Category Archives: General

Truly Nolen in Columbus, OH: We Know Ohio Pests and How to Get Rid of Them

Columbus residents and those in the nearby, surrounding areas are in good hands with Truly Nolen whose seasonal approach to pest control is the best way to treat common household pest problems in Columbus, OH.

From one season to the next, pests are able to adapt to fluctuating temperatures and changes in weather conditions. In addition, many pests thrive during specific seasons, typically flourishing during the warmer months. For Columbus residents, this means that pests can prove to be a problem all year round. Fortunately, the experts at Truly Nolen are always one step ahead of pests and with innovative treatment methods; our pest professionals also stay one step ahead of the competition.

Truly Nolen’s Four Season approach to pest control is designed to take into account the changes in the seasons and pest behavior, and seeks to establish preventative treatment methods ahead of time in order help stop pest activity before it starts. Understanding pest behavior is important and no one knows Ohio pests like Truly Nolen! Here, we take a closer look at why this method of pest control makes the most sense for Columbus residents.

Why Is a Seasonal Approach The Best?

By understanding how pest behavior differs with each season, Truly Nolen’s experts can employ preventative pest control techniques that address current pest problems, as well as problems that have yet to occur.

Termite
Spring – With many pests using the cold, winter months to lay eggs and stock up on food, the onset of spring will see many of these pests emerge from their eggs, ready to do what they do best. In particular, termite activity generally sees an increase around this time of the year as spring provides the optimal weather for termite swarmers to find new areas to inhabit. Often mistaken for flying ants, homeowners may not even be aware of a potentially dangerous termite issue until it is too late. Termites, along with other insects, should be accurately identified and treated before populations have the chance to grow and spread to other areas of the home, or homes nearby. Truly Nolen of Columbus works to decrease these populations by focusing treatment applications on the exterior of the home to prevent insects from entering. Applications also consider long term damage, seeking to provide protection beyond the season.

Mosquito
Summer – Mosquitoes, flies and spiders are just some of the creatures that make themselves well known during the hot summer months. With grass and flowers in high bloom from spring showers, overgrown landscaping can provide the ideal condition for insects to infest your space. In addition, the hot summer months can drive pests indoors as they seek water and shelter. Keeping bugs out is key during these months as Truly Nolen pays special attention to entry points and landscaping areas where bugs may be hiding.

mouse
Fall – As the weather starts to cool down, pests are instinctively looking to find areas that they can begin preparations for the winter months ahead. Rodents are especially active during this time as they seek to find shelter from the cold. With the ability to fit through the smallest of openings, rats and mice can pose major problems for homeowners at this time of the year. Truly Nolen focuses on integrating exclusionary methods to seal entry points and create barriers around the home to prevent pests from entering and settling down for the next several months.
Ants
Winter – During the full blown winter months, if homeowners have not proactively sought out pest control inspections in previous months, the possibility of carpenter ants, termites and rodents taking up residence in your home can be quite high. Like you, these pests prefer to remain in the warmth and safety of your home, not daring to venture outside too often when it’s cold. With a focus on eliminating pests that have entered the home, Truly Nolen of Columbus also concentrates on safe and effective treatments to decrease the propensity for pests to enter.

What Impact do Pests Have on Homeowners?

Termites, roaches, flies, rodents and more can all severely and negatively impact your quality of life, especially if there is prolonged exposure to these creatures. Their presence in your home can not only cause structural damage, but more importantly your health and safety are compromised with the onset of allergies, asthma, respiratory issues, headaches, food borne illnesses, diseases and more. The danger in neglecting this aspect of home maintenance means that pests are then given a greater opportunity to cause their damage.

When Should I Schedule My Free Inspection?

There is no wrong time to schedule a free inspection with your Columbus Truly Nolen! Whatever season you find yourself enjoying, is the right time to have one of our pest experts come in and have a look at your current situation. Accurately identifying any pest problems that you may have, would be the first step in eliminating pests from your home. From there, your Truly Nolen expert can recommend safe, pet and environmentally friendly ways to treat your pests so that you and your family can enjoy your home for seasons to come. Call Truly Nolen of Columbus at (614) 448-5030 to schedule an inspection.

