Which Pests Are Active In Your Area?

Which Pests Are Active In Your Area?

Just as the weather changes with the seasons, pest activity shifts to usher in new groups of active pests. Let’s take a look at what pests are active in your area and some tips to keep them away.

Subterranean Termites

The humidity and moisture that come with early summer is what helps to increase subterranean termite activity. “Swarm season” is in full effect, and this can present a problem for your home.

  • Avoid water accumulation around your home, specifically around the foundation.
  • Invest in a moisture-reducing program to help reduce humidity in your home’s crawl space.

Bed Bug

Summer is the biggest travel time for many. College students are coming back home, and family vacations are planned. This increases the chances of having an incident with bed bugs, and a bed bug infestation is no easy battle.

  • When returning from vacation, leave suitcases in the garage or driveway. Remove clothing and take immediately to your laundry room to be washed in warm water.
  • Consider packing a large garbage bag to place your suitcase in while on vacation.
  • Do not unpack your clothing and place them in the hotel drawers as these can be hiding places for bed bugs.

American Cockroaches

As the summer weather starts to rev up, American cockroach activity will skyrocket. While they live outdoors, if they find themselves low on food or if the weather experiences a drastic change (extreme heat or excessive rain), they will try move indoors.

  • Put dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher or wash them immediately after using them instead of leaving them in the sink overnight.
  • Make sure to eliminate any sources of standing water around your home.

Pest infestation can be costly and a major hassle. Contact a professional pest control company like Northwest for a free pest control estimate to protect your home from pests year-round.

Pest Control for Businesses: Everything You Need to Know About Commercial Pest Control

Pest Control for Businesses: Everything You Need to Know About Commercial Pest Control

As a business owner or manager with a commercial property, you’ll most likely be faced with a pest issue during the duration of operating your business. And while pest control service may be optional for homeowners, it’s often a necessity or requirement for businesses, especially those where food preparation, distribution, or storage is involved, or any facility that offers a storefront or location for customers to visit. The appearance and condition of your commercial property is often your customer’s first impression of the business, so it’s critical that pests are not an issue or seen by existing and potential customers, or even employees!

Because of the health risks and threats pests can present, it’s essential to take a proactive approach to commercial pest control. This includes regular pest inspections by an exterminating company that specializes in pest control for businesses and routine, often monthly or quarterly, pest control treatments. So what are your options when it comes to commercial pest control and what can you expect from the initial call to an exterminator to service and follow ups? Here’s what you need to know:

The first step in any pest control plan, commercial or residential, is to identify past, current or potential pest threats. Businesses commonly experience issues with roaches, rodents, termites and mosquitoes – but may also experience wildlife invasions (squirrels, raccoons, birds, bees, snakes, and more) and other minor pests issues.

Because of the sanitation conditions associated with roaches, rodents and wildlife, treatment and prevention is key. Your exterminator will inspect the entire property to identify entry points and areas of infestation, and provide prevention recommendations for clean-up and a pest control plan for monthly or quarterly treatments, depending on the severity of the pest issue.

Mosquitoes also pose health risks by spreading diseases like zika, West Nile, Encephalitis, and dog heart worm and causing mosquito bite allergies. If your business serves customers outdoors, you should have your property inspected for current and potential mosquito resting and breeding sites, eliminate or reduce these areas, and request monthly mosquito treatments during peak mosquito season, usually April through October. Mosquito control service is the best way to prevent mosquito bites and minimize risk of mosquito-borne diseases.

Wildlife invasions are also common and can present damage and sanitation issues for business owners. If you suspect a wildlife issue, contact a wildlife control company immediately to inspect the property, identify wildlife issue, and offer solutions for wildlife exclusion and prevention.

Once you have your property inspected, pest issues identified, and you have treatment and prevention options, review proposals and determine the best fit for your business. If you’re looking for eco-friendly options that are effective yet utilize non-toxic products and careful application, consider an exterminating company that specializes in green pest control.

Other factors to consider when choosing an exterminator for your business:

  • Does the pest control service come with a guarantee?
  • What pests are covered under the pest control agreement?
  • Is the exterminating company reputable, reliable, licensed and experienced? Consider checking online reviews before making purchase decisions, to determine the best pest control companies near you.
  • Does the pest control company offer multiple pest control solutions, including green options?
  • Will an IPM (Integrated Pest Management) approach be used to ensure pests are accurately identified and targeted, using minimal product when and where needed?

