Category Archives: Atlanta, GA

German Cockroaches – Nein Danke! (No thank you!)

German Roach ‘Tis the season to be jolly, but for restaurants and homeowners, the presence of German cockroaches in your space could mean a less than joyous experience. With over 3,000 species of roaches in the world, the prospect of living in an environment that is completely roach free may seem impossible. German roaches (Blatella germanica) are particularly familiar to most spaces as they are considered one of the more common indoor insects around. Known for their ability to thrive in almost any environment as well as their rapid reproductive cycle, German roaches are pretty good at dividing and conquering.

More than just a household nuisance, they are considered a serious threat to the health and safety of those in close proximity. German cockroaches can carry and transmit allergens and pathogens, so potential infestations should be addressed quickly. Although German roaches prefer warmer temperatures, these cold winter months are not necessarily a deterrent for them. In fact, as the season changes roaches go into preservation mode by slowing down their respiration enough to survive in the cold. This gives them all the more reason to seek warmth and food by moving indoors and settling down for the winter in your home or restaurant.

How to (not?) spot a German roach

The German roach can easily be identified by its tan or light brown coloring, small size (less than an inch) and 2 black horizontal stripes from the back of its head down to the wings. Since it is smaller than most of the other species of roaches, they are prone to hiding in the tiniest of cracks and crevices, making them difficult to keep an eye on! For a brief moment, one can take the smallest of comforts in knowing that although German roaches have wings; they seldom will fly, instead, choosing to scurry along to its next hiding spot.


German cockroaches are notorious for their rapid production cycle, thus making it very difficult to control their populations. Adult female roaches produce an egg capsule that can contain as many as 48 eggs each. Throughout their average lifespan of 100-200 days, the female may produce between 6- 8 of these capsules.

Behavior & Habits

German cockroaches are scavengers and their less than picky eating habits means that they will consume just about anything they can from soap, glue, garbage, oil and grease to sweet and starchy foods and meat. Those crumbs that you left on your countertop, or the pile of used plates in the sink make for a particularly great midnight snack for them as they do most of their foraging at night. Since they are constantly on the search for food and water, you will most often spot them in your kitchen or bathroom as these places also provide the perfect warm and humid environment that they crave. Their small, flat bodies allow them to find their way in and out of small cracks, crevices and openings and are a perfect hiding spot for females to deposit their eggs.

Damage caused by German Roaches

The uncanny ability for cockroaches to survive and adapt to any environment is one of the main reasons that they are so difficult to get rid of. Their presence can be very disconcerting, but more than that are the hazardous and potentially life threatening diseases that are caused by the germs and pathogens carried by roaches. Their legs and bodies are the perfect vehicle for picking up pathogens as they crawl on garbage or decay, depositing them on surfaces and food in your environment, which eventually translate to unhealthy living conditions.

Diseases and health problems caused by roaches can range from mild to severe including:

  • Allergens from cast skins and roach droppings
  • Sinus infections and asthma
  • Skin rashes
  • Food poisoning
  • Dysentery and diarrhea or any form of gastroenteritis
  • Spread of bacteria and parasites
  • E. Coli & Salmonella
  • Typhus

Signs of infestation

German Cockroach Spotting one or two roaches may be an indication of a growing problem behind the scenes. In addition to actually seeing these insects in your home or restaurant, there are certain clues that cockroaches leave behind that should be taken note of and addressed right away:

  • German cockroaches secrete an odor that can be quite strong if they are large enough in numbers and will often be described as a “musty” smell.
  • Cockroach droppings or dark spots may be noticed near small cracks or openings or in corners of rooms. Droppings can also resemble ground peppers on countertops.
  • Empty egg cases from female roaches may sometimes be left behind.

Residential Control

German cockroaches often enter the home via bags or boxes that homeowners bring in from outside environments or garages either as adults or through egg deposits. Homeowners should be wary when entering the home with these items, especially if purchased second hand or from a warehouse environment. As a precaution:

  • When entering your home with boxes or bags, always double check that there are no openings that roaches may have gotten into. Consider removing items prior to entering.
  • Keep food containers tightly sealed and avoid leaving dishes in the sink with leftover food.
  • In multi-unit apartment complexes, roaches can travel through pipes and plumbing so be sure to fix and seal any leaking pipes and faucets.
  • Use lidded garbage containers wherever possible to avoid giving roaches easy access.

