Pest Advice Blog

Pets and the Pest Season: Keeping your Pets Pest Free this Season

keep your pets pest free this season
Keep on top of your pets’ pest potentials this spring and summer, by ensuring that your four-legged friends visit the vet for flea and tick prevention treatments or by purchasing effective topical drop treatments and ingested flea and tick products on the market.

How do fleas and ticks get in your home?

Usually, fleas and ticks come into your home on your clothes or your pets’ furry bodies. While it’s not difficult to detect fleas on your dog or cat, these tiny insects usually aren’t evident indoors until a full-fledged infestation gets underway.

Ticks can be extremely dangerous and homeowners who like to hike in wooded areas or tromp through tall grass, with or without pets, should practice a tick inspection routine, checking themselves and their pets for ticks after each foray into wooden areas before going back indoors. A tick infestation in your home could be a telltale sign of a possible rodent infestation. Vectors, like fleas and ticks feed on rodents’ blood, spreading respiratory pathogens, like the Hantavirus through contact with rodents and their ticks that spread diseases to humans.

Truly Nolen believes you, as a homeowner, can do a lot to prevent fleas and ticks in your home by offering flea and tick control services if you encounter a flea or tick issue.

Before you go indoors

But, before you go indoors, take a look around at possible flea breeding areas outside your home. Fleas and ticks like tall grass, leaf litter, extra flower pots, stacked wood, brick piles and other clutter near your home. Fleas and ticks like shady, moist and cool spots to breed, so cleaning up your yard, pruning bushes and trimming your grass to let more sunlight in goes a long way in the prevention of pest breeding grounds in your yard. Avoid over-watering your grass and ornamental shrubs to avoid setting up ideal conditions for fleas and ticks to thrive.

Sweep your porch, patio, deck and underneath your patio furniture on a regular basis. Also clean your pets’ outdoor lounging and running areas, in addition to the spaces under decks and porches where your pets like to hide out and rest.

Exclusion

The best way to prevent pest problems starts with shutting down entryways and sealing cracks and crevices in your home’s foundation. Repairing cracks and crevices in windows, doors and near other entrance points to your home further promotes pest exclusion.

Truly’s comprehensive Flea and Tick Treatment Program

If there comes a time when you suspect a flea infestation in your home, Truly Nolen guarantees to eliminate your pest problem, taking your family, pets and home into careful consideration. Truly’s Flea and Tick Control plan starts with an interview and an inspection of your home, by highly trained and certified technicians to determine the extent of your flea or tick problem.

Our individualized service specialists then devise a plan for your home, initiating an IPM, or Integrated Pest Management, approach that includes non-invasive treatments and pet-friendly methods towards a solution specific to your home. Your Truly technician will outline areas that need to be prepped before treatment begins. Most of these procedures are common sense practices used in an effort to eliminate most insects from your home.

Prepping your home for treatment

Vacuum Everything

  • Thoroughly and completely vacuum everything you possibly can, even hard surfaces, as fleas and ticks can hide in the cracks and crevices of your home. Pay special attention to pet beds, home furnishings and throw rugs. Do not use a central vacuum system, however, as fleas, ticks, and their eggs can get into that plumbing where they will breed and infest your home from there.
  • Seal affected vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and dispose of vacuum cleaner bag in an outdoor receptacle, so fleas can’t escape.
  • Steam cleaning or shampooing carpet can help eliminate fleas but live fleas still require treatment.

Launder in Hot Water

  • Wash all pet bedding, bed linens and other exposed blankets and throws in hot water and dry on the highest setting possible.

Coordinate Pet Care

  • Apply your pets’ flea and tick medications, or arrange for your veterinarian to treat your pets, on the same day your Truly Nolen Flea and Tick treatment will be administered.
  • Remove animals from your home to avoid re-infestation.

Your Truly Nolen technician will skillfully administer an interior liquid application with residual content to provide Truly’s guaranteed ongoing, long-term flea and tick control protection. Your certified technician, using a low pressure spray, will focus on areas and surfaces where your pets sleep and on their favorite lounging areas, like your sofa and any other areas documented during your inspection. Low pressure sprays for flea and tick treatment can be administered through highly focused streams of products so they don’t become airborne affecting pets and people.

Truly, truly wishes you a happy pest-free spring and summer. But remember that if pests start taking the fun out of your warm weather activities, just contact us; we’ll put them in their place.

What the . . . ? Exploring the Unknown Facts and Oddities of Insects

facts and oddities of insects
Insects make up the largest segment of life forms on the planet, outnumbering the sum of all of the other members of the animal kingdom. That’s a lot of bugs. With over 1,000 known insect species in the world, it shouldn’t surprise most that insects fit into their own biological niches with some strange and interesting features, habits and activities.

