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For Kids, Parents, & Teachers: Learning About Bugs!

Student learning looks a lot different during these unprecedented times. American Pest Control is a partner in education with schools across our service area and we feel strongly about the importance of education in our communities. We have compiled some great resources from pestworldforkids.org which can be used while learning from home!

Students in Pre-K and younger will enjoy these fun activities while expanding their knowledge about bugs! These coloring pages feature a paint-by-numbers style lady bug and butterfly. For a bug-themed alphabet lesson, use these coloring pages to identify insects for each letter of the alphabet.

For elementary age students who love reading, check out The Uninvited Houseguests E-book by Jo-Lynne Shane. The book is narrated by 9-year old Nate, who loves basketball almost as much as he loves his dog, Peaches. Your student can join Nate as he and his classmate, Millie, become pest detectives. Then, dive into The Pest Detectives by Susan Carraretto. In this book, Millie shows off her bug journal and shares her knowledge about the world of bugs! If your student is inspired to become a pest detective, they can use this report writing guide as a step-by-step instruction for researching and writing about a new topic.

Art-loving students will enjoy these craft projects which can be made using materials you likely already have around the house. Using paper plates and a few basic craft supplies, your student can make a movable crawling caterpillar.  Encourage your student to get creative, adding patterns and colors to the caterpillar. You can even use it as a puppet and create a story to go along with it! These bumblebee bookmarks would be a great activity to accompany a lesson about bees. Honey bees pollinate more than 100 crops in the United States, produce honey, and are essential to our environment. Using facts from the honeybee page on pestworldforkids.org, your child can learn about these important pollinators. Ants are fascinating creatures as well. Your student may be interested to know that an ant can lift 20 times its own body weight. If a second grader was as strong as an ant, they would be able to pick up a car! After checking out some ant facts, your student can create their very own ant craft using an egg carton!

Crawling Caterpillar - Critter Crafts: Insect Craft Activities for Elementary Students

When schoolroom classes resume, these lesson plans can be used by teachers in science curriculum. For students in grades K-2, this lesson plan introduces a wide variety of common pests. Students will learn about pest needs, damage, and self-protection through creating, reading, and playing. This lesson is created for students in grades 3-5 to explore native habitats and behaviors of common pests. With several visual aids and handouts, students will enjoy this deep dive into understanding the relationship between humans and pests and the limited habitat and resources shared by both. For students grades 5-8, this lesson which is broken down into two sessions focuses on classical taxonomy and how it helps scientists organize the natural world.

We hope you and your students will enjoy these learning resources. If you create any of the projects listed here, we’d love to see them! You can tag us on social media (@american_pest) or email your students’ creations to thebuzz@ampest.com

Termite Awareness Week 2020

This year, American Pest Control and the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) are working to spread public awareness about termites during Termite Awareness Week, March 8-14, 2020With spring on the horizon, termites will begin swarming and could seek out your home for their new nesting space. Because the damage from a termite infestation can easily go unnoticed, American Pest Control is educating homeowners on the top five signs that their home is infested 

 

Termites cause more damage per year than fires, floods, and hurricanes combined,” said John MillerDirector of Sales and Service. “The damage could result in costly repairs for homeowners. Many homeowners are not aware that termite damage will not be covered under a homeowners insurance policy. 

While pest professionals don’t recommend homeowner inspect their home on their own, there are a few red flags that they should look out for that could signal the presence of an infestation.  With the help from experts at NPMA, American Pest Control is sharing the top five signs that a home has termites: 

 