Restaurant Control

Restaurant owners have a particularly challenging task when it comes to controlling roaches in their environment. With multiple openings, cupboards, storage spaces and food preparation areas, roaches can pick and choose where they want to eat or hide. As with homeowners, restaurant owners can also look out for signs of possible infestation and concentrations of these signs can be a good indication of where the cockroaches may be hiding or feeding.

Restaurant owners should be vigilant in their awareness of potential roach problems and check these areas frequently:

  • Cupboards ( underneath and inside)
  • Sinks
  • Under equipment and appliances that give off heat
  • Under tables and chairs
  • Storage units or cardboard boxes containing food and meat items.

Taking necessary steps to help to control a possible roach problem is important as restaurants can face health violations or citations. If the problem is bad enough, this can also lead to temporary or even permanent closures. In a restaurant environment, similar steps to that of a homeowner can be taken to help control roaches coming into the establishment:

  • Unpack food items from boxes immediately after receiving them and discard empty boxes.
  • Keep food containers tightly sealed and avoid leaving dishes in the sink with leftover food.
  • Pay special attention to food preparation areas and wipe all countertops frequently.
  • Use lidded garbage containers wherever possible to avoid giving roaches easy access.
  • Keep temperatures cooler in areas of food storage to deter roaches.

Schedule your appointment today with your Truly Nolen Atlanta pest control expert who can help you get rid of an existing roach problem and provide the proper treatment for keeping roaches out of your home or restaurant.

Rats and Mice as Vectors of Diseases

mouse The word “rodent” is derived from the Latin verb rodere, meaning “to gnaw”, and rats in particular are infamous for their ability to chew through insulation and wiring in your home. With sensitive whiskers and guard hairs, rats are perceptive to touch, which is why you’ll often spot them running along walls and in between objects. Even though rats are known to have poor eyesight, their sense of smell and taste are quite sharp and these traits serve them well in foraging for food in the cover of night. Probably the least aesthetically pleasing of the rodent family, rats have a notorious reputation for their ability to destroy properties, by gnawing at structure bases and wiring, which can cause fires.

In comparison, mice are the smaller of the two but are also capable of gnawing at structures, especially those made of wood. Both rodents and mice compete with us for food sources and can wreak havoc on agriculture and stores of food.

Perhaps the worst offence is their ability to ‘vector’ diseases, fueled by their habits of using our waste and sewage coupled with their characteristically mobile nature. According to The Center for Disease Control, both rats and mice are responsible for the transmission of over 35 diseases worldwide. Whether you live in a crowded, urban area or a more rural space, rats and mice do not discriminate based on environment and can be successful in any habitat. Their close proximity to where we eat, live and go about our daily lives, can be disconcerting as there are many dangerous rodent- associated diseases that can affect humans such as: Hantavirus, rat-bite fever, plague, murine typhus, leptospirosis, lyme disease, swine dysentery and salmonella. Through their fur, saliva, urine and droppings, rats and mice can transfer diseases from contaminated areas and accelerate the spread of these diseases at a rapid rate.

What is a Vector?

According to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), vectors are living organisms that can transmit infectious diseases between humans or from animals to humans. More commonly known vectors are fleas, mosquitoes and rats with the W.H.O. citing over 1 billion cases and over 1 million deaths from vector-borne diseases each year. In fact, vector-borne diseases account for over 17% of all infectious diseases today.

Diseases spread by rodents

Referred to as the “Black Death” the bubonic plague is one of the most widely known rodent vectored diseases, responsible for the majority of deaths during the Medieval era in Europe. Today, plague still kills many people all over the world, but other diseases have developed that can have far greater impact especially in countries that lack resource to combat this problem.

Some diseases that are directly or indirectly spread by rodents are:

  • Lassa Fever
  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
  • Leptospirosis
  • Plague
  • Rat-bite fever
  • Salmonellosis
  • South American Arenavirus
  • Tularemia
  • Colorado Tick fever
  • Rickettsialpox
  • Babesiosis

Types of Rats & Mice: Ratatouille anyone?

The most common types of rats that come into close contact with humans are the Norway rats and Roof rats.

norway_rat Norway rats or brown rats are larger than roof rats and tend to burrow themselves under trash or lower levels of buildings. They are sometimes called sewer rats with short tails and small ears and eyes and will often build their nests out of cloth, shredded paper or fibrous material. They are extremely common in densely populated areas.

Roof rats or black rats are often found in coastal areas. Due to their superior climbing skills, they make their nests above ground in shrubs and trees. This also means that they are able to enter your home through trees that are close to windows, and can often be found in elevated areas such as walls, cabinets and attics.