Have more questions about commercial pest control? Call us now or request a free estimate to get started.

What Are These Little Black Ants?

What Are These Little Black Ants?

Little black ants are common household pests that are seen throughout the year in the Southeast U.S. but most commonly encountered in larger swarms during warmer months, beginning in late spring and continuing throughout summer, when they’re reproducing. During this time, you may also see winged little black ants (sometimes mistaken for termites). More often, you’ll see trails of these tiny black ants in and around your home, foraging from nests to food source.

Little black ants, like the name suggests, are small, shiny, dark-colored ants ranging from 1/16 – 1/8 of an inch in size. They feed on fruit and vegetable matter, cornmeal and other sweets, oil residue and greases, meat, and even other insects and plants. This makes control of little black ants difficult since most homes provide an ideal food supply in some form. They will make their way into your home in search of warmth, moisture, and/or food. If you see little black ants in large numbers, usually in kitchens and bathrooms, it’s likely an indication of an infestation in wall voids and other areas in and around your home.

To prevent an infestation of little black ants, measures should be taken around the exterior of your home and outside: eliminate or reduce areas conducive to little black ant nests – dark, protected areas – such as rock and wood piles, yard debris, piles of masonry supplies like bricks and lumber, decaying or rotting wood, logs and trees, or any densely wooded areas.

To keep little black ants (and other common pests) out of your home, seal cracks and crevices around windows, doors, foundation, or any exterior walls to prevent entry, keep plants and shrubbery trimmed back, store firewood and other yard debris at least 20 feet away from home’s exterior, eliminate food supplies by keeping a clean home and store all food items in sealed containers, reduce indoor clutter, and most importantly, maintain routine (usually quarterly) pest control service. An exterminator will identify entry points and treat ants in a method that works to eliminate entire ant colonies, which can consist of thousands of little black ants – the only effective, long-term solution to ant control.
 

Request a Free Pest Control Estimate for Little Black Ants
Home Remedies to Keep Snakes Away

Home Remedies to Keep Snakes Away

Snakes – scaly, legless creatures that slither into your yard and sometimes even your home. While your first instinct may be to run the other way, there are several benefits to keeping them around. Snakes keep rodent populations under control, with a single snake able to eat 3 to 4 mice at one time. They also eat moles, voles, insects, and even fish.

When Do Snakes Come Out?

Snakes are more commonly encountered when temperatures average between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit; usually during the spring and throughout the summer. They are most active in early morning and late afternoon, as summer temperatures are often too hot for them to be out in during the hottest times of day. Snake activity will pick back up again in late summer and early fall before they go into hibernation or brumation. Brumation is more common in southern states where the climate is warmer and snow is less likely. Snakes don’t actually sleep in brumation but rather their bodies adjust to the lower temperatures, slowing down their metabolism, and making them less active. On warm winter days, brumating snakes will sometimes come out to bask in the sunshine, often surprising unsuspecting people with their presence.

While calling a professional pest control company is a guaranteed and safe way to tackle a snake problem, there are also some home remedies you can try to repel snakes. Home remedies to keep snakes away offer several benefits including:

  • Availability: Most home remedies to keep snakes away contain ingredients or methods that are readily available and easy to obtain. The guidelines for their use are also easily found on the internet.
  • Affordability: Most home remedies to keep snakes away are significantly cheaper compared to the cost of professional products and services on the market.
  • Ease of Use: Most home remedies to keep snakes away are easy to make or implement.
  • Safety: Most home remedies to keep snakes away are non-toxic to humans and pets compared to professional products on the market.

Home Remedies to Keep Snakes Away:

 

Eliminate Food Supplies

Snakes are often found in areas where rodents are present as this is one of their primary food sources. Snakes are also known to eat frogs, birds, moles, voles, insects, and even fish. If you have a problem with any of these animals, consider getting rid of that pest issue first. Once the source of food has been eliminated, snakes will move on in search of another source of food.

