Category Archives: Pest Control Advice

Carpenter Ants: Defeating the Army Behind Your Walls

Carpenter Ants: Defeating the Army Behind Your Walls

Have you ever wondered what a carpenter ant really is? We can guarantee you that they are not building beautiful furniture pieces. In fact, quite the opposite. You may think, “oh, it’s just an ant,” but these ants will give you something to worry about it if not taken care of.

Carpenter ants and termites look for new homes in the summer

Carpenter ant 6-04-18Like termites, in late winter and early spring, young adult carpenter ants, known as alates, swarm to mate and start new colonies. Male and female reproductives mate and form new colonies. These new colonies need places to nest and raise their broods. Unlike termites, these sometimes large black and brown to reddish bi-colored ants do not eat wood, but burrow through it, creating galleries and tunnels, causing structural damage to homes.

Measuring from .25 inches to around .75 inches, carpenter ants need a constant source of moisture to survive. Attracted to damp wood around your property or constantly moist boards and siding, carpenter ants like to nest in the damp and rotting wood outside your home, but will move inside by burrowing through damp wood or finding cracks in wood on the exterior of your home. Sometimes, they even take over termite colonies or old termite galleries.

Carpenter ant colonies include a main/parent colony and can include several satellite colonies. While carpenter ants may nest outside and forage up to 100 yards in search of food, satellite colonies may exist in your walls, attics and around moist areas in your home.

Outside, carpenter ants prefer proteins, feeding on live and dead insects and they like the sweet honeydew produced by aphids and some scale insects. In your home, carpenter ants are attracted to fatty foods, meats and sweets like jelly and syrups, foraging between sunset and midnight in your kitchen.

Signs of a carpenter ant issue

Signs of carpenter ant infestations include:

  • Discarded wings of swarmers near windowsills, baseboards and vents.
  • Active swarming indoors.
  • Sawdust piles made by boring through wood, and the ant excavating remains of dead ants and frass (sawdust).
  • Irregular, wide, clean, ragged surfaced galleries in wood surfaces.
  • Active foraging in your home at night or other low-light situations such as early mornings.

Contact a professional pest control company to eliminate carpenter ants and termites

Carpenter ants-02If you suspect carpenter ant activity in your home, contact a professional pest control company, such as Truly Nolen to schedule a free pest inspection. Although carpenter ants and termites look similar, carpenter ants have a defined waist, between their thorax and abdomen, while termites are more broadly connected. Carpenter ant alates’ sport a pair of upper wings that are much larger than their lower wings, whereas both pairs of termite alates’ wings are relatively the same size.

Also, carpenter ants have bent antennae but termite antennae are straight with no bend in them. Because carpenter ants may be causing damage to your home that is expensive to repair, we recommend contacting a trained, certified pest professional to inspect your property and design a plan to eradicate carpenter ants from your property.

Truly Nolen targets nests with innovative IPM system

Truly Nolen’s innovative Integrated Pest Management systems (IPM) utilize people and pet friendly treatments and methods that address primary and satellite nests. Our technicians are trained to identify potential carpenter ant areas and use materials that not only address your current infestation but target nests to eliminate colonies at their sources, killing off the queen, the brood and many worker ants. Without queens or secondary reproductive to take the queen’s place, reproduction stops and the colony collapses.

Carpenter ant prevention guidelines

To prevent carpenter ant invasions, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Repair or replace leaky faucets and other moisture sources around your home.
  • Remove standing water from porches, decks and other poor water drainage areas.
  • Regularly inspect crawlspaces, attics and basements for moisture.
  • Seal or caulk all cracks and crevices around your foundation, as well as around windows and doors.
  • Remove all landscaping debris (leaves, litter, mulch) and construction materials that are against the house and stack firewood at least 20 feet away from your structure.
  • Keep tree branches and shrubs trimmed away from your house as they provide bridges for carpenter ants intent on moving indoors.
  • Regularly inspect decks, wooden storage sheds, old tree stumps and other wood on your property for signs of carpenter ant activity, like small holes in wooden surfaces.

This summer, when you are prepping your home for a new coat of paint and discover wood shavings or evidence of wood damage, contact your local Truly Nolen location to schedule a free pest inspection. Our innovative eco-friendly Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach arms our technicians with the knowledge and materials to protect your home from carpenter ant colonies.

