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

 

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

Bug Friendly Children’s Books

Though having pests in your home may be a different story, books about bugs have always been favorite reads for children. Below is a list of fictional stories about bugs that your kids are sure to enjoy:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

This picture book features the tale of a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly accompanied by vivid colored pictures. Children will not only learn about caterpillars, but also about numbers, healthy eating and days of the week as they chronicle his journey from newborn to cocoon.

Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg

Ever wonder what ants are up to when they invade your home? Before you call the exterminator, let this picture book give you a glimpse into the mischievous adventures of two ants. Children will learn the importance of following directions and the consequences of their choices.

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

This classic of children’s literature features a fun-filled cast of characters starting with a young orphan named James. With the help of a magic potion, James causes a peach tree to blossom an abnormally large fruit, which becomes home to an assortment of interesting insects.  This perfect first chapter book will offer your children lessons of friendship, bravery and loyalty.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

This American classic comes from the author of another well-known tale, Stuart Little. Told from the perspective of a pig, this novel follows the life of barn house creatures, one of which is a spider named Charlotte. Charlotte offers Wilbur much wisdom in one of the most beautiful friendships ever written.

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden

This story follows a cricket from Connecticut who boards the wrong train to Times Square in New York. There he meets many interesting characters, both human and animal, that teach him many lessons, including how to play classical music.

Melissa Brown
mbrown@callnorthwest.com

 

Ants, Ants, and More Ants

Ants are one of the pests that can be an issue year around.  Although controlling ants can be difficult…it is possible.

Size is a big advantage to the small ants.  Because they are so small, they can enter a structure through even the tiniest of entryways.  When ants enter your home, they are looking for food and water.  Sweets and greasy foods are amongst some of their favorite foods.  To lead other ants to food, they leave behind a pheromone that allows the other ants to follow to the source of food.

Ants are social insects, meaning they live in large colonies.  You can find 300,000-500,000 ants in a single colony.   Ants can uproot and move their whole colony rather quickly.  Worker ants can live up to 7 years while queens can live up to 15 years.

Although size and quantity are on the side of ants, there are ways to keep ants out of your home:

  • Eliminate standing water.  This will help keep away ants, as well as other pests such as mosquitoes and termites.
  • Keep foliage away from the structure.  Ants and other pests can use branches, leaves, etc as a way to enter your home.
  • Seal your home.  Cracks and crevices around your home are used as entrances to your home by pests.
  • DIY methods.  Although some DIY methods can be helpful in getting rid of ants, you are not getting to the real source of the problem.  A professional pest control company can inspect your home and help you come up with a customized plan to get rid of and control future ants from coming in your home.

Call Northwest Exterminating at 888.466.7849 if you are having ant problems in your home or business. Visit us online to find out more information about ants and how to control them.

 

Community Management Services Team to Assist in Community Management in GA, TN, SC, & AL

 

Community managers, property managers, and homeowners associations are in place in communities to enforce bylaws, maintain safety, maintenance and upkeep, and the general property value of a community.  This is no easy task.  The management teams above have their work cut out for them.  It can difficult to deal with so many different trades in order to maintain a community.  But with Northwest Exterminating, community managers can check pest and termite needs off of their list of worries.

Northwest Exterminating has a team in place that specializes in the pest and termite needs of management companies.  Our Community Management Services Team is familiar with the demands of management companies and is in place to assist them with: termite control, pest control, mosquito control, wildlife control, fire ant control, and carpenter bee control.  We provide pest and termite services for single-family detached housing, multi-unit housing, clubhouse, amenity buildings, and condominiums.

With professional representatives, ongoing training of staff, convenient billing, repair warranties, multiple locations throughout Georgia and Tennessee, and over 60 years of experience, Northwest is community manager’s choice for pest control.

For more information on how Northwest Exterminating’s Community Management Services team can help you, visit us online or call us at 888.466.7849.

