2015: Strong El Niño Leads to The Year of the Pack Rat

When someone says the term pack rat, people likely think of a friend or relative who has trouble letting go of old souvenirs and clothes. Most people likely do not realize 2015 was the year of the rodent known as the pack rat! In fact, Truly Nolen website research shows “How to get rid of pack rats” was the eighth-most visited page for the company’s website in 2015 and the most visited one overall for any insect or rodent.

Pack rats, also referred to as woodrats or trade rats, are typically gray rat-sized mammals with large ears, large dark eyes and a relatively long tail. Although absent from most of the New England area, eight species of pack rats are widely distributed through much of the rest of North America. They are usually found entering homes in the winter to have their offspring, which means this is the exact time of year to be mindful.

“With El Niño on track to be one of the three strongest ever over the last 70 years according to NOAA, it should come as no surprise that pack rats became more common this year in terms of our service calls as well as people wanting to find information about them online,” said Scott Nolen, Truly Nolen Pest Control CEO/President.

In houses, pack rats are active at night, searching for food and nest material. Pack rats are known for their characteristic searching of materials to bring back to their nests creating an ever-expanding collection. As the name “pack rat” implies, they have a tendency to pack away small objects such as jewelry, utensils, can tabs, and other items.

A peculiar characteristic is that if they find something they want, they will drop what they are currently carrying and “trade” it for the new item. They are particularly fond of shiny objects. They can also be quite vocal and boisterous.

Pack rats can cause extensive damage to your property. Not only do pack rats damage and destroy landscaping, they can also chew through wiring, spoil food, and leave behind fecal pellets. They may also shred upholstered furniture and mattresses for lining nests.

In terms of getting rid of pack rats, there are three standard things people can do. “The most effective rat control begins with prevention by disposing of trash properly and maintaining sanitary conditions in a home,” said Nolen. “When pack rats become a problem in and around structures, making sure any openings in the structure foundation and pipes should be sealed as well as checking for openings in attic vents.”

The majority of pack rat populations in structures can be controlled by using traps. “Pack rats show little fear of new objects in their environment,” said Nolen.

For more information about pack rats, visit our pest identifier page at http://www.trulynolen.com/pest-identifier/, or to take care of your pack rat problem, call one of our local branches to schedule an inspection.

About Truly Nolen
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 over 60 countries. To learn more about Truly Nolen, visit www.trulynolen.com or follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TrulyNolen) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/TrulyNolen).

 

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Jose Machota Opens Our Newest Truly Nolen Pest Control New Jersey Location in Ocean County

Truly Nolen Pest Control recently opened its first Ocean County, NJ location at 990 Cedarbridge Avenue, Suite B7 #320 in the township of Brick. The franchise, which is the fourth New Jersey location for Truly Nolen, is owned by Jose Machota. We are here to serve all your pest control needs in Ocean County, New Jersey.

Machota, 45, most recently spent two years working for Terminix as a sales inspector when the Truly Nolen opportunity came along. With 22 years of business experience and a college education from Madrid, Spain, Machota decided the time was right to open his own franchise.

“I enjoy working in the pest control industry and I felt Truly Nolen was the best fit in terms of opening my own company,” said Machota. “I am looking forward to gaining new relationships and helping people with their pest control needs.”

Ron DeSear, Truly Nolen Vice President, Domestic Franchising, said Machota went through training recently and is pleased to have him as part of the company’s family.

“We are excited to have someone as passionate as Jose is about our industry as one of our franchisees,” said DeSear. “The fact that Jose gets to work with his stepson Steve on this venture is an added bonus.”

Truly Nolen Pest Control of Ocean County can be reached at (732) 888-8276. For more information about Truly Nolen Domestic Franchising, call (855) 534-9139 or visit www.trulynolenfranchising.com.

About Truly Nolen
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 over 60 countries. To learn more about Truly Nolen, visit www.trulynolen.com or follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TrulyNolen) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/TrulyNolen).

Jose Machoita

Truly Nolen Pest Control Promotes Ridgway to Service Supervisor

Truly Nolen Pest Control recently announced the promotion of Frank Ridgway to Service Supervisor of the company’s Orlando, Fla. branch at 2082 33rd Street.

Ridgway joined the company in 2013 and was most recently in the role of Pest Control Service Technician. He has over 20 years of experience in the pest control industry.

Some of Ridgway’s new responsibilities will include supervising the service office’s other technicians, handling ride-along evaluations, tracking inspections, and overseeing chemical inventory and distribution. Ridgway, who has always been interested in science and nature, believes in leading by example. “I’m looking forward to helping my people achieve their goals and grow within our company like I have,” said Ridgway.

“Frank’s high standards for quality customer service are always evident, and he has accepted every challenge thrown his way,” said Tim Phillips, Truly Nolen District Manager, District 604. “We know he will continue to surpass expectations in the months and years to come, and we are fortunate to have him as a member of our Orlando team.”

