The Ant Days of Summer

The sticky, sultry days of summer are here in the ATL… some call them the Dog Days of Summer. But dogs are not the only ones that enjoy the summer months. Ants in particular thrive during the summer season. Their activity increases with the availability of both sugary and natural foods. To celebrate the Ant Days of Summer, we bring you some importANT information regarding America’s most annoying household pest.

ant control

What kind of ant likes math? An accountANT!

Although we have yet to see an ant helping you with your math homework, ants are truly capable of becoming a serious pest around your home. Odorous house ants are known to contaminate food sources; fire ants attack with a painful sting to humans when disturbed; crazy ants can swarm and destroy electronics; and carpenter ants can cause severe property and structural damage as they tunnel through wood to build nests. Call Truly Nolen today to properly identify the kind of ant that is in your home, the first step in an effective removal.

What do you call an ant that likes to be left alone? IndependANT!

Although funny, ants are not truly independANT. Ants are social insects that live in colonies. They regularly work together to ensure the survival of the species. One example of this can be seen in your kitchen during the summer season when it seems like ants will go after anything. The scout ant goes in search of food, and once he finds a potential source, lays down a pheromone trail that alerts the entire colony. That is why you can see one ant in your kitchen one day, and many more the next day. Getting rid of the food source is the number one deterrANT. You may need to go searching for a single, stray Cheerio that rolled under your refrigerator and has since attracted an army of ants. Though it may seem tedious, eliminating the food source is a sure-fire way to eliminate the ants. Keep food in airtight containers. Clean common areas immediately after cooking or eating.

Where do ants go on vacation? FrANTS!

Unfortunately for Atlanta homeowners, these sneaky critters can march into your home and never leave. Since ants are tiny, they can find thousands of entry points into your home. They can infest all levels of your home and any unsealed morsel of food. Ants come inside because they’re attracted to your sources of food and water. Excluding them from entering your home is your first line of defense to keep them out of your home. Use caulk to seal any windows, doors, and any holes or cracks that the ants crawl through. Fix leaky faucets and eliminate other sources of water for ants such as around the air conditioner.

Don’t let your ant infestation become permanANT. Call Truly Nolen Atlanta today for a free inspection. Our pest control professionals can help you implement an action plan to keep your home ant free.

Charity Bed Bug Cleanup

August 2014

On August 25th, 2014 we had the opportunity to help a less fortunate family in dire need of removing some nasty critters from their home. The entire branch went out to a home with a mother and four children that financially couldn’t afford the expensive cost of remediation. We spent over 30 man hours performing service and making sure that their family could now sleep safe at night and not have to worry about bites.

bed bug treatmentbed bug treatmentbed bug treatmentbed bug treatment

Hot and Humid Atlanta Summers Bring Out the Roaches

Cockroaches have been on the Earth for more than 250 million years and in that time, they have evolved relatively little compared with other insects. They are however incredibly adaptable and have adjusted well to living with humans. They are scavengers who are attracted to food but will eat just about anything including pet food and the glue on envelopes. Like many Atlanta residents, summer is their favorite time of year due to the high humidity levels and warmer temperatures.

As any Atlanta resident knows, the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana) is very common in the southern United States, particularly during the hot, humid days of summer. You may have also heard them referred to as a palmetto bug, waterbug, or sewer roach. At about 1-1/2 inch long, the American cockroach is one of the larger cockroach species. Their oval shaped bodies are reddish brown to dark brown and they have fully developed wings. When disturbed, palmetto bugs will run rapidly, but on rarer occasions they may fly – or more accurately glide. They are nocturnal and typically hide during the day.

american roach

Are they dangerous?

The presence of a large cockroach, though physically harmless, should not be underestimated. Roaches can spread disease, contaminate food and damage books, clothing and wallpaper and in large numbers can produce a very unpleasant odor. They have also been associated with allergies and childhood asthma.

Where do they prefer to live? Why are they in my house?

These roaches prefer warm areas of higher moisture. Palmetto bugs can be found throughout the house, particularly on the first floor of buildings. They will enter homes through any opening or tiny crevice that they can squeeze through. Outdoors, they prefer dark, moist, and warm places such as landscaped areas, in flower beds, woodpiles, or under mulch.

