Category Archives: Uncategorized

Homebuyers Guide to Pest Inspections

When you’re about to close on your dream home there is one question that will inevitably pop into your head: What if something is lurking below the surface that we didn’t see? Termites, a roach infestation, and even rats or mice could potentially be hiding somewhere in your new home. Buying a new home is an exciting time for anyone. You dream of the memories you will create with loved ones in this new space that you worked hard for. You don’t want to imagine having to dump thousands of dollars into your new home because of termites but it happens. And while we want to hope that the sellers would disclose this information if there was an infestation, sometimes they are unaware.

Termite Inspections


Termite
Termites can live inside the walls of your home unnoticed for years, causing major structural damage. When purchasing a new home, it is important that you hire a specialist to do a full termite inspection before your closing. A home inspector will check out the plumbing and electrical but most do not check for termites. If your new home does have a termite infestation, it can cost you thousands of dollars to fix. Hiring a termite inspector that can determine the extent of the damage prior to closing can give you an estimate to provide to the sellers. This cost can be worked into your closing or you can have the sellers fix the problem prior to closing in order to save you the hassle and the cost.

Rodent Inspections


Rodent
Imagine moving into your new home and finding out later on that there are rodents living in the attic? The thought of your home being infested with mice or rats is enough to make anyone want to move out and stay in a hotel. A professional inspection will look for rodent feces, structural damage, and other signs of an infestation. Your seller will be responsible for having an exterminator come in and remove the pests and repair any damages.

Pest Inspections – Interior and Exterior


cockroach
Whether it is cockroaches or ants that are infesting your home, you will want them gone. Your seller should be responsible for having the bugs removed from the home and the exterior walls sealed to ensure they do not return. Outside of your home a bee or wasp infestation could make the outside less enjoyable. Have an inspection done to ensure that your home is livable and enjoyable both inside and out.

Your new home is a place for you to relax, sleep, and enjoy your days. Why should you be handling pest problems during your first few months? Truly Nolen Atlanta can help you remove any unwanted pests before you move in. Call Truly Nolen Atlanta at (678) 561-2847 for a pest inspection before your closing. We will provide you with everything you need to let your sellers know about an infestation should we find one and the cost for treatment.

Why You Need a Pest Control Company for Your Atlanta, GA Home

Cockroach
The sighting of one or two pests may not be enough to prompt homeowners into calling a pest control company. However, where there is one pest, there may often times be others! While some pests are considered to be just a nuisance and are tolerated by homeowners, there are others that should not be ignored as they can pose serious threats such as severe property damage as well as negatively impact your family’s health and well-being. Rodents ( mice and rats) , cockroaches, termites and more are all considered to be pests that can be problematic on a higher scale and should be addressed sooner than later to avoid growing infestations.

The city of Atlanta is well known for its variety of activities and events, as well as the natural beauty that the state has to offer. Along with these positive attributes come other not so positive statistics with regard to pest activity:

  • The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) named Atlanta as the # 6 “Buggiest Cities” in the United States. Atlanta’s sprawling urban development, along with the climate and geography of the state, make it the ideal home for many pests.
  • Residents in Georgia spend approximately $200- $300 million dollars per year on pest control, as well as on repairs from damage caused.
  • Atlanta’s construction boom and city development over the last several years caused a disturbance in rodent patterns, forcing rodents closer into the city. Atlanta is now said to have the second highest rat population in the USA.
  • The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology cites that studies of inner city children in Atlanta with symptoms of chronic wheezing and runny noses, had these symptoms as a result of allergies to cockroaches.

Why Do I need A Pest Control Company?

Just as homeowners take care of their homes through on-going maintenance such as roof repairs, painting and more, pest control management should be included in those items needed to keep your home safe and secure all year round. Without consistent monitoring of pest activity, homeowners run the risk of potential structural damage and exacerbated health issues if small pest problems are left to turn into major ones.

