Preparing for Swarms

With Spring upon us, the temperature will start to get warmer, finally! This is great news for us, but it also means that insects are beginning to come out of hibernation. Two insects of great concern, particularly in the spring, are the ant and the termite.

Both of these insects, flying ants and termites, will begin to swarm soon, so it is important to know the differences between them so you can help out your Pest Management Professional. Should you catch one, there are three noticeable differences between a flying ant and a termite.

  1. Ants have bent antennae. They look like they have an elbow. Termites have straight antennae.
  2. Ants have a narrow waist. Have you seen the old pictures of women in corsets? That is what the waist of an ant swarmer will look like. The termite looks uniform from top to bottom.
  3.  Ants have wings that are two different lengths – the best analogy is a butterfly wing. The top wing is longer than the bottom one, similar to how a butterfly wing looks. Termites have wings that are the same length. (I caught one the other day, and it looked like one giant wing stacked together, not four individual parts.)

flying ants vs termites

If you see swarmers and are worried, call your local Northwest Exterminating Service Center. They will be happy to help you with all of your pest control needs, and can target problem insects as needed.

Katherine King
kking@callnorthwest.com

New Research Finds New Ways to Control Mosquitoes

New Research is Helping Us Find New Ways to Control Mosquitoes

A mosquito’s ability to target humans seems a little mysterious, right? Not really. They are programmed to look for three things when looking for a blood meal to go lay their eggs: carbon dioxide, heat, and odor. Humans give off all three of these but the mosquitoes really only need two of these to decide we are a good meal.

Researchers have found that carbon dioxide is the most important cue for a mosquito choosing a blood meal. The researchers created mutant mosquitoes that could not detect carbon dioxide and when the mosquitoes were put in a situation with just heat or skin odor they would not bite.

The researchers took the experiment a step further and put a bunch of “regular” mosquitoes and some of the mutant mosquitoes, who could glow in the dark, in a greenhouse and then counted how many of each type landed on the humans. The mutants were still successful in finding a target, but not as good as the “normal” ones. When put in the room with a mouse the mutants really did not do well.

The mouse gives us some important information, the mosquitoes don’t want to waste their time on something that may not help them to lay eggs. This is important to us because it gives us a clue on how to make a better repellant for mosquitoes and control mosquitoes.

This is important to us because it gives the Pest Management industry a clue on how to create more effective products and treatment protocols for mosquitoes. The good news is Northwest Exterminating has an Integrated Mosquito Management program. IMM is an environmentally friendly way of managing mosquito populations at your home or place of business. Please visit the website under the Pest Control tab, or give your local Northwest Exterminating office a call to learn more about this program.

Kate King
Northwest Exterminating
kking@callnorthwest.com

Keeping Ladybugs Out

LadybugLadybugs Seek Warmth in Homes

Ladybugs are beneficial insects but when they overwinter in your home they become a nuisance pest.  They spend the warmer months of spring and summer growing their populations and like other overwintering pests, they seek warmth from the cold temperatures in fall and winter.  Many seek shelter under rocks, leaves, or other items found in nature, then you have those that find shelter in homes and buildings.

Although typically harmless, ladybugs can aggravate asthma and cause allergic reactions in people.  They can also emit a foul smelling, yellowish fluid that can stain surfaces.

Keeping ladybugs out of your home starts with the usual preventative pest management steps that we typically cover in our blogs: screen all windows, keep doors closed, door sweeps on exterior doors, and seal all cracks and crevices around the exterior of the home (windows, doors, pipes, etc).

If ladybugs have already found their way into your home, use a vacuum cleaner to clean them up.  Empty the vacuum bag into a trash bag and make sure it is tightly closed.  Discard of the trash bag in a sealed outside container.  If you have a ladybug infestation, call a professional pest control company to evaluate, assess, and treat the problem.  Call Northwest Exterminating for more on ladybug pest control.

 

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?!?!

Diseases Caused by Pests

With our commitment to healthier living and working environments, we at Northwest understand the importance of good pest management for personal health. Living in a hygienic environment and minimizing exposure to unwanted pests can literally save lives. For instance, the lives of twenty-five million Europeans during the Late Middle Ages were claimed by fleas that had spread the bubonic plague. They managed this feat by using another pest as a host – rats! Modern improvements on hygiene, sanitation and pest management have dramatically reduced the impact of this disease.

 

Another more common disease brought on by insects is Lyme disease. This disease is carried by the deer tick in the form of a bacterium called Borrelia bugdorferi. If a deer tick bites you, the bacterium enters the bloodstream and will lead to skin rash and in extreme cases, paralysis. When caught early, antibiotics can eliminate the bacteria before it causes furthermore harm.

Mosquitoes in particular can carry a host of diseases such as dengue fever, malaria, pogosta disease, and West Nile virus. They carry similar traits in that when infected, a person will experience a fever indicating that more serious effects are on the way such as meningitis or arthritis.  All these diseases can lead to death if not caught or treated properly. For some of these diseases, the best form of prevention is pest management. Northwest Exterminating provides solutions to reduce the presence of mosquitoes in and around your home or work environment.

If you come in contact with a pest and feel you may have been exposed to any disease, be sure to immediately seek medical attention. Many of these diseases, as well as others such as malaria or rabies can be treated when caught early.

Melissa Brown
mbrown@callnorthwest.com

Sources:

http://www.si.edu/Encyclopedia_SI/nmnh/buginfo/diseases.htm

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

 

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