Asian Tiger Mosquito, Susan Ellis, Bugwood.org
This year the United States has seen a large increase in West Nile Virus cases, especially in Texas. It is so bad that the Dallas, TX, mayor recently declared the area in a "state of emergency" over the virus, prompting the approval of aerial spraying for mosquitoes. This epidemic, as the CDC is calling it, has been spurred from the increased number of reported cases of West Nile Virus over the summer season.
The Center for Disease Control, CDC, website stated, "The 693 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC through the second week in August since West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999."
West Nile Virus is a virus spread by mosquitoes that can cause encephalitis, or swelling of the brain and spinal cord. It is estimated that 1 in 150 persons infested with the West Nile virus will develop a severe form of the disease, this rate is higher for elderly, very young people, or those with weak immune systems infected with the virus.
In Georgia positive testings of West Nile Virus in mosquitoes have been reported out of Lowndes and Fulton Counties, as well as other areas of the state. American Pest Control, of Athens, GA urges its clients to take proper precautions to help prevent the possibly of West Nile Disease by following these mosquito reduction tips:
It takes a very small amount of stagnant water for mosquitoes to reproduce, so it is important to keep an eye out for areas that can collect water. If possible it is best to establish a mosquito reduction program with a professional pest control company.
Watch the video below to learn more ways to reduce mosquitoes around your home.
Students all over Athens, GA and the surrounding area have been preparing to start a new school year over the last few days. While homework, tests and getting over summer laziness seem like enough to deal with, most students and parents don't know the risk of bringing home insects while at school.
Because schools are places that bring together many different people from different places, it's a perfect spot to pick up unwanted pests and bring them back into your home.
Back to Bed Bugs
We you think of bed bugs, the old saying "sleep tight don't let the bed bugs bite" may come to mind. That saying however, holds more meaning today that it did 20 years ago with the resurgence of bed bugs across the United States and the world. We've experienced a huge increase in bed bug infestations in Athens, GA and the surrounding areas as well. Bed bug infestations have been reported in places like homes, clothing stores, movies theaters, libraries and even schools!
Over the past few years grade schools and universities alike have reported infestations of bed bugs in their libraries, dorms, classrooms and anywhere else you can think of. While lice has historically been the main pest problems in school, bed bugs pose a new threat because of the dificulty involved in their removal and the fact that, unlike lice, they can hide almost anywhere.
College universities have had a particular issue with bed bugs over the past couple of years, especially in student housing facilities. The University of Nebraska Lincoln has stayed in the headlines because of its bed bug problems on its campus.
The reason schools are such a hot spot for bed bugs is that schools bring together large numbers of people from different households that could already have bed bug problems. Also, because bed bugs are great hitchhikers, it is very easy for them to climb onto a book bag, coat, piece of furniture or really anything that is carried onto a campus undetected.
The best way to prevent bed bugs from coming home with your pupil is by inspecting the items they bring home from school and by not allowing items that may potentially be harboring bed bugs into your home.
For college students this means being very wary of used furniture, because they could already be infested. Also, buying a bed bug mattress encasement is a good way to protect your mattress from being ruined by a possible infestation. Also, heat is a bed bug's worst enemy, drying items in the clothes dryer on high for a minute or two can help kill any present bugs.
If you do see signs of bed bugs be sure to call a professional pest control company for an inspection and possible treatment.
Watch this video to learn more about protecting your home against bed bugs:
American Pest Control, Inc. started its Wildlife Management Division this year offering wildlife removal and exclusion for its clients. Considering the many types of wildlife within this area of Northeast Georgia and Western South Carolina a wildlife division was a great addition to the traditional pest control and termite services.
American Pest Control use exclusion methods in 80-90% of all wildlife cases which prevents animals from entering the home by sealing gaps in structural openings that create potential entry points for wildlife. The APC Wildlife Management Division services for the following wildlife and more:
Because each client's wildlife problem is different, not every case is dealt with in the same way, but there are a few steps that take place in every wildlife call.
1. Identify Problem Areas
An American Pest Control wildlife specialist will do a thorough inspection of your home to evaluate possible entry points for nuisance wildlife and create a customized plan for your home.
2. Exclusion Installation
Once possible entry points have been identified the specialist will install the proper exclusion materials to eliminate these entry points for wildlife.
3. Trap Installation
Once the entry points have been eliminated, the wildlife specialist will place traps to remove any wildlife already within the structure. Not all wildlife cases need traps to be set, it depends on the case.
The specialist will return around a week later to check on the exclusion barrier and then remove any trapped animals according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources regulations.
APC Bat Removal:
Check out APC's YouTube Video highlighting the removal of bats in a client's attic.
As we reported earlier this year, a warm spring and recent rain has brought out the mosquitoes in the Northeast Georgia area, causing concern for their abundance this year. These biting pests are a concern because of the threat of the diseases that they can carry, including West Nile Virus, Malaria, and Dengue Fever. Mosquitoes are a known threat to Georgia, but can be prevented by staying vigilant and knowing a few prevention tips.