If you think you don’t need a pest control company, consider the following:

  • Roaches- Roaches are scavengers, eager to eat any and everything they come into contact with. As carriers of germs, diseases and bacteria, roaches are infamous for causing allergies, which can become airborne and spread to many areas of the home through vents and air ducts. The allergens produced by roaches have been shown to cause health concerns, ranging from mild to more severe including:
  1. Asthma ( mild onset to severe complications)
  2. Dermatitis
  3. Skin rashes
  4. Itching
  5. Digestive problems
  6. Food poisoning
  7. Severe respiratory conditions
  8. Intestinal diseases
  • Termites – Termites are wood destroying insects, which makes Atlanta homes the perfect place for termites to have their fun. Termite damage can represent a real economic impact to homeowners if an infestation is not caught early. Eastern Subterranean termites in particular are very common in Atlanta with homeowners spending an average of $3,000 to repair the damage caused.
  • Rodents – Rats and mice are vectors of many diseases which are easily passed on to humans even without direct contact. Rodents can enter the home even through the smallest of openings and will gnaw through wood, plastic, insulation, wiring and more in order to reach food or water. The presence of rats or mice pose serious health issues in various ways:
  • People can become infected if the rodent dropping or urine contains a Hantavirus which may infiltrate dust that can be breathed in by humans.
  • Eating or drinking food or water that is contaminated with rat feces.
  • Direct contact with live or dead rats that are infected.
  • In rare cases, rats directly biting a human.

Truly Nolen West Atlanta encourages homeowners to consider pest control management as part of their overall home maintenance plan. Addressing pest issues early on can prevent more serious damage from occurring. Pest control does not need to be an overwhelming activity! Call your Truly Nolen West Atlanta pest professional today at (404) 939-7277 to schedule a FREE inspection. A thorough evaluation of your home may reveal an underlying pest problem, which can be safely and effectively taken care of. With convenient scheduling, environmentally friendly products and innovative treatment methods, Truly Nolen can provide Atlanta residents with the best in pest control all year around.

July 4th: Declare Your Independence from Pests

Flies
Every Fourth of July, families across the country will celebrate the holiday surrounded by friends, many over an outdoor meal. This annual tradition brings loved ones together but it also brings unwanted guests too. Flies, mosquitoes, ants, and many other pests will come out to enjoy the food that you have prepared. With simple planning, these pests can be kept out of the way so you can enjoy your time with family without having to swat away a pesky bug or two. Here are our tips:

Shoo Fly Don’t Bother Me

Is there anything grosser than a fly landing on your food right before you eat it? These pesky little bugs can really ruin a meal. Place fly traps around your picnic area using a mixture of molasses and cornmeal. Flies will be attracted to the smell and will get trapped in the mixture, leaving you to dine in peace.

Get Caught In the Breeze

Did you ever notice that flies and mosquitoes don’t bother you when it is windy out? Bring a battery operated fan with you on your picnic. The fan will disperse the smell of your food, making it hard for the bugs to find where the food is.

Come On Baby, Light my Fire

Citronella candles can help keep the mosquitoes away from your picnic table. When the sun begins to set they offer lovely lighting on your table. Citronella is an essential oil of a citrus plant that can ward off mosquitoes. When used in a large space, these have been less effective than other methods.

Stay Away from Water

While taking your picnic to a nearby lake might sound like a great way to spend the 4th, the truth is you will probably end up being bothered with pests more than enjoying the lake. Mosquitoes, horseflies, and other insects are attracted to the water. Consider moving your picnic more inland to avoid these pests.

Go Under Cover

Consider purchasing a dome shaped tent to go over your picnic table. Your party will not be disturbed by unwanted guests and you will be able to eat in peace. These covers are affordable and come in several sizes. Another smart trick is to cover the tops of your cups when you are outside. This might seem obvious but if you’re enjoying a refreshing glass of lemonade, a soda, or even a beer, pests are attracted to the sugar found in these beverages so cover them up with a napkin.

We hope that you have a great holiday picnic and that the pests stay far away from you. Happy Independence Day from your friends at Truly Nolen Atlanta!

What’s Bugging You in Atlanta?

Atlanta is home to some of the world’s greatest sites and attractions. Millions of visitors flock to the city each and every year with locals taking advantage of having these attractions right in their backyard all year round. Among all the amazing experiences that visitors may encounter, residents of Atlanta can add a bevy of bugs and critters native to the Peach state that they often meet up on a regular basis.

Truly Nolen’s teams of professional pest experts can treat any bug that may find its way a little too close for comfort. From Kudzu bugs on your car windshield, to Yellow Jackets on the roof of your front porch, Truly Nolen offers a complete range of customized services that address the specific treatment methods needed to keep bugs away.

As you go about your daily activities, Truly Nolen asks the question, what’s bugging you Atlanta residents?

