Category Archives: Pest Database

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!

Summer Pests Get in the Way of Summer Fun in Charlotte

Summertime pests can put a real damper on fun in the sun for people living in Charlotte and the surrounding areas. As the heat rises, more and more of these creepy crawlers catch your eye at softball games, picnics and even in your own backyard. Are they ALL dangerous? The answer is no, not all. However, bites from most common pests in the area can leave a red, itchy or irritated mark or bump on the skin, and there is the possibility of diseases being transmitted. Avoiding these pests by educating yourself and using the techniques described below, can prevent discomfort and save your outdoor plans this summer.

Wasps, Bees & Hornets

WaspWasps, bees and hornets can become a threat to food stores or homes in Charlotte if the aggressive types of the species begin to rely on people as a source for food. Controlling and managing the situation starts by first determining the species of the infestation – i.e. wasps, bees, stinging insects? Once identified, the pest and its swarm can be removed and further infestations prevented with treatment.

Fleas & Ticks

Fleas Ticks are found outdoors, in parks and in the woods. They are blood-feeders and hosts include both humans and animals. Fleas are more prominent outdoors and attack animals mainly, causing an intense itch and discomfort from their bites. Fleas and ticks can migrate indoors when attached to a pet, and this can cause a host of problems for the household. Getting rid of fleas and ticks starts at the vet’s office, where a diagnosis and treatment are provided. In conjunction with treating your pet, it will be necessary to clean your home and affected areas extensively, and talk to a local pest control expert about treatment and future prevention.

Mosquitoes & Common House Flies

Mosquitoes Pesky mosquitoes and flies can be found in open areas outdoors, such as parks, fields, forests, parking lots and backyards. They can also live in your home and cause quite a nuisance. Mosquitoes are attracted to higher levels of moisture on patios, hot tubs or other wet areas. Treating resting sites for these insects, and implementing moisture control in problem areas to remove moisture and prevent future infestation is available by your local pest professionals. Prevention has become a priority with outbreaks such as the Zika virus.

How to Steer Clear of Summertime Pests

Pests have an exceptional sense of smell, and this helps them target their preferred hosts. Bites can result in itchy rashes, spots and pain.  Some may also carry diseases which, at times, may be life-threatening, such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and West Nile Virus to name a few. Some proven prevention and avoidance methods to practice include:

  • Generously applying and re-applying proper insect repellent before spending time outdoors.
  • Wearing long socks, long sleeves, long pants and a hat or scarf when camping or in the woods.
  • Checking your head and body thoroughly for tick and other insect bites when returning from the outdoors. Quick removal of ticks is important in disease prevention.
  • Using repellent torches or candles on your porch and at outdoor events, as instructed on the directions, is recommended.

Taking a proactive approach to pest prevention and management can decrease your risk of running into unwanted insects while soaking up sun and family fun. Truly Nolen Charlotte can help take care of your unwanted pests this summer. Call (704) 910-2936 for a free pest inspection.

 

Bee & Wasp Control: Infrastructure of a Bee’s Nest and Why You Don’t Want to Mess with It

bee and wasp control
As backyard entertaining brings the indoors outdoors this summer, your backyard or pool deck may play host to quite a few cookouts and pool parties. But sometimes, uninvited bees or wasps can disrupt summer fun activities. Because bees and wasps pose health threats to humans and pets, Truly Nolen recommends contacting a reliable and reputable professional pest control company to address your bee and wasp concerns.

Wild bee colonies Africanized

Also, with the sudden threat to honeybee populations worldwide, the thought of relocating a bee colony to an apiary may sound like a good idea to environmentally-aware homeowners but in Modern Farmer’s interview with Reed Booth, Southern Arizona’s Killer Bee Guy, Booth said beehives and nests found under eaves, in walls, in sheds and other places on homeowners’ properties should be eradicated as most wild bee colonies in the US have become Africanized. This means that due to the interbreeding of wild European honeybees with wild Africanized honeybees, the bees are much more aggressive and will attack people and pets. Pest professionals, such as Truly Nolen, know how to remove killer bees from your property, safely.

Honeybees vital to world’s crops and food supply

As the globe’s most important plant pollinators, honeybees play a vital role in contributing to over one-third of the planet’s food sources. Pollinating US crops at an estimated 10 billion dollars’ worth annually, honeybees produce honey collected from flower nectar. Bees depend on the honey they produce from flower nectars to nourish their young and provide sustenance for adult bees. While professional honey collection by beekeepers provides us with honey, beeswax, pollen, propolis and royal jelly, beekeeping is a highly specialized enterprise, conducted by trained apiarists.

