What is an Overwintering Pest?

Overwintering is a common term used on this blog to describe pests and their habits.  Since it is used so often we thought we’d go into a little more detail about what overwintering means to pests and your home.

The definition of overwinter is “to pass, spend, or survive the winter: to overwinter on the Riviera.”  [source]

Overwintering is a term used in several categories such as pests, birds, and plants.  In our case, we are most often referring to pests and their activities that allow them to survive the cold temperatures.  Insects overwinter by finding a warm place to call home, in many cases this is YOUR home.  Bugs will enter structures, mulch, leaves or soil to protect themselves from the low temperatures.

Bugs look at your house as their “winter vacation home”.  On occasion, they will make themselves known during the overwintering period by venturing out into the living spaces of a house.  But most often, they emerge in the spring time when the temperatures begin to rise.  This is a big reason why there is such an increase in visibility of pests in and around your home in the spring time.  They’ve been there all along; they just may not have been very active.

Preventing these pests from getting into your home in the first place is your best defense.

  • Seal or caulk all cracks and crevices around foundation, siding, doors, windows, electrical, and plumbing.
  • Keep gutters cleaned out.  Pests feed and make homes out of the built up debris.
  • Keep a clean home.  Vacuum, sweep, mop, and clean up spills that will attract pests to your home.
  • Get regularly scheduled pest control.  Regular scheduled pest control will prevent bugs from coming in and will make it easier to control any pest problems that arise.

Common insects that overwinter:

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

Happy Memorial Day from Northwest Exterminating

Northwest Exterminating would like to wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day.  We want to thank those that have given their lives for our country, as well as their families.  We are very grateful for what you’ve done for this country.

Today isn’t just an extra day for the weekend or a day to catch up on chores…it’s a day to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.  Please take some time today to observe those who paid the price for our freedom.

  • place flags or flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers
  • visit memorials
  • fly the US flag at half-staff until noon
  • participate in a “National Moment of Remembrance” at 3 pm
  • assist the widows, widowers, and children of the fallen
  • assist disabled veterans
  • attend a local parade

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Memorial Day from Northwest Exterminating!

 

How to Prevent Millipedes from Getting into Your Home

MillipedesDid you know that a millipede isn’t an insect at all?!  They are arthropods that feed on dead and decaying plant matter.  Millipedes overwinter in homes which means they enter when the temperatures drop and come out when the temperatures rise.  This is why you see millipedes around your home in warmer months…they’ve been there; they’ve just been “resting”.  Well, they’re not always “resting”, sometimes they are mating which can be a pain because they can lay up to 300 eggs at a time.  This is usually when you discover a millipede infestation.  In the right situation, a millipede can live 5-7 years.

The best way to keep millipedes out of your house is to stop them from getting in.

Prevention Tips for millipedes:

  • Seal any cracks and/or crevices in the foundation, around wiring, and plumbing where millipedes, or other pests, could enter.
  • Millipedes require high humidity.  Use dehumidifiers to keep the air dry or use fans in rooms that done have good air flow.
  • Repair any leaks.  Leaky faucets or pipes can attract millipedes.
  • Clean out and remove debris from gutters.  Gutter build up can cause water from draining correctly.
  • Keep your yard clean by removing dead plant matter.  Remove piled up mulch or woodpiles that store moisture and attract millipedes.

Call Northwest Exterminating if you are having a millipede problem.

For more information on millipedes visit out Identify your Pest section.

 

“Holy Mole-y!” There’s a mole in the pool!

moleThere’s nothing like jumping in the pool on a hot summer day (well, a day that feels like summer anyways)!  So that is exactly what my family and I did on Saturday.  We went to my in-laws’ house and jumped right in the pool.  We had just begun to cool off and enjoy the water when we noticed we weren’t alone.  There was a mole in the pool!!!

The mole was quickly removed without incident and the fun continued but of course my mother-in-law had lots of questions about what it was doing in her yard, how did it get there, what is was looking for, and how does she get rid of them.  So mother in law…this is for you!

Moles are mammals that live underground and occasionally come to the surface.  Above ground, they breathe in oxygen and are able to re-use it to survive in low-oxygen environments such as underground burrows.  When they surface, they cause damage.  Mole damage is divided into two types: burrows and mounds.  Burrows occur when moles search for food near the surface, causing soil to be raised in ridges. Mounds are created when moles burrow deep or tunnel under solid objects such as tree roots or sidewalks and push the soil to the surface.

Mole's runway system

Moles’ bodies and front claws are ideal for digging.  Their hands are quite large for their bodies and include an extra thumb and multiple joints in other fingers.  There are situations where mole damage is mostly visual, but in other situations they can destroy root systems in your yard, eventually killing the grass.

