Category Archives: Ants

Carpenter Ants: Defeating the Army Behind Your Walls

Carpenter Ants: Defeating the Army Behind Your Walls

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

Carpenter ants and termites look for new homes in the summer

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

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

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

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

Signs of a carpenter ant issue

Signs of carpenter ant infestations include:

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

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

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

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

Truly Nolen targets nests with innovative IPM system

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

Carpenter ant prevention guidelines

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

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

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

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

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!

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.

Slacker Ants

Think colony ants are the last word in insect industriousness? A recent study published by the Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology Journal and reported on in PC Mag and Science Magazine states that colony ants are lazy slackers.

Over 70% of Colony Ants are Inactive

While colony ants have always enjoyed a solid reputation for efficiency and dedication, it turns out many ants that live in colonies may not do much of anything at all. A group of researchers studied five separate colonies, marking all of the members with spots of colored paint, each with a specific color code. Then, the research team set up a camera to record the ants in five minute segments, six times a day over the next two weeks, and sat back to watch what happened. The researchers learned that so-called worker ants were actually inactive over 70% of the time! Additionally, just about a quarter of all the ants were not recorded working at all. In fact, only about 3% of the ants were consistently active at all during the recorded segments. But what does this mean in the bigger picture? Since the ants aren’t watching Netflix or playing on tiny smart phones, why are they so inactive?

Lazy…or Labor Distribution?

Ant inactivity isn’t news to researchers. While previous studies have shown that the lethargy of the ants might be temporary and due to the influence of circadian rhythms, this new information seems to imply that time of day has nothing to do with the laziness of the ants. However, the scientists suggest that the inactivity of the ants may have something to do with the way a colony distributes labor, possibly allowing the ants that are either too young or too old to stay inactive, while the healthier ants do the brunt of the work.

In a recent interview, one of the lead researchers on the project confirmed this theory of labor distribution, stating that it may be a critical part of the colony’s organization, potentially having something to do with an overabundance of ants, not all of which need to be working at once.

Dealing with Ants

No one wants to share a home with ants – industrious or otherwise. If you think you’ve got an infestation of either active or inactive ants, give us a shout.

Powerful Pests: Know the Difference – Carpenter Ants and Termites

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


Carpenter antTermite white ant isolated

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


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

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

Possible Damage and Treatment

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

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

Back to School: Charlotte’s Most Common Pests

The kids are back to school and it’s time for the parents to go back to school too! It’s important for parents to learn about some of the most common kinds of pests found in Charlotte.


Ant ControlThese tiny pests often infest woodpiles and trees in the outdoors. While many kinds of ants are prevalent, fire ants are one of the most common ant species found in North Carolina. As of 2010, they were found in 71% of NC counties. They range from 3-6 mm long and are far more aggressive than black ants or ghost ants. When they are disturbed, fire ants can lash out by biting their perpetrators. Fire ant bites can swell up and cause itching, pain, and even allergic reactions. They are at their worst during hotter weather and are fairly adaptable. Fire ants are attracted to trash, so it is important to keep the area around trash cans free from debris and prune back any trees or greenery around your home so that fire ants can’t use branches as a way to invade your home. An old wives’ tale recommends pouring grits or hot water over the ant mound, but these methods are questionable: call a pest control professional for best results.


Roach ControlCharlotte makes a cozy home for roaches, whether it is a large, flying American roach (also known as a palmetto bug), a wood roach, or any other kind of roach. While the habits of individual roach subtypes greatly vary, you can find most roaches by looking for droppings that seem similar to coffee grinds. Roaches can cause breathing issues or allergies. They are most active at night and are drawn towards heat as well as damp areas. As roaches are drawn to damp areas, be sure to repair any holes or gaps around water pipes, doors, or baseboards and dispose of trash, leaves, and paper debris. Be sure to store food carefully and clean the kitchen after use.


Rodent ControlWhen you think of mice, you probably think of Mickey Mouse. Well, think again; not every mouse or rat is as harmless as the Disney mascot. Mice and rats breed year round, carry diseases and harmful organisms such as Salmonella. They damage property, and chew through food packages or insulation. Do you have rodents? Look for mice and rat droppings or household cats exhibiting stalking behavior. Be careful to immediately clean any droppings: breathing air associated with their waste can cause illness. Try rodent proofing your HVAC system and make sure that all food is carefully stored. Install foundation vent screens, seal all cracks in the property, and remove outside brush clutter away from your home.