Honeybee social structure

A honeybee colony’s highly sophisticated and social structure includes individuals performing specific tasks for the ultimate good of the colony. Divided into three castes, honeybee colonies consist of one queen, 20-80 thousand infertile female worker bees and 300 to 800 fertile male drones, whose only job description appears to be mating with the queen to produce more bees. Along with the adult bees, honeybee colonies also include about 500 eggs, along with 25-30 thousand immature bees in “various stages of development,” according to The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation’s website.

Inside the beehive

In familiar honeycomb-shaped nests, with their signature hexagonal shaped cells, worker bees raise the next generation of worker bees, in smaller cells at the bottom of the honeycomb. The upper, larger comb cells store pollen and honey to nourish the colony.

Sometimes nests require the construction of queen cells devoted to raising queen bees.

Worker bees

Even though they will never mate, the workers, do however “possess organs necessary for carrying out the many duties essential to the wellbeing of the colony,” says the FAO website article. Worker bees come equipped with:

  • Longer tongues than queens and drones used to extract nectar from flowers
  • Large honey stomachs for transporting nectar from plants to the hive
  • Pollen baskets on legs to carry pollen back to the hive
  • Glands in their heads that produce royal jelly to feed the larvae
  • Thorax glands that secrete enzymes needed to ripen honey
  • Four sets of wax glands for comb construction and sealing off honey cells
  • Highly developed stingers that allow them to defend the colony efficiently

Additionally, sterile female adults perform the bulk of the work in a bee colon. As immature bees, worker bees take care of the queen and the brood, performing these tasks and many duties inside the nest as house bees, including:

  • Cleaning the cells for future eggs
  • Cleaning the hive
  • Making sure the hive stays cool and ventilated for optimal honey production
  • Building comb cells for honey, water and propolis storage
  • Assisting in honey conversion
  • Packing the combs with supplies, including water, nectar and honey
  • Guarding the hive against all threats from other bees and predators
  • Performing orientation flights as training to become foraging field bees
  • Executing intruders or colony members marked as potential threats to the harmony of the hive

Executions “may be performed to eliminate strange bees, to kill or drive away old and sick bees, to discourage other hive predators from entering the hive, to remove sick or unwanted unemerged brood, to eliminate useless drones, and to kill unwanted or strange queens.”

As the FAO’s info on bees and wasps shows homeowners, bees and wasps do not play. They’re all business. The survival of a bee colony relies on delicately balancing a multitude of factors. For the good of the colony, bees and wasp will kill members of their own colonies, including their queen in order to maintain optimal hive conditions. In light of this information and observations, homeowners should steer clear and avoid attempting to remedy the problem on their own. Instead, homeowners should contact their local Truly Nolen location to schedule a free bee or wasp inspection, when bees and wasps move too close to human and pet living areas.

Entertaining outdoors can be a whole lot of fun this summer, without the threat of bees ruining your outdoor events. Contact Truly Nolen for all of your pest control concerns!

Flying Ants vs. Termite Swarmers

Flying Ant vs Termite Swarmer comparison

Spring in Charlotte not only means warmer weather and boating on Lake Norman, it also signals the beginning of increased pest activity. In Charlotte, like most of North Carolina, bug season starts in late winter and lasts until October. Flying ants and termite swarmers are common at this time of year.

In the spring and summer, Mecklenburg County homeowners witness young adult termites and some species of flying ants swarming, as part of their annual mating rituals. Usually in the daylight and following rain showers, winged reproductives, known as alates, fly around. They are looking for other reproductives of the same species to mate with and form new colonies.  This swarming activity can be alarming as well as confusing and many Charlotte homeowners want to know how to tell the difference between termite swarmers and flying ants.

Differences between flying ants and termites

Flying ants and termites may look similar but they actually possess very different physical attributes. Using a magnifying glass, you can see the following differences:

Flying Ants

FLYING ANTS

  • Ants have thin waists, which is the very narrow area between the thorax and first abdominal segment.
  • Ants have a pair of front wings that are much larger than the hind pair.
  • Ant wings have few veins and are usually clear.
Termite Swarmers

TERMITES

  • Termites’ thoraxes and abdomen are broadly connected.
  • Termites have two sets of wings that look approximately the same in size and shape.
  • Termite wings have many veins and may be milky-colored.