Damage caused by moles:

  • Interference of mowing and planting
  • Create weed invasion
  • Damage plants
  • Damage drainage systems and watercourses

The best way to get rid of a mole is by trapping or baiting the runs.  The trick to mole extermination is to find the feeding tunnels vs. the travel tunnels.  A professional animal removal service provider can distinguish between the two and can humanely remove the moles from your yard.  Call Northwest Exterminating for mole removal.

What is the craziest thing you ever jumped in next to?

 

Tick Prevention from the EPA

Protecting ourselves and our pets from ticks are a big concern this year.  The EPA has put out information through the NPMA on tick bites and Lyme disease prevention:

An ounce of prevention

It is important to know about tick habitats and personal protection techniques because most people are exposed to ticks in residential areas. Here are a few ways to prevent ticks:

1. Keep the lawn mowed to make your property unattractive to ticks. Ticks are found in high grass, yards with trees and shrubs.

2. Keep backyard grasses set back from the woods around a home by eight feet. Place a three-foot wood chip, gravel or mulch border area between grassy edges and tick-prone zones. Ticks prefer moist areas like leaf litter and the edge of woods. Ticks don’t like the sun and wait in shady areas on brush and grasses.

3. Practice personal protection. Personal protection involves using repellents, wearing appropriate clothing and checking for ticks on one’s person, which is the most effective practice of all. In tick habitats, wear long, light-colored pants tucked into socks or boots, and long-sleeved shirts. This keeps ticks from reaching the skin and makes them easier to see. Ticks like places on humans that are warm and moist, most commonly the backs of the knees, armpits, the groin, the scalp, the back of the neck, and behind the ears. Attached ticks should be removed as soon as possible using fine-point tweezers since risk of disease transmission is increased the longer the tick is attached.

To read the full article click HERE.

To protect your home and loved ones from ticks, call Northwest Exterminating.

 

No More Cockroaches

On Cinco de Mayo, we ran the billboard below:

"No More Cockroaches"

We thought the board was perfect for the occasion based on the song “La Cucaracha” that became popular during the Mexican Revolution, but also because cockroaches are a major concern in homes across the South.  Cockroaches can be found in a variety of locations and are a significant health risk due to their ability to transmit several known diseases.  Roaches are heavily reliant on humans for their food and shelter so they are most often found indoors.

Along with diseases, roaches cause allergens in a home.  Children and people over 60 have a higher increase of respiratory issues and can go into anaphylactic shock if an asthma attack should occur due to being exposed to the allergens.  A clean home can deter cockroaches and other pests from invading your home.

General House Cleaning Tips:

  • Sweep, mop, and vacuum regularly
  • Wipe up spills and other messes as soon as possible
  • Wipe down counters
  • Keep upholstery and other linens clean

Common roaches found in Atlanta area homes are the American Cockroach, Brown-banded Cockroach, German Cockroach, and Oriental Cockroach.  For more information on roaches, visit our Identify your Pest section of our website. Roaches infest in high numbers so it is best to call an exterminator to ensure that the infestation is taken care of quickly and effectively.

 

Bug Themed Party

Every good party has a theme!  And what better time to have a party than the summer?  Summer is a great time for cookouts, family get-togethers, birthdays, or just because!  And what goes together better than summer and bugs?  So why not have a bug-themed party?

Bug theme decorations:

  • Use green streamers that look like vines and shrubs
  • Place jars with plastic bugs as table decorations
  • Antennae headbands
  • Magnifying glasses

It’s never a good idea to pair real bugs with food.  But we can make our food look like insects, right!  Try these bug themed treats that are sure to be pleasing on the eyes and the stomach.

Ants on a Log

Bug theme foods:

  • Dirt Cake
  • Gummy worms
  • Fruit caterpillar kabobs – skewer green grapes, place 2 white dots on front of first grape using cream cheese, place mini chocolate chip in center of white dots for eyes
  • Bug juice – mix any flavor of red juice and a blue juice…to make GREEN juice
  • Ants on a log – You will need: Celery, cream cheese or peanut butter, raisins
  • Slice celery horizontally and spread with either cream cheese or peanut butter.
  • Place raisins on top
  • Burrowing Worms – Cut 6-7 slits along one half of each hotdog (1/4″ apart and 1/2″ deep).  Do the same on the opposite side.  Cook hotdogs and serve on bun with hotdog condiments.
  • Create your own critter mix – It’s trail mix with a spin.  Give guests a bag and let them make their own mix with selections of nuts, seeds, cereals, crackers, pretzels, raisins, dried fruit, marshmallows, chocolate chips, etc.
  • Watermelon Bug: Cut a rectangle out of the top of a watermelon. Scoop out the flesh and refill with fruit salad. Create a face on the melon using fruit (an orange wedge for the mouth, grape eyes). Use banana halves to make six legs and curl some pipe cleaners for antennae. Attach everything with toothpicks
  • Pretzel butterflies: Attach two small pretzels, tip to tip.  Place piece of caramel at tips and microwave for 10 second or until caramel is melted and pretzels are stuck together.
  • Mosquito Bloody Marys – for the adults, of course.