Did you know that silkworm moths have eleven brains or that caterpillars have 248 muscles in their heads or that a snail can sleep for three years? Some insects, like ants are named for their unusual behaviors and others for the unpleasant pain they can inflict upon humans.

Crazy Ants

In the southern US, crazy ants, an invasive Argentinian import not only moves in erratic, jerky movements leaving behind a wacky trail, they are covered with reddish brown hairs and are attracted to electrical wiring and components. Their carcasses can clog electrical switches wreaking havoc on electrical components.

When one crazy ant wanders into a transformer and is electrocuted, it waves its abdomen, releasing pheromones that attract more crazy ants which come into contact with the first ant or a hot spot and are also electrocuted. The accumulation of crazy ant carcasses creates a pile up causing electrical malfunctions. Additionally, rumor has it that due to the crazy ant’s ability to adapt to diverse environments, crazy ants may be on track to eliminate fire ants in the south.

Bullet Ants

Anyone who’s been stung by fire ants is well aware of the reason they’re called “fire” ants, because of the burning, stinging pain they inflict on unsuspecting humans. But the bullet ant will make a fire ant sting feel like a walk in the park. Rating the highest on the Schmidt pain index, some say the bullet ants’ sting feels like being shot with a gun. Not only that, this 1.5″ long menace looks like a chunky, wingless wasp whose venom causes intense throbbing, burning and relentless pain for a whole 24 hours, with uncontrollable shaking for days on end afterwards.

And as if it’s not bad enough that bullet ants inflict unfathomable pain and suffering on their victims, some Brazilian tribes use bullet ants as part of their warrior rites of initiation, sewing bullet ants into gloves that are then placed on the hands of eligible young tribe members. In order to complete the initiation, candidates must wear the gloves for a full ten minutes, twenty times in the span of a couple of years. Situated right next to the bullet ant on the Schmidt pain index is the tarantula hawk wasp.

Tarantula Hawk Wasp

While the thought of tarantulas makes most humans panic, evidently the sting of their predator, the enormous tarantula hawk wasp can be so powerful that it has been described as intensely electric. So much so in fact that in a peer-reviewed journal, invertebrate specialists suggest that the only thing a human should do after being stung by a tarantula hawk wasp, is “just lie down and start screaming.”

Scientists say even though the pain lasts only three minutes, most victims are unable to function mentally or physically after the stinging event, so in order to not injure themselves, they should just stay put and deal with the pain by screaming. While certain wasps and ants can cause humans to suffer, that’s nothing compared to some of the bizarre and sinister habits of more than a few wasp species, who control other pests and nurture their young in a most diabolical way.

Jewel Wasps: So resourceful, genius even

Jewel wasps, also called emerald cockroach wasps, because they prey on cockroaches for food, but not for themselves. Jewel wasps prey on roaches to feed to their young in a very interesting yet cruel manner. Initially, the jewel wasp partially paralyzes her victim. Next, she injects venom directly into the roach’s brain to block neurotransmitters that render the roach alive, but under her spell, with no will of its own.

Dragging her zombie-like victim into her underground lair, the jewel wasp lays an egg in the roach’s abdomen. When the egg hatches, the larval wasps eat the live cockroach’s insides. In eight days, the roach finally dies and the young wasps emerge. Insects reproduce in many strange ways. Some exhibit even stranger mating habits.

Femme Fatale Fireflies

Fireflies and lightning bugs, always a signal of summer’s arrival delight children and adults alike with their spectacular luminous displays. While every firefly species has a unique flicker code that attracts mates of the same species, scientists note an interesting trait among female fireflies. It seems that some lady fireflies, looking for food after mating, mimic the flicker code of other fireflies. When a like male firefly responds to her, she attacks and devours him. Some entomologists believe the sperm of the male firefly drives the urge in female fireflies to eat the males of another species. Fireflies are fun but the thought of giant insects make for some interesting and sometimes scary observations.

Giant Insects

Super-sized anything always grab our attentions. While some of the largest insects in the world make most people squirm, some are incredibly beautiful. Atlas moths, the largest moths in the world, commonly frequent the Malay Archipelago in Indonesia. Bird-sized insects, with a wingspan of at least one foot in length, Atlas moths’ wings can measure more than 60 square inches in total wing area.

The titan beetle, however, native to the Amazon rain forest can grow up to 6.5 inches in length and can easily snap a pencil in two with its giant mandibles and can reportedly rip through human flesh as well. The giant weta, a cousin of the cricket, is native to New Zealand and weighs in at about 2.5 ounces making it one of the heaviest insects in the world. Fortunately, giant wetas can’t fly like Africa’s 4-inch, 3.5 ounce Goliath beetle, an insect in contention for the world’s largest bug title.

