Pest Advice Blog

Roach Identification: A Closer Look at the other Atlantian Natives

Atlanta is a great city to live in. There are beautiful parks, a vibrant city life, and a great culture. Unfortunately in the middle of all that good, we won’t deny that there are pests. And we have to share our lovely city with them. The most prevalent pest here in Atlanta would have to be Cockroaches.

The disease carrying pests that infect our homes and spread bacteria have made themselves comfortable in many Atlanta area homes. There are thousands of different species of cockroaches living around the world. Here in Atlanta, we deal with 4 different species including the German, American, Brown Banded, and Oriental cockroaches.

German Roach

German Roach
The German Roach is a light to medium brown with two dark parallel stripes that run from its head to its pronotum. They breed year round and will produce 30-40 eggs in one sack. A roach can produce a new sack every 28 days, giving off roughly 390-520 new roaches every year. Three months after an egg hatches, a female can begin laying her own sack. Now imagine how many roaches they can create. Although the German Roach has wings, it can barely fly though it might glide when disturbed. The German Roach is attracted to meats, sugars, starches, and fatty foods.

American Roach

American Roach
The American Roach is often referred to as a palmetto bug. American Roaches are the largest species of common cockroach, growing to an average size of 4cm. They are reddish brown and have a yellowish margin on the body region behind the head. American Roaches travel quickly and have large compound eyes with 2,000 individual lenses that shun light, allowing them to be very active at night. Adult cockroaches can live up to a year with females producing an average of 150 eggs during that time. American Roaches eat a great variety of food and materials such as cheese, leather, bakery products, glue, plant materials, starch and soiled clothing.

Brown Banded Cockroach

The Brown Banded cockroach is a small species of cockroach measuring about 5/8 inches long. It is tan to light brown and has two light-colored bands across the wings and abdomen. These roaches prefer warmer, drier and higher conditions than other roaches. They are fully developed in 95 days and will begin producing egg sacks containing 20 eggs. These roaches eat starches, cheese, and other organic matter including decaying matter.

Oriental Cockroach

Oriental Roach
The Oriental Cockroach is a large species, with adult males measuring 18-29 mm and females being 20-27 mm. They are dark brown to black in color and have a glossy body. The Oriental Roach travels slower than other species and are often called water bugs since they prefer dark, moist places. They can be found around decaying matter, sewers, drains, basements, and other damp areas. The female will lay sacks with 16-18 eggs in them at a time. They hatch within 42 days in warm weather.

Cockroaches are dangerous to our health. They can transfer bacteria from rotten food, decaying matter, and other sources into our homes. Roaches can cause asthma issues and can spread disease. Without the assistance of a pest professional, cockroaches are very hard to get rid of because of how quickly they reproduce.

Contact Truly Nolen Atlanta to find out how we can help take care of your pest problem beginning with a free pest inspection!

Pests in Hamilton

Hamilton residents are confronted by a variety of pests. Rainy weather can bring millipedes, earwigs, and pillbugs indoors. Rodents such as mice are also moving indoors this season looking for a dry and safe place. Here are some common pests that are currently affecting the Hamilton area.

Brown Recluse Spider

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Brown recluse spiders are usually between 6-20 mm and are typically a light to medium brown color. Each female will produce several egg sacs over a period of two to three months, usually in the spring. Each sac contains roughly fifty eggs and will hatch within a month. Brown recluse spiders are resilient and can tolerate up to six months of extreme drought or absence of food.

Brown recluse spiders build asymmetrical webs frequently found in basements, garages, closets, woodpiles, sheds, and other dry places.

Mayfly

Mayfly, or shadfly, is a fragile, soft-bodied insect found in Canada. Eggs are often deposited in clean, flowing water with a larval phase lasting from a few months to two years, depending on the species. The adult phase is short-lived, lasting from a few minutes to a few days, depending on the species. Most species feed on algae or diatoms. They are common in the Hamilton area.

Carpenter Ants

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Carpenter ants are considered destructive pests in Canada. Two common species of carpenter ants found in Canada are Modoc and Vicinus. Modoc’s are all black with rusty red legs. Vicinus have a black head, rusty red thorax and black abdomen. Carpenter ants vary in size and can be as small as a quarter inch or as large as three quarters of an inch.

