Washington, or Evergreen State, is arguably one of the most beautiful states in the majestic Pacific Northwest. It is home to an evergreen forest spanning hundreds of miles, snow-capped volcanos, and stunning wine farms.
It’s also home to millions of insect species, not to mention small rodents like mice that cause damage when they infest homes.
That said, this comprehensive guide explores the most prevalent house bugs in Washington. Whether you live in the state or plan to move there, here are some common pests you’ll want to look out for.
Without delay, let’s dive in!
5 Types of Common Bugs in Washington
1. Bed Bugs
First on our list are bed bugs. These tiny wingless creatures usually feed on human blood to survive. But interestingly, this insect excretes anesthetic before feeding on you so you don’t feel the bite.
While some people will not develop any reaction after a bedbug bite, others might show the following symptoms.
- Red, swollen bumps with a dark spot in the center
- Constant Itchiness and scratching
- Fluid-filled blisters
Bedbugs rarely spread any disease, but they can be a nuisance. They are good at hiding and hitching, often infesting homes through used furniture, luggage, or clothing. Another thing, these bugs can travel via small vents, cracks, and crevices.
Regular house cleaning of the house and bedding can prevent infestation. You should also clean the clutter and inspect luggage after a trip.
2. North American Cockroaches
In Washington state cockroaches don’t grow as large (ranging between 1 ½ to 2 inches), but they are formidable adversaries.
Besides being resilient, these notorious pests can carry viruses, parasites, and bacteria on their bodies and in their faces. That means they can pose a major health risk by spreading diseases like salmonella and dysentery.
If that is not enough, North American cockroaches are nocturnal, fast breeders and adapt to new environments quickly. Because of this, they can prove hard to eradicate.
So, what’s the solution?
Well, homeowners should eliminate potential food (and water) sources and hiding spots by keeping the house clean and sealing cracks and gaps. In case of an infestation, contact certified exterminators.
Other types of cockroaches common in Washington include:
- German cockroaches
- Oriental cockroaches
- Brown-banded cockroaches
3. Carpenter Ants
Another pesky pest in Washington State worth checking out is the carpenter ants. Like pavement and odorous house ants, carpenter ants can invade kitchens, pantries, and other areas in search of food.
Carpenter ants usually have black, red, or brown coloration. But some can have a blend of black and red shades.
Naturally, these ants occur outside but can enter your home via eaves, window frames, and door frames. They can also sneak through open points around utility lines and plumping.
It is simple: keep food stored in airtight containers, clean up spills immediately, and seal potential entry points.
And if you have an infestation, locate their colony and use bait or non-toxic insecticides against them. Alternatively, you can hire a professional pest control company.
It’s no secret these arthropods play a vital role in the ecosystem. However, they can be a serious headache when they share homes with humans.
For example, the black widow’s venomous bite can cause excruciating pain. Like its cousin, a bite from a brown recluse is venomous and can cause death (particularly in children). Nonetheless, these spiders only bite when provoked or threatened.
In addition to their bites, spiders can frustrate homeowners with their habit of abandoning and rebuilding webs. These bugs usually thrive in dark, undisturbed areas of the home, such as closets, garages, under furniture, and barns.
If you don’t like spiders getting into your home or business, consider doing the following:
- Mow your lawn occasionally
- Trim bushes and shrubs away from the exterior of your home
- Keep your home clean and clutter-free
- Remove debris from your property that could attract insects that spiders love
- Install door sweeps and window screens
- Inspect and clean window shutters regularly
- Implement effective pest control measures
5. Stinging Insects
As the name suggests, stinging insects come with a potent stinger that delivers powerful stings to humans and pets alike.
With each spring, these bugs emerge from overwintering and embark on a quest to locate new nesting spots or shelter. Unfortunately, this could mean your yard or porch.
In Washington State, there are several stinging insects you should keep tabs on. They include:
- Wasps: Wasps include a wide selection of stinging insects that vary in terms of shape, color, diet, and size. Unlike honey bees, wasps have a retractable stinger that delivers multiple painful stings. They also have a narrow waist or petiole.
