Flea Prevention & Facts

How can something as small as a flea be such a huge pain?  Pet owners are all too familiar with the annoyance of fleas because they make us AND our pets miserable.  Fleas attach themselves to warm-blooded animals (pets and humans) and feed on their blood.  A flea bite can cause discomfort, painful, itchy red bumps and can lead to an allergic reaction.  In some cases, they can even transmit diseases like the bubonic plague, murine typhus and transfer tapeworms in pets.

To prevent fleas from becoming a pest in your home, clean and vacuum frequently.  A clean home is a healthy home and will aid in the prevention of other pests as well.  Cleaning will help to remove any fleas and their eggs.  Maintaining a clean yard is just as important, especially if you have pets that go outside often.  A well kept lawn with no debris or pet droppings will reduce the flea population around your home.  Bathe pets regularly and apply a flea and tick treatment.  Most importantly, call a professional exterminator if you have fleas in your home.  A flea infestation can be very difficult to get rid of and is best left to the professionals so the problem does not continue to grow.

Interesting Flea Facts:

  • The largest recorded flea measured almost ½ inch!
  • Fleas consume 15 times their weight in blood each day. That is like a 140 lb. woman eating 8,400 burgers in one day!
  • Fleas are the number one cause of allergies in cats and dogs.
  • Fleas can live for about 100 days.
  • Fleas don’t fly, they jump.
  • A pair of fleas can produce 400-500 offspring in their lifetime.
  • A flea can jump up to 8 inches high or 150 times its own height.

Got a flea problem?  Call Northwest Exterminating for professional, effective flea control.

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

Do it Yourself Pest Control VS. Professional Pest Control

There is a whole market for people who like to do it yourself.  I am one of them.  I enjoy the occasional weekend project around the house like painting, fixing a leaky faucet, or changing out fixtures.  However, there are some do it yourself projects that are just not for me.  I don’t touch wires, I don’t clean high chandeliers, and I don’t clean out gutters (thank goodness Northwest Exterminating does).  Those are the tasks that I leave for the professionals.

In the recent years of the down economy, we have witnessed more people resorting to a do it yourself method of getting rid of bugs.  There are certain situations where we agree that do it yourself is a good alternative to hiring an exterminator.  If you spot a single bug such as a fly, yellow jacket, or ant, there is usually no need for a professional pest control company to come to your home.  But if you spot a termite, a bed bug, or any other insect that can cause damage to your family or your home, it is necessary to call an exterminator.

There are certain things that need to be considered when deciding to DIY or hire a professional:

  • Expense

o   DIY – A trip to the store and the purchase of chemicals is typically less expensive than hiring a pest control company.

o   Professional – Although the initial investment is more expensive with a professional, it may end up being the cheaper alternative.  If the in store pesticides are not effective they may result in the growth of your pest control problem.  Continuing to buy in store products can get expensive.  Not to mention the potential damage to your home that pests can cause.

  • Convenience

o   DIY – When doing it yourself, you can go to the store, purchase the pest control product, and apply it at your own convenience.

o   Professional – It can be a pain to find a time that is convenient for both you and your exterminator to meet at your home for a treatment.  More often than not, this is at the inconvenience of the customer.  However, a good exterminator will work with the homeowner to schedule the best time for them.

  • Knowledge

o   DIY – The instructions are on the label.  Not only can information be found on the label but it is very easy to go to the internet and do a research on the particular product or insect.  Be sure that all instructions are followed exactly as listed on the package.

o   Professional – An experienced and knowledgeable exterminator will be able to quickly identify and treat your problem.  They are also able to answer any questions that you have about prevention or other issues that you are experiencing.  Their experience and expertise can keep your home and family healthier than just reading the instructions on a label.

  • Risk

o   DIY – Chemicals of any kind can carry a risk.  Applying chemicals that you are not knowledgeable about could potentially cause harm to humans, pets, or plants in the area.  This is not to scare you but to remind you that we cannot stress enough the importance to read all instructions and follow all directions listed on the product label. 

o   Professionals – By hiring an experienced and knowledgeable pest control company, most risk is removed from the homeowner.  Be sure to read all contracts and get reviews from past customers before hiring a pest control company.

  • Effectiveness

o   DIY – For small pest problems, store bought exterminating products can oftentimes be effective.  For a bigger infestation, it can be more difficult with store bought products.  Pests are adaptable creatures and can get become immune to certain chemicals after a certain amount of time. 

o   Professionals – A reliable pest control company will have up to date information and products to treat your infestation. 

  • Warranties

o   DIY – Depending on the store and product, you can return a product.  Check your local store return policies before purchasing.

o   Professionals – Always ask about a company’s policies before hiring them to treat your home.  Will they return to your home for no charge if your issue is not solved? Do they offer warranties on their work?  A good exterminating company will.

