Pest Advice Blog

Dear Termites, Why My House?

Termites are far more active in the south than in any other part of the country, namely due to the hot, humid weather and an abundance of wooden foundation elements found in homes unique to that area.

subterranean termites
Termites, especially subterranean termites, are Atlanta’s biggest threat where around 1 in every 8 homes has or has had a termite problem. Not only is this a consideration for current homeowners, but it also presents an additional element of concern for those wishing to purchase a home. Previous homeowners may not even be aware that they are leaving behind a termite problem and new homeowners may be faced with inheriting this issue unless proper inspections have been performed.

Developed by the US Forest Service several years ago, Termite Infestation Probability Zones (TIP Zones) estimate termite activity throughout the country and areas that are more susceptible than others, especially when it comes to the common subterranean termites. Southern and Southeastern states such as Georgia are some of the most heavily affected areas (TIP Zone # 1). The TIP Zones map is used by several agencies such as The US Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the International Code Council that utilizes the map to determine building code requirements for subterranean termite prevention.

TIP Zone

More than just a nuisance pest, Termites represent a real economic impact to homeowners as infestations can go undetected for long periods of time, reaching a level of destruction that can be quite costly. Since termites are considered structural pests, meaning they are known to invade and eat wood structures, it is particularly important for homeowners to be vigilant to their immediate surroundings, as well as consistent with their pest control treatments.

Truly Nolen Atlanta understands the challenges that Atlanta residents face and are specifically trained to inspect, monitor and treat any signs of termite infestation.

Trees and wood and termites, oh my!

Known for its vibrant and trendy downtown area as well as options to pursue more nature-inspired expeditions, Atlanta is a true hot spot for visitors and residents alike to enjoy a variety of activities. The city features an array of entertainment options, but the true beauty of the state lies in its topography, boasting an assortment of plants and flowers, and over 250 types of trees seen growing all throughout.

Sprawling landscapes meet urban development in a unique blend of what makes Atlanta special. Unfortunately, it is also this characteristic that accounts for one of the highest levels of termite activity in the country. Homes and commercial properties are intermingled with dense areas of trees and nestled within the wood laden forests of Georgia. With Atlanta homes in such close proximity to densely populated areas of trees; it is inevitable that homeowners will never cease to experience problems with termites whose favorite meal includes anything made of wood.

Termite Damage Statistics:

  • It’s estimated that termites and similar pests cause $30 billion in damage to crops and man-made structures in the U.S. each year.
  • A homeowner who discovers termites will spend an average of $3,000 to repair the termite damage.
  • Termites damage approximately 600,000 homes in the U.S. each year.
  • U.S. residents spend an estimated $5 billion annually to control termites and repair termite damage.
  • Experts estimate Georgia residents spend between $200 million and $300 million each year to control and repair subterranean termite damage.

Types of Termites Found in Georgia

Though each species of termites have specific ways in which they are destructive to homes, their common trait include consuming cellulose, found in wood and wood products. Different types of termites also swarm at specific times of the day, as well as between certain months of the year.

  • Eastern Subterranean – Early swarmers that are seen between February and May and will usually swarm during the day.
  • Formosan Termite – Late swarmers that come out at night.
  • Tropical rough-headed Drywood Termite – Late spring to summer, swarms at night.
  • Dark Southeastern Termite – During the day between March and June.
  • Southeastern Drywood –Swarms during the night all throughout spring.

What makes Atlanta Homes so appealing to Termites?

Wood destroying insects (a.k.a. Termites!) are particularly drawn to homes in Atlanta for a variety of reasons. In addition to the warm, humid climatic conditions that make it ideal for termites to swarm, certain features that are unique to Atlanta homes also make for favorable conditions for overzealous termite activity:

  • Wooden siding, porches and decking
  • Crawl spaces beneath most homes
  • Basements and attics
  • An affinity for wood design elements such as fences, outdoor storage sheds and more
  • Storage of firewood in and outside of the home
  • Wooden roof shingles on older homes

While Atlanta residents are busy enjoying their city, calling your Truly Nolen Atlanta pest professional for a free termite inspection can prevent termites from invading and enjoying your home! Contact us today to learn more on how we can keep your Atlanta home pest free.

604 Walks to End Lupus

For the last two years 9 of our service offices from various Florida locations have participated in the annual ‘Walk to End Lupus” at the Lowery Park Zoo in Tampa. Truly Nolen’s involvement with the event has personal resonance as District Sales Trainer, Ed Henry’s, wife Michelle was diagnosed with Lupus three years ago. This year there were roughly 150 employees/family members supporting Michelle, with the common goal of raising both money and awareness to combat Lupus. “Michelle’s Mob”, our affectionately named group, was sporting specially designed Truly Nolen Lupus designed in-house by our own Mike Vialapando. Thank you for letting us be a small anchor of support Michelle.

Termites Are Swarming: What You Need To Know!

As we move further into spring and eventually transition into the summer months, termite activity will increase in the form of termite swarms. Unfortunately, the presence of swarms does not mean that termites are just now showing up in your immediate environment. Often referred to as “the silent destroyer” termites are generally present throughout the year, but homeowners may only be aware of them once the swarms are visible. An infestation may already exist been taking place, potentially causing damage to your home.

