Cold Weather Curse: Georgia’s Winter Pest Habits January 30, 2018 While some years come and pass as if nothing has changed, the start of this year was definitely new. Georgia’s typically mild winter became something of an anomaly at the start of the year, with plunging temperatures and icy conditions, this out-of-the-ordinary weather has had […]Continue reading
Entomologists 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.
“Termite season” is, unfortunately, all year long here in Atlanta GA. Many assume that termites go dormant in the fall and winter like some other types of pests, but that’s simply not the case. Termites swarm in the spring, but will still dwell in and infest homes throughout the colder months of the year. They are less likely to be seen, especially since they may tunnel further underground to escape dropping temperatures outside. The bottom line is that termites are able to damage your home 24/7, 365 days a year. This makes it all the more important to know how to look for signs of termites in your property, even in the fall and winter months.
Termite Life Cycle in the Fall & Winter
Queen termites can lay eggs throughout the year, including in the fall. Their reproduction rate makes it easy for the colony to grow without you even noticing it. The more mature a colony is, the more damage can be made to your home. If you have an infestation festering in your property for more than two years, it is very likely to begin to notice the signs of damage, even in the fall or winter.
We can get cold temperatures in the winter time here in Georgia and Tennessee, and termites may burrow deep underground to protect themselves from the cold air. This is why it’s unlikely to see termites this time of year. However, it’s still important to keep an eye out for the damage they may be causing.
What are the Signs of Termite Activity?
Termites can go unnoticed in your walls for months before any damage begins to appear, which is one of the reasons why they’re so feared! The following damage manifesting in your property could indicate that you likely have a mature termite infestation on your hands:
- Mud tubes
- Discarded swarmer wings
- Termite frass (feces)
- Drywall discoloration
- Loose tiles or buckling floors
- Bubbling or uneven paint on walls
- Holes in drywall
- Crumbling wood
- Hollow-sounding wood
- Sagging sheetrock
Fall Termite Activity in Atlanta
As much as you might wish you didn’t have to worry about termites in the fall and winter, it’s important to stay vigilant about these pests all year long. The termite exterminators at Active Pest Control know how distressing it can be to discover an infestation, which is why we work to prevent them in the first place with our termite treatments. Contact our team today to see how we can keep you termite-free all year long.
In today’s day and age, the DIY movement is more popular than ever. Whether it’s a household chore, gardening, or an art project, do-it-yourself tasks are favored by many. However, when it comes to pest control, DIY methods are never a long-term solution. We’ve all tried them: vinegar spray for ants, snap traps for rats, store-bought pesticides for roaches … the list goes on. But at-home remedies for pests are unreliable, timely, and can even be expensive. For quick, effective, and guaranteed results, it’s always best to use a professional exterminator such as Active Pest Control. Keep reading for info on the pros and cons of DIY vs. professional pest control here in Atlanta GA!
Pros & Cons of DIY Pest Control
Many people favor DIY methods because they believe they will save them money in the long run. For some small pest flare-ups, DIY methods can work. However, do-it-yourself pest control is a risk for several reasons:
- Certain pests, such as rodents, termites, and carpenter ants are more dangerous and destructive. Getting rid of these infestations will be a challenge for any novice.
- Many store-bought products are filled with chemicals that can be dangerous for you, your family, and your pets. Reading the label doesn’t always guarantee the product will be applied perfectly and safely.
- At-home remedies rarely work in the long-term and do not prevent future infestations.
- Buying DIY or store-bought remedies don’t come with a guarantee or warranty as often as professional services.
Why Professional Pest Control is Important
Yes, professional pest control is certainly an investment of your time and money. However, the payoff is tenfold. A professional exterminator has years of experience and knowledge to tackle any current infestation you have. With a focus on IPM practices, they can also work to prevent future problems. As often as possible, a professional will use environmentally-responsible products that are always applied safely and effectively with little invasion or disruption to your daily life. Lastly, a pest control expert can work with you to develop a customized pest control plan suited to the unique needs of your home in your region.