Mansfield Ohio’s Most Wanted Pests

As the Carousel Capital of Ohio, Mansfield’s residents can enjoy the historic charm of downtown, coupled with the outdoor beauty of being nestled near the foothills of the Allegheny Plateau. Numerous parks and scenic bike trails also encourage residents to spend time in nature. While these outdoor activities provide great summer fun, being one with nature does come at a price. With warmer weather comes an increase in pest activity, including stinging insects such as bees, wasps and hornets.

Truly Nolen of Mansfield helps homeowners with any stinging insect problem by accurately identifying the type of insect posing the threat, and providing a range of treatment options to safely address the issue. In addition to preventative methods such as swarm and scout traps, Truly Nolen also removes colonies to prevent future infestations from taking place.

Stinging insects generally do not attack humans unless in self defense, however, large enough swarms that are in close proximity to homes, schools or work, can endanger those nearby.

In fact, the National Pest Management Association cites, “Stinging insects like bees and hornets send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year. The most serious sting-related reactions come from insects that belong to the Apidae family (honey bees and bumble bees) or Vespidae family (yellowjackets, yellow hornets, white faced hornets, and paper wasps).”

With some basic, yet important knowledge and awareness, residents of Mansfield can practice safety measures including cautionary next steps should you be stung. Here, Truly Nolen outlines how to identify some of the more common stinging insects, their habits and general degree of aggressiveness. However, if homeowners suspect an infestation or see a growing number of stinging insects near their property, contacting a Truly Nolen of Mansfield pest expert is the safest way to remove the threat.

Stinging Insects 101

Yellow Jacket

YELLOW JACKETS

Identification

Yellow jackets are one of the most aggressive in the stinging insect species. Typically, yellow jackets are between 3/8 to 5/8 of an inch with yellow and black heads and black bodies with yellow bands.

Habits

Considered a ‘social’ insect, yellow jackets live in large colonies or nests and are active in late summer. Usually nesting in the ground, yellow jackets are known to be spotted outdoors, near sources of food as they feed on proteins and sweets.

Degree of aggressiveness

Yellow jackets are extremely territorial and will not hesitate to sting if they feel that their hive is threatened. They also tend to cause severe allergic reactions as they sting repeatedly.

Bald-Faced Hornet

BALDFACED HORNET

Identification

Bald faced hornets tend to be larger with black bodies and white faces. Shaped almost like a wasp, the queen bald faced hornets can be as much as ¾” in size.

Habits

Just like yellow jackets, bald faced hornets are also social insects, but living in colonies that are significantly smaller. Bald faced hornets will not reuse their nests each season, instead opting to inhabit a different one each time.

Degree of aggressiveness

With smooth stingers containing venom designed to make its victim sting and itch, bald faced hornets are aggressive and are known to sting repeatedly. Homeowners should never attempt to remove a bald faced hornet nest on their own.

Paper Wasp

PAPER WASPS

Identification

Paper wasps are brown in color with yellow or reddish markings. Their name is derived from the paper like substance used to construct their nests. They can range in length of 5/8” to 3/4”.

Habits

Occupying small colonies, paper wasps are not as social as yellow jackets or hornets and will often find their way indoors. They prefer to eat nectar and small flies.

Degree of aggressiveness

Paper wasps are generally more docile but can deliver a painful sting if they are disturbed.

Bumblebee

BUMBLEBEES

Identification

Oval with black bodies and yellow stripes, they are easily recognizable by their size, typically 1 inch in length.

Habits

Bumblebees are best known for their loud buzzing sound as well as their aggressive nature when it comes to defending their nests.

Degree of aggressiveness

Bumblebees are chasers! They can often swarm after a nest invader for a long time and deliver a very painful sting.

You’ve been stung? Here’s what to do next:

Types of Reactions

If you have had the misfortune of being stung by one of these stinging insects, it is important to recognize the type of reaction you may experience. A local reaction to a bee sting for example, could include swelling and redness of the area that was infected. These reactions are generally not life threatening and will disappear within a few hours.

