Dr. Goo’s Corner: Ticks

Disclaimer:  The following are general guidelines to follow and do not constitute medical advice

Ticks like to “hang out” in low lying shrubs, bushes or plants waiting for animals to come by to supply them with the blood meal that will help them complete their life cycle. Ticks then climb on the animal or human and attach themselves to obtain the blood from their victims. In the process they inject saliva and suck blood from the host, much like mosquitoes.

In general, most tick bites do not transmit disease. More commonly they are associated with infection around the site of the bite, local irritation, allergic reaction, or the cause of retained mouth parts when the tick is removed. The sooner you can remove the tick, the less likely they are to transmit diseases, so get them off quickly!

How to remove a tick

Most of the time, a pair of tweezers and slow, gentle, upward pressure will get rid of the tick. Burning the tick off may not work and may cause a burn to the patient.  For a nice diagram and instructions please see the CDC website about how to remove a tick:

http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/removing_a_tick.html

If there are retained parts, please see your doctor so they can recommend options for getting the head out or letting it come out on its own.

Tick Borne Diseases

There are some serious diseases associated with tick bites. Usually they are associated with fever, feeling ill, and a rash. A few of the more common illnesses are:  Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, Erlichiosis, and Tularemia.  Please contact your doctor immediately if you develop a rash, fever, or are feeling sick after a tick bite.

To avoid ticks, know where to expect them and use a bug repellant.  Ticks live in areas that are grassy or near woods.  They are often found in bushes and shrubs and can become a big problem when grass is too high.  A bug repellant, such as DEET, can protect you for several hours.

If you find ticks on you, someone in your household, or a household pet, call Northwest Exterminating to speak to someone about a way to get rid of ticks.

Thanks,

Dr. Goo

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

How to Protect Yourself from Bed Bugs on Spring Break

It is Spring Break time here in Atlanta and the surrounding areas.  It’s a time that parents and kids both look forward to.  A lot of people will be going out of town this spring break and staying in hotels.  I’m sure you’ve seen media reports of bed bug outbreaks across the US.  Hotels are being hit pretty hard with bed bug infestations and it is something that travelers need to be aware of.  The truth is that you are more than likely not going to experience bed bugs in your hotel room or home but it is always best to be educated and aware!

Many wonder why the number of outbreaks has risen in recent years, it is suspected that increase in travel, less effective household pesticides, resistance to pesticides and lack of awareness are among the main reasons.  The key to avoiding bed bugs is early detection.  Make sure you are checking mattresses and other upholstery items when traveling.  Know that bed bugs are not a sign of a sanitation issue with the hotel; they are often brought in by other guests.

Bed Bugs on a mattress cover

What to Look For:

  • Brown or chestnut in color
  • Size of a pencil eraser
  • Eggs are several millimeters and clear to whitish in appearance
  • Droppings and dead skin of bed bugs

How to Search Hotel Rooms for Bed Bugs:

  • Simply call the hotel.  They may not always be forthcoming in their answer but it’s worth a shot.  A lot of hotels will be honest and tell you if they have or haven’t had experiences with bed bugs.
  • Check The Bedbug Registry.  This free data base is a place where bed bug sightings are reported.
  • Pack clothes and shoes in air tight bags in your suitcase.  Keep your items packed away in Ziploc bags inside of your suitcase to protect them from bed bugs.
  • Inspect the bed.  Pull back the sheets and check the mattress, concentrating heavily on the mattress seams, for droppings or skin that has been shed.  Also check the headboard, footboard, sheets, comforter, and pillows for signs of bed bugs.
  • Use the luggage rack.  Do not put your luggage on the bed or on the floor.  Hotels usually provide a luggage rack, if not; place the luggage on a tile floor where it is easier to see bed bugs moving if they are present.
  • Bites on body.  Bed bug bites are not dangerous but do cause allergic reaction.  Bed bugs often bite in a straight line on the body.  You can tell the difference between mosquito and other common pest bites and bed bug bites by the area on your body you have been bitten.  Mosquitoes mainly bite on the arms, legs or other body parts that are left uncovered.  Bed bug bites can be found throughout the body.

