Oregon Towns Top the Sprague Top 10 Stinging Insect List

The University of Oregon’s mascot – the Oregon Duck – is a pest to visiting teams when it whips the crowd into a frenzy with its sideline antics each fall but there is a more populous pest roaming around the state of Oregon – stinging insects.

The Sprague Pest Experts recently released the Pacific Northwest/Inter-Mountain Region’s Top 10 Cities for Stinging Insects based on data collected from its field technicians and service centers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Colorado, and seven of the 10 cities on the list are found within Oregon’s borders.

The state’s largest city, Portland, ranked seventh on the list but cities in the Portland metro area including North Plains, Cornelius, Sherwood, Canby and Forest Grove all earned a spot on the state’s stingiest list.

Why is Oregon a boom-state for stinging insect activity? Brian Kalbfleisch, Service Center Manager for Sprague’s Portland operation, credits the city’s climate and mandatory state recycling laws as possible reasons for the strong stinging insect pressure.

“They call Portland the City of Roses for a reason and the abundance of flowering plants in the area attracts pollinators in large numbers,” says Kalbfleisch.

Oregon’s commitment to sustainable recycling practices also contributes to a noticeable stinging insect presence. Recycling containers and dumpsters outside of grocery and convenience stores, restaurant and hospitality facilities contain liquid food waste that is a prime attractant.

“The sugary liquid residue in cans and bottles is a draw to stinging insects and this is where they can be a problem for employees and customers,” adds Kalbfleisch.

Kalbfleisch and the Sprague Pest Experts remind property managers of commercial facilities to take extra precautions to prevent stinging insects from becoming a problem in their facilities. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates 2 million Americans are allergic to stings with reactions ranging from swelling and dizziness to trouble breathing and cardiac arrest.

In addition to trash and recycling dumpster areas, stinging insects are known to congregate near food preparation and serving areas, outdoor bars, eaves and overhangs, wall voids, gutters, landscape features, outdoor furniture, and under decks.

The aggressive behavior of yellow jackets when scavenging food and garbage makes them not only a nuisance but a potential health threat to employees and customers who work or frequent outdoor spaces including loading docks, pool areas and dining areas. To give you some perspective on the threat, the Sprague Pest Experts estimate there are 1,000 stinging insects in the average nest.

How can you prevent stinging insects from becoming a nuisance or threat in your facility? The Sprague Pest Experts offer the following tips:

■ Remove the Source of the Infestation

Removing a stinging insect’s source of food, water and shelter is the first step toward preventing and eliminating these pests. Maintaining good sanitation protocols is a must and include cleaning up food and grease spills in outdoor dining and cooking areas, using tight fitting lids on garbage and recycling containers, and emptying them on a regular basis, and covering food waiting to be prepared in sealed containers.

■ Use Exclusion Techniques

Seal exterior cracks and crevices to prevent stinging insects from entering a structure and building nests. Make sure window, door and ventilation screens are in good repair.

■ Identify It Correctly

There are many kinds of beneficial flies that closely resemble wasps, and there are many kinds of “solitary” wasps which also look exactly the same as yellow jackets but that pose a much lower risk. Have your pest management partner make a proper identification before starting a treatment.

If you have an issue with stinging insects, send us an e-mail at info@spraguepest.com. We’ll be happy to get back with you with more information on how to prevent and eliminate them in your facility.


The Sprague Pest Experts

Stinging Insects: Bees, Hornets & Mosquitos