Truly Nolen knows how interesting insects can be. Thinking like a bug helps Truly Nolen control and eliminate pests when they threaten your home, family, property or peace of mind. Contact Truly Nolen with your pest control questions or to set up a free inspection.

I Woke Up Like This: The Beauty of Bug Metamorphosis

Bug Metamorphosis
While we’re all familiar with the trope of the not-so-attractive caterpillar disappearing into a cocoon, then emerging some time later, transformed into a beautiful butterfly. You may or may not know that some arthropods go through this type of complete metamorphosis or that other arthropods undergo incomplete metamorphosis, gradual metamorphosis or no metamorphosis at all in their paths to maturity.

Butterflies are beautiful but the vast majority of arthropods flying around, in or near your home can be a sign of a larger pest infestation. Truly Nolen explores the life cycles of some bugs and arthropods that homeowners should be aware of in controlling household pests.

Here’s the thing, it seems entomologists and bug scientists all over the country divide and subdivide metamorphic stages to the point that some arthropods fall in one type of metamorphosis classification on one chart and in a different category on another.

Complete and incomplete metamorphosis can be easily defined as the stages differ in number. In complete metamorphosis, the four stages of an arthropod’s maturity are different in appearance and function.
 

Complete Metamorphosis

  • Arthropods whose life cycle consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult undergo complete metamorphosis and are known as holometabolous arthropods.
  • The larva form appears dramatically different than the adult arthropod.
  • This type of transformation provides arthropods significant survival advantages, as larva and adults don’t compete for food sources and adults and larvae are targets of different predators.
  • 85% of all known arthropods go through complete metamorphosis and include beetles, wasps, bees, ants, flies, moths and butterflies, along with fleas, alderflies, caddisflies, lacewings and scorpion-flies.

 

Incomplete Metamorphosis

Incomplete Bug Metamorphosis

  • Arthropods whose life cycle consists of three stages: egg, nymph and adult undergo incomplete metamorphosis and are known as hemimetabolous arthropods.
  • Beginning life as a wingless nymph, hemimetabolous arthropods resemble an adult in miniature.
  • Shedding their exoskeletons, as they grow larger, arthropods begin to look like their parents as they grow into adulthood.
  • Flying arthropods gradually develop wings, some permanent and some fall off after mating.
  • Incomplete metamorphosis occurs in arthropods including mayflies, dragonflies, damselflies, stoneflies, grasshoppers, praying mantids, pondskaters, water bugs and stick-insects.
  • Refers to arthropods that have aquatic nymphs or naiads that can differ considerably because of their need for gills from the adult form.

 

Gradual Metamorphosis

Gradual Bug Metamorphosis

  • Paurometabolous arthropods go through a simple or gradual metamorphosis.
  • The nymphs look like small adults, live in the same habitat as the adults and if the arthropod has wings, they will develop as external pads.
  • Also often listed in the incomplete metamorphosis category, this category includes cockroaches, termites, praying mantids, earwigs, web-spinners, booklice, parasitic lice, stinkbugs, plant bugs, bed bugs, cicadas, aphids, scale arthropods and thrips.
  • Tarantulas, brown recluse, black widow and most spiders undergo simple metamorphosis.

 

No Metamorphosis

No Metamorphosis

  • Ametabolous arthropods refer to the most primitive classification of arthropods that don’t develop wings as adults.
  • Nymphs and adults differ only in size and the ability to reproduce by laying eggs!
  • An exception to this rule are scorpions who go through a process called vivipary. Instead of laying eggs, scorpions give live birth, carrying their young on their backs, to nourish them until at least their first molt.
  • Arthropods with no metamorphic stages molt as they mature, shedding their exoskeletons as they outgrow them.
  • Some of these arthropods continue to molt as adults.
  • This type of metamorphosis includes silverfish and bristletails.

Arthropod metamorphoses can be fascinating, particularly in the miracle of the butterfly. While butterflies benefit mankind on many different levels, aesthetically and biologically, learning to identify life phases of arthropods such as carpenter ants, termites, pantry moths and cockroaches, may help alert homeowners to the signs of household pest infestations. For your peace of mind and with your home’s integrity in mind, contact your Truly Nolen location and ask about our Four Seasons Pest Prevention plan today!

The Cryptomaster Behemoth

A newly discovered arachnid TRULY has one of the coolest (and maybe scariest) sounding names of any creature!