Kudzu Bugs

Kudzu Bug
The Kudzu Bug is a fairly new resident of Atlanta, cropping up in growing numbers over the last several years. This small, light brown/olive toned bug, is similar to a beetle but has a far more unpleasant characteristic in the form of a foul smelling odor that is emitted once handled or squished. With a high activity during the spring months, Atlanta residents have undoubtedly met up with the Kudzu bug while leaving the house on any given day.

Tips & Prevention

Truly Nolen recommends the following to help keep the stinky Kudzu bug from ruining your day:

  • Seal any cracks or small openings on the exterior of your home, especially around door or window frames.
  • Keep Kudzu bugs from entering by fixing gaps in screens that lead into the home.
  • If Kudzu bugs find their way indoors, it is important to keep a vacuum handy to quickly collect and dispose of the bugs.
  • Always contact your local Truly Nolen expert for professional treatment and removal of a Kudzu bug infestation.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow Jacket
As the weather moves from the cool breezes of spring to the hot winds of the summer months, residents may notice an increase in the number of yellow jackets swarming and building nests around their homes. The hot, humid weather of summer time in Atlanta provides the ideal conditions for stinging insect activity and a species of wasp, commonly called the Yellow Jacket in Georgia, is no exception.

Since Yellow Jackets are known to deliver a painful sting, Truly Nolen recommends calling their team of professional pest experts to effectively treat and remove any Yellow Jacket nests that may be in close range of your house.

Tips & Prevention

Areas that are common in Atlanta homes and prone to Yellow Jacket infestation are:

  • Crawl spaces
  • Hollow trees
  • Soffits
  • Attics and ceiling voids.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean Termite
Eastern Subterranean termites are the most commonly found termite in Atlanta. While Atlanta residents may not see the inner workings of this destructive pest, it is exactly for this reason that residents should schedule regular inspections to know what is going on behind the scenes. With a heavy concentration of forested areas and wooden homes and structures, subterranean termites are known for wreaking havoc on the structural integrity of Atlanta homes.

Tips & Prevention

Prevention and consistent monitoring are essential to keeping your home termite free. With Truly Nolen’s $1 million dollar Total Termite Protection℠ plan, our termite experts can develop a safe and effective treatment schedule that includes:

  • Thorough inspection of interior and exterior areas of the home, especially those prone to high termite levels such as attics and basements.
  • Effectively seal any entry points on the outside. Areas that are in close proximity to the foundation of the home should be closely monitored as subterranean termites can enter the home from under the ground.
  • Advanced application of treatments and bait can kill termites at their source and prevent future infestations.

Although Atlanta residents may find one too many bugs out and about this summer, the good news is that Truly Nolen’s team of pest control experts are ready to schedule an appointment to identify, assess, treat and monitor any bug problem you may encounter. Don’t let bugs bug you! Contact your Truly Nolen Atlanta pest professional today at (404) 939-7277 to schedule your free inspection.

Spring into Swarms: Prepare your Atlanta Home for Termite Season

Spring time in Atlanta, Georgia is truly the ideal time of the year to enjoy the many outdoor activities that the city has to offer. Warm sunshine and cool breeze invigorates the whole city and breathes new life into nature. Although this great weather can encourage homeowners to spend most of their days out of the house, it is important to remember that while you are out and about, pest problems may be lurking on the inside of your home.

Termite swarm
While pest control should be addressed 365 days of the year, changes in the seasons means that different pests can be more active during one season and more dormant during others. In the case of termites, spring is the optimal time for them to swarm and infest new areas. Properly preparing your home to prevent termite damage is key to weathering the swarm. Truly Nolen of West Atlanta, GA outlines special concerns for Atlanta homes, paying close attention to areas in the home more susceptible to damage such as crawl spaces, attics, basements, chimneys and any wooden structure that may be attached to, or near to your home.

Why Do Termites Swarm?

Found throughout most of the United States, termites are particularly prevalent in the South East, with Atlanta claiming one of the top hot spots for termite infestations. In particular, subterranean termites are the most common type, making a name for themselves in many Atlanta homes. Drawn to moisture, subterranean termites will build their nests in wet wood, as well as underground, hence the name “subterranean.” Winding their way through tunnels in the soil, subterranean termites are on the search for wooden structures in any form, as this contains cellulose, which is the primary basis of their diet. Trees, decaying woods, branches and other wood elements don’t stand a chance against these voracious eaters. Unfortunately, many of these wooden elements can also be found near to or attached to your home, making them the perfect gateway for termites to enter.

