Protect Your Home Against Pests to Prevent Allergies and Asthma

Eliminating Pests to Prevent Allergies and Asthma This Spring

Each year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America designates May as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, an ideal time to educate the public about triggers, prevention and treatment measures for asthma and allergic diseases. In recognition of this important observation, we want to remind people that a few simple pest prevention measures can go a long way in combating allergies and asthma this spring.

Common household pests, such as cockroaches and stinging insects, can pose a significant threat to asthma and allergy sufferers. Cockroach droppings, saliva, shed skins and other body parts contain allergen proteins known to cause allergy flare-ups and increase asthma symptoms, especially in children. In addition, stinging insects send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year due to serious reactions from the pest’s venom.

Many people blame their sneezing and runny noses during the spring season on pollen and grass, however, household pests are often culprits as well. It’s important for people to make an effort to keep the home free of potential triggers, and the first step is practicing good sanitation.

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends the following tips for safeguarding homes against common indoor allergens caused by pests:

  • Exclude pests by sealing cracks and gaps on the outside of the home. Pay special attention to utility pipe entry points.
  • Vacuum at least once a week using a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filter.
  • Keep food sealed and stored properly, and clean kitchen floors and counters daily.
  • Dispose of garbage regularly and store in sealed containers.
  • If allergic to stinging insects, learn how to use an epinephrine kit and carry it with you at all times.
  • Should you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction following a stinging insect encounter, such as tongue and throat swelling, wheezing, dizziness, or shortness of breath, call 911.
  • If you suspect an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to safely remove the threat.
Source: NPMA

To view full image click HERE

Source: NPMA

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

Top 10 Ways to Keep Insects Out of Your Home

Northwest Exterminating’s Top 10 Ways to Keep Insects Out of Your Home

The best way to keep insects out of your home is to not allow them in there in the first place.  Aside from regularly scheduled pest control there are things you can do to keep pests out.  Here’s a quick video of the Top 10 Ways to keep Insects out of your home.

Top 10 Ways to Keep Insects out of Your Home

  1. Go around the exterior of your home and seal up any areas where insects could enter your home.  Check around windows, doors, plumbing entrances, fan vents, and electrical entrances.  If your home has window screens make sure they are intact and if areas are torn or damaged replace them.
  2. Make sure to trim all hedges, trees, and other landscaping back away from the home.  Creating at least a one foot barrier will keep insects from using easy methods to enter or get close to your home.
  3. Always remember that insects are living creatures just like humans and they need food, water, and shelter.  Inspect the perimeter of your home, as well as the interior, and pay close attention to areas that could potentially provide all three of these needed resources.
  4. All food and beverages should always remain covered or sealed in air tight containers.  Following this simple step will eliminate the risk of insects being attracted to your home.  If you have fruit out in your kitchen make sure you eat it before it over ripens or store it in your refrigerator.  If food or drinks are dropped or spilled make sure that they are cleaned up immediately.
  5. Routinely empty all the trash and place it outside in garbage cans with tight fitting lids.  All trash cans inside the home should also have lids.
  6. Make sure to keep all pet food sealed in air tight containers.
  7. Remove extra clutter from your home.  Get rid of items that are old and damaged and find a great charity to donate the rest.
  8. Keep all doors and windows closed while not in use.
  9. Make sure to change all your exterior lighting to low sodium vapor light bulbs.  Most insects are attracted to light but they are less attracted to low sodium vapor lighting.  Also make sure to point your security lighting away from your home and not directly on it.
  10. Don’t Bring Them In!  Be careful whenever you travel, move, or bring home the groceries that you check everything before bringing it into your home.  Especially as it gets colder make sure to check and clean all your firewood before you bring it in your home.
 

Experts Say Severe Winter Won’t Slow Down Georgia Insects

Severe Winter Temperatures Won’t Stop Georgia Insects

UGA Extension entomologist, Elmer Gray, recently wrote an article explaining why the severe winter weather that we’ve experienced in Georgia, and surrounding states, won’t slow down the insect population.  In fact, he explains that spring temperatures and moisture conditions will have a far greater effect on insect populations than winter weather.  Some insects will die due to the severe weather but most will survive.