When trying to decide if you should tackle your pest control problem, consider the list above.  For a small infestation, do it yourself is a good option that can be inexpensive.  For larger infestations or a continuing problem, save yourself the time, hassle, and money and call a professional exterminator.  As always, the key to pest control is prevention. For pest prevention tips visit this blog.

If you have a pest or termite issue in the Atlanta, Columbus, Savannah, or Nashville area, call Northwest Exterminating. 

What kind of do-it-yourself projects do you enjoy?

Have you ever tried to do-it-yourself and had to call in the professionals?

 

 

DIY Flea Treatment

It is a common misconception that if you don’t have animals in your home that you can’t get fleas…FALSE. Fleas can be an issue in homes both with and without pets. They often attach themselves to rabbits, skunks, possums, and other rodents or wildlife that can be found living in wooded areas around a structure. Their 6”-8” vertical jump gives them the ability to attach themselves to humans and animals.

The thought of fleas creates a sense of uneasiness…and with good reason; fleas can carry several diseases like plague, tapeworm, and murine typhus that effects humans and pets alike. Flea prevention is much easier and less expensive than flea treatment.

Flea Prevention Tips:

  • Clean your home regularly – Regular cleaning prevents fleas and many other pests from being attracted to your home. Make sure that spills and crumbs are cleaned up quickly, vacuum floors and upholstery*, and wipe down counters and furniture. Regular maintenance will make a huge difference against pests. (*Immediately empty, seal, remove, and dispose of the vacuum bag outdoors for your trash provider to retrieve.)
  • Wash and treat pets – Bathe your pets on a regular basis. Wash any bedding the pet is allowed to sleep on. Treat your pets with flea prevention by taking them to your veterinarian, the groomer, or using over the counter medication. When cleaning, special attention should be paid to areas where pets often spend time.
  • Shampooing carpet – Shampooing carpet can be more beneficial than vacuuming alone.
  • Keep out wild animals – Wild animals such as rodents and opossums should be prevented from entering the structure and appropriately trapped.
  • Wear light colors when outdoors – Wearing light colors enables you to spot fleas more easily.
  • DEET – Apply DEET, an insect repellant, when outside.
  • Make a fashion statement – Wear long pants and hiking boots when you are outside. It is also best to tuck pant legs into your socks. A look that your neighbors will surely follow!

Do it yourself flea treatments can be effective. However, we would like to warn you that flea exterminating is a difficult task and more often than not should be done by a professional exterminating company like Northwest Exterminating. When getting rid of fleas yourself, keep in mind that fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day. Only 5% of the flea population is on your dog or other household pets, the rest have fallen off in and around your home.

DIY Flea Treatments:

Disclaimer: Northwest Exterminating does not encourage the use of the following treatments. We strongly recommend that all instructions are carefully followed on packaging of the following products and hold no liability for the following DIY treatments. Please contact a doctor, veterinarian and a professional pest control company before trying any of these treatments.

  • Borax powder – Sprinkle borax powder on your carpet (always do a test patch before treating your whole carpet) and let sit for approximately 24 hours. Vacuum and immediately seal and dispose of vacuum bag. Repeat until fleas are gone.
  • Water & Dish Soap – Put ½”-1” of water in shallow dish with a squirt of liquid dish soap. Put the dish directly under a lamp or some other form of light. The fleas are drawn to the light and heat which causes them to jump in the water. The soap makes it difficult for the fleas to move and they will eventually drown. Do this for several days until there are no new fleas found in your dish. Continue for a few days to make sure they are gone. Placing several soap and water dishes around the home where fleas are suspected gives you a better chance of getting rid of the fleas faster.

If you have tried DIY flea control methods without any luck, a pest control professional is your best option. A good exterminating company will be knowledgeable about flea prevention and treatment and should treat your home until fleas are gone.

If you’re looking for flea control in the Atlanta, Savannah, Nashville, or Columbus areas Northwest Exterminating is your best choice. Visit us at callnorthwest.com or call at 888.466.7849

Have you tried any of these DIY flea treatments?

Additional links:
http://www.callnorthwest.com/2011/08/facts-about-ticks-and-fleas/
http://www.callnorthwest.com/2011/06/dog-fleas/

 

Dr. Goo’s Corner: Ticks

Disclaimer:  The following are general guidelines to follow and do not constitute medical advice

Ticks like to “hang out” in low lying shrubs, bushes or plants waiting for animals to come by to supply them with the blood meal that will help them complete their life cycle. Ticks then climb on the animal or human and attach themselves to obtain the blood from their victims. In the process they inject saliva and suck blood from the host, much like mosquitoes.