Indoors, they are often found near steam pipes, in boiler rooms, around plumbing and water heaters, and in damp basements. These roaches multiply quickly in wet conditions like those found in sewers or storm drains. They can travel up from the sewer, through your drain pipes and into your bathroom, kitchen, basement, and laundry room. Infrequently used drains provide better access because the drain trap is dry. Keeping the drain trap wet by running water several times a week in the sink, tub, shower, or wherever you find these large bugs is helpful.

How can I get rid of them?

An American cockroach infestation can quickly spread during the summer, as they enter through cracks in foundations, around loose-fitting doors or windows, and along water and gas pipes. Population control focuses on getting rid of food, water, and places for them to hide.

Keep it clean.

Sanitary conditions are critical to eliminating these roaches.
• Clean up spilled foods and liquids immediately
• Avoid leaving scraps of food on unwashed dishes and counter tops
• Store food in tightly sealed containers
• Remove trash daily
• Rinse cans and bottles before putting in trash
• Keep clutter from accumulating and vacuum often


• Inspect cartons or boxes for insects before bringing into your home.
• Use weather stripping on outside doors for a tight seal
• Seal all cracks and crevices with caulk particularly those around sinks, behind cabinetry, gaps in walls and floors, and pipe entry points

Reduce moisture.

• Control dampness with dehumidifiers
• Fix any plumbing issues (e.g., leaking faucets and pipes)

Enjoy the rest of your summer by keeping it roach free. Our professionally trained technicians will get rid of this all too common Atlanta pest. Call Truly Nolen today.

Enjoy Your Summer Free From Fleas and Ticks

Summer can be a great time for you and your pet to enjoy the outdoors. Here’s some information to protect you and your pets against fleas and ticks.

What Are Fleas and Ticks?

Although there are more than 2,000 species of parasitic fleas, the most common ones feed off mammals, including dogs, cats, and humans. Fleas are wingless, dark colored bugs that are very small (1/16 to 1/8 inch). Since fleas do not have wings, they travel from host to host by jumping, and can jump up to 7 inches in the air and several thousand times in a row! Pets living in warm, humid climates and those living outdoors are most vulnerable to fleas.

Ticks are most often found around your dog’s neck, in the ears, in the folds between the legs and the body, and between the toes. Ticks are capable of spreading infectious diseases like Lyme disease, so quick removal is important.

Protecting Your Pet

cutedogPrevention is key. Talk with your veterinarian to determine the best available flea and tick prevention method for your pet. There are a variety of products on the market including monthly topical treatments and oral medications. It is much easier to prevent an infestation than to deal with a house full of unwanted pests.

Every pet responds to flea bites differently. For some dogs allergic to flea saliva, a bite can make them so miserable that they bite and scratch themselves raw. Other pets may have a less severe reaction. Left untreated, chronic infestations not only make your dog or cat miserable but also can lead to infections and more serious flea-related diseases. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of flea infestations, along with prompt treatment, will help you keep your pet and their environment a healthy one.

What to Look For: Signs of a Flea or Tick Infestation

Pets are first infested by fleas when they are outside or when they are in contact with another animal that already has fleas. Wildlife, including opossums, raccoons, and skunks, and even untreated cats and dogs can deposit flea eggs into a yard. It may be possible to reduce flea infestations by limiting the access these animals have around your house and yard.

Flea infestations are most easily confirmed by examining your pet. Your dog or cat itching more than usual may be an indicator of fleas or ticks. However, if you are unsure, check with your vet. Not all scratching is necessarily a sign of a flea infestation.

Although they are tiny, you can see fleas scurrying along the surface of your pet’s skin. Fleas do not like light and prefer hiding in your pet’s fur. Their favorite spots include 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; this will provide you with the best chances of spotting a flea.

You can also part your pet’s fur in several places and look for tiny black specks, like pepper scattered on the skin surface. These black specks are known as “flea dirt” and are actually flea feces left on your pet’s coat.

Ticks attach to the body and feed by sucking blood. They do not jump like fleas, but crawl around rather slowly. They climb up grass and plants and hold their legs up to sense passing hosts. When a warm-blooded animal walks by, the adult tick crawls onto them and begins feeding. Ticks can attach themselves to any part of the dog’s skin, but are generally found around the ears, between the toes, and sometimes in the armpits. It is important to promptly remove any ticks to prevent tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Getting Rid Of Fleas: Indoor and Outdoor Control & Treatment Methods

Once you’ve established your pet is infested with fleas or ticks, time is of the essence. But be sure to take things one step at a time. First, treat your pet; consult with your veterinarian to find the best treatment option. While your pet is at the vet for its treatment, you will also need to check your home as there’s a chance the infestation may have spread. Your pet and home should be treated simultaneously in order to break the flea’s life cycle.