What Is a Termite Swarm?

Termites
Termites can enter the structure of your home and remain undetected for extended periods of time. Subterranean termites are especially skilled at creating mud tunnels that twist and wind their way through your house. These tunnels allow colonies to gain access to your home, where they can grow and develop over time.

As the colonies grow and become over crowded, or if there is a shortage of food, the laws of nature dictate that it is time to find new areas to colonize, essentially forcing the displacement of many of these termites. These mature colonies will produce reproductive termites that are winged, enabling them to fly and seek out other spaces to inhabit. These “swarmers” or winged termites, can often be confused with flying ants, or even mosquitoes to the untrained eye.

Although the primary responsibility of termite swarmers is to reproduce and create new colonies, many will not survive as they may fall victim to other predators or the elements. This may account for the vast numbers that leave the colony all at once, giving a good indication of the size and development of the colony.

When and Where Termites Swarm

Termite
Swarmers will leave the colonies in large droves, and prefer to fly on warm days. The warm weather makes the spring season the optimal time for this to occur with peak periods between May and June. Certain types of termites are more prone to swarming during the day while others will swarm at night.

With indoor termite swarms, worker termites will create small, exit holes in door or window frames, baseboards, walls or any wooden structure. This allows the swarmers to exit and continue on their search for livable space. Swarmers typically gravitate toward windows or doors where light comes in, if they are unsuccessful in reaching the outdoors they will die within hours. Homeowners may notice small piles of insects or sometimes just their wings, around the window sills or furniture.

For swarms occurring outside, homeowners will observe large clusters of small, winged termites with swarming time lasting about 30 minutes in any one location.

Signs of Infestation

Observing the evidence of a termite swarm both indoors or outdoors should prompt homeowners to look for additional signs of a termite infestation. Since these low profile insects will work inside wood or underground, they are not always easy to spot. In other instances, termites can leave behind obvious signs that they have been inhabiting a space for quite some time.

Common signs of termite infestations:

  • Discarded wings- after a termite swarm, swarmers will shed their wings after taking flight
  • Fecal Matter –Small piles of fecal matter may be left behind, particularly by Drywood termites.
  • Mud tubes – made from wood and soil, subterranean termites are experts at tunneling their way into your home through mud tubes, designed to protect them and provide ease of entry.
  • Wood damage- although internal wood damage caused by termites goes unnoticed until it has progressed to a more destructive level , keeping an eye on visible areas of the home that are made of wood, can be helpful for early detection.

Termite Tips

Homeowners are encouraged to be aware and observant of evidence of termites in order to catch any brewing infestations. :

  • Annual Inspection by a state-licensed termite inspector will look for signs of previous and active infestations as well as conditions conducive for new infestations
  • Taking careful note of the evidence from an indoor termite swarm (such as broken termite wings near window sills or doorways) can be useful in determining where the infestation may be lurking.
  • As in the case of older homes, knowing the history of the home, including previous termite problems, is helpful in keeping a professional termite inspection top of mind.
  • Any additional structure built onto the house requires special attention. Termites can use the gaps and spaces in between concrete pads to travel and set up their colonies.
  • Mud tunnels found on the exterior walls of the home are also a good indication that an infestation is nearby.

Termites are currently swarming now in Southwest and Central Florida as well as throughout Arizona. Contact your Truly Nolen termite expert as soon as possible to schedule a thorough inspection to accurately identify the type of termite at hand, as well as the most effective treatment application needed.

Accurately identifying and treating a termite infestation is best handled by a trained and licensed termite professional. Your Truly Nolen professional can provide a free home inspection and customized treatment options that are just right for you. Through Truly’s Total Termite Protection Plan SM, homeowners are covered for protection from all types of termites under a single contract. Call Truly Nolen today to schedule your free inspection and discuss how we can help you keep your home termite free!

Truly Nolen of Brandon, FL Does the Annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Walk

Branch manager,Nate Blankenship, takes personal reverence with the annual Muscular Dystrophy Association walk. Nate’s wife battles MD, and each year with Truly Nolen her and a team fund raise for MD research. This year our team took home awards for: having the largest team, highest amount of money raised, and winning the fire truck pulling contest for the second consecutive year! 

Spring into Swarms: Prepare your Atlanta Home for Termite Season

Spring time in Atlanta, Georgia is truly the ideal time of the year to enjoy the many outdoor activities that the city has to offer. Warm sunshine and cool breeze invigorates the whole city and breathes new life into nature. Although this great weather can encourage homeowners to spend most of their days out of the house, it is important to remember that while you are out and about, pest problems may be lurking on the inside of your home.

Termite swarm
While pest control should be addressed 365 days of the year, changes in the seasons means that different pests can be more active during one season and more dormant during others. In the case of termites, spring is the optimal time for them to swarm and infest new areas. Properly preparing your home to prevent termite damage is key to weathering the swarm. Truly Nolen of West Atlanta, GA outlines special concerns for Atlanta homes, paying close attention to areas in the home more susceptible to damage such as crawl spaces, attics, basements, chimneys and any wooden structure that may be attached to, or near to your home.

