Pest Advice Blog

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.

THREE PREDICTIONS FOR PEST TRENDS IN 2015

THREE PREDICTIONS FOR PEST TRENDS IN 2015

 

Insect and rodent pests are excellent at taking advantage of changes in their environments, which could spell big trouble for homeowners and businesses with changing climates and shifting weather patterns in North America.

 

Below we have laid out three predictions of pest and pest prevention trends in 2015. As you may notice, some of these trends have already started to take shape (we’re looking at you, Brown Marmorated Stink Bug!).

 

Meet The Roof Rat

Often called the Black Rat or Ship Rat, the Roof Rat has been a perpetual offender to the deep south and coastal areas of the United States for some time. Recently, however, this pest has been creeping into land-locked areas and traveling ever further north. Roof Rats seek out elevated spaces and can do major damage to insulation, HVAC ducts, electrical components, and ornamental fixtures in your attic and wall voids. 

 

Increasing Bed Bug Activity In Non-Traditional Locations

The Bed Bug is a pest that has become an ever increasing nuisance and is not going away. In addition to expanding its footprint across North America, the Bed Bug is moving into areas where they have not traditionally been found. According to research performed by Truly Nolen Pest Prevention, bed bug business outside of hotels in the last 12 months has increased 16.1%. This could refer to anywhere people frequent, such as retail store fitting rooms, movie theaters, healthcare facilities, restaurants, gym locker rooms, and even the church pew. This spread to non-traditional locations can be attributed to the increase in the Bed Bug population and the fact that they are excellent hitchhikers. As a result of this increased activity of the Bed Bug, it may be a good idea to add thorough checks of your clothing and belongings after visiting these and other communal places before returning home to your 2015 resolution list.

 

Expanding Activity of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Over the past decade, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug has become a very common pest in the Eastern U.S. Every fall we can count on seeing these flat, brown little pests crowding our windowsills and door frames, eventually finding their way into our kitchens and living rooms. While the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is largely a nuisance pest for homeowners, it can be very damaging to agriculture and, as a result, the U.S. economy. Expect this pest to continue its sprawl across the continent, moving further west in 2015.

Squirrels – Don’t let them drive you nuts!

When we think of animals belonging to the rodent family, often times, squirrels are not top of mind. Probably the most aesthetically pleasing of their kind, they are almost always seen nibbling on something to eat due to their constantly growing teeth. This gives them somewhat of an endearing quality along with their bushy tails and playful movements, often depicted in movies as cute and friendly creatures. Seen scampering up trees and daringly traversing a telephone line or two, squirrels are disregarded as nothing more than part of the scenery.

However, squirrels that find themselves near to or even inside your home, can cause serious damage and wreak havoc in your garden, furniture and more dangerously, electrical wiring and support beams in your house. Once squirrels settle in an area, they are very difficult to get rid of and will make themselves comfortable. Similar to rats and mice, they make excellent climbers, which means that entering your home through the attic or chimneys does not pose much of a challenge for them.

Types of Squirrels

Squirrel

Ground Squirrels

Ground squirrels stay true to their name and mainly roam on lower level surfaces. Although they can climb, the ground squirrel will always opt to hide in burrows when they are threatened or frightened. Primarily active during the day, ground squirrels prefer warm, sunny weather and will hibernate during the colder months. Ground squirrels live in colonies and will spend their time storing food, resting and rearing their young. They will usually forage for food near to their burrows, which is why they mainly inhabit areas that are close to buildings or bordering farms and crops. Feeding on a diet mainly consisting of grains, nuts and seeds, ground squirrels are voracious in their appetite for grasses and plants especially after they emerge from hibernation.

Damage caused by ground squirrels

Ground squirrels can cause major damage in and around gardens, farms and crops. Feasting on plants, both food-bearing and ornamental, ground squirrels can devour fruit and nut trees, vines, shrubs and vegetables. They will even gnaw on irrigation systems and sprinkler heads, making their presence a nightmare for homeowners and farmers.

Their burrowing habits can also prove detrimental to livestock, humans and machinery as the uneven surface makes it difficult to walk on, also causing damage to the machinery. Burrows can pose structural problems, affecting the moisture level in tree roots, often causing them to fall over as well as interfering with the structural stability of buildings. If there are excessive colonies of ground squirrels in any one area, the chances of the spread of disease is also high.

Tree Squirrels

There are several types of tree squirrels that are commonly found near homes. Although they primarily inhabit wooded areas, residential and commercial development has caused them to seek new places to live (including your attic!)