Gray explains that insects, having been around for over 300 million years, are adaptive creatures.  They are highly adaptable to their surroundings and can survive in extreme conditions.  Many insects also overwinter.  In the case of insects, overwintering is basically how they survive during the winter months (or how they receive their basic needs).  Many insects go through physiological changes that help them survive cold temperatures.

The main concern for insects is that they avoid ice crystals to form inside of their body.

To read the full article, click HERE.

 

 

Keeping Ladybugs Out

LadybugLadybugs Seek Warmth in Homes

Ladybugs are beneficial insects but when they overwinter in your home they become a nuisance pest.  They spend the warmer months of spring and summer growing their populations and like other overwintering pests, they seek warmth from the cold temperatures in fall and winter.  Many seek shelter under rocks, leaves, or other items found in nature, then you have those that find shelter in homes and buildings.

Although typically harmless, ladybugs can aggravate asthma and cause allergic reactions in people.  They can also emit a foul smelling, yellowish fluid that can stain surfaces.

Keeping ladybugs out of your home starts with the usual preventative pest management steps that we typically cover in our blogs: screen all windows, keep doors closed, door sweeps on exterior doors, and seal all cracks and crevices around the exterior of the home (windows, doors, pipes, etc).

If ladybugs have already found their way into your home, use a vacuum cleaner to clean them up.  Empty the vacuum bag into a trash bag and make sure it is tightly closed.  Discard of the trash bag in a sealed outside container.  If you have a ladybug infestation, call a professional pest control company to evaluate, assess, and treat the problem.  Call Northwest Exterminating for more on ladybug pest control.

 

 

Bugs Heading Indoors Due to Rain

The recent rain has kept more than just human beings inside…it’s caused lots of pests to head indoors as well.  You may have seen an increase of bugs in and around your home or office where they are entering to seek shelter from the rain.

Easy steps to keeping pests out:

  • Eliminate possible entry points.  Check doors, windows, foundation, attic, and/or basement for places that could be used to gain entrance to your home.  Insects can enter into the smallest of spaces.
  • Seal cracks and crevices in and around the foundation and around pipes and electrical boxes.
  • If you don’t have screens on your doors or windows then it’s best to keep them closed.
  • Keep outside lights pointed away from your home.  Most species are attracted to light.
  • Clean up any spills immediately.
  • Seal and take trash out on a regular basis.
  • Check items brought into the home for pests.
  • Hire a reputable pest management company to do regularly scheduled services that will help in preventing insects, pest, and rodents from entering your home or office.

 

 

 

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/

 

Bees vs. Wasps

Bees and wasps are often confused for one another.  Although they both belong to the hymenoptera order and share similar features, they are different.  Below is a list of basic shared features, as well as a list of features that set them apart from one another.

Pictures courtesy of NPMA

Pictures courtesy of NPMA

Bees AND Wasps

  • two sets of wings
  • only females can sting
  • overwintering pests
  • narrow waist
  • larvae
  • can sting and inject venom
  • barb like pointers on stinger used to penetrate victim

Bees

  • some bees (honeybees) will die if stinger is pulled from bee, others will continue to live
  • round body
  • fuzzy appearance
  • feed on pollen and nectar

Wasps

  • do not leave their stingers behind
  • small barbs
  • slender and smooth body
  • no fuzz
  • preys on other insects and spiders

For bee and wasp removal, call our team at Northwest Exterminating!

 

August Pest of the Month: Ticks

It’s important to protect yourself and your pets from ticks this season!  Keep reading for more information on the little suckers!

tick

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

  • Size varies depending on the species and type.
  • More closely related to spiders than insects.
  • Can have either a soft or a hard body.
  • Usually brought into homes by animals.
  • Feed on animals and humans for their blood meal.

HABITS

  • Live in low lying areas such as grass, shrubs, and bushes while waiting for a passing host to attach themselves on to.
  • Female ticks have about 3,000 eggs in the spring time.
  • Ticks feed on humans, mice, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, dogs, and birds.