Prevalent flying ant species

The presence of flying ant swarms indicates that your home or property is either infested with ants or their nests are nearby. In the Charlotte area, the most prevalent flying ant species include:

  • Pavement ants – Found often in homes with concrete slab foundations, but can be found in just about any type of construction.
  • Odorous house ants – The most common indoor pest ant, named for their coconut smell.
  • Carpenter ants – Wood-destroying pests, can cause significant damage to Charlotte homes.
  • Red imported fire ants – Don’t come indoors but inflict painful stings that can result in dangerous allergic reactions.

Consult a pest control professional

Because ant colonies can consist of a primary nest with several satellite nests, contact a professional pest control company to eliminate ants from your Charlotte home. Truly Nolen’s trained and certified technicians inspect your home and property to determine a plan of action that includes pet friendly ant control treatments that eradicate colonies. By circulating materials via worker ants, these solutions eventually kill queen ants. With no queen ants, colonies cannot reproduce and will collapse.

Termite swarming can be an indicator of more serious issues, with different solutions.

  • Swarming activity outdoors, a reminder
    Outdoors, near tree stumps and other wooden materials, swarming may not indicate a termite infestation in your home, but a reminder to contact a professional pest control company for an annual inspection.
  • Swarming activity indoors, an indicator of termite invasion
    Indoors, swarming usually indicates an infestation somewhere in your home, in which case you should contact a pest professional immediately, as termites, especially subterranean termites can go unnoticed for years. Termites cause structural damage homeowners may not be aware of until expensive repairs become the homeowners’ nightmares.

Signs of termite activity

Most termite species prefer soft or water-damaged wood and some species will infest dry, solid wood as well. Unlike ants, termites do eat wood and subterranean termites build tunnels and claylike tubes from their nests in nearby tree trunks to their food sources in your home. Blistering wooden structures and blackening wood can be indications of termite activity, along with tunnels and claylike tubes leading from the soil to your wooden structure.

Contact Truly Nolen Charlotte

If you find evidence of termite damage to any wooden structures, this may be a sign of infestation. Truly Nolen Charlotte’s skilled professionals take your individual needs into consideration, designing a customized solution for your termite situation. With our combination of above and below ground treatments, we can provide the most complete and thorough termite protection. Our Total Termite Protection Plan treats attics, eaves, walls, windows, doors, plumbing pipes, foundations, slabs and other termite prone areas. Truly Nolen Charlotte protects your home against all types of termites, unlike many pest control companies who only treat for one type of termite.

If you suspect flying ants or termites in your home, call Truly Nolen Charlotte at (704) 910-2936 to schedule an inspection and have a pest-free spring and summer!

Boxelder Bug vs. Stink Bug

The boxelder bug and the stink bug are two easily confused insects, which can be seen congregating in and around homes, especially populating the Charlotte, NC area. Although slightly similar in appearance and peskiness, these pests are not one and the same. It is true, although different species, both stink bugs as well as boxelder bugs are attracted to the warmth coming from the crevices and entryways of your home. This is because both species need shelter and protection for over-wintering. So how do you tell the two apart, and keep them both out? Identification and prevention are key with these two pests.

Identifying Differences

Neither stink bugs nor boxelder bugs cause harm to humans, but they do have some pretty interesting reactions to danger. When crushed, the boxelder bug will secrete a dye that stains. The stink bug, no surprise, gets its name from the odor it emits when squashed. For mess-free removal of these bugs, be sure to use a vacuum hose attachment.

Boxelder Bug

Boxelder bug features:

  • dark brown or black coloration
  • ½ inch long
  • red veins on wings with markings on abdomen
  • scentless, plant bugs
Stink-Bug

Stink bug features:

  • green to brown coloration
  • short legs, narrow head
  • broad, flattened shield-shaped body
  • scent glands

Pest Prevention for Your Home

Prevention is the best method of managing pests, so it’s best to be proactive and safeguard your Charlotte home and its surrounding areas. Broken screens let bugs in and should be repaired or replaced immediately. Sealing holes and cracks around doors, windows and walls with silicon latex caulk can decrease access points. Lastly, you can benefit from expert advice and professional services by reaching out to your local Truly Nolen Charlotte location at 704-910-2936 for a free pest inspection.

