Category Archives: Ask the Pest Experts

Summer Household Pest Control Checklist for Columbus, OH

The transition from spring to summer is peak time for household pest activity. Truly Nolen of Columbus, OH wants to make sure that Columbus homeowners stay pest free this summer, giving you more time to spend outdoors without worrying about pests indoors. To ensure that Columbus residents are prepared for an increase in pest activity, Truly Nolen has created a checklist to help homeowners remain pest free this summer.

Summer Pests Checklist

Summer Lovin’- Common Pests Found in Ohio

Although homeowners should be watchful of pests all throughout the year, it is important to keep an eye out for pests that may have kept a low profile during winter. Pests who go into hiding in winter months to stay warm, are now emerging, eager to reproduce and expand their habitats. Here, we take a look at a few pests that Columbus residents may start to see more of than they might like during the summer!

Spiders

Brown Recluse Spider
Most of the species of spiders found in Ohio are not poisonous and are considered more of a nuisance rather than a threat. However, where there is one bug, there are two, three or more and spiders are usually a sign of bigger pest problems.

German & Oriental Cockroaches

German Oriental Cockroach
Perhaps two of the more common species, German and Oriental roaches thrive in hot, humid climates making summer the perfect opportunity for these guys to be out and about. German roaches prefer to be indoors, and will always make their way to food and water sources, whereas Oriental roaches can also be found in the immediate exterior portions of your home. Since they carry pathogens and allergens in their cast skins and in their droppings, it is important for homeowners to immediately address any sightings of German or Oriental roaches to avoid further infestation.

Centipedes

centipede
Although treatment of centipedes should start from the exterior, these creepy crawlies can make their way indoors into basements and crawlspaces. Centipedes do not pose a threat to homeowners, but they are a nuisance as they can populate quickly if left alone for an extended period of time.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ant
Carpenter ants use their strong jaws to chew through wooden structures, leaving behind a trail of sawdust wherever they go. Damp, soft wood makes the perfect environment for them as they can easily chew out holes to construct their nests.

Rodents

Rodent
Rat and mice activity will increase since they have hibernated during the winter months, only to emerge in full force from spring into summer. As rodent population increases due to the warmer weather, homeowners should be aware of the warning signs left behind by rats and mice that indicate their presence in and around your home.

Bed Bugs

bed_bug
As you travel this summer, be weary of hitchhiking bed bugs. No hotel is immune from bed bugs so be sure to inspect the mattress and under the sheets of your hotel bed to make sure there are no signs of bed bugs or their blood. Bed bugs can easily attach themselves to your luggage, clothes, laptop cases and more.

Mosquitoes

mosquito
The hot summer weather is perfect for mosquitoes especially when there are backyard barbeques and pool parties. Be sure there isn’t standing water around your home where mosquitoes tend to breed and keep areas clean and free from crumbs.

Common Types of Construction for Ohio Homes

Along with the natural beauty of the state, Ohio homes also boast charming construction design elements indicative of the Midwest. These unique features are enjoyed by Columbus homeowners, but are also considered vulnerable areas that can attract pests:

  • Wooden siding, porches and decking
  • Crawl spaces
  • Basements and attics
  • Fireplaces
  • Wooden door frames , windows and roof shingles on older homes
  • Lush landscaping and mulch placed close to the home

Tips to Keep Pests Out This Summer

While many pests are considered to be nothing more than a nuisance, there are those that pose more of a risk to the health and safety of homeowners. Truly Nolen recommends the following for helping to keep pests at a minimum wherever possible:

  • Avoid piles of debris on both interior and exterior of the home to deter pests.
  • Trim shrubs and trees that may have overhanging branches that touch the exterior walls or roof line of the home as these provide an easy gateway for pests to travel.
  • Holes or gaps in screens, doors, windows or foundations should be sealed to keep pests from entering.
  • Basements and crawlspaces should be frequently monitored for indications of possible infestation.
  • Existing cobwebs should be removed to prevent additional spiders.
  • Dark, damp areas such as under the sinks and near faucets should be monitored carefully for roaches.
  • Keeping countertops clean at night and sealing exposed food and water are good ways to keep pests from enjoying a midnight snack.

When do I call my Truly Nolen Pest Professional?

Although homeowners can take steps to ensure that their home remains pest free this summer, there are some pest problems that need the help of a certified, trained professional. One or two pest sightings may be tolerated by most homeowners, but without a thorough inspection, it is difficult to assess whether or not there are more pests behind the scenes.

To err on the side of caution, homeowners should be vigilant when observing possible signs of pest activity and contact a trained professional in the early stages so that the problem does not worsen as time goes on, eventually becoming a full blown infestation.

Using advanced application methods and techniques, Truly Nolen’s innovative Four Seasons Pest Control approach addresses the changes in pest behavior from season to season. Our trained technicians know what to look for, how to be proactive and how to treat an existing infestation. Call Truly Nolen of Columbus to keep your home pest free this summer and all year round.

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.

What’s Eating Your Lawn?

florida-grass

The Sunshine state is truly the ideal place to live and work. With the sun shining year round, your yard is the perfect place to host a BBQ, watch the kids play, lounge by the pool or even take a nap under the shade of a tree.

Having a healthy and beautiful lawn in Florida is important when it comes to maintaining the aesthetics of your home, but all of that sunshine and Florida’s humid climate can put a lot stress on your lawn. Our year round tropical climate makes keeping your lawn healthy and beautiful a year-round task. Florida is susceptible to grass and plant funguses and other pathogens, salt intrusion and poor water retention, providing the perfect conditions for invading insects and weeds to thrive. Considering the multiple types of grass found in Florida, in combination with the different types of common pests that are known to destroy the aesthetic value of Florida Lawns, all Florida homeowners can benefit from a brief Florida Lawn 101.

