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Category: Ants

Hurricane Season is Here… And So are More Pests!

Hurricane Season is Here!With Tropical Storm Alberto already spinning in the Gulf, it looks like we have an early hurricane season again this year. In fact, maybe we should just change the dates, as this is the 4th year in a row where we’ve had a named storm in May.

Regardless, it’s time to start checking your hurricane kit, making sure you’re prepared for any eventuality, and preparing your home in case a storm causes bugs and rodents to invade your home.

Even if we don’t get hit with a category 4 or 5 hurricane this year, the rainy season itself leads to downed trees, standing water and lusher vegetation, all of which can cause insects to multiply and seek shelter in your home – whether its damaged or not.

Water, Water, Everywhere

Of course, standing water is the first and one of the biggest concerns for Floridians. Rodent and ground level insect nests, especially fire ants mounds, flood long before our homes do, sending the various critters in search of a new place to live, even temporarily.

The added moisture in the ground and around our homes can drive ants as well as termites to take up residence in your walls. Make sure you know the difference between the two, because while ants can be annoying, termites can be extremely costly and should be dealt with immediately. In fact, if you’d like to protect your home from termites before the storm hits, check out our Termite Control and our comprehensive Term Assure 365 for the best all natural termite prevention.

The other issue with standing water, of course, is that it’s a breeding ground for mosquitoes. You’ll want to check pet bowls, planters, gutters, and trash cans & lids for standing water and get rid of it as soon as you can. Additionally, our exclusive Mosquito Protection Program™ creates No Bite Zones on your property that safely and naturally transform biting mosquitoes and their unborn children into vegans!

What You Need vs What You Want

While you need to stock up on certain items like batteries, bottled water, and non-perishable foods, you might want to limit your perishable food shopping for a few months. Take the time to clean out any spoiled or past due date food from your fridge and limit your restocking to what you need and will eat over the next 3-7 days.

Spoiled and rotting food attracts flies and rodents and if you lose power during a storm, you don’t want too much food going bad before utilities can be restored. It’s something we don’t like to think about, but it took a week to 10 days to get power restored in many areas after some of our more recent hurricanes.

Inspect Now, Save Later

Now is the time to get your home and garage fully inspected to make sure all gaps are sealed from top to bottom. In the middle of a storm is no time to discover cracks and leaks. And even if high winds don’t pull off pieces of your roof, even small gaps can let in rain as well as rats and mice.

One of the best features of our Go Green Plus 3 is the pre-treatment inspection. We’ll take a look at every access point of your home – including the ones you might not think of, like gutters, cable and phone installations, and where overhanging trees meet your eaves. We make you aware of the potential points of entry and treat them all for insect prevention.

Our Thermal Acoustical Pest Control, or TAP, is a great investment right now too. It deters rodents and insects from entering your home through the attic and roof, while safely insulating your home for cooler and quieter summers and energy saving winters. Plus, it’s fire-retardant and safe for the whole family.

You Can Never Be Too Prepared

Don’t wait to prepare for the tropical activity that happens every year in Florida. Hurricanes and even Tropical Storms are nothing to laugh at. Make sure you have an emergency survival kit on hand – you can’t rely on speeding over to Walmart or Publix when the storm threatens. FEMA recommends the following supplies to have available now:

  • Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least five days for drinking and sanitation
  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container.

Download a printable shopping list here.

After you put together your hurricane survival kit, get a head start on your pest prevention preparation;  join our happy customers from Lakewood Ranch to North Port in being as ready for the storm as you can! One of our highly trained staff will be happy to walk you through our 100% natural, safe pest solutions if you just give us a call.

La Niña to Create Significant Spring Pest Pressure

Bug Barometer Predicting The National Pest Management Association has released their annual bug barometer for the remainder of 2018 – and into 2019 for us on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

There are a lot of factors to try and take into account when considering what the rest of the year will hold. Much like a weather forecast, not only do scientists have to take into account the conditions in their region, but also what has been happening across the United States.

