There is no doubt that the state of Georgia, and north Georgia in particular, is a nice place to live. The region’s combination of scenery and weather can be truly stunning, and, at the very least, is often enjoyable and comforting.
People aren’t the only beings that enjoy this area, however. In fact, insects – of all kinds – absolutely love north Georgia too. And, unfortunately, they often love to enjoy it right alongside us humans, moving into our homes and backyards as if they were paying rent.
The thing is, once they move in, they are even harder to evict; which makes it imperative that you do your best to keep out the creepy-crawlies in the first place. That said, when you do encounter some unwanted guests, it is also important to know how best to dislodge them.
And the truth, is that – at some point – you will probably have some six- or eight-legged (or more) intruders. For proof look no further than an oft-quoted 2016 Wired magazine article on a study of 50 North Carolina homes, which revealed that of 554 rooms studied, all but five of them had some sort of pest.
We don’t tell you this to make you despair or accept insect invasion as inevitable – quite the contrary. We tell you this to let you know that A) you are not alone and B) because of these widespread conditions there are tried-and-true solutions to each problem that you can employ.
So, let’s take a look at the how, when and why of bug infestations – and what you can do to prevent them, and the best response should they happen.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
The best way to prevent and handle any pest is by getting to know your enemy.
That does not require deep and detailed study, however. In fact, we can sum up a lot of what you need to know in this article.
First, let’s look at the type of pests you are likely to encounter here in north Georgia and what time of year they are likely to make a move on your home or backyard.
The seasonality of these pests are down to various reasons. For example, termites always look to spread their colonies in the spring, whereas stink bugs and cockroaches seek heat and shelter (i.e. your home) in the winter.
Due to Georgia having such a mild and inviting climate, we have a much longer invasion season for the spring and summer nuisances. And, even when the seasons change, if pests have moved into your home, they can find it so enjoyable that they set up shop year-round, laying eggs so that their young will continue the same co-habitation.
Knowing what season you are in, however, allows you to know what to be on guard for and what to ensure shielding steps to take – more on that later in the article.
WHERE TO LOOK
Next, let’s take a look at which rooms in your house these pests are most likely to settle themselves in.
Ants – Almost anywhere indoors or outdoors
Smart, industrious and adaptable, Georgia is home to many ant species – including fire ants, carpenter ants, pavement ants and pharaoh ants – and each is capable of invading your home inside and out. Carpenter ants love to build nests in attic spaces and in walls or ceilings but generally do so near water sources/dampness, that means kitchens, bathrooms and basements are also high-risk. Argentine ants are some of the most difficult ants that we are asked to remove in homes and structures. Because of the size of their colonies, they can forage from long distances away and have a social structure including sub-queens in varying locations.
Ants of all types will also seek out food. That means the kitchen is a major target, as well as your living room or dining room – anywhere crumbs are certain to be found. Traditionally, they live outdoors and can move mounds quickly – as anyone who has battled fire ants can attest.
Bed Bugs – Bedroom
It’s kind of obvious where they hang out in the home, but these critters are also great hitchhikers and can crawl into suitcases, bags and clothes. Quite often they come home from vacations thanks to infested hotel beds. And once inside, they are hard to get rid of, requiring specialized exterminations. The incidences of bed bugs throughout the nation is also increasing.
Centipedes – Basements/crawlspaces
These multi-legged creatures – which are actually not insects and are related to lobsters, crawfish and shrimp – prefer cool, damp places. The good news is that they do prefer to feed on cockroaches. But their bites can hurt even humans (even if it is not worse than a bee sting).
Cockroaches – Anywhere inside or out
Even more adaptable than ants, these nuisances are always on the lookout for food, water and shelter, ergo, they will go wherever their needs take them, which is anywhere they see fit inside your home. Many species, like smoky-brown cockroach (also known as a Palmetto bug) also live outdoors for much of the year. There are 5 primary species of cockroaches we face in Georgia – American, German, Asian, Smoky-brown, and Brown-banded.
Camel crickets (cave crickets) – Basement/crawlspace
These insects aren’t necessarily dangerous. But they are creepy looking, and they can certainly cause alarm if they jump on you (though they are not venomous and don’t even hurt if/when they bite). They like cool, damp, dark spots (it’s in their nickname, “cave crickets,” after all).
Flies – Kitchen/dining room
Flies breed fast and need food for their offspring. They will spawn in your pet’s waste, rotting food and garbage. And they will be attracted to any food they can find – which is generally in the kitchen, dining room or even living room.
Fleas – Any room in which people congregate/sleep
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Thanks to the developments in pet care products over the past few decades, flea infestations are increasingly rare. However, if they do invade, they will follow wherever the people (or animals) are – as they feed on blood (yep, gross). Remember that fleas require a host to feed on and to reproduce – typically the dog, cat, or other furry friend you have in your home. They can also be brought in by rodents or squirrels who are living in your attic, crawlspace or otherwise.They prefer to nestle in carpets/rugs/bedding.
