Gardening & Pest Control

Baby playing with dirtThis past weekend I was outside working in the garden when I came across a few unwanted guests.  There were a few spiders, a couple ground beetles, and a large amount of ants.  The ants and beetles were present because my garden provides them with a large amount of food and water.  The spiders were there because my garden provides them food (the other insects).

As most of you know the most common insecticides should not be used in gardens.  Leaving the everyday gardener to reach out to “over the counter” products from their local nursery or hardware store to help rid them of pests.  Although many of these products are effective for short periods of time, they require a minimum time lapse before you can harvest your yield.  As many of you know, at Northwest Exterminating we care about protecting your family from pests in the most natural ways possible.  And when it comes to the family garden our service technicians are trained to stop the pest before they enter the garden area.  That being said, a lot of the garden insects start in the garden area and never leave it – making it hard to control them.  So what can you do?  Below I have listed some natural ways to help assist you in keeping the pest populations down in your family’s garden this growing season.  Following these steps and methods will ensure a healthy garden with minimal pesticide use.

 Environmental Tips:

  • Be careful not to over water.  Excess water will provide a water source that is attractive to most pests.
  • Don’t plant too much.  Dense garden foliage will provide hidden shelter for pests including rodents.
  • Weed your garden regularly.  Eliminating the weeds will allow open spaces that leave pests exposed to other predators.

Natural Plantings You Can Add To Help Keep The Pests Down:

  • Plant some of your herbs in amongst your garden staples.  The strong aroma from these plants can deter harmful pests, and attract predators to some of the damaging pests.  Examples:  Basil, Citronella, Dill, Fennel, and Lemongrass
  • Spread coffee grounds around the garden to help reduce snails and provide an extra source of fertilizer.
  • Use a few peppermint essential oil drops in some water and lightly spray your plants to keep the ants off.
  • Plant onions, marigolds, and radishes around the garden to help as well!

We hope some of these tips help you keep your family garden healthier this season!  For more information on Northwest’s Pest Control and Lawn Care Services visit us at callnorthwest.com

Adam Vannest
Director of Pest ServicesNorthwest Exterminating
avannest@callnorthwest.com

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

Green Anole Lizards

No, it’s not the Geico Gecko…it’s a green anole.  This lizard is native to the U.S. and is nicknamed the  “chameleon” due to it’s ability to change colors from bright green, to brown, to gray…all depending on their mood.  Their heads have pointed snouts, their tails and bodies are long and slender, they have special padding on their feet for crawling along walls, and they make no sound.  Of their total length, their tails are the major portion of their bodies.  The males have a pink flap of skin that hangs below their neck that turns a fiery red color during territorial displays or courting and mating.  The males also have two sets of bigger scales at the point where their tail starts and both males and females shed off their tails and can grow a new one in its place.  In the southeastern United States, these lizards can be found in trees, shrubs, on walls or fences.  They require greenery, some shade, and a moist environment and they eat small insects and spiders by stalking them in shrubs, vines, walls, and even window screens.  So don’t be afraid of these little guys, think of them as nature’s green exterminators.

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

 

The Common House Spider

SpiderThe house spider is a common problem that we’re seeing in homes lately.  We’ve had lots of calls and concerns about the tiny little pests hanging around.  The most effective way of getting rid of spiders is to prevent them from ever coming into your home.  Spiders, like most insects, come into your home in search of food.  By ridding your home of other insects (regularly scheduled pest maintenance) your home will be useless to the spider.

Ways to Prevent Spiders from coming into your home:

  • Seal cracks and crevices around the perimeter of your home that can be used as entry points into your home.
  • Use screens on doors and windows.
  • Use a vacuum to suck up spiders and their eggs (they often escape if a broom is used).
  • Spider survival is low in homes with low humidity, few insects, higher garages, sheds, barns, warehouses, etc.
  • Spider webs are often built in corners and angles of walls and windows so web brush often or ask your pest professional to do it while they are treating your home.
  • Spiders build webs by trial and error which explains why there may be multiple vacant webs around your home.
  • Keep your home clean.  Clutter is good for spiders because it gives them a place to hide.
  • Ensure that bushes and other plants are trimmed back from the outside wall of your home.
  • Make sure mulch is kept a few inches back from the foundation of your home.
  • Use plastic storage boxes instead of cardboard. Spiders love cardboard.

Again, regularly scheduled pest control from a professional pest management company will keep out the spiders and their food sources.

 

Keeping Snakes Away From Your Home

The weather is warm and the snakes are out.  There aren’t a lot of snake lovers out there, us included.  We don’t like to think about snakes being in or around our home but they are a reality and there are steps that we can take to keep snakes away.

  1. Use a snake repellant.  It is said that home remedies like moth balls and lemon grass are great deters for snakes but have also been said to be unreliable.  There are other snake repellants available at your local hardware store.
  2. Keep the clutter out of your yard.  Keeping grass cut and vegetation trimmed down reduces areas for snakes to hide.  Remove any wood piles, leaves, or other debris where snakes can hide.
  3. Pest control.  Regularly scheduled pest control keeps insects and rodents out of your yard that snakes use to feed on.  By keeping these pests out of your yard…you have a better chance of keeping snakes out too.
  4. Check for gaps and cracks in your home.  Snakes can enter homes through any open gaps or holes that may be present.  Use weather stripping under doors and seal all cracks and crevices.  This will assist in keeping out pests and keeping in the cool air.
  5. Don’t forget about the shed.  Sheds can become cluttered and perfect places for snakes to hide.  De-clutter your work space.
  6. Call a professional.  If you have a snake in your yard or home, call a professional team that specializes in removing snakes and other wildlife.  Don’t handle these on your own.

