Thinking about Starting your own Garden?

Starting your own garden can offer you and your family many benefits.  Fresh fruits and vegetables hold more nutrients than their store bought counter parts.  By planting your own garden you can control how much money you spend, the chemicals that are used, and what you grow and eat.  Not to mention the benefits of exercise and being in the fresh air which offers numerous benefits both physically and mentally.  A fresh home-grown garden can be a sense of pride for its owner.  After all, it does take hard work and dedication.

Tips for creating a healthy, successful garden:

  • Use compost for soil.  Use clippings from the garden mixed with kitchen scraps to create a compost.  One common rule of thought is to use one part organic matter to two or three parts garden soil.
  • Gardens require at least six hours of sunlight a day.  Make sure your garden is planted in a well lit area of your yard for the most efficient growth.
  • Plant garden beds at least six feet apart.  This encourages air flow between plants and keeps from overcrowding.
  • Use a soaker hose to ensure that your plants are being watered sufficiently without wasting.  It is better to water deeply with a soaker a couple of times a week rather than using a regular hose everyday.  Everday hoses do not go as deep into the plant and can often waste water.
  • By building your plant beds above the ground a bit can help save water from running off and wasting.
  • If you are a beginner or don’t have the time for a big, elaborate garden, you can purchase the plants already blooming from your local garden center.
  • Beginning gardeners may want to start with herbs, tomatoes, or peppers, as these are less maintenance.  Beginners should choose a few plants to grow in a small area rather than taking on too much, too soon.
  • Blueberries are also known to be an easy fruit to grow. 

Remember that growing your own garden can offer you many benefits.  Although it can be lots of work, it can be well worth it.

Northwest Exterminating
830 Kennesaw Ave MariettaGA30060 USA 
 • 888-466-7849
 

Field Ant

 

Field ants, or the One Node Ant, are large ants that are often confused with carpenter antsField ants are found in a variety of colors including black, brown, tan, red or red and black.  The key to telling the field ant apart from other ants are the ocelli, or “simple eyes” that are found on the front of the head in between the compound eyes.  (See picture above from University of Nebraska-Lincoln).

Field ants are most often found outside.  You may find their nests in open fields, grass, and under objects such as rocks, timbers and piles of firewood.  When treating for field ants, it is necessary to overturn these items and treat underneath.  Treating should take place around the structure including under and on top of the pine straw.  In addition to spraying outside, any vegetation should be cut back from walls and roof at least 18” and reduce any mulch where you can around the structure.

Sources:
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Jerry Hatch – jhatch@callnorthwest.com
Board Certified Entomologist
Certified Environmental Health Professional
Certified Professional-Food Safety
LEED Green Associate

 

Ants in the Kitchen?

As  been discussing lately, spring and summer bring many pests.  One pest in particular that affects everyone, regardless of region, is ants.  There are so many different varieties of antsArgentine ants are mainly found in southern states across the US, fire ants are notorious in the south and carpenter ants don’t discriminate by living in both the south and the north.  Ants are one of the few living organisms that live in all ecosystems.

Ants are often found in the kitchen looking for food sources.  Although ants are typically harmless…it is not sanitary to have them around your food.  To prevent ants coming into your kitchen follow the tips below:

  • Keep your sink clean.  Wash and dry any residue that may be left from cleaning dishes.
  • Check for holes or cracks that ants are using as entryways into your home and seal them off.
  • Pour vinegar down the drain to remove the smell of food (this can also be helpful if you have fruit flies).
  • Wipe the counters down regularly.  Remove any food or spills that may attract ants.
  • Sweep and mop your floors often.
  • Take the trash out regularly.
  • Keep food in containers instead of out in the open.
  • Keep trash cans rinsed and cleaned.  You can also deodorize the cans with baking soda.
  • Pour chili powder on hives and nests outside you home to prevent ants from entering.
  • Spray peppermint oil in the corners of each room.  Don’t forget the kitchen and the kitchen cabinets.
  • Use products with Borax, a mineral that is refined and dissolved and used in many ant baits.  Borax is non toxic to humans but poisonous to antsAnts take borax back to their colony and dispense it to the other ants.
  • Use white vinegar or bleach.  Both are known to get rid of ants.
  • Ants do not like the taste of cucumbers.  Cut up a small amount of cucumber and place in infected areas.
  • Place mint leaves or mint tea bags in infected areas.
  • Add salt to boiling water and spray in the corners of the house.