Rats are excellent swimmers and can leap as high as 3 or 4 feet. Feasting on a variety of both plant and animal foods, rats need constant access to water. Signs of rats in your home can be easily identified by small holes in door frames or wooden baseboards, small burrows outside your home, as well as the presence of ½ inch droppings throughout the house.

Move over Mickey!

mice When we think of mice, we’re often not as grossed out by their presence as we are with their more fearsome counterpart the rat. However, mice are just as responsible for an unhealthy living environment and should not be undermined as a serious issue.

For homeowners, there are a few more common species of mice that can cause problems including the native mouse (such as the deer and white-footed), as well as the house mouse. As with rats, mice eat both plant and animal foods, but also prefer seeds and grains. They are not as dependent on a constant water source as with rats, often relying on the moisture from food to sustain them.

House mice can often be found in small spaces behind walls or appliances. In the winter months, the native mice will be sure to seek shelter indoors to escape the cold.

Even if you are not aware of the presence of mice and rats in your home, there are many unseen ways that these rodents can transmit their diseases:

  • In the case of Hantaviruses, people can become infected if the rodent dropping or urine contains a Hantavirus which may infiltrate dust that can be breathed in by humans.
  • Eating or drinking food or water that is contaminated with rat feces.
  • Direct contact with live or dead rats that are infected.
  • In rare cases, rats directly biting a human.
  • Bites from fleas or mites that are found on rats.

How to prevent a rodent infestation

The best method for preventing a rodent infestation is to eliminate the food sources that attract rodents and keep them out of the home by using an exclusion method of pest control. As a preventative measure, there are steps you can to help prevent an infestation:

  • Store food in airtight containers and avoid keeping food out on countertops overnight.
  • Pet food should not be kept outside, and if stored in pantries or basements, should also be sealed in airtight containers.
  • Keep indoor trash in lidded bins wherever possible.
  • Since mice in particular are drawn to nesting areas, avoid keeping piles of boxes, papers or clothes. This is applicable to the outside of your home where rats are more likely to make their way to piles of items and trash that may be left unattended.
  • Any entryway into the home should be checked to make sure that there are no openings for rats and mice to get through. If there are holes in floors, doors or walls, a combination of wire mesh and foam sealants can be used.

If you do have a rodent problem that seems overwhelming, it is important to contact your local Truly Nolen service experts to identify areas where these rodents are possibly entering your home. The Exclusion Method of rodent control is one of the most effective ways for your service expert to ensure that mice and rats cannot enter your home in any way. The application of this method can aid in solving the problem at its source, so that any remaining rodents on the interior of the home can be eliminated.

Oh Baby it’s Cold Outside! (Rats and Mice Think So Too)

Rat ControlAfter spending the day outside in the cold weather, there’s nothing more welcoming than stepping into a warm, cozy house. The problem is you’re not the only ones trying to escape the realities of the winter months with unpredictable drops in temperature, biting winds and sometimes, snow. As we enter into the cooler part of the year, rodents are particularly keen on finding warm areas to settle into. Attics and basements make the coziest retreats for rats and mice that are extremely capable of finding sneaky ways to enter your home, even through the smallest of openings. According to the Department of Health, if rodents can be controlled in the winter months when their breeding levels are already low, there will be fewer of them that survive when their annual breeding cycle begins in spring. In turn, this helps to decrease the overall population throughout the year.

Since natural food sources such as insects and seeds are difficult to come by during winter, rodents will be attracted to food and water that you leave lying around. It’s important to take advantage of this seasonal change by making it difficult for rodents to stake their claim on your territory.

Transmission of Diseases

Besides dealing with the obvious unpleasantness of having mice and rats in your home, there are dangerous health concerns not to be overlooked. The reputation of rodents as carriers of diseases far precedes them in any part of the world. The mere mention or sighting of a rat in an eating establishment for example, is enough to make patrons nauseated and restaurant owners nervous at the prospect of being shut down.

Rodents can transmit diseases by directly biting people or from someone ingesting food or water contaminated by infected rodent feces or urine. Breathing in dust that is contaminated, or coming into contact with mites and rat fleas can also result in the transmission of diseases such as Rat-Bite Fever, Salmonellosis, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Tapeworms and Murine Typhus.

Rodents eat what?