- Paper wasps: This species of wasp grow rock black or dark-brown coloration, with yellow stripes on their abdomen. European paper wasps also have a pair of orange-tipped antennae. These insect gets their full name from their nest, which they build using fibers of dead wood and plants chewed to form paper-like, hexagonal cells. While paper wasps are not aggressive, they can get super territorial when threatened.
- Hornets: Hornets are large types of wasps that grow up to 2 inches. They are predatory insects that live in colonies and will attack anyone or anything perceived as a threat.
- Bland-faced hornets: Bland-faced hornets are perhaps the most common type of hornets in the US. Often identified by their black and white stripes, these insects love constructing their nests in chimneys, under eaves, barns, attics, and nearby trees. Although these hornets are peaceful, they are extremely protective of their large nests.
- Yellow Jackets: Measuring between 3/8 to 5/8 inches in length, yellow jackets thrive underground and in concealed spaces. But they can also nest in attics, barns, behind walls, and other structures. Yellow jackets stand out from other wasps because of their distinct side-to-side movements. They are also super aggressive and can sting you for no reason at all (without provocation).
- Carpenter bees: Unlike honey bees, carpenter bees are larger and fatter. They also stay true to their name because they love borrowing wood. What’s interesting, they don’t eat the wood like termites. Instead, they drill into it to create tunnels, where they lay eggs and protect their larvae as they develop. As such, they can threaten the structural integrity of many homes.
So, how do you keep these insects from your home?
First off, remove food sources, such as fallen fruits, beer or soda cans, and protein-based scraps. Also, keep your doors and windows shut when not in use and seal off potential entryways in your walls and foundation. Lastly, grow plant-based repellents around your property, like marigold, mint, geranium, and basil.
Other Common Pests in Washington
Aside from the bugs mentioned above, several other common house pests that can make your stay in Washington difficult include:
But sometimes, ticks can be found in your garden or yard in areas with tall grass or shrubs. These types of pests usually wait patiently for a passing host–mostly domestic pets–and attach themselves to them.
When your pets enter the house, they can bring with them these parasites. Ticks can also come to your home through common rodents like rats and squirrels.
Are ticks dangerous?
Yes! Ticks carry and transmit life-threatening diseases to humans and animals through their bite. For instance, the Black Legged Tick or Deer Tick is a known vector of Lyme disease, tick paralysis, and babesiosis.
If you live in a wooden house, your biggest threat is termites. These foraging insects live in large colonies and feed on wood, leaf litter, dun, and soil.
Termites are considered pests because they cause significant damage to timber and timber-framed buildings. In fact, termite damage accounts for about $5 billion in damage repairs in homes across the United States yearly.
If you have a termite infestation, you will notice discarded wings and damaged wood. But you can prevent further damage through inspection, observation, and applying the best termite extermination solutions.
3. Stink Bugs
Our list will not be complete without mentioning stink bugs. These bugs stand out because of the triangular-shaped plate on their backs. They also have small glands on their thorax that emit an offensive smell when touched or squashed.
While they don’t pose any threats to humans, they can be a bother, especially in fall and spring. Luckily, you can prevent stink bug infestation by sealing cracks and gaps in walls, windows, and doors. You can also use natural repellents and eco-friendly insecticides.
Silverfish prefer warm and dark areas, but can also thrive in moist areas, like basements and bathrooms. Furthermore, they love feeding on starchy materials like mattresses, fabrics, and paper.
You don’t want these bugs invading your home because they are resilient. Silverfish can go for months without food and are nocturnal, only coming out at night. As such, they are extremely hard to eliminate.
Additional Pests Worth Highlighting
- Brown Mantidfly
- Water Bugs
- Drain Flies
- Carpet beetles
- Cluster Flies
When you familiarize yourself with them and implement the right preventive measures, you can prevent an infestation. What’s more, you can minimize the risks associated with these pests, like the transmission of diseases and damage to home structures.
If you already have a pest problem, consider hiring professional exterminators. These experts will visit your home, identify and eliminate the cause of the infestation and eradicate the pest.
But remember, early detection and prompt actions are the best way to keep your home environment bug-free.