Types of Grasses Found in Florida

Florida is home to certain types of grass that flourish well in warm, humid climates. While many lawns consist of a mixture of grass varieties, let’s take a closer look at some of the specific types commonly found in the Sunshine state:

  • Augustine grass/Floratam

This dark green, course grass is probably the most common grass found in warmer climates. With a broad blade and rounded tip, St. Augustine grass (also known as Floratam) requires a lot of moisture in order to survive. In summer month’s it grows quickly, requiring weekly mowing. During the winter, spring and fall months the grass can generally be cut every five weeks.

  • Bahia grass

This soft, deep green grass tends to do well in sandy soil and warmer conditions. Similar to the St. Augustine blade, Bahia grass grows quickly in the summer month’s but slows during the other seasons. Unlike St. Augustine grass, Bahia grass has a pointed tip instead of a rounded one. Even though the blade itself grows slowly, the seed stalks tend to grow rapidly.

  • Bermuda grass

With a deep green color and a sharply pointed blade, Bermuda grass can most often be spotted on the rolling hills of the golf courses in Florida. Chosen for its dense quality, this grass requires consistent watering and fertilizing.

  • Centipede grass

Centipede grass prefers more humid, warm areas and does not require as much fertilizer as other grasses. The blades themselves tend to be pointier, and grow very low, almost horizontally to the ground.

  • Zoysia grass

This dark green, turf type grass tends to have a softer blade, and is the most susceptible to damage due to lack of moisture. Homeowners like this grass because of its ability to stand up to foot traffic, as well as provide an attractive choice for lawn cover.

Common Lawn Pests found in Florida

Due to Florida’s environmental conditions and warm weather, many pests tend to thrive in both the Northern and Southern parts of the state, causing headaches for many homeowners as their lawns become susceptible to damage. Actively seeking on-going pest management and lawn maintenance is essential to identifying the culprit at hand early on, saving homeowners’ money in the long run, as well as unnecessary additional damage to the lawn.

Some of the pests that might be causing damage to your lawn include:

  • Chinch Bugs

If you’ve noticed areas in your lawn turning yellow, and then a reddish color before dying, chances are Chinch bugs are around. Partial to the St. Augustine grass, Chinch bugs extract the liquid found in grass through their needle like beaks, depleting the grass of its nutrients, often feasting in large groups. Since Chinch bugs like the sunny areas of the grass, you may notice patches on your lawn, especially in well exposed areas.

  • Mole Crickets

Preferring the warm coastline of the southeastern United States, Mole Crickets can be particularly destructive to your lawn if left untreated. Feeding on the roots of mostly Bermuda grass and Bahia grass, Mole crickets, tunnel through the soil causing the roots of the grass to loosen eventually drying out the grass and killing it. Though hard to spot, you’ll notice evidence of mole crickets by dry patches of grass on your lawn and signs of tunneling in the soil.

  • Sod Webworms

Adult sod webworms are in fact a small brown moth that lives in turf grasses. Though the adults do not actually consume the grass, their offspring are the main cause of lawn destruction. After the female sod webworms lay their eggs, these eggs hatch and the small caterpillars that emerge begin feeding on the top growths of the grass where they have hatched, usually in the spring time.

  • Army Worms

St. Augustine grass and Bermuda grass are often times the feeding choice for Army worms. Growing up to 2” in length with gray/yellow stripes going down its body, army worms feed mostly at night on the blades of these warm weather grasses. Since these insects love chewing on grass, you’ll notice brown areas on the blades that indicate where an army worm has chewed.

  • Grubs

White grubs in particular, are the most damaging turf insect pest. Feeding on the roots of grass plants, they tend to be most active in mid to late summer. Just under an inch in length and shaped like a “C”, these bugs can go undetected for a long time before evidence, such as irregular sections of brown grass, appears. Since they have been busy eating away at the roots of the grass, the damaged turf can be easily detached from the soil.

  • Spittlebugs

As their name implies, Spittlebugs produce a white, ‘spit’ like protective barrier that can appear as a frothy substance on plants and grass. Adult spittlebugs do not produce this foam, but rather the nymphs that have hatched in early spring who then adhere themselves to plants and begin feeding. In particular, the Two-lined spittlebug damages grasses such as St. Augustine and Bermuda grass by causing patches of turf to turn yellow and eventually, brown. Proper fertilization techniques can aid in discouraging the development of Spittlebugs in your garden.

The Grass is Always Greener

Tips for Ornamental Care

Ornamental plants generally require little care and can provide interesting textures and colors to any garden. The benefit of ornamental plants is that they can flourish in diverse soil conditions. Unlike lawn grasses that require specific care and treatment, ornamental plants can be considered a bit hardier, despite their often delicate appearance.

Some ways to keep your ornamental plants happy among the rest of your garden:

  • Maintain regular fertilizer, pruning and pest control.
  • Add compost to the soil when transplanting ornamental plants.
  • Proper drainage and irrigation are important despite moisture retentive plants.
  • Periodically trim your ornamental plants, preferably in the spring as new growth occurs.
  • Allow enough space for your plants to grow.

Tips for Grass care, Fertilization & Weed Control

In addition to active pest management control, proper fertilization and weed control techniques should be used to help maintain healthy, vibrant grass. With year round tropical conditions, applying best practices to lawn care can extend the life of your lawn and provide a beautiful landscape for you to enjoy.

