Category Archives: Ants

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.


Carpenter AntsThese 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.


CockroachCharlotte 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.


RodentWhen 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.


subterranean termitesAmong 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

Ants Carrying Leaves
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

Odorous Ants
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!

Odorous Ants
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

Carpenter Ants
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
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

Winged Termite
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!

Carpenter Ants vs. Termites

It’s important to differentiate between two flying, wood-destroying pests – the carpenter ant and the termite. Many people will often confuse the two, as both pests are very similar in color, size, and shape. Knowing what pest you have will make getting rid of them faster, easier, and safer, saving you time and money in the long run.

According to the National Pest Management Association, termites cause an estimated $5 billion in property damage each year. Homeowners are generally aware of the devastation termites can leave in their wake, but carpenter ants can also prove to be destructive to the wood found both in and outside of the home. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t actually eat the wood they come in contact with but instead hollow out galleries inside the wood for nesting and living as they feeding on food left behind by people (especially meats and sweets). Carpenter ants are frequently mistaken for winged termites during mating season when the male and female ants leave the colony to find a suitable mate. If an infestation from either pest is left undetected for a prolonged period of time, they each can cause expensive damage. Treatments for either a carpenter ant or termite infestation should be handled by a pest control professional.

There are certain characteristics that can be used to differentiate swarms of carpenter ants as compared to termites, the most important being the appearance of elbowed antennae and small or pinched waist with wings that are longer in the back than the front pair.


Carpenter Ants Termites
Bent antennae Straight antennae
Hourglass waistline No waistline; straight abdomen
Unequal wing length in the front and back Equal wing length in both front and back
Wings are partially translucent Wings are opaque or appear to be silver in color

Carpenter Ants


  • Carpenter ants are normally 5/8 inch long.
  • Carpenter ants have two small wings and two large wings (females only).
  • They also have very narrow, hourglass-shaped waists that separate their abdomen from their thorax and head.
  • Their antennae are elbowed.
  • Carpenter ants have reddish-brown thoraxes and heads with black abdomens.
  • They commonly nest around man-made structures and are the most common household pest in Florida.


  • Carpenter ants do not feed on the wood they remove. Their feeding habits are similar to other ants, favoring sweets.
  • Carpenter ants search for moist wood to build their nests, particularly in attics, ceilings, and floors.
  • Carpenter ants are not a typically a year-round concern for homeowners. However, during spring swarm season, carpenter ants travel en masse to find new nesting locations.
  • Their nests consist of an expansive network of tunnels and passages within the structure of your home. Over time, these nests can seriously weaken your home’s structural integrity.



  • Termites are normally 1/4 inch long. Termite swarmers range from 3/8 to 1/2 inch long.
  • Termites have four wings of equal length (reproductive only).
  • They have thick waists which are similar in size than the rest of their bodies.
  • Termites have two antennae that are straight.
  • They are characterized by thin white skin and are commonly light to medium brown in color.
  • Nests are either underground (subterranean) or in the wood of your home (drywood).


  • Termites feed on wood and some species build nests in wood.
  • Drywood termites, unlike subterranean termites, do not need contact with soil for their moisture needs. They get their moisture from the wood they eat.
  • Termites can be a huge problem anywhere. Also problematic are the nesting habits of many termite species which can make them difficult to spot.
  • Termites can cause serious structural damage to any home in a matter of months if left untreated.

The first step in controlling a pest problem is identifying the pest itself. If you are unsure which pest you’re dealing with or if you need help eliminating an infestation, Truly Nolen can help. Our Four Seasons Pest Control program will help prevent ant infestations in and around your home throughout the year, including carpenter ants. Our Total Termite Protection plan will eliminate termites and prevent future infestations. Most importantly, it’s backed by our Million Dollar Guarantee.

Fire Ants in Texas

With the recent rains in Texas, many residents are seeing the emergence of fire ant mounds in their lawns and in fields. These aggressive ants cause harm and damage to people, plants, and animals in both urban and rural areas – according to Texas A&M University researchers it is estimated fire ants cost Texans $1.2 billion annually in property damage and control costs, with residential households making up 50% of the total expense incurred.

What Are Fire Ants?

“Fire ant” is a general name referring to six different species of ants, five of which are found in Texas. Since they all cause damage and harm to humans and animals, there is generally little need for the homeowner to tell them apart. To the naked eye, fire ants resemble ordinary ants. They are very small (average 1/8 to 1/4 inch in length) and are reddish brown to black in color.