While a fresh coat of paint creates great curb appeal and can help to weatherproof your house, it can also help protect your home from pests that are attracted to damp wood, such as termites, carpenter bees and carpenter ants. Ask about Truly Nolen’s Four Seasons Pest Control service approach to pest control that helps to identify and treat potential pest issues with seasonal visits that monitor and prevent pests from entering your home, creating a pest barrier around your property. Contact your Truly Nolen professionals today and enjoy your summer!

Keeping Blood Suckers Away During the Summer

mosquito control during the summer
Mosquitoes are a true sign that summer has arrived and they’re likely to ruin your afternoon of outdoor fun if you’re not prepared.

The American Mosquito Control Association says mosquitoes are the deadliest animals

The American Mosquito Control Association says mosquitoes are the deadliest animalsAccording to The American Mosquito Control Association, or AMCA, “Mosquitoes cause more human suffering than any other organism – over one million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne diseases every year.” Mosquitoes are responsible for outbreaks of malaria, throughout history, as far back as 2700 BC, according to the AMCA. Contained to tropical climates today, malaria obstructed the settlement of the US east coast colonies and wasn’t effectively controlled until the 1940s.

Mosquito-borne illnesses afflict animals as well as humans

Mosquito-borne illnesses afflict animals as well as humansTo make matters worse, mosquitoes carry diseases and parasites that afflict our four-legged friends, as well, especially dogs and horses. While we’ve learned to protect ourselves from mosquitoes with bug repellants, proactive prevention measures and the help of a professional pest control company, such as Truly Nolen, mosquitoes are responsible for more human deaths than any other insect, rodent or animal. In addition to the ancient diseases, malaria and yellow fever outbreaks and the current Zika Virus scare, mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting many other diseases, including:

  • Chikungunya
  • Dog Heartworm
  • Dengue Fever
  • Yellow Fever
  • Eastern Equine Encephalitis
  • St. Louis Encephalitis
  • La Crosse Encephalitis
  • Western Equine Encephalitis
  • West Nile Virus

Mosquitoes like your backyard’s stagnant water

Mosquitoes like your backyard’s stagnant waterUnfortunately, urban environments, like your backyard can lend themselves well to making excellent conditions for mosquito havens. The incredible thing is that some homeowners unknowingly and unwittingly set up lovely breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Check your property for areas of stagnant or standing water. Extra gardening pots, old tires, even birdbaths can create excellent mosquito-growing areas, along with other uncirculated bodies of water including retention ponds, boggy areas, long-standing mud puddles, lakes, ponds, fountains and open rain retention barrels. Often overlooked, flowerbeds with residual water standing in flowering plants and in the catch plate at the bottom of planters, can also be inviting to mosquitoes. It is important to note that generally, water needs to be standing for 7 or more days and a cup is enough to create a breeding ground. Interestingly, of course, there are also mosquitoes in the west that don’t need standing water at all to breed, the females can lay eggs in mud.

Made in the shade

Made in the shadeShady, damp areas around your yard and home can create favorable conditions for mosquitoes, as well. Mosquitoes are also attracted to and can commonly be found under thick foliage or in a section of your yard, porch or patio that doesn’t get much sun. Any place protected from the wind and sun can be an invitation to mosquitoes. Additionally, removing debris from around your home can help reduce mosquito populations. Keeping your yard, shrubbery and tree limbs trimmed and eliminating long, unkempt vegetation from around your home and yard can make your yard an unfavorable destination for mosquitoes.

Things homeowners can do to reduce mosquito populations

Things homeowners can do to reduce mosquito populationsWhen it comes to your home, repairing screens and replacing worn screens can go a long way to protecting your loved ones from mosquitoes. Also, many products on the market today can be helpful in reducing your risk for mosquito bites. Citronella plants and citronella oil in tiki torches and outdoor candles, plus organic bug repellants and mosquito-deterring bracelets and other devices can work to ward off those blood-sucking creatures of the summer night. At dusk, at night and early in the morning, wearing long-sleeves and long pants will leave less skin area exposed to mosquitoes, as well.

Treating your yard

Treating your yardTruly Nolen technicians, outfitted with power sprayers or backpack misters treat protected vertical and inverted surfaces of dense vegetation up to a height of 6 feet. Creating a mosquito barrier, our trained and certified technicians treat up to 50 feet around the perimeter of your property.

Entryways and bite sites

Entryways and bite sitesZeroing in on areas within 10 feet of established bite zones, Truly Nolen professionals treat areas around doors and windows up to 3 feet off the ground, as mosquitoes are known to rest in these areas after feasting on pets and people, in preparation for egg-laying.

