Atlanta Pest Control: New Methods and Innovations

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Raccoons - mother and baby
Charlotte is a lovely spider. Mickey is a super cool mouse. 
But let’s face it—the spiders and mice that can infest a home these days aren’t quite that sweet or fabulous. In fact, insects and wildlife can actually make your life as a homeowner pretty miserable. Fortunately, pest control specialists have a variety of innovative resources available to help you not only rid your home of unwanted creepy-crawlies and furry creatures, but also to prevent them from returning. 
The key is knowing what you are dealing with and how you can eliminate the offenders in the most safe and effective way possible. And in Metro Atlanta, those offenders can include everything from termites, mosquitoes and ants to mice, rats and squirrels. 
 
Termites
“Termites can cause thousands of dollars of damage in addition to the cost of the treatment once they are found,” notes Jared Akin of MosquitoNix. “They eat 24 hours a day, seven days a week—meaning that they can cause damage very quickly.” Unfortunately, many homeowners “do not think about termites until they are a problem.” And homeowners’ insurance typically does not cover termite damage. That’s why prevention is the best defense against these small yet destructive insects. 
“One of the most recent innovations in termite control is Sentricon with Always Active, which provides 24/7/365 protection with bait in the ground at all times,” says Kevin VanHook of Arrow Exterminators. Stations are installed around the perimeter of your home, and bait is immediately available to termites when they enter them. The bait is always available and it will eliminate termite colonies and prevent future invasions. 
He continues, “This technology is the most revolutionary change in termite control since the launch of the Sentricon System.” It also is a green pest control option, as it uses only a few grams of active ingredient and poses no hazard to groundwater and is pet-safe. It also is registered under the Reduced Pesticide Initiative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.    
 
Mosquitoes
Summer in Georgia wouldn’t be the same without mosquitoes. (It certainly would be better, though!) Not only are these little bloodsuckers annoying, but they also can transmit deadly diseases, observes Brian Lunsford, of Inspect-All Services. In addition to eradicating standing water from around your home, a newer option for homeowners is an outdoor residential mosquito misting system. 
“Oddly enough, the automated misting systems are still relatively unknown to the average consumer,” Akin says. “The system is installed similar to an irrigation system. Nozzles are placed every 10 feet around the perimeter you would like protected, and all tubing is buried out of site.” A standalone, diluted reservoir holds the pesticide and sprays a fine mist for 45 seconds, three times a day, seven days a week. 
The insecticides used vary and minimal-risk pesticides can be employed. In any case, the systems are effective. These systems can deliver up to a 98 percent reduction in mosquito population, and they even cut down on fleas, ticks, white flies, spiders and gnats. (Talk to your installer about pet safety guidelines.)
 
Spiders, Ants and Roaches
Traditional pesticides often are the first line of defense against such bugs as spiders, ants and roaches. “Chemical and granular barriers can both help keep pests out of homes,” Lunsford reveals. “We also remind homeowners to take additional steps such as trimming bushes and trees near their home, cleaning out gutters and more.” 
For those homeowners who would like to pursue other options, a newer trend with professional pest companies is the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs. 
This long-term, ecological approach focuses on preventing insects from entering a residence, as opposed to simply eliminating them once they are there. The practice begins with identifying the pests that are in a landscape, finding their source and using comprehensive information about their life cycle and interaction with the environment to bring those populations to an acceptable level. 
Then tactics like caulking cracks in a home are used to create a barrier around a residence. When necessary, Reduced Risk products can be used as well. Lunsford explains, “Reduced Risk products are designed to have low impact on human health, lower toxicity to non-targeted organisms, low potential for groundwater contamination, low use rates, low pest resistance potential and are compatible with IPM practices.” 
 