Eliminate Hiding Places

Snakes prefer dark, damp places and are known to live and hide in cracks, crevices, and holes. Eliminating these hiding places can help deter snakes from taking up residence on your property. Carefully inspect the exterior of your home and your property and repair any cracks or holes you find. Repair any damaged gutters, piping, and ventilation ducts. Repair or replace any damaged screens on windows and doors. Snakes will also hide in wood piles and compost heaps. If possible, store firewood in sealed, lockable wood boxes. Try to get rid of any piles of wood chip mulch, straw mulch, leaves, etc. that may be collecting on your property.

Change Up Your Landscaping

If your yard or garden is prone to snakes, consider making changes that will deter these pests from coming in. Garden regularly to remove any snake attractants like debris, holes, and overgrowth. Keep the grass cut short to eliminate hiding places for snakes. Consider installing snake-proof fencing made of steel mesh, plastic sheeting, or catch net. If you do install fencing, make sure it is flush with the ground and angled outward and that it is at least 3 feet high and 4 feet deep. You can also use materials that make it difficult for snakes to slither over like holly leaves, pine cones, egg shells, and gravel. You can also consider planting snake repellent plants that provide a natural deterrent. Some common examples include marigolds, lemongrass, and wormwood.

Use Natural Predators

Foxes and raccoons are common predators of snakes. Guinea hens, turkeys, pigs, and cats will also help keep snakes away. If foxes are indigenous to your area, fox urine is a very good natural repellent for snakes when spread around your property.

Smoke Them Out

Snakes have an elevated sense of smell and are ultra-sensitive to odors and fumes. One smell they particularly dislike is smoke. One remedy is to dig a fire pit and let it smoke for several days – covering the embers with moss and leaves can give you the best effect.

Utilize Natural Products

There are several natural products that work well as snake repellents. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Napthalene: Napthalene is a common ingredient found in many commercial snake repellent products. It is one of the most common snake repellents. If you don’t want to spend money on a commercial product, napthalene is also the main ingredient found in moth balls. The smell of napthalene irritates snakes without harming them. Place mothballs in holes, cracks, crevices, or any other areas around your property where snakes may be a problem. One caveat to using moth balls is they can be toxic and fatal to children or pets if they are ingested so use caution or avoid using them if you have pets or children in your home.
  • Sulfur: Powdered sulfur is a great option to repel snakes. Place powdered sulfur around your home and property and once snakes slither across it, it irritates their skin so they won’t return. Sulfur does give off a strong odor so consider wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth when applying it.
  • Clove & Cinnamon Oil: Clove and cinnamon oil are effective snake repellents. These should be mixed together in a spray bottle and sprayed directly on snakes for maximum effect. Use caution as snakes will often run in the opposite direction of the spray. This mixture can also be used in a diffuser indoors as a fumigant, as well
  • Garlic & Onions: The sulfonic acid in garlic and onions (the same chemical that makes us cry when we chop onions) repels snakes. Mix these with rock salt and sprinkle them around your home and yard for effectiveness. You can also infuse garlic into any essential oil and use to fumigate rafters, basements, and other hard to reach places.
  • Ammonia: Snakes dislike the odor of ammonia so one option is to spray it around any affected areas. Another option is to soak a rug in ammonia and place it in an unsealed bag near any areas inhabited by snakes to deter them away.
  • Vinegar: Vinegar is effective at repelling snakes near bodies of water including swimming pools. Pour white vinegar around the perimeter of any body of water for a natural snake repellent.
  • Lime: Create a mixture of snake repellent lime and hot pepper or peppermint and pour it around the perimeter of your home or property. Snakes don’t like the smell of the mixture and the fumes are also itchy on their skin.

If home remedies to keep snakes away aren’t working, consider calling a wildlife control company for snake removal, snake prevention recommendations, and possibly other exterminating services like rodent control that could be contributing to the issue.

 

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What is the Difference Between Traditional and Green Pest Control?

What is the Difference Between Traditional and Green Pest Control?

With the recent focus on going “green” and harmful impacts on the environment, many people are ramping up their efforts to establish eco-friendly practices in both the workplace and at home. Efforts to recycle, reduce energy usage, and limit carbon emissions are all common ways to make a positive impact on the environment. One area that isn’t often thought of in the “green” movement is pest control. Green pest control is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional pest control that is commonly used in areas that house the young, the elderly, the immunocompromised, and pets. But what is the difference between the two?