Cryptomaster Leviathan
Source: Marshal Hedin via Wikimedia Commons
What comes to mind when you hear “Cryptomaster Behemoth”? Maybe you think of some kind of other-worldly guardian armed with a sword and shield while protecting a mausoleum. Perhaps a very, very tall computer programmer who encrypts data comes to mind? Or maybe you think of both: a tremendous crypt-keeping beast that stays current with today’s technology by having its tomb outfitted with high-speed internet and a Wi-Fi connection. I prefer to think that “Cryptomaster Behemoth” references the last one, mostly because of the visual it brings to mind.

The truth is the Cryptomaster Behemoth is not related to any of those. What it is related to is actually another previously recorded species of the Cryptomaster genus called Leviathan. Cryptomaster Leviathan was the first and original Cryptomaster and it was not until January 2016 that an article citing the new species was approved. The Cryptomasters are arachnids that are related to “Harvestmen”, or what we commonly refer to as “Daddy Long Legs”. Harvestmen are probably best known for their recent videos that can be seen all across social media. Each video is the same – the camera is focused on what looks like a large pile of pine needles until someone touches it and the whole mound comes to life; each “pine needle” is actually one leg, belonging to a Harvestman. It is at this point in the video that any nearby human starts running as if his or her life depended on it as hundreds of Daddy Long Legs scatter in all different directions.

So how did Cryptomaster Behemoth get its name?

The genus portion of its name “Cryptomaster” was named because it prefers to remain unseen. They always hide in the landscape, usually underneath some decaying, moist forest material such as stumps or leaves. Clearly, since the Leviathan species was thought to be the only Cryptomaster for decades, the name is well-deserved.

The last part of the name and part that defines the species, “Behemoth” was given due to the large size of this arachnid. Similar to Cryptomaster Leviathan, the Behemoth is much bigger than other arachnids that are genetically similar. According to the research team who discovered Cryptomaster Behemoth, both names, Leviathan and Behemoth, are from the Book of Job in the Bible and describe two huge and strong beasts.

Everything is relative, though. The Cryptomaster Behemoth is not very big compared to a human. In fact, Cryptomaster Behemoth has a body length of about four millimeters. At this size, the Cryptomaster Behemoth could sit comfortably on your smallest finger’s nail.

So, despite having a name suited for some kind of colossal monstrosity, the Cryptomaster Behemoth is really nothing more than a harmless Daddy Long Legs. Therefore, if you were hoping to see one on your next visit to the forests of Oregon, you might want to practice your woodland hide-and-go-seek skills and bring a magnifying glass. Truthfully, thank goodness these things are not as big as their name implies!

Keeping Roaches Out of Your Charlotte Home

As we cross over the seasonal threshold into Spring once again, cockroach concerns arise in the Charlotte area. An increase in indoor allergens points toward the possibility of heightened allergies and asthma during this period, which can be managed as long as you arm your home against these pests. Cockroaches are known to carry diseases, and tend to seek out cool, dark places. As the weather warms up, it is not unlikely to find roaches populating your kitchen, basement or garage.

Cockroach Classifications

Learn more about the four main types of roaches that pose a threat to our residential population here in Charlotte:

  1. The first and most common is the German cockroach; this insect is typically ½ inch long, dark brown in color, and has two visible brown lines by the head. The adult German roach is winged but rarely flies. It is one of the most common and rapidly reproducing species and can cause infection and disease. Because it will feed on practically anything, they are often found nesting in small cracks and crevices in areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.
  2. The second and largest type of roach often hosted in Charlotte area homes, is the American cockroach, also known as the Palmetto or Flying Water Bug. This winged, yet flightless insect, is dark brown with lighter brown shades on the head region. Measuring 1½ to 2 inches in length, you may find this creature in the dark, moist crevices of your basement or under the sink.
  3. Third in line is the Wood cockroach, living in rotten, organic material in dens, kitchens, storage sheds, on decks, etc. Wood cockroaches look similar to American cockroaches; however, they are smaller in size and appear active during both day and night.
  4. Oriental roaches, often known as Waterbugs, are typically 1 inch in length and are black in color. It is the filthiest of the roach species and although it can live an entire month without food, it can only live 2 weeks without water. They like to feed on decaying material and trash so they are found under mulch and rocks, under debris and in sewer systems.

Pest Prevention

In a national, cross-sectional survey over 831 homes in the U.S., research concluded that the cockroach allergens were found to be associated with allergic sensitization in 11% of U.S. living room floors and 13% of kitchen floors. Cockroach allergen levels also showed an association with asthma morbidity in 3% of living room floors and 10% of kitchen floors.