A systemic reaction can start out similar to a local reaction, but within 15-20 minutes more severe symptoms will start to show including difficulty breathing and hives. Some systemic reactions can even be fatal as in the rare cases of more extreme allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis. Here, symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness and tightness in the throat. Individuals or those nearby should call 911 if they begin to experience any of those symptoms.

Yellowjacket, Hornet & Wasp Stings

  • Immediately clean the area with soap.
  • Use cold water or a cold compress.
  • Antihistamine and hydrocortisone creams are useful to alleviate redness and itching.

Bee Stings

  • While the above recommendations can apply to a bee sting, because of the barbed stingers it is important to pay close attention to removing it. The stingers detach from the bees’ body and can get lodged in the skin, leaving behind the venom.
  • If possible, elevate the area that has been stung.
  • Immediate removal of the stinger is necessary to avoid further release of the venom and avoid getting infected.
  • If you have removed the stinger and still experience pain, swelling or fever even days after, than seeking medical help is important to delay an onset of infection.

The National Pest Management Association outlines general rules for avoiding and removal of stinging pests, especially if they begin to become a problem:

  • The first rule when a stinging insect approaches is to STAY STILL. Remember, people who keep bees professionally wear protective clothing and ALWAYS MOVE SLOWLY.
  • Be careful when you shake out clothing that has been left on the ground. Wasps or other stinging insects could be in the folds of the clothing.
  • Avoid orchards in bloom, clover fields, and any areas that are abundant with flowers. Don’t wear dark clothing, and don’t wear perfume or hair sprays.
  • Do not mow lawns, trim hedges or prune trees during seasons in which honeybees and wasps are plentiful.
  • Keep a “bee cloth” (even in an enclosed car) to trap frightened insects before they sting, or keep an insecticide spray in the glove compartment of your car.
  • Caution children about not throwing stones or sticks at insect nests.

Residents of Mansfield are encouraged to enjoy their time outdoors, but knowing how to quickly identify certain stinging insects can possibly help to avoid being stung. Truly Nolen is licensed and trained to deal specifically with the delicate task of handling stinging insects. Homeowners should never attempt to remediate these problems on their own, instead, contact your local Mansfield Truly Nolen branch at (419) 520-9290 to provide immediate treatment.

Truly Nolen Honored with the 2015 Best of Holly Springs Award

best-of

The Holly Springs Award Program honors local businesses who use best practices and provide long-term value to the local community. Truly Nolen of Atlanta was selected for the 2015 Best of Holly Springs Award in the category of Home & Garden for exceptional marketing success in this business category.

At Truly Nolen, we look forward to serving the Holly Springs local community and surrounding communities for years to come and thank our customers for the continued opportunity.

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!

Fumigation vs. No Tent Solutions

trenching
Choosing the proper termite treatment for your home is an important decision. Homeowners should be aware of all the options available to them. Each year thousands of large-scale and small-scale fumigations occur to deal with numerous forms of pest infestation. In the case of a drywood termite infestation, the treatment choices are between traditional tent fumigation solutions and non-tent solutions.

Fumigation

In certain instances, infestation can be so severe that tent fumigation is the only option. Infestations that become widespread, particularly in inaccessible areas, are what make tent fumigation an attractive option. Once settled into a home, termites are able to live in areas we can’t readily see like beams, walls, or perhaps underneath floorboards. When a structure is fumigated, the gas reaches every area and deeply penetrates its wood structures where termites live and feed. The fumigant used is a true gas (meaning it’s lighter than air) once the home is completely aerated it leaves behind no residue whatsoever.

Homeowner should equally be aware of the drawbacks:

  • Neither convenient (must vacate property for 72 hours), nor inexpensive
  • The house must be prepared properly: total removal of all occupants, pets, plants, medicine, food, open containers, and cosmetics. Gas service must be disconnected and pilot lights must be extinguished.
  • Fumigants do not provide protection from future infestation; they only treat for existing termites
  • The heavy tarps used to hold fumigants in can easily damage gutters, tile roofing, and shrubbery

Edison house tenting

Non-Fumigation Solutions

There are several alternatives to fumigation; however the two most predominant methods outside of fumigation are heat and liquid pesticide treatment. Similar to fumigation, each alternative has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Heating: Heat-based treatments have proven to be effective against termite swarms. Heating requires tenting and raising the temperature of the wood throughout a home to 120-130 degrees for a minimum of 35-60 minutes.

