Crickets in Arizona

Several kinds of crickets are found in Arizona. Although they pose no immediate health risks (they do not bite or carry disease) they have been known to eat through everything from wallpaper glue to wool to silk. Most importantly, if you are seeing crickets inside your Arizona home then they will be sure to attract hungry spiders and scorpions.

What are crickets?

Adult crickets have antennae and are about one inch long. They are easily distinguished from other insects by their large hind legs which are modified for jumping. Depending on the species, their bodies are light brown to black in color. Their front wings vary in length, covering anywhere from half to their entire abdomen and some species may not have wings. Newly hcricketatched crickets look like miniature, winged versions of their parents and feed on the same types of food. After several molts they gain adult characteristics and begin producing the next generation.

Crickets feed on decaying plant material, fungi, and seedling plants. Crickets benefit their surrounding environment by breaking down plant material and renewing soil minerals. They are also an important source of food for other animals like spiders, some wasps, ground beetles, birds, small rodents, and lizards.

Chirping

Crickets can be considered a nuisance particularly in large numbers because of their “chirping.” To attract mates, male crickets produce a chirping noise made by rubbing their front wings against each other. The chirping sound is picked up by the female’s ears and can be quite loud. Chirp sounds are specific to different species. Although some people may enjoy this sound, it can become a serious nuisance if it continues for a long period of time or if you are trying to get some sleep.

FUN FACT: The song of the field cricket is temperature dependent. The tone and tempo drop with a drop in temperature. Count the chirps in 13 seconds, add 40, and you will have the approximate temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.

Where do They Live?

Crickets are primarily active at night and spend the days hidden in moist, cool shady spots near ground level. In nature, you can find crickets in leaf litter under rocks and logs in fields, gardens, and along roadsides. Around your home, they prefer to live in voids, like under those decorative boulders in your yard, meter boxes, or under the sidewalk and patio. Crickets love stacked firewood, eroded expansion joints, piles of rock, or other shady cover at ground level. You will likely find crickets around your home’s foundation, especially in the gap between the stem wall and the stucco. More than 1,000 crickets can cram into one tiny nest.

Cricket Control Measures

There is no single, perfect solution for the control of crickets. By removing places crickets like to hide, you can dramatically reduce the number trying to invade your home. Crickets entering your home are typically looking for food or trying to find more comfortable temperatures. Prevention is the easiest way to manage cricket populations.

  • Insect-proof your home to prevent these chirping pests from getting inside in the first place, particularly at or near ground level.
  • Use calking and weather stripping to seal all cracks, gaps, and openings in foundations, siding, windows, doors, screens, and other possible entry points (e.g.,  around plumbing and electrical connections). Sealing gaps in the foundation wall itself also will stop scorpions and other pests from coming indoors.
  • Make sure all doors (including screen and garage doors) are closed and tight-fitting.
  • Keep lights off at night as much as possible. Crickets are attracted to lights. If you light your house at night with strong lamps, you might be luring them toward your house.
  • Crickets build their nests in tall grasses and other vegetation so remove vegetation and debris that could serve as a hiding place or breeding site. Trim back your plants and keep your lawn mowed.
  • Eliminate food and water sources. Be sure to put pet food away and keep your kitchen clean.
  • Encourage the presence of natural predators like cats, lizards, birds, and non-venomous spiders.

A professional pest control company can implement an integrated pest management solution to make nesting sites inhospitable and significantly reduce the number of crickets gaining entry into your home. A trained professional can provide you with preventive treatments on a regular basis and will find the pests before they take over your home. Call your trained Truly Nolen pest removal expert to discuss options for cricket removal at your home.

Back to School Pesky Critters

By Scott Svenheim, ACE
Spokesperson and Associate Certified Entomologist, Truly Nolen of America 

With the back-to-school season nearing, parents have already started to think about preparing their kids – and how can anyone forget that the start of school is looming with commercials already airing!