Millipedes – Basements/crawlspaces
These harmless creatures that are related to centipedes spend their time foraging food in forest undergrowth. But if it rains too much, they may be driven inside. If so, they will look for cool, damp places.
Mosquitos – Yard
These disease-carrying pests love moisture – they need water in order to reproduce – that includes any standing water or even moisture-holding material such as bark mulch.
Scorpions – Basements/crawlspaces/garages
These prehistoric looking creatures are no more harmful than a bee sting, but you don’t want them taking up residence with you either. They eat insects – they themselves are arachnids – but they prefer dark, damp places.
Silverfish – Bathrooms/basements/crawlspaces/attics
These insects feast on the mold growth caused by moisture and can be found crawling around and near drains. However, in Georgia, because of the high humidity, we tend to see these infestations start in the attic and are often seen in upstairs bathrooms during the summer.
Spiders – Basements/crawlspaces/garages/bathrooms
Spiders don’t actually need water as much as many other pests. But since they eat other pests, they go where the pests are located.
Stinging insects (bees, hornets, yellow jackets, wasps) – Yard and outdoor structures
These winged pests can halt outdoor activities in a heartbeat – more than 500,000 people go to the ER each year because of their stings. And their aggressive nature in defending their nests can yield multiple stings and true trauma.
Stink bugs – Throughout your home
Because they love to bask in the sun, these smelly critters live for warmth. During the summer, they seek it out. And your home is both warm and inviting. They come inside and, when disturbed, they can emit that awful smell for which they’re named.
Termites – Basements/crawlspaces
The most common termites in Georgia – the eastern subterranean termite – is in constant need of moisture and will enter your home through the ground level or even below. Tiny but destructive, homeowners caught unaware by this swarming pest usually spend over $3,000 to repair their damage.
Ticks – Yard
These truly dangerous pests do not invade the home on purpose – though a pet or unsuspecting person may carry one inside. They normally live in trees and will drop down on to their victims but also crawl up from the ground.
HOW TO AVOID BEING A VICTIM
So, now that we’ve looked at the potential problems, let’s look at how you can discourage these pests from eyeing up your yard or house as a potential home of their own. We’ll also look at what you can do to evict an infestation.
The good news is that simple, do-it-yourself preventative measures are largely the same, no matter what pest you are looking to keep out of your home or yard – though there are some pest-specific treatments that we’ll also touch on.
- Seal up any gaps around your doors and windows – insects can get through even the smallest of openings.
- Eliminate any standing water around your home – that’s inside and/or out. Make sure your
basement is dry by purchasing a de-humidifier or have sump pumps installed. You can also have your basement or crawlspace professionally sealed. Also, make sure you have clean air flow throughout your home to encourage dryness.
- Make sure you clean thoroughly and quickly after cooking and eating. Do not leave any crumbs or fruits/vegetables out. Instead, seal them in airtight containers. These are welcome signs for insects such as cockroaches, ants and flies.
- Seal up any sweets or pet food in airtight containers. You may not want to eat pet food, but insects love it.
- Employ citrus and/or mint (such as through essential oils or solutions via spray bottle) around entryways. The presence of these aromas and acids deters spiders and stinkbugs.
- Take out your trash regularly and make sure it is in a sealed container when you do take it outside.
- Keep your house free of clutter. The tidier you can keep your home, the harder it is for bugs and pests to find a place to hide, nest and breed.
- Again, water is your enemy. It provides a breeding ground for mosquitos. So, keep your yard as dry as possible – that includes limiting natural mulch. And if you do use mulch, keep it as far from the house as possible. Also, be sure to avoid having empty bowls, planters or containers of any kind sitting around the yard.
- If you want to eradicate wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, bees, etc., then create a homemade trap by cutting a two-liter bottle in half. Turn the top over and set it inside the bottom of the bottle and then fill the bottom 1/4 of the bottle with sugar/honey water. Then pour dish soap into the trap as a poison to kill what you have trapped.
- If you have a compost pile, make sure to keep it sealed in order to discourage flies.
- Keep your lawn trimmed short to discourage ticks and so that you can see any ant colonies as soon as possible.
In the end, vigilance is the most important aspect of home pest control. The biggest issue with that, however, is that you have a life and cannot spend all of your time looking out for pests. That is why so many people choose professional pest control services to shoulder the burden.
Professional pest control companies know exactly what to do in order to get rid of any creepy crawlies, as well as what to do in order to keep them away – and can do so while allowing you to go about your life.
If you have dealt with any critter problems or want to ensure that you can keep things as pest-free as possible, it might be worth it to contact a professional and at least get a quote as to what it would take to protect your home.
Zone has been serving homes throughout north Georgia for more than 20 years and knows how to keep families happy and pest free. And we are happy to talk with you and show you just what we can do to put your fears to rest. Call us any time at 770-904-5432.