Should termites find their way into your home and establish their colonies, there will come a time when these colonies will become overcrowded or these termites will be on the search for new areas to inhabit. When this happens, “swarmers” or winged termites will emerge and swarm, indicating the start of the termite reproductive cycle. These swarmers have the primary responsibility of taking flight in order to reproduce, in turn creating new colonies away from its current environment.

Areas of Concern in Atlanta Homes & How to Prepare

With much of Atlanta surrounded heavily by trees, combined with the wooden architecture and construction design elements of most Atlanta homes, there are many opportunities for these wood destroying insects to enter the home and wreak havoc. Termite infestations can be a tremendous financial drainage for homeowners who are not aware of a problem until it is too late. This is also a consideration for those wishing to buy or sell their properties, as undiscovered termite problems can damage property values and affect pending transactions.

Residents in Atlanta are advised to be particularly aware of certain areas in the home that are more prone to termite infestations. By being cognizant of these areas, homeowners can be proactive in scheduling regular inspections from a trained Truly Nolen pest control expert. In addition, homeowners can also take steps to help deter termites from wreaking havoc in their home.

Areas that are susceptible to termite damage include:

  • Crawl Spaces – Construction elements that are found in crawl spaces can be cellulose in nature, thus providing ample bait for termites to forage. Also, crawl spaces are prone to excessive moisture if not properly ventilated, making them an ideal environment for termites to flourish.
    How to Prepare: Ensure that all crawl spaces are inspected for insufficient ventilation, being sure to address this sooner than later. Proper ventilation decreases the humidity factor, where termites tend to thrive.
  • Basements – Close to the ground, basements can serve as an entry point for termites due to issues with moisture and its proximity to the soil.
    How to prepare: Ensure that all window frames or doorways in the basement are properly sealed and caulked. Proper insulation, as well as maintaining adequate temperatures allow for less moisture in the air and can also deter termites.
  • Chimneys – With chimneys having a direct route to the exterior of the home, as well as the presence of chopped firewood, termites can find their way inside.
    How to prepare: Routinely check firewood for signs of termites and store at least 20 feet away from the house if possible.
  • Attics – Old, wooden exposed beams in the attic can provide the perfect place for termites to get their fill.
    How to prepare: For older homes in particular, a professional attic inspection can reveal any signs of damaged or rotting beams that may be in need of repair.
  • Porches/Decks – Generally constructed of wood, termites are notorious for doing damage as exposed porches and decks are prone to weathering from natural elements such as rain or snow.
    How to prepare: Regularly apply protecting sealants to help keep moisture from infiltrating the wood. This will ensure that your deck lasts longer, as well as provide a barrier between the wood and water, keeping termites at bay.
  • Wooden sheds –Outdoor wooden sheds can find themselves under attack since they are prone to getting wet.
    How to prepare: At the first sign of rotting wood, replace or repair the damaged area to avoid giving termites an easy meal. Applying insecticide, or painting the exterior of the shed can also help discourage termites.
  • Wooden siding- With cracks and creases to hide in, wooden siding is often a source of termite infestation in most Atlanta homes.
    How to prepare: Ideally, siding should start at a minimum of 6 inches from the ground to avoid wood to soil contact.
  • Wooden fencing – In direct contact with the soil, untreated wooden fencing makes it easy for termites to crawl up and do damage to the fence itself, as well as to adjoining structures.
    How to prepare: Addressing any signs of decaying wood is the first step in keeping your wooden fence termite free. It can also be helpful to paint the fence, as this will create an additional barrier to the wood.

Since termite infestations can often go unnoticed for a period of time, it is important for residents in Atlanta to schedule home inspections on a regular basis. Consistently monitoring and treating your home will ensure that termites do not have a chance to enter, and any existing problems are dealt with safely and efficiently by your trained service professional.

Your Truly Nolen West Atlanta professional can provide a free home inspection and customized treatment options that are just right for you. Through Truly’s Total Termite Protection Plan℠, homeowners are covered for protection from all types of termites. Call Truly Nolen today at 404-939-7277 to schedule your free inspection and discuss how we can help you keep your home termite free this spring!