With pesky critters like bed bugs, head lice and mosquitoes becoming more prevalent in our communities, parents need to take the necessary precautions to avoid infecting their homes.

back-to-school

Bed bugs are nocturnal and have the capabilities to climb softer surfaces such as that duffle bag you sent your children to camp with. Here are some tips to avoid allowing a possible bed bug infestation in your home:

  • Leave luggage outside, in a garage or a secluded area away from other soft materials where they can’t find a way to transfer to another item in your home.
  • Wash and/or Dry possibly infected clothing separately and with hot water, or medium temperature at least 20 minutes.

Head lice is one itchy problem and another pest that can easily hop from one head of hair to another. When your child arrives back from camp, make sure to conduct a thorough screening of his/her scalp with a fine-tooth comb. Many convenience stores will have specialty combs available for purchase. Signs your child may have head lice include:

  • Scratching
  • Small red bumps or sores from scratching
  • Adult lice or eggs on hair strands

Mosquito bites are one of the most common and with viruses like Chikungunya spreading quickly through the United States every bump and bite is worth inspecting. Check any suspicious bumps and circle them with a marker – this will allow you to monitor the bite to ensure it doesn’t get any larger, red or swollen.

If bed bugs or other pests become a bigger issue in your home, call your local pest control company who will be able to assess the level of infestation and recommend necessary courses of treatment.


About Scott Svenheim and Truly Nolen
Scott Svenheim, an expert for Truly Nolen of America and Associate Certified Entomologist, has 27 years of experience in the pest control industry.  Scott brings an informative as well as unique and entertaining perspective to consumers’ pest problems in the 21st century. Founded in 1938, Tucson, Arizona-based Truly Nolen of America is the largest family owned pest control company in the United States. Truly Nolen has over 80 branch offices in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. The company also has independently owned and operated franchises in an ever-growing number of territories including Kentucky, Georgia, New Jersey, Canada, Puerto Rico and 60 countries. For more information, please visit www.trulynolen.com.

KEEPING FLEAS AND TICKS UNDER CONTROL THIS SUMMER

Summer is the right time for fleas and ticks to thrive in hot and humid Atlanta. Your pet can easily invite unwelcomed house guests causing you a big headache. Pay particular attention to these tiny pests as exploding populations can quickly lead to an infestation.

IDENTIFICATION

Flea and tick infestations are most easily confirmed by examining your pet. A telltale sign is excessive scratching. If you are unsure, check with your veterinarian as not all scratching is necessarily an indication of a flea or tick infestation.

flea

    • Fleas. Part your pet’s fur in several places and look for tiny black pepper-like specks, known as “flea dirt” (actually flea feces) scattered on your pet’s skin. Fleas are very tiny and do not like light, so they prefer hiding in your pet’s fur. They are commonly found at the base of the ears and the rump (just in front of the tail). Look closely at places with less hair like on your pet’s belly and inner thighs for the best chances of spotting a flea scurrying along.
  • Ticks. Regularly check for ticks around your dog’s neck and ears, between the toes, and in the armpits. Ticks attach themselves to the body and feed by sucking blood. In addition to being irritating, they are also capable of spreading infectious diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The longer a tick is attached, the higher the chance of being infected so quick removal is important.

TREATMENT

Once you’ve established that your pet is infested, remain calm and take things one step at a time to get rid of the infestation. tick

  • Treat Your Pet. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best flea and tick treatment solution that works for you and your pet.
  • Clean Your Home. Pay particular attention to your pet’s favorite places to hang out.
  • Vacuum. Thoroughly vacuum the entire house including hard surfaces. Once you are finished, immediately seal your vacuum bag and throw it away to prevent the fleas from crawling back out and re-infesting your home.
  • Hot Wash All Linens. Wash all linens and pet beds at the hottest temperature they will tolerate. If washing is not an option, discard it in an outside trash receptacle.
  • Let Truly Nolen Inspect, Identify & Determine a Course of Action. Flea and tick infestations can be difficult to eliminate, so it is a good idea to call your professionally trained Truly Nolen pest control experts. We understand that each home is unique, and will take the time to provide you with our personalized service, backed by our reliable Truly Nolen guarantee.