Carpenter ants establish their nest in decaying wood, but once established the ants extend their tunneling into sound wood, causing considerable damage to the structure. When colonies grow larger and need room to expand, satellite colonies are established. These satellite colonies are often found in nearby structures that offer warm protection.

As the weather begins to warm up in Hamilton, it is important to prepare for the pests that will inevitably be trying to find refuge in your home. Contact your local Truly Nolen pest professional for a consultation and to discuss your home’s unique needs.

Spring Showers Bring Pests – What to Look Out for This Season

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The onset of spring means fresh air, flowers in bloom, and warm weather ahead. It also means high pest activity as the warmer temperatures awaken new life and bring pests out of hibernation. Although different pests are a problem throughout the varying seasons, spring is considered peak pest time as eggs that were laid over winter begin to hatch, as well as an increase in mating habits for many pests.

No matter the time of year or the season at hand, Truly Nolen’s Four Season approach is designed to adapt to the changing needs of pest control. Treatment methods are designed to specifically target current pest activity taking into consideration that pest behavior changes throughout the year.

Common Spring Pests

Termites

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Termites are one of the more invasive pests during the spring season as they are busy during this time establishing new colonies. “Swarmers”, the reproductive termites, will leave their nests in spring to begin to mate. Since they are winged, they can easily be identified. Spotting these insects in your vicinity could be a sign that there is a brewing infestation.

Rodents

Rodent
Spring time is the optimal mating time for both rats and mice. If they haven’t already taken up residence in your home during the winter months, their activity will increase both indoors and outdoors as the warmer months approach.

Ants

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As the weather warms, you may begin to see a proliferation of ants in and around your home. During the winter months, ants have kept a fairly low profile but emerge during the spring as they begin their search for food. Since they feast on sugary foods, ants will be more prone to entering your home in search of food and water.

Mosquitoes

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By overwintering in the egg stage (laying eggs in such a way as to keep warm during the winter months) mosquito activity tends to be high as spring approaches. The eggs will hatch during the spring and mature to a full grown adult in a short space of time. Spring rains also make ideal breeding conditions, so that reproduction takes place during the time, lending way for more mosquito presence as spring transitions into the summer months.

Spiders

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Unfortunately, many homeowners may also see an increase in spider activity as a result of the presence of other insects. With variety of soft-bodied insects becoming active during the spring months looming spiders have access to an abundant food supply.

Stinging Insects

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Warmer temperatures present the ideal conditions for stinging insects to begin mating, as well as to establish nests around your home. Yellow jackets, wasps and bees come out of hibernation making it a precarious time to be outdoors, especially when more aggressive insects are active, like wasps.

Truly Nolen’s Treatment Approach

With the arrival of spring also bringing an increase in pest activity, Truly Nolen’s service experts kick things into high gear with more aggressive and proactive treatment methods. The change in season means that treatment approaches must be altered and tailored specifically to the change in pest behavior. Pests thrive in the warm weather and are eager to reproduce, feed and infest!

Treatment methods are effectively designed to:

  • Reduce reproduction cycles.
  • Focus on treatment of exterior environments to address areas where insects breed.
  • Actively treat entry points into the home.
  • Establish long term protection to avoid further infestation.

With Truly Nolen’s Four Season Approach℠, quarterly treatments are conveniently scheduled so that pest activity can be quickly identified, assessed, treated and monitored. A thorough inspecting of your home can reveal any potential issues that require immediate attention. With unique and innovative application methods and treatments, your Truly Nolen expert can focus on exclusion so that these determined pests are stopped in in their tracks before they can even enter the home and cause damage.

Interior & Exterior Treatment Areas

After thoroughly inspecting both the interior and exterior perimeter of your home, your Truly Nolen expert will provide an outline of specific treatment hot spots that require immediate attention. Areas prone to pest activity covered under the spring treatment plan include:

  • Window and door frames, baseboards and fixtures where smaller pests can hide and lay eggs.
  • Under cabinets or sinks in laundry rooms, bathrooms and kitchens were pests that are attracted to moisture may reside.
  • Window sills, ceilings and corners, where insects tend to get trapped in existing spider webs, in turn providing bait for other predatory insects.
  • Entry and access points throughout the home including garage doors, roofs and attics.
  • Inside closets and cabinets where pests may be lurking.