So just because you haven’t actually seen a rat or mouse in your home does not mean they aren’t there. If you know what to look out for, you can identify a rodent problem before it gets out of hand:

  • Rodent droppings- black in color and capsule shaped, you may notice these around food and water sources in your home or in attic or basement corners.
  • With the need to constantly wear their teeth down, rodents will gnaw on wiring, pvc pipes, ducts, plumbing and chew their way through the insulation like cotton candy. Chewing through electrical wiring can be quite problematic as this can lead to attic fires that can spread throughout the home.
  • You may hear a “scratching” sound coming from your roof. This is in fact the chewing noise that rodents make as they are having a field day with that insulation in your attic!
  • Plumbing or wiring inspections may reveal a rodent problem if it is brought to your attention that wires have been chewed through.

Keeping rodents at bay

Making your home as unappealing to rodents as possible is the best way to help control a potentially hazardous situation. Remember to:

  • Store garbage inside heavy plastic or metal cans that can be closed with a lid. It’s a good idea to wait until the morning of your trash pick up to take the bin outside instead of giving rodents the opportunity to scrimmage throughout the night.
  • Keep your yard free of weeds and debris to avoid giving rodents a tempting place to hide. Avoid letting boxes or crates pile up.
  • Tightly seal and store away all food. Don’t forget the pet food!
  • Install screens on windows and sliding doors, routinely checking for holes. Door sweeps are also a good idea to block entries.
  • Seek professional pest control help if a rodent problem becomes overwhelming.

Truly Nolen’s Exclusion & Trapping Method- Rodents don’t stand a chance.

You’ve taken all the above steps to ensure that rodents do not find your home enticing, but as a final measure, calling in your Truly Nolen expert to perform an Exclusion & Trapping service is one of the most effective solutions to keep your home completely rodent free.

By “rodent proofing” your home, the exclusionary phase of this program involves your expert diligently sourcing and filling any holes, crevices or gaps that are ¼ inch or larger. Rats and mice have extremely soft bone cartilage, making it easy for them to fit through small openings. This phase of the service is complimented by an ongoing monitoring program so that the initial work performed is maintained leaving no room for error (or rats!)

Once the rodents have no way into the home, the next phase involves trapping and elimination of rats and mice that are inside. This is also an on-going process (several days to weeks) to make sure that any rodents that already exist inside the structure are trapped and removed. As one of the most effective solutions of rodent control, the Truly Nolen Exclusion method is proven to be a safe way to completely eradicate rodents from your home, only leaving behind the peace of mind that your family deserves.

The Kudzu Bug- A Stinky Situation

The Kudzu Bug- A Stinky Situation

Small, brown and ready to pack a punch with its foul smell, the kudzu bug may seem harmless enough, but this little stinker is becoming quite the nuisance. First making its appearance in Georgia back in 2009, these little guys are thought to have migrated to the United States as early as 1998. Fast forward to today, these bugs are increasing in number and making their unwelcomed presence felt both on the exterior and interiors of homes, gardens, cars and more.

While kudzu bugs started off in just a handful of counties, they have now found their way to over 143 counties in Georgia, as well as in other neighboring southern states and even as far up as Virginia.

You’ve probably already encountered several of these insects while stepping out of your front door, and if you’ve had the misfortune to step on one, you’ll know that the liquid they secrete can smell quite terrible. So, what exactly are these kudzu bugs and how can we get rid of them?

Kudzu Anyone?

A long way from home, the origins of this bug trace back to India and China. Known in the scientific community as Megacopta cribraria, the kudzu bug has a voracious appetite for soybeans and has been known to feed aggressively on the kudzu and wisteria trees found all over Georgia.
Similar in appearance to a beetle, the adult kudzu is often light brown with an olive green tone and about ¼ inch long, with the younger insects having a more “hairy” skin. Where these little guys will really get you is by emitting a foul liquid when directly handled or squished. This can even cause staining and for some more sensitive individuals, blistering and discomfort.

Bad Habits are Hard to Break

In an effort to stay sheltered, the kudzu bug has a natural tendency to gravitate toward cracks and crevices on trees and shrubs. Unfortunately, the cracks and crevices around your home also provide refuge from the environment, which is why you’ll notice these insects around doorframes and windows. With the weather already cooling down, they will be seeking shelter in the warmer areas and are particularly drawn to light colors on houses or even clothing!

Kudzu bugs also have a habit of staying somewhat dormant during the winter months, only to become active again in spring where they will be searching for new vegetation to eat. Besides being a residential nuisance, the recent infestation of kudzu bugs can pose a real threat to untreated crops, especially soybeans. This is concerning to farmers who estimate that losses could surmount to as high as 50%, having an adverse effect on future crops.