Follow these simple guidelines to ensure your home is protected:

  • Tight-fitting doors and windows. Make sure all accessible entry points are sealed well, including cracks and gaps.
  • Limit porch light usage (for Wood cockroaches). The adults are attracted to the light.
  • Utilize outdoor insecticide treatments around windows and doors and along the foundation of the house.
  • Store firewood piles further from the house, far from any entry points.

It is important to shield your household from these asthma and allergen-causing pests through maintenance, prevention and management. Call Truly Nolen Charlotte today at (704) 910-2936 and one of our experts will help keep your home free of roaches all year long!

Toby Srebnik of Truly Nolen Interviews with Clean Crawls

Recently, Truly Nolen of America’s PR Manager, Toby Srebnik sat down with Clean Crawls for an interview. As part of his many duties here at Truly Nolen, he manages our public relations, social media and community events, working closely with local branches. Srebnik has been in the PR industry for 15 years making him a critical part of the Truly Nolen team.

He was brought in by Clean Crawls as an expert to discuss managing home pest infestations. Srebnik discussed the most common types of pest infestations like termites in the warmer months and rodents in the cooler months and he also explained how challenging it can be to get rid of bed bug infestations, depending on the severity of the situation. When asked about the causes for pest infestations in most homes, he pointed out that pests will gain entry anywhere they’re given a chance and that inside the home, cleanliness and proper food storage are key. As a result, he explained that Truly Nolen’s Four Seasons approach is the best way to go to keep pests under control, whether customers see the pests in their home or not.

Read the entire interview with Truly Nolen of America’s Toby Srebnik here.

U.S. Lawns: A Brief History of Home Lawns and Turf Grass in the U.S.

As humans we love our lawns, as evidenced by our obsession with lawn care and maintenance. But as much as we love our lawns and yards, we also tend to take them for granted. How often do you think about the environmental impact and the technological evolution of lawns? Truly Nolen takes a closer look at the history of lawns.

history of home lawns

Lawns play prominent aesthetic and environmental roles

Not only do lawns turn an ordinary plot of dirt into a green paradise surrounded by ornamental trees and flowers that frame your home perfectly, they also provide a soft carpet for our feet. We love to gather in parks for picnics, sporting events and other leisure activities, but seldom do we think, “Good job, lawn, with that noise reduction and pollution benefit thing you do for us. Oh, and thanks for keeping that dirt in line.”

Lawns and turf grass areas also:

  • Control soil erosion and protect the quality of groundwater
  • Help trap synthetic organic compounds and enhance bio-degradation of synthetic compounds
  • Absorb and remove carbon dioxide gases
  • Moderate temperatures by dissipating heat from urban areas
  • Provide high visibility from intruders, enhancing home security
  • Serve as firebreaks to reduce fire hazards

Visually, lawns promote the quality of our lives, lend a hand towards community pride and increase property values. But when did this love affair with lawns begin?

Lawn love is in our DNA

Anthropologists note a connection between humans and lawns in ancient civilizations. Taking a page from ancient African civilizations, the low turf grass on the Savannah helped tribal civilizations stalk their prey.

From the Middle Ages into the Renaissance

As far back as the Middle Ages, throughout Europe, treeless grassy areas helped defend fortress castles, assisting guards in detecting movement as far off as the horizon. Moving into modern times, people started to enhance the quality of their lives, developing an interest in lawn cultivation. Dr. James Beard, in his book The Journal of Environmental Turf grass, says that, “The more technically advanced a civilization, the more widely turf grasses are used.”

Painters, as early as the 12th century placed their subjects in idyllic settings surrounded by grassy areas, kept clipped by grazing animals. “Bowling greens” for tennis courts, croquet courts and golf putting greens developed around the same time, paving the way for the importance of turf grass for outdoor sports of the future. Cricket is noted as the first team sport played on turf grass. The dawn of soccer in England in the 1500s and the evolution of golf in Scotland furthered an interest in turf grass for sports.

European Renaissance paintings from the 15th century portray ornamental lawns and public green spaces and by the 16th century, paintings and literature of the higher classes featured manicured formal gardens.

Wealthy Renaissance landowners flaunted their wealth, devoting much of their grassland to livestock production and surrounding their homes with lavish lawns, maintained by servants with hand scythes. The lower classes, who needed the land around their homes for growing fruits, vegetables and herbs, grazed their sheep and cows in a central “common” grassy area in their villages.

Later, adventurous Europeans, fleeing religious persecution and economic hardship in Europe arrived in North America with grass seed in hand. But it wasn’t until the 19th century that mechanical mowers arrived on the scene in the United States.

Huge steps in lawn mowing equipment and cultivated turf grass seed technology

Invented by Edwin Beard Budding in 1830, the mechanical mower expanded the areas of cultivated grass areas, allowing the public to enjoy mowed grass lawns in parks. 1890 saw mass production make mechanical mowers affordable to the public for the first time.