If the above suggestions do not work…call the experts at Northwest Exterminating

 

"Experts seeing rise in tick population, threat of disease" – Macon.com

Did you know that mice are essential to the life cycle of a tick?  Check out this interesting article that was posted in June 2010 on Macon.com

 Experts seeing rise in tick population, threat of disease

By LIZ FABIAN – lfabian@macon.com

Perched atop blades of grass or taller vegetation, ticks wait for a feast to walk by.

Standing on their back legs with their front legs outstretched, the blood-thirsty critters are ready to latch on at the first hint of carbon dioxide or heat alert from their infrared sensors.

Mercer associate professor of biology Alan Smith actively seeks out ticks for research.

In recent weeks, he has been teaching seventh-grade students at the Amerson Water Works Park on the Ocmulgee River about all forms of wildlife.

“I picked up a lot of ticks there without even trying,” Smith said. “I think the populations are pretty abundant.”

Last year, Smith struggled to pick up samples for his research but recently collected 100 of them from around Lake Tobesofkee.

He blames the wet spring and an abundance of deer and mice, he said.

“Data shows when the deer and especially the mouse populations are up, then the tick populations goes up,” Smith said.

Mice are crucial to the tick’s two-year life cycle. After hatching from eggs, the tiny arachnids must feast on a blood meal to carry them through each stage of development from larva to nymph and adult. Most ticks cut their baby teeth on mice, which are close to the ground.

The bloated little bulb you might discover dining away on your DNA is likely an adult enjoying her last meal. Left alone to gorge, she will eventually fall off in about a week. As the female tick nears the end of her life, she may lay 3,000 eggs that hatch on the ground.

Click HERE to view the rest of the article!

 

Northwest Ranked in 100 Top Workplaces by AJC

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has ranked the 100 Top Workplaces in Atlanta!  Northwest Exterminating is proud to be #4 in the Midsize Workplaces division.  In October of 2010, The AJC put out the call for emloyees to nominate their companies.  495 nominations were received.  In January, Workplace Dynamics, a consulting group that partners with The AJC, narrowed the results down to 166 finalists.  After the finalists were selected, 40,000 of the nominee’s employees were surveyed based on the direction of the company, execution, work conditions, career paths, management, pay and benefits.

Northwest Exterminating is so proud to accept this award and thankful to our work family for making this such a great place to be a part of!  Thank you to the entire Northwest Exterminating Family!!

Check out Northwest Exterminating in the Top Workplaces in Metro Atlanta

Check out other companies selected in the Top Workplaces in Metro Atlanta

 

Post Office Offers GO GREEN stamps

Northwest Exterminating isn’t the only one GOING GREENThe United States Postal Service now offers Go Green stamps.

16 new stamps have been created to show ways to keep our environment healthy.  Green tips include:

  • Plant trees
  • Adjust the thermostat
  • Use public transportation
  • Buy local produce, reuse bags
  • Fix water leaks
  • Share rides
  • Turn off lights not in use
  • Choose to walk
  • Compost
  • Let nature do the work
  • Recycle more
  • Ride a bike
  • Insulate the  home
  • Use efficient light bulbs
  • Maintain tire pressure
  • 

Go Green stamps are just one of the many green tools that the USPS website offers to ensure that we are making positive changes in our environment.  Visit their website to order Go Green stamps and to read about the USPS‘ other initiatives to Go Green!

 

Little Known Insect Facts

In the 1960s, animal behavior researchers studied the effects of various substances on spiders. When spiders were fed flies that had been injected with caffeine, they spun very “nervous” webs. When spiders ate flies injected with LSD, they spun webs with wild, abstract patterns. Spiders that were given sedatives fell asleep before completing their webs.

 
The cochineal insect, which lives on the prickly pear cactus in the southwestern United States, is an excellent source of natural red dye. The insects are dried and ground into a powder that is cooked to release the maximum amount of color. The powder is then used as a dye for fiber, fabric, and basketry materials. It has also been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in food and cosmetics. Most brands of lipstick and some kinds of fruit drinks are tinted with cochineal extract.

For more than 3,000 years, carpenter ants have been used to close wounds in India, Asia and South America. They use the mandibles to close the wound after pinching it shut, then snip off the head to “suture” it.