Termite ControlAmong the most common pests found in Charlotte are termites. Termites have been known to cause an annual $5 billion dollars in damage in the U.S. Catching them early can save you thousands of dollars, as many home insurance policies do NOT cover termite issues. Termites are most active in the spring and summer months. Subterranean termites use moisture from the soil to survive and then build “mud tunnels” to reach their food, while drywood termites live inside dry wood and can easily spread. Look for tiny wings (or in the case of subterranean termites, “mud tunnels” along a surface) near a possible entry point or termite droppings. Does your wood sound hollow when tapped or do your wooden surfaces appear to be puckered or damaged? Then termites may be the cause. Keep A/C units and areas clean, and direct water away from your home, as some termites are attracted to moisture.

Termites, ants, roaches, and rodents are some of the most common pests in Charlotte. To prevent these pests from choosing your home, keep inside areas clean of food debris and water issues, and keep outside areas clear of tree branches and other plants that may act as bridges to the pests. Don’t share your Charlotte home with pests, call Truly Nolen Charlotte at 704-910-2936 for an inspection.

Ants and Their Superpowers

Often seen marching around front porches, driveways and kitchen countertops, ants are considered to be one of the most common and pervasive insects we encounter on a daily basis. From regular, household ants mostly regarded as a simple nuisance, to more harmful types such as Carpenter Ants or Fire Ants that can damage property or even cause allergic reactions, these insects are always seem to be present in our immediate environment. Controlling the presence of ants can be an arduous task. After all, these tiny insects seem to appear out of nowhere and can be found in any area of both the interior and exterior of your home or business.

Despite their size, ants’ strength and abilities should not be underestimated and with over 20,000 species in the world, the amount of unique abilities ants possess is seemingly limitless. While ants play a very important role in their natural habitat, they are unwelcome in our residential and commercial environments. Despite our aversion to these insects, getting to know the inner workings of their habits and behaviors can be quite fascinating.

Though we enjoy watching superheroes on the big screen, we only need to look down to observe the superhero abilities of ants. Truly Nolen takes a look at these small, yet mighty insects which encourages you to ask the question, “just who is the real superhero?”

Ants versus The Hulk

Small in Size, Big in Strength

Ant Control
One of our favorite characters is that of The Hulk, who when provoked or angered has the ability to display unlimited strength and stamina, making him one of the most powerful superheroes. Ants on the other hand, need no provocation in order to display their strength. The iconic image of a trail of ants carrying leaves is a good display of just how strong they are for their size. This strength is especially helpful for ants to carry food back to their colonies, or to carry materials used to build shelter.

Almost all ant species, but in particular the Allegheny Mound ant and Carpenter ant, are capable of lifting nearly 1,000 times their body own weight! To put things in perspective, that is the equivalent of a 180 pound man would be able to lift the weight of a Boeing 737! By researching this amazing attribute scientists and engineers can take inspiration when designing new machines and take this concept to real world applications.

Ants versus Iron Man

Suit of Armor

Ant Exterminator
The physical characteristics of ant’s exoskeleton can give the technological capabilities of Ironman’s suit a run for its money. Just as Ironman’s suit protects him from the outside world, so does the physical structure of an ant’s body. For example, odorous ants will release a foul odor when disturbed or crushed, which protects them from predators. Fire ants live up to their name when it comes to the impact of their sting. As a defensive mechanism, as well as a strategy to catch their prey, fire ants will use their mandibles to lock into their victim and inject venom using their stinger, causing a sudden burning sensation. In severe cases, allergic reactions are serious enough to require a trip to the hospital. Allegheny Mound ants are especially fascinating as their neck is structured in such a way that they are able to withstand enormous amounts of pressure. The membranes that connects the heads to their bodies are made up of microstructures that when used at a certain angle, can support any object an ant may need to lift.

Ants versus Aquaman

Follow my scent!