Rats and Mice
“Rats and mice are some of the most troublesome and damaging rodents in the United States,” Lunsford asserts. “They eat and contaminate food, damage structures and property and transmit parasites and diseases to animals and humans.” VanHook adds that while roof rats were not found in many southern states 20 years ago, they now are “one of the most frequent home invaders, along with Norway rats. Like all rodents, these rats reproduce very quickly, making them nearly impossible to control once there is an infestation.” What’s worse, some rodents can enter your home through a void the size of a dime. 
So prevention is critical. “The best way to rid a home of wildlife and prevent recurrence is to make all necessary repairs to structure to prevent wildlife from entering,” explains Stewart Cloud, director of wildlife services for Skyline Pest Solutions. All large gaps should be covered with metal materials, and any vulnerable spots—where rats could sit and chew or use the construction of a home to gain easy access—should be reinforced with metal as well. 
Of course, traps are necessary if rats and mice do get in. Some homeowners opt for snap traps or glue (sticky) traps that use bait or poison. And while other homeowners may want  to use live traps for living creatures, Cloud reveals, “In some situations, lethal traps are considered humane. It depends on how the lethal traps kill the problem animals.” 
 
Squirrels and Raccoons
When a squirrel or raccoon makes a nest in your attic, a live trap is a great way to capture the animal. As VanHook explains, the captured wildlife is then relocated to a non-populated area. And technology has made it easier for experts to do their job. “There are several types of traps that are connected to Bluetooth devices which can allow remote monitoring of traps,” Cloud says. “This can reduce unnecessary visits to a job and save on time, gas and efforts.” While there are still issues to overcome with the new technology–it certainly is an interesting addition to the process!
In some cases, the best option may not be to trap a squirrel or raccoon that has gotten inside, but to make sure that if it leaves its nest, it can’t return. “One option is the use of an Excluder, which is a one-way door placed at the point where the wildlife is gaining access to the home,” VanHook says. “When the animal ventures outside, a spring-loaded door drops behind them so that they are unable to get back in the home.” With this option, it’s important to ensure that all other holes or gaps are already closed and covered so there really is no entry point available. (In some homes, excluders are being used to eliminate bat infestations—another problem that can occur in the Metro Atlanta area.)
“Pests, including insects and wildlife, have long been a threat to the quality of life we all enjoy due to their ability to damage property, transmit diseases and spread bacteria. That will never change,” VanHook concludes. “However, there will continue to be advances in the available technology that we use to protect our customers’ families, homes and businesses while caring for our environment.” 
 
DRIVEN BATTY?
Bats are one of the most common critter problems Atlanta homeowners face. So we asked David Seeveld of  Bats in the Attic to share some of his customers’ frequently asked questions. David is a humane bat removal expert. And remember, bats who live outside our homes are our friends. They eat pesky mosquitos. They can even help spread seeds for certain kinds of trees! 
Why do bats like to live in attics? 
Buildings and attics in particular, provide a warm, dry, safe space to live in and raise baby bat pups. An attic is sort of like a cave – but even better, because it’s protected from predators, and high off the ground, making entry and exit easy.
What problems do bats cause when they live in a building? 
Most people notice the odor first. If the colony is large enough, people also notice the noise they make. They are generally harmless animals and they don’t chew on wires like rodents do. The main problem they cause is that they excrete a lot of waste. 
Can I kill the bats with some sort of poison or fumigant? 
Absolutely not! Aside from being illegal, every attempt I’ve seen has resulted in disaster for the property owner. Why even attempt poisons, when a live exclusion is so much more effective (and more humane)?  
For much more information, check out their educational site: BatsInTheAttic.com
 
At What Cost?
The extent of your particular pest control issue will determine the amount you have to pay to have it managed properly. However, Jared Akin with MosquitoNix, mentions these price ranges for basic pest control options: 
• A typical pest control agreement: $350 a year (on average)
• Green pest control options: $450 to $500 per year
• Termite system startup: $600
• Annual renewal to maintain the bind on a termite system: $250 to $300
• Mosquito misting system: $2,400 and up, depending on the area being covered
 
RESOURCES:
Arrow Exterminators | ArrowExterminators.com 
Bats In The Attic | BatsInTheAttic.com
Inspect-All Services | InspectAllServices.com
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