This year, La Niña brought our area unusual amounts of rain – and more snow than our neighbors were expecting as well. At the same time, it caused a milder winter for the north and southwestern areas of the country.

So, even though our winter months were unseasonably cold, the wetter weather here, as well as in Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico means that we’ll see just as many, if not more, mosquitoes as the summer months approach.

More Moisture Means More Mosquitoes

Because of the wetter ground, the mosquito life cycle will appear shortened as the first rains of summer allow eggs laid late in the year to hatch instead of having the extra time between rains.

We can also expect more termites and cockroaches as they were driven by the cold and lack of food up north down into our area and have already started to multiply. Thankfully, we can expect to see fewer ants – at least at first. The warmer winter in the Southwest kept them alive, but also means they have begun to spread sooner, and colonies may begin heading our way.

So What Does That All Mean?

All of these signs point to clear indicators that we’ll soon see the bug pressure rise. If you’d like to keep your blood pressure from rising with it, why not get a head start on the typically bug-filled summer months by beginning our Go Green Plus 3 year-round treatment for your home and exterior?

We start with a thorough outside inspection of your property – checking for and treating your foundation, soffits, entry points, landscape beds, tree bases, fire-ant mounds, and wasp nests with our 100% safe, all natural pest protection service. Then, we’ll come back at least once every 4 months to renew the treatment and make sure your home is safe from the creepy crawlies, as well as the harsh chemicals some other pest control companies use.

Many of our customers in Bradenton, Sarasota and Port Charlotte also opt for TermAssure 365. It combines our trademark Go Green Plus 3 with our world class termite protection – the best coverage you can get for your home. If you’d like more details on either one or hear more about our commitment to organic pest solutions, just give us a call!

Give the Gift of a Pest-Free Home This Christmas

Give the Gift of a Pest-Free HomeThanksgiving was only last week, and with it, the 2 busiest shopping weeks of the year: Black Friday (and Thanksgiving itself for many retailers), Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday – or is it Cyber Week? – finishing off with Giving Tuesday.

Some reports are saying that Americans spent up to $17 Billion, on discounted TV’s, video games, clothes and other (presumably) Christmas presents. $17 Billion.

Here’s some other numbers to consider – 90% of homes in the United States are infested with some sort of insect. It’s a little higher here in Florida, as we’re the number one worst state for bug infestations. I know, not the number one we were hoping for, is it?

That’s a LOT of Bugs!

60% of all Florida homes report infestations of ants and 27% of people believe it’s likely that they will suffer from a termite invasion. Of course, you know we have a saying here at Good News Pest Solutions: “There are two kinds of homes in Florida, those who have termites and those who will get termites.

And that’s not just our sales pitch – researchers at the University of Florida found that more than half of all buildings in Florida will have subterranean termites by 2040 – and it already costs homeowners in the state more than $500 Million a year in damages from existing termites.

So, perhaps instead of getting that great new 3D 4K 1080p television at Walmart that you’ll give away when the new ones come out, you should invest in Term-Assure 365!

What’s Term-Assure 365?

What better gift for the whole family than a completely pest-free home? Year round. And it stays that way without any harsh, potentially dangerous chemicals, no leave behind bait that your kids or pets could accidentally eat; a 100%  all-natural and highly effective insect treatment.

You can get all of that with our Go Green Plus 3.

But, for just a few dollars more (and a lot less than that discount TV) you can upgrade to Term-Assure 365. The same coverage you get from Go Green Plus 3, which keeps your home and perimeter pest-free, but also world-class termite protection that can’t be matched.

We’ll perform a thorough Home Health Check Up of your entire home for termites to make sure you don’t already have a problem. Then, we’ll apply our revolutionary Go Green plus 3 interior and exterior pest control service that’s safe for the whole family and completely organic. Go Green takes care of most every creepy crawly you might encounter in Florida, from ants to spiders to cockroaches – even palmetto bugs – and more. Then, we install termite monitoring stations around the outside perimeter of your home.