They are very aggressive, attacking anytime their mound is disturbed. Fire ants can be dangerous to small animals and humans because of the toxin released from the sting.

Where Are Fire Ants Found?

This biting ant is most commonly found in the southeastern United States including the eastern two-thirds of Texas. Fire ants live in colonies and build mound-shaped nests favoring open, sunny areas. Mature colonies appear as fluffy worked soil and can contain more than 200,000 ants. Fire ant mounds look different from other ant mounds since they do not have a visible opening in the center. Instead, fire ants come and go through an extensive network of underground tunnels.

Undisturbed mounds in rural areas can grow up to 18 inches tall but most are only a few inches. Mounds are often built next to sidewalks, roads, or anywhere fire ants can find food or water – around flowerbeds, landscaped areas, parks, playgrounds, sports fields, and tree trunks or roots.

Even though they are present year-round in Texas, fire ant colonies become more visible after rainfall or heavy irrigation, because the ants are trying to move out of the flooded soil. They are sensitive to temperature and humidity. When the weather gets hot and dry, they tunnel deep into the soil – some as deep as 4 feet – to find cooler temperatures and water. The ant colony seemingly disappears.

FUN FACT: Although fire ants can be extremely dangerous, they are also a very interesting species. Fire ants are social insects that work together in order to survive harsh conditions. During instances in which their homes are threatened by water, fire ants form a raft using their own bodies to reach dry land and keep their queen safe from harm. The colony of fire ants continually take turns being above and below the water level in order to help each ant breathe and remain alive. This adaptation and others like it enable the fire ant species to be tremendously resilient.

Why Are They So Bad?

Truly Nolen - Fire Ant Info TexasFire ants are very aggressive and if their mound is disturbed in any way, worker ants will rush out in large numbers to protect the colony from harm. They will climb up nearby grass and vertical surfaces and attack the person, animal, or thing that disturbed their nest by biting and stinging aggressively and repeatedly. Each ant firmly grasps skin with its jaws and stings many times. Fire ants can pivot at the head and inflict more stings in a circular pattern.

As they bite, fire ants inject a toxin that stings, causing a strong burning, fire-like sensation (hence the name “fire ant”). The sting swells into a bump that can cause a great deal of pain or irritation often with localized swelling. Within 24 to 48 hours, a small itchy pustule (a small, firm blister-like sore) forms around the bite site. Excessive scratching can open the pustules, possibly leading to secondary infection.

The toxin is not deadly for most people, although some are very allergic. The elderly, very young, sick, or those with compromised immune systems may be more affected by the toxin. It is always a good idea to seek medical advice if you believe you have been stung or bitten by a fire ant.

How Can I Avoid Fire Ants?

Although it is impossible to completely eliminate the fire ant population in Texas, you can avoid contact with them and prevent getting stung.

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Be sure to regularly look for fire ant mounds around your property. Do not stand on or near nests or areas where they are foraging.
  • Watch your step. Pay attention to where you’re standing. Serious incidents occur when a person unknowingly allows several fire ants to get on them, usually when they stand on a mound for more than a few seconds without realizing it.
  • Wear protective clothing. Wear boots and/or tuck pant legs into socks to reduce the risk of a bite.

What Do I Do If I Find A Fire Ant Mound In My Yard?

Truly Nolen - Fire Ant Mounds in TexasA possible preventative measure is long residual contact insecticide treatments. Your local pest control expert will apply an insecticide to the lawn surface in order to prevent fire ants from settling into the area. Although there are several self-help methods to eliminating fire ant colonies, it is best to contact your local pest control expert in order to eliminate the infestation safely.

What Do I Do If I Get Fire Ants On Me?

  • First of all remain calm and do NOT panic.
  • Leave the area immediately while quickly brushing the fire ants off using a gloved hand or a cloth. The most effective way to remove fire ants from the skin is with a fast, repetitive brushing motion. Remove the ants that climb up on your body as quickly as possible.
  • Quickly strip off shoes, socks, and clothing where the fire ants are stinging you. Shake out the clothing and inspect every fold before put¬ting them back on.
  • Do not try to shake them off – fire ants hold on tightly with their jaws so they will not just fall off. Do not try to rinse them off with water – it just makes them hold on and sting in another spot.

What Do I Do If I Get Stung?

People vary greatly in their reactions to fire ant stings. Most people just suffer a burning sensation, itching, and pustules with no lasting effects. Those who may be sensitive to fire ant venom may see the sting area become slightly swollen.

  • Ease the burning and itching by using ice, cold compresses, or painkiller sprays and ointments such as over-the-counter antihistamine products.
  •  Treat the pustules, whether intact or open, like any other small wound. Keep it clean.

