Aphids

Aphids are interesting insects in that almost every plant serves as a potential meal for one or more species of these tiny pests. They have long, slender mouths used to pierce stems, leaves and other tender plant parts to draw out the fluids from the plant. They also all are pear-shaped with long legs and antennae, but they come in many shades of colors including green, yellow, brown, red or black. This varies with the species as well as the type of plant they choose to feed on.

Aphids

Aphids reproduce at a very rapid pace as each adult aphid is capable of producing up to 80 aphids a year. Most adult aphids are wingless, but some come in winged forms, especially during the spring and fall. This allows them to move onto another food source when one becomes no longer available. Most often, these insects travel in dense populations along the leaves or stems of a plant.

That said, the amount of leef-feeding aphids determines their potential damage. Low to moderate numbers are usually not damaging, but much larger populations they have the effect of curling, yellowing, distorting leaves and also stunting plant growth. They may also transmit viruses from plant to plant. If you feel that your garden is being taken over by an aphid population, let Northwest Lawn Care services take care of your outdoor pest control needs.

Curling of leaves due to aphids.

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

July Pest of the Month: Fire Ant

Fire Ant

Fire Ant

Brief description:

Fire ants get their name through their ability to inflict painful bites and stings.  They vary considerably in size and build large raised mounds in lawn areas.  One interesting fact about fire ants is they have been known to infest electrical boxes en masses, causing the equipment to malfunction.

Habits:

  • Build nests in soil near structural foundations or in landscaping.
  • Nests can be between 2 and 4 square feet in size.
  • Although they typically make their nests outside, they can enter structures through HVAC systems, electrical lines, and even under siding.

Different species:

  • Argentine ants
  • Carpenter ants
  • Odorous house ants
  • Pavement ants
  • Crazy ants
  • Acrobat ants

Threats:

  • Produce a painful sting when they feel threatened.
  • Sting results in a painful, raised bump.
  • Often receive more than one sting at a time.
  • Devastates local insect populations and small wildlife when it invades an area.
  • Many grouse and ground nesting bird species have been eliminated by fire ants when they attack newly hatched nestlings.

Prevention:

  • Avoid fire ant mounds.
  • Seal all entry points into a structure.
  • Contact a licensed pest professional if you have fire ant nests in your lawn.

Other pests to look out for:

  • Other species of ants listed above

 

 

Pests That Affect Your Lawn

It’s summer time, so you and your family will likely spend a great deal more time outside enjoying the weather. However, your household won’t be the only ones wanting to take advantage of your lawn. Especially during the summertime, certain insects can cause damage or even kill your turfgrass. Signs of insect feeding include grass turning yellow or brown and eventually dying. This begins as small patches of grass but can eventually lead to widespread damage. It’s important to eliminate lawn damage using preventive measures and Northwest Lawn Care offers just that!

 

 

One pest in particular that you may be used to seeing is a white grub. These insects are the larvae stage of several species of masked chafer beetles. This said, if you spot beetles in your yard, you’re likely to have white grubs. They are small, white “C” shaped bugs with six legs. When these insects infest, they can destroy grass roots, which weakens the affected area. If ever you’ve been able to lift your grass easily from the ground, it’s likely to be due to these insects.

White GrubMasked chafer

Another common insect pest is the armyworm, which is actually the larva stage of a moth and is therefore, a caterpillar. Like all caterpillars, army worms like feed of plants, including all types of grass. They like to chew on leaves as well as the base of leaves, leaving irregular patches of grass. Once again, if you notice a fair amount of brown or gray moths in your yard, you’re likely to already have an armyworm problem.

Armyworm

Armyworm

Other common insect pests include billbugs, black turfgrass ataenius, fiery skipper, lawn moths, sod webworms and the southern chinch bug. Keep in mind that these pests are perfect treat for larger pests such moles, skunks and raccoons. If you feel like your lawn may be at risk, call the Northwest Lawn Care Team and they will meet your needs.

Sources:

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7476.html

http://www.diynetwork.com/outdoors/how-to-identify-common-lawn-pests/index.html

http://www.hort.uconn.edu/ipm/homegrnd/htms/13inslwn.htm

http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/white-grubs-lawns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bats Found in the State of Georgia

Bats are the only mammals that are actually capable of flight. However, what we consider to be wings are actually elongated fingers with a wing membrane attached. Bat wings are actually far more similar to human hands than they are to bird’s wings. Bats can be found globally, aside from in the extreme polar regions of the earth.  Additionally, in many places some species of bat are endangered, whereas others have populations numbering well into the millions.