No Kudzu Bugs Allowed!

While the thought of getting close to these insects is less than appealing, there are certain control measures you can take to help keep them as far away as possible. Always avoid crushing these bugs as they will leave stains and release the noxious odor that has made them infamous!

Some natural ways to get rid of them are:

  • Seal any cracks on the exterior of the home near windows and doors. A good idea is to also make sure that the screens on your doors and windows are free from holes. Keeping them out is key!
  • Keep your broom handy to sweep them out immediately. Another option is the use of a shop vacuum. If your vacuum uses water, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of dish soap helps to kill the bugs on contact. With regular vacuums, it is advisable to discard the vacuum bag right after.
  • Try to remove kudzu patches and wisteria trees adjacent to your home, especially in the fall.

If you choose to use chemicals to help control them, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • When spraying trees and vegetation, be sure to check that the insecticide is plant friendly.
  • During the fall, spray during the morning time as the bugs tend to be active throughout the day. This will give the chemical time to work properly.
  • When spraying indoors, be sure to remove the dead insects immediately, so they do not attract other pests that may feed on them.
  • If you feel that the infestation of kudzu bugs is increasingly high and invasive, consider contacting a Truly Nolen pest control professional to help take care of the problem.

Fly Control- Keeping Your Restaurant Fly Free

Fly on Hamburger If you feed them, they will come. A tightly packed restaurant full of hungry customers is every restaurant owner’s dream, but all that good food lying around is also an invitation for some unwelcomed guests. Annoying, bothersome and just a plain old nuisance, flies can be a restaurant owner’s worst nightmare, and even more so for the customers trying to enjoy their favorite meal. In the time it takes to raise your arm to swat one away, this restless bug has landed, deposited remnants of filthy pathogens and bacteria, and moved on to his next meal.

More commonly known flies are fruit flies and the typical house fly. Even though their names sound harmless enough, flies can very easily carry over 100 communicable disease carrying germs.

5 Second Rule? Think Again

In the warmer months, food establishments with outdoor dining options are very popular with those looking to enjoy the weather. Unfortunately, flies typically flourish in warmer climates, and will even move indoors during the colder months. If you’re dining outside, it is especially important to be aware of more than just the annoying buzzing sounds made by flies. Here’s the not so tasty details of what happens when a fly lands on your food:

  • Flies forage in filthy places including garbage cans, rotting food or animals, sewers, feces and more. They touch these places with their feet and the hairs found on their bodies, in turn, picking up all manner of germs, bacteria and pathogens.
  • Even within a few seconds, a fly perched on your food is already regurgitating previously consumed items to be able to begin digesting the new food intake and will also drop feces as it lands.
  • Fruit flies in particular are drawn to the sugar in foods, especially liquids. Those empty beer bottles or soda cans on the table are the perfect magnet for them, especially in more humid temperatures.
  • In more serious instances, vector-bourne diseases like cholera and dysentery can be carried by flies

How do flies impact my business?

Sometimes viewed as a natural consequence of owning a food establishment, an unattended fly problem can severely impact your business and even businesses nearby including:

  • Health violations– City health officials can issue health code violations and citations, forcing you to close your restaurant. Even if this is a temporary closure, the financial loss incurred could be detrimental to your bottom line. According to the National Restaurant Association, immediately addressing the issues found in your citation is key to avoiding further complications.
  • Loss of customers– Not only will customers complain about the presence of flies, but this will also lead them to question if there are other unhygienic and unsanitary activities taking place at your restaurant. Negative feedback, word of mouth or even scathing online reviews can impact the number of customers patronizing your establishment.
  • Economic impact on nearby businesses— An out of control fly problem in one location can quickly spread to nearby businesses. Poor sanitation practices can adversely affect those in the immediate vicinity, which in turn can have a greater impact on the community as whole.

How can I keep my restaurant a No Fly Zone?

With a high reproduction rate and tendency to stay close to food and water sources, flies are impossible to get rid of entirely. The good news is, there are several ways to help control their numbers by ensuring best practices and taking preventative measures. Here are some ways to combat indoor and outdoor fly problems:


  • Do not leave food or drinks exposed on tables and countertops. Immediately clear all tables and wipe surfaces clean, including food that is left on plates, inside sinks and in drains.
  • Install fans to help keep the air circulating and keep the overall temperature cool in the warmer months. Find out if your restaurant is designed with a ‘positive air flow’ system, which helps to circulate air from inside to out instead of the reverse.
  • Install fly traps in food storage areas and keep all fresh food covered.
  • Maintain a consistent check on all fresh foods (fruits, vegetables and meats) to ensure that they are disposed of quickly once they begin to over-ripen or expire.