Don’t let uninvited guests ruin your party.  Call Northwest Exterminating to get rid of any mosquitoes or pests.

 

Technician Tales: Bees and the Not-So-Sweet Honey

The following story is the reason I decided to start bringing a camera with me on the job.  I didn’t want to miss any unique experiences like this one.
I showed up at the customer’s house on a rainy afternoon.  They had told our office staff that they had seen bees on the side of their home and had heard some buzzing in the wall.  At first glance it seemed pretty typical, bees entering the structure of the home and building a hive.  The customer asked me to look at something outside, she then pointed out a large mass in a tree in her neighbor’s yard.  I grabbed my binoculars to get a better look and I couldn’t believe what I saw.  Attached to the tree was a mass twice the size of a football and filled bees.  (After researching this phenomenon I discovered this is how they transfer the queen to a new hive.  All the workers gather around the queen to protect her while a select few special workers prepare the hive.)
The bees were entering the customers house through a small gap between the brick basement and the hardy plank siding.  By using a stethoscope, I was able to locate the exact location of the hive, the ceiling above their living room which was also the floor of the master bedroom.  I drilled into the ceiling and found honey on my drill which confirmed the hive location.
We began carefully cutting into the sheet rock to reveal the hive.  What we saw was truly nature at work.
Thousands of bees working together for one common purpose, to make honey!  The noise was deafening, the buzz of the bees filled the room, yet surprisingly they didn’t attack.
When bees are inside a home we remove them with a shop-vac.  We began to remove individual pieces of honeycomb and place them in garbage bags, we filled up 2 contractor sized bags each weighing about 30-40 lbs!  Once the honeycomb was removed, every ounce of wax and honey must be completely cleaned off, so we scraped and scrubbed to ensure the bees and other pests wouldn’t come back.
We sealed up the entry on the outside of the home and placed plastic around the opening to keep any left over bees from entering the living space of the home.  Success!  Hive removed, customer and family safe!
Matt Bowley
Inspection Specialist
404.446.8885 | callnorthwest.com
 

Flea Prevention & Facts

How can something as small as a flea be such a huge pain?  Pet owners are all too familiar with the annoyance of fleas because they make us AND our pets miserable.  Fleas attach themselves to warm-blooded animals (pets and humans) and feed on their blood.  A flea bite can cause discomfort, painful, itchy red bumps and can lead to an allergic reaction.  In some cases, they can even transmit diseases like the bubonic plague, murine typhus and transfer tapeworms in pets.

To prevent fleas from becoming a pest in your home, clean and vacuum frequently.  A clean home is a healthy home and will aid in the prevention of other pests as well.  Cleaning will help to remove any fleas and their eggs.  Maintaining a clean yard is just as important, especially if you have pets that go outside often.  A well kept lawn with no debris or pet droppings will reduce the flea population around your home.  Bathe pets regularly and apply a flea and tick treatment.  Most importantly, call a professional exterminator if you have fleas in your home.  A flea infestation can be very difficult to get rid of and is best left to the professionals so the problem does not continue to grow.

Interesting Flea Facts:

  • The largest recorded flea measured almost ½ inch!
  • Fleas consume 15 times their weight in blood each day. That is like a 140 lb. woman eating 8,400 burgers in one day!
  • Fleas are the number one cause of allergies in cats and dogs.
  • Fleas can live for about 100 days.
  • Fleas don’t fly, they jump.
  • A pair of fleas can produce 400-500 offspring in their lifetime.
  • A flea can jump up to 8 inches high or 150 times its own height.

Got a flea problem?  Call Northwest Exterminating for professional, effective flea control.

 

Pests in your Mother’s Day Flowers?

Mothers, there is a good chance that you may be getting flowers this Sunday!  Flowers are a beautiful gift that bring light and happiness to a person’s day when they are the lucky recipient.  But holidays like this Sunday’s Mother’s Day, or Valentine’s Day, brings lots of work for US Customs and Border Protection workers.  For Mother’s Day, an estimated 40 million flowers will be examined for pests.

Plants are often imported from other countries and can carry pests or even diseases.  According to msnbc, “On a typical day, the CBP seizes about 4,436 prohibited plant, meat and animal byproducts and finds 570 agricultural pests from abroad that could harm US agriculture.” (Source)

Read Getting the bugs out–literally–of Mother’s Day flowers at LAX on dailybreeze.com for more information on the inspection of plants that are being imported into the US.

Now you can appreciate that beautiful bouquet that you get on Sunday even more knowing all of the hard work that goes into them.  They have been thoroughly checked, put together, and purchased with LOVE!

Northwest Exterminating would like to wish all the moms a Happy Mother’s Day and say Thank You for all that you do!!

What was your favorite Mother’s Day gift?