Since pests are actively seeking to enter the home, exclusion techniques and treatment methods are especially important:

  • Treatment of spider webs on the exterior of the home are crucial to keeping insects and spiders at bay. Patios, exterior doors and overhangs, as well as eaves and gutters are all areas that spider webs can accumulate, providing the perfect trap for unsuspecting insects.
  • Cracks, crevices and holes serve as easy entry points so sealing these are vital in keeping pests out. Prior to sealing, effective treatment methods are applied to eliminate any pests that may already be hiding inside.
  • Entry points along the foundation of your home are also checked to ensure that pests don’t have any opportunity to get inside.

While this refreshing time of the year can put a “spring” in your step and encourage you to spend more time outdoors, it is also important to remember to schedule your quarterly pest service. As much as we are enjoying the weather outside, pests too are also taking advantage of this time to increase their activities. In order to avoid potential problems in the coming months, let your Truly Nolen pest expert provide a free and friendly inspection and discuss the innovative Truly Nolen Four Seasons℠ approach to keeping your springtime fun, pest free.

Truly Nolen Attends Andress Car Show

Adrian Banuelos from Branch 311 organized his first event with Truly Nolen this month. Teaming up with Branch 70 on March 21st, they participated in the Andress High School Marching Band’s 1st Annual Car Show. There were food trucks, jumping balloons for the kids, live music, and an assortment of vendor booths. The mouse cars and Truly antiques were definitely crowd favorites. All proceeds of the event were donated to the Andress Marching Band to help fund their upcoming trip to San Antonio.

Port Charlotte Community Event

This is an annual event at a Local Lutheran church where branch 093 (Port Charlotte) has an opportunity to give back to the local community. We love seeing the excitement on the kids’ faces when forest fire trucks, excavator trucks, and of course the Mouse Car pull up. Along with the various types of vehicles, a unique batch of animals from the local is also brought along for the children to interact with. Truly Nolen Port Charlotte looks forward to this event every year. 

Powerful Pest: Know the Difference – Water Bugs and Cockroach

Cockroach vs Water Bug

Cockroaches are often referred to as water bugs and vice versa due to their similar appearances. Aside from their similar looks, these two pests are quite different. Water bugs prefer to live in water, at least most of the time while cockroaches are able to live in a variety of habitats. Both water bugs and cockroaches are common pests to Atlanta area residents. Knowing the difference will help you determine which pest you’re dealing with and the best way to eliminate them.

Appearance

Cockroaches and water bugs both have flat, oval-shaped bodies. Water bugs are on average about 2 inches in length while cockroaches can vary in size by species. German cockroaches are about a ½ inch long while American cockroaches average about 1 ½ inches in length. Both the German and American cockroaches are native to the Atlanta area.

Diets

Cockroaches eat a variety of materials such as leather, bakery products, glue, flakes of dried skin, dead animals, and fermented foods. Water bugs prefer to hunt and kill insects such as tadpoles and small fish. These bugs also like to eat sweet-tasting food such as syrups as well as algae and starch.

Lifecycle

Cockroaches lay their eggs in ootheca or an egg sack, which may be left somewhere or carried with the roach. The number of eggs produced by a female cockroach as well as the time it takes for eggs to hatch varies from species to species. Many roach species are able to reproduce within a few months of hatching.

There are three stages in a water bug’s lifecycle – the egg, the larvae, and the adult phases. Female water bugs lay small, oval eggs about a week after reproduction. In the third cycle of their life, water bugs develop the ability to fly. Water bugs lay their eggs on floating vegetation or in debris.

Habitat

Cockroaches are known as land insects and prefer dark areas. They can often be found in warm temperatures inside crawl spaces, basements, cracks, and outdoors. Water bugs spend most of their time in freshwater, usually in moist and dark areas. Leaky pipes or standing water are the perfect place for these pests to breed and hide. Although these bugs swim well, they cannot breath underwater, which is why they often return to the surface to capture air.

Both water bugs and cockroaches can spread disease and cause damage to your home. For additional information about water bugs and cockroaches or to schedule your free inspection, contact your Truly Nolen Atlanta office today.

