July Pest of the Month: Fire Ant

Fire Ant

Fire Ant

Brief description:

Fire ants get their name through their ability to inflict painful bites and stings.  They vary considerably in size and build large raised mounds in lawn areas.  One interesting fact about fire ants is they have been known to infest electrical boxes en masses, causing the equipment to malfunction.

Habits:

  • Build nests in soil near structural foundations or in landscaping.
  • Nests can be between 2 and 4 square feet in size.
  • Although they typically make their nests outside, they can enter structures through HVAC systems, electrical lines, and even under siding.

Different species:

  • Argentine ants
  • Carpenter ants
  • Odorous house ants
  • Pavement ants
  • Crazy ants
  • Acrobat ants

Threats:

  • Produce a painful sting when they feel threatened.
  • Sting results in a painful, raised bump.
  • Often receive more than one sting at a time.
  • Devastates local insect populations and small wildlife when it invades an area.
  • Many grouse and ground nesting bird species have been eliminated by fire ants when they attack newly hatched nestlings.

Prevention:

  • Avoid fire ant mounds.
  • Seal all entry points into a structure.
  • Contact a licensed pest professional if you have fire ant nests in your lawn.

Other pests to look out for:

  • Other species of ants listed above

 

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

Giant African Land Snails

Recent news stories have brought attention to a new pest that has all threat of pests such as rats, including its size! Snails may not seem like the most imposing of pests, but the giant African land snail is definitely a force to be reckoned with. It is starting to invade parts of southern Florida, but has also been seen in parts of Texas and the Great Lake states.

Giant African Land Snail

Giant African Land Snail

These snails live up to nine years and can produce 1200 eggs a year, after reaching adulthood in just one year. If you’re not a fan of math, just be certain that these snails can soon become an astronomical problem. Florida knows this especially after having to spend $1 million on its initial infestation – which evidently did not offer them a permanent solution.

So what’s the bigger issue here? Firstly, these snails eat at least 500 different types of plants, thus serving as a huge threat to agriculture. Not only that, but according to Agriculture Department spokeswoman Denise Feiber, giant African land snails carry a human parasite called rat lungworm, a potentially deadly form of meningitis. Homeowners should beware not only for these issues, but also because their shells are so sharp they might shred a tire!

These pests are thought to be carried in through traveler’s luggage, although other, not so wise citizens, carry them as pets and later release them. This was the cause of the original infestation on the American mainland in 1966. Agriculture officials are working to eliminate the pest problem before it becomes a major issue, but urge homeowners that they are the first line of defense against this pest. If you spot a pest similar to these below, call Northwest Exterminating immediately! There might be a larger problem than the one that already meets the eye.

Snail Diagram

Snail Diagram

If you’re interested in learning more about this pest and pest prevention, view the video here.

Sources:

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/gas/index.shtml

http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/animals/africansnail.shtml

http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/15/us/florida-giant-snails/index.html?iref=allsearch

http://news92fm.com/350719/giant-african-land-snails-spotted-in-houston/

 

Know Your Red & Black Bugs

Spring is a time when everything comes to life, blooming into an array of lovely colors. You’ll see flowers that are pink and purple, baby bunnies that are tan or gray and insects that are red and black. Just like every other little life form emerging this time of year, insects can also be a variety of colors and it’s important not to get them confused. Some bugs you might spot frequently are of the Georgia Bulldog variety – red and black spots, stripes and even a combination of both.

If any of these insects or other pests become too much of nuisance, Northwest Exterminating has the expertise and knowledge to take care of your bug problems.  Our Director of Pest Services Adam Vannest has provided some information about these bugs that will help you know the difference and what measures to take against them.

