Back to School? So is Lice!

School’s in session!

School is back in so inevitably it’s time to have “the talk”.  Ya know, the one we dread every year…the talk about LICE!  September is Lice Prevention Month but these days, with school starting in August, it’s best to have the conversation early!

Lice, tiny little wingless insects that make their home in human hair, spreads rapidly!  On the bright side, although creepy, they do not spread disease and are by most accounts not a danger to our health.  However, they are annoying and highly contagious.  They can cause itchiness, redness, and even slight inflammation.

What to Look For:

  • Nits.  Luckily, lice can be seen by thoroughly examining your child’s scalp.  Lice lay eggs (nits) that look like tiny dots that are yellow, tan, or brown in color.  They are laid on the scalp and can’t be removed by brushing or shaking the hair.  Nits take 1-2 weeks to hatch.
  • Adult lice.  Adult lice are a grayish color and about the size of a poppy seed.  It is more common to see nits than adult lice.
  • Scratching.  Scratching may not always occur right away.  A reaction is caused by the saliva of the lice after they bite which then can cause itching and scratching.
  • Rash or Redness.  A rash or redness can occur from irritation.  If excessive scratching occurs it can lead to a bacterial infection.

What to Do If You See Lice:

  • Alert your child’s school.  By letting your child’s school know they can inform other parents to check their children which will aid in stopping the spread of lice as quickly as possible.
  • Treat.  Use an over the counter shampoo, cream rinse, or lotion that is developed to kill lice.  Make sure to follow the directions.
  • Call your Doctor.  If OTC treatments aren’t working, contact your child’s doctor so they can recommend other options, even prescription medications.

Note: If your child is 2 years old or younger, contact your child’s Doctor before using any medicated lice treatments.

  • Remove by hand.  Another option is to remove the lice and nits by hand.  Using a fine-tooth comb, comb through your child’s wet, conditioned hair.  You should do this every day for 2 weeks after the last live lice is seen.
  • Wash and dry clothing.  Make sure to wash and dry clothing, sheets, hats,  and even backpacks that your child may have used while infected.  Use the hot cycle for washing and drying.
  • Replace combs/brushes.  Throw away any combs and brushes that may have been used while your child was infected with lice.  It is also recommended that you soak any hair accessories such as barrettes, hair ties, etc in rubbing alcohol or medicated shampoo.
  • Treat household.  Since lice is easily transferred to others make sure to inspect all family members.

Prevention:

  • Avoid sharing head items.  Examples: brushes, combs, hair accessories, helmets, hats, etc.
  • Check regularly.  Check head’s on a regular basis for nits and lice and treat at the first sign.

Additional Northwest Exterminating posts about lice:

http://www.callnorthwest.com/2011/09/school-has-started-so-has-lice/

http://www.callnorthwest.com/2011/09/september-is-head-lice-prevention-month/

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

Ladybug Larva

We’ve gotten a lot of questions and phone calls regarding the ladybug larva.  So here’s a quick run down for those of you that are experiencing ladybug larva around your property.

ladybug-life-cycle

Ladybug Life Cycle

The female ladybug will lay her eggs on the undersides of leaves where there is a lot of food (aphids).  The eggs will hatch three to five days later.

When you think about what a baby ladybug might look like, you probably think of a small cute version of the adult, right?  Well, lets just say that a baby ladybug (larva) lives up to the saying “A face only a mother could love”.  Baby ladybugs (ladybug larvae) are long and black with orange markings on its back, a little spikey looking and some say that they resemble alligators, but a whole lot smaller of course!  I don’t see that but you can let your imagination go…

ladybug larva

Baby ladybug

For more information on ladybugs or ladybug larva, call the experts at www.callnorthwest.com.

Adam Vannest
Director of Pest Services
Northwest Exterminating

 

Preventing Head Lice

With kids being settled back into the school year, September is the perfect time of year for Head Lice Prevention Month.  Here are some tips on how to keep head lice from bugging your household:

  • Avoid sharing clothing or other belongings that might have come in contact with lice or nits (lice eggs).
  • Avoid head-to-head contact.
  • Do not share hats, brushes, combs, hair accessories, helmets, coats, or other pieces that come in contact with someone’s hair.
  • To disinfect combs, brushes, or towels that have come in contact with lice, soak them in hot water for 5-10 minutes.
  • Avoid laying on linens, pillows, or carpets where someone with lice has recently been.
  • Wash and dry clothing, linens, or towels that have come into contact with someone infected with lice during the 2 days prior to treatment.  Wash and dry on the highest heat.
  • Vacuum carpet and furniture where a person with lice has recently come in contact.

Using the simple tips above can help prevent the spread of lice from one household to another.  For more information on preventing head lice visit the CDC’s website.