Traditional pest control provides most of the same benefits as green pest control but utilizes synthetic chemicals to eliminate and control pest populations. These chemicals are used sparingly, however, with just enough used to target the specific pest issue.

Green pest control, on the other hand, eliminates common household pests with the lowest environmental impact possible. This is achieved with ingredients derived from flowers, plants, and natural elements rather than harsh chemicals. Green pest control has proven to be just as beneficial as traditional pest control methods. Green pest control uses preventative measures combined with purposeful application of natural products.

Green pest control also utilizes a 5 step Integrated Pest Management (IPM) process which is an “effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common sense practices.” The 5 steps of an IPM program include Plan, Inspection, Pest Identification, Ongoing Perimeter Protection, and Continuous Communication.

NorPest Green is Northwest’s quarterly pest control program performed by only the highest-trained professionals, using high-quality, non-toxic products derived from botanicals. We customize a plan based on your needs, so you can be sure your home is healthy and your family and pets are protected. NorPest Green also comes with a service guarantee meaning we come back in between regular scheduled pest control visits, if needed, at no additional cost to you.

Pests are a nuisance and can be detrimental to both your home and your health. Regardless of whether you choose a traditional pest control service or a green pest control service, protecting your family is of the utmost importance. Contact a professional pest control company like Northwest for a free pest control estimate.

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10 Common Spiders in Georgia

10 Common Spiders in Georgia

The climate of Georgia (and the southern United States in general) provide the ideal environment for several species of spiders. The humidity and subtropical conditions provide just the right setting for these pests to thrive. Almost all species of spiders found in the United States pose no threat to humans. In fact, of the 38 known species of spiders in Georgia, only 2 are harmful to humans. Here are 10 of the most common spiders found in Georgia and the threat they may pose to you and your family.

Black Widow

Black widow
Black widow spiders are black and shiny in color with a prominent red hourglass shape on their back. They are most often found around woodpiles and can easily access your home by hitching a ride inside on your firewood. They are also found in common places around your home where they can be undisturbed like eaves, empty boxes, and even shoes that are stored away and never worn. Black widows can be harmful to humans if bitten. While males rarely bite, females have been known to be aggressive especially when they are guarding their eggs. Black widow bite symptoms include fever, elevated blood pressure, nausea, and sweats. Death is uncommon after a black widow bite, especially if treatment is received quickly. In fact, there has not been a black widow related death in the United States in over 10 years.

Brown Recluse


Brown recluse spiders are light to dark brown in color (hence their name) with a signature dark brown violin shape on their backs. They are commonly found outdoors in debris and woodpiles. If they are found indoors, they are usually found underneath furniture, inside storage bins, and in dark recesses like baseboards. They are often found hiding out in closets, attics, and crawlspaces. Brown recluse spiders will bite when on the defensive. These bites are very painful and often leave an open, ulcerating sore that must be treated by a medical professional. Other symptoms include fever, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping.

Common House Spider

House Spider
House spiders vary in color but most are yellow to brown in color with elongated abdomens. They are most often found inside homes (hence their name) usually in ceiling corners, under furniture, and inside closets, basements, garages, and crawlspaces. When outdoors, they are often found around windows, under eaves, and near light sources. While they can be a nuisance to have in your home, they don’t pose any threat to humans. Because of the low humidity and fewer insects in modern homes, house spiders are becoming less common in houses and more likely to be found in garages, sheds, barns, and warehouses.

Wolf Spider

Wolf spider
Wolf spiders are typically dark brown in color with pale markings or stripes. Their legs are long and spiny and most have hair on their bodies. When indoors, wolf spiders typically stay on or near the floor, especially along walls and under furniture. They often come inside on firewood. When found outside they are usually found under firewood piles, leaves, yard debris, and stones and will often hide in these places during the day. While wolf spiders can bite, these incidents are rare and they don’t pose a significant threat to humans. Wolf spiders are unique in that they don’t capture their prey in webs but rather by chasing them down using their speed.