Ant Control
Aquaman’s most notable powers are his ability to breathe underwater as well as communicate with sea creatures if they are within “earshot” of him. His ability to breathe on both land and under the sea makes him unique and comparable to those ants that do not actually have lungs, but instead breathe through tiny holes in their bodies where oxygen passes through, otherwise known as spiracles.

Like Aquaman, ants can communicate with other ants in close proximity by releasing chemicals into the air that other ants sense. These pheromones serve as messages that ants use to ‘speak’ to each other, as well as provide warnings for approaching predators. Odorous house ants in particular, are known for releasing a chemical trail for other ants in the colony to follow.

Ants versus The Avengers

Let’s get Social!

Even though each superhero character has his/her own strengths and unique powers, they are far more effective when they work together. Ants are social insects and, unlike humans and termites, are the only species that have evolved to Eusociality. “Eu” meaning true, signifies that ants are not just social creatures, but creatures whose livelihoods depend on the cooperation of the whole colony. Eusocial animals all have the following characteristics:

  • Adults live in groups
  • Individuals care for offspring that are not their own
  • Division of labor when it comes to reproduction with the subject behaving altruistically
  • Overlap of generations

Ant Exterminator
In the case of carpenter ants, each colony starts off with a single Queen, can produce colonies of anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 ants and even super colonies as large as 100,000 ants or more! As leader of the colony, the queen enjoys the benefit of having workers who take care of the young by providing food and services as protection from outside predators. Odorous ants operate in large colonies with tens of thousands of ants. Unlike the carpenter ant that has one definite queen of its colony, odorous ants can sometimes have multiple queens leading the group.

The Eusocial aspect of ants shows every ant has its defined role within the colony. The queen lays the eggs, workers care for the nest, and reproductives or “swarmers” ensure that new areas are found for colonization.

Ants are indeed remarkable insects, but they have no beneficial or symbiotic relationship with people. Keeping an observant eye out for signs of an infestation, can help to catch any issues before they have time to escalate. Homeowners should be aware if they see a trail of ants entering the home through a door, a window, or vent opening, as this indicates that ants are in search of food. If you notice ant activity around electrical outlets or inside cabinets, then the chances that ants are already forming nests somewhere in the home are pretty high.

Whether you already have a problem with ants, or prefer to take preventative measures, contact your local Truly Nolen to schedule a free ant inspection today!

Summer Household Pest Control Checklist for Columbus, OH

The transition from spring to summer is peak time for household pest activity. Truly Nolen of Columbus, OH wants to make sure that Columbus homeowners stay pest free this summer, giving you more time to spend outdoors without worrying about pests indoors. To ensure that Columbus residents are prepared for an increase in pest activity, Truly Nolen has created a checklist to help homeowners remain pest free this summer.

Summer Pests Checklist

Summer Lovin’- Common Pests Found in Ohio

Although homeowners should be watchful of pests all throughout the year, it is important to keep an eye out for pests that may have kept a low profile during winter. Pests who go into hiding in winter months to stay warm, are now emerging, eager to reproduce and expand their habitats. Here, we take a look at a few pests that Columbus residents may start to see more of than they might like during the summer!


Brown Recluse Spider
Most of the species of spiders found in Ohio are not poisonous and are considered more of a nuisance rather than a threat. However, where there is one bug, there are two, three or more and spiders are usually a sign of bigger pest problems.

German & Oriental Cockroaches

German Oriental Cockroach
Perhaps two of the more common species, German and Oriental roaches thrive in hot, humid climates making summer the perfect opportunity for these guys to be out and about. German roaches prefer to be indoors, and will always make their way to food and water sources, whereas Oriental roaches can also be found in the immediate exterior portions of your home. Since they carry pathogens and allergens in their cast skins and in their droppings, it is important for homeowners to immediately address any sightings of German or Oriental roaches to avoid further infestation.


Although treatment of centipedes should start from the exterior, these creepy crawlies can make their way indoors into basements and crawlspaces. Centipedes do not pose a threat to homeowners, but they are a nuisance as they can populate quickly if left alone for an extended period of time.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ant
Carpenter ants use their strong jaws to chew through wooden structures, leaving behind a trail of sawdust wherever they go. Damp, soft wood makes the perfect environment for them as they can easily chew out holes to construct their nests.


