Allegheny Mound Ants

The Allegheny Mound Ant, sometimes referred to as a “field Ant”, is a structural pest that can potentially damage your home.  The most identifying trait of the Allegheny Mound Ant is the large mound that they build in open fields and yards.  After 5 months, a mound can be 2 feet wide and 8 inches tall, within 2 years the mound can be up to 3 feet tall.  Mounds tend to be found in areas that are not mowed on a frequent basis.  Ant mounds consist of tunnels that can go 3 feet down into the soil.

Allegheny Mound Ants can inject formic acid into the vegetation that surrounds their mound which causes a danger to small trees and shrubs within 40-50 feet.  The younger the tree, the more susceptible to damage or killing when Allegheny Mound Ants are near.  They are also known to kill the grass around their mound.  Not only do they present a threat to your vegetation and lawn but they can be a concern when working or playing in the area near their mounds.  They will bite if they feel their mound is being disturbed.

The number of Allegheny Mound Ants increases rapidly.  The time span between an egg and an adult is 2-3 months.  The eggs are cared for by workers in the mound during late spring and early summer.  A 6”-18” mound can hold up to 500-3,000 ants; 18”-36” mound can hold up to 1,000-6,000 ants; and 36”-60” mound can hold up to 3,000-10,000 ants.  “Budding” results when new mounds are formed as ants move on from their previous mounds.  These new mounds are usually built in late May to early June.

The good news is that Allegheny Mound Ants rarely enter a home or business structure in search of food.  Instead, they feed on smaller insects or aphids and leafhoppers for protein and carbohydrates. 

Control:

To control Allegheny Mound Ants, wear protective clothing such as pants and boots.  When a mound is located, scrape the top of the mound off with a tool that has a long reach, such as a shovel, to ensure you do not get bit.  The ants will begin to run once the mound is moved.  Apply the product directly inside the mound until it soaks into the soil.

For best results, call Northwest Exterminating for your ant control needs at 888.466.7849 or visit ONLINE

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

Indian Meal Moth

What is that moth-looking thing doing around my pantry?

We’ve gotten this question quite a bit lately!  People have been finding moths around their food cabinets or pantries.  In most cases, it has been the Indian Meal Moth.  These moths are not big fans of the Atkins diet considering that they feed on carb loaded foods such as grains, cereals, breads and pastas.  Although, they have been known to feed on other types of foods…the ones listed above are what they are generally after. 

Those webs that you see around your home may not just be spiders.  The Indian Meal Moth can also spin a web where they leave their larvae to be hatched.  Be sure to vacuum any webs and immediately empty the vacuum bag into a secure trash bag to be taken away by your trash company.  Also, make sure to throw out any food that may have been infested. 

Call Northwest Exterminating today if you need help controlling Indian Meal Moths or other pests!

 

Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee

You know the words…we all sang it as kids:

I’m bringing home a baby bumble bee
Won’t my Mommy be so proud of me
I’m bringing home my baby bumble bee -
OUCH!! It stung me!!

These large, furry bees may look cute but just like the song implies…they’re not so cute when they decide to sting!

Bumble bees have a distinctive large, clumsy appearance and are easily recognized by their black and yellow fuzzy appearance and the buzzing sound that they make when they fly.  Their stingers are relatively smooth with small barbs which is what makes their sting so painful.  Worker bees are usually between 1/4-1″ while the queens are 3/4-1″.

There are 51 species of bumble bees throughout the US and Canada.  Bumble bees are social creatures that like to stay near their nests or colonies.  The queen bumble bee will find a nest area in the spring after she has overwintered throughout the colder seasons.  Nest locations are often made underground in abandoned mouse nests or on grass clumps and covered with loose grass on top.  A mature bee nest can contain anywhere from 50 to 400 bees; the largest recorded nest contained 756 bees with 385 larvae and/or pupae.  Different species will attack nests of other species for possession of the nest, killing the queen and taking over the nest.  In late summer, males and new queens are reared in the nest.  Once the new queens emerge, they mate and find a suitable place to overwinter.  Males, workers, old queens and virgin queens die off with the colder weather. 

Although bees can be an annoyance by gathering around our flowering plants and the potential threat of a sting, bumble bees are beneficial for the pollination of our flowers.  However, if a nest is located near a structure or a recreational area, control is needed.  People who are sensitive to insect venom or have known allergies should exercise extreme caution around bumble bee nests.  Appropriate protective apparel should be worn when trying to locate or control bumble bee nests.

For your safety, call the experts when trying to locate and control bumble bee nests.  Call Northwest Exterminating at 888.466.7849 or visit us online.

 

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are not only a big problem in Georgia homes but can be found in homes across the United States.  The carpenter ant gets its name from their habit of hollowing out wood and nesting inside of it.  This annoying habit can cause structural damage to your home or business. 