Roach Identification: A Closer Look at the other Atlantian Natives

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

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

German Roach

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

American Roach

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

Brown Banded Cockroach

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

Oriental Cockroach

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

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

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

Watch out for Late Winter Bugs

When it’s cold and gloomy outside, don’t think the bugs are dying outside in the cold. Some are living and feasting quite comfortably in the warmth of your home. Homeowners are often bothered by these critters during late winter and early spring. Some insects survive the winter by finding a safe, warm place to dwell for the colder seasons. Here’s a helpful roundup of the most common winter bugs you should look for in late winter season.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

StinkbugBrown marmorated stink bugs are not dangerous insects, but they are a nuisance if living in your home. They do not have the physical capacity to sting or bite humans or other predators. They rely on their only defense, their ability to release strong pungent odor (similar to a skunk). Brown marmorated stink bugs release a chemical called an aggregation pheromone, a scent that attracts other brown marmorated stink bugs, but repels predators. You may not notice them until they come into your home as the weather turns colder. When they accept your hospitality you will know it; they are large, travel in large groups, and fly rather than crawl. The good news is they are not known to cause any structural or cosmetic damage to homes. They are simply looking for a place to spend the winter and hibernate until warm temperatures return. In the spring they will resurface, ravenous, and ready to leave and get outside to feed on plants. They usually enter all types of residential buildings such as homes, apartments, condominiums, office buildings, etc. Aside from being a nuisance to homeowners the potential exists for the brown marmorated stink bug to become a significant agricultural pest in the east.

 

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are the most common wasps seen around homes and buildings. Paper wasps actually make paper out of paper they produce, hence their name. These umbrella shaped nests are built in protected locations including in shrubs, on tree branches, on porch ceilings, window and door frames, roof overhangs, attic rafters, and under decks, joists or railings. They like heights and tend to prefer high assemblies, such as attics, chimneys and tall buildings. During the colder seasons, paper wasp queens may join together in large groups and overwinter in all types of structures. Though paper wasps do not readily attack people, they will sting if they feel threatened.

Cluster Flies

cluster-fly
Cluster flies, another group of winter guests, are large and robust flies. Unlike house flies, their wings overlap when they are at rest. At first glance, you may mistake them for house flies, but they are bigger, darker and slower. Homes surrounded by lawns are more susceptible to a cluster flies infestation. Clustering flies can enter your home through the tiniest cracks, or any other small unsealed opening. The name cluster fly is used because they tend to gather in clusters after entering a house in the fall. They aren’t dangerous insects, but they are a nuisance because they leave stains in your home. They sometimes give off a sickly, sweetish odor if bothered. You would find cluster flies in secluded areas such as holes in the walls, attics, closets, voids, and empty rooms. Be careful not to kill them before finding and removing the nest, dead flies attracts more insects. If they die within the walls, other predators will migrate into your home.

Clover Mites

Clover Mite

Photo credit: Steve Jacobs, PSU Entamology

Clover mites are very tiny arachnids that live and reproduce outdoors, but become household pests in the early spring when they migrate into residences. They are only 1/64th inch long, soft, oval, and flattened from top to bottom. They vary in color from rusty brown to dark red. They are easily distinguished by their very long pair of front legs that extend forward like antennae as the mites crawl. Clover mites are harmless as they cannot bite or sting, they do not infest stored foods, they cannot attack the house structure and furnishings, so what’s the issue? They migrate into homes large numbers, often covering walls, furniture, closets, and clothing. Clover mites, when squished, will leave a noticeable reddish stain on any surface. Other than that, which admittedly is pretty bad, they are a nuisance only by their presence.

Pest Prevention

While all of these insects are active year-round, fall and winter are when they move indoors. Perfectly understandable; where would you want to be, outside freezing or inside and warm and cozy? None of these bugs pose a health or property risk to homeowners but they can all become a serious nuisance around the home. Like other pests, including ants and termites, they often enter structures in large numbers making them difficult pests to control once inside. As a result, homeowners should look for simple ways to ward off these invaders before an infestation develops.

Here are some tips on prevention to get ready for bug season.

  1. Seal off entry points- Inspect the outside of your home for easy access points, if you can find it so can the pests.
  2. Repair- It is imperative to repair damaged screens on windows or doors, and seal any cracks around the windows and doors.
  3. Reduce moisture sites- Eliminate all moisture build-up around your home. Check for leaking pipes and clogged drains. Pests love moisture almost as much as warmth.
  4. Eliminate food sources- Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly. Keep pests hungry, wipe down counters and sweep floors to eliminate crumbs and residue.
  5. Check your belongings- Inspect items such as boxes containing holiday decorations and grocery bags before bringing them indoors.
  6. Properly landscape: Keep branches and shrubbery well-trimmed. Make sure to store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground.