By the early part of the 20th century, turf grass seed cultivation evolved towards better density and performance for sports. During this time, New York’s Central Park designer, Frederick Law Olmstead included lawns for each home in his Riverside Park design, outside Chicago.

Levittown, Long Island offered the 1952 homebuyer a suburban community that included a lawn as part of a package deal. Levittown drew national attention as GIs returning from World War II radically increased the demand for affordable housing.

Young men marrying and starting families gave rise to the America Dream of owning a house with a lawn. Since the 1950s, advances in technology, development of turf grass cultivars and the DIY lawn product industry evolution, devotion to lawn cultivation permeates America’s consciousness.

Florida lawn care can be challenging

Currently, a focus on eco-friendly lawn care, with Integrated Pest Management is ushering in a new dimension in lawn care that promotes lawn maintenance by skilled professional pest control companies. In Florida, lawns come under constant stress from heat, humidity, weeds, salt, poor water retention, insects, fungi and other diseases. Florida’s year round tropical climate requires constant care to ensure nutritional balance, combat insects and control weeds.

While the first step to a healthy lawn involves proper mowing, trimming and watering, knowing when and what type of insecticides to apply can be challenging, as over application can damage your lawn. Also, Florida soils require specific nutritional requirements that commercial fertilizers don’t satisfy. Plus, sand in Florida’s soil can deplete nutrients, due to poor water retention.

Cut out the guesswork. Your local Truly Nolen representative can provide you with a Grass Facts Sheet for your particular type of turf grass with tips on maintenance and proper care. Then, starting with a comprehensive lawn analysis, Truly Lawn Care protects and nurtures your lawn year round. Contact us today to give your lawn the best care you can.

Rodent Identification: A Glimpse at Common Rodents of the United States

Thinking about spring cleaning? Truly Nolen asks you to think like a rodent. Don’t be a pack rat. Rodents love your clutter and so do the feasting insects, like cockroaches that carry and spread disease and pathogens to you and your family when they infest your home.

rodent identification

Cleaning? Or Rodent Infestation? Hmmm . . .

It’s a messy business, rodent infestation, what with trapping and removing rodent carcasses and then cleaning rodent droppings and urine, dealing with the vectors in a specific way to avoid air-borne allergens, including dangerous pathogens, such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, a lung infection caused by the inhalation of dried rodent fecal matter through air-borne particulates, coming into contact with an infected rodent’s saliva, urine or feces, or being bitten by an infected rodent. Truly Nolen’s thinking what you’re thinking. Break out the cleaning supplies; let’s get this place rodent resistant.

Clean your attic!

Cardboard boxes, stored newspapers, magazines and other paper products invite rodents into your home. With paper materials for nest stuffing, plus wood and electrical wiring to file their teeth on, who wouldn’t be tempted to move in and start a family in a quiet, dark, cozy, and cluttered attic?

Also, rodents can cause serious structural and electrical damage to homes and businesses throughout the US. Because they need to gnaw to keep their sizable teeth filed down, rodents chew wood and electrical wiring. Rodents are suspected to be responsible for an estimated 20 percent of undetermined house fires in the United States each year. For food and water, rodents like to forage in your kitchen, but can go without food and water for extended periods of time. However, if rodents can eat in your kitchen, they will.

Clean your kitchen!

Regularly wiping down and cleaning your kitchen countertops and dining areas and sweeping and vacuuming your floors can deter rodents. In your pantry, keep all open, dry goods stored in glass, metal or hard plastic containers. Storing dog food and birdseed in airtight containers is also critical in helping to exclude rodents.

Also, cleaning and sanitizing outdoor trash receptacles, in addition to clearing clutter and debris from your home’s exterior should be part of your spring cleaning plans.

Who are these rodents and where do they live?

Norway Rats: All over this land

norway rat - truly nolenIntroduced to America in 1775, Norway rats spread through the colonies, then crossed the country with the pioneers and now thrive everywhere in the US today, in close proximity to humans. Norway rats measure 12-18 inches, tail included and can be distinguished by their blunt noses, small close-set ears and long tails.

The Roof Rat prefers warmer, coastal states

Roof rats, Old World rodents, who contributed to the fall of Rome Roof-Ratand decimated half of Western Europe during the Great Plague, prefer warmer tropical climates. Also known as citrus rats in Florida, roof rats are prevalent in the other southern Atlantic and Gulf coastal states from Virginia to Texas.

