Protect Your Pets From Fleas and Ticks

Simple ways pet owners can keep their animals safe from fleas and ticks

The spring season is a time when all members of the family, including pets, wander outdoors to enjoy the sunshine and blossoming flowers. Unfortunately, it’s also prime pest season, which means pets are at risk of encountering hungry fleas and ticks that are in search of active hosts. Northwest Exterminating encourages pet owners to take precautions against these dangerous pests during the warmer months.

Fleas are more than just an itchy annoyance. Their saliva can cause anemia, dermatitis and can transfer tapeworms in dogs and cats. Ticks can spread bacteria to pets and cause tick paralysis, which occurs when a female tick attaches near a pet’s spinal cord. This condition can lead to muscle weakness, loss of coordination and in some cases, death from respiratory failure as chest muscles become paralyzed.

In addition to the health threats posed by fleas and ticks, both pests are small in size and extremely mobile, making them difficult to detect and get rid of once inside the home. It’s extremely important for pet owners to be cautious of these pests and contact a licensed pest professional if they suspect an infestation.

The National Pest Management Association, a nonprofit organization committed to the protection of public health, food and property from household pests, offers these tips to keep pets pest-free:

  • Check pets’ coats thoroughly for ticks and fleas on a regular basis, especially after spending time outdoors. Be aware of excessive scratching and licking.
  • Avoid walking dogs in tall grass, where there is a greater chance of encountering ticks.
  • Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals.
  • Wash pet bedding, collars and plush toys frequently.
  • Wash bed linens and vacuum carpets, floors and furniture regularly.
  • Empty vacuum bags in an outside receptacle.
  • Speak to a veterinarian about flea and tick prevention treatments.

Source: NPMA

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

Sand Fleas

No-see-um’s, hop-alongs, beach fleas, biting midge, punky…these are just a few of the “cute” names that sand fleas go by!   But cute they’re not!  And they are very present in the low country area of Savannah, GA!

Sand Fleas reside on the beach and in other sandy areas during warm weather, double in numbers during the spring, produce a loud whine when in groups, and feed early in the morning and late at night.  Sand flea bites may feel like a sting because they are very deep causing welts and lesions with severe pain and itching.  The female bites for the blood protein needed for her egg laying, however this saliva can trigger your body to react and the bites can cause infections and fever viruses.  Sand Fleas tend to “feed” on people with paler skin, as the skin is thinner making it easier to pierce.

To help keep these fleas at bay, try using an insect repellant similar to those used against mosquitoes.  If you are bitten, do not scratch the welts, as scratching can cause swelling, itchiness, skin redness, and can lead to sand fleas burying themselves underneath the skin allowing them to continue feeding on blood.  For bite relief, you can take a pain killer such as ibuprofen gels.  Seek medical advice should the pain or itchiness worsen.

Barry Teubert
Northwest Exterminating
Savannah Service Center Manager
bteubert@callnorthwest.com

 

The 411 on Sand Gnats

If you’ve spent any time in Savannah, Ga in the spring or fall, you know all about sand gnats, or as locals call them….the state bird.  The sand gnat is not just the mascot for the Savannah Sand Gnats minor-league baseball team, but just like the baseball team, they’ll sting you, draw your blood and defeat you on the field.

Sand Gnat bite - Source

Sand Gnat bite – Source

In the low country, the sand gnat is more of an issue than mosquitoes or fleas.  Sand gnats live along waterways, such as the ocean, lakes, rivers, ponds, and marshes.  They fly, bite, and suck your blood just like a mosquito, leaving behind

red, itchy bumps on the skin.  Although blood has no nutritional value to the sand gnats, they need it so their eggs can mature prior to laying.  Carbon dioxide draws sand gnats from up to 30 yards, they stay in a 300 foot zone where they breed around your home, fly less than 25 feet high and most adult females live for 2-3 weeks.

It is not unusual for the effects of a sand gnat bite to be more intense for a longer period of time than a mosquito bite.  Unless you want to cover yourself from head to toe in the sweltering Savannah heat, be proactive.  Commercial repellents with Deet can be useful to prevent biting, or you can try a local remedy such as taking garlic pills – that is, if you don’t mind smelling like garlic.  However, a more “user friendly” remedy such as rubbing your arms with baby oil will prevent the sand gnats from biting as it provides a protective layer to your skin that the gnats can not penetrate.