Fleas: hard to see, difficult to eliminate. Fleas are a formidable pest and have several adaptations making them difficult to kill. Adult fleas can continue to reproduce and thrive on your pet and in your home until you break their life cycle. Under optimal conditions, the flea can complete its entire life cycle – from egg to larva, cocoon, and then adult – in just 14 days. This results in tens of thousands of new fleas to combat! Flea eggs are typically left deep down in your carpet, in your bedding, upholstery, or cracks in the floor. After they hatch in two to 14 days, your problem starts all over again.

Understanding their life cycle is crucial to understanding the importance of treating both the host animal as well as the indoor and outdoor areas. Although many products are available to treat fleas and your pet’s surroundings, the most effective products are those containing both an ingredient to kill adult fleas and an ingredient to kill the other life cycle stages. Simply sprinkling some flea powder or placing a flea color on your pet will not work, as these methods just go after the fleas that you see. That’s not enough to prevent the infestation from repeating itself.

Treating Your Pet

There are many safe and effective products available that will help eradicate fleas and ticks. Consult with your veterinarian, who will confirm the diagnosis and discuss choosing the right flea treatment product and other appropriate treatment options. It is important to tailor your treatment to your pet and their environment, since certain products in combination can be hazardous to your pet’s health. With any treatment it is necessary to treat all of the animals in the home. It is very important not to use products on your dog that are intended for cats (and vice versa). Your veterinarian can also determine the best plan for preventing fleas in the future and ensure your animals’ health and well-being.

Secondly, you will need to thoroughly clean and treat your home – inside and out – especially those areas where your pet spends a lot of time. Fortunately, there are several safe and effective treatment options.

Treating the Indoor Environment

Treat the entire house.

  • Thoroughly Vacuum. First, thoroughly vacuum the entire house, including hard surfaces. Be sure to get under everything – furniture, rugs, etc. You may also need to vacuum and treat furniture. Don’t forget your car, motor home, or anywhere else your pet has been. Once you are finished, immediately seal your vacuum bag in a plastic bag and discard it completely outside of the house and garage. This prevents the fleas from crawling back out and infesting your home or garage again. If your home has a central vacuum system, then you must empty the canister into a sealed bag and dispose of it outside the home and garage. Vacuuming and shampooing or steam cleaning the carpet can kill some of the larvae however it may also leave some live fleas. Some sort of chemical treatment may be necessary.
  • Hot Wash. Make sure to wash all linens and pet beds in order to kill possible fleas. You should wash and dry any bedding at the hottest temperature it will tolerate or discard it in an outside trash receptacle if washing is not feasible.
  • Call the Experts. If you continue to find more evidence of fleas, it might be time to call in a professionally trained pest removal expert. Flea infestations can be difficult to eliminate. It is a good idea to call your pest control expert in order to rid you and your home of fleas.

Treating the Outdoor Environment

Many people sometimes forget their pets also spend time outside in the yard. If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors, this will be where the majority of the fleas are located. In many parts of the United States, freezing weather helps to control outside flea populations. But in warm and humid climates, the flea battle may rage year-round. Fleas prefer cool, shady, moist places and especially like to hide in shrubs, leaf litter, the bark dust of trees, and underneath lawn structures. They cannot tolerate hot sun for long periods of time and don’t do well in open grass or in a sunny yard.

It is always best to consult a professional pest control expert to treat the surrounding areas with a chemical spray. There are some simple steps you can take to make your yard a less desirable habitat for fleas and ticks to hide and lay their eggs.

  • Neatness Counts. Thoroughly clean your yard by removing yard and garden debris. Stacked wood, piles of bricks, and discarded pots are ideal breeding ground for fleas. The more clutter, the more places fleas can take refuge. Sweep off patios and lawn furniture. Don’t forget to check out your pet’s favorite places to hang out, including dog runs or kennels, spaces under decks or porches, beneath low-hanging shrubs, or along fence lines. Flea and tick larvae can remain within 50 feet of any cool, shady spots your pet favors.
  • Mowing and Pruning. A cheap and easy way to reduce flea and tick populations in your yard is to keep the grass, trees, and shrubs trimmed. Mowing your lawn to the proper height exposes the soil to sun, keeping it dry, and removes the longer grass fleas and ticks prefer to hide in. Prune bushes and trim trees to increase the amount of sunshine in your yard. Both fleas and ticks prefer moist environments, so be sure to avoid overwatering.