  • Effective when localized colonies can be identified
  • Cause damage to heat sensitive belongings (electronics, vinyl, beauty supplies, wiring, furniture, etc…)
  • Energy costs can make heating expensive

Spot Treatment: Involves drilling multiple holes into infested areas of flooring and walls so that a termiticide can be injected.

  • Less expensive and more convenient than heating and fuming
  • Treatment provides lasting effects for protection against future swarms
  • Does not affect termites in inaccessible areas (spot treatment is roughly only 2 square feet)
  • Multiple treatments may be necessary

Total Termite Protection Plan ℠ (TTP):

The treatment option provided by Truly Nolen, which differs from both spot treatment and fumigation. Application of treatment includes areas both on the interior and exterior of household.

  • Covers more area of home than spot treatment
  • Protect against both Drywood termites and Subterranean termites
  • Residual effects of treatment protect against future swarms
  • Preliminary inspections are offered free of charge

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.

Hate Bugs? These Bugs Play Such an Important Role in Nature You Might Fall in Love

branch of blossoms
With spring time right around the corner, embracing a love for nature and the outdoors is something commonly enjoyed by many. While families may love spending time outside and the activities that come with it, the words “love” and “bug” are typically not associated with one another in a positive context. In all honesty, who really loves bugs? Critters of the creepy, crawly category are not particularly loveable! These small, misunderstood creatures are hardly ever welcome in our personal space, yet play a crucial ecological role. Not only do bugs serve as an excellent source of food for larger animals, but they are critical in the process of pollinating our trees, fruits and veggies.

Insects can be found in almost any habitat, varying in species more than any other animal. We may consider bugs to be pests, it’s important to be aware of the benefits some bugs have to offer from an ecological standpoint. Some ways that bugs are vital to our ecosystem include:

  • Biological control in agriculture
  • Serving as a food source for mammals, fish and other animals
  • Biological control for harmful/dangerous pests
  • Aiding in the decomposition of dead materials, allowing nutrients to be easily absorbed in our soil
  • Pollination by some bugs aids in the production of food for humans
  • Being a direct food source for people in many countries! Insects provide protein, minerals and vitamins

Before you make up your mind one way or another about bugs holding a special place in your heart, let’s be sure you have an informed opinion by taking a closer look at a few bugs that we’d have a tough time living without.

Bees

bees
With over 20,000 known species of bees, it is difficult to imagine a world without them. It is impossible to think of a world without bees as their existence is essential to human life. Aside from producing wax and honey, bees stay busy by having one of the most important jobs on the planet. There are other insects and elements that aid in pollination such as wind, nothing can compare to the pollination power of bees. While bees are consuming pollen, the micro-hairs on their bodies collect pollen and transfer it from plant-to-plant as they fly. It is the pollination process where various fruits, flowers and nuts are formed. Since bees have very species specific feeding habits, plants of similar species enjoy the full pollination benefits of them.

It is the process of pollination that keeps the world’s plants and flowers thriving from generation to generation. Imagine a world without the beauty of flowers — without popular foods like pumpkins, apples, blueberries and cucumbers. Without pollination these would cease to exist.

Butterflies

Monarch Butterfly
The butterfly’s visual appeal and beauty as they flutter from flower to flower is a commonly enjoyed sight. Attracted to fragrant, brightly colored flowers, butterflies are a close second to bees when it comes to pollination and the benefits from it, including the development of plant species.

Simpler in appearance, moths are also considered an important element as they, along with butterflies, are a source of food for other animals, such as birds. Both butterflies and moths create a bodily chemical used to defend themselves against predators. While this chemical may taste bitter to predators, it has proved to be useful for humans, especially for medical reasons. For example, chemicals produced by the Meadow Brown butterfly have help scientists and doctors develop more effective antibiotics.

Ladybugs

ladybug
The bright red exoskeleton coupled with scattered black polka dots is a familiar sight in most gardens. Sometimes referred to as Ladybirds, Ladybugs are natural bodyguards when it comes to the safety and security of a garden. Since they are an effective and organic form of pest control, Ladybugs are used beyond the personal security of a garden. Many species of ladybugs are also used by farmers in the agricultural industry to feed on other insects considered harmful to crops. Ladybugs provide farmers a safer alternative to hazardous chemicals used to keep pests away.