What conditions attract mosquitoes?
Tall grass and bushes along with standing water attracts mosquitoes to your yard. Mosquitoes must breed in water so any standing water around your home will attract them to your home. Also, adult mosquitoes live within the cover of vegetation so any overgrown grass or shrubs can attract them.
What attracts mosquitoes to an individual person?
Recent research from the University of California, Riverside has shown that how much carbon dioxide a person releases can be linked to how mosquitoes are attracted to them. Mosquitoes have carbon dioxide sensors that allow them to track and find a host up to 50 meters away. Additionally certain skin odors cause mosquitoes to be attracted more to certain individuals along with the amount of certain acids and build up on your skin. Check out this WebMD article for more information on skin attractors.
How can I prevent mosquitoes?
Around Your Home:
Making your home and yard inhabitable for mosquitoes helps to keep them from becoming a problem. First remove all standing water and objects that can collect standing water from your home, including buckets, tires, cans, drums. If these objects must stay in place empty them of water at least once a week. Change the water in bird baths and dog bowls every 3-4 days. It only takes a little water for mosquitoes to breed so constantly keep an eye out for them. Also, check to make sure gutters are clear of debris that could cause blockages and water build-up. Repair leaky faucets to prevent a water source from being available for mosquitoes. Keep grass and bushed cut short so adult mosquitoes will not live in the area. Also, check screens on doors and windows for any tears and that they fit properly. If you continue to have problems with mosquitoes consider establishing a mosquito prevention plan with a professional pest management company.
On Your Person:
When outside be sure to wear a repellent that includes DEET. If you prefer natural repellent look for ones that are soybean oil-based. Scientific studies have shown that soybean oil-based repellent works longer than other natural options like lemongrass, citronella, cedar, or peppermint. Try to stay indoors during peak mosquito hours in the evening and if you must go outdoors try to wear long sleeves. Because mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide, try not to do strenuous activities during peak times. The increased breathing (carbon dioxide) will help to attract mosquitoes to your location. Additionally, mosquitoes are attracted to movement so keeping your activity down will help too.
Check out this video from WCBD Charleston for more tips and info to keep your family safe from mosquitoes.
1. Why does someone need a lawn care program?
The benefits of having a lawn care program allow the homeowner to turn over their lawn care to professionals that can utilize products that are more effective than standard DIY products from home improvement stores. Unless you have an extreme green thumb and love to maintain your lawn, the convenience factor is a major plus. Instead of a client giving up their time on the weekends to fertilizing their lawn, we can take over the responsibility.
2. What are the benefits of having a lawn care program?
Proper timing for fertilization, weed, insect and disease control are essential to the success of a healthy green lawn. All of which are handled through a professional lawn care program. Another key factor that allows our programs to work more effectively is the utilization of proper application rates so as not to overwhelm the turf grass. In other words, we have the knowledge and ability to make the best plan for a client's yard that a do-it-yourself person may not. Also we take care of all the products so that unused fertilizers, herbicides, etc. aren't left lying around the home.
3. Why would someone choose professional lawn care service over a DIY application?
Most do-it-yourself lawn care programs can be effective to a certain point but are not nearly as effective because of the lack of knowledge and the products available to a professional. There are certain lawn diseases, fungi and pests that an untrained eye would not necessarily recognize. And typically, while not seen at first, hiring a professional may come out cheaper in the end. Considering how much product that is wasted and thrown away at seasons end. Also, the time that is put into learning about their specific lawn needs and the time to actually apply product. Also, many at-home lawn care programs don't know the proper calibration for fertilizer to square-footage and end up overwintering their yard and hurting the grass.
4. So lawn care programs also take care of pests found in the yard?
Yes, our products that we use effectively eliminate and maintain an insect-free lawn. However, there are certain insects that require multiple treatments before they are completely controlled.
5. Will my lawn be completely weed, insect and disease free?
While most lawn care professionals strive to eliminate all problem areas in their client's lawns, there is no lawn service that can be guaranteed 100%. Our lawn care division uses the very best products that we feel can greatly reduce the overall population of weeds, insects and diseases to the point of not being visibly noticeable or damaging.
American Pest Control's Lawn Care Technician, Elliot, servicing a client's yard outside of Athens, GA with our Green Program.
Billy Marett, holds a horticulture degree with an emphasis in turf grass from the University of Mississippi and Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College (ABAC). He is currently the Lawn Care Specialist at American Pest Control's new Lawn Care and Pest Management Division.
Swarmer Season is here!
This week the termite swarmers are definitely out in Northeast Georgia and our phones have been ringing off the hook. With the mild winter we experienced along with warm temperatures, termites are out earlier than usual this year. While termites can be a frightening discovery for a homeowner, with proper knowledge and pest management one can keep termites from destroying their property.
