Spring 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:
Mow the lawn often: Mowing once a week can prevent overgrowth that creates excess standing water pooling and ample insect hiding places.
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.
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.
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.
Use garden nets: Garden netting can protect the plants that would otherwise attract all kinds of insects and wildlife.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
With summer winding down, you’re likely wanting to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Whether you are hosting a backyard barbecue or reading out on your patio at night, the last thing you want to deal with is a pest problem. Mosquitoes, ticks, flies, lawn pests, and wasps are just a few of the many pests that can become quite a nuisance. At Active Pest Control, we know you want to enjoy your time spent in your outdoor living spaces to be pest-free, which is why we’re here to provide you with our top tips for pest-free outdoor living in your Atlanta area home.
Common Pests in Your Yard
The time of year that provides nice enough weather for you to be outdoors is also the time of year when pests are most active! Whether you have a garden in your backyard or couches and tables on your deck, you will likely encounter some of the following pests:
To keep pests away when you’re in your yard, there are several things you can do. The best ways to keep pests away in your outdoor space are as follows.
Get rid of standing water. Mosquitoes only need a half inch of standing water to breed.
Keep your lawn and shrubs trimmed. Overgrown grass or vegetation provides mosquitoes and ticks with shelter.
Know how to look for ant hills. Even a tiny mound can contain thousands of ants inside.
Check wood structures. Termites and carpenter bees will damage your wooden decks or porches.
Use an insect repellent. Insect repellent containing DEET will help repel mosquitoes and ticks.
Clean your patio or space regularly. Crumbs or spilled liquids will attract ants and other insects.
Year-Long Pest-Free Living
Pests are just a fact of life outside. However, you don’t have to let them ruin your time spent in your own backyard! For help implementing pest-free outdoor living tips, the experts at Active Pest Control can help. Contact our residential exterminators to learn more.
Here at Active Pest Control, we are closely monitoring the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation and continue to focus on our commitment to protecting our communities. In the midst of this pandemic, there are endless questions surrounding the nature of the virus, including how it is spread. Data and information is changing daily, but to date, there is no evidence or proof to suggest that mosquitoes and ticks transmit COVID-19. These vector pests are infamous for transmitting diseases worldwide, but coronaviruses are not one of them.
With information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC), we’ll explore the differences between vector-borne diseases and COVID-19 to help dispel myths about transmission in these uncertain times.
What are Vector-Borne Diseases?
Ticks and mosquitoes are vector pests, AKA organisms that transmit diseases to humans. These two insects in particular are infamous for their roles in the transmission of many critical diseases around the globe. Mosquitoes are tied to some of the world’s most dangerous diseases including malaria, Zika virus, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, and more. Ticks are responsible for the transmission of Lyme disease, which is the most common vector-borne disease in our nation.
Can Mosquitoes and Ticks Carry Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is not a disease spread by vector pests. It is important to keep the following facts in mind:
The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus that, to date, is spread through person-to-person contact.
COVID-19 spreads through droplets from saliva or nasal discharge, often generated when an infected person sneezes or coughs. It can also be transmitted via contact with a contaminated surface.
SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and now COVID-19 are zoonotic coronaviruses – viruses that have jumped the species barrier from their normal animal hosts to humans.
What to Remember
With the weather warming up, it’s understandable that people are concerned about disease transmission from insects, mosquitoes especially. However, there is currently no scientific reason to believe these vector pests can transmit coronaviruses. As always, it’s important to take caution in the presence of pests and to always enlist the help of a professional exterminator to take care of the situation for you. The Active Pest Control team is here for you during these uncertain times.
With the safety of our communities in mind, we encourage our customers to seek more information and follow guidelines released by the WHO, CDC, as well as your state and local public health agencies.
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.
Keeping pests such as mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks away from your pets may seem nearly impossible. Pests are certainly determined to find a blood meal when they need it. For example, mosquitoes can fly up to 20 miles looking for a blood meal, and they don’t care if it’s you or your pet.
So, what can you do to help protect your four-legged friends from these pests?
Fleas – Outside of the obvious solutions like flea collars or medications, simple things like vacuuming your carpet and furniture regularly, washing bedding, clothing, and plush pet toys can keep fleas from quickly multiplying and infesting your home after they are brought indoors. Also, give your pets regular baths, especially during tick season. For pets with thick coats, perform regular visual inspections to make sure they are free from fleas.
Ticks – Ticks like to hang out on tree branches, bushes, and long grass waiting for its meal to pass nearby. After you and your pets have been outdoors, it is a good idea to check hidden areas near the ears and under long hair or fur. Keeping your yard trimmed can make it less tick friendly.
Mosquitoes – Well, we’ve saved the worst for last. Mosquitoes are difficult to control and capable of spreading multiple diseases. When possible, avoid the outdoors during dawn and dusk hours when mosquitoes are most active. Drain standing water to prevent further breeding—that includes hidden areas like clogged rain gutters and flower pots. Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in as little as a few tablespoons of water, and larvae hatch in as little as a week.
One final tip: Although these pests can’t be completely eradicated, your friends at Active Pest Control can limit their presence. If we can be of service, fill out our online contact form or call us at 678-808-2038.
Have you ever wondered what a tick really looks like? Perhaps you already know that they are a parasite, meaning they need a host to survive. In all actuality, they will take you or another human or pet as a host and feed on your blood. But don’t let that fact cause you to envision a huge vampire attacking you. The truth is they are various sizes depending on the level of maturity.
Ticks vary in color and size due to the different life cycles but are still easy to recognize. The adult has 8 legs and is wingless. Normally they are brown to reddish brown in color but the color can change to more of a greenish blue immediately after a blood meal. An adult tick is flat and oval shaped and about the size of an apple seed. Again, the size and shape changes after feeding on its host and becomes more like a balloon from gorging on blood.
Ticks in nymph stage are only about one-half the size of an adult but this only means they are harder to see. They will still attach to a host just as quickly. Newly hatched larvae are about the size of a grain of sand and almost impossible to see them on your body. However, do not let their size fool you. A tick in any life stage can still infect you with various diseases including the dreaded Lyme disease.
A tick bite should never be ignored. While most bites do not result in the transmission of diseases, the ones that do pose serious problems. A few of the diseases that can be transmitted from a tick bite includes Lyme disease, Colorado tick fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.
It is not possible to completely eradicate ticks from your property. This is because they usually arrive unannounced, riding on the body of wild animals or dogs that may be passing by. Yet there are some things you can do to reduce the probability of high infestations. Ticks like areas of high humidity and normally will migrate to areas of dense vegetation and tall grass. They are also found along the edge of wooded areas. It is recommended that you trim back the branches in wooded areas and keep weeds cut down and grass mowed short.
Treat your pets with tick preventatives obtained from your veterinarian. In addition to taking all precautionary measures, contact Active Pest Control for information on how we can limit the tick population on your property. With your preventive techniques and our expert treatment, you can still enjoy your outdoor activities!
Active Pest Control and Allgood Pest Solutions have joined forces and will be operating as Active Pest Control moving forward. Rest assured that you will still have a highly-skilled, local specialist, committed to keeping your property protected from pests.