El Cajon Pest Control

Ants, spiders, rats, water bugs - oh my! These are just a few of nature´s creatures that become pests for "The Big Box" residents of El Cajon. In Spanish, El Cajon means "the big box" or "the drawer." The name refers to how El Cajon is "boxed-in" by surrounding mountains.

Residents of El Cajon do not have to imagine how heat gets trapped inside their valley - with summer temperatures well over 100°. . . they feel it.

Wikipedia, however, describes an average August temperature of around 88°F but locals of this east county town would say the "real" temperature is from the mid-90´s to well over 100°. All this warm weather brings out ants - and spiders.

Sign of Downtown El Cajon

Downtown El Cajon, CA

Hearts Pest Management can eliminate not only ants and spiders utilizing traditional or organic methods but oriental roaches (big, black water bugs), earwigs, and outdoor fleas.

These types of pests are covered in our general pest service and can be treated with EcoWise Organic Products.

Hearts Service Professionals use a combination of IPM (Integrated Pest Management) solutions, as well as appropriate products, to manage pests and meet our El Cajon customers´ needs.

Hearts Pest Management Field Supervisor and Technician, John Newkirk, is a resident of El Cajon and understands the pest issues of residential and commercial customers in this East County town.

Commercial Pest Control in El Cajon

Hearts Pest Management will inspect commercial buildings including medical, retirement centers, restaurants, industrial buildings, churches, hotels, etc. free of charge.

Many restaurants battle roaches, flies, ants, and other pests. Hotels have problems with bed bugs, medical facilities and retirement homes require organic pest management and IPM solutions because of their patients and residents.

Inn with fountain

Hotels, restaurants, apartment buildings, churches, schools, retirement and healthcare facilities - all have their unique pest issues from bed bugs, general pest and rodents, to cockroaches.

Video of Country Hills Healthcare Center in El Cajon

Ants and Spiders and other Creepy Crawlers

The two spiders of medical importance in El Cajon are black and brown widow spiders. Both will bite when disturbed or threatened.

It is not uncommon to find widow spiders and their egg sacs under outdoor toys, playground equipment, woodpiles, corners of the garage, under patio furniture, storage areas, and in the eaves.

Black Widow Spider

Black widows spiders are toxic to humans; note the red "hourglass."

Black Widows tend to like dark corners and will only bite if they get caught next to one's skin and/or feel threatened.

Other spiders such as orb-weavers, jumping spiders, and common grass (funnel-weaver) spiders are harmless and beneficial for the garden and landscape.

Some are hunters like the jumping spider that seek out their prey and others like the orb-weaver and grass spider use a 'sit-and-wait" technique to obtain their meals.

Brown Widows are easily identified by their cream-colored, spiky egg sacs and an orange hourglass. This widow likes to hide under things like patio furniture.

For the most part, other spiders found around the home and landscape are fairly harmless; their spider mouth parts are too small to penetrate human skin but they "help" by eating garden insects that destroy leaves, flowering plants, and vegetables.

Female Brown Widow with Egg Sac

Brown widow with "spiky" egg sac.

Funnel-weaver spider

Grass spiders make sheet-like webs with tunnels.

Grass SpidersUnlike black and brown widows that hide, grass spiders make their webs right out in the open, all over the landscape.

Grass spider webs are easily observed in the spring and summer, especially after an early morning dew.

The female makes the web and waits patiently within the funnel portion until an insect gets tangled in the upper, sheet-like area, then she scurries out to bite and paralyze its victim. Since the grass spider's mouth parts are so small, she can only penetrate small insects, not humans!


The hotter it gets, ants come indoors in search of water. Ants will also partake of any food that´s left out, especially pet food. There are several ant species in southern California, some native, most however, are invasive.

Depending on the species, ants have different tastes. For instance, spraying alone won´t completely eliminate Argentine ants; these ants need to be treated with slow-acting bait that they can take back to their colony. Some ants like grease and meats, others prefer sweets.

Red Imported Fire Ants

Red Imported Fire Ants have spread throughout most of the southern United States.

Bites from red fire ants

Red Fire ant bites. This gentleman had 250 bites in 10 seconds after kneeling on a collapsed mound!

Invasive Red Fire Ants have a powerful sting. But not only do fire ants sting, they cause major damage to electrical systems.Fire ants infiltrate traffic signals, electrical switches, telephone boxes, air conditioners, and even medical equipment - causing costly repairs and replacement of parts or entire systems.

El Cajon Ant and Spider Control

It´s important to have ants properly identified in order to implement the right treatment

Hearts Pest Management Service Professionals are experts at identifying ant and spider species, providing customers with quality service and treatment.