Dangers / Flea Bites and Treatment

Fleas are generally not picky about their meals – any warm-blooded animal will do. Typically, the flea takes its blood meal around the ankles of its human host. These bites usually appear as small red bumps that can be itchy and uncomfortable. In rare cases they can transmit the bacteria that can lead to serious illness. They also carry tapeworms that can infest your pet. If you are bitten, clean the bite with warm water and soap and ice the location to lessen swelling. You can also use anti-itch creams to lessen the discomfort. If at any time you feel that the bite is serious, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

These little guys can be big trouble. But by taking these simple steps, you can prevent any unwanted guests from invading your home and attacking your pets, and enjoy a safe, healthy, and happy summer.

Fire Ants Invade Atlanta

The summer rains have brought with them fire ant mounds spouting up across Atlanta lawns. These invasive fire ants have become a big problem for Atlanta, causing harm and damage to people, plants, and animals.

What are fire ants?

To the naked eye, fire ants resemble ordinary ants. They are very small (1/8 to 1/4 inch long) and are reddish brown in color. Fire ants are very aggressive and inflict painful bites before they sting. Even a tiny bite can result in a painful sore that itches for days. The sting feels like a burning sensation, which is how fire ants came by their name.

Are they dangerous?

Fire ants are known to be extremely territorial and aggressively protect their queen. They become furious when disturbed, working together to attack any intruder. They rush out in large numbers to protect the colony, by biting and stinging aggressively and repeatedly.

Fire Ant

Just a few fire ants can inflict numerous stings in a matter of seconds. Each ant firmly grasps the skin and bites their victim before stinging them and injecting them with toxic venom, which causes a strong burning fire-like sensation. Within a day or two, the sting site swells into a small, red, itchy pustule (a firm blister-like sore) that can cause a great deal of pain or irritation and is often associated with localized swelling. The fierce nature of fire ants combined with their unique ability to rapidly sting repeatedly makes them very dangerous.

Avoiding Fire Ants

Like many pests, fire ants are a fact of life in Atlanta. You can minimize your contact with them to reduce the risk of getting a bite.

  • Being aware of your surroundings is the best way to stay safe. Watch your step. Regularly check for fire ant mounds in your yard.
  • Wear protective clothing, particularly while gardening. Wear work gloves, shoes or boots and tuck pant legs into socks. Avoid wearing sandals or walking barefoot in the grass.
  • If you have an allergy, keep an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen) with you at all times. They can prevent anaphylactic shock after a sting.

Treating a Fire Ant Bite

People vary greatly in their reactions to fire ant venom. Those who are a little sensitive may see the sting area become slightly swollen. Common treatments for fire ant bites include:

  • Use ice, cold compresses, painkiller sprays, or ointments such as over-the-counter antihistamine products to ease the burning and itching.
  • Treat the pustule like any other small wound. Keep it clean and protected. Excessive scratching can cause the pustule to open and lead to a secondary infection.

Signs of an Allergic Reaction

Although the fire ant toxin is not deadly for most people, some people are extremely allergic. Watch for severe reactions if a person is stung more than a few times, is sick or has a compromised immune system (e.g., a heart condition, diabetes), is very young, or is an older adult. It is always a good idea to seek medical advice if you believe you have been stung or bitten by a fire ant.

Every year insect stings send more than 500,000 Americans to emergency rooms and more than 40 people die from insect sting anaphylaxis – a life-threatening, whole-body allergic reaction. Seek emergency medical attention immediately if the victim experiences any of the following symptoms as they could be signs of a severe allergic reaction:

  • Chest pain
  • Cramping and vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Faintness or dizziness
  • Hives or rashes
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea
  • Serious swelling
  • Severe sweating
  • Shock
  • Shortness of breath
  • Slurred speech
  • Tightness in chest or throat

If you see a fire ant mound on your property, call us today for a free inspection. Our professionally licensed pest control professionals can safely remove any infestation to keep you and your family safe.