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!

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

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

 

Flower Flies

Are you the type of person who freaks out the instant that they spot a yellow and black winged creature nearby? If so, maybe you should take a second glance before you run screaming back into the house. That yellow and black creature flying amongst your freshly planted to roses may very well be a flower fly! However, they want you and other predators to think that they are wasps or bees so that they can feast in peace.

Syrphidae

Members of the Insect Family Syrphidae

 

Flower flies, also known as hoverflies or syrphid flies, make up the insect family Syrphidae. They get their name from their main source of nutrients – flowers! They, much like bees, feed mainly on nectar and pollen. Their larvae, however, feed of a wide range of foods including other pests. This may seem like it will cause potential pest problems, but in actuality, they are considered natural pest control (much the green products of Northwest Exterminating), in that they prey on insects such as aphids, which cause tens of millions of dollars of damage to crops globally. Additionally, adult aphids are important to the plant pollinating process.

 

Petroselinum_crispum_003

Parsley

If you would like to the help of flower flies to aid you in pest control, then you should look to companion plants such as buckwheat, chamomile or parsley to attract them. If, however, you’d like a stronger pest control force to protect your home and lawn, then Northwest Exterminating offers all the resources you need.

Chamomile

Chamomile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.biokids.umich.edu/critters/Syrphidae/

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

 

Pests That Affect Your Lawn

It’s summer time, so you and your family will likely spend a great deal more time outside enjoying the weather. However, your household won’t be the only ones wanting to take advantage of your lawn. Especially during the summertime, certain insects can cause damage or even kill your turfgrass. Signs of insect feeding include grass turning yellow or brown and eventually dying. This begins as small patches of grass but can eventually lead to widespread damage. It’s important to eliminate lawn damage using preventive measures and Northwest Lawn Care offers just that!

 

 

One pest in particular that you may be used to seeing is a white grub. These insects are the larvae stage of several species of masked chafer beetles. This said, if you spot beetles in your yard, you’re likely to have white grubs. They are small, white “C” shaped bugs with six legs. When these insects infest, they can destroy grass roots, which weakens the affected area. If ever you’ve been able to lift your grass easily from the ground, it’s likely to be due to these insects.

White GrubMasked chafer

Another common insect pest is the armyworm, which is actually the larva stage of a moth and is therefore, a caterpillar. Like all caterpillars, army worms like feed of plants, including all types of grass. They like to chew on leaves as well as the base of leaves, leaving irregular patches of grass. Once again, if you notice a fair amount of brown or gray moths in your yard, you’re likely to already have an armyworm problem.

Armyworm

Armyworm

Other common insect pests include billbugs, black turfgrass ataenius, fiery skipper, lawn moths, sod webworms and the southern chinch bug. Keep in mind that these pests are perfect treat for larger pests such moles, skunks and raccoons. If you feel like your lawn may be at risk, call the Northwest Lawn Care Team and they will meet your needs.

Sources:

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7476.html

http://www.diynetwork.com/outdoors/how-to-identify-common-lawn-pests/index.html

http://www.hort.uconn.edu/ipm/homegrnd/htms/13inslwn.htm

http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/white-grubs-lawns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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.

 

May’s Pest of the Month – Mosquitoes

MosquitoesTake Back Your Yard!Don’t let mosquitoes suck the fun out of your Summer!

HABITS

  • Breed in stagnant water such as ponds, marshes, drainage ditches, etc.
  • Can be found in almost every type of landscape on Earth except deserts and the Arctic.
  • Bite most often at dusk and dawn.

THREATS

OTHER PESTS TO LOOK OUT FOR:

PREVENTION

  • Eliminate areas of standing water around the home such as flower pots, bird baths, etc.  Mosquitoes only need about one half inch of water to breed.
  • Avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.
  • Wear long pants and sleeves when outdoors whenever possible.
  • Use an insect repellant that contains DEET.
  • Call Northwest Exterminating for a professional inspection and treatment plan for breeding sites.

Enjoy your yard this Spring and Summer.  Call Northwest Exterminating for more information on our Green Mosquito Program!

 

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!