Other useful blogs about head lice:

September is Head Lice Prevention Month
School Has Started…So Has Lice

 

How to Prevent Millipedes from Getting into Your Home

MillipedesDid you know that a millipede isn’t an insect at all?!  They are arthropods that feed on dead and decaying plant matter.  Millipedes overwinter in homes which means they enter when the temperatures drop and come out when the temperatures rise.  This is why you see millipedes around your home in warmer months…they’ve been there; they’ve just been “resting”.  Well, they’re not always “resting”, sometimes they are mating which can be a pain because they can lay up to 300 eggs at a time.  This is usually when you discover a millipede infestation.  In the right situation, a millipede can live 5-7 years.

The best way to keep millipedes out of your house is to stop them from getting in.

Prevention Tips for millipedes:

  • Seal any cracks and/or crevices in the foundation, around wiring, and plumbing where millipedes, or other pests, could enter.
  • Millipedes require high humidity.  Use dehumidifiers to keep the air dry or use fans in rooms that done have good air flow.
  • Repair any leaks.  Leaky faucets or pipes can attract millipedes.
  • Clean out and remove debris from gutters.  Gutter build up can cause water from draining correctly.
  • Keep your yard clean by removing dead plant matter.  Remove piled up mulch or woodpiles that store moisture and attract millipedes.

Call Northwest Exterminating if you are having a millipede problem.

For more information on millipedes visit out Identify your Pest section.

 

Flea Prevention & Facts

How can something as small as a flea be such a huge pain?  Pet owners are all too familiar with the annoyance of fleas because they make us AND our pets miserable.  Fleas attach themselves to warm-blooded animals (pets and humans) and feed on their blood.  A flea bite can cause discomfort, painful, itchy red bumps and can lead to an allergic reaction.  In some cases, they can even transmit diseases like the bubonic plague, murine typhus and transfer tapeworms in pets.

To prevent fleas from becoming a pest in your home, clean and vacuum frequently.  A clean home is a healthy home and will aid in the prevention of other pests as well.  Cleaning will help to remove any fleas and their eggs.  Maintaining a clean yard is just as important, especially if you have pets that go outside often.  A well kept lawn with no debris or pet droppings will reduce the flea population around your home.  Bathe pets regularly and apply a flea and tick treatment.  Most importantly, call a professional exterminator if you have fleas in your home.  A flea infestation can be very difficult to get rid of and is best left to the professionals so the problem does not continue to grow.

Interesting Flea Facts:

  • The largest recorded flea measured almost ½ inch!
  • Fleas consume 15 times their weight in blood each day. That is like a 140 lb. woman eating 8,400 burgers in one day!
  • Fleas are the number one cause of allergies in cats and dogs.
  • Fleas can live for about 100 days.
  • Fleas don’t fly, they jump.
  • A pair of fleas can produce 400-500 offspring in their lifetime.
  • A flea can jump up to 8 inches high or 150 times its own height.

Got a flea problem?  Call Northwest Exterminating for professional, effective flea control.

 

Mosquito Eggs are Hatching Early…So What Does That Mean For You?

Mosquito eggs are hatching early…so what does that mean for you?

Reports have talked about the early mosquito season due to the warmer temperatures that we’ve experienced early in the season.  But will this impact your summer plans of being outdoors anymore than usual?  The Atlanta Journal Constitution ran a story featuring Northwest Exterminating that gives a glimpse of what we have to look forward to this summer with not just mosquitoes, but ants, kudzu bugs, and other pests as well.  The article includes reasons why we are seeing so many mosquitoes and tips on preventing them from invading your yard.

Read The AJC article here.

Although there are many DIY products and other mosquito control systems, Northwest recommends a monthly mosquito control program performed by licensed, experienced professionals.  Our Green Mosquito control uses products that are derived from flowers and bacteria to ensure that our program is effective and environmentally friendly.  For more information on our Green Mosquito Control or for a FREE inspection, visit us at callnorthwest.com.

 

What are the tiny red bugs crawling around my windows?

What are the tiny red bugs crawling around my windows?

This is a common question that we get in early spring and late fall.  Clover mites are found in warm, sunny places which is why you usually see them around your windows and crawling on your curtains.  Clover mites are smaller than the tip of a pencil which allows them to fit into the smallest cracks and crevices around a structure.  They are oval shaped with 8 legs.  Their 2 front legs are longer than the rest and protrude forward which can be confused with antennae.

Clover mites can be alarming to homeowners because they gather in large numbers but there is no need for alarm.  Clover mites do not bite or carry diseases, however they can cause skin irritation to some with sensitive skin.  (These are not to be confused with chiggers which look similar but get into the skin and itch.)  They do not damage furniture or pursue your food.  Clover mite eggs lay dormant in the summer months and hatch in temperatures of 85 F or below.  They are attracted to warm, sunny places which leads them to the windows in your home.  Clover mites are often identified by the red stain they leave once they have been squashed.  The red substance is the pigment in their color, not their blood.  Grass and clovers are their main source of food.