For sand gnat treatment at your home or business, Call the Mouse!  888.466.7849 or visit online at www.callnorthwest.com

Barry Teubert
bteubert@callnorthwest.com

 

Protecting Your Dog and Home from the Brown Dog Tick

Each warm season brings questions from homeowners and pet owners regarding ticks.  We worry about our furry family members and ourselves if we plan on spending time outdoors, especially in or around wooded areas.

The brown dog tick is one species of tick that should be cause for concern, especially for those who have dogs.  Although they feed on a wide variety of mammals, dogs are their preferred host.  These ticks are unique in that they can complete an entire life cycle indoors.  They feed on the host for about a week before dropping off and laying their eggs…up to 5,000 eggs!!  After she’s done laying her eggs, she dies.  The full life cycle of a brown dog tick lasts just over two months and generally are long living creatures.

Tick Life Cycle - Source

Tick Life Cycle – Source

A brown dog tick infestation can develop in high quantities and very quickly.  Oftentimes, ticks go unnoticed on dogs until the ticks are spotted throughout the home.

To protect your home and your dog from brown tick infestation, here are some brown dog tick control tips:

  • Good house and lawn maintenance goes a long way in keeping ticks and other pests from getting into your home.
  • Take trash out of your home on a regular basis and put in a tightly sealed container outside of your home.  Make sure this container is emptied regularly.
  • Regularly schedule pest control will help to keep ticks and other pests away from your home.
  • Treat your animals, dogs especially, with a tick treatment.   Your veterinarian is a good source of information on the best products for your dog.
  • Regularly check your dogs for ticks and other pests like fleas.
  • Use DEET or other insect repellant when going outdoors.

For more detailed information on the brown dog tick, visit http://www.entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/medical/brown_dog_tick.htm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Pets Healthy from Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitoes

sick dogThey don’t call him Man’s Best Friend for no reason.  Dogs, and cats (we can’t forget our beloved cats) are truly part of the family.  We treat them and take care of them just as we would any other member of the family.  That’s why it is important that we protect them from outdoor pests that can cause serious health risks to our furry friends.  Ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes are all predicted to make a heavy appearance this season as the weather warms up.

Ticks are most commonly found on our pets.  Ticks can carry Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and cause tick paralysis.

Fleas can cause itchy, red bumps that cause animals to scratch.  Fleas are also easily brought into the home where they can invade your living space and reproduce.  Fleas can cause anemia, skin issues, and even tapeworms for our pets.

Heartworms and West Nile Virus are some of the more serious issues that come along with mosquitoes.  A bite can manifest into a full heartworm in 6-7 months in a dog, and 8 months in a cat.

Keep your pets healthy by following some of these tips to controlling ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes:

  • Regularly scheduled pest control service in and around your home will help keep pests away that can cause risks to your pets.  (Call Northwest Exterminating for our NorPest Green Pest Control service.  Our program is kid and pet friendly while keeping the bugs away.  Our Green Mosquito Program also keeps mosquitoes away while using Earth friendly solutions.)
  • Check your dog and cat on a regular basis.  Check for excessive scratching, bumps, fleas, and ticks.
  • Keep vegetation cut and trimmed.
  • Bathe pets regularly.
  • Remove standing water in yard where mosquitoes breed.
  • Vacuum frequently.
  • Ask your veterinarian about Flea and Tick prevention and heartworm prevention.

Contact Northwest Exterminating if you think you have a problem with fleas, ticks, or mosquitoes.  Keep your pets healthy!

 

Adam Vannest Featured in Pest Management Professional Magazine

AdamDirector of Pest Services at Northwest Exterminating, Adam Vannest, was recently featured in Pest Management Professional magazine.  Adam answered some Q and A’s regarding fleas and ticks and also gave some Do’s and Don’ts for when dealing with these pesky pests.

Read below to get the full story:

Adam Vannest, director of pest services for the Atlanta area’s Northwest Exterminating, has faced plenty of hard-to-solve flea and tick problems. He recently shared tales of some memorable infestations — and his team’s solutions — with Pest Management Professional.

Q: What’s the largest flea and tick infestation you’ve faced, and how did you conquer the pests?
Vannest: One of the largest was in a rural subdivision that backed up into a large wooded area. The customer reported dealing with an intense flea problem and said she’d also noticed multiple ticks on the family dog. Seeing ticks on her children was this customer’s threshold point.