Remember that if you suspect an infestation has already developed, don’t try to solve it on your own, contact your Truly Nolen Lexington pest professional to save both time and money.

Homes can be pre-treated for bugs before they become a problem. Truly Nolen offers barrier treatments to protect your home and help you get ready for the winter bug season. The barrier treatment approach is an outside treatment that protects your home from winter bugs as well as many other bugs trying to get in, including millipedes and ants. Additionally, year-round protection for homes can be achieved by implementing Truly Nolen’s Four Seasons pest management program: an affordable, responsible, and effective solution to ensure that you are Truly Protected.

Clay Soil in Dallas, TX Could Mean Easy Entry for Pests and Termites

Termite
It is well documented that certain areas of both north Texas and Dallas-Fort Worth have long standing issues with housing foundation movement. While there can be numerous factors associated with the “how” and the “why” a home’s foundation shifts over time, the overwhelming cause is a result of soil movement (i.e. contracting and expanding).

Many houses, particularly those in north Texas lie on top of clay soil that interacts with moisture differently than do most other soil types. Clay soil has properties comparable to a sponge, expanding with higher levels of moisture and contracting when less moisture is present. When parts of the foundation move disproportionately to others, the remaining areas of the foundation are under distress. This constant duress over time causes cracks in the foundation that eventually cause cracks in surfaces such as brick and dry wall in and outside the home.

Cracks in a structure’s foundation do not have to create structural issues for them to be a problem. Small cracks in a home’s foundation or walls can grant easy access for common household pests. North Texas and Dallas-Fort Worth residents are no stranger when it comes to pest issues such as ants, cockroaches, beetles, and spiders.

One “silent destroyer” especially prevalent is the termite. Despite the devastating damage they’re capable of causing, termites are roughly only a few millimeters to 1 centimeter in length. The termite’s small size is particularly problematic if there are drywall cracks in your home due to the fact that termite swarms gain entry into your home practically undetected through these small cracks.

Subterranean termites specifically pose a very serious threat when the foundation of your home shifts drastically, considering they enter a home upwards from the ground, making any cracked slabs of concrete or expansion joints a potential infiltration point. A slight crack as narrow as 1/64th of an inch, is enough for termites to squeeze through, especially if that same crack is emitting a source of moisture, which in turn makes plumbing pipes critical areas to monitor.

Truly Nolen’s Total Termite Protection PlanSM is the most comprehensive termite control program in the industry (covering all species of termite), as it is backed by a $1 Million Dollar Guarantee. For more information on scheduling your Free inspection for your Dallas, TX home visit: https://www.trulynolen.com/locations/tx/dallas/dallas.asp#local-termite-control or https://www.trulynolen.com/locations/tx/fort-worth/fort-worth.asp#local-termite-control.

Insect Mating Rituals Lessons in Love from the Wild

love
Love is in the air this Valentine’s Day! Similar to humans, insects have their own unique techniques for finding and selecting the perfect Valentine. Forget flowers and chocolates, insects tap into their natural instincts when searching for love and engage in some pretty unique rituals in the process of trying to attract the right mate. While the mating habits of insects appear relatively simple from a human perspective, it can actually be quite the opposite. Insect mating rituals can be complicated and full of both romance and rejection.

The search for a mate can be a daunting task for humans and insects alike. Unlike humans (loosely speaking), insects have as specific wish list of requirements when it comes to determining what they want and need from a potential mate. With each type of insect using their own unique tactics for attracting the attention and affection of worthy suitors, first the insects must find each other and agree to mate. Insects typically engage in the widespread human practice of gift exchange prior to mating. However, instead of flowers or chocolate, male dance flies for example, are known to give prospective female mates an elaborate silk ball. Some species of insects will even go that extra mile and include edible prey within their gift, or fill the air with sweet smells in order seduce a potential mate.