What are Termite Swarmers?
Termite swarmers, or flying termites are matured male and female termites that swarm to find a mate and start a new colony. Typically a swarm of flying termites is the first sign of infestation, but sometimes it's just termites that have flown from a neighboring colony. Also, once flying termites mate and start a new colony it will take some time (years) before the new colony can cause substantial damage.
When do Swarmers Arrive?
Typically flying termites swarms appear between early May and June, depending on the rainy season that year.
What to do if a Termite Swarm is on your property?
While seeing termite swarms doesn't necessarily mean that you have a termite infestation it is a reminder to have your property inspected by a pest management professional. Flying termites can't travel very far, therefore signifying that there has to be an active colony nearby.
What's the difference between a flying termite and a flying ant?
Many of the calls we have been receiving this week about termite swarmers actually have turned out to be flying ants. To tell the difference inspect the wing length and size, the body shape and the antenna shape of the pest.
Flying Termites vs. Flying Ants
How can I protect my property from Termites?
Establishing a termite protection plan with a pest control company can help ensure that your home is protected from this wood-eating pests. Most pest management companies offer termite protection in the form of a baiting system with devices installed in the ground around the structure or yearly barrier and crawl space sprays to target potential problem areas. Also, yearly inspections of you home and crawl space are key to the prevention of termite infestations.
Here are some tips to protect your home from future termite infestation and damage:
Our phones have been ringing off the hook the past 3 weeks for calls about termites, silverfish, carpenter bees, ticks and more due to the mild winter we experience this year bringing an early spring and a multitude of insects. While we knew the warm winter would cause some changes in the traditional pest management calendar one pest we did not expect to see so soon was the mosquito.
Almost all of Georgia is already experiencing these biting pests, making this year one of the earliest sitings of the bug in recent history. Also because we experienced very little hard freezes this winter expect more mosquitoes to be seen throughout the rest of the warm seasons. Cold and freezing temperatures are required to kill off mosquito larvae, keeping populations somewhat low.
With mosquito season already upon us we suggest a few precautions to keep your family and pets safe from these biting pests.
While mosquitoes are already a problem in the Southeast by taking a proactive approach you can help to decrease their impact on your home. Also, establish a mosquito prevention service with a reputable pest management company to ensure maximum mosquito protection.
While Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted 6 more weeks of winter yesterday, there is definitely doubt to his prediction considering the abnormally warm winter we have already seen this season. While Georgians are no stranger to weird weather, the spring-like temperatures we've been experiencing this year raises concerns as to what this will bring in the pest management world.
The warm temperatures have flowers blooming early, pollen falling sooner and people already donning shorts, in February. In the pest management world, this means insects that lay dormant over the cold winter hatching earlier and having higher survival rates than in a typical year.
Insects hatching earlier will probably not be the cause of more pests this year. Most insects have a life span of 1 year so while we'll see them earlier this year we'll also see them leave earlier in the fall. However, higher survival rates seen because of warmer temperatures may lead to more insects this year.
Typically winter months cause insects to go underground or seek shelter in warmer places. The warm winter temperatures allow for a higher survival rate for insects and larvae causing much of the population that would have died off in the colder temperatures to survive throughout the winter months into the spring. Most pest management companies suggest renewing a quarterly pest management plan that covers insects and mice for an entire year to prevent infestations later in the year.
Warmer temperatures also mean different behaviors seen in wildlife. With warmer temperatures comes more activity from squirrels, raccoons, snakes and other wildlife. The environment is signaling the beginning of spring, so animals will respond accordingly.
Typically mammals mate in the Spring months, so with a longer "Spring" this year there may be an increased level of rodents and wildlife this year. Be sure to contact a licensed wildlife professional to remove any wildlife problems you may experience this spring.
(courtesy of Dini M. Miller & theVirgina Cooperative Extension)
Termites have long been an adversary in the pest control industry through their ability to ruin homes with costly damages and destruction, but now researchers at Edith Cowan University have created new technology that could help prevent termite destruction by simply listening to them chew.
The new device reported in Science Network last week would plant tiny acoustic listening devices in wood around the home and send signals if and when termites begin to chew on the wood. These signals could be sent via SMS text or even email to pest control companies with a GPS location of the termite activity.
The device is being called a ‘wireless smart probe’ network for acoustic detection or WiSPR for short, can even detect termites in power poles or timber bridges. Once placed in the ground the device can help detect current termite activity or be the first warning if termites do show up.
This technology would be a great break through in termite detection and would help to keep costly damages at minimum for homeowners. Plans to release the device in Australia within the next year are in the works.
To read more on this new device check out the full release from Science Network Western Australia.
American Pest Control is one of the largest family-owned pest control companies in Georgia. Since 1971 we service homes for mice, insects, termites, fire ants, mosquitoes, moisture, pre-construction treatments, letters for real estate closings.