PREVENTION

Although it’s virtually impossible to completely eliminate all fleas and ticks from Georgia, you can reduce their populations and decrease your pet’s chances of coming into contact with them. pets

  • Limit Access. Your pets are first affected when they come in contact with another animal that is already infested with fleas. Wildlife, including opossums, raccoons, and untreated cats and dogs, can deposit flea eggs into your yard. Limit the access these animals have around your home.
  • Keep a Neat Yard. Eliminate places for fleas and ticks to hang out by removing any yard and garden debris such as stacked wood, leaf piles, and discarded pots. The more clutter, the more places fleas and ticks can thrive.
  • Mow and Prune. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed. Keep lawns cut short. Prune back bushes to increase the amount of sunlight in your yard. Both fleas and ticks prefer moist environments, so avoid overwatering.

TRAVEL TIPS TO AVOID BED BUGS

CBS46 News

Ahh, summer is here… and that means it’s time for many Atlanta residents to enjoy a well-deserved vacation. But summer is also prime bed bug season. Make the most of your travels by keeping a few simple bed bugs prevention tips in mind.

PREPARING FOR YOUR TRIP

You can come into contact with bed bugs just about anywhere – they have been found in all 50 states, in all types of locations. The assumption one must be a poor housekeeper or have poor hygiene to have these pests is simply untrue. They are good hitchhikers and can hide in luggage, clothing, bedding, furniture, boxes, and other places. Bed bugs are an equal-opportunity pest and can easily be transported from place to place as people travel.

  • Do your research when selecting a hotel. Remember that bed bugs don’t discriminate– just because it’s a five-star hotel don’t assume that a hotel will be pest free. Check out online bed bug registries. Read reviews (cautiously) but also keep in mind that anonymous reviews aren’t always impartial so use your best judgment.
  • When you make your reservation ask the hotel about their bed bug prevention and treatment policies. Many hotels work with pest management companies to conduct proactive inspections.
  • Use hard-cased luggage, if possible. It is more difficult for bed bugs to attach to rigid materials than to fabric.
  • Pack your clothing in resealable plastic bags. Bring extra bags in a variety of sizes for items you buy on your trip.
  • Pack a small, bright flashlight to be better able to inspect your room once you arrive.

INSPECTING YOUR ROOM

It is important that you take some precautions to ensure your room is bed-bug free before settling in.

  • Watch where you put your suitcase. When you first enter the hotel room, place your luggage on a hard elevated surface (like on a dresser) or on the tile floor of the bathroom. Do NOT place your suitcase on the bed, on upholstered furniture, or on the floor.
  • Check the entire room before unpacking – here’s where your flashlight comes in handy! Thoroughly inspect all the nooks and crannies of your hotel room.
  • Be sure to know what to look for. Bed bugs are about the size and shape of an apple seed (oval in shape and brown or reddish in color). They are experts at hiding and can squeeze into cracks and crevices as small as the width of a credit card, often going unnoticed.
  • Other clues to look for are dark red blood stains; small black or brown spots (dried feces) that look like mold or ground pepper; piles of light brown skin casings /molted bed bugs’ shells/ shed skins; and most notably, an unusual smell – a sweet and musty, yet offensive odor that some compare to overripe raspberries.
  • Inspect the hotel mattress, pillows, and behind the headboard. Pull back the sheets and inspect seams, edges, and folds in both the mattress and the box spring, particularly at the corners.
  • Inspect upholstered sofa/chairs, nightstand and dresser drawers, under the telephone and alarm clock, carpets, closets, and wall hangings.
  • If you find signs of bed bugs, notify management and change rooms/establishments immediately. Bed bugs may spread to adjacent rooms via the wallboards or electrical sockets so be sure that you move to a room at least two floors away.