DIY vs. Professional Pest Control: How to Choose
When it comes down to it, no one wants to deal with pests in your home. If you want to get rid of them completely, a professional pest control company is your best bet. In the long run, a pest control professional can provide you with the tools you need to keep pests out for good. Give the Active Pest Control team a call today to learn more about how we can guarantee a pest-free lifestyle.
Spring is almost here, which means pests are on their way! While pest problems are a fact of life in Georgia year-round, springtime sees a big fluctuation in pest problems. This is because many pests that are less active throughout the winter are encouraged by warming temperatures to start invading homes again. To keep spring pests out of your property, it’s important to prepare your home now! Keep reading for tips from the experts at Active Pest Control.
5 Common Springtime Pests
It’s pest season, and there are many pests to be on the lookout for in the next couple of months. The most common pest problems this time of year are:
- Ants. With warmer weather comes hoards of ants in your home.
- Termites. Termite swarming season is here! Termite infestations often start in the spring.
- Rodents. Although they’re active year-round, rats and mice are a problem in the spring.
- Stinging insects. Wasps and hornets are gearing up to build nests this time of year.
- Stink bugs. After overwintering, people report a resurgence in stink bugs.
How to Prevent Pests this Spring
Chances are, you’ll be doing some spring cleaning around your home. Why not throw in pest prevention measures while you’re at it? To prepare your home for spring pests, implement the following tips:
- Clean your windows and doors, and make sure there are no cracks or crevices. If there are, seal them properly.
- Deep-clean your carpets by vacuuming and shampooing, if possible.
- Clean your kitchen with a focus on your appliances. Crumbs and spilled liquids are easy bait for rodents, cockroaches, and more!
- Remove debris from your yard, and trim back tree branches away from your home. Also clean out gutters and downspouts.
- Ensure your plumbing is working properly and fix any leaks.
- In general, tidy up your home. Clean under furniture, wipe down surfaces, and inspect areas of your home that need some fixing up.
How to Get Rid of Spring Pests
You’ve thoroughly cleaned your kitchen and tidied your backyard, but there’s still ants crawling across your kitchen counters—now what? To prevent inevitable spring pests, it’s best to team up with a professional pest control company. The exterminators at Active Pest Control will work with you to ensure your home is safeguarded from pests this spring and all year long.
It’s officially Termite Awareness Week, and it’s more important than ever to know the facts. This week and all year long, the team at Active Pest Control aims to spread awareness about the extensive damage done by termites. In this article, we’ve provided you with a series of informational videos discussing the signs of termite activity, prevention tips, and how to protect your home from these wood-destroying insects. Keep reading to learn how to stay termite-free in Atlanta GA!
5 Signs of Termites
- Swarmers, which are winged termites that emerge in large groups and fly to their destination.
- Often the first visible sign of termites, wings are shed by swarmers and left in piles.
- Blistering wood damaged by termites can be rotten and hollow-sounding.
- Often confused with sawdust, termite droppings (frass) are wood-colored.
- Besides swarmers, mud tubes are the most common sign of subterranean termites.
How to Prevent Termites
There are several ways you can lessen the risk of getting a termite infestation. It’s important to keep firewood and any mulch at a distance from the foundation of your home. Similarly, always remove excess wood from your property, including construction lumber, fallen trees, and stumps. In addition, be proactive about avoiding moisture-damaged wood by promptly repairing leaky faucets and poor drainage problems. Lastly, ensure you have a continuous termite monitoring, baiting, or protection plan in place from your termite exterminators!
Termite Protection & Treatment
Here at Active Pest Control, we provide our customers with the most effective, safest termite treatment options. Check out the video to see our preferred methods of preventing and controlling termites. If you’re unsure which termite control method will work best for you, we’d be happy to discuss your best options with you and customize a termite control plan!
