finding in your home, as well as the originating nesting site that they came from.  Taking an incorrect, layman’s approach to just chasing the ants with common, over the counter chemical applications most often simply chases the ants deeper into your walls and subfloors, where they will continue to chew away at the wooden structure of your home.

With the warmer, sunnier weather gladly upon us, now is the time for Paper Wasps, Hornets and Yellow Jackets to begin seeking out nesting sites along the eaves and gutterlines of your home.  At nearly every stop I make, a quick glance upwards and I am visually locating these stinging insects either already establishing their annual nests, or at the least very actively looking for a place to call home.  This week, the Yellow Jacket nests I’m finding have graduated to the point in size where the Queen’s have laid their first, initial batch of eggs.  The nest size themselves are equivalent to a size slightly larger than a golf ball.  Once the eggs have hatched, the first wave of Yellow Jacket workers will begin to take over the nest building responsibilities and each week the nests will start to nearly double in size, until they reach the approximate size of a basketball!  Always best to catch these early.  Should you suspect this type of activity on or around your home, you can check out our website at www.aadvantagepest.com for additional information on resolving these types of issues.