Pest Advice Blog

Keeping Roaches Out of Your Charlotte Home

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

Cockroach Classifications

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

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

Pest Prevention

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

Follow these simple guidelines to ensure your home is protected:

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

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

Toby Srebnik of Truly Nolen Interviews with Clean Crawls

Recently, Truly Nolen of America’s PR Manager, Toby Srebnik sat down with Clean Crawls for an interview. As part of his many duties here at Truly Nolen, he manages our public relations, social media and community events, working closely with local branches. Srebnik has been in the PR industry for 15 years making him a critical part of the Truly Nolen team.

He was brought in by Clean Crawls as an expert to discuss managing home pest infestations. Srebnik discussed the most common types of pest infestations like termites in the warmer months and rodents in the cooler months and he also explained how challenging it can be to get rid of bed bug infestations, depending on the severity of the situation. When asked about the causes for pest infestations in most homes, he pointed out that pests will gain entry anywhere they’re given a chance and that inside the home, cleanliness and proper food storage are key. As a result, he explained that Truly Nolen’s Four Seasons approach is the best way to go to keep pests under control, whether customers see the pests in their home or not.

Read the entire interview with Truly Nolen of America’s Toby Srebnik here.

U.S. Lawns: A Brief History of Home Lawns and Turf Grass in the U.S.

As humans we love our lawns, as evidenced by our obsession with lawn care and maintenance. But as much as we love our lawns and yards, we also tend to take them for granted. How often do you think about the environmental impact and the technological evolution of lawns? Truly Nolen takes a closer look at the history of lawns.

history of home lawns

Lawns play prominent aesthetic and environmental roles

Not only do lawns turn an ordinary plot of dirt into a green paradise surrounded by ornamental trees and flowers that frame your home perfectly, they also provide a soft carpet for our feet. We love to gather in parks for picnics, sporting events and other leisure activities, but seldom do we think, “Good job, lawn, with that noise reduction and pollution benefit thing you do for us. Oh, and thanks for keeping that dirt in line.”

Lawns and turf grass areas also:

  • Control soil erosion and protect the quality of groundwater
  • Help trap synthetic organic compounds and enhance bio-degradation of synthetic compounds
  • Absorb and remove carbon dioxide gases
  • Moderate temperatures by dissipating heat from urban areas
  • Provide high visibility from intruders, enhancing home security
  • Serve as firebreaks to reduce fire hazards

Visually, lawns promote the quality of our lives, lend a hand towards community pride and increase property values. But when did this love affair with lawns begin?

Lawn love is in our DNA

Anthropologists note a connection between humans and lawns in ancient civilizations. Taking a page from ancient African civilizations, the low turf grass on the Savannah helped tribal civilizations stalk their prey.

From the Middle Ages into the Renaissance

As far back as the Middle Ages, throughout Europe, treeless grassy areas helped defend fortress castles, assisting guards in detecting movement as far off as the horizon. Moving into modern times, people started to enhance the quality of their lives, developing an interest in lawn cultivation. Dr. James Beard, in his book The Journal of Environmental Turf grass, says that, “The more technically advanced a civilization, the more widely turf grasses are used.”

Painters, as early as the 12th century placed their subjects in idyllic settings surrounded by grassy areas, kept clipped by grazing animals. “Bowling greens” for tennis courts, croquet courts and golf putting greens developed around the same time, paving the way for the importance of turf grass for outdoor sports of the future. Cricket is noted as the first team sport played on turf grass. The dawn of soccer in England in the 1500s and the evolution of golf in Scotland furthered an interest in turf grass for sports.

European Renaissance paintings from the 15th century portray ornamental lawns and public green spaces and by the 16th century, paintings and literature of the higher classes featured manicured formal gardens.

Wealthy Renaissance landowners flaunted their wealth, devoting much of their grassland to livestock production and surrounding their homes with lavish lawns, maintained by servants with hand scythes. The lower classes, who needed the land around their homes for growing fruits, vegetables and herbs, grazed their sheep and cows in a central “common” grassy area in their villages.

Later, adventurous Europeans, fleeing religious persecution and economic hardship in Europe arrived in North America with grass seed in hand. But it wasn’t until the 19th century that mechanical mowers arrived on the scene in the United States.

Huge steps in lawn mowing equipment and cultivated turf grass seed technology

Invented by Edwin Beard Budding in 1830, the mechanical mower expanded the areas of cultivated grass areas, allowing the public to enjoy mowed grass lawns in parks. 1890 saw mass production make mechanical mowers affordable to the public for the first time.

By the early part of the 20th century, turf grass seed cultivation evolved towards better density and performance for sports. During this time, New York’s Central Park designer, Frederick Law Olmstead included lawns for each home in his Riverside Park design, outside Chicago.