WHILE ON VACATION

  • Keep your bags on the desktop, on top of the dresser, or on a luggage stand away from the wall. Keep bags closed when not in use.
  • Keep your clothes and suitcase off of the bed, couch or chair, floor, and other soft surfaces.
  • Do not put your clothing in drawers. Keep your clothes in your luggage.
  • Don’t stow your shoes in the closet. Put them in an open area, such as on the bathroom tile floor. Or keep them inside your luggage.
  • Don’t leave clothing lying out. Put all dirty clothes in bed bug-proof laundry bags.
  • Recheck your bags before you leave the hotel. If you find bed bugs on your suitcase or clothes, leave them there. It’s much cheaper to buy yourself a new suitcase and outfit than it is to pay for a complete bed bug extermination of your home.

RETURNING HOME

  • After your trip, carefully inspect your suitcase before bringing it into the house. Examine seams, pockets and straps. Remember: bed bugs travel by hitching rides.
  • Unpack your luggage right away. Do so outdoors or in an uncarpeted room like the garage or bathroom. Unpack your luggage against light-colored surfaces so you can easily see if any bed bugs have hitched a ride in your suitcase.
  • Shake out clothing in a bathtub or shower.
  • Wash all clothing – even those items that you didn’t wear – including your traveling clothes. Wash and dry your clothing in hot water and dry on the highest setting (more than 140°F to be safe) for at least 20 minutes.
  • If you can’t wash your clothing, dry cleaning or steam cleaning will kill bed bugs in fabrics (including soft luggage).
  • Alternatively, items that cannot be washed may be subject to extreme temperatures. You can leave your clothes in the extreme heat (over 140°F) or cold (below 32°F) for a few days.
  • Thoroughly vacuum out or steam the inside and outside of your suitcase before storing away.

These steps may seem tedious, but it’s much easier to keep bed bugs out of your home than try to get them out once they settle in. If you suspect that you’ve brought home bed bugs from a vacation, call a Truly Nolen pest control professional as soon as possible to conduct an inspection. The sooner you involve a professional the better the chances to prevent the infestation from spreading. Bed bugs are not a do-it-yourself pest and continue to be one of the most difficult pests to treat, more so than cockroaches, ants, or termites.

Fire Ants in Texas

Truly Nolen - Fire Ants in TexasWith the recent rains in Texas, many residents are seeing the emergence of fire ant mounds in their lawns and in fields. These aggressive ants cause harm and damage to people, plants, and animals in both urban and rural areas – according to Texas A&M University researchers it is estimated fire ants cost Texans $1.2 billion annually in property damage and control costs, with residential households making up 50% of the total expense incurred.

What Are Fire Ants?

“Fire ant” is a general name referring to six different species of ants, five of which are found in Texas. Since they all cause damage and harm to humans and animals, there is generally little need for the homeowner to tell them apart. To the naked eye, fire ants resemble ordinary ants. They are very small (average 1/8 to 1/4 inch in length) and are reddish brown to black in color.

They are very aggressive, attacking anytime their mound is disturbed. Fire ants can be dangerous to small animals and humans because of the toxin released from the sting.

Where Are Fire Ants Found?

This biting ant is most commonly found in the southeastern United States including the eastern two-thirds of Texas. Fire ants live in colonies and build mound-shaped nests favoring open, sunny areas. Mature colonies appear as fluffy worked soil and can contain more than 200,000 ants. Fire ant mounds look different from other ant mounds since they do not have a visible opening in the center. Instead, fire ants come and go through an extensive network of underground tunnels.

Undisturbed mounds in rural areas can grow up to 18 inches tall but most are only a few inches. Mounds are often built next to sidewalks, roads, or anywhere fire ants can find food or water – around flowerbeds, landscaped areas, parks, playgrounds, sports fields, and tree trunks or roots.

Even though they are present year-round in Texas, fire ant colonies become more visible after rainfall or heavy irrigation, because the ants are trying to move out of the flooded soil. They are sensitive to temperature and humidity. When the weather gets hot and dry, they tunnel deep into the soil – some as deep as 4 feet – to find cooler temperatures and water. The ant colony seemingly disappears.