Carpenter ants have both workers and a queen.  The workers come in varying sizes from 1/8-1/2″ but the queens are larger at 1/2-5/8″ long.  Colors can range from black, red, brown or they can be a combination of red and black.  The carpenter ant can be identified by their rounded thorax and the circle of hairs on their back end.  If you can’t identify a carpenter ant by looking at it, you may be able to identify it by the strong acid odor that they are known to emit.  And although they lack a stinger, their bite can be painful when the formic acid is injected into the wound.

You will typically see swarmers from May-August in the east and February-June in the west.  A good indication of the presence of carpenter ants is small openings on the surface of wood.  When these openings are drilled they leave behind debris that looks similar to sawdust.  Carpenter ants are partial to wood that has been softened, whether due to fungus or a moisture problem.  You can often time find nests in rotting fence posts, stumps, old firewood, dead portions of trees, and under stones or fallen logs. 

Carpenter ants aren’t on a strictly wood diet.  Fruits, plant and fruit juices, insects, sweets, eggs, meats, cakes and grease are all known to be attractive food for them.  Although some workers are active during the day, most activity is done between dusk and dawn…peaking between 10 pm and 2 am.

If you have seen traces of carpenter ants, call Northwest Exterminating and we can help you locate the source of the problem and come to a solution.  Call us at 888.466.7849 or visit us online

 

Spiders



Northwest Exterminating has seen an increase in calls for spiders this year. No doubt that is not news to most of you. With the cold and wet Winter and the heat this Spring, spider numbers have increased at an alarming rate.  What can we do? Is there an answer to help stem the tide of the unwanted visitors? There is but first a little background.

 

Fear of spiders (arachnophobia) is consistently one of the most common fears. Possibly dating back to antiquity (remember Little Miss Muffet?).  Most entomologists will tell you the fear is basically unfounded and the spider just suffers from bad PR. Adding to the fear and confusion is the readily available Emergency Room diagnosis of “spider bite” for any bump, nodule or unexplained skin eruption. This not only is a nuisance but can be quite dangerous since the “official” diagnosis can often mask the true culprit sometimes a much worse malady such as MRSA. 

 

There are over 40,000 species of spiders on our planet. Most are harmless and even beneficial, helping keep other pest populations in check.  Spider silk is perhaps the strongest material on the planet and scientists are constantly trying to duplicate its tensile strength. All spiders are venomous, that’s how they capture and digest their food, turning the insides of the common pests into a soup, but most venoms will have little or no effect on humans. Possible medical uses for spider venoms are being investigated, for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmia, Alzheimer’s disease, strokes and erectile dysfunction.

 

Spiders use a wide range of strategies to capture prey: trapping it in sticky webs, lassoing it with sticky bolas, mimicking the prey to avoid detection, or running it down. Most detect prey mainly by sensing vibrations, but the active hunters have acute vision, and hunters of the genus Portia show signs of intelligence in their choice of tactics and ability to develop new ones.

The abdomen has no appendages except those that have been modified to form one to four (usually three) pairs of short, movable spinnerets, which emit silk. Each spinneret has many spigots, each of which is connected to one silk gland. There are at least six types of silk gland, each producing a different type of silk. Silk is initially a liquid, and hardens not by exposure to air but as a result of being drawn out of the spider.

Some spiders have a cribellum, a modified spinneret with up to 40,000 spigots, each of which produces a single very fine fiber that is combined into a composite wooly thread that is very effective in snagging the bristles of insects. Species that do not build webs to catch prey use silk in several ways: as wrappers for sperm and for fertilized eggs; as a “safety rope”; for nest-building; and as “parachutes” by the young of some species.

This doesn’t answer the question though, “How do we control them?”. Spider control is best accomplished through proper housekeeping, the strategic placement of products and reducing harborage and points of entrance. It’s impossible to keep all spiders out, except in the Space Shuttle, but a great reduction can be achieved.  Here are some steps to take:

  •  Remove all extra boxes, bags and containers from off the floor
  • Be thorough in removing any and all webs
  • Allow items that must be on the floor or shelving that sits on the floor to have some space from the wall (at least 8”)
  • Keep lights off the building if possible, for security you can have a light shine onto a building
  • Reduce all vegetation at least 18” from the building outside
  • Seal all areas around windows, doors and other entrances into the structure
  • Reduce/eliminate standing water
  • If you can capture the spider and set it free so it can continue to protect your building
  • Treat the areas the spider may hide or build a web with a light fan spray covering the corners of the area. Make sure to treat into any cracks and crevices adjacent to the webs.