In general, most tick bites do not transmit disease. More commonly they are associated with infection around the site of the bite, local irritation, allergic reaction, or the cause of retained mouth parts when the tick is removed. The sooner you can remove the tick, the less likely they are to transmit diseases, so get them off quickly!

How to remove a tick

Most of the time, a pair of tweezers and slow, gentle, upward pressure will get rid of the tick. Burning the tick off may not work and may cause a burn to the patient.  For a nice diagram and instructions please see the CDC website about how to remove a tick:

http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/removing_a_tick.html

If there are retained parts, please see your doctor so they can recommend options for getting the head out or letting it come out on its own.

Tick Borne Diseases

There are some serious diseases associated with tick bites. Usually they are associated with fever, feeling ill, and a rash. A few of the more common illnesses are:  Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, Erlichiosis, and Tularemia.  Please contact your doctor immediately if you develop a rash, fever, or are feeling sick after a tick bite.

To avoid ticks, know where to expect them and use a bug repellant.  Ticks live in areas that are grassy or near woods.  They are often found in bushes and shrubs and can become a big problem when grass is too high.  A bug repellant, such as DEET, can protect you for several hours.

If you find ticks on you, someone in your household, or a household pet, call Northwest Exterminating to speak to someone about a way to get rid of ticks.

Thanks,

Dr. Goo

 

Dr. Goo’s Corner: Mosquitoes

Disclaimer:  The following are general guidelines to follow and do not constitute medical advice.

Spring brings with it flowers, pollen, birds and bees! But it also brings pests that are returning from their winter break.  For many of us, mosquitoes are a real problem that keeps us from enjoying the outdoors.  But more importantly, mosquitoes can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus.  They can also cause heartworm in dogs.  *Click here for a brief outline on these diseases*  These diseases are very serious but fortunately, rarely directly related to mosquitoes.

In General

In general, the problem with mosquito bites is due to an allergic reaction to the mosquito’s saliva and the problems associated with swelling and scratching of the mosquito bite.  When a mosquito bites you they inject saliva which helps keep the blood from clotting. The saliva causes an inflammatory reaction which causes the itching and swelling associated with the bite. Most people just get a big irritating lump on the skin which if they scratch becomes more swollen and lasts longer.  But some people actually have an allergic reaction to the mosquito saliva and can become very ill.

For the itching and swelling, anti-histamines are recommended.  Diphenhydramine (commonly known as Benadryl – TM) can be used orally or applied in creams or lotions combined with calamine. Anti-inflammatory steroid creams may help too – creams like 1% hydrocortisone.

Interesting Fact: Only female mosquitoes bite and suck blood to obtain protein for their eggs; male mosquitoes suck nectar.

Impetigo

Even if you don’t get sick from the mosquito, many people scratch their bites until they bleed. When the skin is open it is susceptible to secondary infection. Children and adults can get a skin infection called impetigo which is a superficial skin infection caused by bacteria called staph and strep.  Impetigo causes open sores and crusting (honey colored) and swelling in the areas. Impetigo is usually worse in the summer when children are out playing in the dirt, getting bitten by mosquitoes, and then getting those sores infected. Excellent hygiene (SOAP and WATER) can prevent most impetigo and cure mild cases.  Over the counter antibiotic ointments (like Bacitracin) can help too as well as prescription ointments like mupurocin. There may be enlarged glands in the area, fever, and a spreading rash. Usually more severe impetigo needs an oral antibiotic so contact your doctor if you think you have impetigo and need medicine for it.

Heartworm

Man’s best friend can be affected with heartworms which are also transmitted by mosquitoes. So protect your entire family against these pests.

Prevention

The best prevention is to eliminate mosquitoes from your environment. Since this is virtually impossible to do completely, several strategies should be employed:

  • Be sure to get rid of any standing water around your home to avoid breeding areas for the mosquitoes. Old tires are notorious for having water inside of them so be sure to get rid of any tires in or around the yard.
  • Call Northwest Exterminating.  Their Green Mosquito Control Program is a 7 month program which sprays the shrubs, bushes and plants where mosquitoes and ticks like to hide.  This will greatly reduce the mosquito and tick population in your yard and will act as a barrier and repellent for any stray mosquitoes that fly into the area.
  • By wearing long pants, long sleeve shirts, hats and socks you can protect yourself from mosquitoes and their bites.
  • Also, use of insect repellents is a good idea. There are many products on the market; but the most popular is DEET.  DEET contains repellents and comes in many different forms and concentrations.
  • Screened in porches, mosquito netting and other barriers are helpful too.

Give your family the best protection against mosquitoes by calling Northwest Exterminating for their Green Mosquito Control Program.  Be sure to ask for your FREE inspection!

Thanks,

Dr. Goo