 

What Our Customers Are Saying

Each week we send out a survey to customers who have received a new service from Northwest Exterminating.  Our goal is always “Customers for Life”!  We want to make sure that each customer is completely satisfied with the service that they have received from Northwest.  Our surveys allow us to really see how we’re doing from our customer’s stand point!  We are able to use the responses to constantly make Northwest a better company.  So what are our customers saying?  See for yourself:

  • They arrived when promised, they were very clean, were very polite, treated our termite problem, and finished quickly. – Newnan service center
  • Fire ant service was just great.  We added it recently during our quarterly and termite renewal service. – Stockbridge service center
  • Northwest representative, John Davis, was very helpful and knowledgeable in assessing my needs for termite protection.  The termite technician who actually performed the job, Bobby McMichen, was on time and did a fantastic job.  I would recommend Northwest to all my friends and family members. – Dallas service center
  • I like the green option.  Reps have always been friendly and knowledgeable.  They have always been receptive to our needs.  They will return with a smile if having an insect problem.  They will return as much as neccessary to get the problem solved. – Dallas service center
  • When I started to have issues with bugs in my house, I called Northwest.  The representative was polite and attended to my needs quickly.  We had our initial visit within 2 days and our service was completed by the end of the week.  This was very helpful as I am 39 weeks pregnant and needed to have it completed before the new baby arrived. – Newnan service center
  • We had a yellow jacket infestation in the wall of my home. My husband and I were on a trip and my son was home to handle the situation. He called a different company and wasn’t treated very well. Once he called your company he got the help he needed right away. The other company told him it would cost upwards of $1000 to fix the problem and with you guys it was less then $250. I want to thank you for not taking advantage of a young man that didn’t know what to do with the problem before him. May God bless you for your kindness. – Wildlife Team
  • The representative was courteous and knowledgeable. He also came on short notice regarding an emergency situation. – Columbus service center
  • I had a complete understanding of the work that was to be performed and how it would work. The service rep called in advance and was on time. He completed the work in a timely manner. – Monroe service center
  • Friendly, professional service technician. Reviewed everything with me and treated whole house – even did basement and attic and we did not go over that. Thorough treatment. Confident that if I have aproblem I can call my representative and he will handle it quickly. – East Cobb service center
  • Northwest has always provided excellent service in both Pest management and Termite service and most recently the lawn care service. – Stockbridge service center
  • We had really bad ants and with one treatment, they are GONE! – Buford service center
  • We are a farm to table restaurant that would never consider using products with unnatural pesticides.  We are so glad you have green shield products.  Our representative was extremely knowledgeable about the pests that have previously inhabited this 70 year old building and setup traps to monitor any pest traffic we have.  He even told us to call him at the first sign of pest activity. – Canton service center

For more information on the services offered at Northwest Exterminating visit our website at callnorthwest.com or call 888.466.7849

NorPest Green Pest Control
Green Mosquito Control
Bed Bug Control
Fire Ant Control
Termite Control
Wildlife Control
Lawn Care
TAP Insulation
Green Property Solutions
Complete CrawlSpace
Commercial Services
Builder Services
Realtor Services
Community Management Services

 

 

Mythical Origins of Insects

People love a good myth. These narratives contribute bright symbolism of interactions between higher powers, people, and nature. They assist in many relevant functions as well as further adding colorful stories. One valuable role of myths is to illustrate some angle of life.

Several myths describe the beginnings, morphology, and conduct of various insects. Here are just a few:

The origin of mosquitoes is revealed by The Tlingit Indians of North America.  The narration tells of a blood sucking carnivorous giant who dines on humans. This giant is eventually avenged after his horrific death by coming back to feed on humans in the appearance of blood sucking mosquitoes.

An Algonquin tale of North America justifies why bees, wasps, and hornets have stingers. This myth grants that the god Wakonda bestowed stingers to bees because the bees were industrious, but required a defense. Since wasps and hornets are linked to bees, The Great Spirit willingly endowed them with stinging weapons as well.

Ant actions are revealed in an African myth that reminds us of the everlasting punishments of Atlas, Prometheus, and Sisyphus of classical mythology. An infinite punishment of bearing a burden is handed down to ants by deception in the African myth. Accordingly, we see the outcome today in ants repeatedly transporting things in their everyday routine.