Levittown, Long Island offered the 1952 homebuyer a suburban community that included a lawn as part of a package deal. Levittown drew national attention as GIs returning from World War II radically increased the demand for affordable housing.

Young men marrying and starting families gave rise to the America Dream of owning a house with a lawn. Since the 1950s, advances in technology, development of turf grass cultivars and the DIY lawn product industry evolution, devotion to lawn cultivation permeates America’s consciousness.

Florida lawn care can be challenging

Currently, a focus on eco-friendly lawn care, with Integrated Pest Management is ushering in a new dimension in lawn care that promotes lawn maintenance by skilled professional pest control companies. In Florida, lawns come under constant stress from heat, humidity, weeds, salt, poor water retention, insects, fungi and other diseases. Florida’s year round tropical climate requires constant care to ensure nutritional balance, combat insects and control weeds.

While the first step to a healthy lawn involves proper mowing, trimming and watering, knowing when and what type of insecticides to apply can be challenging, as over application can damage your lawn. Also, Florida soils require specific nutritional requirements that commercial fertilizers don’t satisfy. Plus, sand in Florida’s soil can deplete nutrients, due to poor water retention.

Cut out the guesswork. Your local Truly Nolen representative can provide you with a Grass Facts Sheet for your particular type of turf grass with tips on maintenance and proper care. Then, starting with a comprehensive lawn analysis, Truly Lawn Care protects and nurtures your lawn year round. Contact us today to give your lawn the best care you can.

Rodent Identification: A Glimpse at Common Rodents of the United States

Thinking about spring cleaning? Truly Nolen asks you to think like a rodent. Don’t be a pack rat. Rodents love your clutter and so do the feasting insects, like cockroaches that carry and spread disease and pathogens to you and your family when they infest your home.

rodent identification

Cleaning? Or Rodent Infestation? Hmmm . . .

It’s a messy business, rodent infestation, what with trapping and removing rodent carcasses and then cleaning rodent droppings and urine, dealing with the vectors in a specific way to avoid air-borne allergens, including dangerous pathogens, such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, a lung infection caused by the inhalation of dried rodent fecal matter through air-borne particulates, coming into contact with an infected rodent’s saliva, urine or feces, or being bitten by an infected rodent. Truly Nolen’s thinking what you’re thinking. Break out the cleaning supplies; let’s get this place rodent resistant.

Clean your attic!

Cardboard boxes, stored newspapers, magazines and other paper products invite rodents into your home. With paper materials for nest stuffing, plus wood and electrical wiring to file their teeth on, who wouldn’t be tempted to move in and start a family in a quiet, dark, cozy, and cluttered attic?

Also, rodents can cause serious structural and electrical damage to homes and businesses throughout the US. Because they need to gnaw to keep their sizable teeth filed down, rodents chew wood and electrical wiring. Rodents are suspected to be responsible for an estimated 20 percent of undetermined house fires in the United States each year. For food and water, rodents like to forage in your kitchen, but can go without food and water for extended periods of time. However, if rodents can eat in your kitchen, they will.

Clean your kitchen!

Regularly wiping down and cleaning your kitchen countertops and dining areas and sweeping and vacuuming your floors can deter rodents. In your pantry, keep all open, dry goods stored in glass, metal or hard plastic containers. Storing dog food and birdseed in airtight containers is also critical in helping to exclude rodents.

Also, cleaning and sanitizing outdoor trash receptacles, in addition to clearing clutter and debris from your home’s exterior should be part of your spring cleaning plans.

Who are these rodents and where do they live?

Norway Rats: All over this land

norway rat - truly nolenIntroduced to America in 1775, Norway rats spread through the colonies, then crossed the country with the pioneers and now thrive everywhere in the US today, in close proximity to humans. Norway rats measure 12-18 inches, tail included and can be distinguished by their blunt noses, small close-set ears and long tails.

The Roof Rat prefers warmer, coastal states

Roof rats, Old World rodents, who contributed to the fall of Rome Roof-Ratand decimated half of Western Europe during the Great Plague, prefer warmer tropical climates. Also known as citrus rats in Florida, roof rats are prevalent in the other southern Atlantic and Gulf coastal states from Virginia to Texas.

On the west coast, roof rats are found along the Pacific coast of California, Washington and Oregon. Growing to 8 inches in length, roof rats are light gray or brown in color with 9-inch tails and can be identified by their sharp noses, large hairless ears and those long tails.

The House Mouse:

mouse close up isolated on whiteThe house mouse lives in a nest, near your home in every US state where Truly Nolen locations exist. Small rodents, ranging from 4.5 to 6 inches in length with light gray to dark brown bodies, the biggest thing on a house mouse besides its teeth, are its ears.