Northwest Exterminating has a highly trained wildlife team that specializes in the exclusion, removal, and control of wildlife including snakes.

 

Top 10 Ways to Keep Insects Out of Your Home

Customers are always asking us how to keep pests out of their homes.  Besides regularly scheduled pest control treatments from their pest control company, below are Northwest Exterminating‘s Top 10 Ways to Keep Insects Out of Your Home:

top ten ways to keep bugs out_infographic 10-12.ai

 

 

Is DEET losing its effectiveness?

DEETFor years, DEET has been the “go-to” insect repellant recommended by everyone from Doctors to pest control companies. But recently, reports have come out that although they deter insects at first, they learn to ignore it and will go on to bite anyways.  Specifically, mosquitoes, are thought to be getting more and more resistant to the substance.

It just goes to show how adaptive insects and animals really are.  That is why Northwest Exterminating, and other pest control companies, need to constantly be on the cutting edge of technology.

You can read the full article by clicking here.

 

N.C. State Examines Why Cockroaches Groom Themselves

Humans and pets aren’t the only things getting groomed.  Researchers at NC State explain why cockroaches spend so much time in the grooming department.  Read below…

Like a self-absorbed teenager, insects spend a lot of time grooming. In a study that delves into the mechanisms behind this common function, North Carolina State University researchers show that insect grooming — specifically, antennal cleaning — removes both environmental pollutants and chemicals produced by the insects themselves.

The findings, published online this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that grooming helps insects maintain acute olfactory senses that are responsible for a host of functions, including finding food, sensing danger and even locating a suitable mate.

The findings could also explain why certain types of insecticides work more effectively than others.
Insects groom themselves incessantly, so NC State entomologist Coby Schal and post-doctoral researchers Katalin Boroczky and Ayako Wada-Katsumata wanted to explore the functions of this behavior.

Click here to read the entire article.

Source: Science Daily

 

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

 

 

The 411 on Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals, typically while they sleep. Usually, they live within 8 feet of where people sleep but are known to travel up to 100 feet in one night! This is because they can go many months without having to have a meal. When they take a bite, they will leave a small bite mark that, at worst, can cause a serious allergic reaction, but are otherwise not known to be a source of disease.

Unlike their name suggests, bed bugs can be found in houses, apartments, hotels, trains, and even cruise ships. At one time, it was thought that these insects were only an issue in developing countries, but recently they have rapidly spread throughout North America and parts of Europe. They travel through the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, clothing, bedding and furniture. Despite what conventional wisdom suggests, the presence of bed bugs does not have to do with lack of cleanliness. Bed bugs go where food can be found.

Bed bug infestation will most likely be spotted after they have already gotten to you. If you see inexplicable bite marks on your body after you wake up, you might want to investigate further. Looking around your sleeping area, you may discover bed bug exoskeletons, a sweet musty order, rusty-colored blood spots and of course, actual bed bugs in the folds of mattresses and sheets.

The treatment and prevention of bed bugs is where Northwest Exterminating comes in. We offer services to rid your home of bed bugs should an infestation occur. If you find that you have encountered these unwelcome bed guests, be sure to contact your nearest service center!

Melissa Brown
mbrown@callnorthwest.com

Source:

http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs/faqs.html

 

Organic Pest Control – Companion Planting

Ever wonder how gardens stayed plush and green without modern pest control techniques? Before exterminating companies existed, many planters relied on a method of organic pest control known as companion planting. Companion planting involves placing plants in your garden that have qualities that deter pests that surround and protect your other plants. For instance, planting certain herbs in your vegetable garden can attract beneficial insects while simultaneously repelling harmful ones.

One pest that likes to frequent gardens is the aphid, otherwise known as plant lice. These tiny insects suck the sap from the plant, taking all the nutrients to keep the plant healthy and living. Sometimes as they are feeding, aphids transmit plant viruses to plants such as potatoes and citrus plants, which can kill the plants. Planting chives, coriander or nasturtium around your plants will discourage infestations by these plants.

Nasturtium

Nasturtium

Certain plants can keep larger pests out of your garden. For instance, planting lavender not only deter ticks, but also moths and mice. Mice also do not like the smell of daffodils, which can be used as a colorful boarder for an herb garden. Additionally, rabbits do not like the smell of onions, which can be planted alongside peas, beans, lettuce and cabbage. Lastly, sprinkling cayenne pepper on your plants can act as a deterrent for raccoons.

If companion planting still does not do the job of minimizing pest invasions, Northwest Exterminating offers pest control services that not only takes care of pest, but also does it in a green, environmentally friendly way! Northwest offers many services that will protect your plants, home and office environment. We offer more than pest elimination, but also healthier living and working environments. Check out our website for more info at www.callnorthwest.com

Melissa Brown
mbrown@callnorthwest.com

Sources:

http://gardening.about.com/od/naturalorganiccontrol/a/Companion_2.htm

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

http://www.naturalnews.com/035853_companion_planting_garden_vegetables.html