FUN FACT: Although fire ants can be extremely dangerous, they are also a very interesting species. Fire ants are social insects that work together in order to survive harsh conditions. During instances in which their homes are threatened by water, fire ants form a raft using their own bodies to reach dry land and keep their queen safe from harm. The colony of fire ants continually take turns being above and below the water level in order to help each ant breathe and remain alive. This adaptation and others like it enable the fire ant species to be tremendously resilient.

Why Are They So Bad?

Truly Nolen - Fire Ant Info TexasFire ants are very aggressive and if their mound is disturbed in any way, worker ants will rush out in large numbers to protect the colony from harm. They will climb up nearby grass and vertical surfaces and attack the person, animal, or thing that disturbed their nest by biting and stinging aggressively and repeatedly. Each ant firmly grasps skin with its jaws and stings many times. Fire ants can pivot at the head and inflict more stings in a circular pattern.

As they bite, fire ants inject a toxin that stings, causing a strong burning, fire-like sensation (hence the name “fire ant”). The sting swells into a bump that can cause a great deal of pain or irritation often with localized swelling. Within 24 to 48 hours, a small itchy pustule (a small, firm blister-like sore) forms around the bite site. Excessive scratching can open the pustules, possibly leading to secondary infection.

The toxin is not deadly for most people, although some are very allergic. The elderly, very young, sick, or those with compromised immune systems may be more affected by the toxin. It is always a good idea to seek medical advice if you believe you have been stung or bitten by a fire ant.

How Can I Avoid Fire Ants?

Although it is impossible to completely eliminate the fire ant population in Texas, you can avoid contact with them and prevent getting stung.

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Be sure to regularly look for fire ant mounds around your property. Do not stand on or near nests or areas where they are foraging.
  • Watch your step. Pay attention to where you’re standing. Serious incidents occur when a person unknowingly allows several fire ants to get on them, usually when they stand on a mound for more than a few seconds without realizing it.
  • Wear protective clothing. Wear boots and/or tuck pant legs into socks to reduce the risk of a bite.

What Do I Do If I Find A Fire Ant Mound In My Yard?

Truly Nolen - Fire Ant Mounds in TexasA possible preventative measure is long residual contact insecticide treatments. Your local pest control expert will apply an insecticide to the lawn surface in order to prevent fire ants from settling into the area. Although there are several self-help methods to eliminating fire ant colonies, it is best to contact your local pest control expert in order to eliminate the infestation safely.

What Do I Do If I Get Fire Ants On Me?

  • First of all remain calm and do NOT panic.
  • Leave the area immediately while quickly brushing the fire ants off using a gloved hand or a cloth. The most effective way to remove fire ants from the skin is with a fast, repetitive brushing motion. Remove the ants that climb up on your body as quickly as possible.
  • Quickly strip off shoes, socks, and clothing where the fire ants are stinging you. Shake out the clothing and inspect every fold before put¬ting them back on.
  • Do not try to shake them off – fire ants hold on tightly with their jaws so they will not just fall off. Do not try to rinse them off with water – it just makes them hold on and sting in another spot.

What Do I Do If I Get Stung?

People vary greatly in their reactions to fire ant stings. Most people just suffer a burning sensation, itching, and pustules with no lasting effects. Those who may be sensitive to fire ant venom may see the sting area become slightly swollen.

  • Ease the burning and itching by using ice, cold compresses, or painkiller sprays and ointments such as over-the-counter antihistamine products.
  •  Treat the pustules, whether intact or open, like any other small wound. Keep it clean.

Watch for problems if a person is stung more than a few times or has an impaired immune system due to a medical condition (e.g., heart condition, diabetes, etc.). The important thing is to watch for severe reactions. Although rare, seek emergency medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following as it could be a sign of a life-threatening allergic reaction:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Faintness or dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Chest pain
  • Tightness in chest or throat
  • Hives or rashes
  • Serious swelling
  • Nausea
  • Severe sweating
  • Slurred speech
  • Shock
  • Coma

Like many pests, fire ants are a fact of life in Texas. Being aware is the best way to stay safe.