The thought of bed bugs and their bites are unnerving to say the least.  However, you may find comfort in knowing that bed bug bites are not dangerous because they do not carry human diseases.  All of that being said, you want to be sure that you do not carry these pests home with you from vacation.  Bed bugs are not only difficult to treat but can be an expensive treatment.

Tips for returning home:

  • Keep luggage in the garage or outside until you can unload your suitcase fully.
  • Wash and dry everything on the hot cycle immediately.  The hot temperatures will kill any bed bugs that may have made the trip with you.
  • Vacuum out suitcase once emptied.
  • Take precautionary measures with your own furniture.  Get a bed bug proof mattress case for your mattress and add traps on the legs of your bed.
  • Inspect frequently.

At the end of the day, we want you to have the best time on your spring break or other vacation.  We just want to make sure that you are not bringing home anything that wasn’t supposed to come home with you.  As we said earlier, the key is to be educated and aware.

If you have more questions on bed bugs or think that your home may have bed bugs, call Northwest Exterminating.  We have a dedicated team of experts that specialize in bed bug treatment.

Other Additional Links:

http://www.callnorthwest.com/pest-control/bed-bug-control/

http://www.callnorthwest.com/2011/07/dorm-rooms-and-bed-bugs/

http://www.callnorthwest.com/learning-center/identify-your-pest/bed-bugs/

http://www.callnorthwest.com/2011/02/npma-releases-bed-bug-best-management-practices-for-pest-professionals/

 

 

What is a Scout Bee?

Although you may be seeing bees buzzing around your home it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have an active bee hive in your area.  There is a good possibility that you are seeing scout bees.  The survival of a bee hive oftentimes depends on the scouting bee.  Bees need a constant supply of nectar and have to find a new place to go once their source is low.  This is where the scout bee comes in. Scouting bees are sent out to look for a new home for their hive and if you do not take action, your home could be their new home.

To most people, scout bees look just like other active bees but once you get a closer look, you are able to notice small differences in their behavior.  Scout bees usually scout an area for about 3 days before moving in or moving on.  If you see bees for 5 days or longer, there is a good chance that it is an active hive and not just a scout bee.  Scout bees tend to hover around an area rather than a steady stream of bees that are coming and going from the same area; that is typically an active hive.  Scout bees are not as aggressive as other bees since they are not protecting their hive.

It is better to treat for scouting bees rather than taking a chance of getting an active hive.  Bees can cause structural damage to your property as well as pose a safety risk.  It is always best to call a professional exterminating company for bee removal.  If you live in the Atlanta, Columbus, or Nashville area and are seeing bees, call Northwest Exterminating and we will come take a look to see if you are seeing scouting bees or an active hive.

Have you seen scouting bees near your home?

 

Carpenter Bees Are Making a Buzz in Atlanta

 

Carpenter bee

Last week it was the stink bug, this week it’s the carpenter bee!  We told you that the weird temperatures were going to bring out these pests…and here they are!

It’s officially spring which means that carpenter bees are out in Atlanta and other southeastern areas.  There is a good chance that you are seeing these large black bees along with the large black tunnels that they create in wood around your home.  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 can mean new holes and tunnels in your wood.  Carpenter bees are often confused with bumble bees but differ slightly in appearance.  The upper surface of the carpenter bee’s abdomen is bare and a shiny black color; while bumble bees have a hairy abdomen and 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.

Carpenter bee tunnel

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 or paint the hole so the bees cannot return.

As with most infestations, it is best to call a professional exterminator to ensure that the issue is taken care of quickly and thoroughly. Call Northwest Exterminating if you are seeing carpenter bees or other pests around your home.

 

Dr. Goo’s Corner: How to Survive the High Pollen Counts

Disclaimer: These tips are general medical information and do not constitute medical advice. Please contact your physician for information about yourself or your family member.