Rat and mice activity will increase since they have hibernated during the winter months, only to emerge in full force from spring into summer. As rodent population increases due to the warmer weather, homeowners should be aware of the warning signs left behind by rats and mice that indicate their presence in and around your home.

Bed Bugs

As you travel this summer, be weary of hitchhiking bed bugs. No hotel is immune from bed bugs so be sure to inspect the mattress and under the sheets of your hotel bed to make sure there are no signs of bed bugs or their blood. Bed bugs can easily attach themselves to your luggage, clothes, laptop cases and more.


The hot summer weather is perfect for mosquitoes especially when there are backyard barbeques and pool parties. Be sure there isn’t standing water around your home where mosquitoes tend to breed and keep areas clean and free from crumbs.

Common Types of Construction for Ohio Homes

Along with the natural beauty of the state, Ohio homes also boast charming construction design elements indicative of the Midwest. These unique features are enjoyed by Columbus homeowners, but are also considered vulnerable areas that can attract pests:

  • Wooden siding, porches and decking
  • Crawl spaces
  • Basements and attics
  • Fireplaces
  • Wooden door frames , windows and roof shingles on older homes
  • Lush landscaping and mulch placed close to the home

Tips to Keep Pests Out This Summer

While many pests are considered to be nothing more than a nuisance, there are those that pose more of a risk to the health and safety of homeowners. Truly Nolen recommends the following for helping to keep pests at a minimum wherever possible:

  • Avoid piles of debris on both interior and exterior of the home to deter pests.
  • Trim shrubs and trees that may have overhanging branches that touch the exterior walls or roof line of the home as these provide an easy gateway for pests to travel.
  • Holes or gaps in screens, doors, windows or foundations should be sealed to keep pests from entering.
  • Basements and crawlspaces should be frequently monitored for indications of possible infestation.
  • Existing cobwebs should be removed to prevent additional spiders.
  • Dark, damp areas such as under the sinks and near faucets should be monitored carefully for roaches.
  • Keeping countertops clean at night and sealing exposed food and water are good ways to keep pests from enjoying a midnight snack.

When do I call my Truly Nolen Pest Professional?

Although homeowners can take steps to ensure that their home remains pest free this summer, there are some pest problems that need the help of a certified, trained professional. One or two pest sightings may be tolerated by most homeowners, but without a thorough inspection, it is difficult to assess whether or not there are more pests behind the scenes.

To err on the side of caution, homeowners should be vigilant when observing possible signs of pest activity and contact a trained professional in the early stages so that the problem does not worsen as time goes on, eventually becoming a full blown infestation.

Using advanced application methods and techniques, Truly Nolen’s innovative Four Seasons Pest Control approach addresses the changes in pest behavior from season to season. Our trained technicians know what to look for, how to be proactive and how to treat an existing infestation. Call Truly Nolen of Columbus to keep your home pest free this summer and all year round.

Mansfield, OH –Termite & Carpenter Ant Tips for Control

Inside the walls of your home, termites and carpenter ants may be hard at work doing what they do best; destroying any wood they encounter. Though these wood loving insects are not known for making their debut out in the open, homeowners may take notice of certain warning signs and clues that these insects leave behind.

In some cases, many homeowners make the unfortunate discovery that they are sharing their home with carpenter ants or termites. This can lead to a number of questions as to what is the next best course of action. For example, if you have spotted only one or two carpenter ants, should you treat them yourself? Or, when is it really necessary to call in a professional pest control company?

Truly Nolen of Mansfield takes a look at some of the warning signs that homeowners should be aware of, the questions that many homeowners may ask and provides a guide on what to look for in a company.

Carpenter Ant & Termite Warning Signs

Since carpenter ants and termites (also known as “the silent destroyers”) work behind the scenes, it is not uncommon that these insects cause a great deal of damage before the problem is finally discovered by the homeowner. Residents of Mansfield are encouraged to pay attention to clues these insects may leave behind. Spotting the signs of infestation early may mean the difference between a minor issue, and an expensive one.