SPECIES

  • American dog tick
  • Blacklegged/deer/bear tick
  • Brown dog tick
  • Lone Star Tick
  • Rocky Mountain Wood Tick

THREATS

  • Ticks attach themselves to animals or humans to obtain their blood meal by biting the victim.
  • Can cause irritation around the site of the bite, allergic reaction, or cause the mouth parts to get stuck in the skin when the tick is removed.
  • Known to transfer Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis.

PREVENTION

  • When in wooded areas or tall grass, wear long pants, long sleeves, and closed toed shoes.
  • Use a bug repellant that contains DEET.
  • Keep grass and other vegetation on your property properly cut and maintained.
  • Inspect yourself for ticks after being outdoors.
  • Inspect your pets for ticks after being outdoors.
  • If you find a tick, use tweezers to remove the tick with a slow, gentle, upward pressure.

OTHER PESTS TO LOOK OUT FOR

Call Northwest Exterminating for information on how to protect your home and loved ones from ticks.

 

 

Daddy Long Legs vs Daddy Long Leg Spiders

Daddy Long legs or Daddy Long legs Spider?

harvestmanDaddy Long legs, or harvestmen, are not actually spiders.  Daddy long legs are not poisonous, have long legs and a large bulbous-looking body.  They feed on insects, which makes them helpful around the garden.  They are especially active at the time of harvest, toward the end of summer and beginning of fall.  To keep daddy long legs away, vacuum carpet, upholstery, and curtains frequently to remove spider webs, adult spiders, and egg sacs.  Be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag.  Tightly seal the trash bag to make sure eggs can’t hatch and crawl out of the bag.

Tip for preventing daddy long legs: Pour 1 cup white vinegar and 1/3 cup vanilla extract into a spray bottle and shake.  Spray areas where the daddy long legs have been spotted indoors and out.  The smell will repel the insects.

Daddy Long legs Spiders, or cellar spiders, although venomous, are not known to be harmful to humans.  Their fangs are short and they do not have enough muscle to be able to penetrate human skin.  Daddy long legs spiders are very fragile and delicate.  They are usually brown or gray in color, cylindrical in shape and their legs are very long and thin.  Daddy long legs spiders survive on others species of spiders, or on occasion they will invade other spiders’ webs and consume the host, their egg, and any prey caught in the web.  They hang upside down on their webs, which they create in dark, damp places like home cellars, caves or abandoned animal burrows.

Tip for preventing daddy long leg spiders: To keep daddy long legs spiders away you will need caulk, a vacuum cleaner, a duster, boric acid/Borax, and spider traps.  Caulk cracks in your walls, foundation, and loose window frames.  With a vacuum cleaner attachment, suck up spiders and their webs at wall corners, undersides of furniture, floors beneath appliances, crevices along the baseboards and around windows and curtains.  Insects attract daddy long legs spiders so dust frequently and repair leaking pipes and faucets both inside and out.  Sprinkle boric acid under doorways, around window sills, along baseboards, and under appliances.  Boric acid is a common ingredient in household cleaning products and is not harmful to humans and pets.  Place spider traps in areas where spiders are usually seen.

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

 

Endangered Species and Pesticides

As a pest control company, Northwest Exterminating makes it a point to provide cleaner living and working environments. Furthermore, we do so by following federal and state guidelines, including the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 provides legal protection for endangered and threatened species, requiring all federal agencies to ensure their actions do not harm the lives of the endangered. This is important to pest control because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can restrict the use of pesticides that may be threatening.  Northwest Exterminating provides itself on not only meeting these standards, but also exceeding them by providing green pest control as an alternative to traditional pest control.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “Pesticides are useful to society because they are used to control…potential disease-causing organisms, insects, weeds and other pests.”  The EPA takes careful measures to ensure that the products used to control pests do not have unreasonable effects on humans or the environment.  For instance, this agency regulates the sale and use of ALL pesticides used in the United States. Just as recently as 2008, the EPA began the Pesticide Registration Review Programs to update research on how pesticides may affect endangered species.

 

Sources:

http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/Issues/Pesticides.cfm

Georgia Pest Control Employee Registration Manual