On the west coast, roof rats are found along the Pacific coast of California, Washington and Oregon. Growing to 8 inches in length, roof rats are light gray or brown in color with 9-inch tails and can be identified by their sharp noses, large hairless ears and those long tails.

The House Mouse:

mouse close up isolated on whiteThe house mouse lives in a nest, near your home in every US state where Truly Nolen locations exist. Small rodents, ranging from 4.5 to 6 inches in length with light gray to dark brown bodies, the biggest thing on a house mouse besides its teeth, are its ears.

With pointy ears and sharp, flat teeth, house mice also sport long, dark tails. House mice, in an average 18-month lifespan can produce 12 litters of 5 to 6 young, one every 3 months.

While making a good showing in almost every part of the country, house mice run rampant in Georgia. They can damage your home and property any time of year, but house mice are most likely to enter your home seeking food and shelter during cooler months.

Rural rodents

Many other rodents live in the US, from many varieties of squirrels and chipmunks throughout the country to voles in the east and deer mice and wood rats in the west. However, these rodents live in wooded areas and don’t generally pose threats to homeowners and their properties.

Signs of Rodent Infestations

Gnawed electrical wiring, droppings near food areas, gnawed or chewed bags and boxes in your pantry, scratching or scurrying sounds in your walls and attic, squeaking and chirping noises in your walls and the presence of an ammonia-like smell indicate a rodent infestation. In the event you detect these signs of rodent activity, stop cleaning and contact your local Truly Nolen location for a free rodent inspection, immediately.

Protecting your Charlotte Home Against Ants

In Charlotte, you can tell the winter is over and spring is in the air, not only because of the crocuses, tulips and daffodils sprouting up everywhere but also because of the reappearance of ants in your kitchen, and other parts of your home and property. While winter weather conditions impact Charlotte with below freezing temperatures a couple of times during the winter season, this year, due to the current el Niño system in place, the Carolinas experienced warmer temperatures and more rain than usual. So, ant activity could be on the rise during spring and summer 2016.

As we know from going on picnics and watching National Geographic specials, ants are the original social networking experts. Therefore, they naturally thrive in advanced, highly sophisticated communities. Ants have evolved to include 10,000 different species that fill various, unique niches. Truly Nolen invites Charlotte homeowners to take a look at the most prevalent ant species.

Argentine Ants

argentine ants
Well adapted to urban environments, Argentine ants are dark brown to black in color and no bigger than ⅛ of an inch. Nesting in moist soil near buildings or under structures, Argentine ants march up and down buildings and trees, along driveways and sidewalks, looking for a way to get inside your Mecklenburg County home.

Argentine ants forage in neat little lines, guided by pheromone trails set out by scout ants.
Because they can form super colonies with multiple queens, Argentine ants can be difficult to control and eradicate on your own and best treated by pest control professionals.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants
One of the largest ants in the Carolinas, carpenter ants can be black, red or light to dark brown in color and measure just over ½ inch in length, carpenter ants are attracted to moisture around the outside of your home. Damp and decaying wood near your home rolls out the welcome mat for carpenter ants to enter your home, where they can get to the good wood in your walls and attic.

Once in your attic, ceilings, carpets and flooring, carpenter ants bore holes in wood, carving out cozy nests and causing as much, if not more, structural damage than termites. Carpenter ants forage for food in loosely defined trails or as aimlessly, wandering individuals, drawn to insects, sweets, meats and nectars. Outdoors, most ant species are drawn to a substance called honeydew, which is secreted by aphids.

Fire Ants

Fire Ants
Relatively small, but packing a powerful punch, fire ants are reddish brown to reddish black, with copper colored heads and they prefer to build their mounds in your landscaped area’s loose soil and around structural foundations.

Regulating the temperature of colony tunnels and allowing fire ants to survive significant drops in temperature, fire ant mounds can measure two feet in diameter. An undisturbed fire ant colony can grow to 250,000 members with multiple queens, giving them enough power and force to kill cattle and other large animals.

One homeowner in the Charlotte Motor Speedway area places brightly painted wire tomato cages over fire ant mounds as a warning to kids playing in the yard. At times, in search of food and water, fire ants enter homes through tiny cracks and crevices. In this event, contact Truly Nolen Charlotte immediately.

Acrobat Ants

Acrobat Ants
As the name implies, acrobat ants can balance on their tiny front legs, raising their heart-shaped abdomens over their heads when disturbed. No larger than ⅛ inch long, acrobat ants, who are yellow-brown to dark brown, with darker abdomens, put off an odor and have been known to bite when disturbed.

Indoors, acrobat ants can cause damage to electrical wiring, as they infest damp places, often in the foam sheathing behind siding. Because acrobat ants excavate former termite nests and other pests’ nests, homeowners may think they have a termite infestation, due to the debris acrobat ants leave in their wakes.