Millipedes Invading Atlanta

Truly Nolen Atlanta - Millipedes Invading AtlantaAtlanta residents know all too well that an unusually wet summer can make millipedes a common household problem. Millipedes (literally thousand legged worms) are not insects but instead arthropods, related to lobsters, crayfish, and shrimp.

What are millipedes?

Millipedes are long segmented wormlike animals that are generally brownish to blackish in color. Each body segment has two pairs of very short legs. They have a pair of short antennae and the head is rounded. Millipede species that commonly invade Atlanta homes range from about 1/2 to 1 inch long.

Despite their many legs, they are slow moving. Their short legs ripple in waves as they crawl. They often coil up into a tight “C” shape (like a spring) when disturbed and don’t move when touched.

Millipedes are not poisonous but they protect themselves by means of special glands that secrete a mild acid with an unpleasant odor, which may produce a mild allergic reaction in sensitive individuals. If crushed, millipedes may stain rugs and fabrics.

Millipedes are primarily scavengers, feeding on decaying organic matter. They can lay up to 300 eggs at a time quickly leading to an infestation. Under favorable conditions, millipedes can live 5 to 7 years.

When outdoors, these invertebrates are harmless creatures but as with many pests, they are simply a nuisance by their presence.

Where do they like to live?

Truly Nolen Atlanta - MillipedeMillipedes require high moisture levels and are found in dark, damp, cool, moist environments. They are commonly found in mulch, compost piles, and yards with heavy thatch. Because of their moisture requirement, they do not survive indoors more than a few days unless there are very moist or damp conditions.

They are nocturnal, tend to remain hidden under objects, and usually go unnoticed. At night, millipedes often leave their natural habitats and crawl about over sidewalks, patios, and foundations.

During periods of excessively wet or dry weather millipedes tend to find their way into homes and buildings. They cannot tolerate water-saturated soil, which forces them to the surface and higher ground. Likewise, dry, drought conditions send them in search of water.

How can I keep them out of my house?

Truly Nolen Atlanta - Millipede Invade HomeIf a millipede finds its way into your home, you can get rid of it by simply picking it up and putting it outside. Since they require high humidity, many will dry out and die indoors; they can simply be swept up with broom or vacuum cleaner.

Exclude

The best way to keep millipedes out of your house is to stop them from getting in.

  • Seal any cracks and/or crevices in the foundation, around wiring, and plumbing where millipedes, or other pests, could enter.
  • Repair any openings around door and window frames with caulking compound and weather stripping.

Minimize Moisture in the Home

Millipedes require moist habitats and areas of high humidity. It is important to eliminate moist hiding places and keep the house and outside area as dry as possible.

  • Properly ventilate basements and subfloor crawl spaces to eliminate dampness and excess moisture.
  • Repair any leaks. Leaky faucets or pipes can attract millipedes.
  • Use dehumidifiers to keep the air dry or use fans in rooms that don’t have good air flow.
  • Clean out and remove debris from gutters. Gutter build up can cause water from draining correctly.

Remove Yard Debris

Millipedes prefer moist, decaying organic matter and shade.

  • Keep your yard clean by removing dead plant matter.
  • Keep compost piles, grass clippings, leaf piles, piled up mulch, plant debris, woodpiles, etc. away from the house foundation.

For professional help against nuisance millipedes and summer pests, call a Truly Nolen pest control specialist.

Sierra Vista branch named Biz of the Week by Real Estate Press

Congratulations to Christopher Slaper and the Sierra Vista branch being named Biz of the Week by Real Estate Press. Thank you Slaper for being a huge contribution to Truly Nolen’s 76-year history!

Branch manager, Christopher Slaper, has worked with Truly Nolen for about four and half years but has been in the industry for over 30 years. Slaper started his career in New Orleans in 1983 working for the government and has since become an expert in pest control.