There are simple ways to get rid of clover mites in your home.  The best way is to vacuum them up.  As with any vacuumed pest, make sure that you dispose of the bag immediately in an outdoor trash can.  Disposing of the bag is always recommended but is especially an issue when it comes to clover mites because they are so small and can escape from the bag into your home.  Another way to get rid of clover mites is to place sticky traps around your windows.  As always, prevention is your best option. Clover mites feed on fertilized lawns, so if you are seeing an infestation cut back on the fertilizer.  Remove grass that has direct contact to your structure.  Instead, use soil, gravel, or mulch because clover mites have difficulty moving on bare, loose terrains.  Make sure all window screens are tight fitting.  Seal any cracks around the outside of the structure and use weather stripping on entrance areas.

If you are having a consistent problem with clover mites or other pests, it’s best to call Northwest Exterminating.  We will ensure that your issue is identified and a customized plan is created for treatment of clover mites.

Are these small red bugs showing up in your home?

 

How to Protect Yourself from Bed Bugs on Spring Break

It is Spring Break time here in Atlanta and the surrounding areas.  It’s a time that parents and kids both look forward to.  A lot of people will be going out of town this spring break and staying in hotels.  I’m sure you’ve seen media reports of bed bug outbreaks across the US.  Hotels are being hit pretty hard with bed bug infestations and it is something that travelers need to be aware of.  The truth is that you are more than likely not going to experience bed bugs in your hotel room or home but it is always best to be educated and aware!

Many wonder why the number of outbreaks has risen in recent years, it is suspected that increase in travel, less effective household pesticides, resistance to pesticides and lack of awareness are among the main reasons.  The key to avoiding bed bugs is early detection.  Make sure you are checking mattresses and other upholstery items when traveling.  Know that bed bugs are not a sign of a sanitation issue with the hotel; they are often brought in by other guests.

Bed Bugs on a mattress cover

What to Look For:

  • Brown or chestnut in color
  • Size of a pencil eraser
  • Eggs are several millimeters and clear to whitish in appearance
  • Droppings and dead skin of bed bugs

How to Search Hotel Rooms for Bed Bugs:

  • Simply call the hotel.  They may not always be forthcoming in their answer but it’s worth a shot.  A lot of hotels will be honest and tell you if they have or haven’t had experiences with bed bugs.
  • Check The Bedbug Registry.  This free data base is a place where bed bug sightings are reported.
  • Pack clothes and shoes in air tight bags in your suitcase.  Keep your items packed away in Ziploc bags inside of your suitcase to protect them from bed bugs.
  • Inspect the bed.  Pull back the sheets and check the mattress, concentrating heavily on the mattress seams, for droppings or skin that has been shed.  Also check the headboard, footboard, sheets, comforter, and pillows for signs of bed bugs.
  • Use the luggage rack.  Do not put your luggage on the bed or on the floor.  Hotels usually provide a luggage rack, if not; place the luggage on a tile floor where it is easier to see bed bugs moving if they are present.
  • Bites on body.  Bed bug bites are not dangerous but do cause allergic reaction.  Bed bugs often bite in a straight line on the body.  You can tell the difference between mosquito and other common pest bites and bed bug bites by the area on your body you have been bitten.  Mosquitoes mainly bite on the arms, legs or other body parts that are left uncovered.  Bed bug bites can be found throughout the body.

The thought of bed bugs and their bites are unnerving to say the least.  However, you may find comfort in knowing that bed bug bites are not dangerous because they do not carry human diseases.  All of that being said, you want to be sure that you do not carry these pests home with you from vacation.  Bed bugs are not only difficult to treat but can be an expensive treatment.

Tips for returning home:

  • Keep luggage in the garage or outside until you can unload your suitcase fully.
  • Wash and dry everything on the hot cycle immediately.  The hot temperatures will kill any bed bugs that may have made the trip with you.
  • Vacuum out suitcase once emptied.
  • Take precautionary measures with your own furniture.  Get a bed bug proof mattress case for your mattress and add traps on the legs of your bed.
  • Inspect frequently.

At the end of the day, we want you to have the best time on your spring break or other vacation.  We just want to make sure that you are not bringing home anything that wasn’t supposed to come home with you.  As we said earlier, the key is to be educated and aware.

If you have more questions on bed bugs or think that your home may have bed bugs, call Northwest Exterminating.  We have a dedicated team of experts that specialize in bed bug treatment.

Other Additional Links:

http://www.callnorthwest.com/pest-control/bed-bug-control/

http://www.callnorthwest.com/2011/07/dorm-rooms-and-bed-bugs/

http://www.callnorthwest.com/learning-center/identify-your-pest/bed-bugs/

http://www.callnorthwest.com/2011/02/npma-releases-bed-bug-best-management-practices-for-pest-professionals/