Termite Warning Signs

winged termites

  • Mud tubes – made from wood and soil, subterranean termites are experts at tunneling their way with mud tubs, designed to protect and be a source of transportation between colonies and food sources.
  • Wood damage- although internal wood damage caused by termites goes unnoticed until it has progressed to a more destructive level , keeping an eye on visible areas of the home that are made of wood, can be helpful for early detection. Broken or torn wood is a good indication that termites have been around.
  • Discarded wings- after a termite swarm, swarmers will shed their wings after taking flight, leaving behind small piles.

Carpenter Ant Warning Signs:

Carpenter Ants

  • Unlike termites, carpenter ants chew through wood without eating it. They will always leave a trail of sawdust behind as evidence that they’ve been busy. Homeowners should pay close attention to wooden window sills and doorframes.
  • Carpenter ants are attracted to damp wood. Areas that you may spot carpenter ants are around old door frames, bath tubs, sinks and roofs that have been affected by a leak.
  • Wood piles, decaying tree stumps or logs are also ideal spots for carpenter ants to take up residence and lay their eggs and you may often see a trail of these outside in your yard if the wood piles are present.

Homeowner Q & A

Are annual termite inspections really necessary?

Annual termite and carpenter ant inspections are recommended to help monitor any activity that may be brewing without the homeowner’s knowledge. Truly Nolen’s termite inspections will expose any termite activity and provide homeowners with a plan to eradicate the infestation to help prevent further damage.

Can I treat my home myself?

Nowadays, ‘do it yourself’ products have become more popular and have certainly improved over the years. Everything from store bought chemicals and organic, homemade treatments are all at the homeowner’s disposal. While there are some pest problems that can be relieved solely at the homeowner’s discretion, there are cases where do it yourself treatments can worsen the problem and treatment should be left to a pest professional. Older homes or houses that are in areas that have been known to demonstrate higher pest or termite activity are more likely to be in need of a professional treatment plan. Homeowners should also be aware that if high levels of infestation have been discovered (either by a pest professional or by the homeowner themselves) it is always advisable to have a pest professional assume the responsibility of treating the affected area. Expert knowledge and advanced treatment techniques and products present the best chance against hard to treat pests such as termites and carpenter ants.

Which treatment methods and products are most effective?

After a thorough termite inspection and evaluation of the suspected infestation, your Truly Nolen pest expert can assess and recommend several different treatment options that have been tried and tested, and proven safe and effective by the Truly Nolen team. Treatment will require eliminating the problem at its source. Treatment methods are not a “one size fits all” as many different factors should be considered to target and treat pests in the most efficient way possible.

What should I look for in a pest control company?

The National Pest Management Association outlines key aspects for homeowners when selecting a professional pest control company including:

  • A qualified and licensed pest management company that is a member of national, state or local pest management associations.
  • Ask friends and neighbors to recommend companies they have used successfully.
  • Buy value, not price.
  • Before signing a contract, be sure to fully understand the nature of the pest, the extent of the infestation, and the work necessary to solve the problem.
  • Find out if the company has liability insurance to cover any damages to your house or furnishings during treatment.
  • If a guarantee is given, know what it covers, how long it lasts, what you must do to keep it in force, and what kind of continuing prevention and management are necessary.

Benefits of Truly Nolen Mansfield’s Treatment Approach

At Truly Nolen of Mansfield, we focus on treating current infestations with targeted solutions, but also employ preventative treatment measures to help protect your home from future termite or carpenter ant infestations.

Our Sentricon system starts by eliminating the queen and ending the termite food chain in order to kill the entire colony. The process includes use of bait stations. By eliminating the termite infestation at the source, the colony can be controlled and eradicated. Similarly, carpenter ant treatment also includes bait stations and treatment at the source.

Residents of Mansfield can enjoy the benefits of working with their local Truly Nolen for any pest and termite issues including:

  • Satisfaction guaranteed- We work until you are satisfied with your end result.
  • Innovative- Advanced application methods and products are always utilized when treating your home for pests.
  • Convenient- We work to fit your schedule, whether it be for a one-time visit or for on-going treatments
  • Environmentally friendly- Truly Nolen tries to keep things green whenever possible, always keeping the safety of your family and pets in mind.