If you continue to have an issue with spiders, call Northwest Exterminating at 888.466.7849 and ask how NorPest Green Pest Control Program can help solve your spider problem.

 

Jerry Hatch (jhatch@callnorthwest.com)
Northwest Exterminating
Commercial Training & Development Specialist
Board Certified Entomologist

 

 

American Cockroach

Our call center and service centers have recently received a lot of calls regarding cockroaches.  So we thought this would be a great opportunity to educate our readers on the American Cockroach in the event that you are experiencing this nuisance as well!

The American Cockroach, “Waterbug” or “Palmettobug”, as we like to call it in the south, is suspected to have been brought over to North America via ships from Africa.  These hideous looking bugs are known to be an inch or longer and reddish brown in color.  Both male and female cockroaches have wings but are not good fliers.

The female cockroachwill drop her ootheca, or egg, about 4 days after it is formed.  The cockroach eggs are dropped in cracks or crevices of high humidity near a food source, which could mean health issues for you in your home or business.  On average, the female cockroachwill produce 9-10 ootheca which will contain 14-16 eggs in each.  It takes the eggs on average of 600 days to develop.  The life span for female eggs is between 225-440 days, depending on temperature, while males typically live about 200 days.

Although, we have recently seen a growing number of cockroaches in homes, they are more often found in large commercial buildings such as restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, food processing plants, hospitals, etc.  They are in search of food in these commercial buildings the same way they are when they are in your home.  Cockroaches often enter homes and buildings by being brought in, traveling through sewer systems or mass migration from other structures such as dumps etc. 

If you are experiencing problems with cockroaches in your home or business, call Northwest Exterminating and we will be glad to serve you!

Interesting Facts:

  • Although they feed on many kinds of food, they show a particular fondness for fermenting food.
  • The American Cockroach is the most common species found in city sewer systems in the US.

Treatment:

  • Granular bait formulations in attics and crawl spaces
  • Dust in attic and crawl spaces
  • Perimeter spray treatments
  • Perimeter granular bait treatments
  • Call the best, call NORTHWEST
 

Sugarcane Beetle

We have recently experienced a high number of calls regarding sugarcane beetles so we thought it would be a great topic to blog about.  While looking for informatin we came across an interesting article that discusses sugarcane beetles on NC State University’s Turffiles website. 

Sugarcane Beetle Euetheola humilis,
a New Pest in North Carolina Turfgrass

Amy Lockwood and Rick Brandenburg*

 

 

 

Introduction

 The sugarcane beetle, also known as the rough-headed corn stalk-beetle and in some publications referred to as Euetheola rugiceps, is a relatively new pest of turfgrass in North Carolina. It was first named and described in 1856 but was not considered a pest until 1880 when it was observed in sugarcane fields. It was first recorded as a pest of corn in 1914 in Virginia. Since then it has been a sporadic pest of the Southern States in corn, sweet potatoes, rice, and sugarcane. In North Carolina the sugarcane beetle was first noted in turfgrass about 10 years ago. Since that time it has been an emerging pest, with many reports occurring in 2009.

Description

The sugarcane beetle belongs to the family Scarabaeidae. The beetle is dull black, about ½ inch long, and has small punctures along the abdomen which make up vertical stripes. The forelegs are designed for digging and have four projections per leg. Larvae of this beetle are C-shaped grubs. Third instar larvae (fully developed) are creamy white, may reach 1 ¼ inches long and have a red head capsule.

Life Cycle

The sugarcane beetle has four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The beetle overwinters as an adult and emerges in early April. A lot of adult activity may be witnessed from April until early June. The adults mate during this time frame and the females lay eggs in the soil. It is unclear where exactly the female lays her eggs, though it has been reported that she looks for moist areas. After mating the adult generation dies off and activity decreases. The egg hatches into a white grub. Grubs have been found up to a foot under ground, but again their exact diet and location is yet unknown. About 75 days after hatching the larva pupates. It takes approximately 17 days for an adult to emerge from the pupa. Another surge of adult activity begins in August. The adults feed through October and then overwinter until March.

Biology

These beetles are often found on warm season turfgrasses, primarily bermudagrass, but have also been found on zyosiagrass. Adults may be found dead or crawling along the grass surface during the day or night, though activity is primarily during the early nighttime hours. Adults can also be found just under the turf, and are suspected to feed on the roots and crowns of turfgrass. Adult beetles are attracted to lights at night, and this method has been utilized to sample and monitor for this beetle. The larvae are most likely found in bermudagrass and other warm season grasses as well. It is unknown what they feed on but the organic matter in the thatch and soil is probably the main component of their diet.

Damage to turfgrass is presumed to be caused solely by the adults. Damage to the turf includes some tunneling, as well as brown and dying turf due to root and crown damage. Birds may prey on these beetles during the day and cause damage to turfgrass.