Pets and the Pest Season: Keeping your Pets Pest Free this Season

keep your pets pest free this season
Keep on top of your pets’ pest potentials this spring and summer, by ensuring that your four-legged friends visit the vet for flea and tick prevention treatments or by purchasing effective topical drop treatments and ingested flea and tick products on the market.

How do fleas and ticks get in your home?

Usually, fleas and ticks come into your home on your clothes or your pets’ furry bodies. While it’s not difficult to detect fleas on your dog or cat, these tiny insects usually aren’t evident indoors until a full-fledged infestation gets underway.

Ticks can be extremely dangerous and homeowners who like to hike in wooded areas or tromp through tall grass, with or without pets, should practice a tick inspection routine, checking themselves and their pets for ticks after each foray into wooden areas before going back indoors. A tick infestation in your home could be a telltale sign of a possible rodent infestation. Vectors, like fleas and ticks feed on rodents’ blood, spreading respiratory pathogens, like the Hantavirus through contact with rodents and their ticks that spread diseases to humans.

Truly Nolen believes you, as a homeowner, can do a lot to prevent fleas and ticks in your home by offering flea and tick control services if you encounter a flea or tick issue.

Before you go indoors

But, before you go indoors, take a look around at possible flea breeding areas outside your home. Fleas and ticks like tall grass, leaf litter, extra flower pots, stacked wood, brick piles and other clutter near your home. Fleas and ticks like shady, moist and cool spots to breed, so cleaning up your yard, pruning bushes and trimming your grass to let more sunlight in goes a long way in the prevention of pest breeding grounds in your yard. Avoid over-watering your grass and ornamental shrubs to avoid setting up ideal conditions for fleas and ticks to thrive.

Sweep your porch, patio, deck and underneath your patio furniture on a regular basis. Also clean your pets’ outdoor lounging and running areas, in addition to the spaces under decks and porches where your pets like to hide out and rest.

Exclusion

The best way to prevent pest problems starts with shutting down entryways and sealing cracks and crevices in your home’s foundation. Repairing cracks and crevices in windows, doors and near other entrance points to your home further promotes pest exclusion.

Truly’s comprehensive Flea and Tick Treatment Program

If there comes a time when you suspect a flea infestation in your home, Truly Nolen guarantees to eliminate your pest problem, taking your family, pets and home into careful consideration. Truly’s Flea and Tick Control plan starts with an interview and an inspection of your home, by highly trained and certified technicians to determine the extent of your flea or tick problem.

Our individualized service specialists then devise a plan for your home, initiating an IPM, or Integrated Pest Management, approach that includes non-invasive treatments and pet-friendly methods towards a solution specific to your home. Your Truly technician will outline areas that need to be prepped before treatment begins. Most of these procedures are common sense practices used in an effort to eliminate most insects from your home.

Prepping your home for treatment

Vacuum Everything

  • Thoroughly and completely vacuum everything you possibly can, even hard surfaces, as fleas and ticks can hide in the cracks and crevices of your home. Pay special attention to pet beds, home furnishings and throw rugs. Do not use a central vacuum system, however, as fleas, ticks, and their eggs can get into that plumbing where they will breed and infest your home from there.
  • Seal affected vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and dispose of vacuum cleaner bag in an outdoor receptacle, so fleas can’t escape.
  • Steam cleaning or shampooing carpet can help eliminate fleas but live fleas still require treatment.

Launder in Hot Water

  • Wash all pet bedding, bed linens and other exposed blankets and throws in hot water and dry on the highest setting possible.

Coordinate Pet Care

  • Apply your pets’ flea and tick medications, or arrange for your veterinarian to treat your pets, on the same day your Truly Nolen Flea and Tick treatment will be administered.
  • Remove animals from your home to avoid re-infestation.

Your Truly Nolen technician will skillfully administer an interior liquid application with residual content to provide Truly’s guaranteed ongoing, long-term flea and tick control protection. Your certified technician, using a low pressure spray, will focus on areas and surfaces where your pets sleep and on their favorite lounging areas, like your sofa and any other areas documented during your inspection. Low pressure sprays for flea and tick treatment can be administered through highly focused streams of products so they don’t become airborne affecting pets and people.

Truly, truly wishes you a happy pest-free spring and summer. But remember that if pests start taking the fun out of your warm weather activities, just contact us; we’ll put them in their place.

