The fall harvest in the Pacific Northwest yields a healthy and delicious bounty of grains, fruits and vegetables for hungry consumers in the United States and around the globe.

When you consider the value of the agriculture production for the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho (three states Sprague Pest Solutions services) rises close to the $50 billion mark annually, you are talking about some serious amounts of potatoes, grapes, wheat, and apples!

As growers harvest Washington pears and hops, and Oregon vintners select grapes from the Willamette Valley for their next spectacular pinot noir, the Sprague Pest Experts are hard at work protecting the region’s food and agriculture industry from insects and other pests whose intentions are less than honorable.

The fall season is when opportunistic pests start their annual trek in from the fields and orchards to find winter shelter in structures – warehouses, processing facilities and transportation centers – and within the commodities making their way to food processors, local grocery stores and eventually dinner tables around the world.

From fruit flies who find onions and potatoes (among other fruit and vegetable varieties) attractive to the highly destructive Asian long-horned beetle that devours grain crops such as wheat, seed and hops, pests follow the food chain wherever it may lead.

Agriculture and food industry professionals also must deal with rats and mice that that can spoil processed food and commodities with the urine and droppings they leave behind. The Japanese beetle is another invasive fall pest that eats away at cherries, berries, hops, grapes and pears.

And while spiders actually provide a benefit to the food and agriculture industry by eating harmful insects that damage or spoil food and commodities, they aren’t always keen on human interaction. Spiders prefer to live in dark, undisturbed and cluttered areas and the food and agriculture industry offers plenty of that type of real estate!

The problem is for workers in the warehouses or processing facilities who encounter these sometimes venomous pests while unloading boxes and pallets (a common means of transportation for pests of all kinds) that arrive in droves every day during the harvest.

In the state of Washington black widow and hobo spiders are both venomous pests whose bite can cause rashes, headaches, fever, chills and difficulty breathing.

What can food and agriculture industry professionals do to protect themselves from “harvesting” unwanted pests in their facilities? The name of the game is prevention and here are two key recommendations from the Sprague Pest Experts:

  • Make sure your facility’s physical plant is inspected frequently and any structural deficiencies – torn window and door screens, broken vent openings, cracks and openings in the foundation, loose weather stripping around doors, standing water, etc. – are fixed. Pests are opportunists and will use these deficiencies to enter the structure.

  • Conduct thorough inspections of the processed food and raw commodities entering your facility. This is the No. 1 way pests enter a facility so inspecting shipping crates, pallets and boxes closely for pests and properly disposing of the packing materials is important.

Sprague is always available to answer your questions on how to prevent pests from becoming a problem in food or agriculture facilities. Feel free to send us an e-mail at with your comments or questions. We’ll be happy to get back with you with an answer.

Until we chat again, remember Sprague is your solution for pests.


The Sprague Pest Experts