  1. Swarmer or Discarded Wings: Swarmers, also known as reproductives, are young female and male winged termites. In the springtime, after the last freeze, termite swarmers will emerge from their nest to mate and search for a new location to start a colony, which typically includes our homes. Termite swarmers, or their discarded wings near windowsills and doors, are often the first (and only visible) sign of a termite problem. 
  1. Mud Tubes: Subterranean termites, the most destructive termite species, build mud tubes to provide moisture while they travel between their colony and food source. Mud tubes are most often found near the home’s foundation and look like encrusted, dry dirt similar to the size of a drinking straw.  
  1. Wood Damage: Termites tend to eat wood from the inside out, so wood that sounds hollow when tapped often signifies a termite infestation. Additionally, homeowners should also look for blistering pieces of wood. 
  1. Uneven or Bubbling Paint: Uneven or bubbling paint is often a sign of moisture buildup, which could mean one of two things – water damage or termites. 
  1. Frass: Drywood termites produce wood-colored droppings as they eat through infested wood. If a homeowner finds a small pile of what looks like pellets inside or outside the home, it could be a sign of a drywood termite infestation. 

 

The best termite protection is prevention,” added Miller.  In our region, the saying goes ‘it’s not if you’ll get termites, it’s when.” 

Nuptial Flight: Ants & Termites

Termites…the arch-nemesis of homes all across America. In the South, we have a saying that goes, “it’s not if you will get termites, but when”.  Although termites live underground  ground, every spring, swarmer termites take flight in search of new places to put down roots. Swarmer termites are the reproductive members of a termite colony and have wings. These invaders typically emerge when the temperatures reach 70 degrees after a good rain. Female swarmers send out a pheromone to attract a male. Once they have found each other, they break off their wings. This symbolizes to the rest of the termite world that they are a couple and will be taking their places as king and queen of a new colony.

Termites are not alone in this nuptial flight. Ants also have winged reproductive that head out in search of a new home. There are differences, however. Swarming termites have straight antennae, a broad waist, and wings equal in size. In contrast, flying ants have elbowed antennae, a jointed waist, and unequal wings. Termite swarmers usually appear in early spring, while flying ants hang back a little and make their debut closer to summer.

If you see either of these winged bachelors and bachelorettes in or around your home, you could have a fully functioning colony nearby. Contact a pest professional to ID the pest, provide solutions to protect your home, and give you peace of mind.

 

Photo credit: https://www.thespruce.com/difference-between-ants-and-termites-2656329

We Don’t Need No Stinking…Bugs! 

Cold weather winters mean no bugs, right? Wrong, unfortunately. During colder months, your home is still susceptible to termites, increased rodent activity, spiders, and the smelliest of them all: the brown marmorated stink bug. These little stinkers aren’t harmful to humans, but have become a major problem for the agricultural industry due to the damage they can cause to crops.  

So, what is that smell? When disturbed, stink bugs secrete a smelly fluid from pores on their bodies. (It tastes bad too, but hopefully you’ll never find that out firsthand!) Some compare the scent to cilantro. To these bugs, humans are predators and when they feel threatened, they release the stink as a form of protection. Stink bugs invade our homes because they are looking for shelter from the elements, including cold weather. 


Although stink bugs don’t present a health threat to people, the fact that they look to our homes as a winter vacation spot makes them a major nuisance. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends these prevention tips to minimize the chance of a stink bug invasion:  

  1. Seal cracks around windows, doors, electrical outlets, ceiling fans and light switches to prevent stink bugs from entering the home. 
  2. Replace outdoor lighting with yellow bulbs, which are less attractive to stink bugs.  
  3. Repair damaged window screens and install door sweeps on exterior doors. 
  4. Install screens over the chimney and attic vents. 
  5. Properly ventilate basements, attics, garages and crawl spaces. Consider using a dehumidifier. 
  6. If stink bugs have already entered a home, use a vacuum cleaner to remove them. Dispose of the vacuum bag immediately to prevent odor from permeating the area. 

As always, when you spot a pest issue, call or text us to schedule a free inspection! American Pest Control would love the opportunity to partner with you to ensure a pest-free home. 

2019 Employees of the Year

American Pest Control is proud to announce their 2019 Man and Woman of the Year and Rising Star Awards. The Man and Woman of the Year awards are presented each year to employees who have exhibited the company’s core values of Honesty, Integrity, Community, Family and Quality Customer Service.