  • For thin grass, consider seeding it during the spring. If overseeding, it can sometimes be helpful to choose a different grass variety that has been grown for natural insect resistance.
  • Paying special attention to the type of grass ensures that the appropriate amount is cut. For example, Floritam grass should be cut at 4”, while Zoysi grass is typically cut between 2 -3 inches.
  • Watering your lawn less frequently, but with more water helps ensure that the roots are receiving adequate moisture, which will encourage them to grow deeper.
  • Fertilization applications are best done in spring and late summer.
  • Proper mowing techniques can also ensure that fertilization treatments have had time to work. Ideally, waiting a day before and after your lawn has been fertilized makes for the optimal time for mowing.
  • Weed control is best applied when the weeds have grown a bit to allow the solution to adhere from the top right down to the root

With Truly’s Lawn Care program, an initial analysis can help determine current problems pertaining to pests and overall health of your lawn. Taking into consideration everything from grass type, nutrition, watering, fertilization and more, Truly’s Lawn Care experts can identify areas that are prone to weed or insects and provide tips on how you can maintain a beautiful lawn. Contact Truly Nolen today to see how we can develop a customized lawn care plan that will keep you and your toes happy all year round!

Spring Cleaning: Tips for Preventing Pest Infestations

For most individuals, the transition into spring does not come fast enough, especially after the cold days of winter. It’s no secret that the onset of spring also brings about the need for homeowners to air out their homes and start their spring cleaning. After months of keeping doors and windows closed up to avoid the cold, homeowners are now eager to let the fresh air in and enjoy all that spring has to offer.

Unfortunately, this time of the year may also let more than just the fresh air in. Pests that have been laying low (hibernating and in some cases, overwintering) over the winter season, are making themselves known during these spring months as the warm temperatures are more conducive to an increase in pest activity. For pests such as ants, rodents, termites, spiders, mosquitoes and more, spring is the optimal time to reproduce, establish new colonies and forage for new food.

Signs of possible infestations may have gone unnoticed over the winter season only to resurface as the weather warms up, which is why Truly Nolen Atlanta outlines common best practices and preventative measures that most consumers can employ to keep their homes relatively pest free. Atlanta homeowners are encouraged to make a checklist and keep a close eye out both on the interior and exterior of their homes to eliminate opportunities for pests to invade.

Bug Barometer Snapshot- What This Means for the Southeast.

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recently released a forecast for pest activity during the spring and summer months. Named the ‘Bug Barometer’, it provides an interesting insight into what we can expect as a result of winter weather patterns throughout the country and when specific pest activity will take shape. So what does this bug barometer actually do? Specifically, the “NPMA’s Bug Barometer is the result of research conducted by expert entomologists, who analyzed winter weather reports and patterns from across the country to determine the pest pressure index each region will experience this spring.” (Source: pestworld.org)

Due to an extended winter period, the NPMA reports that residents in the Southeast could experience a delay in pest activity since warmer temperatures have yet to stabilize. This means that for Atlanta residents, some areas can experience the onset of termite swarms, while others will see this a bit later on. As the warmer weather continues, the NPMA also predicts that the combination of rain and high humidity could result in a drastic increase in pests such as mosquitoes and ants.

Pest Prevention Tips & Tricks

Although calling your Truly Nolen Atlanta pest professional is recommended for thorough inspection and treatment of your home, there are some simple tips that Atlanta residents can follow to keep your home pest free. Here, we take a closer look at defined areas in the home, especially those that are specific to home construction in Atlanta:

Basements

silverfish
Higher levels of dampness and humidity are characteristic of most basements. Notorious for housing unwanted pests, this lower level structure in your home is the perfect hiding spot for pests who are prone to moisture such as roaches, silverfish and rodents.

Unfortunately, many basements represent a significant amount of storage space for the home, and piles of clutter can often be neglected for extended periods of time.

  • Wherever possible, avoid having clutter in hard to reach places and store off the floor to prevent pests from taking up residence amidst piles of magazines, clothes and other items.
  • To combat dampness, placing a dehumidifier in your basement can help eliminate excessive moisture.
  • Check frequently for areas that may experience leaks. During the winter months, pipes can freeze and lead to cracking or bursting. Making sure that your basement is dry at all times ensures that pests do not have the ideal environment to flourish.

Attics & Crawl Spaces

termites
Attics and crawl spaces are also prone to moisture and if not checked regularly, provide the ideal habitat for pests such as rodents, roaches and termites.

  • Proper ventilation is important in keeping your attic and crawl space pest free. A regular home inspection can identify insufficient ventilation and prove to be a worthwhile short term investment for the long term safety of your home.
  • Keep mice and rats from entering your attic by sealing any small openings or holes from the exterior of the home, especially the roof lines, which could provide a potential entry point.

Wooden porches/decking

Wooden porches and decks are characteristic of Atlanta style homes, and provide a great area to enjoy the outdoors. However, before you break out the sweet tea and lemonade, if these areas are not properly sealed, they offer dangerous pests such as termites, and even spiders, the perfect place to enjoy as well.

  • Check these areas for signs of rotting wood, a favorite among termites. Repair or replace any wood that is rotting or sagging due to excessive moisture.
  • Seal cracks, holes or dents.
  • The underside of porches is an ideal spot for pests to reside, and the addition of a mesh barrier can help keep them out.
  • Weather- proof your deck with an application of sealant or paint to provide an additional barrier between the wood and pests such as termites.

Exterior areas (including landscaping and garden)

Before pests can get inside, they must first pass through the exterior of your home and garden.