Spring has arrived and brought pollen with it.  Yesterday’s pollen count is the highest ever recorded in Atlanta for that date.  According to Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic, the record number was 9369 per cubic meter.

If you have springtime allergies you are probably having a tough time right now due to the extremely high pollen counts.  Even people who do not normally have allergies can be having some difficulties with the pollen.

Symptoms include:

  • Eyes: Itchy, runny, swollen eyes
  • Nose: Stuffy or congested nose, clear or colored nasal discharge, sneezing or itchy nose, post nasal drainage
  • Throat: Sore or itchy throat
  • Lungs: Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath
  • Skin: Increased itching, scratching of the skin and a possible flare of eczema, atopic dermatitis or other skin conditions.

Tips To Avoid Pollen:

  • Stay indoors and avoid outdoor activity, especially in the yard.
  • Run your air conditioner in your home and change your air filter regularly.
  • Keep your windows closed for now.
  • Vacuum at least twice a week. Empty the bag and change the filters regularly.
  • Dust or clean any visible pollen from your house.
  • Wash your hands, hair, body, and clothes when you come in from the outside.
  • Remove your shoes and jackets at the door.
  • Wash off pets if they have been running and playing in the yard.
  • Keep your car windows and sunroof closed and run the air conditioner on re-circulate to avoid bringing in air from the outside.
  • Consider an air purifier if you have very bad symptoms.  Put it in the room where you sleep and shut the door to keep pollen from entering.
  • Remove any unnecessary carpets or objects that collect pollen and dust from your room during this time.
  • Avoid outdoor exercise when the pollen count is high because it may be harmful to your system. Even indoor exercise might be a problem if you have respiratory symptoms like wheezing or coughing so contact your physician before you exercise.

Treatment for Hay Fever Symptoms:

If you have a cough, wheezing or difficulty breathing, immediately call your doctor. For serious breathing problems call 911. You may be having a serious problem like an asthma attack.  Treatment may include breathing treatments or steroids. You will definitely need to see your doctor if you are concerned about your cough or breathing.

In general, anti-histamines (like diphenhydramine, loratadine, cetirizine, and fexofenadine) are the first thing many people try because they decrease the allergic response. There are multiple over the counter preparations that work pretty well, but oftentimes one works better for one individual than another, and some have less side effects, like sedation, than others. There are prescription medications as well that your doctor can prescribe to you.

Decongestants help by relieving the inflammation and congestion that comes with the allergic response.  Medications like pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine are available over the counter but can have serious side effects, so talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you begin taking them.

Steroids also decrease the inflammation related to allergies so they are used commonly if the anti-histamine or decongestants are not effective. Steroids are always prescribed by a physician or health care provider and cannot be obtained over the counter.

For itchy eyes (Allergic Conjunctivitis) there are many types of over the counter drops that work very well. One product has pheneramine (anti-histamine) and naphazoline (gets the red out). As with any medicine it can have side effects so contact your doctor if you are taking any other medications before you use it. Please discuss the treatment with your physician if you have any concerns.

Sneezing, runny nose, and congestion are symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis.  There are many different preparations for this as well starting with decongestants which dry up your nose. Other preparations are steroid nasal sprays and medicines that stabilize the allergic response.


Enjoy Spring, but be careful if you are having allergic symptoms and call your doctor for any medical advice.  CorrectMed Pediatrics can answer your questions and treat you if needed.

Thanks,

Dr. Goo

 

 

Dr. Goo’s Corner: Mosquitoes

Disclaimer:  The following are general guidelines to follow and do not constitute medical advice.

Spring brings with it flowers, pollen, birds and bees! But it also brings pests that are returning from their winter break.  For many of us, mosquitoes are a real problem that keeps us from enjoying the outdoors.  But more importantly, mosquitoes can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus.  They can also cause heartworm in dogs.  *Click here for a brief outline on these diseases*  These diseases are very serious but fortunately, rarely directly related to mosquitoes.