The “Doug Craft Man of the Year Award” was named after long time American Pest Control employee, Doug Craft, who has been with the company for 48 years. In his honor, this year’s Man of the Year award was presented to Jeff Perry, who has been with the company for 18 years. Jeff lives just outside of Athens in Danielsville, Georgia with his wife of 29 years. David Butler, the Operations Manager at APC, and Jeff knew each other through mutual friends. Butler told Perry about a job opening and he applied. Once he came in for an interview, they knew he was a great fit and he was hired on the spot. Jeff loves working at APC because he loves the people; both the customers and his coworkers. He likes that American Pest Control is a family-oriented business. Jeff enjoys hunting, fishing, watching NASCAR, and football. He is proud of the fact that American Pest Control has partnered with and supported his community over the years by sponsoring his son’s little league and supporting Extra Special People, a non-profit that he and many of his coworkers are passionate about. Jeff says he is “humbled and appreciative about winning the award” and finds it rewarding that he “has helped influence other people into doing the right thing and doing a good job for their customers.”

The “Kathy Hollin Woman of the Year Award” was named after American Pest Control’s Office Manager, Kathy Hollin, who has also been with the company for 48 years.  This year’s winner is Deirdre White. Deirdre has worked at American Pest Control for 24 years. She began her journey with the company when she left the medical field to pursue a new path. Her sister was working at American Pest Control at the time and told her about an opening. Deirdre has been with the company since then. She is from Oglethorpe County and currently resides there with her cats and two pet roosters. She loves open land and the quietness of country life.  Deirdre says that her favorite thing about her job is the family connection at the company. She says it is great to work for a company that really cares about the employees. Deirdre enjoys shopping and crafting in her free time and loves making anything with a hot glue gun, ribbon and glitter. She also has a heart for animals and is honored to be part of a company that supports that cause through various non-profits in the community like AthensPets and The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia.

The “Rising Star Award” is a new award at American Pest Control. This award was created to recognize employees who have been employed three years or less and represent American Pest Control well by exemplifying the company’s core values. The inaugural winners for the Rising Star Award this year are Logan Bookwalter and Jenna Smith. Logan has been with the company for almost two years as a Universal Technician. In that time, he has set records on performance and been an example for new employees. Logan is from Hart County, where he lives with his wife. He enjoys being outdoors, fishing and golf. Logan is passionate about building relationships with his customers and loves being part of the American Pest Control family.

 

Jenna Smith was also a recipient of the Rising Star Award. Jenna has been with American Pest Control for almost three years. She is a Training and Development Specialist and her favorite part of her job is being able to arm new employees with everything they need to succeed while welcoming them to the APC family.  Jenna is from Oglethorpe County and now lives in Athens with her husband. She enjoys reading and spending time with her family. Jenna is grateful to be a part of the APC family and work for a company that supports The Tree House, a local non-profit that supports families who have struggled with abuse.

The award winners were announced at a company-wide meeting held during 4th quarter of 2019. American Pest Control is grateful for these outstanding employees who, along with the entire staff, contribute to the long-running success of the company.

Termite Insurance: What You Need to Know

 

So you bought a house, now what? As you probably know by now, there is a laundry list of things to do as a new homeowner. Securing homeowners’ insurance, changing your addressgetting to know your new neighbors and HOA, replacing locks and filtersThen there are the fun things like picking out your paint colors, decorating the space, and settling into your new home. But the list doesn’t end there, because termites aren’t covered by your homeowners’ insurance policy.  Termites cause more damage annually than all floods, fires, hurricanes and earthquakes combined and yet they’re not covered by homeowners insurance policiesYep. If those hungry little bugs decide to feast on your home for their next meal, chances are it won’t be covered.  

 The ugly truth of it is that termites have cost homeowners an estimated 5 billion dollars per year in the United States. Especially in the South, where conditions are usually perfect for termite activity because of the warm, wet climate. In our region the saying goes, “It’s not if you’ll get termites, it’s when”. At American Pest Control, our goal is to educate homeowners about termites: how and why they get to your house, and how to protect your investment when they come knocking on your door for their next meal. Basically, termites are blind and find food by randomly foraging. They’re not afraid of a little hike, either, so if there’s a colony within around 100 yards of your home, your structure could be at risk. Once they find a food source, the worker termites take it back to their colony and share it with the soldiers and their queen. If your home is surrounded by a termite bait system like Sentricon, when they take the food (bait) back to their colony, they will all be eliminated. That’s why the product works! Because it’s totally based on termite biology.   

