Ants, Ants Everywhere…In the Winter?

Ants in the kitchen, ants in the bathroom…that wouldn’t be unusual except it is in the middle of winter!!! Aren’t ants supposed to hibernate during the cold months?

Most likely the ants that are seen during winter are Argentine ants. These ants don’t have to live in the ground; they can make themselves right at home under structures or in the walls of homes protected from the elements. And just a few feet away is everything they need to survive:  water, food and shelter. But just think, if the ants are this bad now, imagine how bad they will be in the summer!

Argentine Ant

Argentine Ant

Argentine ants can quickly populate into multiple colonies containing many queens and thousands of workers. The ants can travel freely between and within these colonies.  Due to their fast growth it makes it difficult to control these ants once they have made their way into a structure. People often panic when they see ants inside their home and spray them with the closest can of bug spray that they can find. This might fix the problem temporarily, however, it is best to have a professional who can properly identify the ants and understand their habits in order to devise a treatment plan that will be most effective.

Argentine ants are constantly looking for food. They love sugary foods like soft drinks and syrups. Once an ant finds a food source, it alerts the other ants to “come and get it.” Before you know it the trashcans, counter tops and cabinets are taken over by ants! But don’t worry; there are ways to combat these guys once they have invaded.

  • Keep counter tops clean of food and drink residue.
  • Frequently wipe out cabinets to remove food debris.
  • Thoroughly rinse out soft drink cans and bottles before throwing them in the trash and take the trash out often.
  • Don’t leave unclean dishes in the sink or dishwasher.
  • Keep sugary foods like cereal in sealed containers.
  • Some household plants attract small insects, like aphids, that produce honey dew. Argentine ants will feed on honey dew. Controlling the insects on plants or selecting plants that are not susceptible to them will help to deter ants.

While all these methods can be effective, the best way to battle Argentine ants is to keep them from entering homes in the first place. Homeowners can cut limbs and other vegetation away from homes to prevent easy access. Rake fallen leaves and pine straw away from the home. Seal all cracks and entry points around the home (this will help with energy bills as well). Don’t forget about potted plants; ants can even nest under pots!

Many times, the materials we use to make our landscaping aesthetically pleasing are the very materials that will harbor pests.  Mulch is not only a favorite material for homeowners to use, but it is also the preferred nesting material for ants – providing moisture and shelter from the elements. If mulch is used next to a house it should be pulled away from the outside walls. Refrain from over-watering mulched areas and limit the depth of the mulch to just a couple of inches to help keep it more dry. The drier the mulch, the less inviting it is for ants and other insects.

Garbage cans are often stored next to houses and buildings for convenience. It also makes the area more attractive to ants and brings them closer to your home. Garbage should be kept in sealed cans that are stored as far away from the home as possible.

Controlling Argentine ants is a difficult, year-round task, but with proper prevention and the help of your pest control provider, it is possible.

Teresa Womack
twomack@callnorthwest.com

 

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

The 411 on Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals, typically while they sleep. Usually, they live within 8 feet of where people sleep but are known to travel up to 100 feet in one night! This is because they can go many months without having to have a meal. When they take a bite, they will leave a small bite mark that, at worst, can cause a serious allergic reaction, but are otherwise not known to be a source of disease.

Unlike their name suggests, bed bugs can be found in houses, apartments, hotels, trains, and even cruise ships. At one time, it was thought that these insects were only an issue in developing countries, but recently they have rapidly spread throughout North America and parts of Europe. They travel through the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, clothing, bedding and furniture. Despite what conventional wisdom suggests, the presence of bed bugs does not have to do with lack of cleanliness. Bed bugs go where food can be found.

Bed bug infestation will most likely be spotted after they have already gotten to you. If you see inexplicable bite marks on your body after you wake up, you might want to investigate further. Looking around your sleeping area, you may discover bed bug exoskeletons, a sweet musty order, rusty-colored blood spots and of course, actual bed bugs in the folds of mattresses and sheets.

The treatment and prevention of bed bugs is where Northwest Exterminating comes in. We offer services to rid your home of bed bugs should an infestation occur. If you find that you have encountered these unwelcome bed guests, be sure to contact your nearest service center!

Melissa Brown
mbrown@callnorthwest.com

Source:

http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs/faqs.html

 

4 Diseases Caused by Rodent Droppings

The NPMA recently posted an article on their website that explained the dangers that rodents can cause to your home and your health.  We often talk in our blogs about the unsanitary conditions and the property damage that a rodent infestation can lead to but we rarely discuss the health risks that are involved.

