Summer Pests in Atlanta

Summer is here and the bugs are coming!

We are all happy when summer finally arrives. Sweet tea on the porch and evening strolls mean that the warm weather is finally here. But we aren’t the only ones enjoying the summer weather. Insects are more active this time of year and are seeking out places to live and places to feed.

Just like you, the bugs enjoy places they can cool off and get a quick drink. Removing items that hold standing water is one of the most effective ways to reduce mosquitoes, outdoor roaches, and a variety of other pests. Flower pots, children’s toys, and even a bottle left out for as little as 5 days can hold water that will breed thousands of mosquitoes. Emptying all of these containers at least once a week can help keep you and your neighbors as pest free as possible.

Another insect that starts to show up more in the warm weather are those amazing spiders. They spin their webs in hopes of catching a tasty meal. They often sneak into homes through cracks and crevices looking for a safe place to set up shop. Making sure window screens are secure and seals around doors are in good repair can reduce many of those unwanted visitors. Turning off outside lighting at night can reduce the flying insects that those spiders are showing up to catch. Fixing minor things like these have a big impact on the pest pressure around your home.

Insects like the food we leave behind. Trash bags left on porches or snacks dropped by accident are like a buffet to many types of pests including ants. These types of social insects have workers who spend all day looking for that next meal and once they find it, they call all of their friends and family to come and help carry it back home. Ant colonies can number in the hundreds of thousands; so when you see that line of industrious little ants carrying food you can bet that there are a lot more where they came from. Keeping food sources like trash cans, outdoor grills, and coolers sealed up and clean will help make sure they don’t make your home their next stop.

When looking at what makes insects attracted to a particular home or structure, it makes sense to look for the conditions they are most attracted to. Moisture for water, clutter or heavy vegetation for hiding, and food are the big three reasons why you may experience a pest infestation this summer. Reduce those three conditions and you will be most of the way to a pest free environment. Add a quality Integrated Pest Control Program and it will let you have those wonderful summer days we all enjoy so much without having any unwanted visitors trying to crash the party.

Corey Arnold, President

Peachtree Pest Control

 

Atlanta Termite Control Myths

Its no secret that termites are a major structural pest in the southeast. Atlanta is one of the nations “hot-spots” for termite infestations. In fact, most Atlanta homeowners have a story to share about their first hand experience with these destructive critters. So, as we come into the spring and face yet another annual swarm season, I’d like to dispel a few common myths about termites and their control.

Myth #1: I spray for bugs myself so I won’t get termites!    WRONG! Termites do not live where they can be easily detected. there are only a handful of species of termites found in Metro Atlanta. All but one, the drywood termite which is exceptionally rare and nearly non-native, require ground contact to maintain their body moisture content and survive. This means the typical pest control application will do absolutely no good. A professional treatment utilizing liquid termiticides or baits are the only effective way to gain termite control.

Myth #2: My house was sprayed with Chlordane in ’84. That stuff lasts forever! It’s true that many of the Organophosphates are highly persistent and can last for decades. This is why, at least in part, the US EPA banned these substances. They can effectively kill termites if they are dumb enough to come into direct contact with the chemical. However, termites are survivalists. They can detect toxic substances with relative ease and avoid these areas. And, because soil moves over time it’s a reality that the chemical barrier that once protected your home is highly fragmented and now totally non-effective. Periodic re-treatments of your home with modern products are the only way to effectively control termites. This is recommended every 8-10 years.

Myth #3: My home has a solid concrete foundation. I won’t get termites!   Although some foundations are easier for termites to infest, there simply isn’t a construction style that prevents termites from gaining access. Mechanical exclusion was tested and failed in the 70’s with the inclusion of metal termite barriers built into foundations. The point here, no matter how your house was built or what material was used…termites can and will find a way inside.

These are just a few of the many common myths I hear about Termite Control in Atlanta. Trust me…there are many more. The truth is, there is simply no substitute for a professional termite treatment to protect your home from damaging termites. Call a professional and have your home inspected. If its been more than 10 years since the last time your home was treated please consider doing so. The average cost of preventative termite treatment is around $1000. The average cost to repair your home is likely 10 times that amount! Please be proactive and protect your home.

 

Kind Regards,

Corey Arnold, President

Peachtree Pest Control

 

 

 

Atlanta Wildlife Control

Wildlife Control in Atlanta becomes a major issue as the seasons change. With the winter months upon us, and even colder temps ahead, many wildlife species look for areas to shelter themselves. Normally rats, squirrels, raccoon, feral animals and other critters seek burrows in the ground, tree hollows, or other naturally occurring den sites to spend the winter. Unfortunately, as suburban sprawl has changed the native environment, the need for wildlife control in Atlanta has increased dramatically.

