All posts by Truly Nolen of Atlanta GA

Truly Nolen Seeing More Indoor Pests Due to Atypical Atlanta Summer

With hotter than normal temperatures and drought like conditions over the past few months, recent scattered rains have caused something else to scatter inside Atlanta-area homes – pests!

“This atypical Atlanta Summer in terms of weather has caused ants to pop up all over the place,” said Chris Ashley, Truly Nolen franchisee, Canton. “When rain follows a long drought period, this is typically when people start seeing a rise in ants in their homes.”

Ants are always looking for food when they do invade a home, so keeping food sources under wraps and stored properly is one way to help keep them at bay before calling for a professional. In addition to ants, Ashley said several other insects are heading indoors due to the abnormal weather pattern.

“During some of my recent pest inspections, we have come across American and smokey brown roaches, earwigs, centipedes and beetles that normally prefer living outdoors in landscape areas,” Ashley said. “Other than ants, none of these are often spotted indoors, which is why the drought followed by scattered rain is the main culprit.”

As a homeowner, there are measures you can take to minimize the conditions that are conducive to pests and help reduce the likelihood of an infestation. From eliminating wood-to-soil contact wherever possible to diverting water from the foundation of the home, prevention is key. In addition, the Truly Nolen website contains a pest identification section to help users in case they need to identify a problem in their home: https://www.trulynolen.com/pest-identifier/.

“Whether you end up trying to handle the problem yourself or calling a professional to conduct a pest inspection, the atypical summer weather ensures a surge in pests sooner than later,” said Ashley. For more information, visit https://www.trulynolen.com/locations/ga/atlanta/atlanta.asp or call our North Atlanta service office at (678) 561-2847.

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).

Truly Nolen Expecting Earlier Termite Swarm Due to Atypical Atlanta Winter

With a mix of mild temperatures and unusually large amounts of rainfall, this atypical Atlanta winter weather pattern has brought something else to the Georgia surface – Termites!

“I handled a few termite swarm situations in residential homes in February,” said Chris Ashley, Truly Nolen franchisee, Canton. “Subterranean termites generally swarm in the spring when the weather warms up. With the amount of rain and warmer winter temperatures, we expect more termite activity this spring season.”

When people fail to identify a termite problem as serious, the result can be quite costly to a homeowner.

“Termites cause an estimated $5 billion dollars in damages in the U.S. every year,” said Ashley. “Since early discovery of termites can help provide a head start for home protection, we wanted to make sure local residents are diligent in this process now that swarm season has kicked off earlier than expected.”

In addition, fighting termites successfully takes a unique understanding of termite behavior, biology, and home construction especially since there is no simple solution for termites. 

“Do-It-Yourself termite treatment methods may seem like a cost-effective option; however, damage caused to homes from ineffective treatment can cost homeowners thousands of dollars and is not covered under most homeowner’s insurance policies,” said Ashley. “Most professional termite control companies provide additional protection through a warranty protecting your home from future damage and covering the cost of treatment should termites return.”

As a homeowner, there are measures you can take to minimize the conditions that are conducive to termites and help reduce the likelihood of an infestation. From eliminating wood-to-soil contact wherever possible to diverting water from the foundation of the home, prevention is key.

“Whether you end up trying to handle the problem yourself or calling a professional to conduct a termite inspection, the atypical winter weather ensures a surge in termites sooner than later,” said Ashley.

For more information about termites, call our North Atlanta service office at (678) 561-2847.

 

Pest Alert for Atlanta Residents: The Zika Virus and Chagas Disease

Recently in the news, there have been several reports of viruses coming from mosquitoes and insects that Atlanta residents should be aware of. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently been communicating information on the Zika virus and the Chagas virus.

The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus that has been linked to brain damage and birth defects in babies in Brazil. Pregnant women are being warned to re-think traveling to Latin America and the Caribbean at this time since there is no vaccine for this virus.
kissing bug
The Chagas virus has also been on the news, this virus comes from the “kissing bug” that transmits a parasite, trypanosoma cruzi, to those it infects. Like the Zika virus, most of those infected visited Latin America where it is most often found.

It is important to be aware of deadly pests that are emerging. Truly Nolen of Atlanta offers a mosquito control program and a Four Seasons Pest Control program that include preventative measures to keep your family safe. Call for an inspection 678-561-2847.

An Overview: Ants, Ants and More Ants

Possibly the most social networking insects on Earth, ants have evolved to include 10,000 different species that fill various, unique niches. Some types are named for the work they do, some for their actions, like thief ants that rob from other ants’ nests. Ant colonies consist of one or more queens who lay thousands of eggs, female workers who gather food, care for the young and perform other essential colony tasks and male ants. It seems male ants have only one purpose in some ant societies— to mate with the queen after which, the male dies. Close relatives to wasps and bees, ant bodies consist of three distinctive sections, a head, a thorax and an abdomen. Also, ants love Atlanta.

With her peach trees, pecan trees and temperate weather, who could blame ants for wanting to live in Atlanta? Some of the most common ants in Atlanta include Argentine Ants, Carpenter Ants, Pavement Ants and Fire ants.