About Truly Nolen

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 over 60 countries. To learn more about Truly Nolen, visit www.trulynolen.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Truly Nolen Pest Control Promotes Frank Ridgway to Service Supervisor

Charlotte’s Triatomine Bug: A Kiss to Die For

As the North Carolina Panthers ‘keep pounding’ all the way to Super Bowl 50 and we get ready for Valentine’s Day, we also need to pay attention to other news that may not be as exciting but definitely very important.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported finding a deadly insect known as the “kissing bug” in North Carolina. Actually, kissing bugs have been discovered in 28 states, and as far north as New Jersey. The CDC reported there are 300,000 cases of Chagas Disease in the U.S. so far but most were infected in Latin America where it is most often found. The CDC maintains that the likelihood of contracting the disease in the U.S. is still relatively low but it is important to be aware as sometimes symptoms do not show up for years.

Triatomine, aka kissing bugs

kissing bug
Triatomine include conenose bugs, assassin bugs and kissing bugs. Typically found in Latin America where, in 1909, Brazilian doctor Carlos Chagas discovered that kissing bugs were responsible for the transmission of a parasite, trypanosoma cruzi, to his patients.

Chagas Disease, caused by the trypanosoma cruzi parasite entering the bloodstream, in chronic cases can cause intestinal issues and heart failure. While some victims experience no symptoms, some suffer flu-like symptoms, with vomiting, swollen lymph glands and high fevers. Typically, Romaña’s sign, which refers to the swelling of an eyelid, occurs in early stages of the disease.

If left undetected or untreated for years, the trypanosoma cruzi parasite can cause chronic disorders in the intestines and break down the heart and the digestive system.

How do triatomine infect humans?

Like bed bugs, ticks and mosquitoes, kissing bugs are little bloodsuckers that feed on human blood. And while bed bugs don’t pose serious health threats to humans, kissing bugs carry a parasite in their excrement that can be deadly if left untreated.

However, according to epidemiologists, a kissing bug would have to feed, relieve itself and have its feces be rubbed into the bite wound or an open sore, in order to infect a human being with Chagas. Other ways trypanosoma cruzi can be transmitted include:

  • Ingesting infected kissing bug feces in uncooked food
  • Blood transfusions
  • Mothers can pass the parasite to newborns during pregnancy or childbirth
  • Infected donor organ transplants
  • Laboratory accidents

The good news: One case out of 900-4,000 contacts with infected kissing bugs in the US results in a case of Chagas Disease. Also, the disease is not transmitted like the cold or flu through casual contact with infected individuals.

What to know about kissing bugs:

Known in Latin America as barbeiros, vinchucas, pitos and chinches, kissing bugs measure about an inch long, with pear-shaped bodies, brown, red or yellow stripes and a pair of transparent wings. Some say they resemble a cockroach.

Adult kissing bugs do fly and during warmer months are attracted to light coming from your home. Like bed bugs, kissing bugs are nocturnal, hiding during the day and coming out at night to feast on humans and pets, attracted by exhaled carbon dioxide, skin odors and body heat. Their bites are relatively painless, usually not waking victims. Kissing bugs feed near the mouth and eyes of their human hosts, hence their name. Their hiding places include:
kissing bug controlOutside: Piles of wood objects on the exterior of your home, such as firewood, lumber, tiles, stones, bags of food and animal habitats, like chicken coops and goat corrals.

Indoors: Cracks in walls, crevices in beds, behind pictures, in furniture crevices, cardboard boxes and hanging clothing near their food sources.

Kissing Bug Control

No vaccination exists for Chagas Disease, but in the initial stages of the disease, benznidazole and also nifurtimox have shown to be highly effective, but the effects of these anti-parasitic drugs diminish the longer a person is infected. The drugs are also not FDA approved in the U.S. and are only available from the CDC and both drugs have some fairly common side effects.

The best prevention plan for kissing bugs is exclusion, guarding your home against entry. Truly Nolen Charlotte suggests a few guidelines to follow in excluding kissing bugs and other pests from your home.

  • Seal all cracks, gaps and holes around foundations, crawlspaces, windows, walls, roofs and doors.
  • Eliminate clutter outside and indoors, especially in bedrooms.
  • Eliminate wood and rock piles near your house.
  • Stack firewood at least 20 ft. from your home.
  • Install screens on doors and windows. Repair existing screen holes or tears.
  • Seal gaps and holes leading to your attic.
  • Keep pets indoors overnight.
  • Clean your home regularly, vacuuming and sweeping often.
  • Sanitize outdoor pet areas and indoor pet beds and periodically check areas for bugs.
  • Practice safe and sanitary food preparation, consumption and storage measures.

Contact a professional

Because commercial pesticides do not eradicate kissing bugs, should you find a kissing bug, do not squash it or touch it with your bare hands. The CDC recommends placing a plastic bag over your hand to pick the bug up. Deposit kissing bug in a container, then drown it with rubbing alcohol or freeze the bug in water. Anything the kissing bug has come into contact with should be thoroughly cleaned with a bleach solution.

With so many new pests emerging, it is best to contact a professional pest control company, like Truly Nolen Charlotte, to inspect your property for kissing bugs and all pests and devise an effective exclusion, reduction and prevention plan of action. Call Truly Nolen Charlotte at (704) 910-2936 to schedule an inspection.