10 Tips to Keep Your Backyard Pest-Free

Servicing a backyard in Georgia - Active Pest ControlSpring and summer in Georgia come with a lot to be excited about. However, the warm weather and sunshine following rainfall lead to all kinds of pest problems in our region. It’s important to be able to stop pests from finding food sources, shelter, and breeding grounds in your backyard, because without any effort put into pest prevention, your background will be overrun with pests for most of the year. If you’re wondering how you can pest-proof your backyard, read on for advice from our expert exterminators at Active Pest Control!

10 Tips to Make Your Backyard Pest-Free

Our climate allows for all kinds of pests to thrive throughout the year, so it’s important to have a pest prevention plan that accounts for all kinds of infestations. Here are our top 10 pest prevention tips for Georgia residents:

  1. Mow the lawn often: Mowing once a week can prevent overgrowth that creates excess standing water pooling and ample insect hiding places.
  2. Trim your plants: Make sure your trees, bushes, and shrubs aren’t overgrown. This can lead to shaded hiding places that are particularly attractive to mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and more.
  3. Get rid of yard waste: Piles of yard waste can provide shelters that lead to all kinds of pest infestations, from ants all the way up to rodents and wildlife.
  4. Clear out standing water: Mosquitoes breed in pools of standing water, no matter how small. Make sure to pour it out or cover it when you find rainwater pooling in gutters, planters, tarps, buckets, your lawn, or elsewhere.
  5. Use garden nets: Garden netting can protect the plants that would otherwise attract all kinds of insects and wildlife.
  6. Dethatch your lawn: A thin layer of thatch is helpful for your lawn’s temperature regulation, but too much of it can suffocate your lawn and lead to all kinds of pest problems. Dethatch your lawn and use a nitrogen fertilizer to prevent excess buildup.
  7. Water your lawn carefully: Overwatering and underwatering can both lead to different kinds of pest problems, so it’s important to know exactly how much water your lawn needs. Setting up an irrigation system or sprinkler system will regulate this quantity for you.
  8. Store firewood up and away: Firewood laying around by the side of your home can quickly lead to a devastating termite infestation. To prevent this from happening, store your firewood off of the ground, away from your home, and covered if possible.
  9. Keep bins closed: Pests as small as wasps and as big as raccoons love to forage in our trash cans for food. Seal them if possible, but definitely keep them as far away from your yard and home as possible.
  10. Hire an exterminator: A professional pest control technician can assess your yard for active vulnerabilities that could lead to pest infestations.

Pest Control for Your Backyard in Georgia

If you want to feel confident that your yard won’t fall victim to pest infestations this spring and summer, reach out to your local pest control company. At Active Pest Control, our highly trained technicians are well-versed in control and prevention strategies for the many insects, arachnids, and wild animals living in Georgia. We can set up a plan to keep your yard pest-free year-round. Contact us today for a free quote!

The Trouble with Termites: How Termites Can Ruin Your Home

If you’ve ever experienced a termite infestation, then you know how devastating it can be to have to deal with getting rid of the colony, addressing the structural damage, and preventing future infestations. It can be a long and difficult process, but fortunately, it can also be manageable with help from the right pest control […]

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Common Spring Pests

Carpenter ants are a common spring pest in Georgia - Active Pest ControlHave you noticed that pests start to get worse here in Atlanta as spring temperatures warm up? Wasps and bees begin to buzz around, winged insects crawl on your exterior walls, and you start to notice the dreaded ants crawling along your floorboards. Springtime is pest time nationwide. This time of the year is when many pests that were less active in the winter months begin to come out of dormancy. The reason why pest problems become so common in the spring, however, is because many of the pests were already lying in wait in the winter—right inside your home.

At Active Pest Control, we are committed to keeping pests out of our customers’ homes all year long. Keep reading to learn about the most common spring pests to look out for this year.

What Pests Are Common in the Spring?

1. Termites

While spring is the best time of year to see termite swarmers, those winged insects are probably not new to the neighborhood. Termite swarms don’t travel far or last long. If you’re seeing them on your exterior walls, it is likely that you already have a mature infestation in your home or on your property.