If you think you’ve spotted a termite in or near your home, how can you be so sure it’s not a carpenter ant? These two wood-destroying insects are commonly mistaken for one another. Together, they are responsible for some of the worst residential pest infestations each year for homeowners. Swarmers (termites or carpenter ants with wings) are both active around the same time of year, but their similarities end there.
Keep reading for expert info from Active Pest Control on how to tell the difference between termites and carpenter ants.
What do Carpenter Ants and Termites Look Like?
To the untrained eye, it’s very easy to confuse carpenter ants for termites in the swarmer stage. Although they look very similar, the size of the swarmer differentiates the two. The main differences between how carpenter ants and termites look are:
- Carpenter ant swarmers: These are black in color, with some species having slightly red coloring. Carpenter ants measure 1/2″–5/8″ with antenna bent at a 45-degree angle. Their wings are translucent with a reddish brown hue, laying over the posterior of the ant. Carpenter ants are by far the biggest ant species in the nation.
- Termite swarmers: These termites are dark brown to black, and measure 3/8″ long including the wings. Their wings are a translucent to slightly milky or smoky color. Their wings may overlap, and are typically as long as or slightly longer than the body. This is an easy visual clue to differentiate them from carpenter ants.
What’s Worse: Termite Damage or Carpenter Ant Damage?
Both the termite and the carpenter ant attack wood, but in very different ways. For the most part, carpenter ants establish their nests in decayed wood and then later expand into undamaged wood, insulation, or wall voids. Their damage is not always visible, but the galleries they excavate appear to have been sanded.
Termites, on the other hand, eat through wood. These wood-destroying insects find their way into a structure around basement windows, doorways, under siding, porches, or any structure in contact with the soil. Established colonies can range from 60,000 to over a million workers and can consume nearly 5 grams of wood per day. For this reason, termites are significantly more dangerous than the carpenter ant, as they can cause much more damage in a short period of time.
When to Call a Termites or Carpenter Ants Exterminator
If you’ve seen the signs of either of these insects or have noticed damage, it’s crucial to call the exterminators at Active Pest Control as soon as possible. Everyone knows termites are infamously difficult to control, but carpenter ant colonies are hard to exterminate as well! With our licensed and tenured termite control specialists, we can inspect your Atlanta GA property and protect your structure from wood-destroying insects like termites and carpenter ants.
When it comes to protecting your family and home against pests, hindsight doesn’t have to be 20/20 this year. Active Pest Control is helping homeowners prepare for the upcoming pest season by offering insights into anticipated pest activity.
The experts at Active Pest Control have used their field experiences and examined trends and company data to determine these six pest predictions. Along with the predictions, we are offering quick tips for homeowners to help keep their homes pest-free in 2020.
Warmer than usual winters over the past several years may be to blame for increased mouse populations. With warmer weather predicted for the winter of 2020, mice will continue to reproduce at an alarming rate, which is bad news for homeowners. Mice are year-round pests that invade homes looking for food and shelter to nest.
Homeowner Tips: Mice can squeeze through openings the size of a dime. Gaps under garage doors, door frames, windows, or pipes and cables that penetrate your house are large enough for mice to gain entry. Rodent-proof your home by sealing small cracks and crevices with a silicone-based caulk. Exterior gaps of ¼-inch or larger can be repaired with copper mesh, hardware cloth or metal flashing.
Alternating climates cause rippling effects in the pest world, and with mild weather, experts are seeing more yellow jacket and hornet nests. Female yellow jackets and hornets can successfully overwinter in freezing temperatures and will invade structures and manmade or natural voids. When the weather warms up in spring, stinging insects will emerge from their hiding places, ready to start populations earlier in the year.
Homeowner Tips: Since stinging insects can overwinter, they may be out and about at the first sign of warmer weather. Stay alert and look for stinging pests, utilizing a professional pest control service as soon as you spot activity.