Argentine Ants

Argentine Ants
Well adapted to urban environments, dark brown to black in color and no bigger than 1/8,” Argentine ants nest in moist soil near buildings or under them, looking for a way to get inside. Marching up and down buildings and trees along driveways and sidewalks, 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.

Acrobat Ants

Acrobat Ants
Balancing on their tiny front legs, acrobat ants can raise their heart-shaped abdomens over their heads when disturbed. No larger than 1/8” long, acrobat ants, who are yellowish brown to dark brown, with darker abdomens also put off an odor and have been known to bite when disturbed as well. Indoors, acrobat ants can cause damage to electrical wiring, as they infest damp places, often the foam sheathing behind siding. Because acrobat ants excavate former termite nests and other pest nests, homeowners may think they have a termite infestation, due to the debris acrobat ants leave in their wakes.

Carpenter Ants

Florida Carpenter Ants
The black carpenter ant and Florida carpenter ant are some of the largest pest ants found in Georgia. Black, red or light to dark brown in color and typically 5/8” in size, Florida carpenter ants, like neglected moisture and can enter Atlanta homes through damp and decaying wood. Black carpenter ants are dull black in color with yellowish hairs covering their abdomen and typically between 1/4 to 1/2”. Once in your attics, ceilings, carpets and flooring, carpenter ants bore through wood, 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.

Fire Ants

Fire Ants
Anyone in Atlanta who has ever disturbed a Fire Ant mound knows that their sting is no joke and burns like fire. Relatively small, measuring between 1/8” and 3/8” in length, reddish brown to reddish black, with copper colored heads, Fire Ants prefer the loose soil in landscape areas and around structural foundations to build their mounds. Also preferring dry, sunny, flat spaces, Fire Ant mounds can measure two feet in diameter. Mounds regulate the temperature of colony tunnels, allowing Fire Ants to survive significant drops in temperatures. If left undisturbed, Fire Ant colonies can grow to 250,000 members with multiple queens. As a result, Fire Ants have been known to sting with enough force to kill cattle and other large animals. Coming indoors through tiny cracks and crevices, Fire Ants are drawn to sweets and your pets’ food bowls.

Crazy Ants

Crazy Ants
Making inroads on the Atlanta pest scene, crazy ants aren’t called that just because of their erratic movements. These 1/8” black ants, covered with reddish brown hairs, are attracted to electrical wiring and components in peculiar ways. Sometimes crazy ants destroy electrical products and sometimes their carcasses wreak just as much havoc on electrical components. For example, one crazy ant may find its way into a transformer and is electrocuted. As the insect waves its abdomen in the air, it releases pheromones that attract more and more crazy ants who come into contact with the first ant or a hot spot and are electrocuted as well. As their carcasses begin to pile up, dead crazy ants can actually clog electrical switches, causing system malfunctions.

Pharaoh Ants

Pharaoh Ants
Also known as “sugar ants,” Pharaoh Ants, tiny 1/16” sized, light yellow insects with red and black markings may get their name from mistaken information about these busybodies causing one of ancient Egypt’s historical plagues. A worldwide pest, Pharaoh Ants are one of the world’s most common ants and are known to be difficult to control and also for their ability to “get into things” like sweet foods.

Citronella Ants

Citronella Ants
Giving off a lemon scent when crushed, these 4 mm to 5 mm long yellow ants’ eclectic diet consists of the “honeydew” secreted by aphids and other small bugs. Citronella ants pose no threat as home invaders, but can occasionally be seen flying around indoors while swarming.

Field Ants

Field Ants
One of the most diverse types of ants in the world, with over 150 species, at only 1/8” in length, field ants vary widely in color from yellow, red, black and bi-colored red and black combinations. Nicknames include mound ants, wood ants and thatching ants. Like citronella ants, these insects dine on the “honeydew,” secreted by mealy bugs and aphids, and pose no threat of indoor infestations. Field ants do, however, build unsightly nests on walking paths and can secrete painful formic acid when provoked.

Pavement Ants

Pavement Ants
Fond of building nests in cracks of sidewalks, driveways and slab foundations, pavement ants, who are dark brown or black and a mere 1/8” long, aggressively build nests of up to 30,000 individuals. Although pavement ants feed on seeds, grease and insects and don’t typically move into homes in Atlanta, they do forage up to 30 feet from their nests in search of sweets and fruit found in your kitchen, leaving convenient pheromone trails for worker ants to follow.

Big-Headed Ants

Big-Headed Ants
Big-headed ants are reddish and brown in color. Their name refers to the larger than life heads of the major workers, who are larger than the minor workers, 1/8” in length, as compared to the 1/16” length of minor workers in a colony. Major workers acting as soldiers, defend the colony’s nest, usually found in disturbed soils, lawns, flowerbeds, under bricks, cement slabs, walkways, rocks, logs and flower pots. Not given to moving indoors, big-headed ants will forage into your home for food.

Odorous Ants

Odorous Ants
As their name implies, odorous ants, who are dark brown or black in color and 1/8” long emit an odor similar to rotten coconuts when crushed. A frequent nuisance in Atlanta homes, odorous ants tend to infest indoor spaces near heat sources or insulation, in wall voids and beneath floors. Following long foraging trails, odorous ants contaminate sweets, meats, fats and grease found in your home.