  • Cracks in window frames, doorways and window screens are an easy entry point for smaller pests. Sealing these makes it more difficult for them to enter the home.
  • Repair any worn out or cracked siding, as this provides good areas for pests to hide.
  • Repair or replace areas of your roof that may have holes.
  • Store firewood at least 15-20 feet away from your home and at least 5-6 inches off the ground.
  • Leaking outdoor pipes can lead to standing water, the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Ensure that pipes are properly repaired and any standing water is drained.
  • De-clutter your yard and remove any debris.
  • If using wood mulch for your landscaping, begin placement at least 15-20 inches away from your foundation to avoid direct wood/home contact.

Interior / Main living

American Roach
Through regular, indoor maintenance, homeowners can integrate habits that will help to discourage pests from finding their way inside and staying there!

  • Roaches in particular, are prone to taking up residence in dark damp areas such as underneath kitchen and laundry sinks. Regularly checking these areas and making sure that leaks are addressed right away can help keep these critters out.
  • Avoid leaving food, open beverages and used dishes exposed, especially overnight. Keeping your sink and countertops clean, as well as storing food (even pet food) in tightly sealed containers. These habits will not entice roaches and ants to come around.
  • In the spirit of the spring cleaning season, now is the ideal time to de-clutter your home and dispose of unnecessary items such as piles of magazines and newspapers (a Silverfish’s favorite snack) and any other items that are not needed.

By practicing healthy spring cleaning habits, you can deter pests from finding their way in and around your home. However, if they do make it in, contact your Truly Nolen Atlanta pest control expert at 678-561-2847 to schedule your free inspection.

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

Fly Banner

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

termites
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

odorous-ants
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

mosquito
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

spiders
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

bees
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.

What Are Silverfish?

What are They and What To Do About Them?

A house-dwelling insect, the Lepisma saccharina, more commonly known as the Silverfish or bristletail, derives its name from several characteristics such as its silver/gray exoskeleton and fish-like habit of moving at a rapid pace, interspersed with short intervals of stopping or pausing. The scientific name (Lepisma saccharina) lends itself to the insect’s primary diet of sugar and starch filled items. These guys are addicted to carbs! This species of insect dates back millions of years and tends to have a prehistoric or fossil like appearance with its long antennae and scale like exterior.

Considered more of a nuisance than anything else, the presence of one or two silverfish in your home could mean that there are more of them lurking behind the scenes. The biggest complaint of the Silverfish is their destructive feeding habits, often ruining items in the home such as wallpaper, books and magazines, soaps and shampoos, clothes and much more.

silverfish

A Behind the Scene look at the Silverfish

A bit of a sneaky insect, Silverfish are mostly nocturnal and do a great job at hiding. With a high reproduction rate, preventative measures should be taken once you’ve spotted a silverfish in order to avoid a full blown infestation. Drawn to dark areas, the silverfish will make its home behind wallpaper, in dark closets and behind bookshelves, inside window and door frames and behind baseboards.

The biggest error that homeowners make is not taking action early on to get rid of these insects as their ‘hide and seek’ habits can allow for an escalation of an existing problem. If you have noticed yellow stains on your fabric, or small holes in boxes or wallpaper, chances are while you were sleeping these insects were already at work!

Characteristics of the Silverfish

As small and harmless looking as they are, the Silverfish can be a tough little insect as it can survive in most environments and can go extensive periods without food. Showing preference to more humid conditions, Silverfish are also somewhat difficult to get rid of as they move around fairly quickly, making their elusive nature quite frustrating to many homeowners. Even though these little guys don’t have wings, you’d be surprised at how quickly they appear and reappear in different areas of your home.

The most common of the three species of Silverfish is:

Lepisma saccharina (regular Silverfish) is the most common variety usually measuring up to a ½ inch in length. Their bodies have a consistent silvery sheen with no markings on them. You’ll find these guys near areas of high moisture, and lower level spaces such as basements.

Other traits of the silverfish include:

  • Flattened, carrot shaped body with 3 noticeable “tails” on the rear
  • Wingless with a hard exoskeleton
  • 2 long, slender antennas on the head
  • Long life cycle with egg to adult development taking anywhere from 3 months to 3 years.
  • Prefers a moist climate with a high humidity
  • Adults lay anywhere from 5-50 eggs, usually near food sources
  • Consumes items high in carbohydrates and protein such as glue in bookbindings, silk fabrics, dry foods such as dried meat and cereal, paper and cardboard.

silverfish

Where to find Silverfish in your home

Since the Silverfish is somewhat of an elusive creature, more often than not you’ll spy signs of its existence rather than the insect itself. Their feeding habits will leave behind evidence through small holes in your wallpaper or in boxes you may have lying around, or even by yellowish stains on fabric. You may also notice evidence of their feces, usually mistaken for dust, or through the shedding of their cast skins. If you happen to catch glimpse of a silverfish, more than likely you will spot them in areas that are dark or have moisture such as:

  • Under sinks
  • Bathrooms/bathtubs or laundry rooms
  • Attics
  • Basements
  • Storage rooms
  • Behind closets and bookshelves
  • Garages and sheds

Additionally, items such as boxes, cardboard or even furniture can be source for infestation if either eggs or adult silverfish were attached to these, and brought into the home.

Control and Prevention

Here are some tips to help control the silverfish population in your home:

  • Since they prefer an environment with a high humidity and high temperature, lowering the temperature in your home can help to repel them from settling in and reproducing.
  • Use a dehumidifier or fan in areas of the house more prone to moisture, such as basements.
  • When moving furniture or boxes into your home, carefully inspect in and around these items to ensure that there are no signs of silverfish (either eggs or adults). This is particularly helpful when moving boxes from a garage or shed into your home.
  • Don’t give silverfish something to snack on! If possible, eliminate sources of food like old papers and books, as well as unused clothes or fabric that may be left lying around.
  • Make sure to caulk and seal any cracks that may be found around windows or doors on the exterior of your home. This will help to keep them from entering.
  • Repair or replace wallpaper that is torn as this makes for an inviting space for silverfish to inhabit.