While inspecting the outside we noticed a lot of the areas around the home were overgrown. There were tall weeds and grass up against the house and woodpiles around the exterior. We started looking at the ticks’ harborage sites to figure out why they would be attracted to the location. It was a three-story house on a crawlspace, and once inside we noticed the crawlspace door was already open. There were also other entry points because it wasn’t sealed up very well. We definitely found fleas in the crawlspace. The main floor and upstairs also had fleas.

We explained to the customer that we wanted to eliminate harborage areas around the outside by cutting down weeds and trimming the grass around the foundation. We also educated the homeowner about the crawlspace and how many entry points were visible to stray animals and rodents. We had an exclusion team come out and seal up those areas so that we could treat it with a residual product and an insect growth regulator (IGR).

Next, we explained to the customer that to get our product were it needs to be we’d have to remove everything from the floor for cleaning and vacuuming. We also instructed them to take the dog to the vet for treatment. After that, we applied a broadcast treatment to the floor surfaces and throughout the house.
We had to treat the lawn for ticks as well.

Q:What’s your hardest-to-find flea and tick story. How did you solve the problem?
Vannest: It took place at a ranch house on a crawlspace. When we inspected we noticed that the family pets were pest free. This told us we were dealing with a population in the home that had been carried inside by other means.

Sometimes people forget all of the other things that can be responsible for bringing fleas into a home. Some of the hardest flea problems to solve are ones where a rodent population carries them inside.

We inspected the rest of the house and found pockets of flea activity but no defined area. However, when we got to the attic level we found a roof rat population bringing in fleas from outside, so we applied residual products and treatments there to eliminate the rodent problem. When we placed monitors to determine where flea hot spots existed we found a few more harborage sites that had been egg-laying areas. We targeted those areas and eliminated the problem.

Adam Vannest’s Dos & Don’ts
Do
■ Train technicians to always think outside the box. Every flea situation and every tick situation can be different.
■ Know your products and which ones are best for a particular infestation. Read labels and test the products.
■ Use monitoring to help find hot spots.
Don’t
■ Don’t assume the customer is doing the prep work.
■ Don’t assume every situation is going to be the same.
■ Don’t stop educating your technicians. Give them ongoing training.

You can visit Pest Management Professional magazine by going to www.mypmp.net

Note: We will link directly to the article as soon as it is available online!

 

Diseases Caused by Pests

With our commitment to healthier living and working environments, we at Northwest understand the importance of good pest management for personal health. Living in a hygienic environment and minimizing exposure to unwanted pests can literally save lives. For instance, the lives of twenty-five million Europeans during the Late Middle Ages were claimed by fleas that had spread the bubonic plague. They managed this feat by using another pest as a host – rats! Modern improvements on hygiene, sanitation and pest management have dramatically reduced the impact of this disease.

 

Another more common disease brought on by insects is Lyme disease. This disease is carried by the deer tick in the form of a bacterium called Borrelia bugdorferi. If a deer tick bites you, the bacterium enters the bloodstream and will lead to skin rash and in extreme cases, paralysis. When caught early, antibiotics can eliminate the bacteria before it causes furthermore harm.

Mosquitoes in particular can carry a host of diseases such as dengue fever, malaria, pogosta disease, and West Nile virus. They carry similar traits in that when infected, a person will experience a fever indicating that more serious effects are on the way such as meningitis or arthritis.  All these diseases can lead to death if not caught or treated properly. For some of these diseases, the best form of prevention is pest management. Northwest Exterminating provides solutions to reduce the presence of mosquitoes in and around your home or work environment.

If you come in contact with a pest and feel you may have been exposed to any disease, be sure to immediately seek medical attention. Many of these diseases, as well as others such as malaria or rabies can be treated when caught early.

Melissa Brown
mbrown@callnorthwest.com

Sources:

http://www.si.edu/Encyclopedia_SI/nmnh/buginfo/diseases.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_diseases_caused_by_insects

 

 

What’s the big deal about wildlife exclusion?

Some people think that when the temperatures drop, they will have less pest issues. For some critters this may be true, as they use the autumn to store up for a cold winter, during which they hide away. However, some of the larger animals such as squirrels, raccoons, possums, etc., might want to use your home for a warm space to hide away from the weather. Northwest Exterminating’s Wildlife Team knows just what to do in order to keep your home a pest-free zone!