Ghost Ants

Ghost Ants
With pale abdomens and legs, sporting dark heads and thoraxes, ghost ants are tiny – less than 1/16” long, making these tropical interlopers difficult to see. Like odorous ants, ghost ants give off a coconut-like odor when they are crushed. Seen in Atlanta kitchens and bathrooms on sinks, counters, and floors, these Florida natives easily hitchhike in boxes, crates, potted plants and shipped household goods and spread several strains of bacteria in your home.

Rover Ants

Rover Ants
On the rise in recent years, rover ants, 1/16” long and dark brown to pale blonde in color, adapt well to many habitats from kitchens and bathrooms to cinder blocks and wall voids, to light sockets and electrical sockets. Outdoors, rover ants nest under mulch and heavy vegetation and shingles, in potted plants and under stones, entering your home through openings around pipes, cracks, windows and tree branches that are too close to your home.

How to Prevent Ants in your Atlanta home

Following good sanitation habits will go a long way in deterring ants from your home.

  • Trim trees so branches don’t touch your house.
  • Secure outside trash receptacles and clean area around trashcans.
  • Clean up all vegetation and old woodpiles near your home.

Inside your home:

  • Clean all dishes and wipe down all food prep, dining and food storage areas.
  • Keep all food and cooking ingredients in airtight containers.
  • Sweep and vacuum floors on a regular basis.

Most importantly, contact Truly Nolen Atlanta to initiate an ant prevention program or to eradicate an existing ant infestation. Call us today to schedule a free inspection at (678) 561-2847.

New Year’s Resolution: Four Seasons Solutions for a Pest-free 2016

Happy New Year! Out with the old and in with the new! Yes, it’s a new year, a chance to wipe the slate clean and start over. All around Atlanta, folks are making resolutions to get in shape and make other positive changes in their lives. While protecting your home from pests might not make the top ten list of popular New Year’s resolutions, it should definitely be on the list.

From season to season, Atlanta homeowners battle different pests as rodents try to find their way inside your home during the winter and ants during the summer. Getting an early start in protecting your home from pests is a good way to start the year right. Truly Nolen Atlanta’s Four Seasons approach—pest control that protects you throughout the year from season to season, will help you establish a carefully managed pest-free environment year round with both preventative measures and solutions to current pest problems. Here’s how it works:
Pest Activity Calender

Truly Nolen’s Four Seasons Program

Effective year round pest control relies on eliminating pests, not only during their active periods, but also by disrupting pest behavioral cycles during dormant periods. Truly Nolen Atlanta’s Four Seasons pest control program uses a proactive approach, plus an innovative series of high quality materials and treatments. Truly Nolen’s system works to minimize insect resistance over time.

Winter Winter: Pests Seek Warmth

Because pests will be trying to winter in the comfort of your cozy Atlanta home, Truly Nolen technicians work to deter these pests and eradicate those already hiding in your home. These measures establish long-term diversions to insect infestations all year long. Truly Nolen Atlanta protects your home in the winter by:

  • Wiping spider webs from room corners, windowsills and exposed beams, so spiders can’t trap food and thrive.
  • Applying boron-based powder around door and window frames, inside cracks and crevices and around wall plates and baseboards as well.
  • Administering dust treatments in attic and crawl spaces to deter rodents and disease carrying vector insects.
  • Positioning ant and roach bait stations under kitchen and bathroom sinks.
  • Strategically placing pest monitoring stations in crucial areas to detect and trap intruders.
  • Applying material around exterior doors, windows and eaves.

Spring Spring has Sprung!

Come Spring, flowers, plants and trees flourish as temperatures rise, days get longer and everything comes bouncing back to life, including pests. Insects and rodents are bent on increasing their populations in the spring, and for that reason Truly Nolen zeroes in on pests with materials and applications that have been proven to reduce pest reproduction cycles. Technicians focus treatments in the areas where insects live and breed, on the exterior of your home and possible entry points into your home. Truly’s proactive stance against pest invasions in the spring involves introducing colony-eliminating materials that establish long-term protection against pest invasions. In the spring, the Four Seasons program shifts into power mode, starting with removing spider webs from the exterior of your property, then Truly technicians:

  • Apply dust treatments to exterior entry points, from attic access points to utility box entryways.
  • Treat outdoor hot spots, including potential pest living spaces and food sources.
  • Power treat your home’s foundation and landscape features to form a barrier around your home.
  • Place dual-acting granular bait for ant larvae and workers.
  • Suppress ant reproduction by application of granular ant bait.

Summer Summer: Pests’ favorite season

In the summertime, pests go all out, eating and destroying everything in sight. With the increase in temperatures and pest populations in the summer, pests can move around faster and seem less fearful of predators. Truly Nolen Atlanta addresses the change in seasons and pest behavior by treating your landscape and other probable pest habitats with fast-acting products. Your summer Four Seasons process begins with Truly technicians removing spider webs and applying a repellent, followed by:

  • Treating outside entry points and hot spots
  • Power treating the edges of landscape features and paved surfaces like patios, driveways and walkways.
  • Spreading granular bait in mulch, rock beds, thick grass and other areas with decorative landscape features
  • Minimizing insect reproduction by applying granular baits in strategic locations.