Every 4 months we come back – that’s the PLUS 3! – and make sure your home is free of insects and check the termite monitoring stations. And, of course, if you happen across some insects between scheduled visits, give us a call and we’ll be right back out, lickety-split.

If evidence of termites is found, we will schedule a treatment of the outside perimeter of your home with the most effective, yet environmentally-friendly, termiticide ever invented. And we’ll continue monitoring.

It’s hard to put a price on that kind of peace of mind. And we haven’t even mentioned the warranty yet!

Did You Say Warranty?

We’re so confident about our process that we offer a $1 million termite damage repair warranty. That’s more than your homeowners insurance would cover – if it didn’t already exclude termites.

So, you can get your family a big screen TV and feel like you’re right there in the game (or Hugh Grant’s arms), or you can get your family total peace of mind. Or do both – our price really is affordable!

Give us a call today to schedule your Check Up appointment and then relax knowing your family and pets are protected and safe and you’ve found a pest control solution that will serve you for life. And if you’re already one of our Go Green Plus 3 or No Bite Zones customers – consider upgrading and adding the extra protection of Term-Assure 365.

Pest of the Month: White Footed Ants

GNPS POM White Footed AntOften mistaken by homeowners as one of species of ‘Crazy Ants,’ no one’s quite sure how the White Footed Ant arrived in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Louisiana, as well as the East Indies, but they were first identified at a tree nursery near Miami in 1986.

The Technomyrmex albipes quickly spread across Florida like they had across Japan and Indonesia 125 years earlier. They measure 2-3 millimeters long and are shades of dark brown and black. They are best separated from other ants by their pale yellow to white feet, hence the name.

Are they a problem?

White footed ants don’t bite or sting and in fact have only one defense against extinction: reproduction. It may sound funny, but it’s no joke – unlike most ant species, almost half of the white footed ant colony are reproductive females. That’s between 4,000 and a million and a half potentially pregnant ants at any time.

White footed ants also spread more readily than other ant species. Between July and August, a small percentage of winged males and females do a mating flight, copulating in mid-air, then landing and starting a new colony. The colonies also spread by budding, where a group of non-flying nestmates will set out on a road trip to found a new colony.

Why are they so annoying?

White footed ants are not known to cause any structural damage, and as mentioned earlier, they don’t bite or sting. They’re just very annoying to homeowners as they seek out sweet foods and once they’ve established themselves in an area, are difficult to get rid of.

When not dining in your sugar bowl, White footed ants tend to go foraging along branches and trunks of trees and shrubs that have nectars and/or sap-sucking insects that produce honeydew. Once a food source is located, pheromone trails are laid down, which is why you often see lines of the ants moving back and forth between food sources. And yes, into your home.

Unlike most ant species, the foragers don’t carry food back to the colony, regurgitate it or share it with others. Despite being non-fertile, these foraging ants lay what are called ‘trophic eggs,’ which the young and the fertile feed on. This method of food production also protects the colony from toxic ant baits, as only the ants eating the bait perish. Even if they survive to lay trophic eggs, the poison isn’t handed down. Oh, and White footed ants are very good at detecting and re-routing around chemical insecticides.

Where do they live?

Technomyrmex albipes – also sometimes classified as Technomyrmex difficilis – nests in trees and bushes, tree holes, under palm fronds, in loose mulch, under debris, in rain gutters, wall voids, and attics. Also, they tend to nest outside more often than inside.

So how do I get rid of them?

Sadly, it seems that white footed ants are here to stay. Once they find their way into your home, it is almost impossible to eradicate them from it, even with professional help. One thing you can do is trim trees and bushes and arrange decorative mulch so that none of them are in direct contact with your home. You can also seal any cracks or crevices that could lead into your home, like around windows, doors and where electrical, phone or cable lines enter your home or attic.

The best defense we can recommend is our Go Green Plus 3 protection. Our trained technicians inspect the interior and exterior of your property, making sure proper precautions are taken, then they treat the perimeter foundation, entry points, eaves, plant beds and trees with reduced–risk, safe, green products. And we’ll repeat the process 3 more times during the year – and return any time there’s a new problem, without any added charges.