Hiring a professional to address a silverfish problem is the most effective method, as Do It Yourself solutions such as traps or insecticides only target individual insects and not the potentially larger issue at hand. Since these insects reproduce quickly, eliminating them at their source is important. Your Truly Nolen pest professional can effectively assess the problem and provide solutions for treating both eggs and adult silverfish to prevent future infestations.

Carpenter Ants vs. Termites

It’s important to differentiate between two flying, wood-destroying pests – the carpenter ant and the termite. Many people will often confuse the two, as both pests are very similar in color, size, and shape. Knowing what pest you have will make getting rid of them faster, easier, and safer, saving you time and money in the long run.

According to the National Pest Management Association, termites cause an estimated $5 billion in property damage each year. Homeowners are generally aware of the devastation termites can leave in their wake, but carpenter ants can also prove to be destructive to the wood found both in and outside of the home. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t actually eat the wood they come in contact with but instead hollow out galleries inside the wood for nesting and living as they feeding on food left behind by people (especially meats and sweets). Carpenter ants are frequently mistaken for winged termites during mating season when the male and female ants leave the colony to find a suitable mate. If an infestation from either pest is left undetected for a prolonged period of time, they each can cause expensive damage. Treatments for either a carpenter ant or termite infestation should be handled by a pest control professional.

There are certain characteristics that can be used to differentiate swarms of carpenter ants as compared to termites, the most important being the appearance of elbowed antennae and small or pinched waist with wings that are longer in the back than the front pair.

carpenter-ant-vs-termite

Carpenter Ants Termites
Bent antennae Straight antennae
Hourglass waistline No waistline; straight abdomen
Unequal wing length in the front and back Equal wing length in both front and back
Wings are partially translucent Wings are opaque or appear to be silver in color

Carpenter Ants

Characteristics

  • Carpenter ants are normally 5/8 inch long.
  • Carpenter ants have two small wings and two large wings (females only).
  • They also have very narrow, hourglass-shaped waists that separate their abdomen from their thorax and head.
  • Their antennae are elbowed.
  • Carpenter ants have reddish-brown thoraxes and heads with black abdomens.
  • They commonly nest around man-made structures and are the most common household pest in Florida.

Infestation

  • Carpenter ants do not feed on the wood they remove. Their feeding habits are similar to other ants, favoring sweets.
  • Carpenter ants search for moist wood to build their nests, particularly in attics, ceilings, and floors.
  • Carpenter ants are not a typically a year-round concern for homeowners. However, during spring swarm season, carpenter ants travel en masse to find new nesting locations.
  • Their nests consist of an expansive network of tunnels and passages within the structure of your home. Over time, these nests can seriously weaken your home’s structural integrity.

Termites

Characteristics

  • Termites are normally 1/4 inch long. Termite swarmers range from 3/8 to 1/2 inch long.
  • Termites have four wings of equal length (reproductive only).
  • They have thick waists which are similar in size than the rest of their bodies.
  • Termites have two antennae that are straight.
  • They are characterized by thin white skin and are commonly light to medium brown in color.
  • Nests are either underground (subterranean) or in the wood of your home (drywood).

Infestation

  • Termites feed on wood and some species build nests in wood.
  • Drywood termites, unlike subterranean termites, do not need contact with soil for their moisture needs. They get their moisture from the wood they eat.
  • Termites can be a huge problem anywhere. Also problematic are the nesting habits of many termite species which can make them difficult to spot.
  • Termites can cause serious structural damage to any home in a matter of months if left untreated.

The first step in controlling a pest problem is identifying the pest itself. If you are unsure which pest you’re dealing with or if you need help eliminating an infestation, Truly Nolen can help. Our Four Seasons Pest Control program will help prevent ant infestations in and around your home throughout the year, including carpenter ants. Our Total Termite Protection plan will eliminate termites and prevent future infestations. Most importantly, it’s backed by our Million Dollar Guarantee.

Identifying Common Types of Bees in Arizona

IDENTIFYING COMMON TYPES OF BEES IN ARIZONA
Arizona is home to many types of bees. There are about 20,000 different species of bees in the world. With the exception of Antarctica, bees are found throughout the world. The greatest diversity of bee species is found in warm, arid or semiarid areas, like the Southwest.

Bees play an important role in nature pollinating plants and wildflowers as well as providing wax and honey. Bees are dependent on pollen as an important protein source and on flower nectar or oils as an energy source. Most bees will not sting unless they feel threatened. Social bees, such as honey bees, are the most common type in Arizona and will typically sting in order to protect their colonies or babies.

HONEY BEES

Closeup of an American Honey Bee

Although some types of bees may be solitary, the honey bee is a social insect and populates in colonies or hives. These hive colonies have a three-tier caste system consisting of: the single queen bee whose only job is to lay eggs; male drones that mate with the queen and die soon thereafter; and female worker bees that don’t reproduce. However the worker bees perform many jobs necessary for the survival of the hive; they clean the hive, collect pollen and nectar to feed the colony, and they take care of the offspring. Their wax hives are perennial and can harbor up to 80,000 bees at once. The average lifespan of a honey bee queen is two to three years – considerably longer than the six weeks of a female worker bee.

