Spring Clean Your Lawn

Wednesday marked the first day of Spring.  For many of us that means one thing…Spring Cleaning!  We often think about all the things to do indoors but what about outdoors?  It’s time to spring clean your lawn as well.

backyard

Here are some Spring Cleaning Tips for your Lawn:

  • Clean up lawn debris – Remove trash, animal debris, dead grass, leaves, pine cones, sticks, etc from your lawn.  Debris removal will not only make your lawn look better but it also eliminates hiding and feeding areas for pests and rodents.
  • Rake Leaves – If you have piles of leaves left over from fall or some stragglers that have come down more recently, rake those up and dispose of them.  Raking up leaves and removing debris  will eliminate hiding spots for occasional invaders like millipedes, ants, and other pests.
  • Check leftover firewood – Check under any leftover firewood for signs of pests that often hide between and underneath wood.  Make sure that wood piles are located as far away from your home as possible.  The last thing you want is termites next to your structure.
  • Remove standing water – Standing water is a breeding ground for pests, especially mosquitoes.  Dump water from bird baths or install drains that will aid in water flowing from your yard rather than gathering.
  • Trim Bushes – By trimming your bushes you are not only making your lawn look aesthetically pleasing but you’re also reducing the risk of pests near the structure of your home.
  • Apply pre-emergent – Now is the perfect time to prevent weeds from popping up in your lawn.  Call a lawn care professional for the most effective products and treatment options for your lawn.

There’s no better time than now to trust Northwest’s Lawn Care experts to prepare your lawn to be healthy and green for the upcoming months so you can enjoy the outdoors!

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

March’s Pest of the Month – Termites

Sub Termite-Swarmer-033Termites are very destructive and cause billions of dollars of damage to homes each year in the U.S.  That is why we are dedicating March’s Pest of the Month to TERMITES!

Habits

  • Operate under a caste system. There are workers, soldiers, and reproductives.
  • Live in colonies underground or in moist secluded areas.
  • Feed on items containing cellulose.
  • Swarm in the spring when reproductive termites go out to start new colonies.

Different Species

Threats

  • Cause severe damage to a structure by chewing away at the wood.
  • Responsible for more than $2 billion of damage to homes in the US each year.
  • Cause more damage in an average year than floods, fires, and tornadoes.
  • A termite colony may contain several hundred thousand individuals.

Prevention

  • Divert water away from the foundation of a structure.
  • Repair leaky faucets, pipes, and AC units on the outside of the home.
  • Properly ventilate areas of high humidity like crawl spaces, attics, and basements.
  • Keep mulch or ground cover at least 15 inches away from the foundation of a structure.
  • Sentricon Termite Elimination baiting systems may be placed around the perimeter of a structure.

Other Pests to Look Out For

If you think you may have termites, or other pests in your home, call the mouse at 888.466.7849 or visit us online at www.callnorthwest.com

 

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

 

 

Inspecting Your Pantry for Pests

red flour beetles

Red flour beetles in a bag of flour

Baking is a big part of tradition for lots of people during the holiday season.  And what better time while you’re breaking out all of the baking supplies to inspect your pantry for signs of pests.  Pests are living creatures that are in search of the same things we are…food, water, and shelter.  A pantry where those necessities are stored is an ideal place for pests to make a home.

Common pests that are found in pantries:

Below are tips on ways to inspect your pantry for pests:

  • Place foods in tightly sealed containers.  This will keep bugs out and freshness in.
  • Unpack seasonal decorations outside.  Dried foliage, potpourri, etc, should be unpacked outside of the home and inspected before displaying in your home.
  • Place a bay leaf in containers of dry foods like flour and rice.  The smell of bay leaves often repels pests.
  • Inspect groceries before bringing them in to your home.  As with anything you bring into your home, be sure to inspect it.
  • Always check the date before using items in your pantry.  Frequent checks of this throughout the year can be beneficial.
  • Clean messes immediately.  Wipe any spills or crumbs as soon as they happen and take the trash out regularly.
  • Place trash in a tightly sealed bag.  Remove the bag frequently to a garbage can outside of the home that is equipped with a tightly sealed lid.
  • Seal cracks or holes that pests could use to enter your home.
  • Eliminate moisture areas.  Seal leaky pipes and use humidifiers in the home.  Water is a major attractant for bugs so the less access they have to water, the better.

If you find pests in your pantry, throw out the infested food immediately.  If pests have made a home in your pantry you should call your professional pest control company.  A professional exterminator will be able to inspect the area and treat the problem properly and efficiently.