Keeping Roaches Out of Your Charlotte Home

As we cross over the seasonal threshold into Spring once again, cockroach concerns arise in the Charlotte area. An increase in indoor allergens points toward the possibility of heightened allergies and asthma during this period, which can be managed as long as you arm your home against these pests. Cockroaches are known to carry diseases, and tend to seek out cool, dark places. As the weather warms up, it is not unlikely to find roaches populating your kitchen, basement or garage.

Cockroach Classifications

Learn more about the four main types of roaches that pose a threat to our residential population here in Charlotte:

  1. The first and most common is the German cockroach; this insect is typically ½ inch long, dark brown in color, and has two visible brown lines by the head. The adult German roach is winged but rarely flies. It is one of the most common and rapidly reproducing species and can cause infection and disease. Because it will feed on practically anything, they are often found nesting in small cracks and crevices in areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.
  2. The second and largest type of roach often hosted in Charlotte area homes, is the American cockroach, also known as the Palmetto or Flying Water Bug. This winged, yet flightless insect, is dark brown with lighter brown shades on the head region. Measuring 1½ to 2 inches in length, you may find this creature in the dark, moist crevices of your basement or under the sink.
  3. Third in line is the Wood cockroach, living in rotten, organic material in dens, kitchens, storage sheds, on decks, etc. Wood cockroaches look similar to American cockroaches; however, they are smaller in size and appear active during both day and night.
  4. Oriental roaches, often known as Waterbugs, are typically 1 inch in length and are black in color. It is the filthiest of the roach species and although it can live an entire month without food, it can only live 2 weeks without water. They like to feed on decaying material and trash so they are found under mulch and rocks, under debris and in sewer systems.

Pest Prevention

In a national, cross-sectional survey over 831 homes in the U.S., research concluded that the cockroach allergens were found to be associated with allergic sensitization in 11% of U.S. living room floors and 13% of kitchen floors. Cockroach allergen levels also showed an association with asthma morbidity in 3% of living room floors and 10% of kitchen floors.

Follow these simple guidelines to ensure your home is protected:

  • Tight-fitting doors and windows. Make sure all accessible entry points are sealed well, including cracks and gaps.
  • Limit porch light usage (for Wood cockroaches). The adults are attracted to the light.
  • Utilize outdoor insecticide treatments around windows and doors and along the foundation of the house.
  • Store firewood piles further from the house, far from any entry points.

It is important to shield your household from these asthma and allergen-causing pests through maintenance, prevention and management. Call Truly Nolen Charlotte today at (704) 910-2936 and one of our experts will help keep your home free of roaches all year long!

Protecting your Charlotte Home Against Ants

In Charlotte, you can tell the winter is over and spring is in the air, not only because of the crocuses, tulips and daffodils sprouting up everywhere but also because of the reappearance of ants in your kitchen, and other parts of your home and property. While winter weather conditions impact Charlotte with below freezing temperatures a couple of times during the winter season, this year, due to the current el Niño system in place, the Carolinas experienced warmer temperatures and more rain than usual. So, ant activity could be on the rise during spring and summer 2016.

As we know from going on picnics and watching National Geographic specials, ants are the original social networking experts. Therefore, they naturally thrive in advanced, highly sophisticated communities. Ants have evolved to include 10,000 different species that fill various, unique niches. Truly Nolen invites Charlotte homeowners to take a look at the most prevalent ant species.

Argentine Ants

argentine ants
Well adapted to urban environments, Argentine ants are dark brown to black in color and no bigger than ⅛ of an inch. Nesting in moist soil near buildings or under structures, Argentine ants march up and down buildings and trees, along driveways and sidewalks, looking for a way to get inside your Mecklenburg County home.

Argentine ants forage in neat little lines, guided by pheromone trails set out by scout ants.
Because they can form super colonies with multiple queens, Argentine ants can be difficult to control and eradicate on your own and best treated by pest control professionals.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants
One of the largest ants in the Carolinas, carpenter ants can be black, red or light to dark brown in color and measure just over ½ inch in length, carpenter ants are attracted to moisture around the outside of your home. Damp and decaying wood near your home rolls out the welcome mat for carpenter ants to enter your home, where they can get to the good wood in your walls and attic.

Once in your attic, ceilings, carpets and flooring, carpenter ants bore holes in wood, carving out cozy nests and causing as much, if not more, structural damage than termites. Carpenter ants forage for food in loosely defined trails or as aimlessly, wandering individuals, drawn to insects, sweets, meats and nectars. Outdoors, most ant species are drawn to a substance called honeydew, which is secreted by aphids.