In the world of insects, the search for love isn’t always a case of males pursuing females. Sometimes the females take love into their own hands. Female termites for instance, release mating pheromones that act as a sweet-smelling perfume intended to entice male termites. Once the male termite acknowledges the female working hard to allure him, they both break off their wings in order to symbolize that they are now a couple. Female fire flies on the other hand, use visual cues and glow to get the male’s attention. Males attracted by the female’s glow, use their sense of smell to locate the female and then mate. Female scorpion flies have very particular mating habits. These particular females choose their mates based on saliva-secretion ability. As the female waits patiently the male scorpion fly basically produces a large ball of saliva that serves as a nutritious nuptial gift for his new sweetheart.

honey-bees3 The honeybee’s mating ritual is truly fascinating. Queen honeybees are selectively bred in a special “queen cell” in the hive. Queen bees are fed royal jelly by worker bees in an attempt to induce them to become sexually mature. Virgin honeybee queens that survive to see adulthood, without being killed by rivals, will take to flight mating with only a dozen or so male drones out of tens of thousands of eligible bachelors in the hive. Females also run the show in the world of fire ant colonies. The queen ant is in charge of laying eggs and even has control over the number of male and female eggs she decides to lay. The queen’s only priority is to produce a replacement queen. Worker ants on the contrary, have no use for males after mating and shortly afterwards they typically die off. If the queen needs males, she can just simply lay more male eggs replenishing the male population.

The females aren’t the only ones initiating mating calls in the wild, some male insects have their own unique ways of seducing the lucky ladies that cross their paths as well. Male grasshoppers are all about serenading their potential mate. There are over 400 songs male grasshoppers sing to females, each with its own meaning. Some species of male grasshoppers also incorporate elaborate courtship routines. The Syrbula Admirabilis species for example, displays 18 different poses that involve using their palp, legs, and wings. Other species of male grasshoppers flash brilliantly colored wings while pursuing the female, whereas some remaining species relinquish dating entirely. While male grasshoppers are focused on winning over their female counterparts, male water striders use aggressive tactics to ensure that their mates don’t reject them. The male water strider creates tiny ripples in the water that actually lure predatory fish towards prospective female mates. The male will continue tapping his legs against the water’s surface until the female either agrees to mate with him, or ends up becoming fish’s prey. Resorting to a more coercive copulation, the male mounts the floating female from above, so the female is more at risk from predators since she’s on the water’s surface. This menacing pick-up tactic likely started after females evolved a “genital shield” resembling a chastity belt. The evolution of this “chastity belt” meant that mating could only happen with female consent. Unfortunately, female water striders don’t have much of a choice when it comes to mating, considering it’s either mate or deal with advancing predatory fish. Perhaps fire ants could provide some evolutionary tips to these ladies!

After each species of insect has identified with whom they want to partner with, they must work to make the magic happen, something we commonly refer to as “courtship” or “dating”. Many insects use extensive courtship rituals to choose their partners. Insect mating and breeding rituals, for the most part, are similar to that of humans however, the focus is primarily on reproducing and less on romance.

While most animals mate simply for the livelihood of their species, there are some mating rituals that are actually in fact a bit romantic (the male grasshoppers’ serenading for example). Some will argue that nothing speaks to the beauty of reproduction better than nature’s vast collection of intricate and sophisticated mating rituals, uniform only to one another in their beauty.

Don’t Let Fabric Pests Ruin Your Wardrobe

As you start digging through the back of your closet for warmer clothing this fall season, keep an eye out for household pests that may be destroying your clothes. Even though these pests are not usually disease or germ carriers, their presence can be a nuisance and difficult to eliminate. It’s important to ensure your clothes and other fabrics are protected as these pests can cause considerable damage before you even know they are present.

Generally, it’s the newly hatched larvae that do the damage on everything from sweaters, pants, jackets, wool rugs, to decorative needlework on your walls. Typically insect damage occurs on fabrics containing natural or animal fibers such as wool, mohair, silk, cotton, leather, fur, feathers, down, and any synthetics blended with these natural fibers.

Clothes Moths

clothes_moth

Clothes moths are a light tan color, have very narrow wings, and can grow up to 1/2 inch long. It is the larva (small white worm looking) that actually eats wool garments, not the adult moths themselves. But if you see the adult clothes moths around you can assume they are laying eggs. Clothes moths pose no serious health concern to humans; however, an infestation can quickly ruin rarely used or stored clothing such as old military uniforms, blankets, feathered hats, tuxedos, overcoats, evening gowns, hats, antique dolls and toys, and wall hangings.