Some of the more commonly seen squirrels are:

  • Gray squirrels – Typically found in rural areas that are densely populated with trees. Gray squirrels can wreak havoc in your backyard by digging holes in the ground and flower beds to bury acorns. Feeding nuts and seeds, they will not hesitate to overthrow your bird feeder to get to the seeds!
  • Fox squirrels- Prone to nesting in trees and hollowed out trunks, the fox squirrel can also do damage in your garden, destroying flowers, plants and fruit trees.

Damage caused by Tree squirrels

Much like their more undesirable counterparts, rats and mice, tree squirrels use their superior climbing skills to find ways of entering your home and setting up residence in your roof or attic. A good way to determine if you may have a possible squirrel infestation is to know what signs to look out for:

  • Since tree squirrels are excellent climbers, checking the higher level areas of your home are essential. Taking a good look inside your attic for evidence of damage to insulation, wood beams or electrical wiring. This is especially important as chewing of these wires can cause shortages and result in home fires.
  • If you notice small holes in your yard, chances are squirrels have been busy hiding their food throughout your exterior space.
  • Scratching sounds coming from your attic could be a sign that squirrels have entered your home. If there are utility lines near to your house, this is a good indication that squirrels may have found their way to your roof, and then into your attic as these guys are not afraid of running across high wires.

Some of the ways that squirrels can cause damage in and around your home are:

  • Chewing on electrical wiring
  • Gnawing at support beams in your attic or under your home.
  • Ripping apart insulation, window and door frames
  • Destroying bird feeders, potted plants and flowers
  • Squirrels that carry diseases, as well as squirrel fleas, can pose serious health risks.

Control & Prevention

While an overturned potted plant, or a few holes in your garden may be more of a nuisance than anything else, the prospect of squirrels chewing on electrical wires or beams is far more attention worthy. Even one squirrel that has entered the home can cause major issues. Controlling these erratic creatures can be quite the challenge and if you suspect that there may be a possible infestation, it is important to contact your pest service professional. As with other rodents, keeping squirrels away from your home is key and your pest control expert may apply certain exclusion and trapping techniques to prevent squirrels from entering and capturing those that have already found their way inside. As with any rodent, trapping and removal of squirrels is best left to a professional.

Some ways that you can help keep squirrels away from your home are:

  • Trim branches or trees that may be close to your roof line to avoid giving squirrels easy access.
  • Repair any openings or holes under gutters, on your roof and around the perimeter of your house.
  • Remove any bird feeders that are near to the home as these can attract squirrels looking to establish a food source.

Always contact your pest control professional if you think that the problem is beyond your control. Your service expert is trained to provide the best advice and procedure for keeping your home squirrel free.

Adopt a Family

December 2014

On December 22nd, 2014 we really wanted to make a big impact on a family’s life.  We decided to “Adopt-a-family” for the holidays and make sure they had an opportunity to enjoy them with no stress.  We went grocery shopping, wrapped all their presents, and personally delivered them to the family. The amount of tears shed from everyone there was the most touching feeling any of our team had in all the events we have done.  We are excited to participate in this event again for many years to come!

Yuma Christmas Party and Light Parade

On December 19th, we had two activities. First, during the day after taking care of our appointments, we had a Christmas Party at our branch. We had a good time eating, playing wash-shoes and spending time with our co-workers. Second activity we did, after our Christmas party, was participating in a light parade in Somerton AZ. The guy in one of the pictures showing off his new shoes is Chris Martinez. He got himself new shoes this day as a Christmas gift.

German Cockroaches – Nein Danke! (No thank you!)

German Roach ‘Tis the season to be jolly, but for restaurants and homeowners, the presence of German cockroaches in your space could mean a less than joyous experience. With over 3,000 species of roaches in the world, the prospect of living in an environment that is completely roach free may seem impossible. German roaches (Blatella germanica) are particularly familiar to most spaces as they are considered one of the more common indoor insects around. Known for their ability to thrive in almost any environment as well as their rapid reproductive cycle, German roaches are pretty good at dividing and conquering.

More than just a household nuisance, they are considered a serious threat to the health and safety of those in close proximity. German cockroaches can carry and transmit allergens and pathogens, so potential infestations should be addressed quickly. Although German roaches prefer warmer temperatures, these cold winter months are not necessarily a deterrent for them. In fact, as the season changes roaches go into preservation mode by slowing down their respiration enough to survive in the cold. This gives them all the more reason to seek warmth and food by moving indoors and settling down for the winter in your home or restaurant.