Most of the wildlife species are very adaptable and are equally at home in the hollow of a tree as they are inside your attic or crawl space. Once indoors, these animals can be very destructive and in some cases, even dangerous. Gnawing on electrical wiring can cause house fires. Additionally, scat and urine from these animals can create unsanitary conditions leading to foul odors and potentially dangerous diseases such as histoplasmosis, and toxoplasmosis. For these reasons it’s important to take preventative steps to avoid animal intrusion or removal and exclusion if you already have unwanted guests. So, as a homeowner, what can you do? Here are a few tips to help identify a potential Atlanta Wildlife problem and even prevent one from happening to you.

Identifying a Current Wildlife Control Problem
1. Noises in your walls or ceiling are good indicators a problem exists. These may be thumping (squirrels) or scratching (rats) sounds heard anytime of day or night.
2. Blown insulation in your attic has “trails” indicating a travel route.
Gnawed entry holes at your roof-line, foundation, or siding.
3. Physically seeing an animal enter your attic or crawl space.

Preventing a Future Wildlife Control Problem
1. Prevent access to your roof by trimming tree limbs close to your home.
2. Ensure all door sweeps are in proper condition and seal tightly when closed.
3. Check foundation vents for cracks and holes.
4. Seal around utility pipe entrances. Copper wool is a good choice as it will not rust.
5. Limit bird feeders close to your home. This will attract rats and squirrels.

I hope you find these tips helpful in identifying or preventing an Atlanta Wildlife Control problem. If you would like to speak with our highly trained & DNR licensed wildlife control experts just give us a call. We offer FREE no obligation inspections at all of the Metro Atlanta area. Call us today at 855 PEACHTREE.
Thanks,
Corey Arnold  President

Ewwww, Spiders!

Late summer in the south can be a very “Buggy” time of year. We’ve had warm weather for many months now so that means the insects have had plenty of time to make more bugs. Do you know what happens when you have lots of little critters? You get other critters who like to eat them. That means Spiders. AND…if you’re a gardener like me, you’ve seen some really big spiders in your yard recently. Most notably is the very large and very colorful Typical Orb Weaver. You may call him a Banana Spider. He is huge! You’ll know its him by the bold black, yellow, and white markings across his back (called a abdomen in the insect taxonomy world).

Although spiders can strike fear into the hearts of the strongest of us, most are completely harmless. In fact, most spiders are considered to be beneficial. They eat other bugs and as a natural predator bring a healthy balance to the local ecosystem. That said, just as with snakes, most folks just want them dead. I suppose I can understand the sentiment. But let me encourage you here. If you happen to run across the black and yellow spider in your garden, who’s web seems larger than life, please let him be. He’s simply eating the other little creepy crawlies in your yard and trying to make a living. He won’t hurt you. Just leave him alone and enjoy the beauty of mother nature. Remember, if not all spiders, at least this Banana Spider is your friend.

Now, if spiders or other creepy crawly things just aren’t for you. Rest assured! I happen to know somebody in the bug business. Give me a call and I’ll set you up with one of my trained killers.

Thanks for your business Atlanta!

Corey Arnold
President
Peachtree Pest Control

Bed Bugs on the Rise in Atlanta

Bed Bugs aren’t what most of us would like to spend our time thinking about. For many folks just the thought of being crawled on by a bug while we sleep, much less being their dinner, is quite unnerving. I can’t say I feel any differently and I’m in the pest control industry. Bed Bugs are a serious pest and although you might not want to hear this…they are certainly here to stay.

Over the past few years the occurrences of bed bug infestations in Atlanta have been on the rise, and sharply. In the pest control industry we are seeing the Bed Bug become one of the primary pests that we deal with. You might also assume these issues are confined to shady road-side motels, unkempt apartments, or other “less than reputable” places. You’d be wrong. The reality is…we are finding Bed Bugs in top end hotels, expensive homes, high rise commercial buildings, reputable retail establishments, etc. The point here is, the Bed Bug has no socio-economic limitation. They are found in all areas of our society and spreading quickly. This isn’t surprising given the general public’s lack of understanding of the pest, how it travels to infest new areas, and what can/should be done to slow their progression.

That said, I write this blog not only to educate, but also to provide practical tips to my readers to help avoid issues just like a potential bed bug infestation from happening to you. So, below are a few basic tips that, I hope, help you avoid just such a circumstance. This is not an exhaustive list as there simply isn’t room to write that much. But…I hope its helpful nonetheless. Here are my top 4.

Tip #1: USE THE LUGGAGE RACK. – When staying in a hotel (no matter how much you paid or how nice and clean the place may be) never leave your luggage, clothes, purse, etc, on the floor. Always use the expandable luggage rack in the closet. If there is a Bed Bug issue in the room they will be much less likely to get into your bags and hitch a ride back to your home.

