Category Archives: Metro Areas

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.

Powerful Pests: Know the Difference – Carpenter Ants and Termites

At first glance it may seem that Atlanta termites and carpenter ants have no discernable contrasts, but in fact, these swarming pests have several differences.

Appearance

Carpenter AntTermite white ant isolated

Carpenter ants are large in size, approximately 3.4 to 13 mm long and range in color from yellowish to black. Carpenter ants look different from termites: whereas termites have straight antennae, carpenter ant antennae looks slightly bent. The carpenter ant has a narrow waist while the termite’s body is more solidly rectangular. The four wings on a carpenter ant are all of equal size; termites also have four wings, but there the similarity ends. The termite’s front wings are longer than the two wings in the back. While termite workers are often a light color, carpenter ant workers are often red or dark. They can also be clearly visible where as termite workers are often transparent.

Behavior

Carpenter ants create communities inside moist or rotten wood, while termites will damage healthy wood. Carpenter ants also live in any wooden structure that connects to the ground, such as telephone poles. However, unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t actually feed on wood. Instead, they burrow through the wood itself, digging tunnels to make a home. Overall, the termites’ mud tunnels are not as complete or neat looking as the tunnels of the carpenter ants.

A possible sign of a carpenter ant infestation is sawdust on the ground nearby burrow openings in the wood. Termites, on the other hand, will actively eat their way through wood. Signs of a termite infestation include finding wings by the termite-infested area.

Possible Damage and Treatment

Termite Damage
Termites can cause major structural problems, an estimated 5 billion dollars in damage each year. Because termites can do so much damage, it’s always a good idea to be proactive and immediately contact pest control professionals if you suspect a termite issue.
Carpenter Ant Damage
What about carpenter ants? The main carpenter nest is often outside of the house, so experts recommend using insecticide bait and sealing all possible entries through which carpenter ants could get in. Are carpenter ant infestations as severe as termite infestations? Not necessarily, but as carpenter ant colonies expand in size, they can cause major damage over time. While there are some ways to manage carpenter ants by yourself, it’s recommended to call professionals.

There are many differences between carpenter ants and termites, ranging from behavior and appearance to types of damage. Not sure if you have termites or carpenter ants? Call Truly Nolen Atlanta at 678-561-2847 for an inspection.

What’s the Buzz, Atlanta?

Yes, bugs can be creepy and crawly, but bugs are an important part of life. From food to flowers, from bug myths to bug snacks, here’s the “buzz” on Atlanta’s bugs!

Beneficial Bugs

How do bugs help the environment? Do they improve our lives? There are many ways that bugs are beneficial to the environment – and to us. First of all, they’re a food source around the world. Bugs have had a huge influence on the economic world as they have created valuable products: most silk comes from silkworms, for example. Bugs of all kinds have a unique responsibility: they keep nature in balance in many ways, including by breaking down and disposing of dead animals and plants.

Debunking Myths

Bed Bug
A common myth about bed bugs is that only dirty homes attract the little critters. Not so; bed bugs are attracted to clean homes as well as homes that are more cluttered. They’re attracted to your body heat, blood, and the air you breathe. In contrast to their name, bed bugs don’t just make their homes in beds: they can be found in chairs and couches, as well as stuffed toys. Similarly, love bugs – those tiny, flying couples that show up on your windshield in spring and summer – weren’t created by an accidental experiment from the University of Florida. And you know that gross old wives’ tale that we accidentally swallow several spiders a year as we sleep? There’s no truth to that, so open-mouthed sleepers can breathe a (spider-free!) sigh of relief.

Brunching Bugs

What do bugs eat? Bed bugs, one of the top bugs in Atlanta, can live for most of the year without a meal, just about ten months, according to sources. (But if they come to your house to eat, give us a call!) While some bugs can only eat specific plants, others enjoy devouring a variety of plants, flowers, and even decaying creatures.

Edible Bugs

In many parts of Southeast Asia, spiders and ants are snacks. According to sources, there are almost 2,000 edible bugs – and that’s a good thing. They’re high in protein and low in fat and cholesterol. A handful of American companies –many based in California- are slowly introducing bugs into the food market as an alternative protein source.