Fall Fall: A change in the air

After long, hot Atlanta summers, many people look forward to cooler temperatures and the change of seasons. In the fall, pest populations are maturing, collecting reserves for the winter and looking to move into a warm home, like yours, in the greater Atlanta area. When the temperatures drop, pests slow down, and your home is a great place to hide out from predators, do a little hibernating, and wait for spring. Our technicians will repel these pests by creating a barrier to the interior of your home. Truly Nolen’s skilled technicians caulk and seal all inviting holes, cracks and crevices around your exterior and apply materials around potential pest entryways.

For the fall, Truly Nolen Atlanta’s process begins with removing spider webs from ceilings, light fixtures, doorframes, windowsills and exposed beams indoors, then moving outside to do the same under eaves and around windows and doors. The Four Seasons process continues on the exterior of your home by:

  • Dust treating exterior entry points from attic access points, to utility boxes and anywhere in between
  • Treating outdoor hot spots, like potential pest habitats and food sources.
  • Sealing or caulking any and all cracks and crevices where insects may gain entry to your home in the winter.
  • Spreading bait granules in mulch, rock beds, thick grass and other decorative landscape features, like walkways, patios and along driveways.
  • Strategically placing rodent monitoring stations, as needed in critical areas.

Make a New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep

Make this year the year you keep a New Year’s resolution. Keeping your home pest-free throughout the year is Truly Nolen Atlanta’s mission. Call today (678) 561-2847 to learn more about our innovative, proactive Four Seasons approach to pest control and to schedule a free inspection.

Atlanta Winter Pests: What to Look For!

Where do pests winter?

Rat Control
Summer is long gone; Atlanta’s chilly and days are short. As you cozy up by the fire and sip hot chocolate, do you ever wonder what insects, rodents and other pests do during the winter? We are smart enough to know that pest problems aren’t going away and that pests don’t just die off in the colder months and magically reappear in the spring.

All the warm weather gets pests scurrying, burrowing, gnawing, buzzing, biting and stinging but as temperatures drop, pests slow down, making them more vulnerable to predators. So in the winter, pests are looking to find shelter from the cold and from predators. They look for a food source and a cozy place to multiply, and your home is on their list especially if they can easily sneak in through cracks, crevices and other entryways.

Where are these pests hiding?

Attics, crawlspaces, basements, wall voids and vacant rooms make favorite places for pests to slow down, build nests, grow their young and hibernate. Also, some insects like your pantry so much they have their own designation as “food insects.” Indian meal moths, grain beetles and other food insects like grains, flour, dried fruits and well, most items in your dried food storage. Dark, quiet pantry cupboards provide excellent breeding grounds for all sorts of food insects that lay their eggs and contaminate food. Even outside, in storage sheds, in woodpiles and neglected debris, insects and rodents can make happy little nests.

Exclusion: Blocking pest intruders

rodent control
Keeping pests out of your home in the winter can be tricky. The first and most important thing to remember is that if pests can’t get into your home, more than likely you won’t have a pest problem. The problem is: Pests can gain entry into your home through smaller spaces than you might realize. Rodents need no more than nickel to quarter size holes to make your home their home. Rodents can spread diseases and wreak havoc on the structural integrity of your home and possibly destroy your home by causing electrical fires by gnawing at wiring. Insects can also easily get inside your home and need less space than rodents to invade your Atlanta home.

On the exterior: Proactive things to do to exclude and deter pests

  • Seal, caulk or repair any and all holes, cracks, crevices and other potential entryways on the exterior of your home.
  • Remove all debris from around your home. Pests love clutter, so clean up woodpiles, surplus building supplies and other materials on your deck or patio that can make nice cozy nests.
  • Stack firewood at least 20 feet from your home.
  • Repair or remove damp wood, as some pests seek entry through soft, wet or rotting wood.
  • Clear out weeds and overgrown vegetation that attract pests.
  • Trim shrubs and trees branches away from walls and roofs, eliminating pest pathways into your home.
  • Ensure that your outdoor trash receptacles close securely.
  • Whenever possible, unpack boxes outside.
  • When returning from vacations and overnight trips, especially if you stayed in a hotel, launder or dry clean all clothing and vacuum luggage thoroughly to avoid introducing an insect that knows no season: bed bugs.

On the interior: Please do not feed the pests

  • Always wash dishes after meals and wipe down food prep and dining areas.
  • Sweep or vacuum kitchen and dining areas after meals.
  • Store all dried food in airtight containers, including pet food and birdseed.
  • Clean all spills, loose flour and grains from pantry shelves.
  • Be on the lookout for pest activities, like droppings near food areas, evidence of chewing, and random sawdust, plus scurrying and scratching sounds in your walls and attic.