With outdoor activities, like hiking and camping on the rise, and years of warming winters, humans and their pets may come into contact with ticks more frequently in 2020. The deer tick or black-legged tick, the Lone Star tick, and the American dog tick are ticks of special concern. Nearly 50,000 cases of human tick-borne diseases such as Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever were reported in 2018. Pets are also at risk for some of these diseases.
Homeowner Tips: When spending time outdoors, wear an EPA-approved insect repellent. It’s also a good idea to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks, in areas where ticks may be active. Perform tick checks on yourself and any family members, including pets, after spending time outdoors.
If you noticed more mosquitoes this past year, it wasn’t your imagination. If we have another relatively warm, wet winter and spring, mosquito populations could increase by late spring and early summer. Areas of the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest are predicted to have above-average rainfall, while most of the U.S. is predicted to be warmer than average this winter.
Homeowner Tips: With an increase in mosquitoes comes the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, such as the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) reported in 2019. To protect yourself and your family, eliminate standing water from your property and always wear an EPA-approved insect repellent when spending time outdoors.
Termites cause over $6 billion in damage every year in the United States. According to experts, the two main weather factors that affect termite populations are temperature and rainfall. With wetter and warmer weather predicted for spring, the termite swarming season will be ramping up soon.
Homeowner Tips: To deter termites, eliminate earth to wood contact and avoid moisture accumulation near your home or structures’ foundation. Since termites can cause such extensive damage, raising homeowner awareness around the need for proactive protection for their homes is critical to prevent costly repairs.
At Active Pest Control, our experts agree that the first step any homeowner can take to prevent pest issues is to have a proactive approach to pest control. With these 2020 pest predictions in mind, utilize the new year to evaluate your current pest control plan and ensure that you have the coverage you need to protect yourself and your family from pests in 2020.
Everyone knows that pest prevention is the best form of pest control, and TAP® Insulation is changing the pest control industry. This innovative home insulation surpasses all other insulation in efficiency, and also provides superior pest control for a number of insects. Made of more than 80% recycled paper, it is eco-friendly and is a smart investment for all property owners looking to prevent pest infestations. Read on to learn more about this game-changing TAP Insulation service offered by the Active Pest Control team!
What Pests are Controlled by TAP® Insulation?
The best feature of TAP Insulation is its pest control abilities. A borate-based pest control product is embedded within the insulation. When certain insects come into contact with the insulation, they will die off as they groom themselves and ingest the borate. Although TAP pest control insulation will not kill rodents or wildlife, there are many insects that it does kill, including:
Other Benefits of TAP Pest Control Insulation
In addition to controlling pest infestations, this home insulation is favored for its many other benefits. It can be installed over existing insulation or on its own and once it is in place, it never needs to be replaced. Some of the most desirable benefits of TAP pest resistant home insulation include:
- Reduces energy bill costs
- Reduces outside noises
- Made of recycled, eco-friendly materials
- Improves indoor air quality
- Mold & mildew resistant
- Not dangerous to humans or pets
- The borate serves as a fire-retardant
Pest Resistant Home Insulation Installation
Whether you own a new property or want to upgrade your existing insulation, TAP Insulation is the way to go. In addition to warding off pest infestations, it also reduces your energy bills and is an eco-friendly option. To learn more about TAP Insulation or to set up an appointment with Active Pest Control, give our team a call today!
The real estate market is back. Many people have been waiting for this time to buy or sell a home. If you’re one of them, don’t forget a termite inspection. Termites cause more damage than fires, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes combined in the U.S. Keep in mind, homeowners insurance will cover all of these disasters … except for termites.
If you are selling your home, why not get a termite inspection and place it in your disclosure documents so prospective buyers can see it? Peace of mind can go a long way to helping your property stand out from the competition and getting yours sold. Next step? Protect your investment by giving Active Pest Control a call today. We have been protecting homes for over 25 years. We can do the same for you!