To be doubly sure, you might also consider our Thermal Acoustical Pest (TAP) control. While its primary purpose is to refresh your attic after a rodent infestation, it also protects your attic against most other insects, including White footed ants (TAP contains boric acid, a safe chemical that is effective against them). TAP nearly pays for itself in sound-proofing and is more energy efficient insulation than the pink stuff that funny looking cat sells. And it’s fire-retardant.

If you’re having an issue with white footed ants or any other insects, give us a call today. We’ll inspect the property and give you the best options available from our array of family-friendly, 100% organic pest solutions. We’ve been taking care of our customers from Sarasota to Punta Gorda for nearly 30 years and we’d be happy to bring you into our family of satisfied clients!

Flooding & Floating Ants: What to Know & Do

Flooding and Floating AntsWhen there’s excessive rainfall and the floodwaters start to rise – like when a Hurricane like Harvey or Irma hits or approaches the Gulf Coast – everyone fights to rise above the waves and survive it. And none are more adaptive and resilient than the Red Imported Fire Ants (RIFA).

While most fire ants avoid humans unless they feel threatened, RIFA are the ones that attack anything that moves, including the 60% of Gulf Coast residents that get bitten every year, and their pets.

As the name implies, RIFA are imported from Brazil. No one’s sure just how, but they first showed up in Mobile, AL in the 1940’s and rapidly spread to 13 other states and have been found as far North as Oklahoma. They overtake and displace other species with startling regularity.

Which leads us to their latest adaptation. As early as post-Katrina (and probably earlier, but we didn’t have as much Twitter and Instagram), people posted images of huge floating rafts, made up solely of Red Imported Fire Ants.

Scientists say as soon as the ant hill starts to become immersed in water, the colony will spread out into a wide pancake shape that allows the ants to float and survive without the ants drowning, surviving until the waters recede enough for them to build a new ant hill (or at least 12 days under laboratory conditions).

The first series of ants link together in a matter of seconds by mandibles, tarsal claws, and adhesive pads on their feet to form a mass that decreases their mean density as a whole, becoming a buoyant raft, made up of 100,000 to 250,000 individual ants.

All ants are what’s known as hydrophobic. That means their bodies partially repel water, making it bead up. A group of them together can trap a whole layer of water and oxygen around their collective bodies, increasing their buoyancy.

As you can see on the short video below, posted by the Green Apple Network, the ants are moving around, active the whole time as they float down the floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey. This probably indicates that the ants move about in shifts, swapping positions so that all of them survive.

The lighter colored dots are larvae and pupae – literally the whole colony is saved.

Entomologists caution that as interesting as the ant rafts may seem, do NOT reach out and touch them by hand or even with a stick. The colony will survive even initial submersion. It will not end well for you.

However, there is a good defense against these floating mandibles of death – and it’s something easy to find – it might even be in your own kitchen.

You see, the ants survive because they cling to each other and spread out the benefits of their hydrophobic abilities. But their Achilles heel is, believe it or not, dish soap. Just like those old Dawn commercials, when a little soapy water hits the floating ant colony, it instantly breaks the ants’ grip on each other, and the makeshift raft collapses. Just make sure there isn’t any dry land they can get to easily enough, or you might get a parting shot.

There is one positive thing that is coming from the experience: scientists are hoping that they can utilize what they’ve learned from the ant rafts to develop better waterproofing and flotation devices.

Since Hurricane Irma came through, the rain will certainly rile the fire ants up, and the other place they tend to run when water starts rising is right for your house.

Protect yourself now and in the future with our Go Green Plus 3 all organic pest control that’s 100% safe for the whole family and protects your home and yard from fire ants, as well as roaches, silverfish and other crawling insects.

We protect homes all up and down the Gulf Coast of Florida, from Sarasota to North Port and we’d love to help you out too! Just give us a call to learn more.

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