You don’t have to go it alone: Contact a pest professional

To put your mind at ease this winter or to address winter pest problems, contact Truly Nolen Atlanta. Truly’s Four Seasons approach takes into account pests’ seasonal behaviors. Utilizing a combination of innovative application methods, materials and exclusion tactics, Truly Nolen Atlanta’s proactive process impacts pests’ reproductive cycles to reduce future generations and eradicate pests from your home. Convenient quarterly inspections ensure that your home is protected throughout the year. Truly Nolen’s eco-friendly pest control solutions strive to keep your family and pets safe and your home pest-free from season to season.

For effective year round pest control, call Truly Nolen Atlanta to schedule an inspection at (678) 561-2847. So, throw another log on the fire and savor that hot chocolate!

Tis the Season: Pest Control

The holiday season is upon us! Like many Atlanta homeowners you’re probably decking the halls, throwing another log on the fire and baking delicious holiday treats to celebrate the season. While you’re getting your fa-la-la-la-la on, take a moment to follow some simple tips to ensure that your merry and bright is also pest-free. The holidays offer rodents and insects numerous opportunities to have their own happy little holidays in your home. How do they get in, and how can you keep them out? We thought you might ask.

Oh Ho the Mistletoe

Christmas treeWhen you’re ringing in the season, check to see you aren’t also bringing in pests with your seasonal greenery. Always carefully inspect Christmas trees, mistletoe, fresh fir garlands and other botanicals before purchasing them for signs of insect activity. Also, before bringing plants and greenery indoors, just give them a hearty holiday shake to dislodge any pests. Spiders and other insects make much better Halloween decorations than Christmas tree ornaments.
The same goes for firewood. First, clean up woodpiles and stack firewood at least twenty feet from your home. Inspect firewood for insect activity before bringing a stack inside, as you might not burn an entire stack immediately and any insects in the wood can invade your home. So now you’re ready to decorate! Just a few words of caution: Holiday décor presents more fun ways pests can celebrate the holidays.

Break out the decorations

Cardboard boxes stored in attics, basements, garages and sheds make excellent places for rodents and insects to settle down for that long winter’s nap. To be on the safe side, unpack stored cardboard boxes outside whenever possible. Storing your holiday decorations in tightly sealed hard plastic totes helps to eliminate chances of insect and rodent infestations occurring inside your Griswald lighting extravaganza. Treasured tree ornaments you’ve collected over the years store nicely in large decorative cookie and popcorn tins that you can leave out under the tree, as an added décor element.

Holiday Wrap

You know those decorative gift boxes from last year, plus last holiday’s tissue paper and wrapping paper that are hanging around in your closets or under the bed in the guest room? Turns out rodents love to chew cardboard and paper to line their nests. Cockroaches love collections of random piles of paper and cardboard boxes to hide in as well. The easy solution would be to just toss old wrapping paper and boxes. But if you really can’t just throw away perfectly good wrapping supplies, find some hard plastic totes, made just for rolls of wrapping paper.

Popcorn, Cranberries and Candy Canes

While popcorn and cranberry garlands, sugar cookies, candy canes and other edible ornaments lend a homespun charm to Christmas trees; to rodents and insects they’re like hanging holiday feasts. Rodents and insects want to move into your home for warmth, shelter, food and water. Food, whether ornamental or just crumbs, spills and dirty dishes is fair game to pests.

Getting ready for guests

Holiday Dinner
About those dirty dishes— while we know this season is chock full of holiday activities, from baking, to decorating, to gift giving and holiday parties, keeping your home clean in this frenzy of festivities is essential for keeping pests out. While hosting family and friends requires extra cleaning, with more than usual trash generated, here are a few cleaning tips for the holidays:

Before visions of sugarplums start dancing in your head, give your Atlanta home a thorough cleaning. Wipe down pantry shelves, eliminating crumbs and spills. Store dried food items in airtight containers, including dry pet food and birdseed. Clean dishes after meals, so leftover food can’t attract insects and rodents. Wipe down countertops, plus all food prep and dining area surfaces after baking and/or preparing meals. Sweep or vacuum food prep and dining areas often to keep crumbs from attracting pests. Eliminate clutter in attics, basements, extra rooms and storage sheds. Pests love clutter; it’s like Christmas every day to them.

Recapping: Pest-Free Holiday Checklist

  • Always carefully inspect Christmas trees, mistletoe, fresh fir tree garlands, firewood and other botanicals before purchasing them for signs of pest activity.
  • Unpack decorations outside whenever possible.
  • Decorate with inedible ornaments: Skip the candy canes, popcorn garlands and sugar cookies.
  • Store holiday décor and wrapping supplies in airtight, hard plastic totes.
  • Keep your home wiped clean of crumbs and spills, dishes washed, floors swept and vacuumed regularly.
  • Keep outside trash in secure receptacles.
  • Seal any cracks, crevices and holes on the exterior of your house to exclude pests.
  • Eliminate debris and clutter from your property. Mow or remove all overgrown vegetation.
  • Stack firewood at least twenty feet from your home.
  • Trim shrubs and trees off the walls and roof of your home, eliminating pest pathways indoors.

Truly Nolen Atlanta wishes you and yours a happy holiday season. In the event you run into pest problems this holiday season, don’t hesitate to contact us at (678) 561-2847 for a free inspection. Happy Holidays!