Call Truly Nolen of Mansfield to schedule your free termite inspection!

Carpenter Ants and Termites: Meet Columbus Ohio’s Wood Destroying Insects

Residents of Columbus, meet your neighborhood wood-destroying insects, otherwise known as Carpenter Ants and Termites. Though small in size, these insects can cause big problems for homeowners if proper inspections are not performed, and infestations are not caught in their early stages. The negative impact of these insects, particularly termites, extends beyond the time and inconvenience caused to the homeowner. Financially, homeowners may have to dig deep into their pockets to cover the costs associated with repairing damage to the structure of the home.

Since both of these insects do their damage behind the scenes, it is important for homeowners to be aware of the potentially destructive habits, so that routine inspections are scheduled and action is taken immediately. Truly Nolen of Columbus provides homeowners with termite and carpenter ant expertise, effective treatment plans and guaranteed service to safely get rid of these wood destroying insects.

What Time of the Year are Carpenter Ants and Termites more active?

Termite and Carpenter Ant activity can occur throughout the year if temperatures are consistent, but during the spring and into the summer months, the warm weather makes it the ideal time for eggs to hatch. This year in particular, Columbus residents are more likely to see an increase in termite and carpenter ant activity due to moderate temperatures last year. Without any noticeable fluctuations in temperature, consistent weather and steady rains provide the ideal environment for ants to produce larger colonies. In addition, mulch and fresh soil are favorable areas for ants to thrive in, and during the spring season, homeowners tend to engage in more landscaping activities.

Identification – Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ant Control
Carpenter ants are typically brownish black in color and can range in length of ¼” to ½” in size. Their bodies are divided into three segments with their abdomen area bulbous in shape. Most carpenter ants do not have wings, but during late spring, “reproductives” or winged carpenter ants can be seen. Though they seldom bite humans, carpenter ants have powerful jaws that are used to chew and tunnel their way through wood. Unlike termites who actually consume the wood, carpenter ants remove the wood that is blocking their way and leave it behind as they move through. It is this characteristic that will give homeowners clues as trails of sawdust can often be spotted in areas that the carpenter ants are present.

Identification – Termites

Termite Control
On the rare occasion that homeowners may actually spot termites, they can often be mistaken for flying ants as in the case of “swarmers” or winged termites. Termite workers can be properly identified by their beaded antennae and uniformly shaped bodies. Although these insects keep a low profile, there are some common signs of an infestation that homeowners can be aware of including small piles of discarded wings left near windowsills. In more obvious cases, small to large termite mounds can also be spotted, as well as mud tunnels.

The Truly Nolen Treatment for Columbus Residents

Homes in Ohio are built to showcase the natural beauty of wood through wooden porches, decking and wooden siding. It is these areas, as well as other vulnerable areas like attics and basements that give carpenter ants and termites the perfect opportunity to cause severe damage.

Truly Nolen of Columbus provides homeowners with safe and effective treatment methods for both carpenter ants and termites who may pose a threat to the structural integrity of your home. Being observant to the warning signs can prompt homeowners to call their local Truly Nolen pest expert, however, year round inspection is important to circumvent any potential damage.

For both termites and carpenter ants, your Truly Nolen pest professional will begin by:

  • Performing a thorough inspection of both the interior and exterior areas of your home that are prone to wood destroying insects.
  • Accurately identifying possible areas of infestation and assessing damage.
  • Determining the right course of treatment and scheduling an effective treatment plan to be performed.

Treatment plans encompass several steps that work to prevent these insects from entering the home including:


  • Treatment of direct infestation
  • Bath traps and plumbing
  • Garage expansion joints
  • Slab cracks/expansion joints


  • Dead tree stumps
  • Landscaping material
  • Wooden fences


  • Spaces or voids in foundational structure
  • Crawlspace and crawlspace pier
  • Liquid treatments are applied in trenches to protect foundations and slabs.

Your Truly Nolen professional will provide a free home inspection and customized treatment plan that will ensure that homeowners in Columbus are protected from the threat of these wood destroying insects. Call to schedule your free inspection and discuss how we can help you keep your home termite and carpenter ant free!