Termite Infestation: Identification and Prevention

The word “termites” strikes instant fear in the hearts of homeowners. Termites can be a nightmare. These tiny insects enter homes through the tiniest openings in the foundation to feast on the wooden structure of your home. Termite damage can be costly and time-consuming. In fact, every year termites cause billions of dollars in structural damage, and property owners spend over two billion dollars to treat them according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Termites are known as silent destroyers because of their ability to gnaw on wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected. A common misconception is that termites only infest wooden structures or homes. Termites require four things to survive food, moisture, shelter and warm temperatures. Unfortunately, most homes regardless of construction type can provide these conditions. Termites primarily forage on wood, but also known to destroy paper, books, insulation, and even filtration systems. Knowledge of the fundamentals of termite infestation like identification, warning signs, and preventive measures are essential to protecting homes from termite infestation.

Identification

The first step in prevention is to be on the alert for termites. Most people are not conscious of termite activity until it becomes an infestation. There are approximately 2,600 species of termites; they are small insects comparable in appearance to ants. Termites can be distinguished by their straight antennae, widely-joined waist, and equal size wings. (Ants have elbowed antennae, pinched waists and wings of different lengths). It can be very difficult to detect termites in your home before they become a problem; it is more likely to identify the signs of termite damage before you spot termites themselves.

carpenter-ant-vs-termite

There are two main species of invasive termites, subterranean termites found living underground and drywood termites that live entirely in wood. In Lexington, KY subterranean termites are most prevalent: they begin their feeding process (damage) from the soil up and typically enter a building through the sub-structure. Buildings or structures with crawl spaces are at great risk. Some of the signs of a subterranean termite infestation are listed below:

  • Groups of winged insects (“swarmers”)
  • Hollow-sounding wood
  • Cracked or distorted paint on wood surfaces
  • Mud tubes on exterior walls
  • Discarded wings
  • Frass (feces of termites)

Once a termite infestation is identified, it can be challenging to control. On average, colonies take years to grow to a size capable of causing extensive damage.

Prevention

Purchasing a home for most of us is the biggest investment in our lifetime. Termites pose a serious threat to your investment. Homeowners should be concerned about the potential damage termites can cause in and around the home. Areas with higher probabilities for termite activity require more termite control measures than areas with less frequent activity. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent termites from attacking your home; however, the best way to prevent termites is to have your home inspected for them annually.

  • Know the danger for termites in your region, if you are buying a new home; ensure it has been inspected for all insects that can cause structural damage. Inspections are important in neighborhoods where there is a history of termites.
  • Changes in your home can necessitate more periodic by a trained pest management specialist; these changes can include cracks in the foundation or the walls of your home. Detecting the less obvious signs of an infestation could save you a lot of money and stress.
  • Identify and correct any structural deficiencies that attract or promote subterranean termite infestations. Ideally all substructure wood beneath the building should be kept at least 12 inches above the soil.

Eradication

Eradication of termites is a complex task and requires a distinctive skill-set. Prior knowledge of building structure is needed to identify the critical areas. The critical areas in buildings are potential entry points that are often hidden or difficult to access. To completely and safely remove termites from your home, it is a job left to the professionals. Do-it-yourself products will seldom eliminate an existing termite problem. At the first sign of termite infestation, call a licensed pest management company to do an inspection. A Truly Nolen termite specialist can recommend a customized treatment and prevention plan!

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Watch out for Late Winter Bugs

When it’s cold and gloomy outside, don’t think the bugs are dying outside in the cold. Some are living and feasting quite comfortably in the warmth of your home. Homeowners are often bothered by these critters during late winter and early spring. Some insects survive the winter by finding a safe, warm place to dwell for the colder seasons. Here’s a helpful roundup of the most common winter bugs you should look for in late winter season.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

StinkbugBrown marmorated stink bugs are not dangerous insects, but they are a nuisance if living in your home. They do not have the physical capacity to sting or bite humans or other predators. They rely on their only defense, their ability to release strong pungent odor (similar to a skunk). Brown marmorated stink bugs release a chemical called an aggregation pheromone, a scent that attracts other brown marmorated stink bugs, but repels predators. You may not notice them until they come into your home as the weather turns colder. When they accept your hospitality you will know it; they are large, travel in large groups, and fly rather than crawl. The good news is they are not known to cause any structural or cosmetic damage to homes. They are simply looking for a place to spend the winter and hibernate until warm temperatures return. In the spring they will resurface, ravenous, and ready to leave and get outside to feed on plants. They usually enter all types of residential buildings such as homes, apartments, condominiums, office buildings, etc. Aside from being a nuisance to homeowners the potential exists for the brown marmorated stink bug to become a significant agricultural pest in the east.

