The 411 on Sand Gnats

If you’ve spent any time in Savannah, Ga in the spring or fall, you know all about sand gnats, or as locals call them….the state bird.  The sand gnat is not just the mascot for the Savannah Sand Gnats minor-league baseball team, but just like the baseball team, they’ll sting you, draw your blood and defeat you on the field.

Sand Gnat bite - Source

Sand Gnat bite – Source

In the low country, the sand gnat is more of an issue than mosquitoes or fleas.  Sand gnats live along waterways, such as the ocean, lakes, rivers, ponds, and marshes.  They fly, bite, and suck your blood just like a mosquito, leaving behind

red, itchy bumps on the skin.  Although blood has no nutritional value to the sand gnats, they need it so their eggs can mature prior to laying.  Carbon dioxide draws sand gnats from up to 30 yards, they stay in a 300 foot zone where they breed around your home, fly less than 25 feet high and most adult females live for 2-3 weeks.

It is not unusual for the effects of a sand gnat bite to be more intense for a longer period of time than a mosquito bite.  Unless you want to cover yourself from head to toe in the sweltering Savannah heat, be proactive.  Commercial repellents with Deet can be useful to prevent biting, or you can try a local remedy such as taking garlic pills – that is, if you don’t mind smelling like garlic.  However, a more “user friendly” remedy such as rubbing your arms with baby oil will prevent the sand gnats from biting as it provides a protective layer to your skin that the gnats can not penetrate.

For sand gnat treatment at your home or business, Call the Mouse!  888.466.7849 or visit online at www.callnorthwest.com

Barry Teubert
bteubert@callnorthwest.com

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

Where Are the Snakes Coming From?

As some may have noticed, snakes are showing up everywhere. Why? Simple, the seasons are changing from cold to warm.  Snakes are cold-blooded and require sun light for heat. This time of year also starts breeding season for snakes.Want to know more about these slithery creatures?

Habitat: Snakes are found in areas of heavy foliage where they hide and may attract rodents for food. They look for areas of sunlight early to help replenish heat lost during the night (driveways,street,patio,etc.).   As the day heats up, look for snakes to seek shade and water (under decks,shrubs,creeks,ponds,etc.).

Most snakes are not venomous, but my best advice would be to leave them alone. Try and understand why he wants to be there. Does your property consist of any of the things mentioned above?  If yes, try altering as much as possible to the property.

Treatments: There are monthly treating options during peak months. This is used with a liquid product that upsets the sharp senses in a snake when tasting the air when moving.  When you call our wildlife control team, we will inspect your property and discuss habitat alteration as well.

Call us with any questions you may have regarding snakes and their habitats.

Sean Gilbert
Wildlife Manager
sgilbert@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

 

What to Expect During a Pest Control Inspection

We recently discussed the importance of having an inspection prior to receiving a pest control treatment (HERE).  We thought we would continue with the discussion by letting you know what you should expect during a pest control inspection from an exterminator.

What to expect during a pest control inspection:

  • A highly trained pest management professional should be neatly and professionally dressed.
  • The exterminator should arrive in a well marked vehicle that clearly states what pest management company they are representing.
  • A thorough pest control inspection should include both inside and outside inspection of the structure.  This will target common “hot spots”, or entry points, for insects, rodents, and other pests.  Common entry points are bathrooms, kitchens, garages, attics, and crawlspaces.
  • Along with checking for entry points, the pest control representative will check for conducive conditions that would attract pests.
  • An exterminators best friend is their flash light.  The flashlight helps them to locate and see insects and harborage areas around the structure.  Other common tools that may be used: telescope mirror, moisture meter, and a probing tool.
  • Following the inspection, the inspector will review their findings and create a customizable treatment plan that is best suited for the needs of the structure.  The customized treatment plan will include how to exclude points of entry, eliminate conducive conditions, and a personalized pest control management plan for ongoing protection.

Getting rid of bugs is important to you and Northwest Exterminating.  We want you to know what you should expect out of our highly trained technicians when they inspect your home or business.  For more information about pest control visit us online at www.callnorthwest.com.

