Bugs and Your Health

MosquitoesThe early spring has brought pests out in full force and we suspect that they will not be slowing down anytime soon.  Not only are bugs annoying but they’re a health concern as well.

  • West Nile Virus, Encephalitis, dog heartworm – mosquitoes
  • Lyme disease – ticks
  • Rabies – rodents
  • Allergies & Asthma – cockroaches
  • Food Contamination – cockroaches, mice/rats
  • Salmonella – cockroaches, house flies
  • Skin irritation and rashes – lice, fleas, bed bugs, mites
  • Venomous bites & stings (that can be accompanied by severe or life threatening reactions) - black widow, brown recluse, scorpion, snakes
  • Painful stings (that can be accompanied by severe or life threatening reactions) – fire ants, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps

Pests can carry diseases and cause areas to be unsanitary.  These are issues of concern for both homes and businesses.  Even the cleanest homes can have bug problems in an environment like this.  Carpenter bees, mosquitoes, ants, yellow jackets, silverfish, and other pests have recently been invading properties.  If you’re in the Atlanta, Columbus, Savannah, or Nashville area, call Northwest Exterminating.  Our NorPest Green program was developed exclusively by Northwest Exterminating to get rid of pests using the lowest environmental impact possible.  A Northwest representative will develop a customized plan to target those pests while maintaining the health of your home.

We are strategically placed throughout Georgia and Tennessee to service all areas of Georgia as well as parts of Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina.  Visit us online or call 888.466.7849 to find the location nearest you.

 

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

Spring Fever and Spring Pests

Spring is here and so are the pests.  We’ve talked a lot about the unusually warm weather leading to higher numbers of pest sightings and our Ask the Mouse section on our website has been a great place for readers to ask questions about pests they are seeing.  Mosquitoes, bed bugs, and carpenter bees are among some of the common household pests that are being seen this spring.  Take a look below at some of our most common recent questions.

Why do mosquitoes bite some people more than others?

MosquitoesMosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and can sense it from up to 30 yards away. Researchers are still trying to find out exactly what it is that makes some people more attractive than others. Research has indicated that the amount of carbon dioxide in the breath, pregnancy, body temperature, alcohol and odorant markers based on blood type are the top attractants. Pregnant women are preferable because they exhale more carbon dioxide and tend to run a little warmer than the average person. It is also thought that alcohol increases body heat making a person more appealing. So be careful who you hang around at the next cook out.

My son’s coming home from college. What do I need to do to make sure he doesn’t bring home bed bugs?

bed bugBed bugs are evasive and hard to detect. When your son brings home his clothes, make sure to leave them outside, in a detached building or in the garage. Immediately place the dirty clothes in the washing machine and dry them on high for at least 10 minutes. It is best to keep the luggage out of the house if possible. If you don’t have that option you can place the luggage in black plastic bags and leave them outside in the sun on a hot day. You can also do this with furniture. Bed bugs won’t tolerate temperatures greater than 120 degrees. Since bed bugs are tiny and can get into the smallest cracks, it is best to have a professional to inspect furniture and other items before you bring them into your house.

I found sawdust on my back porch. Does that mean I have termites?

Termites eat the cellulose part of the wood and don’t leave behind sawdust. Chances are you have a different pest, one of the most common is the carpenter bees. Carpenter bees get their name because they excavate clean round entrance holes, close to ½ inch wide, into soft wood such as pine, cedar, cypress and fir. The prefer to attack structural timbers and other wood products such as fascia boards, porch ceilings, decks, railings, siding, shutters, firewood, and other weathered wood.  They tend to avoid wood that is well painted or covered in bark. They do not eat the wood therefore they leave behind the sawdust. They bore into wood to make galleries for nesting. If left untreated, they can cause extensive damage.

What other questions do you have for Northwest Exterminating’s Ask The Mouse section?

Have you seen mosquitoes, bed bugs, carpenter bees, or other pests in or around your home?

 

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

 

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.