Addressing reproduction zones and cycles

Mosquito control misting machineTo head off egg-laying, Truly Nolen technicians apply larvicide in small amounts to interrupt mosquito reproduction cycles in moisture-prone areas, in planters, sprinkler heads and other potential breeding sites including ponds, fountains and ditches that show tendencies to retain water. For extra protection for your yard and home against mosquitoes, Truly Nolen can install a programmable misting machine to control and eliminate all adult flying pests around your home.

Trust Truly Nolen

Truly nolen - pest control termitesEven though taking preventative measures to get rid of mosquitoes may keep their numbers down, contacting a reliable and reputable pest control company, such as Truly Nolen can really seal the deal between your home and loved ones and dangerous pests. Contact your local Truly Nolen location for a free inspection for pest identification and to devise a plan customized for your home and family.

Summer is here and you’ve got some outdoor celebrating to do. Remember, preventing stagnant water and moist conditions around your home can help reduce mosquito populations around your property. Enjoy your summer of fun and mosquito-free backyard cookouts and pool parties. Contact your local Truly Nolen location to schedule a free pest inspection today!

Pest Prevention is the Best Cure for Household Pests

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

Preparing the Home for Spring Hatching Cycles

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

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

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

The Importance of an Annual Inspection

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

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

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

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

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.

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:
outdoors-indoorsOutside: 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.

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.

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!

Bed Bugs: Back From the Dead

It seems that over the last decade there have been an increasing number of outbreaks of bed bugs in the Lexington area. A common saying most kids heard before “lights out” was a good night and a reminder to “not let the bed bugs bite” and most of us didn’t realize the true impact of what was being said. A common misconception in regard to bed bugs is that only dirty or unkempt homes qualify for infestation of this pest to happen – that is simply untrue. Bed bugs can be found in many places including homes, hotels, city transit, and even movie theaters. Here is some valuable information about the outbreak of bed bugs in Lexington.

What are Bed Bugs?

Bed BugBed bugs are small, oval shaped insects (they look a lot like an apple seed) that live off the blood of humans and animals. They have piercing sucking mouthparts and the adults and nymphs feed on blood. Adult bed bugs are flat but after feeding they are plump and appear red. Bed bugs cannot fly but they are able to move quickly over floors, walls, and even ceilings. A female bed bug may lay hundreds of eggs over a lifetime. In favorable conditions a bed bug can become fully developed within a few months and produce three or more generations each year. Even though bed bugs are a nuisance, they do not transmit any diseases. They are creepy because they feed on you while you are sleeping and most of the time they do not even wake you up or create a skin reaction.

Where do Bed Bugs Hide?

Bed Bug MattressBed bugs can enter your home through luggage brought back from an infested hotel, clothing, used furniture, and many other items. Bed bugs typically hide in mattresses, box springs, headboards or overstuffed easy chairs or sofas, really any place people sleep. These hiding places are where they lay their eggs and they give bed bugs easy access to human beings on whom they feed while they sleep at night. Bed bugs can eventually move throughout the home or even through pipe chases and other accesses into other apartments or bedrooms.

How to Check for an Infestation:

Waking to itchy areas that weren’t present before you went to sleep, is a good sign that you may have a bed bug infestation. Blood stained pillow cases and sheets are good a sign that your bed is infested. Bed bug excrement may be present on sheets or in mattress piping. If you see any signs of this, call your local Truly Nolen Lexington exterminator immediately.

Aren’t Bed Bugs Difficult to Get Rid Of?

Bed bugs are notorious for being difficult to eliminate from a residence but it is not impossible. Truly Nolen knows what steps are needed in order to rid your home of these unwanted pests. Spending time trying to combat the problem on your own could potentially spread the infestation, making it harder to stop in the future.

Furniture TreatmentTruly Nolen Lexington will provide an in-depth inspection and confirm the presence and extent of infestation of bed bugs within your home. While your first reaction might be to panic once you find out that you do in fact have bed bugs, take a deep breath and don’t throw everything you own away – we can probably save it.

Our Truly technicians will treat your sleeping area including your mattress, box springs and the areas and upholstered furniture surrounding it. Bed bugs can move into closets where they can attach to clothing so our technicians will take time treating these areas as well. All crevices that are found in your walls where bed bugs can be hiding will be treated as well. A technician will make recommendations to you based on your personal needs and the severity of your infestation. A check-up will be scheduled to ensure that the infestation is under control and you’re getting your home back.