In General

In general, the problem with mosquito bites is due to an allergic reaction to the mosquito’s saliva and the problems associated with swelling and scratching of the mosquito bite.  When a mosquito bites you they inject saliva which helps keep the blood from clotting. The saliva causes an inflammatory reaction which causes the itching and swelling associated with the bite. Most people just get a big irritating lump on the skin which if they scratch becomes more swollen and lasts longer.  But some people actually have an allergic reaction to the mosquito saliva and can become very ill.

For the itching and swelling, anti-histamines are recommended.  Diphenhydramine (commonly known as Benadryl – TM) can be used orally or applied in creams or lotions combined with calamine. Anti-inflammatory steroid creams may help too – creams like 1% hydrocortisone.

Interesting Fact: Only female mosquitoes bite and suck blood to obtain protein for their eggs; male mosquitoes suck nectar.

Impetigo

Even if you don’t get sick from the mosquito, many people scratch their bites until they bleed. When the skin is open it is susceptible to secondary infection. Children and adults can get a skin infection called impetigo which is a superficial skin infection caused by bacteria called staph and strep.  Impetigo causes open sores and crusting (honey colored) and swelling in the areas. Impetigo is usually worse in the summer when children are out playing in the dirt, getting bitten by mosquitoes, and then getting those sores infected. Excellent hygiene (SOAP and WATER) can prevent most impetigo and cure mild cases.  Over the counter antibiotic ointments (like Bacitracin) can help too as well as prescription ointments like mupurocin. There may be enlarged glands in the area, fever, and a spreading rash. Usually more severe impetigo needs an oral antibiotic so contact your doctor if you think you have impetigo and need medicine for it.

Heartworm

Man’s best friend can be affected with heartworms which are also transmitted by mosquitoes. So protect your entire family against these pests.

Prevention

The best prevention is to eliminate mosquitoes from your environment. Since this is virtually impossible to do completely, several strategies should be employed:

  • Be sure to get rid of any standing water around your home to avoid breeding areas for the mosquitoes. Old tires are notorious for having water inside of them so be sure to get rid of any tires in or around the yard.
  • Call Northwest Exterminating.  Their Green Mosquito Control Program is a 7 month program which sprays the shrubs, bushes and plants where mosquitoes and ticks like to hide.  This will greatly reduce the mosquito and tick population in your yard and will act as a barrier and repellent for any stray mosquitoes that fly into the area.
  • By wearing long pants, long sleeve shirts, hats and socks you can protect yourself from mosquitoes and their bites.
  • Also, use of insect repellents is a good idea. There are many products on the market; but the most popular is DEET.  DEET contains repellents and comes in many different forms and concentrations.
  • Screened in porches, mosquito netting and other barriers are helpful too.

Give your family the best protection against mosquitoes by calling Northwest Exterminating for their Green Mosquito Control Program.  Be sure to ask for your FREE inspection!

Thanks,

Dr. Goo

 

Invasion of the Kudzu Bug

Due to the massive amount of calls that we have received lately regarding kudzu bugs, or stink bugs, we thought this earlier post would be beneficial!

In the past several weeks, our service centers have seen an emergence of kudzu bugs.  Kudzu bugs, also known as lablab bugs or globular bugs, have made their way to Georgia in recent years from Asia.  Thoughts are that because Atlanta has the “World’s Busiest Airport”, they could have arrived through Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.  Since kudzu bugs are fairly new to experts, research is still being done on this particular bug.

Kudzu bugs look like brown lady bugs and eat what other than…kudzu.  But kudzu isn’t all that these bugs are feeding on.  Kudzu bugs also eat soybean plants.  More research is being done to find out if kudzu bugs will eat our Georgia crops as well.

The kudzu bug is an occasional invader, choosing to enter properties for the shelter and possibly needing moisture.  Think of them as the same as boxelder bugs, but with an increased amount of generations and smaller so they fit in tiny cracks and crevices. They are known to eat specific plants, but can survive on others.  They have 3 generations per year, so they can build up populations in great numbers, but once the population is reduced, control can be maintained.