Sources:

http://www.pestworld.org/news-and-views/pest-articles/articles/preventing-pantry-pests/

http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/resources/pantrypests304.shtml

 

Ants Have 4-5 Times Higher Sense of Smell Than Other Insects

As humans, we are often amazed at the ability of pests, specifically ants, to locate food.  If there is food available, ants will find it. New research is now available to help us understand how ants have been so successful in our ecosystem.

A study led by Lawrence Zwiebel at Vanderbilt University found that ants have 4 to 5 times higher odor receptors than most insects.  Odor receptors are unique proteins that distinguish between different odors.  Ants showed more than 400 odor receptor genes (the largest of any insect species) compared to fruit flies at 61, mosquitoes at 74-158, and honeybees at 174.

New information is being released daily to help us understand the make-up of pests.  The more we know and understand pests, the better we know how to control them.  Call a professional ant exterminator in your area who is knowledgeable, efficient, and effective in treating ants.  Call Northwest Exterminating.

Source: ANI News

 

Tips on How to Keep Ants Out of Your Home

There are over 700 species of ants in the US so it is no surprise that ants are the number 1 reported nuisance pest in the US.  But according to Pestworld.org there are 6 simple steps that can help you reduce the invasion of ants in your home.  Click on the links for more explanation from pestworld.org.

  1. Know the popular hangouts – mostly found in kitchens for food and water, ants can also be found in bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms, basements, inside walls, and around heating and air structures.
  2. Eliminate water sources – rid your property of standing water and excessive moisture.  Use a dehumidifier in moist places like crawl spaces, attics, and basements.  Repair leaky pipes in and around tubs and sinks.
  3. Eliminate food sources – cleaning up spills and crumbs, sealing foods, and taking out the trash regularly will discourage ants from coming into your kitchen looking for food.
  4. Don’t discount your pets – pet food and water can attract ants if left out.  Clean up pet food and water and wash bowls when they are finished eating. Make sure that pet food is stored in a properly sealed container.
  5. Block off or eliminate access points – cut back foliage from property and seal any cracks or crevices that can be used as entrances.
  6. Don’t go it alone – without proper knowledge of ants your problem can grow.  Calling in the pest experts will help identify your problem and create a plan to solve it.

Read the full article HERE and contact a licensed pest professional to get rid of ants in your home.  Call Northwest Exterminating to get rid of ants and other pests that are invading your home or business.

Source http://www.pestworld.org/news-and-views/pest-articles/articles/six-steps-to-an-ant-free-home/

 

Pest Proof Your Home

Around this time of year, cooler temperatures drive people to stay indoors. As some homeowners may know, a number of household pests such as rodents, spiders, ants, and roaches seek coziness from the weather too.  Pests are more than just unwelcome houseguests – they bring the possibility of disease, food contamination and allergies too.

Below are some tips from the National Pest Management Association on pest-proofing your house for the fall. However, these tips don’t always work on some of those hard-to-get-rid -of pests, always remember you can call Northwest Exterminating for your pest management needs because creating healthier living and work environments is our business.

  • Install door sweeps on the exterior of doors and repair door and window screens. Also seal cracks and holes around the perimeter of your home.
  • Place screens over vents and chimney openings
  • Store food in tightly sealed containers and dispose of trash regularly.
  • Keep your attic, basement and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry (ask your Northwest representative about TAP attic insulation and Complete Crawlspace). Sites of moisture are breeding grounds for pests.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep your lawn and shrubs trimmed and cut back from the house (ask your representative about Northwest’s Lawn Care services).
  • If you suspect that your home has been infested, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the problem – for the best, Call Northwest!

Melissa Brown
mbrown@callnorthwest.com

 

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.

 

Entomophobia

 

Do bees give you the creeps or do they down right frighten you into hyperventilation? If it’s the latter, you are possibly suffering from entomophobia. Entomophobia is a fear of insects or bugs. This predicament can bring about emotional and mental states such as panic attacks.

A famous entomophobe was the artist Salvador Dali. When Dalí was five years old, he witnessed an insect that had been eaten by ants where the shell was the only thing that remained. The swarming ants in Dalí’s pieces and models are innuendos to death and decomposition, and are hints of human mortality and uncertainty.

Ant Face by Salvador Dali

Dalí had an extreme phobia of grasshoppers, brought on from his adolescent harassment by other kids, who frequently hurled grasshoppers and other insects at him. When they emerge in Dalí’s art, grasshoppers are utilized as an indication of devastation, decay and despair. Dalí characterizes them with a fearsome nature, as huge and alarming in comparison to the other figures, and they are shown in the act of eating the main subject of the work a number of times.

Although Salvador Dali was an odd guy, we can all agree that some insects are just plain creepy.

What is your phobia?

Cara Carver
ccarver@callnorthwest.com