Bug Homes

Almost 100% of bug “homes” are found on land. However, some such as dragonflies live in water until they’re adults; once they reach maturity, they fly away. Insects live pretty much everywhere on the earth’s surface.

Communicating Critters

Conversation of antsBugs communicate in a variety of ways. Like us, they can communicate through touch and visual signal – and because many insects can’t see very well, they rely on other ways to communicate. Many insects “talk” through their antennae or through sound. Some insects, such as fireflies, signal the start of the mating process by flashing light at each other; some butterflies use colors of their wings to find a mate, while others “talk” through pheromones to find a mate or even to send out warning signals.

Bugs are an important part of our environment. They provide beauty and even food, all while keeping nature in balance. However not all bugs are welcome, Truly Nolen Atlanta can help you decipher between the two, call 678-561-2847 for an inspection.

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 Bug ControlBed 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 ControlBed 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.

Bed Bug 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.

Bee Basics: Bee & Wasp Treatment 101

During the summer time, stinging insects become much more active. Each year some 500,000 people are sent to the hospital due to stings from insects such as yellow jackets, honeybees, paper wasps, and hornets. Bee and wasp stings can cause significant reactions, ranging from pain that is localized to serious or potentially fatal conditions.

In order to keep your family healthy and safe from potential stings, it is important to know everything you can about bees and wasps and how to handle their presence.

What is the Difference Between Wasps and Bees?

Bee and Wasp Control

Wasps and bees are often mistaken for one another since both are capable of delivering painful stings. Identifying the difference between wasps and bees is important when it comes to treating stings and identifying infestations in your home or yard. Bees measure around 2.5cm long with hairy bodies while wasps vary in size but have smooth and shiny skin. Most bee colonies can have populations close to 100,000 while wasps have smaller colonies.

What Are the Most Common Bees & Wasps Found in Atlanta?

Wasp Control
In the Atlanta area there are several species of both wasps and bees that residents and their pets may come in contact with. Yellow Jackets is a generic term that is applied to a number of wasp species. The most common species in Georgia that is often referred to as a yellow jacket is Vespula. Yellow jackets build nests out of paper with some nests getting quite large. Nests can be found in hollow trees, attics, roof soffits, and other areas that are not frequented. Yellow jackets will keep their distance from humans unless their nests are disturbed. If you get too close to their nest they will attack in numbers and their stings are quite painful. Paper Wasps build nests out of paper as well but unlike yellow jackets they usually build their nests in exposed areas such as window frames.

Bee Control
Honey bees are a social species that lives within colonies with the queen. Honey bees are only aggressive when they feel their colony is in danger. A honey bee is only capable of administering one sting in its lifetime since their stinger is attached to their intestines. When a honey bee stings it releases a venom that includes pheromones that will alert other bees telling them to attack. Unlike bees, wasps can sting multiple times throughout its life.

How to Treat Stings from Bees and Wasps

If you have been stung by a bee or a wasp, unless you are allergic, there are a few steps you can take at home before seeking medical treatment. Remove the stinger with tweeters or scrape it away using your fingernail – do not pinch the stinger as this can inject more venom. Control swelling to the area by icing it down. If you were stung on your arm or leg, elevate it. For pain, take an over-the-counter painkiller such as ibuprofen. If you’re feeling itchy apply a mixture of baking soda and water or a calamine lotion. Seek emergency care immediately if you’re experiencing shortness of breath, tightness of the throat, abdominal pain, fast heartbeat, or loss of consciousness.

What if I have Wasps or Bee Nests in My Yard?

While you might be tempted to douse chemicals or water on a visible nest in your home, it is best that these infestations be left to professionals. Spraying the nest will cause the pests to go into defensive mode which will trigger aggressive behavior and increase the chances of an attack. A pest professional will take the time to carefully remove the nest and relocate it to a safer location. Bees are very important creatures and if possible their nests should be saved and relocated to an area where they are no longer a nuisance.

For more information about bees and wasps in Atlanta, call your local Truly Nolen Atlanta pest professionals at (678) 561-2847.