Provided by Jerry Hatch (jhatch@callnorthwest.com), Northwest Exterminating
Jerry is a Board Certified Entomologist
Certified Environment Health Professional
Certified Professional-Food Safety
LEED Green Associate

 

One of Our Own Featured in Spinal Column magazine

 

Our very own Ryan Bloyd was featured in the latest addition of Spinal Column magazine.  Spinal Column is a magazine produced by The Shepherd Center here in Atlanta.  The Shepherd Center is a private, non-profit hospital that specialize in the research and rehabilitation of spinal cord and brain injuries.

Check out the latest addition and look for Ryan on page 22.

 

Spring has Sprung…and so have allergies!

Spring has sprung and chances are…so have your allergies.  Approximately 40 million Americans suffer from allergies.  Allergies to pollen, also known as “hay fever”, can be caused by plants or trees blooming.  When plants bloom and set off pollen, it messes with a person’s histamine levels, which is what causes the symptoms that you may be all too familiar with.  Symptoms of pollen allergies can be sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, runny nose, coughing and sore throat…or basically,  just feeling miserable. 

Unless you want to lock yourself indoors (and even then, sometimes it doesn’t help) there are ways to prevent your allergies from getting out of control this season.  (If you have severe allergies you should consult your doctor.)

  • What is causing you allergies?  Is it a certain tree, bush or plant?  Once you’ve identified the culprit…avoid it.  If you can’t identify the cause of your allergies on your own, get an allergy test from your doctor. 
  • Keep windows and doors closed which can allow pollen into your home. 
  • Use air-conditioning in your car instead of rolling the windows down.
  • Avoid using window and attic fans; instead use air-conditioning to cool your home.
  • Change air filters regularly to prevent pollen buildup.
  • Pollen likes to use your pets to hitchhike into your home.  Wash, wipe and brush pets frequently when they’ve been outside. 
  • Dust and vacuum frequently to prevent pollen buildup.  Use a vacuum with a HEPA certification.
  • Run a HEPA air filter in your bedroom when you sleep at night.
  • Wear a respiratory mask when dusting, cleaning the inside of your home or mowing the lawn or doing yard work.
  • Wear sunglasses when outside to limit the amount of pollen in your eyes.
  • Remove clothing when coming in from outside in case you have any pollen on your clothes.
  • Do not hang laundry on a clothes line to dry.  Use the dryer instead.
  • Eat more salads.  Fruits and vegetables have high levels of quercetin, which helps to reduce histamine levels.
  • Eat more garlic.  Garlic is known to prevent and ease the cold and flu symptoms.  If you aren’t a fan of garlic…take garlic capsules.
  • Eat more honey.  Use locally made, unprocessed honey to get your body used to the pollen from local plants. 
  • Drink green tea.  Green tea is an antioxidant that can give relief to a stuffy nose.
 

Carpenter Bees

It’s spring time so there is a good chance that you are seeing those large black bees and those large holes and tunnels in your wood.  Those are carpenter bees that have been living in those holes and tunnels throughout the winter and are emerging in the spring time to find places for new nests…which mean new holes and tunnels in your wood.  Carpenter bees are often confused with bumble bees but the upper surface of their abdomen is bare and shiny black; while bumble bees have a hairy abdomen with at least some yellow markings.

Carpenter bees drill through wood to build nests where they stay all winter and throughout the spring until they find a new nest or emerge to mate.  Although male bees tend to be aggressive, often hovering around people who are near their nests, they are mostly harmless since they do not have stingers.  On the other hand, females can inflict a painful sting but rarely do unless they are being handled or bothered.

You may find piles of wood underneath the hole where the bee has drilled their nest.  Carpenter bees prefer to make their nests in bare, untreated or weathered wood.  Wood that is painted or pressure-treated is much less susceptible to a carpenter bees nesting.  Common areas for nesting include window trim, facia board, siding, wooden shakes, decks and outdoor furniture.

The best control for carpenter bees is to treat or paint all exposed wood surfaces.  If you are using a spray, it is best to spray at night, while wearing protective clothing, when bees are less active to reduce your risk of being stung.  Each hole should be treated individually if the bees are inside the holes.  If they are not in the hole, seal, paint , etc. the hole so the bees cannot return.

And of course, if the problem persists or if you are just not up to the task, call Northwest Exterminating.

For more information on carpenter bees click HERE