 

Unusually Warm Weather Brings Mosquitoes

If you’re anything like I am, you are enjoying these warm temperatures in February.  It’s nice to get out and enjoy the unusually warm weather in a season that is usually filled with low temperatures and biting wind.  The downside of the warm weather is that it can throw off the life cycle of certain pests, mosquitoes being one of the biggest nuisances.  Mosquitoes in February are a rare site but are something we have been experiencing with the high temperatures.

The warm temperatures confuse the mosquitoes life cycle into thinking it is time for them to begin their life cycle.  Mosquitoes come out from their resting stage hungry and ready to eat…on you!  Not only are they hungry but they are reproducing quickly.  Mosquitoes can lay up to 300 eggs every couple of days.

Check any standing water around your home such as puddles, buckets, flower pots, etc that can attract mosquitoes.  By starting or continuing your mosquito reduction program you will significantly reduce the annoyance of swatting and dodging these pesky flyers.

If you are seeing mosquitoes, or would like to keep them from showing up, call Northwest Exterminating and ask about our Green Mosquito Control Program.  Not only will Northwest reduce the annoyance of mosquitoes for you and your family, we will do it in a way that guarantees the lowest environmental impact possible.

Call us at 888.466.7849 or visit us online.

Have you been taking advantage of the unusually warm weather?

 

Why You Shouldn't Cancel Your Mosquito Program this Fall

I am constantly explaining to my customers that most treatments are beneficial even if they don’t have a current issue. For instance, when trying to sell a pest control program I am often told, “Well, we’re not really seeing anything right now but if we do we’ll be sure to give you a call.” Generally, I will not push the issue because as a consumer myself, I don’t like to be “sold” to and with the current state of our economy I can certainly appreciate not spending money on things I don’t yet see a need for.  However, we must take into account the possibility of issues occurring in the future. If you were to wait to call an exterminator after there are ants all over your kitchen counter it is not only going to be much more difficult to get rid of them but most pest control companies are going to see that your need is much higher and could take advantage of your situation by charging more than they would have if they knew you had no or fewer problems. It’s not because they want to take advantage of your situation, they just know that it is now going to require more time, more trips, and more products.

This is the time of year where the temperature is dropping thus humidity and increased moisture goes down with it. Going back to the comment of not paying for things we don’t see a need for, I specifically see people cancelling their mosquito service this time of year. “We’re not really seeing them anymore so we don’t need you to come out and treat.” Our mosquito program runs from April through October and yet it never fails that we will have people wait and call in July to begin treatments and then turn around and cancel after August. There’s a reason it is important to “start it early and finish late.”

Do you ever wonder where mosquitoes go in the fall and winter? Depending on the species of mosquito there is one thing for certain – they haven’t gone anywhere! They are still in your lawn, pond, creek, woods, etc. Mosquitoes function in warm weather thus they remain inactive in colder months. Some mosquitoes lay winter eggs that are dormant in the soil until warmer weather returns. Beginning in the fall, the female mosquito lays her eggs in wet areas. The eggs will begin to hatch when conditions become favorable again. This typically occurs in the spring when temperatures rise and rain falls.

Some mosquitoes will survive colder weather in their larval stage. Mosquito larvae will require water even in winter. When the water temperature drops, it will cause the larvae to go into what is called diapause. This is when certain insects can adapt to weather change by suspending their development during a period of rest and resume activity when the water temperature goes back up.

Other mosquito species survive winter in the adult stage. In fall, the mosquitoes mate and the male dies. The females will spend the cold months hidden. They may do this in areas like wood piles or animal burrows. In the spring, when the temperatures are consistently around 60 degrees or more, the female will require a blood meal to develop her eggs and the season will begin again. Once she has fed, the female mosquito will lay her eggs in whatever standing water she can find.

As you can see, it is very important to understand that treatment schedules are in place for a reason. It is just as important to treat things you can’t always see before waiting for it to become a nuisance. My advice; hire a pest control company that controls adult mosquitoes with a monthly mist spray system and make sure they also use a larvaecide. After that, let it run its course. It will be much more effective.