Watch for problems if a person is stung more than a few times or has an impaired immune system due to a medical condition (e.g., heart condition, diabetes, etc.). The important thing is to watch for severe reactions. Although rare, seek emergency medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following as it could be a sign of a life-threatening allergic reaction:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Faintness or dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Chest pain
  • Tightness in chest or throat
  • Hives or rashes
  • Serious swelling
  • Nausea
  • Severe sweating
  • Slurred speech
  • Shock
  • Coma

Like many pests, fire ants are a fact of life in Texas. Being aware is the best way to stay safe.

The Essential Ant Treatment Guide for Homeowners


One of the first insects to become active each year is the irritatingly persistent ant. When warmer weather arrives, ants can begin invading our homes. A recent survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) revealed that this pest is everywhere. In fact, ants have been deemed the #1 nuisance pest in America. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that this pest can also pose health and property risks – from food contamination to costly property damage.

Understanding Ants – What Are Ants?

Ants are social insects and typically live in large groups or colonies. Depending on the species, ant colonies can consist of millions of ants. Their structured nest communities are commonly constructed with soil and plant materials and located underground. However, depending on the type of ant species, nests can also be found in mounds built on the ground level or even in trees.

There are three kinds of ants in a colony, divided into classes by the type of job they perform: the queen, male drones, and the female workers. The queen heads the colony and lays thousands of eggs to ensure the colony’s survival. Depending on the ant species and the nest community size, there may be one or more queens in the colony. The fertile male drone ants often have only one role – mating with the queen. They usually die within a few days after mating. The worker ant (the ones typically seen in your home) are wingless females that never reproduce, but instead forage for food, care for the queen’s offspring, build and repair the nest, protect the community, and perform many other duties to benefit the colony.

Ants will eat practically any kind of food, but are especially attracted to sweets as they supply a large amount of energy to the relatively small ants. Depending on the species, ants can range in size from 1/12 to 1 inch and are usually red or black in color. Ants are close relatives of bees and wasps and can be identified by their three distinct body regions: the head (including antennae), the thorax, and the abdomen. Ants have a narrow “waist” between the abdomen and thorax, while a termite’s body is not constricted and they have a broad waist. Like other insects, ants have six legs, each with three joints. Ants also have large heads with compound eyes, elbowed antennae, and powerful jaws. They can live from several weeks to several years.

Winged forms of ants are often mistaken for termites. In warm weather, both species “swarm” and leave the nest in large numbers to mate and establish new colonies. However, shortly after their flights, both ants and termites lose their wings, so wings usually aren’t present.

Common Types of Ants You Can Find At Home / Ant Infestation

While most ants are considered harmless, an ant infestation can be a major nuisance and may be difficult to control. There is the common myth that seeing one ant indoors does not equal a full-blown infestation. Although this can be true, ants cooperate by leaving an invisible chemical trail (pheromones) for other ants to follow once they locate a promising food source. If that food source is in your home, you can count them quickly entering your home through the smallest cracks and crevices. Ant colonies can be found anywhere in and around your home. Although they typically won’t harm you, there are those – such as fire ants (that sting) and carpenter ants (that damage wood) – that can actually pose a threat to your family’s health and property.

There are more than 700 ant species found in the U.S., although only about 25 species are known to commonly invade homes. Many have been given nicknames based on their distinguishing characteristics:

  • Acrobat ants get their name from their ability to acrobatically raise their abdomen over their thorax and head as if they were performing a balancing act. It is common for acrobat ants to enlarge cavities formed by other insects such as old galleries of termites, carpenter ants, and other wood-infesting insects
  • Argentine ants are native to the Paraná River basin in South America, which spans across northern Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and southern Brazil. Argentine ants are common in urban areas and can nest in diverse types of habitats. They can produce large numbers of offspring and survive on a wide variety of food.
  • Big head ants get their name from the appearance of the major workers – they have very large heads in relation to their bodies. Big head ants can quickly move into new areas to establish nests and kick out other ant populations.
  • Crazy ants get their name from the worker’s habit of running in an erratic, jerky manner when searching for food – the trail it leaves behind is highly irregular. They also have the potential to change the ecological balance in the southeastern U.S. largely because the ants can wipe out colonies of fire ants, widely considered the insect villain of the region.
  • Fire ants were first brought to the U.S. from Brazil in the 1930s and without any natural predators in the U.S., have been able to spread relatively quickly throughout the Southern U.S., from Maryland to Texas, as well parts of California and New Mexico. The bite and the sting that these ants deliver give them their name.
  • Florida carpenter ants (aka red and black carpenter ants) are largely found throughout Florida with colonies that may contain up to eight thousand individuals. They do not eat the wood they remove during their nest-building activities but can severely damage it, digging smooth tunnels inside the wood causing structural weakening. Florida carpenter ants are considered one of the most serious structural pest species.
  • Ghost ants get its name from its incredibly small size (less than 1/16 inch long) and pale color of its legs and abdomen, which make it difficult to see.
  • Pharaoh ants (aka sugar ants) are possibly named from the mistaken tradition that it was one of the plagues of ancient Egypt during the time of Pharaohs although it is more commonly referred to as the “sugar ant.” It is one of the more common household ants, and carries the dubious distinction of being one of the most difficult household ants to control.
  • Rover ants are native to Argentina and Paraguay, and were introduced relatively recently to the U.S. They may be seen excitedly running up and down vertical objects in yards, such as blades of grass, chairs, and fence posts, accompanied by larger winged individuals.