The Sierra Vista branch is located on Myer Drive and covers over 50,000 square miles of Arizona territory across five counties including Cochise, Graham and Greenlee counties. Call them at 520-458-5095 and tell them congrats. Visit their webpage.

Top 5 Summer Pests – Atlanta

School is out, summer is here, and Hotlanta is living up to its name. It’s time for beautiful weather, picnics, swimming pools, camping … and pesky bugs. The next couple of months are when mosquitoes, bees and wasps, ants, ticks, and spiders are most active in The Big Peach so chances are you’re likely to encounter these common pests.

1.Mosquitoes

Atlanta's Top 5 Summer Pests - MosquitoesMosquitoes can be a real annoyance in Georgia. With the peak mosquito season of June through September quickly approaching, now is the time for mosquito prevention and control around your home. In addition to being bothersome, these pests can also cause health and safety concerns. Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile Virus and other viruses that cause encephalitis, or swelling of the brain. Eliminating breeding grounds and other prevention methods will help prevent an infestation and keep you and your family safe.

  • Mosquitoes lay their eggs on or near water so get rid of all sources of standing water. Mosquitoes need only about ½ inch of water to lay their eggs, which can grow from larvae to adult in as little as 7 days!
  • Regularly empty standing water found in flower pots, saucers, barrels, old tires, kiddie pools, buckets, birdbaths, etc. particularly after any rainfall.
  • Drain or use soil to fill in low areas in lawns and landscaped areas where rainwater may accumulate.
  • Clean out and repair any damaged rain gutters to prevent water from collecting.
  • Keep mosquitoes out of your home with tight-fitting screens on windows and doors.
  • Invest in your personal protection. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks outdoors. Use a repellent on exposed skin and on thin clothing, since mosquitoes can bite through it.
  • Be particularly cautious between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

2. Bees and Wasps

Atlanta's Top 5 Summer Pests - Bees & WaspsBees and wasps are also out in abundance this time of year. Bees have barbed stingers that break off in your skin after a sting and can sting only once before they die. If you find yourself with a bee sting, do not squeeze the stinger as this will cause more venom to go into the skin. Instead, remain calm and simply scrape away the stinger with a dull knife or the edge of a credit card.

Wasps, including hornets, yellow jackets, and paper wasps, are generally more aggressive than bees and can sting repeatedly. Most stings result in redness, swelling, itching, and pain. In extreme cases, if an allergic reaction occurs – such as hives, nausea, fainting, or wheezing – seek medical treatment immediately.

  • These stinging insects build nests in and around most solid surfaces outside the home so be sure to regularly check gutters, windows, grilles, porch lights, etc.
  • Seal all cracks and crevices around pipes, cables, and vents.
  • Trim vegetation around the home to help reduce suitable nest locations.
  • Cover food and drink containers to help limit food sources for bees and wasps.
  • Screen all windows and doors. Repair even the smallest tear or hole.
  • Most bee or wasp stings happen when they are disturbed, feel threatened, and then defend themselves and their colony. Minimizing your interactions with these insects can help reduce your chances of getting stung.

3.Ants

Atlanta's Top 5 Summer Pests - AntsAnts are a perpetual nuisance for residents across Atlanta. It seems like they are everywhere and are always searching for food. Once they locate food, a small group of ants can lay down a pheromone trail that quickly alerts hundreds of other ants to the food source. This is why you see constant streams of ants following each other under your garbage can, around a cabinet, or through your kitchen.

Certain ant species (such as the Carpenter ant) can cause a great deal of property damage to your home. These ants do not actually feed on wood but carve extensive tunnel systems into the wood for nesting and breeding purposes. If the infestation is not removed quickly, the resulting damage can be costly to repair and may not be covered by homeowners insurance.

Another ant species, the red fire ant, is a serious problem throughout the Southern United States. You can spot a fire ant infestation by their dome-shaped mounds in your lawn. Red fire ants are highly aggressive and their bites contain painful venom. They pose even a larger threat to those who have an allergic reaction.