Austin Milligan
Alpharetta Service Center
Northwest Exterminating
amilligan@callnorthwest.com

 

The Return of West Nile

It’s 2011 and the West Nile virus has made its return.  Several states have confirmed cases of the virus.  States include Minnesota, where a dead crow was found, Connecticut, where mosquitoes tested positive, Tennessee, where mosquitoes tested positive, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi, where one person has been infected, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. 

The West Nile virus targets birds but is known to infect humans, dogs, squirrels, and even rabbits.  The most common way of contracting West Nile is through a mosquito that has bitten an infected bird.  A staggering 90% of humans that have been infected by West Nile do not show symptoms of the virus.  In rare cases, victims show signs of fever, headache, vomiting, and skin rashes.  1 in 150 cases of West Nile will develop serious illness which can include permanent neurological damage and death in some cases.

Tips on avoiding West Nile:

  • DO NOT touch dead birds.
  • AVOID mosquitoes…call Northwest Exterminating to protect your home from mosquitoes.
  • Wear protective clothing when outside, if possible.
  • Wear bug repellent when outside.
  • Use screens on open doors and windows.
  • Get rid of any standing water that may attract mosquitoes.
 

Introducing: Green Mosquito Control

With Northwest’s mission to create healthier living and working environments we are now offering a Green Mosquito Control service in addition to our traditional Mosquito Control service.  The Green Mosquito Control Program consists of inspection, identification and source reduction.  Limited product is used in areas needed to control and reduce mosquitoes.

Tips for Mosquito Prevention:

  • Eliminate standing water in flower pots, containers, toys, bird baths, etc. once a week
  • Keep gutters clean
  • Remove litter from yard (mosquitoes can lay eggs in small, discarded items that hold water, such as cans, bottles, wrappers, etc.)
  • Correct drainage problems

Mosquito Facts

  • 4 stage life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, adult
  • Water must be present for cycle to take place
  • Eggs are laid where standing water exists
  • Standing water that remains for at least 7 days or more is a potential breeding site
  • Mosquito life cycle can be completed in 11-14 days in very warm weather
  • Only female mosquitoes bite – they require a “blood meal” to reproduce
  • Males and females feed on nectar and plant juices for nourishment
  • Exhaled carbon dioxide from up to 150 feet away attracts female to prey
  • Other cues once in range of carbon dioxide: body odor, heat, perfume, beer drinkers, Octanol
  • Mosquito saliva causes the allergic reaction
  • Most common mosquito disease vector in Atlanta: Asian Tiger Mosquito
    • Only mosquito in this area to bite during daytime hours
    • Very aggressive and prefers to bite humans, usually on the lower legs, ankles, and feet
    • Do not fly far from breeding site
    • Identification: black with white stripes on legs and body
    • Diseases:
      • West Nile virus
      • Encephalitis
      • Dog heartworm
      • Yellow fever
      • Malaria
 

2 New Programs: Green Mosquito Service & Pest Entrance Prevention

It’s that time of the year, coats coming off and thoughts turning to Spring.  It’s also the time pests start coming out to annoy, harass and just generally be a nuisance. So with everything else we think of at this time its time to start thinking of pest prevention.

To continue with Northwest Exterminating’s commitment to enhance and provide a healthy environment for your home and business, Northwest is offering a Green mosquito service this year to compliment its already successful traditional methods and materials.  The service will still entail a thorough inspection and service, however the products have been specifically selected to provide the protection you’ve come to expect, but with natural products. You’ll receive the value you have come to expect and be able to enjoy the outdoors all spring and summer. 

Northwest is taking the pest prevention side of Integrative Pest Management to a new level by offering an additional service to our customers.  Our pest entrance prevention program will seal any areas pests may get in and help decrease energy costs. (Studies show that cracks and gaps in and around windows, doors, etc. can reduce your structures heating or cooling efficiency, costing you money). The service can be performed by the regular technicians when they visit…a person you already trust for protection from pests.

Yes, it’s time to prepare and with Northwest services we make it easy. For these and any of our other services please call 888.466.7849 or visit us on the web at www.callnorthwest.com

 

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