Fruit Flies

Beautiful Fruit Fly
Fruit flies are often cast aside as nothing more than pesky flies that show up when half-eaten fruit is left lying around, however thanks to their frequent breeding habits and genetic makeup, these small insects prove that they are more than meets the eye. For many years, scientists have studied fruit flies and their chromosomes in search of more information regarding genetic variations. As irritating as they are, fruit flies provide valuable data that can be used to understand more on human genetics as they share roughly 75 % of the genes that cause human.

While we may be tempted to simply dismiss all bugs as pests, it is important to show some bugs a little love considering their living habits can be far more beneficial to humans than we may realize at first glance. Our world would be a completely different environment if some of these bugs weren’t around in to regulate our ecosystem and help maintain the world that we have come to know and love.

Clay Soil in Dallas, TX Could Mean Easy Entry for Pests and Termites

Termite
It is well documented that certain areas of both north Texas and Dallas-Fort Worth have long standing issues with housing foundation movement. While there can be numerous factors associated with the “how” and the “why” a home’s foundation shifts over time, the overwhelming cause is a result of soil movement (i.e. contracting and expanding).

Many houses, particularly those in north Texas lie on top of clay soil that interacts with moisture differently than do most other soil types. Clay soil has properties comparable to a sponge, expanding with higher levels of moisture and contracting when less moisture is present. When parts of the foundation move disproportionately to others, the remaining areas of the foundation are under distress. This constant duress over time causes cracks in the foundation that eventually cause cracks in surfaces such as brick and dry wall in and outside the home.

Cracks in a structure’s foundation do not have to create structural issues for them to be a problem. Small cracks in a home’s foundation or walls can grant easy access for common household pests. North Texas and Dallas-Fort Worth residents are no stranger when it comes to pest issues such as ants, cockroaches, beetles, and spiders.

One “silent destroyer” especially prevalent is the termite. Despite the devastating damage they’re capable of causing, termites are roughly only a few millimeters to 1 centimeter in length. The termite’s small size is particularly problematic if there are drywall cracks in your home due to the fact that termite swarms gain entry into your home practically undetected through these small cracks.

Subterranean termites specifically pose a very serious threat when the foundation of your home shifts drastically, considering they enter a home upwards from the ground, making any cracked slabs of concrete or expansion joints a potential infiltration point. A slight crack as narrow as 1/64th of an inch, is enough for termites to squeeze through, especially if that same crack is emitting a source of moisture, which in turn makes plumbing pipes critical areas to monitor.

Truly Nolen’s Total Termite Protection PlanSM is the most comprehensive termite control program in the industry (covering all species of termite), as it is backed by a $1 Million Dollar Guarantee. For more information on scheduling your Free inspection for your Dallas, TX home visit: https://www.trulynolen.com/locations/tx/dallas/dallas.asp#local-termite-control or https://www.trulynolen.com/locations/tx/fort-worth/fort-worth.asp#local-termite-control.

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.

Spiderman vs. Real Spiders: Who is the real hero?

From nursery rhymes that delight and fascinate young children, to scary horror stories that evoke fear, spiders have always played an important role as pop culture references. Boasting an impressive resume of leading and supporting roles, spiders weave their webs into many major movies, the most popular of which is Marvel’s Spiderman franchise. Even though these action packed movies are more about the stunts and computer graphics, Spiderman’s strengths are based on the real features and traits that spiders actually possess, which indeed make them truly amazing creatures.