Fire Ants

Fire Ants
Relatively small, but packing a powerful punch, fire ants are reddish brown to reddish black, with copper colored heads and they prefer to build their mounds in your landscaped area’s loose soil and around structural foundations.

Regulating the temperature of colony tunnels and allowing fire ants to survive significant drops in temperature, fire ant mounds can measure two feet in diameter. An undisturbed fire ant colony can grow to 250,000 members with multiple queens, giving them enough power and force to kill cattle and other large animals.

One homeowner in the Charlotte Motor Speedway area places brightly painted wire tomato cages over fire ant mounds as a warning to kids playing in the yard. At times, in search of food and water, fire ants enter homes through tiny cracks and crevices. In this event, contact Truly Nolen Charlotte immediately.

Acrobat Ants

Acrobat Ants
As the name implies, acrobat ants can balance on their tiny front legs, raising their heart-shaped abdomens over their heads when disturbed. No larger than ⅛ inch long, acrobat ants, who are yellow-brown to dark brown, with darker abdomens, put off an odor and have been known to bite when disturbed.

Indoors, acrobat ants can cause damage to electrical wiring, as they infest damp places, often in the foam sheathing behind siding. Because acrobat ants excavate former termite nests and other pests’ nests, homeowners may think they have a termite infestation, due to the debris acrobat ants leave in their wakes.

Odorous Ants

Odorous Ants
Odorous ants, dark brown or black in color and ¼ inch long emit an odor similar to rotten coconuts when crushed. Usually seen in large numbers, odorous ants frequent Charlotte homes, infesting indoor spaces near heat sources or insulation, in wall voids and under flooring. Known for long, foraging trails, odorous ants contaminate sweets, meats, fats and greasy foods in your home. Odorous ant colonies can grow to 100,000 ants with many queens forming super colonies, capable of transporting resources between colonies, making them difficult to control.

Little Black Ants

Black Ants
Not unlike the little black dress, little black ants can be found at parties, especially outside in humid conditions, where they hang out under mulch, beneath lumber and debris, crashing events to get to the sweet and greasy menu items. Shiny, black and only 1/16 inch in length, little black ants make up for their small size in their numbers. With multiple queens, colonies range from medium to large and are difficult to eradicate on your own.

Outdoors – Tips for Proactive Ant Prevention in your Charlotte area home include:

  • Removing clutter near property and cleaning up brush piles around structure
  • Keeping mulch to 2-inch depths or less
  • Sealing gaps around doors and windows and repairing foundation cracks
  • Replacing moisture-damaged wood outside the home and repairing all structural leaks
  • Cleaning gutters and downspouts regularly
  • Cleaning outside trash receptacles and moving them 25 feet from the home
  • Cleaning all pet food dishes and removing all spilled pet food

Indoors – Tips for Preventing Ants from getting inside your Charlotte area home include:

  • Cleaning all dishes and wiping down all food prep, dining and food storage areas
  • Keeping all food and cooking ingredients in airtight containers
  • Sweeping and vacuuming floors on a regular basis

Most importantly, contact Truly Nolen Charlotte to initiate an ant prevention program or to eradicate an existing ant infestation. Locating, treating and eradicating ants in their colonies, can be an exercise in futility unless you are a trained pest control professional. Call us today to schedule a free inspection at (704) 910-2936 or schedule an inspection online. Truly Nolen Charlotte: Ant Control Solutions that work!

What You Need to Know About the Zika Virus

Over the last few weeks, the Zika virus has been in the news as it continues to spread around the globe. The Zika virus initially appeared in Brazil in May of 2015 and has since affected more than 1 million people in over 30 countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a global emergency as experts agree that the disease has “explosive pandemic potential” and could affect more than 4 million people by the end of this year.

Here is what you need to know about the Zika virus:

What Is the Zika virus?

Zika VirusThe Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. It was named after a forest in Uganda where it was first discovered in 1947 from blood drawn from rhesus monkeys that scientists were testing for yellow fever. The first case of a human being infected wasn’t until 1952 when it was reported in Uganda and Tanzania.

Since 1947 no large scale outbreaks have been reported until now. Micronesia in 2007 had 49 confirmed cases but no hospitalizations were reported from that outbreak. In 2013-2014, 19,000 suspected cases were reported in French Polynesia. The current outbreak has already passed 1 million suspected cases making this the worst outbreak in the virus’ history.