 

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are the most common wasps seen around homes and buildings. Paper wasps actually make paper out of paper they produce, hence their name. These umbrella shaped nests are built in protected locations including in shrubs, on tree branches, on porch ceilings, window and door frames, roof overhangs, attic rafters, and under decks, joists or railings. They like heights and tend to prefer high assemblies, such as attics, chimneys and tall buildings. During the colder seasons, paper wasp queens may join together in large groups and overwinter in all types of structures. Though paper wasps do not readily attack people, they will sting if they feel threatened.

Cluster Flies

cluster-fly
Cluster flies, another group of winter guests, are large and robust flies. Unlike house flies, their wings overlap when they are at rest. At first glance, you may mistake them for house flies, but they are bigger, darker and slower. Homes surrounded by lawns are more susceptible to a cluster flies infestation. Clustering flies can enter your home through the tiniest cracks, or any other small unsealed opening. The name cluster fly is used because they tend to gather in clusters after entering a house in the fall. They aren’t dangerous insects, but they are a nuisance because they leave stains in your home. They sometimes give off a sickly, sweetish odor if bothered. You would find cluster flies in secluded areas such as holes in the walls, attics, closets, voids, and empty rooms. Be careful not to kill them before finding and removing the nest, dead flies attracts more insects. If they die within the walls, other predators will migrate into your home.

Clover Mites

Clover Mite

Photo credit: Steve Jacobs, PSU Entamology

Clover mites are very tiny arachnids that live and reproduce outdoors, but become household pests in the early spring when they migrate into residences. They are only 1/64th inch long, soft, oval, and flattened from top to bottom. They vary in color from rusty brown to dark red. They are easily distinguished by their very long pair of front legs that extend forward like antennae as the mites crawl. Clover mites are harmless as they cannot bite or sting, they do not infest stored foods, they cannot attack the house structure and furnishings, so what’s the issue? They migrate into homes large numbers, often covering walls, furniture, closets, and clothing. Clover mites, when squished, will leave a noticeable reddish stain on any surface. Other than that, which admittedly is pretty bad, they are a nuisance only by their presence.

Pest Prevention

While all of these insects are active year-round, fall and winter are when they move indoors. Perfectly understandable; where would you want to be, outside freezing or inside and warm and cozy? None of these bugs pose a health or property risk to homeowners but they can all become a serious nuisance around the home. Like other pests, including ants and termites, they often enter structures in large numbers making them difficult pests to control once inside. As a result, homeowners should look for simple ways to ward off these invaders before an infestation develops.

Here are some tips on prevention to get ready for bug season.

  1. Seal off entry points- Inspect the outside of your home for easy access points, if you can find it so can the pests.
  2. Repair- It is imperative to repair damaged screens on windows or doors, and seal any cracks around the windows and doors.
  3. Reduce moisture sites- Eliminate all moisture build-up around your home. Check for leaking pipes and clogged drains. Pests love moisture almost as much as warmth.
  4. Eliminate food sources- Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly. Keep pests hungry, wipe down counters and sweep floors to eliminate crumbs and residue.
  5. Check your belongings- Inspect items such as boxes containing holiday decorations and grocery bags before bringing them indoors.
  6. Properly landscape: Keep branches and shrubbery well-trimmed. Make sure to store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground.

Remember that if you suspect an infestation has already developed, don’t try to solve it on your own, contact your Truly Nolen Lexington pest professional to save both time and money.

Homes can be pre-treated for bugs before they become a problem. Truly Nolen offers barrier treatments to protect your home and help you get ready for the winter bug season. The barrier treatment approach is an outside treatment that protects your home from winter bugs as well as many other bugs trying to get in, including millipedes and ants. Additionally, year-round protection for homes can be achieved by implementing Truly Nolen’s Four Seasons pest management program: an affordable, responsible, and effective solution to ensure that you are Truly Protected.


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