To view the article in full click HERE

 

Marietta National Cemetery 2011 – Decoration of the Graves

Here is a link to a video put together by the Atlanta Area Council regarding the flag placement at the Marietta National Cemetery preparations for Memorial Day.

Over 18,000 Graves were honored by 1,596 scouts, girls and boys, as well as 623 adult scouters for a total of 2,219 on hand. The actual flag placement is over in about 45-50 minutes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OA7t20xgh4A

 

Dog Fleas

Dog fleas are a common problem whether you have dogs or not.  The dog flea got their name because of their favorite hosts…dogs, but that doesn’t mean that just because you don’t have a dog, that you don’t have dog fleas.  Like other fleas that can be found in the home, dog fleas cause discomfort by biting and can carry several diseases for dogs and people such as plague, tapeworm and murine typhus.  Although fall is the most common time for fleas to appear, in many areas they can live year around. 

The dog flea is a flat, wingless creature that is brownish black or black, and can have a tint of red when it is full of blood.  Female dog fleas lay 4-8 eggs after each blood meal which means up to 500 eggs in their lifetime.  Flea eggs are oval, whitish and go through four life cycles which takes 2-3 weeks to complete.  The eggs are deposited on or between hairs or in bedding material.  When the dog shakes, the eggs fall off which is why eggs are often found where dogs sleep and not on the actual dog themselves. 

One common misconception is that you have to have a pet to have fleas indoors.  This is untrue.  Fleas have a 6” vertical jump which enables them to jump on shoes, pant legs etc.  Many people are surprised when they return from vacation or go into a vacant home and find a flea infestation.  This is possible since adult fleas can live months without food (except for females who must have a meal before they produce eggs).  Only 5% of the flea population is actually on your dog, the rest are in your home.  (Source)  Dog fleas can also be found on rabbits, skunks, opossums, occasionally on rats and rarely found on cats.

Prevention tips for dog fleas:

  • Normal vacuuming – Make sure to vacuum floors, upholstered furniture, where pets rest and under furniture.  Immediately empty vacuum bag, seal shut and dispose outdoors for your trash provider to retrieve.
  • Treat pets – Treat your pets with flea prevention by taking them to your veterinarian, the groomer, or using over the counter medication.
  • Shampooing carpet – Shampooing carpet can be more beneficial than vacuuming alone.
  • Keep out wild animals – Wild animals such as rodents and opossums should be prevented from entering the structure and appropriately trapped.

If you are having trouble with fleas, please call the professionals at Northwest Exterminating.  We will ensure that the inside and outside of your home is treated properly for the protection of your family and your pets.

Sources:
http://www.dogsonly.org/dog_fleas.html

NPCA Field Guide to Structural Pests

 

Tips for Staying Cool

The warmer weather allows us to enjoy the great outdoors.  However, we also need to remember the dangers that excessive heat can bring.  Heat can be dangerous for everyone especially children and the elderly.  Whether you’re enjoying time at the pool or working outside in the yard, check out our tips for staying cool this summer.

  • Air conditioning – If air conditioning is available, use it. 
  • Fans – If air conditioning is not available use overhead or window fans to keep air flowing.
  • Windows – Keep windows and blinds shut during the day to block the sun and heat.  Opening windows at night when there is a cool breeze will help keep air flowing through your home.
  • Water misting fan – Use this hand held, battery operated device that sprays a mist of water while a fan blows to keep you cool.
  • Dress accordingly – Wear natural fabrics such as cotton, silk, linen or performance fabric rather than polyester, rayon, or other artificial fibers.  Also, be sure to wear light colors.
  • Turn off electrical items - Use your oven and stove as little as possible–eat out, eat cold food, or use the microwave.  Turn off your lamps, tv and computer when you’re not using them – these items produce a lot of heat when in use.
  • Cucumber – Slice a thin piece of cold cucumber and stick it in the middle of your forehead! This feels fantastic on a hot day or when stuck in a hot car, and works almost immediately!
  • Water – Water could be one of the most important keys to staying hydrated and cool in the heat.  Keep a spray bottle to spray when you get too warm, bathe in cold water, drink, soak feet in ice buckets, or soak a t-shirt.  Running cold water over each wrists for 10 seconds each will reduce your temperature for roughly an hour.
  • HYDRATE – The key to preventing dehydration is to drink before you are thirsty and avoid caffeine or alcohol.  Drink lots of water or sports drinks.  Sports drinks replace electrolytes and provide carbs to working muscles.

Signs of dehydration:

  • Dry lips and tongue.
  • Headache.
  • Weakness, dizziness, or extreme fatigue.
  • Concentrated urine that appears darker than normal.
  • Nausea.
  •