Tip #2: HOTEL MATTRESS INSPECTION – Partially remove the bottom fitted sheet from the head of the mattress. Pull the white mattress binding back slightly. The small folds in this area is one f the most common areas the Bed Bug will hide. If you are really serious about this process you could remove the entire bedding and even look under the mattress. I wouldn’t personally. Truth is, if they are going to be anywhere on that mattress its very likely the binding at the mattress corners near the head of the bed.

Tip #3: PREVENT IMPORTATION – Bed Bugs tend to travel on our clothes or in our personal belongings such as a purse or luggage. Taking steps to prevent a friend or family member, who may have a Bed Bug issue, from bringing them into your home is wise. This can be a sensitive issue. They are not unclean or anything of the sort. As I said, a Bed Bug infestation can happen to anyone…even you.

TIP #4: WASH NEW BEDDING and CLOTHES IMMEDIATELY – We’ve all done this before. You bought a new shirt and decided to hang it up and wash it after the first wear. Well…don’t. Wash all bedding and clothes immediately upon bringing them into your home. Bed bugs can infest the manufacturing facility, packaging, warehousing, shipment chain, or retail store. Anywhere that garment or bedding has been may have a bed bug problem. Protect yourself and wash all items.

Take these precautions and I think your chances of having a Bed Bug infestation are greatly reduced. Of course, if this doesn’t work and you still end up with a problem. Well…lets just say I know folks who deal with just this sort of thing.

Corey Arnold
President
Peachtree Pest Control

Did the Termite see his shadow on Groundhog Day?

The annual events of Groundhog day were on display last week. Depending on the particular Groundhog you “Follow” we may or may not have another 6 weeks of this cold and nasty Atlanta winter. I don’t personally believe in the tradition, but, like most traditions we carry on with them anyway.  That said, I’ve often been asked how the delayed spring and protracted cold effects the annual mating cycles of the subterranean termite. In our industry we call this the “Swarm Season”.

Let me try and answer that question with a commonly used phrase provided to me by an early mentor of mine, Dr. Brian Forschler, Principal Investigator for the Household and Structural Entomology research program with the University of Georgia. He was fond of saying, “That Depends”.  The point is…when it comes to termites there are many factors that can contribute to their annual mating cycles . Factors such as cold temps can indeed play a role in the severity of swarm season. However, there are many other conditions such as precipitation or drought in the preceding year, food resource availability, and age structure of the termite colony  are all  major contributors. Consider the excessive amount of rain we’ve had in Metro Atlanta this year. Termites require moisture in the soil to survive and thrive. Think we’ve had enough moisture this year? I’ll bet this environmental condition impacts the severity of the approaching termite swarm season much more than the cold weather.

I’ve been in the Pest Control industry here in Atlanta my entire professional life. That’s more years than most, but not as many as some (for those who are curious, call me and I’ll tell you the whole story) During this time I’ve learned one thing. NEVER try to predict a termite swarm season. I am constantly surprised by what these hard working insects can do; in spite of the best guesses of men. So, are we headed for a severe termite swarm season or a mild one? I suppose I’d say, “That Depends”…I’ll bet Dr. Forschler would agree.

Thanks for reading my blog. If you have any thoughts or questions about Atlanta Termite Control or Atlanta Pest Control, please give me a call. I’d love to discuss it with you.

Best Regards,

Corey Arnold

President, Peachtree Pest Control

Does Cold Weather Kill Bugs?

Last week, Atlanta experienced the coldest temperatures in over a decade.  Being a life long Atlanta native, I can’t remember it being nearly so cold, for so long.  This abnormally cold blast has brought questions about what impact, if any, this arctic air has on pests. You might be surprised by the answer.

If you are like most people,  you would assume that extremely cold air kills bugs. In a very literal sense you would be right. Bugs, like all living animals, have tolerances for heat and cold. If exposed to either extreme for too long they will surely die. In fact, thermal application techniques are commonly used in modern pest management. A good example would be high heat (greater than 140F) to control bed bugs…but that’s another blog for another day.

So, if temperature extremes kill bugs…Atlanta should be bug free this spring, right? WRONG!!! Pests are survivalists. They don’t allow themselves to be exposed to the life threatening conditions. They take refuge in tree hollows, under logs, behind your home’s siding or roof shingles, in your attic or crawl space. The list of places pests hide is almost limitless. In addition, most pests enter a state of suspension during the winter months. Think of it like hibernation for mammals. This means the pest does not need to emerge from hiding to find resources (food/water) to survive the winter months. This further reduces the likelihood of a deadly exposure.

Don’t worry Atlanta! Your warm months will still be full of bugs no matter how cold it might get. And by the way, If you need a hand with that…I do know someone. Thanks and try to stay warm. We’ll all be complaining about the heat and humidity soon enough.

Thanks,

Corey Arnold, President