Honey bees are the most active in summer months; during winter, bees gather within the hive and self-regulate the internal temperature to keep warm. Honey bees also have specialized feathery body hairs that help collect pollen. They are the most important pollinating insects, and their interdependence with plants is mutually beneficial. While foraging, bees inadvertently transfer pollen from flower to flower resulting in cross-pollination. Honey bees are vital in agriculture as pollinators and they account for 80% of all insect pollination. Each year, bees pollinate an estimated $10 billion of crops in the United States alone. And some estimate that these insect pollinators contribute to one-third of the world’s diet. In addition to being important pollinators, honey bees have an organ that converts flower nectar into honey, which is collected inside the hive or bee colony.

AFRICANIZED HONEY BEES (AHB)

Africanized Honey Bees (AHB) are distantly related to the common domestic European honey bee. This bee, first brought from Africa to Brazil in the mid-1950s in hopes of breeding a bee better adapted to the South American climate, escaped into the wild and its descendants have been moving slowly north toward the US ever since. The first AHB colonies arrived in southern Arizona in the early summer of 1993. They are becoming more prevalent in the Southwest and can now be found in most of Texas, almost half of New Mexico, throughout Arizona, the majority of New Mexico, and portions of California as they continue their migration northward.

Truly Nolen Bee Removal

The “Africanized” honey bee – melodramatically labeled “killer bees” – is a hybrid between domesticated European honey bees and African honey bees. Compared to European bees, the AHB are more likely to sense a threat at greater distances, become more upset with less provocation, and sting a greater number of times, although individual stings from the AHB are not more powerful or painful. AHBs defend their hives very attentively. But away from the hive, they are no more aggressive than other bees or wasps. With their hairy bodies, yellowish-orange abdomens with black bands, to the untrained eye the AHB looks very similar to the honey bee. Only a trained entomologist, using sophisticated laboratory equipment, can tell them apart via a precise measurement or genetic testing.

IDENTIFYING A BEE HIVE

Bees are all around us most of the year in Arizona and typically forage around flowers and water. Foraging bees may sting if they are disturbed accidentally or intentionally. They may also become defensive if they are foraging close to the colony. Avoid close contact with them, and they will go about their nectar-gathering without a second thought to the humans around.

A Hive of American Honey Bees

Just like their mild-mannered relative the domestic honey bees, the Africanized honey bees establish colonies of up to 40,000 individual bees. Both types of bees will swarm, a process where the swarm forms a visible cluster of many bees that is on the move (hundreds to thousands). The queen sets out to find a new location for the hive, some of her worker bees come along with her. They will temporary stop-over to allow the queen to rest but will eventually produce new colonies. Don’t panic – most honeybee swarms are not dangerous if you leave them well alone and keep your distance.

AHB colonies have faster growth rates, which means more swarms splitting off from a nest. Each Africanized honeybee colony typically swarms four to eight times annually compared to an annual rate of less than one swarm per five colonies for European honeybees. They will not however form large swarms and hunt for you as suggested in some movies. If you encounter an AHB swarm, never dive underwater, the swarm will simply wait for you to surface stinging your head and face when you surface. If you are being chased, run in a straight line – AHBs are slow fliers and most people can out run them. Treat honey bee colonies as you would a venomous creature such as a snake or a scorpion; be alert and stay away.

Honey bees are social creatures that create large communal hives with nesting galleries and large honeycombs. AHBs are not specific about the location of their hives, making it likely for them to come into contact with humans. Bees who are working to establish a colony can be seen actively entering and exiting small holes/voids in hollow tree trunks, walls, junk piles, pots, eaves, roofs, or similar location.

REMOVING A BEE HIVE

Never attempt to remove a hive on your own. Be careful and remain calm. If you think you may have a bee infestation, you must first call an expert to determine whether you’re actually dealing with bees and not some other stinging insect. Wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets are sometimes mistaken for bees. Bees are commercially valuable and an important part of our ecosystem, but in the wrong place at the wrong time, they can become pest. The sooner a hive can be identified, the safer and cheaper it can be to have removed as established colonies can be extremely protective of the hive.

Homeowners should immediately contact a pest control company and take special precautions to avoid agitating bees to prevent being stung. Do not try to remove a colony yourself.

Professional Bee Hive RemovalA professional hive removal will focus on removing the queen bee from the hive. If the queen is not removed from the hive bees will continue to return. Relocation of the hive must also be considered in concert with a commercial bee expert for agricultural reasons. If the hive can’t be relocated safely treatments to remove the hive will be conducted. Your bee control professional will apply treatments on the exterior of the hive working inward to kill the bees and properly bag and dispose of the hive. When the hive is removed it is knocked down within an enclosed area and material is forced into the void and within the combs to ensure all bees are dead and removed. Though their venom is no more or less toxic, the AHB tends to sting in greater numbers and is more easily provoked than the European honey bee. Keep pets and children well away from any suspected nesting sites until you get a professional inspection.

WHAT TO DO IF STUNG BY A HONEY BEE

People can all react to honey bee stings differently. Generally, however honey bee stings do not pose a health concern unless an individual is allergic or sensitive. If the stung person is allergic, go to the hospital immediately or use an epinephrine shot, if available. Most importantly, stay calm. And if possible, get to a cool indoor location. If you are stung and can’t find shelter indoors, avoid running near other people. Once you have been stung a chemical called a pheromone signals to other bees that you are a threat inviting other defensive bees to sting.