Five Simple Ways to Keep Your Home Pest Free

Are you concerned about keeping your home safe from pests and rodents but aren’t sure how to keep your home pest free? Being proactive in pest prevention is key. By the time you notice a cockroach, a fly, or any other rodent it might be too late. A single rodent or pest is probably a sign of a larger problem lurking in your home. Here are some simple tips that can help you keep your home pest and rodent free this summer and year round.

Commit to Making Seasonal Checks

mice
During the winter months, rodents and pests take shelter in warmer areas such as sheds or cracks in our home. Small cracks in the foundation of your home can be an invitation for bugs and even squirrels or mice. Once they are in, they can stay for spring, summer and fall as they now have a stable source of food and shelter with no need to go elsewhere.

  • Inspect your home each season and look for cracks where pests and rodents could easily crawl through and repair them.
  • Check your windows and doors as well and seal any edges that might have cracks. This will make your home more energy efficient as well.
  • Remove large piles of leaves and wood debris from your yard as insects and rodents will use these spaces for warmth and shelter. The soil underneath these piles becomes moist and will attract rodents.
  • Store firewood away from your home as well as this will attract ants and rodents.

Deep Clean Your Kitchen

While even a spotless home might still have insect problems, a pest issue is greatly reduced when a kitchen is kept clean.

  • Keep your kitchen sink clear of dirty dishes and your counter free of food.
  • Sweep floors to remove any crumbs that might have fallen during meal prep.
  • Take the trash out regularly.

To pests and rodents your kitchen is a buffet so be diligent about keeping it picked up and clean.

Keep Up the Outdoors

squirrel
Trim back the trees and bushes outside of your home. Animals such as squirrels and raccoons will use tree branches to access your roof and make their way into your attic space. Consider hiring a tree trimming service to avoid providing these pests with access to your home. Your recycling bins and garbage cans should be sealed and stored away from the home. If you compost, use a sealed compost container and keep it as far away from your home as possible.

Control Excess Moisture

Water is a magnet for insects and rodents. Stay on top of plumbing leaks, roof leaks, or gutter leaks to keep rodents from being attracted to your home. Overwatering your lawn can also be attractive to rodents.

Schedule Regular Inspections

Consider scheduling seasonal inspections with a pest control company to make sure that your home is secure and pests are staying out of your home. These inspections should include perimeter checks of your home as well as indoor. By doing this you will ensure that no problem is ever too big to fix.

Call your local Truly Nolen Atlanta pest professional to schedule your free pest inspection.

Roach Identification: A Closer Look at the other Atlantian Natives

Atlanta is a great city to live in. There are beautiful parks, a vibrant city life, and a great culture. Unfortunately in the middle of all that good, we won’t deny that there are pests. And we have to share our lovely city with them. The most prevalent pest here in Atlanta would have to be Cockroaches.

The disease carrying pests that infect our homes and spread bacteria have made themselves comfortable in many Atlanta area homes. There are thousands of different species of cockroaches living around the world. Here in Atlanta, we deal with 4 different species including the German, American, Brown Banded, and Oriental cockroaches.

German Roach

German Roach
The German Roach is a light to medium brown with two dark parallel stripes that run from its head to its pronotum. They breed year round and will produce 30-40 eggs in one sack. A roach can produce a new sack every 28 days, giving off roughly 390-520 new roaches every year. Three months after an egg hatches, a female can begin laying her own sack. Now imagine how many roaches they can create. Although the German Roach has wings, it can barely fly though it might glide when disturbed. The German Roach is attracted to meats, sugars, starches, and fatty foods.

American Roach

American Roach
The American Roach is often referred to as a palmetto bug. American Roaches are the largest species of common cockroach, growing to an average size of 4cm. They are reddish brown and have a yellowish margin on the body region behind the head. American Roaches travel quickly and have large compound eyes with 2,000 individual lenses that shun light, allowing them to be very active at night. Adult cockroaches can live up to a year with females producing an average of 150 eggs during that time. American Roaches eat a great variety of food and materials such as cheese, leather, bakery products, glue, plant materials, starch and soiled clothing.

Brown Banded Cockroach

The Brown Banded cockroach is a small species of cockroach measuring about 5/8 inches long. It is tan to light brown and has two light-colored bands across the wings and abdomen. These roaches prefer warmer, drier and higher conditions than other roaches. They are fully developed in 95 days and will begin producing egg sacks containing 20 eggs. These roaches eat starches, cheese, and other organic matter including decaying matter.