  • Keep your restaurant’s waste disposal as far away from the building as possible. Exposed garbage cans and fermenting fruits, vegetables or meat are a breeding ground for flies.
  • Cover any outdoor trash cans that are in close proximity to your dining area as flies are attracted to food odors. As soon as guests vacate their tables, clear away all dishes and wipe down tables right away.
  • Installing sodium vapor bulbs are helpful as flies are less attracted to the light that it emits.
  • Contact city officials if you suspect that the root cause of the problem is related to city or neighborhood waste disposal practices or poor sanitation practices in the immediate community.
  • Always consult a professional pest control provider if you think the situation is out of your control.

Contact a Truly Nolen Atlanta trained professional to schedule an inspection!

Yellow Jacket Infestations In Atlanta, Georgia

Yellow jackets are a common pest in the Atlanta, GA area — even our beloved Georgia Tech mascot Buzz is a yellow jacket. But last week, while a Georgia police officer was in pursuit of a suspect in the Brookhaven, GA area, the officer was stung over 100 times by a swarm of yellow jackets. The officer suffered a severe allergic reaction to the wasp stings and the attack left the officer hospitalized. Yellow jackets were later found in the officer’s shirt, pants, and mouth.

This recent attack reminds us of the dangers yellow jackets pose, particularly to those individuals that are allergic. Truly Nolen of Atlanta finds it important to share information about this type of wasp with our customers. We want to let you know what you can do to eliminate yellow jackets and their nests if you find them in or around your home.

What are Yellow Jackets?

Yellow jackets are a type of wasp. Wasps in general make up a wide range of insects with over 30,000 known species. Yellow jackets are often mistaken for bees, given their black and yellow body segments. However, you can typically identify yellow jackets by their pointed lower abdomens and thin waists. Yellow jackets have two wings that measure about 1.5 inches in length.

Social hunters, they typically live in colonies that contain workers, queens, and male drones. Workers and male drones both measure about ½ inch in length, however the queens are slightly larger (¾ inch).

Yellow jacket colonies are active for a year, with the queen emerging in late spring or early summer to choose a nesting site in which to lay her eggs. Yellow jackets are often considered a nuisance because nesting sites are often found close to the home. Generally, yellow jackets prefer to nest in a location that provides shelter from the elements. Some of the yellow jackets’ favorite nesting sites are under porch steps, along sidewalks and walkways, at the base of trees, and at the corners of buildings. The queen will often utilize a void in a wall or low-lying bush in which to create her nest.

The queen lives through the fall, constantly laying eggs inside the nest and feeding the larvae for a period of 18 to 20 days, until they reach maturity. Through this period the colony expands rapidly, reaching a maximum of 4,000 to 5,000 workers and containing 10,000 to 15,000 cells by the late summer. After the initial larvae mature, they take on the responsibility of feeding and caring for the other larvae. These infertile female workers forage for food and defend the growing colony as the queen continues to lay her eggs, which she will continue to do until her death. Once the colony has reached its peak size, new males and new queens are produced. These mature fertile females and males will leave the existing colony to reproduce, leaving their existing home abandoned.

Even if yellow jackets are proving to be a nuisance for you around your home, they are actually considered to be beneficial to the environment as they are responsible for eating other nuisance insects like beetles, grubs, and flies!

How to Get Rid of Yellow Jackets?

Yellow jacket infestations can be fairly common in residential areas. If you notice a few yellow jackets flying near your home, this might be a sign that that a nest is located nearby. Careful inspection of your home should be conducted in order to determine the nest’s location and determine steps to safely eliminate it. Nests are usually small in size but if left undisturbed, some can grow to be very large and house enormous populations.

To get rid of a yellow jacket infestation special precautions must be taken to prevent being stung, as yellow jackets will sting if they feel threatened. A severe allergic reaction can occur in individuals who are sensitive, as we saw in the case of the Brookhaven officer. Truly Nolen does not recommend the use of do-it-yourself products or attempting to remove any wasp nest on your own. For your safety, consult a qualified pest control professional. At Truly Nolen our trained technicians apply a fast acting natural product to the nest that works quickly to eliminate the colony all while keeping our customers safe.