They thrive in dark, moist areas, such as closets and attics, where larvae have easy access to food sources like naturally occurring fibers such as wool and cotton. The damage from clothes moths appears as many small holes throughout the garment. Once you identify the presence of clothes moths, it is important to take action immediately. It is rare that infestations will be isolated to one particular location; moths like to travel around the home, searching for new places to lay eggs. Be sure to check carefully to find everything that has been infested. Clean, treat, or get rid of infested items. It may be better to throw out an infested item to protect uninfected woolens.

Washing items in a hot water wash cycle can be enough to kill all life cycles of the moth and ensure pests are removed at all life stages. Conversely, freezing temperatures can also kill any eggs or larvae in your wool garments. Depending on your environment, you can put the clothes outside on a cold day or use a freezer. Getting rid of clothes moths can be difficult so if signs of an infestation are severe enough, seek the help of a pest control professional as additional treatments may be required to eliminate the infestation.

Carpet Beetles

Carpet_Beetle

Carpet beetles commonly cause damage to fabrics such as wool, silk, leather, and fur; they do not feed on synthetic fibers. Just like the clothes moth, the carpet beetle larvae are the ones to do the damage to your clothing. Carpet beetle larvae measure 1/8 to 1/4 inch long and appear to be densely covered with tiny hairs or bristles. The garment damage appears in one portion of a garment, or concentrated area. They easily find food in obscure places and can be easily dispersed throughout the home considering their unique ability to travel. Carpet beetles can be difficult to control and can cause extensive damage if left unchecked.

Getting rid of carpet beetles starts by ensuring you remove conditions conducive to infestations. Start by eliminating buildup of lint, dead insects and hair found inside the home. Wash drapes and other washable items in a hot water cycle, as they may contain eggs, larvae, and other adult carpet beetles. To treat items that are stuffed with hair or feathers, simply placing items in a dryer may not be enough – you may want to enlist the help of a pest control company. The application of targeted treatments can ensure proper removal throughout the home.

Silverfish

silverfish

Silverfish are carrot-shaped insects with wingless, flattened bodies that are 1/2 to 3/4 inch long and silver in color. They feed on insulation, carbohydrates, starches, and proteins and both adults and nymphs damage fabrics. They are attracted to and commonly found in natural fabrics such as linen, rayon, and cotton. They require very high humidity or access to water, moderate temperatures, and dark places. Infestations are common around leaking pipes and closet areas.

They thrive on the tiniest scraps of food and once they establish a food source, they will remain and breed in the area. They tend to be most active at night and feed on natural starches and glues, leaving visible damage on finer fabrics such as silk, cotton, linen, and rayon. Silverfish eat at the surface leaving a “shaved” look, but will usually not leave actual holes in the fabric. Although they prefer starchy food, silverfish are quite able to digest cellulose and will devour your books as eagerly as the food stains on your garments! Your local Truly Nolen pest control company can help you protect your home from outside silverfish intruders.

Crickets

cricketThe most common types of crickets are the field cricket and the house cricket. Crickets are about three-quarters of an inch in length and black or brown in color. Although crickets rarely cause any problems and pose no serious health risks, many people find their chirping annoying. Only house crickets can reproduce inside the home. Cricket infestations are rarely problematic since crickets thrive outside. If crickets are a common disturbance in your home, following up with a pest control expert will help you “cricket-proof” the interior of your home.

Tips for keeping your clothes pest free!

  1. Store only clean garments. Thoroughly clean clothes prior to storage by emptying pockets, washing to remove food stains, perfumes, and perspiration as these can be a reliable food source for a wardrobe-destroying infestation. Have garments dry cleaned (without starch) or place in dryer on high heat for 15 minutes to eliminate any insect eggs or mildew spores.
  2. Regularly clean and vacuum. Clean rugs and carpets, draperies, upholstered furniture, closets and anywhere else larvae can hide. When you are finished, immediately dispose of the vacuum bag.
  3. To avoid future infestations, store clothes in containers located in a cool, dry place. Use garment storage bags made of cotton and or vinyl. Make sure to utilize breathable bags for leather or fur garments. Preventative products such as moth balls and cedar products can provide additional protection. If the insects cannot lay eggs, they will not eat your clothes.
  4. Be careful what you buy second-hand. Always launder or dry-clean woolens that are bought from thrift stores or given to you as hand-me-downs. You could have unexpected guests along with that sweater!

Don’t let these fabric-eating pests ruin your winter wardrobe. Want to leave it to the professionals? Contact a trained Truly Nolen pest control expert. Schedule a free inspection today!