In general, bees tend to sting people or animals when they feel threatened. Remember that your pets can also be vulnerable to bee stings and keep them away from bee hives. While yellow jackets, hornets and wasps tend to sting repeatedly during an attack, worker bees are equipped with barbed stingers that have little barbs or hooks on them and typically become lodged in the skin. When a bee stings, its stinger, the venom sac attached to the stinger, and other parts of the honey bee’s body rip away from the insect’s body and are left behind, killing the bee. Although the bee dies, its sting takes effect quickly, and, if the stinger is not removed quickly, the symptoms gradually increase as the venom sac continues to pump venom into the wound for several seconds. So if you are stung, it is important to remove the stinger and poison sac as quickly as possible. Do not pull them out with tweezers or your fingers as this will only squeeze more venom into the wound. Scrape them out using your fingernails, the edge of a credit card or a dull knife.

After removing the stinger, it is important to immediately clean the area with soap and cold water and to use cold compression like an ice pack. It is also helpful to elevate the limb where you were stung. Over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also help to reduce the pain. An antihistamine and hydrocortisone ointment can help calm the local reaction. In case the local reaction worsens, your doctor may prescribe an oral steroid or antihistamine to help calm the swelling or itching.

SYMPTOMS OF A BEE ALLERGY

The symptoms that result from a sting vary, depending on the amount of poison that has entered the victim’s system. Typically, people who get stung will immediately feel a sharp, burning pain, rapidly followed by a red welt at the sting site, with a small, white spot at the center marking where the stinger punctured the skin. In most cases, the swelling and pain resolves within a few hours, however, as many as 10 percent of individuals develop a large local reaction experiencing exaggerated redness and swelling at the sting site.

Although a bee sting is not commonly hazardous, some people may be allergic to the bee’s venom. Those who have sensitivity to bees should immediately seek out emergency medical assistance or call 9-1-1 if they experience symptoms of an allergic reaction. In rare cases, individuals experience an extreme allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis. These reactions may be life threatening and require immediate medical treatment. Seek immediate medical attention if you exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • Itching and swelling around the eyes
  • Tongue and throat swelling
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry cough
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Hives, rashes, or generalized itching
  • Rapid or weak pulse
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Shock or loss of consciousness

If you are stung multiple times or experience any of the above symptoms, even if you don’t have a sensitivity, you should seek medical attention as a precaution. If you come in contact with an Africanized honey bee, the most important thing to do is not panic. Most deaths related to bee stings happen because people panic and act irrational. Each year, stinging insects send approximately half a million people to the emergency room and are the leading cause of anaphylaxis-related deaths in the United States.

Florida Summer Pest Guide

truly-nolen-florida-summer-pest-guide Florida’s summer weather creates an ideal paradise for bugs. The increased temperatures, rain, and humidity lead to an increase in insect activity – including your lawn and in your home. Checking your home and lawn is key to maintaining a pest-free environment.

Lawn

Florida homeowners often spend a great deal of time and energy keeping their lawns lush and green all year long. However, even the most beautifully manicured lawn can have pests hiding in the grass. Recognizing problems before they get out of control is key to keeping your yard healthy and beautiful.

Tips for a Healthy Green Florida Lawn What can I do to protect my Florida lawn from pests this summer? Your Florida lawn requires particular attention during the summer to ensure the proper nutritional balance and to control both the weeds and insect intrusion.  Stressed grass is more susceptible to pests and diseases than healthy grass. You can reduce your chances of insect infestation by mowing frequently but leaving your grass a bit higher (at least three inches to enhance the deep rooting process), use fertilizers sparingly, and avoid watering too often. When summer rains are frequent, you may need to reduce your watering schedule to keep the grass from becoming overly saturated.  

Common Lawn Pests Found In Florida If your yard shows signs of damage, it is important to identify the problem before taking the appropriate steps to treating it. It is essential to monitor your lawn and grass weekly throughout the summer for signs of insects. Some common summer insects are listed below:

Fire Ants

Fire ants are small, aggressive ants that live throughout Florida. They have dull red bodies and are relatively small in size. Fire ants interfere with outdoor activities and can harm wildlife and your pets. In Florida, fire ants are commonly found in open fields and lawns, preferring to nest in dry, flat, and sunny locations. They build rounded dome-like nests or mounds that can be as large as 3 feet wide and high.   These mounds can damage mowing, harvesting, or electrical equipment. Typically they build their nest mounds in the ground near landscaped areas or structural foundations, as they prefer loose earth for mound construction. Ant mounds are unsightly and may reduce land values. Fire ants are least active during the hottest hours of the day. During the cooler part of the day they are very active and aggressive, they will repeatedly sting any intruding animal or person. They avoid darkness and shade, yet are incredibly resilient. If mounds remain undisturbed and the colony rapidly multiplies, fire ants may send additional queens to begin new mounds nearby. Large colonies can have up to 250,000 workers. These ants leave the colony in a massive mating flight. Keep an eye out for heavy ant trails around the walls, driveways, windows, fences, and throughout the yard.

Whiteflies

Whiteflies are a severe problem that is facing Florida homeowners. These creatures develop rapidly in warm weather, making Florida summer an ideal time for infestation. Whiteflies get their name from a white, waxy substance that covers the wings and bodies of adult flies. The adult whitefly is very small – less than 1/16” long – and resembles a tiny moth. There are more than 75 types of whiteflies in Florida. Whiteflies can seriously damage host plants. The flies lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves, where the eggs hatch. Whiteflies feed by sucking the sap from leaves with their needle-like mouths. Both whiteflies and their nymphs pose a threat to plant life, as all stages feed on plant juices. As the whitefly drains off the plant’s juices the leaves dry out, turn yellow, and eventually drop from the plant. Whiteflies congregate in such large numbers, they are able to effectively drain off the plant’s source of water and nutrients, quickly damaging the host plant causing yellowing, stunted growth, wilting, leaf drop, and even plant death. Be careful, because leaves play host to eggs and other life stages of the insects, it is important that you do not allow any damage trimmed from an infested plant to come in contact with other plants because this can spread to the infestation.