Depending on what type of animals may be in your area, they can leave you susceptible to various issues. For instance, some squirrels like to make nests in attics, using your insulation as material! The costs of repair plus the hazards of a potential electrical fire due to damaged wires makes it really necessary to block this area off from potential unwanted guests. Aside from squirrels, other creatures have the potential to do damage in the form of bites or fleas that might affect your children or pets.

To reduce these risks against you, Northwest’s Wildlife Team specializes in wildlife exclusion. One of form of wildlife exclusion involves sealing up any potential openings to secure your home. The Wildlife Team will inspect your home, evaluating potential problem areas and implementing measures to eliminate these issues. However, if by chance your home has already gotten unsolicited attention from these pests, the Wildlife Team knows just what to do to take care of your home and prevent the issue from happening in the future. If you need a Wildlife representative, please contact us at 888-466-7849 or visit our website www.callnorthwest.com

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Importance-of-Wildlife-Exclusion&id=7352650

Melissa Brown
mbrown@callnorthwest.com

 

WebMD’s Bad Bugs Slideshow

We know that bugs are gross and unsanitary but did you also know that they can be bad for our health.  WebMD discusses some of the worst bugs and the potential harm they can do to our health:

  • Ticks –Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and allergic reactions.
  • Black Widow Spiders – Poisonous.
  • Brown Recluse Spiders – Poisonous, can cause serious wounds, infection, and in some cases can be deadly.
  • Head Lice – Itchiness can lead to infection, loss of hair.
  • Fleas – Itchiness can lead to infection.
  • Bee, Wasp, Hornet, Yellow Jacket – Painful sting, and can cause allergic reaction.
  • Fire Ants – Painful sting, venomous, red bumps that burn and itch, and can cause allergic reaction.
  • Chiggers – Itchy red welts.
  • Scabies – Itchiness, sores.
  • Bedbugs – Itchy, red bumps,  can develop infection from scratching, and can cause allergic reaction.
  • Puss Caterpillar – Poisonous, painful sting, rash, fever, vomiting, and muscle cramps.
  • Scorpions – Poisonous, painful, and can be deadly.
  • Deerflies – Infection, and Tularemia.
  • Mosquitoes – West Nile virus, dengue fever, other diseases, and scratching can cause skin infection.
  • Houseflies – Carries more than 1 million bacteria, intestinal infections by contaminating food.
  • Cockroaches – Salmonella and other diseases, dead carcasses can trigger allergic reactions and asthma.

Tips to prevent feeling the sting of these health issues:

  • Make sure your home is treated by a professional exterminator.  A professional can diagnose current problems, and prevent new issues from coming into your home efficiently and effectively.
  • Wear long clothing when outdoors.
  • Wear DEET repellant when outdoors.
  • Keep a clean, sanitary home and yard.  This will prevent insects from seeing your home as a place for them to call home.

For more information on these insects and their health hazards, visit WebMD: Bad Bugs Slideshow: Identifying Bugs and Their Bites.

 If you think you may have been bitten or stung by any of the insects above, please take note of  your body’s reaction and seek medical assistance immediately.

 

 

 

Keep the Bugs Away this 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!!  We’d like to take a second to say how proud we are to be Americans!!  We’re proud to live in the country of the land of the free and the home of the brave!!  And like always, we’d like to thank all of the brave men and women and their families that have given so much for this great country!!

But before you go enjoy those fireworks…here are some tips to stay bug free this 4th of July:

  • Avoid standing water in areas like flower pots, bird baths, buckets, barrels, etc.  Areas like these are breeding spots for mosquitoes that can carry diseases like West Nile and encephalitis.
  • Wear an insect repellant, such as DEET, to protect against mosquitoes and other bugs.
  • Keep food covered when possible to avoid attracting mosquitoes, flies, and ants.
  • Tightly seal garbage and put it in a sealed garbage container on the outside of your home.  Make sure that the lid to the trash can is on securely to avoid rodents from getting in and going through the trash.
  • Keep your lawn mowed and clear of debris.
  • Protect your pets from fleas and ticks by using a preventative.  These can be purchased over the counter or by your veterinarian.
  • Have your exterminator treat your yard and home for insects and other rodents that could BUG you this summer!  (Get it, BUG you!)

What other tips do have for staying bug free this 4th of July?