Rodents, such as mice and rats, can leave droppings that can spread bacteria, contaminate food, and cause allergic reactions.  Droppings can also spread diseases and viruses such as the following:

  • Hantavirus – “Hantavirus is a potentially life-threatening disease transmitted to humans by rodents—primarily, the white-footed deer mouse. People become infected through exposure or inhalation of infected rodent urine, droppings or saliva, and the chances increase when people are near spaces where rodents are actively living.”
  • Bubonic plague – “…is usually spread by the bite of an infected rodent flea and can cause fever, headache and painfully swollen lymph nodes.”
  • Salmonellosis – Salmonellosis is a type of food poisoning spread by rodent feces, especially through the consumption of contaminated food. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain.”
  • Rat-Bite Fever – “Rat-bite fever (RBF) is a potentially fatal infectious disease spread by infected rodents or the consumption of food contaminated by rodents.”

To read the full article or get more information on the diseases above click HERE.

Please don’t take chances with the health of you or your loved ones.  If you have rodents in your home, call a licensed exterminator, Northwest Exterminating, to get rid of the rodents in your home.

Source: http://www.pestworld.org/news-and-views/pest-articles/articles/health-threats-posed-by-rodents/

 

Protecting Your Plants from the Cold

You spend a lot of time on your lawn and plants in the warm months.  You enjoy their beauty, their usefulness, and even their taste if you have vegetables in your garden.  So you want to make sure that your plants stay healthy in the cold temperatures of winter.  Rapidly changing temperatures, extreme temperatures, frost, and snow can damage your plants.

Here are some helpful tips to protect your plants from the cold:

  • Cover your plants with clear plastic.  A plastic covering protects plants from snow and frost.  Make sure that the plastic is a bit higher than the plant so the plastic doesn’t freeze to the plant.  Using clear allows you to see through the plastic and monitor your plants.
  • Cover plants with blankets.  An alternative to using clear plastic is using old blankets or sheets to cover your plants.  However, when using this method it is important to keep blankets dry.
  • Use hot caps on vegetables. Hot caps are recommended to protect tender vegetables from frost.  These can be purchased or you can make your own.  Visit http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Garden-Hot-Caps-from-Used-Milk-Jugs
  • Move plants to shelter.  If possible, move plants to a place that offers shelter and warmth from the elements.  This can be inside or even under a covered structure.
  • Use mulch.  Mulch acts as an insulator for plants during temperature swings.

For more information on lawn care, please visit our site at http://www.callnorthwest.com/lawn-care/

 

Organic Pest Control – Companion Planting

Ever wonder how gardens stayed plush and green without modern pest control techniques? Before exterminating companies existed, many planters relied on a method of organic pest control known as companion planting. Companion planting involves placing plants in your garden that have qualities that deter pests that surround and protect your other plants. For instance, planting certain herbs in your vegetable garden can attract beneficial insects while simultaneously repelling harmful ones.

One pest that likes to frequent gardens is the aphid, otherwise known as plant lice. These tiny insects suck the sap from the plant, taking all the nutrients to keep the plant healthy and living. Sometimes as they are feeding, aphids transmit plant viruses to plants such as potatoes and citrus plants, which can kill the plants. Planting chives, coriander or nasturtium around your plants will discourage infestations by these plants.

Nasturtium

Nasturtium

Certain plants can keep larger pests out of your garden. For instance, planting lavender not only deter ticks, but also moths and mice. Mice also do not like the smell of daffodils, which can be used as a colorful boarder for an herb garden. Additionally, rabbits do not like the smell of onions, which can be planted alongside peas, beans, lettuce and cabbage. Lastly, sprinkling cayenne pepper on your plants can act as a deterrent for raccoons.

If companion planting still does not do the job of minimizing pest invasions, Northwest Exterminating offers pest control services that not only takes care of pest, but also does it in a green, environmentally friendly way! Northwest offers many services that will protect your plants, home and office environment. We offer more than pest elimination, but also healthier living and working environments. Check out our website for more info at www.callnorthwest.com

Melissa Brown
mbrown@callnorthwest.com

Sources:

http://gardening.about.com/od/naturalorganiccontrol/a/Companion_2.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphid

http://www.naturalnews.com/035853_companion_planting_garden_vegetables.html

 

Lawn Care Round 1

Lawn Care Round 8 Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be taking care of your lawn!  It’s very important to maintain the health of your lawn all year around…not just in the spring and summer time.  As a matter of fact, we’re in Round 1 of our 8 step, year around Lawn Care service.