Bats Range Map

There are 15 known bat species located in the state of Georgia. One of these species includes the Big Brown Bat, which is found throughout North America. These bats can be found anywhere, but prefer places where they can be well concealed such as under look bark, tree cavities or as many people are used to, inside caves.

Big Brown Bat

Big Brown Bat

Despite popular media, these bats, as well as 70% of the others, are insectivores and eat only insects including wasps, bees, flies and more.  Other species of bat include Mexican free-tailed bats, Eastern pipistrelle, the Gray bat, as well as many others. Bats may be by your home if you live in a heavily wooded area or have anywhere they can feel sheltered and well-fed. If you find yourself with unexpected neighbors, our Wildlife Services will come to your aid!

 

How Do They Do It: Squirrels Flying, Snakes Swimming, Bugs Walking on Water

All creatures are capable of fantastic feats, some of which we are accustomed to. Birds fly, fish swim and bees buzz along as they collect nectar. We’re so used to certain animals doing certain things that we marvel when they do something unexpected. After all, wouldn’t it shock you if animals could talk like humans? That is, until you have a conversation with a parrot. Below we feature some creatures you know well and finally get an explanation for how the neat tricks they do!

Squirrels Flying

Northern flying squirrel

Southern flying squirrel

Southern flying squirrel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flying squirrels aren’t as a familiar as their red or gray sisters because when you’re likely to be sleep when they tend to be out. In North America there are two species of flying squirrel – the northern flying squirrel and the southern flying squirrel.  Contrary to what their name suggests, flying squirrels don’t fly because they don’t have wings. They do however, have web-like folds of skin known as patagium which when get taught when they stretch their bodies out and help them glide from high altitudes.

 

Snakes Swimming

Snake swimming

Snake swimming

Though some snakes are known specifically for being in the water, all snakes can swim. This may boggle the mind because these creatures have no arms or fins! However, they glide gracefully through the water by moving their body laterally, as if twisting into an ‘S’ shape. These movements start at the head and continue through its body, allowing them to exert a force backwards against the water, effectively moving their bodies forward. Those we typically refer to as water snakes have flatter bodies which make it more efficient for them to swim.

 

Bugs Walking on Water

Scientists used to believe that bugs secreted a wax on their legs that helped them take advantage of the surface tension of water. Now they believe that insect’s legs have microscopic hairs that trap air bubbles to allow them to float.

Bug walking on water

Bug walking on water

 

 

 

Giant African Land Snails

Recent news stories have brought attention to a new pest that has all threat of pests such as rats, including its size! Snails may not seem like the most imposing of pests, but the giant African land snail is definitely a force to be reckoned with. It is starting to invade parts of southern Florida, but has also been seen in parts of Texas and the Great Lake states.

Giant African Land Snail

Giant African Land Snail

These snails live up to nine years and can produce 1200 eggs a year, after reaching adulthood in just one year. If you’re not a fan of math, just be certain that these snails can soon become an astronomical problem. Florida knows this especially after having to spend $1 million on its initial infestation – which evidently did not offer them a permanent solution.

So what’s the bigger issue here? Firstly, these snails eat at least 500 different types of plants, thus serving as a huge threat to agriculture. Not only that, but according to Agriculture Department spokeswoman Denise Feiber, giant African land snails carry a human parasite called rat lungworm, a potentially deadly form of meningitis. Homeowners should beware not only for these issues, but also because their shells are so sharp they might shred a tire!

These pests are thought to be carried in through traveler’s luggage, although other, not so wise citizens, carry them as pets and later release them. This was the cause of the original infestation on the American mainland in 1966. Agriculture officials are working to eliminate the pest problem before it becomes a major issue, but urge homeowners that they are the first line of defense against this pest. If you spot a pest similar to these below, call Northwest Exterminating immediately! There might be a larger problem than the one that already meets the eye.

Snail Diagram

Snail Diagram

If you’re interested in learning more about this pest and pest prevention, view the video here.

Sources:

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/gas/index.shtml

http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/animals/africansnail.shtml

http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/15/us/florida-giant-snails/index.html?iref=allsearch

http://news92fm.com/350719/giant-african-land-snails-spotted-in-houston/

 

Know Your Red & Black Bugs

Spring is a time when everything comes to life, blooming into an array of lovely colors. You’ll see flowers that are pink and purple, baby bunnies that are tan or gray and insects that are red and black. Just like every other little life form emerging this time of year, insects can also be a variety of colors and it’s important not to get them confused. Some bugs you might spot frequently are of the Georgia Bulldog variety – red and black spots, stripes and even a combination of both.