Plants affected by the whitefly:  The whitefly has a wide range of host plants, though different whitefly strains prefer certain plants over others. In all, over 500 plant species are affected by the whitefly. This list continues to grow as the whiteflies spread. Fruit and edible plants such as avocado, banana, citrus, mango, guava, plantain, squash, tomatoes, and others are typically affected. Several species of palm trees including King palm, coconut palm, sabal palm and other less common palms can also be affected. Some of the affected ornamental plants include azaleas, bird of paradise, gumbo limbo, bird of paradise, black olive, bougainvillea, buttonwood, fig (ficus), live oak, mahogany, hibiscus, poinsettia, sea grapes, lantana, live oak, wax myrtle and many annuals. Plant damage:  Whiteflies cause visible landscape damage to trees, plants and shrubs. The most noticeable sign of a whitefly infestation are white spirals, combined with a build-up of white, waxy substance on bottom of the leaves. Often times, the build up is so great that plants are actually covered and can lose all their leaves.  These stressed and weakened plants may fall victim to other insects & diseases at this point.

Other damage:  Whiteflies produce an extremely significant amount of “honeydew,” a sticky, sugary honeydew excretion which causes the growth of an ugly sooty mold – a black fungus that grows on the insect’s excrement.  This “honeydew” is the cause for many problems, as it sticks to vehicles, sidewalks and driveways, outdoor furniture, homes, etc. causing damage to car paint and leaving a sticky mess. The honeydew also attracts ants that drive off the natural predators of whiteflies. Control and prevention:

Be sure to check your plants daily for any sign of infestation. Check the undersides of leaves for whitefly eggs or larvae, as this is a good indicator of whitefly presence. If any evidence is found, take action immediately. The best course of action is to call a professional pest control that specializes in using a broad-spectrum insecticide that treats and removes whiteflies. These pests will not leave on their own; they are best treated by a professional and treated quickly.

Chinch Bugs Chinch bugs have black bodies, silvery wings, and antennas and are one of the most common yet damaging pests. Sucking plant juices from infested grass, these pests injure your lawn and can cause large yellow or brown patches to appear. Typically, most chinch bug damage occurs along driveways and sidewalks but can sometimes be found in open sunny areas in the middle of the lawn. One way to keep chinch bugs under control is to water the lawn infrequently yet deeply.

Chinch bugs can cause extensive damage on your lawn if infestations are heavy, so it is often necessary to seek professional help to eliminate them.

Grubs and Common Worms White grubs are the larvae of beetles and rest in a C-shaped position. Grubs and worms damage turf grass by feeding on the roots. Injured grasses will have uneven notches chewed along the sides of the blades. The first signs of infestation resemble drought conditions. Grubs can kill small plants and gnaw cavities in root vegetables. Heavy infestations of grubs attract other pests like raccoons, opossums, crows, ibis, and other birds, which make holes in the lawn and garden to feed on the grubs. Professional lawn spraying is the best solution. A lawn care professional will exterminate the larvae and eggs to prevent further damage.

Other Bugs

You may notice insects swarming (flying) in and around your yard. Insects spread and mate this way. Fleas are also very common at this time of year. The most common flea problem we encounter is with the Cat flea. They breed in sand and dirt, and the hotter it gets outside the worse a cat flea problem can become. When a pest professional treats your lawn for some of these common pests, it also controls fleas and ticks in your yard as well.

INSIDE YOUR FLORIDA HOME

The summer rains and hot temperatures also make it easy for prolific foliage growth. As your plants grow out and touch the side of your house, ants and other pests are able to use the tree limbs as a bridge to your home. Trim tree limbs and foliage away from the house to reduce the chance of these pests getting inside. Yard debris should be bagged and properly disposed of to decrease harborage areas for insects. Insects need shelter, moisture and food. Your home provides all of these and without the presence of their natural predators.

Ants

Widely recognized as the top nuisance pest in America, ants are likely to make an appearance in many homes around Florida this summer. The common myth that seeing one ant indoors equals a full-blown infestation is not necessarily true. However, ants do cooperate by leaving an invisible chemical trail (pheromones) for other ants to follow once they locate a promising food source. If that food source is in your home, you can count on ant colonies developing. They can enter your home through the smallest cracks and invade your kitchen and your pantry. While most ants are considered a harmless nuisance, there are those that pose a serious threat to your family’s health and property. Carpenter ants can cause severe property damage as they tunnel through wood to build nests. The highly invasive crazy ant, can infest homes, recreational vehicles, and any laptop or smart phone left in its path. If you have an ant infestation, vacuum trails of ants, wipe them with soapy water, or spray with window cleaner. Locate entry points then caulk openings or plug with petroleum jelly. Put out bait stations or apply gel bait at entry points. Baits take time to work, so continue to clean up trails. If possible, identify the species of ant for more targeted control of the problem. Always call a professional for a targeted expert removal protocol.

Mosquitoes, Termites, and Other Pests

Interior activity will probably be focused around the kitchen and bathrooms, or near any possible water source. If the bugs are swarming inside of your home, you could have an infestation problem. Limiting access for household bugs is the best way to prevent an infestation. Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home including entry points for utilities and pipes. Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house. Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry. Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly. Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows. Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground. Call Truly Nolen or Ask our Pest Expert for additional advice on control and treatment. Make sure your Florida Home is Truly Protected this summer!