2. Carpenter Ants

When the temperatures here in Atlanta warm-up, you may see winged carpenter ants walking around on your exteriors walls. If you’re thinking you can vacuum them up and you’ll be safe, you may want to think again. Carpenter ant swarmers, just like those termites swarmers, are a warning sign of a current infestation. It is also a warning that the mature nest on your property is about to multiply, making it important to call your local ant control experts.

3. Mice

If you start to hear bumping and scraping in your walls, you may be tempted to think that the spring weather is responsible for allowing mice to get into your walls. But those mice could have been in your house all winter long. Mice live as close to their food source as possible. If they have a nest in your pantry wall, you wouldn’t hear them just before bedtime, bumping through your walls. But spring temperatures outside may invite those mice to find a route to go in and out of your home. Sadly, those mice are not likely to leave and never come back. Most mice prefer to live with humans. While they’ll step out to go look for more food options, they won’t be gone for long.

4. Wasps

These stinging pests are another common spring pest that probably spent the winter in your home. Wasp queens overwinter in eaves, soffits, and under the “bark” of our homes. In spring, they emerge to find a place to create a nest. Unfortunately, this often means right inside or outside your property. Coming across a wasp nest can be dangerous, making it important to always contact a wasp control expert for assistance.

Preventing Common Spring Pests

Preventing spring pests means preventing pests all year long here in Georgia. The best way to keep pests out is to seal off your home to them in the first place. Once indoors, it’s crucial to contact your local pest control experts for help. At Active Pest Control, we will work with you to come up with a plan to keep pests out for good. Contact us today to get started!

What Homes Are More At Risk For Termites?

What homes are more at risk for termites in Georgia - Active Pest ControlIf you have a brick or concrete home, you may be thinking you’re safe from termites. However, termites don’t only infest wood homes. There are many things that make your home more at risk for termites, from the layout of your backyard to unresolved maintenance issues. Especially here in Georgia and Tennessee, termites are a relentless pest problem for homeowners, no matter what type of home you own. This Termite Awareness Week, our team is here to help you understand the risk factors that could make you susceptible to termite infestations. Read on to learn more from our experts at Active Pest Control!

Will my Brick Home Be Infested By Termites?

There is a misconception that only wooden homes can be infested by termites. Unfortunately, this is simply not true. Brick homes, concrete homes, stucco homes, and stone homes can all be infested by termites. Wood stored near your home, moisture issues, wooden decks, and more could all put you at risk for a termite problem. If you notice any of the below risk factors, you could be unknowingly making your home a haven for termites.

Risk Factors For Termites

Termites are opportunistic pests that can infest many structures if conditions are right. These conditions that may make you vulnerable to infestations are as follows.

  1. Wood in contact with the soil. Even homes that aren’t made of wood can have siding, decks, porches, fences, posts, and more that contain wood. Any wood that comes into contact with your home’s exterior is at risk for termites. For this reason, avoid storing firewood on the ground near your property. Remove decaying logs or stumps, and avoid mulch. Trim back trees to avoid branches coming into contact with your home.
  2. Moisture problems. Subterranean termites in particular are attracted to moisture, especially in soil. Standing water or excess moisture will invite termites to take up residence in your home. Always fix leaks, broken sprinkler systems, downspouts, and clogged gutters to ensure your are protected from moisture problems.
  3. Cracks or openings. Termites will take advantage of structural vulnerabilities, no matter whether your home is wooden or brick. A crack in the structure of your property allows for termites to easily build mud tubes upon it. Frequently inspect your home for cracks and make repairs as needed. Look for other issues that could contribute not just to termite problems, but all sorts of pest problems!

Home Inspections for Termite Risks

The best way to know if you are protected against termites is to work with a professional termite exterminator. A thorough home inspection will pinpoint anything in or around your property that could put you at risk for termites in the future. The termite control team at Active Pest Control is here to help. Contact us today to learn how we can protect you from termites year-round!

How to Look For Signs of Termites

Mud tubes are a common sign of subterranean termites in Georgia - Active Pest ControlTermites are often only discovered when the damage starts to appear, making them one of the most dangerous pest problems. In order to avoid the destruction associated with termite activity, it’s important to recognize the early signs of termites in your home. With termites at peak activity in the spring and summer, now is the time to ensure you are protected against an infestation! The termite experts at Active Pest Control are here to share their knowledge on the top signs of termites they see in Georgia homes year-round.