Atlas

And on an absolutely universal spectrum, the composition of our galaxy, The Milky Way, is translated in an insect myth of the Cochiti. This myth tells of an Eleodes Beetle that was in charge of depositing stars in the sky. The stars were dropped due to his ego and recklessness, thus forming the Milky Way. The beetle was so distraught at what he had done, that even today, the beetle hides his face in the dirt when approached – will lower its head, raise its abdomen, and emit a disagreeable odor probably for defense. This simple insect myth explains not only insect behavior, but also the start of our own galaxy.

Beetle

Who are your favorite mythological characters?

 

Getting Rid of Fire Ants Quickly

Fire ants are a common problem for homeowners in Atlanta and other southeastern cities.  They can be found in the yard and should be a concern for homeowners. Fire ants can be difficult to get rid of once they have moved onto your property and have built their colonies.  They are an aggressive species and will bite and sting if they feel that they, or their colony,  is being threatened.  A fire ant’s bite or sting can be painful and cause serious health risks to you, your family, and pets.  You and your family should be able to enjoy your yard freely without the concern of stumbling across a fire ant mound.

Because fire ants can be difficult to get rid of and carry a health risk, Northwest Exterminating recommends using a professional exterminating company to ensure the fire ant colonies are treated effectively.  Northwest Exterminating’s Fire Ant Control program reduces fire ant colonies within 24 to 72 hours.  Our treatment even targets the colonies located underground.  Other products used by companies take up to 30 days to control fire ants, require immediate irrigation to work, can be harmful to your family and pets, and may require over 80 pounds of product to be effective.

In the summer, you don’t have 30 days to spare to enjoy your yard!

Benefits of Northwest Exterminating’s Fire Ant Control Service:

  • We use Dupont’s AdvionTM, the fastest acting fire ant bait on the market.
  • The bait is ingested by the fire ant, controlling the colony within 24-72 hours.
  • Entire yard is treated to wipe out all colonies, even the ones underground.
  • Application is environmentally friendly to your family and pets.

 Have you had a run-in with a fire ant mound?

 

 

 

Do it Yourself Pest Control VS. Professional Pest Control

There is a whole market for people who like to do it yourself.  I am one of them.  I enjoy the occasional weekend project around the house like painting, fixing a leaky faucet, or changing out fixtures.  However, there are some do it yourself projects that are just not for me.  I don’t touch wires, I don’t clean high chandeliers, and I don’t clean out gutters (thank goodness Northwest Exterminating does).  Those are the tasks that I leave for the professionals.

In the recent years of the down economy, we have witnessed more people resorting to a do it yourself method of getting rid of bugs.  There are certain situations where we agree that do it yourself is a good alternative to hiring an exterminator.  If you spot a single bug such as a fly, yellow jacket, or ant, there is usually no need for a professional pest control company to come to your home.  But if you spot a termite, a bed bug, or any other insect that can cause damage to your family or your home, it is necessary to call an exterminator.

There are certain things that need to be considered when deciding to DIY or hire a professional:

  • Expense

o   DIY – A trip to the store and the purchase of chemicals is typically less expensive than hiring a pest control company.

o   Professional – Although the initial investment is more expensive with a professional, it may end up being the cheaper alternative.  If the in store pesticides are not effective they may result in the growth of your pest control problem.  Continuing to buy in store products can get expensive.  Not to mention the potential damage to your home that pests can cause.

  • Convenience

o   DIY – When doing it yourself, you can go to the store, purchase the pest control product, and apply it at your own convenience.

o   Professional – It can be a pain to find a time that is convenient for both you and your exterminator to meet at your home for a treatment.  More often than not, this is at the inconvenience of the customer.  However, a good exterminator will work with the homeowner to schedule the best time for them.

  • Knowledge

o   DIY – The instructions are on the label.  Not only can information be found on the label but it is very easy to go to the internet and do a research on the particular product or insect.  Be sure that all instructions are followed exactly as listed on the package.

o   Professional – An experienced and knowledgeable exterminator will be able to quickly identify and treat your problem.  They are also able to answer any questions that you have about prevention or other issues that you are experiencing.  Their experience and expertise can keep your home and family healthier than just reading the instructions on a label.