Home Invasions on the Rise in Atlanta: Pantry Pests Making Their Way Indoors for Thanksgiving

Fruit fliesThis season, before you gear up for Thanksgiving preparations, think about safeguarding your home from pantry pests that could potentially turn your Thanksgiving feast into a Thanksgiving fiasco. Certain types of moths, and beetles, along with other food insects, can often be found in grains, cereal, nuts, dried fruits and other holiday pantry items. So before you start on your favorite Thanksgiving dishes, take a few minutes to see where your pantry stands on your pest prevention program.

Out of Date, Don’t Remember the Last Time you Used It, Out of Here

Stored foods items, especially those you don’t use a lot, tend to be invitations to pantry pests, who like dark, undisturbed places to breed. So, if you don’t break out the baking skills except to make holiday musts, then chances are you’ve got flour, as well as other grains and possibly nuts from last year’s holiday season in your pantry. To be on the safe side, toss anything not stored properly in metal, glass or heavy plastic. Because insect infestations are more likely to occur in dried food products that have been open for long periods of time, check dried good expiration dates. If you find yourself on the fence about how long you’ve had an item, it’s better to toss it.

Clean Up Your Act

To help safeguard your home against pantry pests, consider pulling everything out of your pantry and vacuum the area, especially cracks and crevices where crumbs can attract insects. Then, as an added precaution, caulk cleaned crevices and cracks, then empty or discard the vacuum cleaner bag. If you suspect you have a pantry pest infestation, do something about it as soon as possible.

What If I Suspect I’ve Been Pantry Hacked?

For starters, what kind of insects am I dealing with, and how did these pesky pests get in my pantry?

The most reported pantry pest is the Indian meal moth, with the saw-toothed grain beetle following close behind. Grain moths, silverfish, centipedes, millipedes, ants, stinkbugs and weevils can also be found.

Indian Meal Moths and Saw-toothed Grain Beetles

Indian Meal MothsAn adult Indian meal moth measures a mere 1/2”, with distinctive beige and copper wings. Cereals, grains and dried dog food make excellent places for the adult female moth to lay her eggs.

Sawtoothed Grain BeetlesThe saw-toothed grain beetle, a flat 1/8” long insect, with a row of teeth just behind its head, is almost as common as the Indian meal moth. They can also be found in the same food sources as Indian meal moths, with the addition of birdseed, chocolate, dried fruits and nuts.

All of these flying and creepy-crawling household pests may be hard to detect as they also hide out in other dried goods including corn and pasta. Some also like dried herbs and spices. Some dried food insects even thrive on plant décor, like dried flowers, gourds and ornamental corn. Equally as attractive to pantry pests are dried garden seeds, birdseed, and potpourri, not to mention rodent baits.

The Bottom Line

While these miniscule food foes are not known to transmit diseases or cause structural damage to your home, according to The University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), “Stored product pests can introduce bacteria into foods, and their presence and wastes can spoil the taste of food.” This is not good for your Thanksgiving meal.

Generally, pantry pest infestations occur from dried food products, infected in retail outlets and in homes. Inspect any boxes, bags and plastic containers before purchasing them. Bulk bins should be inspected before purchasing grains, cereals, nuts, spices and dried fruit. Indian meal moths produce silky webbing in food items, and you can detect beetles with a magnifying glass.

Signs of a pantry infestation can include Indian meal moths flying around your house and/or finding small beetles in cabinets and on counters or collecting on windowsills. These are the adult stages of pantry pests.

The good news: You can fight back. Take these steps:

  • Eliminate all open or suspect food products.
  • If you suspect a recently purchased, unopened food item of an infestation, put it in the freezer for at least four days, or until you can return it. Pantry pests don’t do well in extreme cold or heat.
  • Thoroughly clean food storage areas.
  • Vacuum crumbs and wipe loose flour, paying special attention to any cracks or crevices.
  • As an added precaution, caulk any cleaned cracks or crevices.
  • Empty or discard vacuum bag to avoid re-infestation.

Take these additional steps when purchasing and storing food products, in the effort to eliminate pantry pest infestations:

  • Check freshness and expiration dates.
  • Inspect all packages for holes or tears in packaging.
  • Inspect bulk bin items before purchasing.
  • Store all items in metal, glass or heavy plastic containers.
  • Label items with purchase or expiration dates.

Contact a Professional

If a pantry pest issue proves persistent, or if you are not sure your visitors are in fact, pantry pests, consult a professional. Truly Nolen of Atlanta takes care to address all of Atlanta homeowners’ pest problems, season to season. Call 678-561-2847 for a free inspection.

With the Thanksgiving holiday drawing near, the only home invasions Atlanta residents need to be thinking about are those with family and friends, and not those of the pantry pest variety. A proactive approach and a few practical precautions will go a long way towards a happy, healthy Thanksgiving meal, Atlanta style. Enjoy!

Rodent Awareness Week

Be Aware: Rodents want to winter where it’s warm

RatTemperatures are dropping and before Atlanta settles into a chilly winter, pest control professionals suggest that Atlanta residents take some necessary precautions to exclude rats and mice from wintering in their walls, attics and basements. Rodent infestations are on the rise and Atlanta ranks among the top five cities in the US in rodent population problems.