What Happens to people who have been infected?

Less than 20% of those infected with the virus will show symptoms such as fever, rash, joint pain, and red/itchy eyes. Side effects are mild, rarely fatal, and fade within a week. The Zika virus has made headlines mostly because of conditions that the virus has been linked to. It was recently associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disease often triggered by infections in which the immune system attacks the myelin lining of nerve cells. Individuals who suffer from Guillain-Barre may experience widespread weakness and paralysis after an attack. A large majority of those who suffer from this disease will lose mobility and may need a mechanical ventilator because of weak respiratory muscles.

Another condition linked to Zika is microcephaly, a birth defect in which a developing baby’s brain fails to grow to its proper size. Since the start of the Zika pandemic nearly 4,000 Brazilian infants have been born with microcephaly. In addition to microcephaly, doctors in infected areas say that newborns who have been exposed to Zika may also suffer from vision and hearing problems. Pregnant women are being warned not to travel to areas where the Zika virus is spreading due to the risk.

How is Zika Spread?

The Zika virus is spread by yellow fever mosquitoes, Aedes Aegypti, who are distinguishable by the white markings on their legs. These mosquitoes are most active in the morning and early evenings and fly on every continent but Antarctica.

Is the United States at Risk for the Zika Virus?

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and WHO are looking ahead to the summer months when mosquitoes become more active. While the outbreak has mostly stayed out of the United States, the chance of an outbreak is still of concern.

As of February 24, 2016, the CDC has reported 107 travel-associated cases of the Zika virus and zero locally acquired in the United States. American’s who are traveling to South America should take steps to protect themselves while overseas. This could include wearing long sleeve shirts and pants, staying in lodgings with screened windows and air conditioning, using insect repellants, and using permethrin-treated clothing and gear.

How You Can Protect Yourself

As we move into the warmer months you should take the following steps to control mosquitoes in and around your home:

  • Remove any sources for standing water, including bird baths, rain barrels, and recycling containers.
  • Cut back vegetation around your home to eliminate breeding and hiding grounds.
  • Get rid of old yard items that may be attracting mosquitoes such as old pots and spare tires.

As there is currently no vaccine or treatment for the Zika virus, the CDC recommends that pregnant women consider postponing any travel to countries where Zika transmission is ongoing and all other travelers use due caution if traveling to infected areas.

Truly Nolen offers a mosquito control program designed to reduce the number of mosquitoes found in and around your home. Combined with our Four Seasons Pest Control program that provides year round protection against household pests, it is a comprehensive approach.

It is best to be proactive and prepare your home for mosquito season while the weather is still cool than to wait until mosquitoes become more active. Contact us with any questions on our mosquito control program or if would like to schedule a free pest inspection. For more information and tips to prepare for mosquito season, go to https://www.trulynolen.com/other-services/mosquito-control.asp.

An Overview: Ants, Ants and More Ants

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

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

Argentine Ants

Argentine Ants
Well adapted to urban environments, dark brown to black in color and no bigger than 1/8,” Argentine ants nest in moist soil near buildings or under them, looking for a way to get inside. Marching up and down buildings and trees along driveways and sidewalks, Argentine ants forage in neat little lines, guided by pheromone trails set out by scout ants. Because they can form super colonies with multiple queens, Argentine ants can be difficult to control and eradicate on your own.

Acrobat Ants

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

Carpenter Ants

Florida Carpenter Ants
The black carpenter ant and Florida carpenter ant are some of the largest pest ants found in Georgia. Black, red or light to dark brown in color and typically 5/8” in size, Florida carpenter ants, like neglected moisture and can enter Atlanta homes through damp and decaying wood. Black carpenter ants are dull black in color with yellowish hairs covering their abdomen and typically between 1/4 to 1/2”. Once in your attics, ceilings, carpets and flooring, carpenter ants bore through wood, causing as much, if not more structural damage than termites. Carpenter ants forage for food in loosely defined trails or as aimlessly, wandering individuals, drawn to insects, sweets, meats and nectars.

Fire Ants

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

Crazy Ants

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

Pharaoh Ants

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

Citronella Ants

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

Field Ants

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

Pavement Ants

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

Big-Headed Ants

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

Odorous Ants

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

Ghost Ants

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

Rover Ants

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

How to Prevent Ants in your Atlanta home

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

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

Inside your home:

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

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