Wiring destroyed by ants in electrical system

You wouldn´t think ants could destroy electrical equipment but they do. Fire ants got into this electrical fence box and ruined the wiring.

Here are a few ways homeowners can minimize ants and spiders:

  • Caulking small holes and gaps. (For example, the bathtub overflow sometimes gets a small hole in the metal where ants find their way indoors in search of water.)
  • Vacuuming regularly, especially kids rooms and the family room where crumbs tend to drop on the floor. (Tasty treats for mice too!)
  • Sweeping patios at least once a week, check (dust webs) under patio furniture, playground equipment and outdoor toys.
  • Keep pet food in sealed containers. For animals that have dry food in their bowls throughout day (like cats), here´s a trick to try until your Hearts Technician can treat for you: Sprinkle cinnamon on the floor, all around the food and water bowls - ants don´t like it and will not cross the circle of cinnamon.

Norway Rat Nest with Babies

Norway Rat and Nest - Also called "Brown Rat" or "Sewer Rat." Norway rats are stockier than Roof rats, with a shorter tail.

Rat and Mice Control in El Cajon

Waking up at 3:00 in the morning to noises in the attic is not only annoying but a sign you may have rats.

Tree branches touching the roof are bridges for rats to crossover and into your attic.
Rats and mice outdoors are one thing but when they start coming inside to build their nest, well, then you have a problem.

Rats and mice multiply very quickly; their urine and feces can cause health issues for you and your family.
Breathing in rodent urine and fecal matter through vents leads to diseases such as hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, leptospirosis, and lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, which according to CDC (Center for Disease Control) "poses a particular risk for pregnant women."

If bitten, one can also suffer from rat-bite fever. It´s better to get a handle on a rat or mice issue before it becomes a full-blown infestation.

Damage in attic by roof rats

Damage to the attic floor and insulation by roof rats.

Roof rat

A Roof Rat or "Black Rat" has a tail twice as long as its head and body.

Hearts Pest Management offers free rodent inspections. We provide trapping, exclusion work (blocking of access points), and attic clean-outs. In California, the roof rat and the Norway rat are the most troublesome of rats.

Knowing the species is important in order to utilize the most effective rodent control method. Even rodents roaming or nesting outdoors on your property can become a problem because invariably, they will find their way indoors, especially in garages where doors are often left open.

Infestations can happen in vehicles left outside as well. Hearts provides a monthly rodent baiting service for many of our El Cajon customers.

Deer mouse and nest

Deer mice may look cute but they are carriers of the Sin Nombre (SN) virus, the primary
agent of Hantavirus Cardiopulmonary Syndrome (HCPS).

Access point of rat entrance

A dark area next to a hole is an entrance point where mice or rats have gone in and out - called "grease-rub."

If you have evidence of rats and mice, or hear noises in your attic and walls, we can help before they cause damage to your home - and your family´s health.

Animals such as rodents don´t become pests until they enter the home, destroy property and/or landscape, and are a threat to one´s health - including pets.

Gophers and rats/mice are often a landscape and structural concern for churches. Food manufacturers specializing in organic foods and packaging require specific guidelines for their pest management.

Hearts Pest Management Professionals are experienced and certified in organic applications, specializing in commercial properties and providing tailored services to meet each organization´s pest management needs.

El Cajon Roach Control

Oriental roaches are big, flat, black roaches sometimes referred to as "water bugs" because of their propensity to congregate in dark, damp places.

Usually found outdoors, the Oriental cockroach will make its way inside when temperatures start to cool down - or if there is water available.

Oriental Roach

Yuck! Oriental Cockroach (B. orientalis) - AKA "Water Bug"

The most common areas one may find Oriental roaches are in floor drains, under sinks, washers, bathrooms, basements, crawl spaces, areas between the soil and foundation, under sidewalks, in sewer pipes, and any other damp places.

Outside, they can be found near or under garbage cans. Oriental roaches tend to be prevalent during the spring and summer months.
Hearts Pest Management is able to treat for Oriental roaches with either traditional or organic methods.

If, however, you are unfortunate to have the kind of roaches one typically gets in the kitchen, then traditional products work best and there is prep involved such as taking everything out of the kitchen cabinets, covering food, etc.

Hearts provides free roach inspections in order to identify whether you have German, American, or just the Oriental (water bug) species of roaches, and will treat accordingly.

Male and Female American Cockroach

The American Cockroach infests homes and restaurants.

El Cajon Pest Control for Bees, Wasps, and Yellow Jackets


Bees are important for pollinating our food crops. Without them, we would have less of our favorite foods - or none.

Before the 1950´s, farmers grew a variety of crops in one area which complimented the wild bee´s natural habitat (most wild bees nest directly in the ground in thick grass, soil, and wood -- rarely in hives) but then farmers began planting monoculture fields (single crops), devoid of the natural kind of vegetation needed for wild bees to build their nests.