Kudzu bugs have a notorious stench they emit when they feel threatened so it is suggested that if you come in contact with such bugs in your home or vehicle that you vacuum them up instead of squashing them.  It is highly recommended that you dispose of the vacuumed bugs so they do not continue to emit their stench.

For more information, check out the University of Georgia’s kudzu video:

University of Georgia – Kudzu Bug

Northwest Exterminating offers a treatment plan specifically for kudzu bugs.  Call us at 888.466.7849 for more information.

 

Welcome Dr. David Goo to the Northwest Family

As part of Northwest Exterminating’s mission to create healthier living and working environments we have teamed up with Dr. David Goo of CorrectMed Pediatrics.  Dr. Goo and Northwest Exterminating want to make sure that your family and your home are healthy.  Along the way, Dr. Goo will offer medical advice to our readers about things that can affect the health of you and your home when it comes to pest, rodents, and other nuisances.

Dr. Goo is the medical director and lead urgent care physician at CorrectMed Pediatrics.  He is a board certified pediatrician and is boarded in pediatric emergency and medicine.  After working in the emergency room for 25 years, Dr. Goo and his family felt that a better model of healthcare was needed.  With that in mind, CorrectMed Pediatrics was founded.  Click HERE for more information on Dr. Goo and CorrectMed Pediatrics.

Visit Dr. Goo’s Corner often for the latest blogs and tips from Dr. Goo!

You can Like Dr. Goo on Facebook or Follow him on Twitter.

 

Warmer Temperatures Leave Boxelders Confused

With the abnormal temperatures this Winter we are seeing abnormal pest movement.  Boxelders are typically a pest that is active in the colder months when they enter homes for warmth and food.  Although temperatures are warmer than usual, we are still getting calls about boxelder bugs being in people’s homes.

The best time to have an exterminator treat for boxelder bugs is in the fall when they are trying to find shelter. Boxelder bugs like to overwinterize in warm areas, cracks and crevices of trees, rocks, and other natural areas. Our homes are a perfect habitat for them.

In the fall, it is best to apply a repellant, such as NorPest Green, that would keep them out of the structure.  A micro cap is an alternative option that is effective but cause the insects to die inside the structure. Our pest professionals will use NorPest Green along the walls and voids of a structure and/or a type of illumination device that can be used in the attic with a glue board can also help in the elimination of boxelders.

But since Spring is around the corner and we continue to have calls for these pests, a micro cap is the best option.  A micro cap works well in the Spring because it allows the pest to escape and die outside rather than inside the home.  Now is the ideal time to ensure that your home is properly sealed and caulked with expandable foam.  Using screens on doors and windows can also be beneficial.

In the Summer months, a mosquito application helps keep numbers down since they like to go through their molts on vegetation such as Maple trees and grape vines.

Have you been seeing boxelders inside your home? 

Has the abnormal temperatures affected your home in any other ways?

 

Why Do Mosquitoes Love Me So Much?

It’s a question that people always ask themselves.  “Why do mosquitoes seem to like me better than everyone else?”  It’s not in your head…mosquitoes are more attracted to some people than others.  Mosquito season is right around the corner so it’s important to know what is drawing these blood-suckers your way.

Signals that attract mosquitoes:

  • Body heat – blood circulation causes your body to radiate heat
  • Carbon dioxide – if you’re breathing, you’re producing it
  • Movement – when objects move, they produce changes in waves of light that act as signals for mosquitoes
  • Smell – sweating, exercising or eating/drinking certain foods (beer is a big culprit) produces lactic acid which is an attractant
  • Color – mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, the darker your clothing, the more likely you are to be bothered

According to scientists, just one of these attractants isn’t enough for mosquitoes to react – a combination of these attractants is what gets the mosquitoes surrounding you.

Mosquitoes are known to spread diseases.  Northwest Exterminating‘s Green Mosquito Control can protect you and your family from their bites.  Call us at 888.466.7849 or visit us online for more information.