How to Tell if You Have Termites

If you notice any of the following signs of termites, it’s time to call a professional who can further investigate and determine the presence or absence of termites in your home. Here’s what to look for:

Swarming Termites

Every year, reproductive termites will leave their colony to mate and form new ones. Swarming happens when a mature termite colony releases a number of swarmers from their existing nest. Reproductive termites, also known as alates or swarmers, can often be mistaken for other flying insects, especially carpenter ants. Seeing winged termites in the spring months is a sign of termites spreading.

Piles of Termite Wings

After reproductive termites have swarmed and found a new location, they will literally twist their wings off to discard them. This is because, after flight, they will no longer need to fly. Termite wings are all the same size and translucent in color. These wings can often be seen in piles, which is indicative of termites forming their new colony nearby.

Mud Tubes

Made from and used by subterranean termites, mud tubes are pencil-sized tunnels through which termites travel. True to their name, subterranean termites nest underground. In order to leave the nest and forage for food, they will build mud tubs out of their feces. This protects the termites from outdoor elements as it blocks out cool, dry air. Seeing mud tubes along the outside of your property is likely the number one sign of termites.

Drywood Termite Frass

Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites nest within wood. As they tunnel through dry wood as well as when they swarm, drywood termites create kick-out holes in the wood. This is when their droppings, also known as frass, can be found. Termite frass most closely resembles sawdust or coffee grounds, and can appear in piles. Seeing this sign of termites makes it important to call a professional for closer inspection.

Tight-Fitting Doors and Windows

Termite activity can result in damage to your property. One of the most common signs of termite infestations is noticing your windows and doors are sticking or appear more tight-fitting than usual. Subterranean termites output a lot of moisture with their eating and tunneling habits. When they target door or window frames, the wood there will warp and make them more difficult to open.

Damaged Wood

Termites are infamous for damaging wood. This can appear in several ways. Typically, termite damage can cause unexplained cracks on walls, beams, and rafters. It can cause sagging wood in your floors, as well as hollow-sounding wood. Sometimes wood damage can lead to weakened baseboards and floorboards. In general, wood damage of any kind can be a major sign of a termite problem.

What to Do When You See Signs of Termites

Termite problems are no joke. They can cause a lot of damage on your home. This is why it is so important to work with a professional termite exterminator. At Active Pest Control, we will provide yearly inspections to catch early signs of termites. To learn more, contact our team today!

What Do Termite Holes Look Like?

What Do Termite Holes Look Like in Atlanta GA - Active Pest ControlIf you’ve found small, round holes in wood within or outside your home, you’re likely wondering what could have caused them. In many cases, this is a sign of drywood termite activity. When drywood termites swarm in the spring or summer, they will make their departure from their nests. In doing so, they create and tunnel through exit holes in the wood within which they were nesting. Termite exit holes can frequently be mistaken for holes left by other wood-destroying insects, making it important to learn what termite holes look like.

What Termites Leave Holes in Wood?

Most termite species swarm to form new colonies, but only one common termite is responsible for the hole-boring activity: drywood termites. Although subterranean termites swarm, they do not leave exit holes in the wood. This is because subterranean termites build nests underground and travel through mud tubes. These mud tubes also serve the purpose of being their exit from the nest. So, seeing termite holes indicates the active or previous presence of drywood termites in your property. Drywood termites are often found in wood above ground, such as attics, garages, and trees.

How to Identify Termite Holes

How do you know if the tiny holes were left by termites or not? It typically takes a professional’s expert eye to identify exit holes. However, it’s important to know the following about termite holes, also known as “kick-out holes”.

  • Termite exit holes are round and only about ⅛ of an inch (or smaller!).
  • Once the swarmer termites (called alates) leave the nest, the termite nymphs within the nest will use a paste made out of frass to plug the holes.
  • The plugging of the holes happens quickly, making it rare to see uncovered holes in the wood.
  • Wood that has been kicked out looks like tiny mustard seeds and can appear in a pile.

Which Insects Leave Holes in Wood?