  • Risk

o   DIY – Chemicals of any kind can carry a risk.  Applying chemicals that you are not knowledgeable about could potentially cause harm to humans, pets, or plants in the area.  This is not to scare you but to remind you that we cannot stress enough the importance to read all instructions and follow all directions listed on the product label. 

o   Professionals – By hiring an experienced and knowledgeable pest control company, most risk is removed from the homeowner.  Be sure to read all contracts and get reviews from past customers before hiring a pest control company.

  • Effectiveness

o   DIY – For small pest problems, store bought exterminating products can oftentimes be effective.  For a bigger infestation, it can be more difficult with store bought products.  Pests are adaptable creatures and can get become immune to certain chemicals after a certain amount of time. 

o   Professionals – A reliable pest control company will have up to date information and products to treat your infestation. 

  • Warranties

o   DIY – Depending on the store and product, you can return a product.  Check your local store return policies before purchasing.

o   Professionals – Always ask about a company’s policies before hiring them to treat your home.  Will they return to your home for no charge if your issue is not solved? Do they offer warranties on their work?  A good exterminating company will.

When trying to decide if you should tackle your pest control problem, consider the list above.  For a small infestation, do it yourself is a good option that can be inexpensive.  For larger infestations or a continuing problem, save yourself the time, hassle, and money and call a professional exterminator.  As always, the key to pest control is prevention. For pest prevention tips visit this blog.

If you have a pest or termite issue in the Atlanta, Columbus, Savannah, or Nashville area, call Northwest Exterminating. 

What kind of do-it-yourself projects do you enjoy?

Have you ever tried to do-it-yourself and had to call in the professionals?

 

 

Steps to Identifying Ants

The southern part of the United States is home to more than 100 ant species.  Georgia is among the states that has a particularly tough time with ants due to the many species that dwell in our region.  Our diverse climate aids in the relocation of many invasive ant species because we have both tropical and temperate northern climates available.

When you call your exterminator to get rid of ants, you want to know that they are really researching the issue and not just spraying.  Northwest takes a IPM approach to managing pest programs.  The first step is identifying the issue, in the case, ants.

 Steps to identifying ants:

  1. Analyze the coloration of the ant.  For example: house ants range in colors from yellow to black; black ants are dark brown to black; thief ants are yellow to light brown; pharaoh ants are light yellow to a reddish brown with black markings on the abdomen; and carpenter ants are red or black.
  2. Look at the size of the ant body.  Many ants we commonly see range in size from 1/16″ to 1/2″ or larger.  Many species will have several different sizes within the nest.
  3. Take notice to where the ants build their nest.  In damaged wood, in oil, in a wall void, etc.
  4. Examine the type of food the ant eats.  Most house ants are attracted to sweet foods left behind in trash, on counters, etc.
  5. Analyze the ants’ behavior.  Some house ants, such as Argentine and carpenter ants, are more aggressive than others.  Do the ants travel in a line or are they more separate in their trails?

Are you having a problem with ants?  If so, call Northwest Exterminating today or go online to fill out your FREE inspection form.

 

Exploding Ants?

 

The Earth is full of interesting, magnificent creatures.  One of those interesting creatures is the camponotus cylindricus… an ant that can explode itself.

The camponotus cylindricus, or exploding ant as we like to call it, uses their talent as an act of self-defense.  When the ant nest is threatened by an intruder, the ant will grab hold of the intruder’s face with its teeth.  They will then bend their bodies so violently that their outside burst and a layer of chemicals explode…making an attempt to kill both the intruder and themselves.

The chemical is stored in sacks that run along the ant’s body.  It acts as an irritant to external organs and dries into a glue-like substance that attaches the ant to the body of its attacker.  Many times this causes the intruder go blind and stops it from making it’s way to the nest.  Either way…the intruder loses the battle.

Now talk about chemical warfare.