In Round 1

This treatment is a deep root treatment and weed prevention/control. This treatment is especially beneficial for stronger root development and to help provide nutrients to the soil for better digestion of the nitrogen products that are applied in the Spring and Summer times.

For Best Results:

  • Be sure that any leaves are removed prior to your treatment.
  • The treatment should be watered in within 48 hours.
  • The lawn should not be mowed 2 days before or after the treatment.  This will ensure that the treatment is most effective by allowing the weeds to absorb the product for an effective kill off.

Additional Lawn Care Services:

 

What is Green Pest Control?

Q. What is Green Pest Control?

Green Pest Control is a way of eliminating pests while having the lowest environmental impact possible.  There are many “green” options to traditional pest control methods that use harmful chemicals.  Our Green Pest Control, NorPest Green, is a program that uses the most up to date technology and products for getting rid of pests.

Times have changed and people are concerned about the health of their homes, children, and pets…and we couldn’t agree more. As stated above, NorPest Green gets rid of pests while maintaining the lowest environmental impact possible.  The active ingredients in our products are derived from flowers, plants, and natural elements from the Earth…no harsh chemicals and is still just as effective as traditional pest control methods.

We also use the 5 step IPM process (integrated pest management) which is “an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices.”

For more information on NorPest Green and our other Northwest Exterminating Green services to control insects in your home visit our website at callnorthwest.com

 

2012 Angie’s List Super Service Award Recipient!

We would like to give a great big CONGRATULATIONS to our Alpharetta, Buford, Smyrna, and Newnan service centers that each received the 2012 Angie’s List Super Service Award!!
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According to Angie’s List “The Super Service Award is given to companies that have achieved and maintained a superior service record on Angie’s List. Approximately 5% of companies on Angie’s List meet the minimum eligibility requirements to be considered. Eligibility requirements include maintaining an “A” rating overall…”

We are so proud of these teams and their hard work and dedication to Northwest Exterminating and our customers.  We would also like to thank each and every person who has taken the time to go online and leave us a review regarding your experiences with Northwest.  We are always striving to not only be the best in pest and termite control but the best in customer service as well.

Thanks again!

 

Northwest Exterminating is BC Rewards’ January Featured Supplier

We’ve been chosen to be BC Rewards’ January Featured Supplier of the month on AtlantaRealEstateForum.com

Northwest Exterminating founder L.A. Phillips in front of the old pump truck

Northwest Exterminating founder L.A. Phillips in front of the old pump truck

Northwest Exterminating is BC Rewards’ January Featured Supplier

Northwest Exterminating is a family owned and operated exterminating company that was founded on the values of honesty, integrity and excellence. At present, these values still remain the core of Northwest Exterminating as they have grown from a family of two to a family of more than 300 team members and 18 service centers throughout Georgia and Tennessee that also service Alabama and South Carolina.

Green is more than just a word to them, it’s their mission. Creating healthier living and working environments for their customers is their first priority.

Check out the rest of the article HERE.

 

January’s Pest of the Month – Squirrels

Gray Squirrel

Unwanted House Guests in Your Attic This Winter?

They may look cute and furry but squirrels can cause major damage if they take up residency in your home. One of the first clues that people experience is the sound of scratching, clawing, gnawing, or scurrying in their attic or walls. If you think you may have unwanted visitors in your home, call Northwest Exterminating.

Habits

  • Natural habitat is wooded areas
  • Often make home in attics or garages for warmth, shelter, food, and a place to build their nests

Different Species

Threats

  • Urine and droppings can contaminate insulation and other areas of the attic
  • Can damage contents of attic including wood, insulation, wires, and storage boxes
  • Can cause damage to power lines outside of the home
  • Invade bird feeder

Prevention

  • Locate and seal off any entry points 1/4″ or larger to prevent squirrels and other rodents from entering your home.
  • Caulk any openings or crevices.
  • To keep squirrels from using utility wires as a way to your attic, slit a 2-foot section of 2-inch PVC pipe lengthwise and slip it over the wire.This makes squirrels unable to maintain their footing when the pipe rotates.
  • Cut back tree limbs that are close to your structure.
  • Squirrel removal is not recommended for amateurs. Call the professionals at Northwest Exterminating.

Other Pests to Look For