If any of these insects or other pests become too much of nuisance, Northwest Exterminating has the expertise and knowledge to take care of your bug problems.  Our Director of Pest Services Adam Vannest has provided some information about these bugs that will help you know the difference and what measures to take against them.

Lady Bug

Ladybug  – Beneficial insect

-  Overwinters

-  Feeds on aphids

- Control Measures: exclusion and vacuuming for long-term prevention. When necessary, chemical contact treatments can knock down a population

Box Elder Bug

Box Elder Bug

-  Overwinters

-  Female: Box Elder trees and Silver Maple trees serve as the primary host plant

-   Control Measures: Exclusion and a contact/residual application around the foundation and base of host plant

 

Milkweed Bug

Milkweed bug  – Found in gardens on Milkweed plants or around shelled sunflower seeds

- Control Measures: Over-the-counter garden insecticides

 

Leaf-Footed Stink Bug

Leaf-footed stink bug

-      Feeds on a wide variety of host plants

-       Besides birds, they do not have too many natural predators due to their taste and smell

-       Control Measures: Over-the-counter insecticides for garden areas. Outside of the garden, any contact or residual product labeled for stink bugs

Wheel Bug

Wheel Bug

 

-       Semicircular cogwheel-like crest on its thorax

-       Feeds on a wide variety of insects including caterpillars, beetles, aphids

Control Measures: Prevention is the key! All plants should be inspected before they enter the home. Exclusion should be performed for long-term prevention. All vegetation should be trimmed away from the home, at least one foot. Pesticides are rarely needed

 

Be The Match Registry Event

The Northwest Family would like to reach out to our clients, friends and community in order to support a dear friend of ours, Steve Ferguson. Steve Ferguson is a non-Hodgkins victim who has undergone several rounds of medical treatment in the last 16 years. Having exhausted all remaining options, Steve continues to fight, but his true chance of survival will come from someone like you! Steve needs a bone marrow transplant. Successful treatment will result in him being given the opportunity to continue being the amazing and loving person that he is to his friends and family.

Be the Match Flyer

                You can become a bone marrow donor directly or provide financial support to all people who require Bone Marrow transplants by joining the Be The Match registry. There is no cost for registrants between the ages of 18 & 44, but a $100 cost for those 45-60.

We know that members of the Northwest Family are caring, kind-hearted people who are also surrounded by like-minded people. If you or anyone you know cares to help please join the registry. There is an event at Grace Community Church on 770 Kennesaw Avenue in Marietta, Georgia this coming Saturday, June 8th from 9a-1p. Please come out and show your support!

 

June Pest of the Month: Bed Bugs

bed bug

Brief description:

  • Mahogany to re-brown in color
  • Flat, broad when unfed; swollen and elongated when fed
  • Ranging in size from 1.3mm to 7mm in length depending on the age
  • Females can lay up to 500 eggs in their lifetime
  • Bed bugs feed on the blood of warm bodied animals
  • Consume a blood meal every 5-10 days but can survive a whole year without eating

Habits:

  • Bed bugs harbor in cracks and crevices during the day and come out for blood feedings at night
  • Hence their name, they are often found in beds among the mattress, box springs, rails, frame, headboard, and footboard
  • They are excellent hitchhikers.  They hide in luggage, purses, bags, and other belongings to travel from place to place

Different species:

Threats:

  • Bites are painless but can cause an allergic reaction which triggers small, red bumps on the skin

Prevention:

  • Inspect bedding for bed bug skins and blood spots
  • Change linens often
  • Inspect rooms when traveling.
  • Do not set luggage on the floor or on bed when traveling
  • Inspect luggage, clothing, and linens when you return from traveling
  • Inspect second hand furniture before bringing it into your home
  • Seek professional pest control company to address a bed bug infestation

Other pests to look out for:

 

 

The World’s Smallest Pest: The Fairyfly

Tinkerbelle is no longer just Peter Pan’s fairy sidekick. Recently, scientists discovered a new fairyfly that they aptly named Tinkerbella nana in Costa Rica.

Tinkerbella nana

According to Science Daily, fairyflies are just one of 18 families of insects called chalcid wasps. Fairyflies are found all over the world except in Antarctica and feature the tiniest insect in the world called the Kikiki huna.

Kikiki huna

You probably have never noticed a fairly, not only because of their literally microscopic size, but also because of their life cycle .Most of the insects actually begin as parasitoids of the eggs of other, larger insects, usually found plants. This said a specific host of fairyflies remains on known. In order to find the new Tinkerbella nana, researchers had to sweep through rain forest litter.

If you would like to learn more, read the Science Daily article here.

Sources:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424103050.htm