At Home Prevention / How To Get Rid of Ants

If you have an ant infestation:

  • Determine what the ants are attracted to and remove the food source. For example, keep your kitchen clean. Seal food items properly, clean counters, do the dishes, fix leaky pipes, and general maintain your household. Doing so will ensure you can more easily avoid persistent ant problems.
  • To help reduce the amount of ants currently in your home, put out bait stations or apply gel bait at entry points. Baits, purchased at hardware and grocery stores, can be effective for a bit. However, ants are highly adaptable and able to change their diets. If they see that consuming something like bait isn’t advantageous to their colony, they will simply stop eating it. Baits may only be a temporary solution.

The main tactic in effective prevention plan is to create a less inviting environment for pests around your home. This includes eliminating access and removing suitable sources of food and water. Exclusion is the process of keeping pests outside of your home. This involves caulking or sealing cracks, holes, and any other potential entry points such as cable entry points as well as doorways and other entrances that aren’t completely sealed like window and sliding glass doors. Prune all shrubs and trees at least 4 feet away from your home – this prevents easy access for pests into your home. However exclusion can prove difficult to the untrained eye and covering every entry point is virtually impossible. The most effective method is for a trained pest control technician to apply a chemical treatment around the exterior of your home that is safe for pets and humans.

Reduce moisture content around the exterior of your home in surrounding flower beds and other landscaping. Reduce the watering times and increase the frequency of your irrigation system. Direct the downspout flow as far away from your home as possible; add downspout extensions if needed. Also, reduce the depth of mulch around the exterior of your home to no more than one inch – the deeper the ground cover, the more moisture will be trapped, creating an ideal breeding area for all pests.

Many times DIY efforts do not totally eliminate the ants — especially the nest, where the queen lays her eggs. And since ants are not at the top of the pest food chain, so they may invite other predators like roaches into your home. Some species are particularly troublesome to get rid of. For example, Sugar ants often have more than one queen. A professional pest control company is the most effective method for eliminating an ant colony. They have access to professional level insecticides that are not available to the general public, and are very effective at getting rid of colonies inside a structure.

A Truly Nolen pest control professional can treat your home regularly to not only get rid of any bugs that may lay dormant within walls or hard to reach places, but also keep new pests away. Our ant treatment program treats the both the inside and outside of your home, further reducing the risk of future infestations. A professional has the expertise and experience to find and eliminate the source of the infestation. Having your Truly Nolan pest control specialists eliminate the ants in your home can save you time, money, and a huge headache.

Ant Bites and Treatments

There is a wide range of ant species in the world. Most ants are usually just a nuisance; however, a few varieties are capable of biting people. Red imported fire ants can both sting and bite. Carpenter ants and acrobat ants are also capable of biting – these two types of ants will bite and inject venom into their victims but this is rarely dangerous, and may commonly result in a mild itch.

Most ant bites cause itching, which may last from a few hours to a few days. These mild reactions are very common and home treatment is often all that is needed to relieve the symptoms. Before applying any type of medication to the area, you should wash it thoroughly with cool water and soap to lessen the risk of an infection. This is also why you should refrain from scratching as much as possible. Once the area is clean you can apply topical medications. An ice cube, a cold washcloth, calamine lotion, a paste of baking soda, or an over-the-counter hydrocortisone ointment can soothe the discomfort. If you have a large number of ant bites, you may want to go to your doctor for a prescription strength antihistamine or topical ointment. If the bite causes a severe reaction, seek immediate medical attention.