Lady Bug

Ladybug  – Beneficial insect

-  Overwinters

-  Feeds on aphids

- Control Measures: exclusion and vacuuming for long-term prevention. When necessary, chemical contact treatments can knock down a population

Box Elder Bug

Box Elder Bug

-  Overwinters

-  Female: Box Elder trees and Silver Maple trees serve as the primary host plant

-   Control Measures: Exclusion and a contact/residual application around the foundation and base of host plant

 

Milkweed Bug

Milkweed bug  – Found in gardens on Milkweed plants or around shelled sunflower seeds

- Control Measures: Over-the-counter garden insecticides

 

Leaf-Footed Stink Bug

Leaf-footed stink bug

-      Feeds on a wide variety of host plants

-       Besides birds, they do not have too many natural predators due to their taste and smell

-       Control Measures: Over-the-counter insecticides for garden areas. Outside of the garden, any contact or residual product labeled for stink bugs

Wheel Bug

Wheel Bug

 

-       Semicircular cogwheel-like crest on its thorax

-       Feeds on a wide variety of insects including caterpillars, beetles, aphids

Control Measures: Prevention is the key! All plants should be inspected before they enter the home. Exclusion should be performed for long-term prevention. All vegetation should be trimmed away from the home, at least one foot. Pesticides are rarely needed

 

June Pest of the Month: Bed Bugs

bed bug

Brief description:

  • Mahogany to re-brown in color
  • Flat, broad when unfed; swollen and elongated when fed
  • Ranging in size from 1.3mm to 7mm in length depending on the age
  • Females can lay up to 500 eggs in their lifetime
  • Bed bugs feed on the blood of warm bodied animals
  • Consume a blood meal every 5-10 days but can survive a whole year without eating

Habits:

  • Bed bugs harbor in cracks and crevices during the day and come out for blood feedings at night
  • Hence their name, they are often found in beds among the mattress, box springs, rails, frame, headboard, and footboard
  • They are excellent hitchhikers.  They hide in luggage, purses, bags, and other belongings to travel from place to place

Different species:

Threats:

  • Bites are painless but can cause an allergic reaction which triggers small, red bumps on the skin

Prevention:

  • Inspect bedding for bed bug skins and blood spots
  • Change linens often
  • Inspect rooms when traveling.
  • Do not set luggage on the floor or on bed when traveling
  • Inspect luggage, clothing, and linens when you return from traveling
  • Inspect second hand furniture before bringing it into your home
  • Seek professional pest control company to address a bed bug infestation

Other pests to look out for:

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Pest Control Among Top 8 Outdoor Jobs

Looking for a job where you can enjoy the great outdoors?  Pest Control may be just the answer that you’re looking for.  Fox Business recently released an article with the Top 8 outdoor jobs that are “growing or are poised to grow”.

Seeing as how pests are everywhere…it’s a pretty stable business to be in.  Pest Management Technicians, as well as, Termite Service Technicians both made the list.  To read the full list click HERE.

Interested in a career in pest or termite control that will allow you to enjoy the great outdoors?  Visit our Careers page to see our career opportunities.

Did we mention we were recently named #7 of the Top 100 Top Work Places for medium sized companies by The AJC?!?!

 

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!

 

Pest Allergies

Now that it’s pollen season, many people are suffering sneezing, coughing and discomfort due to an allergy to different pollen types. Though many people know that this triggers allergies within them, they may not know that various household pests can also contribute to allergies. Additionally, those who have asthma may suffer to pests such as cockroaches or mice being in home because these pests can spread strong asthma triggers.

PestWorld.org provides facts about pests and asthma, as well as a ‘First Responder PSA’ that highlights the risk that household pests can put us at when we are indoors. For instance, 63% of American homes contain allergens from cockroaches, but if the home is located in an urban area, it can even reach 98%! Additionally, mice can spread asthma triggers found in 82% of homes. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, patients with cockroach allergies develop acute asthma attacks after inhaling cockroach allergens. Allergens can come from not only the actual body of the pest, but also its saliva and feces.

If you are experiencing minor symptoms such as, the AAFA recommends the use of antihistamines, decongestants and anti-inflammatory medications. An effective means to reduce the chance of exposure to pest allergens is using regular treatment through a pest control company. Northwest Exterminating offers services that eliminates and reduces the occurrence of a wide array of household pests including mice and cockroaches.

Sources:

http://www.pestworld.org/multimedia-center/first-responder-psa/

http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=22&cont=312