Oriental Cockroach

Oriental Roach
The Oriental Cockroach is a large species, with adult males measuring 18-29 mm and females being 20-27 mm. They are dark brown to black in color and have a glossy body. The Oriental Roach travels slower than other species and are often called water bugs since they prefer dark, moist places. They can be found around decaying matter, sewers, drains, basements, and other damp areas. The female will lay sacks with 16-18 eggs in them at a time. They hatch within 42 days in warm weather.

Cockroaches are dangerous to our health. They can transfer bacteria from rotten food, decaying matter, and other sources into our homes. Roaches can cause asthma issues and can spread disease. Without the assistance of a pest professional, cockroaches are very hard to get rid of because of how quickly they reproduce.

Contact Truly Nolen Atlanta to find out how we can help take care of your pest problem beginning with a free pest inspection!

Pests in Hamilton

Hamilton residents are confronted by a variety of pests. Rainy weather can bring millipedes, earwigs, and pillbugs indoors. Rodents such as mice are also moving indoors this season looking for a dry and safe place. Here are some common pests that are currently affecting the Hamilton area.

Brown Recluse Spider

brown recluse spider
Brown recluse spiders are usually between 6-20 mm and are typically a light to medium brown color. Each female will produce several egg sacs over a period of two to three months, usually in the spring. Each sac contains roughly fifty eggs and will hatch within a month. Brown recluse spiders are resilient and can tolerate up to six months of extreme drought or absence of food.

Brown recluse spiders build asymmetrical webs frequently found in basements, garages, closets, woodpiles, sheds, and other dry places.

Mayfly

Mayfly, or shadfly, is a fragile, soft-bodied insect found in Canada. Eggs are often deposited in clean, flowing water with a larval phase lasting from a few months to two years, depending on the species. The adult phase is short-lived, lasting from a few minutes to a few days, depending on the species. Most species feed on algae or diatoms. They are common in the Hamilton area.

Carpenter Ants

carpenter ant
Carpenter ants are considered destructive pests in Canada. Two common species of carpenter ants found in Canada are Modoc and Vicinus. Modoc’s are all black with rusty red legs. Vicinus have a black head, rusty red thorax and black abdomen. Carpenter ants vary in size and can be as small as a quarter inch or as large as three quarters of an inch.

Carpenter ants establish their nest in decaying wood, but once established the ants extend their tunneling into sound wood, causing considerable damage to the structure. When colonies grow larger and need room to expand, satellite colonies are established. These satellite colonies are often found in nearby structures that offer warm protection.

As the weather begins to warm up in Hamilton, it is important to prepare for the pests that will inevitably be trying to find refuge in your home. Contact your local Truly Nolen pest professional for a consultation and to discuss your home’s unique needs.

Powerful Pest: Know the Difference – Water Bugs and Cockroach

Cockroach vs Water Bug

Cockroaches are often referred to as water bugs and vice versa due to their similar appearances. Aside from their similar looks, these two pests are quite different. Water bugs prefer to live in water, at least most of the time while cockroaches are able to live in a variety of habitats. Both water bugs and cockroaches are common pests to Atlanta area residents. Knowing the difference will help you determine which pest you’re dealing with and the best way to eliminate them.

Appearance

Cockroaches and water bugs both have flat, oval-shaped bodies. Water bugs are on average about 2 inches in length while cockroaches can vary in size by species. German cockroaches are about a ½ inch long while American cockroaches average about 1 ½ inches in length. Both the German and American cockroaches are native to the Atlanta area.

Diets

Cockroaches eat a variety of materials such as leather, bakery products, glue, flakes of dried skin, dead animals, and fermented foods. Water bugs prefer to hunt and kill insects such as tadpoles and small fish. These bugs also like to eat sweet-tasting food such as syrups as well as algae and starch.

Lifecycle

Cockroaches lay their eggs in ootheca or an egg sack, which may be left somewhere or carried with the roach. The number of eggs produced by a female cockroach as well as the time it takes for eggs to hatch varies from species to species. Many roach species are able to reproduce within a few months of hatching.