Odorous Ants

Odorous Ants
Odorous ants, dark brown or black in color and ¼ inch long emit an odor similar to rotten coconuts when crushed. Usually seen in large numbers, odorous ants frequent Charlotte homes, infesting indoor spaces near heat sources or insulation, in wall voids and under flooring. Known for long, foraging trails, odorous ants contaminate sweets, meats, fats and greasy foods in your home. Odorous ant colonies can grow to 100,000 ants with many queens forming super colonies, capable of transporting resources between colonies, making them difficult to control.

Little Black Ants

Black Ants
Not unlike the little black dress, little black ants can be found at parties, especially outside in humid conditions, where they hang out under mulch, beneath lumber and debris, crashing events to get to the sweet and greasy menu items. Shiny, black and only 1/16 inch in length, little black ants make up for their small size in their numbers. With multiple queens, colonies range from medium to large and are difficult to eradicate on your own.

Outdoors – Tips for Proactive Ant Prevention in your Charlotte area home include:

  • Removing clutter near property and cleaning up brush piles around structure
  • Keeping mulch to 2-inch depths or less
  • Sealing gaps around doors and windows and repairing foundation cracks
  • Replacing moisture-damaged wood outside the home and repairing all structural leaks
  • Cleaning gutters and downspouts regularly
  • Cleaning outside trash receptacles and moving them 25 feet from the home
  • Cleaning all pet food dishes and removing all spilled pet food

Indoors – Tips for Preventing Ants from getting inside your Charlotte area home include:

  • Cleaning all dishes and wiping down all food prep, dining and food storage areas
  • Keeping all food and cooking ingredients in airtight containers
  • Sweeping and vacuuming floors on a regular basis

Most importantly, contact Truly Nolen Charlotte to initiate an ant prevention program or to eradicate an existing ant infestation. Locating, treating and eradicating ants in their colonies, can be an exercise in futility unless you are a trained pest control professional. Call us today to schedule a free inspection at (704) 910-2936 or schedule an inspection online. Truly Nolen Charlotte: Ant Control Solutions that work!

Pest Prevention is the Best Cure for Household Pests

According to Disney’s The Lion King, the circle of life is what keeps us in balance. It’s what causes grass to grow; the frost of winter to turn into the warmth and gentleness of springtime. However, the spring doesn’t just bring warmth and sunny weather, it also brings a renewed existence of pest and bug activity to your home. Being proactive and taking preventative measures during the cold months will help to ensure your home is pest free in the spring.

Preparing the Home for Spring Hatching Cycles

Bug and pest activity lie dormant in winter, but when the warm weather returns, so do they. Many people mistakenly feel that once spring and summer are over and the colder months are upon us, that pest control can stop for the year. After all, pests are attracted to the warm weather and aren’t as active in the colder months, right? Unfortunately, this is a misconception.

MouseMany rodents and pests are active in the winter. Mice, for example, seek shelter during the colder months and are carriers of various kinds of diseases; they can easily enter through cracks in the concrete. Similarly, bugs that find a way into your home will wait out the cold weather until the first warm day and then come out of winter hibernation. After all, several types of spiders, roaches, wasps, and the dreaded bed bugs may slow down, but they won’t stop. In other words, just because you don’t see insects in your home, doesn’t mean that they’re not there. Chances are, webs, eggs, or nests are simply hiding safely inside, patiently waiting for spring to come so the new generations can infest your home.

To protect your home, make sure that all entry points are tightly sealed off, including window and door screens. Make sure that leaves and branches are trimmed back from all home windows to keep pests from using plants as bridges into your home. Once you’ve done your part, it is best to contact a pest control specialist for an inspection.

The Importance of an Annual Inspection

Furniture TreatmentDue to the year round activity of pests, having a yearly pest inspection and service plan for pests is critical to keeping your Charlotte home pest free all year. Truly Nolen’s Four Seasons approach to pest control is a proactive annual program that takes into account the changes in pest behavior from season to season, giving you peace of mind throughout the year.

Our trained exterminators will conduct a thorough inspection of your property, both inside and out, to find and prevent any hint of future infestation. Not only will our experienced pest control technicians know what to look for; they’ll also remove any nests, webs, egg cases, or other proof of incubating bugs.

It is important to determine and handle pest issues regularly along with taking preventative measures rather than waiting for a pest infestation to occur in order to take action. By planning ahead, you can enjoy a pest free spring.

Keeping up with year-round pest control is one of the most important things a homeowner can do. Call Truly Nolen Charlotte today at 704-910-2936 and schedule a free pest inspection.


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