Yellow Jacket Facts

  • Yellow jackets live in colonies and are social insects.
  • Nests can contain thousands of wasps.
  • Yellow jackets primarily eat fruit and plant nectars.
  • Yellow Jacket is a city in Colorado.
  • The Georgia Tech mascot is a yellow jacket named Buzz.
  • Yellow jacket stingers are found at the end of their abdomens.

Yellow Jacket Pictures

Yellow JacketYellow Jacket

Yellow Jacket Stings

The best way to avoid a wasp sting to is avoid both wasps and their nests. Wasps will usually only sting if they feel threatened or when their nest is disturbed but some will sting if they are swatted. Take extra care while eating and drinking outdoors because it is common for wasps to climb into soda cans and sting. If a sting does occur, the symptoms are usually short-lasting. The initial burn of the sting usually fades to tenderness and swelling. Wasp stings can be extremely dangerous for those allergic to them. If at any time you feel that the sting is serious, seek medical help as soon as possible.

Beware of Bees While at Work in Georgia

Bee Control
A new government report from the U.S. Labor Department – entitled “Fatal injuries and nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving insects, arachnids, and mites” – reveals that bees were responsible for more workplace deaths (52) than spiders, wasps, and ants combined. Although not typically associated with workplace injuries and deaths, occupational injuries from insects, arachnids, and mites were responsible for 83 worker deaths from 2003 to 2010. The majority of these workplace deaths (63%) were due to bees.

Insect-related deaths were most commonly associated with farming, construction, and landscaping. These three types of job categories accounted for two thirds of the deaths. Almost all the deaths were caused by the bugs’ venomous bites and stings. Fatal occupational injuries involving insects are often associated with an allergic reaction and anaphylactic shock.

Federal agencies dedicated to ensuring employees’ health and safety of in the workplace – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – have each recognized insects as a serious workplace hazard. According to NIOSH, thousands of people in the U.S. are stung by insects each year and as many as 100 people die as a result of allergic reactions.

In 2010 (the most recent year for which data are available), Georgia ranked third, behind Texas and California, with 610 cases of reported nonfatal insect-related worker injuries. The pests appeared to particularly target public-sector employees – 35% of all injuries reported were state and local government workers. Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance, transportation, and construction occupations had consistently high counts of nonfatal insect-related cases. Employees in these fields are likely to deal with the natural habitat of insects.

After adjusting for population, Georgia may be the second most dangerous place for nonfatal insect-related worker injuries (behind New Mexico). In 2010, Georgia had 6.3 insect injuries of workers per 100,000 people living in the state.

Safety Tips

Outdoor workers are at risk of being stung by flying insects. Protect yourself by:

  • Wearing light-colored clothing. Avoid cologne or perfume, perfumed soaps, shampoos.
  • If there is a stinging insect flying around, remain calm and walk away as quickly as possible. Go indoors or to a shaded area. Don’t jump around or wave your arms. Swinging or swatting at an insect may cause it to sting.
  • If you can’t leave, stay very still until the insect flies away.
  • If an insect is inside your vehicle, stop slowly, and open all the windows.
  • If a bee, wasp, or hornet is after your food or drink, put down what you are eating/drinking and calmly walk away.
  • Workers with a history of severe allergic reactions to insect bites or stings should carry an epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen) and wear medical ID jewelry stating their allergy.

First Aid

If a worker is stung by a bee:

  • Immediately remove the stinger by scraping the area with a fingernail, credit card, or other clean sharp-edged tool.
  • Never squeeze the stinger or use tweezers, since squeezing the stinger can inject more venom into the skin.
  • Keep the site clean by washing with soap and water.
  • Apply ice to reduce the swelling and apply a topical anesthetic to reduce the pain and itch.
  • Have someone stay with the worker to be sure that they do not have an allergic reaction.
  • Seek medical attention immediately for allergic reactions.

If you suspect a bee or insect infestation, call Truly Nolen Atlanta for a free inspection.

Is That a Brown Recluse Spider?

Spiders are one of the most resilient and adaptable group of species on earth. And they are everywhere in Atlanta. Although sharing your home with spiders may not actually be such a bad thing – they are generally harmless to humans and kill off many home-invading pests such as centipedes, cockroaches, and ants – some are a nuisance, and even others can be deadly. Although rare, a bite from the much-feared brown recluse spider can cause severe pain and inject flesh-rotting venom into their victims.
Brown Recluse Spider

Where are these spiders found?