As intimidating as spiders may seem, they are actually shy creatures that tend to retreat if you advance on them. In rare cases when there is close human interaction, the few spiders that are considered dangerous such as the Black Widow or Brown Recluse, can prove fatal if you are bitten, but most spiders are harmless and will not bite. Not to be confused with insects, spiders are Arachnids with all spiders having 8 legs and 2 distinct body regions. As much as our natural instinct is to get rid of any spider that we encounter, it is important to understand the benefits that spiders provide as they prey on undesirable insects and pest species, making them nature’s own biological vacuum.

spiders

Eight Legged Fun Facts

If you suffer with a true fear of spiders (Arachnophobia) it may not comfort you to know that there are at least 40,000 different species of spiders that exist. All spiders have venom and are therefore considered venomous, but most are still relatively harmless to humans. While the sight of them will make you go in the opposite direction, there are so many fascinating traits to these eight legged creatures:

  • Unlike insects, spiders do not have antennae or wings.
  • All spiders have 8 legs.
  • Female spiders can produce up to 3,000 eggs.
  • The most poisonous spider is the Brazilian wandering spider, also known as the Banana spider.
  • The silk weave spun by spiders is considered the strongest material in the world. In the Spiderman movies, the concept of being able to climb walls and swing from high levels using this spun silk is a huge part of the appeal of his character. In reality, scientists have not been able to replicate this material despite technology.
  • The only continent in the world that does not have spiders is Antarctica!
  • Spiders are filled with venom which is actually how they digest any food that they intake. Anything ingested is first turned into a liquid substance.
  • Jumping spiders can jump up to 50 times their own length (picture Spiderman leaping from building to building!)
  • Spiders can live in almost any habitat with only a few species surviving near water. This accounts for their highly diversified species.
  • Spidey Senses! Although Spiderman does not have 4 eyes like most spiders, his ‘spidey senses’ are just like that of a real spider. Near sighted, spiders cannot rely on their eyes to help them, so they must hone in on their other senses to help find food and defend themselves.
  • The most common method of capturing prey is by creating a web that insects or lizards will get stuck in. Some spiders hunt actively and will search their surroundings for food.

Types of Spiders

Although most of the spiders we encounter are harmless, it’s a good idea to acquaint yourself with the more common varieties in the event that you do cross paths with them in your home.

 

Type of Spider Appearance Where to find it Get the bug spray?
Common House Spider
  • Long abdomen
  • Yellow/brown in color
Basements, garages, under furniture, around windows and near lights. The common house spider poses no real threat and is more of a nuisance.
Jumping Spider
  • Black with light markings
  • Shorter legs and more compact body
Around windows, doors, fences, decks and bushes. If threatened, the jumping spider can bite in defense, but their bite is not dangerous.
Long-bodied Cellar Spiders
  • Small body with long skinny legs
  • Range from pale yellow to light brown in color
Dark, damp places like basements and cellars. High humidity areas like sink cabinets, bathtubs, inside closets No real threat as these spiders do not bite.
Brown Recluse Spider
  • Range from light to dark brown
  • Noticeable dark brown violin shape marking on its back
Under woodpiles, debris, inside storage areas, baseboards, closets and attics. The brown recluse will bite in defense often leading to a painful bite and associated fever, sores and restlessness. Requires immediate medical treatment to avoid allergic reaction.
Black Widow Spider
  • Shiny and black body
  • Red hourglass shape on their underbelly
Found in boxes, around woodpiles or firewood and lower level areas. Female black widows can be aggressive if they are guarding recently laid eggs. A bite from a black widow can lead to high blood pressure, nausea and fever.

brown_recluse_spider

Keeping Spiders Out

Even if we’re inclined to bring out the spider décor at Halloween time, the rest of the year should be kept spider free if possible. The sighting of one or even two spiders may indicate that there is an infestation brewing and should be attended to right away to avoid the problem getting out of hand. To help reduce the possibility of spiders entering and staying in your home, there are a few preventative measures you can take:

  • Pressure clean the outside of your home to get rid of webs and possible spider eggs that cling to door frames and windows.
  • Repair damaged screens on all exterior openings of your house.
  • Remove debris, firewood or garbage away from your home as these areas serve as good resting places for spiders.
  • Using yellow light bulbs helps to deter insects, which in turn, deters spiders from feeding on them.
  • Any noticeable cracks or spaces should be sealed.
  • Minimize the opportunity for nesting by removing bags, boxes and papers that may be lying around your home.
  • Keep a close eye out in corners of ceiling, walls and windows and eliminate any cobwebs that you find.
  • Contact your Truly Nolen service expert who can effectively assess and treat any areas of the home that you suspect may have spiders.