Atlanta: Growing by squeaks and bounds

According to the city’s website, Atlanta continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in the US, with a metropolitan population of 5.45 million. It seems that the city of Atlanta’s culture, art and nightlife appeal to college educated young adults, while young at heart baby boomers are moving to Atlanta for the scaled down convenience of art and culture in the city. While rodents aren’t known to be art lovers, they do love the large-scale waste Atlanta generates, as well as the availability of human living spaces to invade in the city and in Atlanta’s far-reaching suburbs.

Contributing to Atlanta’s rising number of rodent infestations are homes abandoned by foreclosure during the Great Recession, plus a succession of relatively mild winters in the past few years. Getting ahead of the rat and mice curve, proactive homeowners will want to know what to do to prevent a rodent infestation, and what to do when they suspect they have one.

The Rub about Rodents: A Few Things to Know

  • Norway rats, house mice and roof rats make up the majority of rodent problems in Fulton and DeKalb Counties.
  • Rodents can squeeze into incredibly small spaces. Mere nickel and quarter-sized spaces are all it takes to allow rats and mice entry into your home.
  • Rats and mice attract disease-carrying insects. Vectors—fleas and tick that feed on rodents’ blood and cockroaches that feast on rodent droppings can spread diseases to humans and pets.
  • Rodents need to gnaw to keep their front teeth in check. They can chew through electrical wiring, causing electrical fires, in addition to causing structural and other property damage.
  • Rats have been known to bite humans when threatened, exposing humans to diseases transferred from insects to rodents.

Put Out the No Vacancy Sign

Excluding rats and mice from your home can be a daunting task. New homes require less attention than older homes. Sealing or caulking entries includes filling in cracks, crevices and holes that are more than a 1/4” in size. Often, the foundations of older homes need to be completely re-sealed to exclude rodents. It is also important to take a look at the items stored outside your house.

  • Clean up any woodpiles around your home and store wood at least 20 feet from your house.
  • Clear your property of any overgrown grass and weedy areas. Rats and mice like to nest in woodpiles and enjoy the camouflage of tall grass and weeds.
  • Trim trees away from your house so branches don’t create convenient bridges for rodents to enter your home

Keep it clean

Mouse In Basement
Not needing a lot to eat, rats and mice enjoy the crumbs you leave on the counters and in your pantry. Although rodents prefer grains, fruits and vegetables, they will easily adapt to dog food if it’s convenient and readily available to them. But not only do rats and mice go for leftovers and spills, they can contaminate food with disease-carrying insects and bacteria from their own droppings.

Remember to keep all food, including pet food and birdseed in tightly sealed metal, glass or heavy plastic containers. True sanitation means not leaving snacks for rodents in your kitchen or pantry, wiping down food prep and dining areas, as well as washing all dirty dishes and sweeping and vacuuming often.

Rats and mice like presents as much as you do. Rodents especially like cardboard and other paper products that you store in a closet or the attic for building and cushioning their nests. Try to resist the temptation to save a lot of cardboard and left-over packing materials. If possible unpack boxes outside to avoid unknowingly escorting critters into your home.

Uh-oh! Do you hear what I hear?

If you hear scratching in your walls, scurrying in your attic or squeaking sounds in your home, it is very likely you have a rodent infestation. Check for tell-tale pellet-shaped droppings in or near food areas and any signs of chewing. A word of caution: Be quick about it. Rodent populations grow at alarming rates.

Seeking Professional Help

Contact a pest control professional as soon as you detect a rat or mice problem. You’ll want to nip it in the bud before it becomes a full-blown infestation. Rodent infestations take anywhere from days to weeks to conquer and eradicate. Get in touch with Truly Nolen Atlanta at 678-561-2847 for a free inspection immediately.

Truly Nolen’s highly trained technicians will determine whether or not you have a rodent issue. After identifying the culprits, skilled pest control professionals will devise a plan of action tailored to your particular home, keeping your individual needs in mind.

Jeepers Creepers: What’s Creeping in Atlanta, GA this Halloween

In terms of both number of species and number of individuals, insects are a dominant form of life on Earth. With somewhere between 800,000 and 1,000,000 insect known species, that’s more than all other animals combined! For every human, there are approximately 1.5 billion bugs! But some of these insects are so horrifying, just one is too many. This Halloween, Truly Nolen Atlanta brings you an array of terrifying insects, some in far-away and exotic locales and some that may be right in your own Atlanta neighborhood, skittering across your front lawn, up the steps of your home right now.

Palmetto Bugs: Call Them What You Want, They’re Flying Cockroaches

Palmetto Bugs - Flying Roaches
Up close and personal to Atlanta and most of the southeastern US, the American cockroach goes by many names, including palmetto bug, water bug, and flying water bug. Georgia residents can tell many tales of giant flying cockroaches that won’t hesitate to drop out of a tree onto your noggin, run right across your feet or fly right at you. Some experts say that these larger than life creepy-crawlers fly at people, mistaking them for trees, but some southerners will swear that these aerial nightmares have chased them around their homes, stalking them. Creepy! Slight differences exist between species of American cockroaches.