Not to be confused with small, brown spiders that run around pretty much everywhere on Earth, brown recluse spiders only live in a few states of the southern and central United States. In Georgia, the brown recluse lives throughout northwest Georgia, including parts of metro Atlanta, which is on the eastern fringe of the spider’s range. Individual houses can be infested but the spiders are not as common as they are in the heart of their range (i.e., the Missouri/Arkansas region).

Brown recluses are nocturnal creatures and do not like being out in the open. They prefer to hide in dry, warm, and dark areas – hence their name. Outdoors, the brown recluse prefers to live under rocks, woodpiles, and tree bark. Inside structures, they hide in closets, purses, shoes, attics, crawlspaces, wall voids, and in the clutter of houses and old barns.

Defining Characteristics

  • The body of the brown recluse spider is relatively small, about the size of a dime (1/2 inch in length). When its legs are extended, the brown recluse is slightly larger, about the size of a quarter.
  • Although the color can vary slightly, the brown recluse spider is generally light to medium and golden brown. Regardless, the body color will always be uniform in color, never multiple colors at once.
  • The legs of the brown recluse spider are uniform, always the same color and shape, and never have any stripes on them.
  • The most commonly described identifier of a brown recluse is a violin-shaped marking on the spider’s upper back, with the violin’s neck pointing toward the spider’s butt.
  • The brown recluse is among a few spiders species that have six distinct eyes (arranged in three pairs of two) instead of eight like other types of spiders.

Brown Recluse Spider Bites

Most spiders are harmless, rarely bite people, and generally do so only if threatened. Often people think they have spider bites when the irritation is actually from another cause such as a skin condition, staph infection, an insect sting, or other skin issue that mimics the symptoms of a spider bite. But the brown recluse spider is one of the few dangerous exceptions. Although rare, the main concern of a brown recluse spider bite is the venom, which can cause the tissue around the bite area to die. If left untreated the bite could develop into a life threatening illness. Affected tissue becomes gangrenous, turns black, and eventually sloughs off, leaving a depression in the skin. Healing is a slow process and leaves a scar. Brown recluse bites are most dangerous to young children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems.


The severity of a brown recluse spider bite may vary from none to very severe; the amount of damage depends on the amount of venom injected. The bite is often not immediately painful. Within several hours, most brown recluse bites result in a small reaction including pain, redness, itching, and swelling followed by a small blister-like sore that grows in size. The damaged area may be the size of a dime or as large as a quarter (nearly an inch in diameter).

Brown recluse spider bites can cause tissue damage and some individuals can experience much more serious symptoms. In sensitive individuals, there may be a systemic body reaction. Some of the symptoms can be flu-like and may include fever, chills, bloody urine, jaundice, joint pain, vomiting, nausea, rash, and in extremely rare cases, convulsions, and death.


The course of treatment depends on how severe the bite happens to be. Although the majority of spider bites look like little pimples or mosquito bites and usually heal by themselves.

  • Clean the bite area with soap and water.
  • Apply a cold ice pack to the bite area to slow absorption of the venom.
  • Elevate and immobilize the bitten extremity.
  • If at all possible to do so safely, capture the spider so it can be properly identified.
  • Seek emergency medical treatment if the victim is a young child, if any signs of an allergic reaction occur, if the bite area becomes infected, or if the victim develops a rash or severe illness. In reality, only 10% of brown recluse spider bites require medical attention.


  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt, hat, gloves, and boots whenever handling stored boxes, firewood, lumber, and rocks. Do not stick your hands in places you cannot see.
  • Inspect and shake out clothing and shoes before getting dressed.
  • One of the best ways to remove spiders from your home is to starve them out. Spiders will not survive if there are not enough insects getting inside your home for the spiders to eat. We can help you professionally seal up all cracks and crevices through which these insects are entering.

Not up to sharing your home with spiders?

For people who are afraid of spiders, want to sleep comfortably without worrying about a brown recluse spider infestation, or who do not want to get close to a potentially venomous creature like the brown recluse, it is best to call your Truly Nolen Atlanta pest control expert. We can keep your home or business safe from all types of spiders and other pests. Call us today for a free inspection.

The Ant Days of Summer

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

ant control

What kind of ant likes math? An accountANT!

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

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

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

Where do ants go on vacation? FrANTS!

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

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

Hot and Humid Atlanta Summers Bring Out the Roaches

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

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

american roach

Are they dangerous?

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

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

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

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

How can I get rid of them?

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

Keep it clean.

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


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

Reduce moisture.

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

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