Crevice Spider

Crevice Spider
Crevice spiders have similar shapes and coloring as brown recluse spiders and are, in fact, often mistaken for them. While they do have the same light to dark brown coloring and similar body shape, they do not have the signature violin-shaped markings that the brown recluse has. They are often found in corners and crevices which is where their name comes from, typically located in ceiling corners, along baseboards, and in window frames. They can be beneficial to homeowners as they eat common household pests like flies, roaches, beetles, and wasps. While they can bite if threatened, this is very rare and they do not pose a significant threat to humans.

Yellow Garden Spider

Yellow Garden Spider
The yellow garden spider is a large, black and yellow spider that is known for spinning large circular webs. Females are black with bright yellow patches on their abdomens. Males are smaller with less yellow coloring on their abdomens. They are typically found outdoors in sunny areas with plants on which they can anchor their webs (hence their name). Garden spiders don’t pose a threat to humans (other than the chance of walking through their sometimes significantly large webs) but they do produce venom that is harmless to humans, but helps to immobilize prey like flies, bees, and other flying insects that are caught in the web.

Orb Weaver Spider

Orb Weaver Spider
Orb weaver spiders can vary in size and coloring but are often mistaken for brown recluse spiders. They are known for creating distinctive sheet webs with an escape tunnel at the rear. These webs can be up to 3 feet in diameter. Many orb weavers are brightly colored, have hairy or spiny legs and a relatively large abdomen. Orb weavers are typically nocturnal spiders and many species will build or do repair work on their webs at night. Orb weavers do not pose a threat to humans. They will bite if cornered but the bite is comparable to a bee sting.

Lynx Spider

Lynx Spider
The lynx spider is bright green in color, resembling the color of a plant leaf. They will also sometimes have orange on their legs and black dots, as well. Their legs are covered in long black spines. They are very quick in movement and are able to jump large distances to capture their prey. They are often found in open fields, especially those with tall grass surroundings. The lynx spider can be quite useful in agricultural management. They will bite if on the defensive but they do not pose a significant threat to humans.

Trapdoor Spider

Trapdoor Spider
The trapdoor spider is a large, hairy spider that can range in color from yellowish brown to reddish brown to black. They have powerful jaws and sharp fangs. Trapdoor spiders get their name from the burrows they construct with a cork-like trapdoor made of soil, vegetation and silk. They spend most of their lives underground and usually hunt at night. Trapdoor spiders are not aggressive and, in fact, are often timid when confronted. They can bite but this is rare. They do not pose a significant threat to humans.

Hobo Spider

Hobo Spider
The hobo spider is light to medium brown in color with a down the center with an oblong abdomen. Hobo spiders build funnel webs that open at both ends with one end expanding outward into a broad, slightly curved sheet. Mating season is from June to October and the wandering of males in search of a mate brings them in to much more contact with humans than females. Therefore, male hobo spiders are responsible for more bites than females because of this increased contact with humans. Their bites, however, do not pose a significant threat to humans. Hobo spiders can be found in almost any habitat. They are commonly found in places with holes, cracks, or crevices. They are terrible climbers and are rarely found above ground level. They prefer dark, moist environments like basements, crawlspaces, and window wells.

Granddaddy Longlegs

Granddaddy Longlegs
Contrary to popular belief, Granddaddy Longlegs are not, in fact, spiders; they actually belong to a group of arachnids known as harvesters or harvestmen. The predominant feature of harvesters including the granddaddy longlegs is legs that are exceptionally long in relation to their body size. Harvesters are usually seen around harvest time – hence their name. Just in North America alone there are about 150 species of granddaddy longlegs. They use their extremely long legs to catch their prey rather than building webs. Granddaddy longlegs are not poisonous or venomous and do not pose any threat to humans.

Whether they are dangerous to humans or not, most people would prefer to keep spiders out of their homes as much as possible. The best way to prevent spiders from taking up residence in your house is to get rid of any areas where they can hide. Spiders are more common in the fall and winter as they make their way indoors in search of food and warmth. Keep your garage, attic, and basement clear and decluttered. Try not to leave shoes and clothing on the floor. Seal any cracks and crevices around your home. Consider enclosing your crawlspace and sweep down any cobwebs that appear. As always, if you suspect you have a spider problem, contact a professional pest control company who can help identify the type of spiders you have and provide you with a thorough evaluation and treatment and prevention plan.

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