Finding a bed bug infestation in your home can be an emotional and stress inducing situation. Let us take care of the problem for you. Call Truly Nolen Lexington for more information about our bed bug services at (859) 277-0716.

Mansfield Ohio’s Most Wanted Pests

As the Carousel Capital of Ohio, Mansfield’s residents can enjoy the historic charm of downtown, coupled with the outdoor beauty of being nestled near the foothills of the Allegheny Plateau. Numerous parks and scenic bike trails also encourage residents to spend time in nature. While these outdoor activities provide great summer fun, being one with nature does come at a price. With warmer weather comes an increase in pest activity, including stinging insects such as bees, wasps and hornets.

Truly Nolen of Mansfield helps homeowners with any stinging insect problem by accurately identifying the type of insect posing the threat, and providing a range of treatment options to safely address the issue. In addition to preventative methods such as swarm and scout traps, Truly Nolen also removes colonies to prevent future infestations from taking place.

Stinging insects generally do not attack humans unless in self defense, however, large enough swarms that are in close proximity to homes, schools or work, can endanger those nearby.

In fact, the National Pest Management Association cites, “Stinging insects like bees and hornets send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year. The most serious sting-related reactions come from insects that belong to the Apidae family (honey bees and bumble bees) or Vespidae family (yellowjackets, yellow hornets, white faced hornets, and paper wasps).”

With some basic, yet important knowledge and awareness, residents of Mansfield can practice safety measures including cautionary next steps should you be stung. Here, Truly Nolen outlines how to identify some of the more common stinging insects, their habits and general degree of aggressiveness. However, if homeowners suspect an infestation or see a growing number of stinging insects near their property, contacting a Truly Nolen of Mansfield pest expert is the safest way to remove the threat.

Stinging Insects 101

Yellow Jacket

YELLOW JACKETS

Identification

Yellow jackets are one of the most aggressive in the stinging insect species. Typically, yellow jackets are between 3/8 to 5/8 of an inch with yellow and black heads and black bodies with yellow bands.

Habits

Considered a ‘social’ insect, yellow jackets live in large colonies or nests and are active in late summer. Usually nesting in the ground, yellow jackets are known to be spotted outdoors, near sources of food as they feed on proteins and sweets.

Degree of aggressiveness

Yellow jackets are extremely territorial and will not hesitate to sting if they feel that their hive is threatened. They also tend to cause severe allergic reactions as they sting repeatedly.

Bald-Faced Hornet

BALDFACED HORNET

Identification

Bald faced hornets tend to be larger with black bodies and white faces. Shaped almost like a wasp, the queen bald faced hornets can be as much as ¾” in size.

Habits

Just like yellow jackets, bald faced hornets are also social insects, but living in colonies that are significantly smaller. Bald faced hornets will not reuse their nests each season, instead opting to inhabit a different one each time.

Degree of aggressiveness

With smooth stingers containing venom designed to make its victim sting and itch, bald faced hornets are aggressive and are known to sting repeatedly. Homeowners should never attempt to remove a bald faced hornet nest on their own.

Paper Wasp

PAPER WASPS

Identification

Paper wasps are brown in color with yellow or reddish markings. Their name is derived from the paper like substance used to construct their nests. They can range in length of 5/8” to 3/4”.

Habits

Occupying small colonies, paper wasps are not as social as yellow jackets or hornets and will often find their way indoors. They prefer to eat nectar and small flies.

Degree of aggressiveness

Paper wasps are generally more docile but can deliver a painful sting if they are disturbed.

Bumblebee

BUMBLEBEES

Identification

Oval with black bodies and yellow stripes, they are easily recognizable by their size, typically 1 inch in length.

Habits

Bumblebees are best known for their loud buzzing sound as well as their aggressive nature when it comes to defending their nests.

Degree of aggressiveness

Bumblebees are chasers! They can often swarm after a nest invader for a long time and deliver a very painful sting.

You’ve been stung? Here’s what to do next:

Types of Reactions

If you have had the misfortune of being stung by one of these stinging insects, it is important to recognize the type of reaction you may experience. A local reaction to a bee sting for example, could include swelling and redness of the area that was infected. These reactions are generally not life threatening and will disappear within a few hours.

A systemic reaction can start out similar to a local reaction, but within 15-20 minutes more severe symptoms will start to show including difficulty breathing and hives. Some systemic reactions can even be fatal as in the rare cases of more extreme allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis. Here, symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness and tightness in the throat. Individuals or those nearby should call 911 if they begin to experience any of those symptoms.