Africanized Honeybees: Bad News Bees

Africanized Honeybees
In the mid-1950s, twenty-six African honeybee queens imported to Brazil escaped with swarms of local worker bees from an experimental facility near San Paulo. This established renegade colonies of Africanized bees in Central America, Mexico and Texas.

Africanized honeybees don’t look a lot different than European honeybees, but they have killed some 1,000 people since their escape in 1957 and they sting ten times more per victim than European bees. More aggressive than your average honeybee, Africanized bees are more easily provoked, attack in larger groups at ten times the speed of European bees and can chase humans as far as a half mile. Don’t even try to outrun them!

Bullet Ants: Shoot Me Now

Bullet Ants
Looking like a 1.5″ long chunky, wingless wasp, if that’s not enough cause for alarm, the bullet ant’s sting ranks highest on the Schmidt pain index and has been likened to being shot with a gun. The bullet ant’s venom can cause victims intense, throbbing, burning, relentless pain for up to 24 hours with possible uncontrollable shaking for days afterwards. Yikes!

Some Brazilian tribes sew bullet ants into gloves that are then placed on the hands of boys as part of their warrior rites of initiation. To complete the initiation, warriors must wear the gloves for a full ten minutes!

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach: From Hollywood Star to Household Pet

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
Like Will Smith said, “Don’t start nothing, won’t be nothing,” taunting a giant, interstellar cockroach in the 1997 film, Men in Black, as he squished the bug monster’s relatives. Those guys, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, popular in Hollywood films for their creep factor are actually so easy to handle they are sold as pets and worn as living jewelry. As one of the world’s largest cockroaches, hissers, measuring 2″ to 3″ are fortunately, wingless, unlike other cockroaches we know. They make excellent climbers, able to scale smooth glass.

Madagascar hissers are found only on the forest floor of the island of their namesake, off the coast of Africa. Some twenty known species of hissing cockroaches share this remote island. So, except for the 1000s living here as pets or working as live jewelry or making you squirm in movies, you’re perfectly safe.

Japanese Giant Hornet: Move Over Mothra

Japanese Giant Hornet
Japanese giant hornets are about 2″ long with a .25″ stinger and venom that not only dissolves flesh but attacks the nervous system. These hornets can even fly 25 miles per hour in a 60 mile range. Relax, Atlanta, these ferocious buzzing beasts live in Asia. Seriously aggressive and fearless, Japanese giant hornets massacre European honeybees, attacking their hives and chopping their heads off with their powerful mandibles. They then ravage the dismembered bees, lapping up their honey and slicing their thoraxes into bite-size pieces to feed to their young.

Jewel Wasp: Diabolic Perfection

Jewel Wasp
Equally terrorizing, the jewel wasp, a.k.a., the emerald cockroach wasp has a more sinister plan. Can’t stand roaches, Atlanta? In a diabolically brilliant process the jewel wasp preys on roaches to feed to her young. First, she partially paralyzes her victim. Next she injects venom directly into the roach’s brain blocking neurotransmitters that leave the roach alive, but just enough to be tasty. 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 wasp eats the live cockroach’s insides. In eight days, the roach finally dies.

Giant Isopod: Pill Bug From the Deep

Giant Isopod
Lurking in the deep waters off the coast of Georgia, the giant isopod, one of almost twenty species of large isopods are distant relatives of shrimp, but look more like their other cousin, the woodlouse. As excellent examples of deep-sea gigantism, these segmented monsters can weigh almost 4 lbs. and measure 14″ in length. And, they can, like some woodlice curl up in a ball as a defense mechanism. They prefer the cold, gloomy, pitch-black deep, where they act as deep-sea scavengers.

Mexican Red Rump Tarantula: Cuddly Pets

The Mexican red rump tarantula has a 5″ leg span, a furry red abdomen and the ability to overpower small lizards and rodents. Able to break human skin by biting, most tarantulas prefer the more passive aggressive practice of flicking skin and respiratory irritants called urticating hairs at you, to actual full on confrontations with humans. Found mostly in Mexico, the red rump tarantula has been seen as far south as Belize, the Yucatan, El Salvador, and Guatemala. In 1996, the red rump tarantula was discovered in the wild in St. Lucie County, Florida.

Tarantula Hawk Wasp: Just Lie Down and Start Screaming

Tarantula Hawk Wasp
As non-aggressive and skittish as tarantulas can be, their predators, tarantula hawk wasps, are equipped with a powerful and painful sting, second only to that of the bullet ant. The pain lasts only three minutes but is described as so intensely electric that, according to invertebrate experts in a peer-reviewed journal, the only recourse after a human gets stung by a tarantula hawk wasp is to just lie down and start screaming. Because not many people are able to function mentally or physically after getting stung and they might just go off and injure themselves, this is the best advice.

Lucky for you, Atlanta residents, except for some of these gigantic, bizarre, dangerous flying, wild things sold in pet stores or gracing Fernbank Science Center exhibits, most of these creepy crawlers aren’t very likely to jump out and scare you to pieces this Halloween. Or will they? Jeepers Creepers! If they do, contact your Truly Nolen Atlanta pest control professionals today at 678-561-2847. Happy Halloween!