There are three stages in a water bug’s lifecycle – the egg, the larvae, and the adult phases. Female water bugs lay small, oval eggs about a week after reproduction. In the third cycle of their life, water bugs develop the ability to fly. Water bugs lay their eggs on floating vegetation or in debris.

Habitat

Cockroaches are known as land insects and prefer dark areas. They can often be found in warm temperatures inside crawl spaces, basements, cracks, and outdoors. Water bugs spend most of their time in freshwater, usually in moist and dark areas. Leaky pipes or standing water are the perfect place for these pests to breed and hide. Although these bugs swim well, they cannot breath underwater, which is why they often return to the surface to capture air.

Both water bugs and cockroaches can spread disease and cause damage to your home. For additional information about water bugs and cockroaches or to schedule your free inspection, contact your Truly Nolen Atlanta office today.

Termite Infestation: Identification and Prevention

The word “termites” strikes instant fear in the hearts of homeowners. Termites can be a nightmare. These tiny insects enter homes through the tiniest openings in the foundation to feast on the wooden structure of your home. Termite damage can be costly and time-consuming. In fact, every year termites cause billions of dollars in structural damage, and property owners spend over two billion dollars to treat them according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Termites are known as silent destroyers because of their ability to gnaw on wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected. A common misconception is that termites only infest wooden structures or homes. Termites require four things to survive food, moisture, shelter and warm temperatures. Unfortunately, most homes regardless of construction type can provide these conditions. Termites primarily forage on wood, but also known to destroy paper, books, insulation, and even filtration systems. Knowledge of the fundamentals of termite infestation like identification, warning signs, and preventive measures are essential to protecting homes from termite infestation.

Identification

The first step in prevention is to be on the alert for termites. Most people are not conscious of termite activity until it becomes an infestation. There are approximately 2,600 species of termites; they are small insects comparable in appearance to ants. Termites can be distinguished by their straight antennae, widely-joined waist, and equal size wings. (Ants have elbowed antennae, pinched waists and wings of different lengths). It can be very difficult to detect termites in your home before they become a problem; it is more likely to identify the signs of termite damage before you spot termites themselves.

carpenter-ant-vs-termite

There are two main species of invasive termites, subterranean termites found living underground and drywood termites that live entirely in wood. In Lexington, KY subterranean termites are most prevalent: they begin their feeding process (damage) from the soil up and typically enter a building through the sub-structure. Buildings or structures with crawl spaces are at great risk. Some of the signs of a subterranean termite infestation are listed below:

  • Groups of winged insects (“swarmers”)
  • Hollow-sounding wood
  • Cracked or distorted paint on wood surfaces
  • Mud tubes on exterior walls
  • Discarded wings
  • Frass (feces of termites)

Once a termite infestation is identified, it can be challenging to control. On average, colonies take years to grow to a size capable of causing extensive damage.

Prevention

Purchasing a home for most of us is the biggest investment in our lifetime. Termites pose a serious threat to your investment. Homeowners should be concerned about the potential damage termites can cause in and around the home. Areas with higher probabilities for termite activity require more termite control measures than areas with less frequent activity. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent termites from attacking your home; however, the best way to prevent termites is to have your home inspected for them annually.

  • Know the danger for termites in your region, if you are buying a new home; ensure it has been inspected for all insects that can cause structural damage. Inspections are important in neighborhoods where there is a history of termites.
  • Changes in your home can necessitate more periodic by a trained pest management specialist; these changes can include cracks in the foundation or the walls of your home. Detecting the less obvious signs of an infestation could save you a lot of money and stress.
  • Identify and correct any structural deficiencies that attract or promote subterranean termite infestations. Ideally all substructure wood beneath the building should be kept at least 12 inches above the soil.

 

Eradication

Eradication of termites is a complex task and requires a distinctive skill-set. Prior knowledge of building structure is needed to identify the critical areas. The critical areas in buildings are potential entry points that are often hidden or difficult to access. To completely and safely remove termites from your home, it is a job left to the professionals. Do-it-yourself products will seldom eliminate an existing termite problem. At the first sign of termite infestation, call a licensed pest management company to do an inspection. A Truly Nolen termite specialist can recommend a customized treatment and prevention plan!

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