Yellowjacket, Hornet & Wasp Stings

  • Immediately clean the area with soap.
  • Use cold water or a cold compress.
  • Antihistamine and hydrocortisone creams are useful to alleviate redness and itching.

Bee Stings

  • While the above recommendations can apply to a bee sting, because of the barbed stingers it is important to pay close attention to removing it. The stingers detach from the bees’ body and can get lodged in the skin, leaving behind the venom.
  • If possible, elevate the area that has been stung.
  • Immediate removal of the stinger is necessary to avoid further release of the venom and avoid getting infected.
  • If you have removed the stinger and still experience pain, swelling or fever even days after, than seeking medical help is important to delay an onset of infection.

The National Pest Management Association outlines general rules for avoiding and removal of stinging pests, especially if they begin to become a problem:

  • The first rule when a stinging insect approaches is to STAY STILL. Remember, people who keep bees professionally wear protective clothing and ALWAYS MOVE SLOWLY.
  • Be careful when you shake out clothing that has been left on the ground. Wasps or other stinging insects could be in the folds of the clothing.
  • Avoid orchards in bloom, clover fields, and any areas that are abundant with flowers. Don’t wear dark clothing, and don’t wear perfume or hair sprays.
  • Do not mow lawns, trim hedges or prune trees during seasons in which honeybees and wasps are plentiful.
  • Keep a “bee cloth” (even in an enclosed car) to trap frightened insects before they sting, or keep an insecticide spray in the glove compartment of your car.
  • Caution children about not throwing stones or sticks at insect nests.

Residents of Mansfield are encouraged to enjoy their time outdoors, but knowing how to quickly identify certain stinging insects can possibly help to avoid being stung. Truly Nolen is licensed and trained to deal specifically with the delicate task of handling stinging insects. Homeowners should never attempt to remediate these problems on their own, instead, contact your local Mansfield Truly Nolen branch at (419) 520-9290 to provide immediate treatment.

The “Green” Side of Truly

green

Each year April 22nd marks the anniversary of “Earth Day”, a day that is largely considered to be the founding of the modern environmental movement in 1970. The inspiration for Earth Day came to former U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, after witnessing a catastrophic oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Senator Nelson came to the realization that a public movement with enough attention would force the notion of environmental protection onto the national political agenda and in doing so, spark advances in water and air pollution technology.

This Earth Day, Truly Nolen Pest Control explores advances in residential pest control treatments that will continue to ensure our commitment to remain environmentally conscious. We will also discuss major industry changes that have had an impact on the “greenness” of pest control treatments from a commercial standpoint.

Advances in Residential Pest Control

Unfortunately, pest control service is associated with the idea that only highly toxic chemicals are the primary ones used to prevent pests from our homes. However, advances in residential pest control over the decades helped to establish new industry protocol where both the health of the consumer and the environment are the focal points.

Today with the support of extensive research, industries like the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have made drastic reforms to pest control practices. An example of the aforementioned modifications is the mandating of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Integrated Pest Management as defined by the EPA is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment (EPA 2014).

With our obligation to environmental protection, Truly Nolen fully embraces the ideals of IPM by “managing” pests rather than simply exterminating them by any means possible. IPM programs incorporate the use of both non-chemical and chemical-based treatments to promote pest management that is as ecologically responsible as possible. Examples of green treatment methods Truly Nolen incorporates residentially include:

  • Using Botanical Aerosols derived naturally from plants
  • Exterior web wiping: a treatment that involves cleanly wiping away spider without the addition of any repellants
  • Borate-based powder application: Borates have little to no toxicity with mammals
  • Mechanical Exclusion: using tools and knowledge of pest behavior to blockade every possible entry point into a home

Seeing Green: Environmentally Conscious Commercial/Industrial Treatments

Although commercial/industrial properties may differ from residential ones, Truly Nolen’s commitment to environmentally safe pest control remains constant. We realize the health of both employees and customers are at stake and with that being said our IPM program’s reach extends beyond the residential setting, and addresses the commercial ones as well.

In addition to the previously mentioned green options, Truly Nolen combines a range of options designed to address pest issues in a commercial setting, including:

  • A free, detailed inspection the property
  • Constant monitoring of the property
  • Precise installation of baiting/trapping systems

Whether you are a home or business owner, Truly Nolen service experts can customize an effective and environmentally friendly plan to meet all of your pest control needs. This Earth Day, we ask that you please keep the environment in your thoughts and “go green” in all that you do, including choosing a pest control service provider!