How to (not?) spot a German roach

The German roach can easily be identified by its tan or light brown coloring, small size (less than an inch) and 2 black horizontal stripes from the back of its head down to the wings. Since it is smaller than most of the other species of roaches, they are prone to hiding in the tiniest of cracks and crevices, making them difficult to keep an eye on! For a brief moment, one can take the smallest of comforts in knowing that although German roaches have wings; they seldom will fly, instead, choosing to scurry along to its next hiding spot.

Lifecycle

German cockroaches are notorious for their rapid production cycle, thus making it very difficult to control their populations. Adult female roaches produce an egg capsule that can contain as many as 48 eggs each. Throughout their average lifespan of 100-200 days, the female may produce between 6- 8 of these capsules.

Behavior & Habits

German cockroaches are scavengers and their less than picky eating habits means that they will consume just about anything they can from soap, glue, garbage, oil and grease to sweet and starchy foods and meat. Those crumbs that you left on your countertop, or the pile of used plates in the sink make for a particularly great midnight snack for them as they do most of their foraging at night. Since they are constantly on the search for food and water, you will most often spot them in your kitchen or bathroom as these places also provide the perfect warm and humid environment that they crave. Their small, flat bodies allow them to find their way in and out of small cracks, crevices and openings and are a perfect hiding spot for females to deposit their eggs.

Damage caused by German Roaches

The uncanny ability for cockroaches to survive and adapt to any environment is one of the main reasons that they are so difficult to get rid of. Their presence can be very disconcerting, but more than that are the hazardous and potentially life threatening diseases that are caused by the germs and pathogens carried by roaches. Their legs and bodies are the perfect vehicle for picking up pathogens as they crawl on garbage or decay, depositing them on surfaces and food in your environment, which eventually translate to unhealthy living conditions.

Diseases and health problems caused by roaches can range from mild to severe including:

  • Allergens from cast skins and roach droppings
  • Sinus infections and asthma
  • Skin rashes
  • Food poisoning
  • Dysentery and diarrhea or any form of gastroenteritis
  • Spread of bacteria and parasites
  • E. Coli & Salmonella
  • Typhus

Signs of infestation

German Cockroach Spotting one or two roaches may be an indication of a growing problem behind the scenes. In addition to actually seeing these insects in your home or restaurant, there are certain clues that cockroaches leave behind that should be taken note of and addressed right away:

  • German cockroaches secrete an odor that can be quite strong if they are large enough in numbers and will often be described as a “musty” smell.
  • Cockroach droppings or dark spots may be noticed near small cracks or openings or in corners of rooms. Droppings can also resemble ground peppers on countertops.
  • Empty egg cases from female roaches may sometimes be left behind.

Residential Control

German cockroaches often enter the home via bags or boxes that homeowners bring in from outside environments or garages either as adults or through egg deposits. Homeowners should be wary when entering the home with these items, especially if purchased second hand or from a warehouse environment. As a precaution:

  • When entering your home with boxes or bags, always double check that there are no openings that roaches may have gotten into. Consider removing items prior to entering.
  • Keep food containers tightly sealed and avoid leaving dishes in the sink with leftover food.
  • In multi-unit apartment complexes, roaches can travel through pipes and plumbing so be sure to fix and seal any leaking pipes and faucets.
  • Use lidded garbage containers wherever possible to avoid giving roaches easy access.

Restaurant Control

Restaurant owners have a particularly challenging task when it comes to controlling roaches in their environment. With multiple openings, cupboards, storage spaces and food preparation areas, roaches can pick and choose where they want to eat or hide. As with homeowners, restaurant owners can also look out for signs of possible infestation and concentrations of these signs can be a good indication of where the cockroaches may be hiding or feeding.

Restaurant owners should be vigilant in their awareness of potential roach problems and check these areas frequently:

  • Cupboards ( underneath and inside)
  • Sinks
  • Under equipment and appliances that give off heat
  • Under tables and chairs
  • Storage units or cardboard boxes containing food and meat items.

Taking necessary steps to help to control a possible roach problem is important as restaurants can face health violations or citations. If the problem is bad enough, this can also lead to temporary or even permanent closures. In a restaurant environment, similar steps to that of a homeowner can be taken to help control roaches coming into the establishment:

  • Unpack food items from boxes immediately after receiving them and discard empty boxes.
  • Keep food containers tightly sealed and avoid leaving dishes in the sink with leftover food.
  • Pay special attention to food preparation areas and wipe all countertops frequently.
  • Use lidded garbage containers wherever possible to avoid giving roaches easy access.
  • Keep temperatures cooler in areas of food storage to deter roaches.

Schedule your appointment today with your Truly Nolen Atlanta pest control expert who can help you get rid of an existing roach problem and provide the proper treatment for keeping roaches out of your home or restaurant.


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