Termite exit holes are often confused with holes made by other wood-destroying insects. Some of these insects include carpenter bees, carpenter ants, powderpost beetles, bark beetles, and more. Each of these exhibit unique behaviors and have different wood preferences, making it difficult to know which wood-boring insect you’re dealing with. This is why it’s always important to contact your local pest control experts for help identifying termites or holes made by other pests in your home.

Termite Exit Hole Inspections in Atlanta

At Active Pest Control, we know that seeing holes in your wooden structures can be distressing. You can rest easy knowing that our expert termite exterminators will thoroughly inspect your property to seek out termite or other wood-destroying insect activity. Contact us today for help with identifying termite exit holes in your Atlanta GA property!

Is TAP the Best Home Insulation?

Tap Insulation installation in Atlanta GA - Active Pest ControlIf you’re looking to install insulation in your home, you’ve likely heard about TAP® Insulation. This popular home insulation method has a number of benefits and is an increasingly common installation for homes in the Atlanta GA area. In addition to providing great insulation and energy efficiency, it is prized for its pest control properties. Infused with borate, this pest resistant insulation works to ward off insects, wildlife, and other pest problems. The team at Active Pest Control is here to share expert information on why TAP is the superior home insulation product available to homeowners today.

TAP Insulation vs. Traditional Insulation

In addition to outperforming traditional insulation from a thermal and acoustical standpoint, TAP takes less energy to manufacture and has the added value of pest control features. Some other benefits that make TAP stand apart from other insulation options include:

  1. As an energy-efficient option, TAP can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 30%.
  2. It is environmentally friendly by using recycled paper diverted from landfills to create the product.
  3. This insulation is capable of filling the nooks and crannies that are unreachable with traditional insulation.
  4. TAP is the only insulation registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  5. More cost-effective than traditional insulation, this is a one-time investment with no need for re-treatments.
  6. It can be installed over existing insulation and comes with a lifetime warranty.

What Pests are Controlled with TAP?

One of the biggest benefits of TAP is its pest control qualities. The insulation is infused with a borate product that will prevent and eliminate pests. Some of the pests affected by this insulation product include:

How to Get TAP Insulation in Atlanta

For superior home insulation that also prevents pest problems, TAP is the answer. Active Pest Control is proud to be your local installer of TAP Insulation. Our certified technicians are licensed to install this pest control insulation in homes. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact our team today!

Afraid of Rodents and Bugs? 2021 May Not Be Your Year

Active Pest Control - Exterminator in Atlanta GA - Highly Reviewed Pest Control CompaniesEntomologists from Active Pest Control‘s parent company, Rentokil Provide their Pest Predictions for 2021

READING, Penn. (Jan. 4, 2021) — As if 2020 didn’t present enough challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 could be a banner year for pests around the country.

To help residents prepare for 2021, entomologists from Rentokil used field knowledge and data to provide their predictions for pests in the upcoming year.

1. Rodents, Rodents Everywhere:

With shutdowns across the country, it’s no surprise that rodents are on the rise nationwide. Empty buildings, the scarcity of food and warmer winters have combined to create a rodent apocalypse.

“We’re seeing more rats in urban, suburban, and rural settings because of the shutdowns,” said Marc Potzler, Board Certified Entomologist. “Food sources are cut off, and rats are having to travel to scavenge for food. We’ve seen rats out in public during the day, which is highly unusual.”

Warmer winters have also allowed for mice populations to boom in residential areas as it allows for a longer breeding season and there is a lower population loss due to hard freezes.

“Right now is the perfect time to rodent-proof your home,” said Potzler. “Make sure to repair any gaps on the exterior of your home, such as around garage doors, windows or pipes.”

2. Mosquitoes on the Move:

Mosquitoes populations have been increasing over the last few years. Aedes species, which are disease-carrying mosquitoes, are also moving to new areas. These mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Zika virus, among other diseases.

“There is an increase of mosquitoes across the country, but notably on the West Coast, and they are adapting each year,” said Eric Sebring, Associate Certified Entomologist. “We have seen evidence of behavior adaptation, where mosquitoes lay their eggs strategically to hatch throughout the season.”

Protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes by removing any standing water on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one teaspoon of water. Also, wear EPA-approved insect repellent while spending time outside.

3. Bed Bugs:

The chatter about bed bugs was quiet in 2020, but that’s not because they have gone away.

“As people begin to travel again, we will start to hear about bed bug infestations,” said Sebring. “Bed bugs can be dormant for several months at a time, so they can emerge when a food source, humans, become available.”

Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers, traveling from place to place on people, luggage, clothing and other personal belongings. Homeowners and businesses such as hotels, colleges, hospitals, senior living facilities, retail stores, and libraries have experienced problems with bed bugs.

If traveling, inspect the bed by pulling back the sheets to examine the mattress. Check your luggage before packing and unpacking, and look for signs of living or dead bugs the size of an apple seed or black fecal smears.

4. More Time Outdoors = More Pests.

From hiking to gardening to dining al fresco, there is no doubt that the pandemic has forced people to spend more time outdoors.

In 2021, we will see the outdoor pest pressures continue:

Ticks: Ticks are responsible for transmitting several diseases, including Lyme disease, to humans and animals. These small insects are found in grassy areas and in the woods, so it is important to inspect yourself and your pets after spending time outdoors. Cover as much skin as possible while outdoors, wear long pants, long sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and tuck pant legs into socks. Light-colored clothing will also help any ticks you pick up stand out.

Ants: “As soon as the weather starts to warm up, we will see an increase in ant populations,” said Tom Dobrinska, Board Certified Entomologist. “Most of the ants we are dealing with are odorous house ants. When spending time outside, make sure to clean up any food, water or sugary substances and ensure that your home is free of any holes or cracks for them to enter.”

Stinging Insects: Stinging insects, such as wasps and yellow jackets, emerge at the first sign of warm weather, and as warm weather seasons are getting longer, stinging insects have more time to create issues. Make sure you check for nests early in the spring as they are smaller and get early nest treatment. Make sure to keep windows and doors shut, and secure outside bins so stinging insects are not attracted to the contents.

5. Termites Aren’t Going Anywhere

Termites are a pesky problem, and unfortunately, are not going anywhere. Termites can cause extensive damage to structures, especially homes. As people are moving out of cities during the pandemic to more suburban areas, education about termite protection is key.

“We received more calls for termites this past year than we have in many years,” said Potzler. “It’s important to raise awareness for homeowners now to have proactive protection to keep from costly repairs in the future.”

6. Pests in the News:

There are a few pests that will continue to steal the limelight in 2021.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive pest that has been making its way across the country since it was first introduced from Asia in 2001. Besides its pungent odor, this stink bug has become a nuisance for homeowners as it gathers in large numbers on the sides of houses and buildings and enters through small cracks in the home. “The brown marmorated stink bug is here to stay,” said Dobrinska. “We will continue to see this species emerge in late spring in large numbers.”

The Spotted Lanternfly will continue to wreak havoc across the Northeast and beyond. The invasive pest, first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, is spreading across the Northeast, with New York reporting its first sighting this year. The pest can significantly damage trees and plants.

“The Spotted Lanternfly is becoming a big problem in the Northeast, and it will continue to spread,” said Potzler. “It can be devastating for agriculture and is a nuisance for homeowners.”

The egg masses look like a smear of mud on trees and outside of homes. It’s important to scrape the egg mass off, put it in a bag with rubbing alcohol and throw it away, and then call the state department of agriculture.

The infamous “Murder Hornet,” also known as the Asian giant hornet, grabbed many headlines, causing homeowners to panic trying to decipher the difference between stinging insects in their yards and this aggressive species. The Asian giant hornet is the largest hornet species in the world, growing up to 3 inches in length. Currently, the Asian giant hornet has only been found in the Pacific Northwest.

“We know that there was one colony found and eliminated in Washington State,” said Sebring. “Unfortunately, if there is one, there will be more.”

While your chances of being stung by an Asian giant hornet are fairly low, the sting can be dangerous as the venom volume is higher, causing more pain. The hives are primarily built underground or in hollows in trees. If you suspect it is an Asian giant hornet or any stinging pests, call your pest management provider to assess the situation as soon as you spot activity.