  • When landscaping, use the minimum amount of mulch required as excessive mulch and vegetative ground covers hold the moisture needed by ants to thrive.
  • Store any firewood away from the home and remove any dead wood or scraps from around the exterior foundation, where ant colonies can often be found.
  • Seal all plumbing or roof leaks and check crawl spaces and attics for excess moisture.
  • Clean out all parts of your kitchen where food is prepared or stored. Keep foods like cereal, crackers, and cookies in sealed containers. Keep it clean and remember that the smallest crumbs can attract the smallest pests.
  • Cut tree branches and other plants away from the home to keep ants from using them as a path to enter directly into your home.

4.Ticks

Atlanta's Top 5 Summer Pests - TicksTicks flourish in high grass or brushy areas. They find a host by detecting exhaled carbon dioxide and body warmth. Ticks will climb to the tip of a blade of grass or leaf and wait to hitch a ride on a passing host as they brush by.

These blood sucking arachnids should not be ignored as they are known to transmit several diseases such as Lyme disease which can result in arthritis, meningitis, Bell’s palsy, heart problems, and visual problems. The longer a tick is attached, the higher your chances are of being infected. First symptoms include a bull’s eye rash, followed by flu-like symptoms. Finding the tick and removing it as early as possible is the best way to protect from bacteria transmission.

  • Prevent places for ticks to hang out. Keep lawns cut short. Remove debris and brush piles.
  • When going on a wooded trail or high grassy area, wear long pants. Tuck your pant legs into your socks so that ticks cannot reach your skin. Tuck your shirt inside your pants. Avoid brushing against vegetation. Ticks will crawl around to find a suitable spot, so the less bare skin, the better chance of brushing it off before attachment occurs.
  • Perform daily tick checks. Thoroughly inspect all areas of the body including the hair.
  • Don’t forget about your pets, especially if they have been outside or in high grass or wooded areas. Be sure to check them particularly behind the ears and between the toes. Consult with your veterinarian to find the prevention and treatment option that works for you. Wash pet bedding and toys frequently.
  • If you find an attached tick, remove it promptly. Be sure to completely remove it from the bite mark, especially its head. Do not twist or jerk to get it off. Use tweezers around the tick as close to the point of attachment as possible and remove with a firm pull.

5. Spiders

Atlanta's Top 5 Summer Pests - SpidersEven though their appearance is creepy, spiders are actually beneficial in your home because they lower the populations of other bugs. Spiders like to hide in dark, undisturbed areas. So be sure to use caution when working in the yard, going in a shed, or moving objects that haven’t been disturbed in a while.

Most spider bites are harmless. Black widow spiders will stay in hard to find areas and only bite if threatened; their bites may result in redness, swelling, abdominal pain, stiffness, fever, and nausea. A brown recluse is a bit more active and their bite can cause redness that turns into a blister and then an ulcer. Although spider bites are rarely fatal, if you think you’ve been bitten you should see a doctor immediately.

  • Typically you can remove spiders in your home by removing their food source – all types of bugs and insects.
  • Dust and vacuum regularly to prevent cobwebs and the spiders that build them.
  • Eliminate clutter around your home, including the basement and the garage. Spiders and the insects they prey upon like to hide out behind and under stuff.
  • Be sure to dry out wet areas around your home as many spider species like a damp environment.
  • Seal cracks around pipes, wires, and cables leading up into the home from the crawlspace or basement and down from the attic. Also seal cracks around vents and light fixtures in the ceiling.
  • Cut back tree branches and shrubs at least 18 inches away from the roof and walls of the home.
  • Most bites and stings happen because the spider is defending itself. By taking precautions to avoid direct contact with spiders you can help minimize your meetings with unwanted bites.

Summer bugs are no fun. If your pest problem persists, contact a local licensed Truly Nolen pest control professional for summer pest control services. With a little caution and prevention these pests don’t have to keep you indoors and you can enjoy a healthy, happy, and pest-free summer.