There are a few things you can do as a homeowner in addition to having your home inspected by a pro and treated. Termites only need a crack of one-sixty-fourth inch to get in, so it would be hard to guarantee that they can’t get through but you can reduce openings by filling cracks in cement foundations or where utilities pass through the wall. Fix leaks and make sure vents aren’t blocked to reduce moisture content, don’t store firewood and debris next to the house, and don’t let trees and shrubs grow against exposed wood surfaces. Most importantly, termite protection is not one of the projects you’ll want to DIY. The pros know where to look and what signs to keep an eye out for, so get a free inspection and find out what else you can be doing to protect your home. Many companies offer warranties, so before signing a contract for a treatment, make sure that the termite insurance has a lifetime warranty and doesn’t require an additional deductible if activity or damage is found after the treatment. 

 

If you haven’t had your home inspected, give us a call. We’d love the chance to partner with you in protecting your biggest investment. You can check out what our customers have to say about us here and call or text us at 706-546-1490 to schedule a free inspection.  

 

 

What’s the Buzz: Quality Pro

Quality Pro is the pest management industry’s leading credentialing program. In the United States, only 1% of pest control companies are accredited by Quality Pro. American Pest Control is one of those companies.

 

In order to become accredited, pest management companies must meet sixteen standards. These include things like drug testing, background testing and motor vehicle reports. These requirements ensure that any pest professional who enters a customer’s home meet the expectations of excellence. When you choose a company that is Quality Pro accredited, you are getting the best professionals available.

 

American Pest Control has been Quality Pro Accredited for 10 years. In this time, they have earned additional accreditation including Quality Pro Green, and Quality Pro Schools. These levels two require even more standards and training that must be met.  The core values that American Pest Control was founded on are honesty, integrity and good customer service. The Quality Pro standards of excellence align with those values. This means that as an accredited pest management company, American Pest Control is name you can trust, and the experts you can count on.

 

🎉🎵Happy Birthday to APC!🎵🎉

American Pest Control was founded in 1971 by Mr. Gene Higginbotham, an Oconee County native. Mr. Higginbotham worked for a national chain pest control company for several years, travelling with his family to work in cities across the US. After climbing the ranks within the company, he became more disappointed with their lackluster attitude toward customer service and decided to branch out on his own. He and his family returned to Athens, GA and American Pest Control was born. Kathy Hollin and Doug Craft joined him soon after he opened the company’s doors on November 15th, 1971 and remain employed with the company to this day. The first location was on Atlanta Highway just across the street from the Georgia Square Mall. In the 1980s, the building which still serves as the company’s headquarters was constructed at 3145 Atlanta Highway.

Rare Sighting of Drywood Termites in Athens, GA

Termites are a common threat to homes in the South, with Eastern Subterranean termites being the most common in Northeast Georgia. American Pest Control has been servicing homes in the area since 1971 and their technicians are highly trained in insect identification. When 2018 Technician of the Year, Andy Deutsch, spotted a drywood termite in the Five Points area of Athens, he knew he had encountered something different. With the assistance of termite manager and long-time employee, David Butler and Dr. Brian Forschler of the UGA Entomology department, the insect was positively identified as a West Indian drywood termite. After discovering the infestation, Andy noted “I was absolutely shocked to find the species in this part of Georgia, especially being a structural infestation and not just in a piece of furniture.”

American Pest Control Hosts Tax Day Event

Nothing is certain but death and taxes. American Pest Control hosted a termite memorial service on Tax Day as part of the Sentricon™ Deader than Dead national tour. “We were honored to be included in Sentricon’s national tour to increase termite awareness” said Laurie Higginbotham, President and CEO of American Pest Control.

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