Northwest Exterminating offers FREE inspections.  Call 888.466.7849 or visit our website for your FREE, no obligation inspection.

 

 

Why Do I Need an Inspection for Pest Control?

Why do I need an inspection before you treat my home for pests?

The short answer is because every situation is different.  A professional exterminating company will thoroughly inspect both the interior and exterior of a structure to determine the identity of a pest(s), the entry point(s), the severity of the issue, and a customized treatment plan that is suited for your home or business.  The customized plan will include the type of treatment to be done by a professional exterminator as well as recommendations for the home or business owner that will prevent the insects from returning.   By having a thorough inspection of your home, you can be assured that Northwest Exterminating isn’t just spraying your home without knowing the real reason why and will, in turn, reduce the chance of us having to return before your next scheduled visit.

While one treatment may eliminate current pest issues, we recommend ongoing service to prevent future pest problems. NorPest Green quarterly visits, once every three months, will ensure your home and family are protected from pests year round.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

What are the tiny red bugs crawling around my windows?

What are the tiny red bugs crawling around my windows?

This is a common question that we get in early spring and late fall.  Clover mites are found in warm, sunny places which is why you usually see them around your windows and crawling on your curtains.  Clover mites are smaller than the tip of a pencil which allows them to fit into the smallest cracks and crevices around a structure.  They are oval shaped with 8 legs.  Their 2 front legs are longer than the rest and protrude forward which can be confused with antennae.

Clover mites can be alarming to homeowners because they gather in large numbers but there is no need for alarm.  Clover mites do not bite or carry diseases, however they can cause skin irritation to some with sensitive skin.  (These are not to be confused with chiggers which look similar but get into the skin and itch.)  They do not damage furniture or pursue your food.  Clover mite eggs lay dormant in the summer months and hatch in temperatures of 85 F or below.  They are attracted to warm, sunny places which leads them to the windows in your home.  Clover mites are often identified by the red stain they leave once they have been squashed.  The red substance is the pigment in their color, not their blood.  Grass and clovers are their main source of food.

There are simple ways to get rid of clover mites in your home.  The best way is to vacuum them up.  As with any vacuumed pest, make sure that you dispose of the bag immediately in an outdoor trash can.  Disposing of the bag is always recommended but is especially an issue when it comes to clover mites because they are so small and can escape from the bag into your home.  Another way to get rid of clover mites is to place sticky traps around your windows.  As always, prevention is your best option. Clover mites feed on fertilized lawns, so if you are seeing an infestation cut back on the fertilizer.  Remove grass that has direct contact to your structure.  Instead, use soil, gravel, or mulch because clover mites have difficulty moving on bare, loose terrains.  Make sure all window screens are tight fitting.  Seal any cracks around the outside of the structure and use weather stripping on entrance areas.

If you are having a consistent problem with clover mites or other pests, it’s best to call Northwest Exterminating.  We will ensure that your issue is identified and a customized plan is created for treatment of clover mites.

Are these small red bugs showing up in your home?

 

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/

 

Varied Carpet Beetle

Recent calls have led our technicians out to homes to find the varied carpet beetle.  The varied carpet beetle is a common household pest found throughout the US.

Carpet beetles feed on natural fibers that can be found in upholstery or clothing, carpet, insect carcasses, and animal parts such as furs, hair, etc.  Most carpets are made of synthetic fabrics and are not of concern.  It is the natural fibers, like wool, that carpet beetles feed on.  The varied carpet beetle enters the home in search of these food items and often cause damage.  They can be found in attics, carpets, and curtains in search of the food items above.

To avoid varied carpet beetles, store clothing in plastic containers and dry clean clothing thoroughly before storing for long periods of time.

Treatment options:

  • Treat their preferred feeding sites: closets, rugs, under beds and furniture
  • Remove their food sources such as winter clothing
  • Launder or dry clean clothing to remove any eggs or larvae
  • Call your local pest control operator for effective treatment