Today, these monoculture crops have become reliant on the European honey bee for pollination.

Honey bee on red poppy flower

Honey bees are essential for pollenating our food crops. Hearts will only treat for bee hives if they are very near or inside of a home.

Sometimes bees are just swarming or resting between locations but they soon leave in a day or two.

If you see bees going in and out of an area, they probably are making a hive of honeycomb and you´ll need to have a Hearts Service Professional inspect and treat as necessary.

Hearts, however, makes it a practice NOT to treat for bees if they are over 100 ft. away from the home. Remember, bees only become aggressive when defending their queen and we need them to pollinate our crops.

honeycomb in shed

Old and new honeycomb in a shed.


Wasps are a different story . . . yes, they help pollenate as well but some wasp species such as paper wasps are aggressive and tend to build their nests under eaves, especially patios, right out in the open where people are present.

Yellowjackets build a different kind of paper nest - under the ground. Stepping on a yellowjacket´s nest is not a pleasant experience.

Of all the social wasps, yellowjackets are considered to be the greatest nuisance, especially at picnics and barbeques. The yellow and black invader is often an uninvited guest to family picnics and outdoor gatherings, anywhere there is food.

Western Yellowjacket close up
Yellowjackets absolutely love sweets but will just as well attack a ham sandwich.

If food is left out, yellowjackets will be sure to partake of it; from open soda cans, cakes and cookies to ham and baloney sandwiches. Many an individual has taken a swig of soda only to be stung by a yellowjacket.

Most yellowjackets construct their nests underground which makes them difficult to locate.If the nest is large, the surface of the soil may bubble, making it easier to find.

Only a professional should rid your landscape of any underground yellowjacket nests. Care should be taken if you see yellowjackets nearby when gardening and/or mowing the lawn.

Since yellowjackets are scavengers, trashcans should have lids on them, pet food shouldn´t be left out, at least not during the summer months when yellowjacket numbers are at their peak.

yellowjacket getting into some juice

Yellowjackets love sweet drinks like soda and juice. They like meat sandwiches too!

Drawing of a paper wasp and nest

Yellow Paper Wasp and Nest

Paper Wasps: In nature, paper wasp are quite beneficial, ridding gardens of unwanted insects however, they often build their hanging paper nests under eaves, porches, patios, and windowsills.

Should the nest be away from the immediate vicinity of the home, it is best to leave it alone, let the wasps take care of pollinating the flowers while providing insect control, then remove the nest once it is abandoned in the fall.

If paper wasps are building a nest on your patio or close to your home, for safety reasons (because they have a nasty sting!) it is best to have a Hearts professional come out and remove the nest.

Once a nest has been knocked down, it can be difficult, especially during the height of spring and summer to keep paper wasps from coming back.Paper wasps will try to build again, in the same exact spot, unless you also remove (scrap off) the stem of the nest attached to the home.

Consistent hosing down of new nests will eventually deter paper wasps from coming back to rebuild.

Landscape Pests in El Cajon

Certain insects and animals quickly fall in the "landscape pest" category when they start causing damage to trees, plants, and grass.

Gophers have been known to take out entire plants; one minute the plant is standing tall, the next it´s disappeared into the ground.

Yellow paper wasps on nest

Yellow paper wasps resemble Yellowjackets but they are more slender and lack the yellow band around their eyes. Their gasters (body) are of a different pattern too./caption]

If you´ve noticed a powdery substance on the leaves of your beautiful hibiscus, it´s a sign you have whiteflies.

Hearts Pest Management is able to identify various landscape pests and treat for whitefly, aphids, plant-eating bugs, outdoor fleas, gophers, rodents, squirrels, grubs, and other plant eating insects.

Gophers cause damage to landscapes

Gophers cause major havoc in grass and garden landscapes.

Red hibiscus flower and whitefly

Whiteflies look like a powdery substance on tree leaves.

Aphids on leaves

Aphid and leaves infested with aphids.

Grass can often get torn up by crows digging for grubs.
Once Hearts has treated the grubs, the crows won´t have any food in your grass to dig up.

Most problems are because animals and insects come onto a property and in a home in search of food.
Easy access to your kitchen or yummy plants, beats having to hunt for food or travel long distances!

Hearts provides free inspections for landscape pests, wasps, bees, roaches, and rodents.General pests such as ants, spiders, crickets, and outdoor fleas. Indoor flea treatments can be priced by phone.

To schedule a service or a free inspection, please call today for a caring Hearts Pest Service Representative at 1-800-986-1006.

You can also fill out the form below to obtain more information regarding both our traditional and organic pest management services.

Call Now 1-800-986-1006 or complete the form below

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