Why Do Termites Swarm?

Found throughout most of the United States, termites are particularly prevalent in the South East, with Atlanta claiming one of the top hot spots for termite infestations. In particular, subterranean termites are the most common type, making a name for themselves in many Atlanta homes. Drawn to moisture, subterranean termites will build their nests in wet wood, as well as underground, hence the name “subterranean.” Winding their way through tunnels in the soil, subterranean termites are on the search for wooden structures in any form, as this contains cellulose, which is the primary basis of their diet. Trees, decaying woods, branches and other wood elements don’t stand a chance against these voracious eaters. Unfortunately, many of these wooden elements can also be found near to or attached to your home, making them the perfect gateway for termites to enter.

Should termites find their way into your home and establish their colonies, there will come a time when these colonies will become overcrowded or these termites will be on the search for new areas to inhabit. When this happens, “swarmers” or winged termites will emerge and swarm, indicating the start of the termite reproductive cycle. These swarmers have the primary responsibility of taking flight in order to reproduce, in turn creating new colonies away from its current environment.

Areas of Concern in Atlanta Homes & How to Prepare

With much of Atlanta surrounded heavily by trees, combined with the wooden architecture and construction design elements of most Atlanta homes, there are many opportunities for these wood destroying insects to enter the home and wreak havoc. Termite infestations can be a tremendous financial drainage for homeowners who are not aware of a problem until it is too late. This is also a consideration for those wishing to buy or sell their properties, as undiscovered termite problems can damage property values and affect pending transactions.

Residents in Atlanta are advised to be particularly aware of certain areas in the home that are more prone to termite infestations. By being cognizant of these areas, homeowners can be proactive in scheduling regular inspections from a trained Truly Nolen pest control expert. In addition, homeowners can also take steps to help deter termites from wreaking havoc in their home.

Areas that are susceptible to termite damage include:

  • Crawl Spaces – Construction elements that are found in crawl spaces can be cellulose in nature, thus providing ample bait for termites to forage. Also, crawl spaces are prone to excessive moisture if not properly ventilated, making them an ideal environment for termites to flourish.
    How to Prepare: Ensure that all crawl spaces are inspected for insufficient ventilation, being sure to address this sooner than later. Proper ventilation decreases the humidity factor, where termites tend to thrive.
  • Basements – Close to the ground, basements can serve as an entry point for termites due to issues with moisture and its proximity to the soil.
    How to prepare: Ensure that all window frames or doorways in the basement are properly sealed and caulked. Proper insulation, as well as maintaining adequate temperatures allow for less moisture in the air and can also deter termites.
  • Chimneys – With chimneys having a direct route to the exterior of the home, as well as the presence of chopped firewood, termites can find their way inside.
    How to prepare: Routinely check firewood for signs of termites and store at least 20 feet away from the house if possible.
  • Attics – Old, wooden exposed beams in the attic can provide the perfect place for termites to get their fill.
    How to prepare: For older homes in particular, a professional attic inspection can reveal any signs of damaged or rotting beams that may be in need of repair.
  • Porches/Decks – Generally constructed of wood, termites are notorious for doing damage as exposed porches and decks are prone to weathering from natural elements such as rain or snow.
    How to prepare: Regularly apply protecting sealants to help keep moisture from infiltrating the wood. This will ensure that your deck lasts longer, as well as provide a barrier between the wood and water, keeping termites at bay.
  • Wooden sheds –Outdoor wooden sheds can find themselves under attack since they are prone to getting wet.
    How to prepare: At the first sign of rotting wood, replace or repair the damaged area to avoid giving termites an easy meal. Applying insecticide, or painting the exterior of the shed can also help discourage termites.
  • Wooden siding- With cracks and creases to hide in, wooden siding is often a source of termite infestation in most Atlanta homes.
    How to prepare: Ideally, siding should start at a minimum of 6 inches from the ground to avoid wood to soil contact.
  • Wooden fencing – In direct contact with the soil, untreated wooden fencing makes it easy for termites to crawl up and do damage to the fence itself, as well as to adjoining structures.
    How to prepare: Addressing any signs of decaying wood is the first step in keeping your wooden fence termite free. It can also be helpful to paint the fence, as this will create an additional barrier to the wood.

Since termite infestations can often go unnoticed for a period of time, it is important for residents in Atlanta to schedule home inspections on a regular basis. Consistently monitoring and treating your home will ensure that termites do not have a chance to enter, and any existing problems are dealt with safely and efficiently by your trained service professional.

Your Truly Nolen West Atlanta professional can provide a free home inspection and customized treatment options that are just right for you. Through Truly’s Total Termite Protection Plan℠, homeowners are covered for protection from all types of termites. Call Truly Nolen today at 404-939-7277 to schedule your free inspection and discuss how we can help you keep your home termite free this spring!


© 2015 Truly Nolen, Inc. All rights reserved. Toll-Free 800-GO-TRULY • Email info@trulymail.net