With pointy ears and sharp, flat teeth, house mice also sport long, dark tails. House mice, in an average 18-month lifespan can produce 12 litters of 5 to 6 young, one every 3 months.

While making a good showing in almost every part of the country, house mice run rampant in Georgia. They can damage your home and property any time of year, but house mice are most likely to enter your home seeking food and shelter during cooler months.

Rural rodents

Many other rodents live in the US, from many varieties of squirrels and chipmunks throughout the country to voles in the east and deer mice and wood rats in the west. However, these rodents live in wooded areas and don’t generally pose threats to homeowners and their properties.

Signs of Rodent Infestations

Gnawed electrical wiring, droppings near food areas, gnawed or chewed bags and boxes in your pantry, scratching or scurrying sounds in your walls and attic, squeaking and chirping noises in your walls and the presence of an ammonia-like smell indicate a rodent infestation. In the event you detect these signs of rodent activity, stop cleaning and contact your local Truly Nolen location for a free rodent inspection, immediately.

Protecting your Charlotte Home Against Ants

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

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

Argentine Ants

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

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

Carpenter Ants

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

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

Fire Ants

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

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

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

Acrobat Ants

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

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

Odorous Ants

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

Little Black Ants

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pest Prevention is the Best Cure for Household Pests

According to Disney’s The Lion King, the circle of life is what keeps us in balance. It’s what causes grass to grow; the frost of winter to turn into the warmth and gentleness of springtime. However, the spring doesn’t just bring warmth and sunny weather, it also brings a renewed existence of pest and bug activity to your home. Being proactive and taking preventative measures during the cold months will help to ensure your home is pest free in the spring.

Preparing the Home for Spring Hatching Cycles

Bug and pest activity lie dormant in winter, but when the warm weather returns, so do they. Many people mistakenly feel that once spring and summer are over and the colder months are upon us, that pest control can stop for the year. After all, pests are attracted to the warm weather and aren’t as active in the colder months, right? Unfortunately, this is a misconception.

MouseMany rodents and pests are active in the winter. Mice, for example, seek shelter during the colder months and are carriers of various kinds of diseases; they can easily enter through cracks in the concrete. Similarly, bugs that find a way into your home will wait out the cold weather until the first warm day and then come out of winter hibernation. After all, several types of spiders, roaches, wasps, and the dreaded bed bugs may slow down, but they won’t stop. In other words, just because you don’t see insects in your home, doesn’t mean that they’re not there. Chances are, webs, eggs, or nests are simply hiding safely inside, patiently waiting for spring to come so the new generations can infest your home.

To protect your home, make sure that all entry points are tightly sealed off, including window and door screens. Make sure that leaves and branches are trimmed back from all home windows to keep pests from using plants as bridges into your home. Once you’ve done your part, it is best to contact a pest control specialist for an inspection.

The Importance of an Annual Inspection

Furniture TreatmentDue to the year round activity of pests, having a yearly pest inspection and service plan for pests is critical to keeping your Charlotte home pest free all year. Truly Nolen’s Four Seasons approach to pest control is a proactive annual program that takes into account the changes in pest behavior from season to season, giving you peace of mind throughout the year.

Our trained exterminators will conduct a thorough inspection of your property, both inside and out, to find and prevent any hint of future infestation. Not only will our experienced pest control technicians know what to look for; they’ll also remove any nests, webs, egg cases, or other proof of incubating bugs.

It is important to determine and handle pest issues regularly along with taking preventative measures rather than waiting for a pest infestation to occur in order to take action. By planning ahead, you can enjoy a pest free spring.

Keeping up with year-round pest control is one of the most important things a homeowner can do. Call Truly Nolen Charlotte today at 704-910-2936 and schedule a free pest inspection.

Truly Nolen Expecting Earlier Termite Swarm Due to Atypical Atlanta Winter

With a mix of mild temperatures and unusually large amounts of rainfall, this atypical Atlanta winter weather pattern has brought something else to the Georgia surface – Termites!

“I handled a few termite swarm situations in residential homes in February,” said Chris Ashley, Truly Nolen franchisee, Canton. “Subterranean termites generally swarm in the spring when the weather warms up. With the amount of rain and warmer winter temperatures, we expect more termite activity this spring season.”

When people fail to identify a termite problem as serious, the result can be quite costly to a homeowner.

“Termites cause an estimated $5 billion dollars in damages in the U.S. every year,” said Ashley. “Since early discovery of termites can help provide a head start for home protection, we wanted to make sure local residents are diligent in this process now that swarm season has kicked off earlier than expected.”

In addition, fighting termites successfully takes a unique understanding of termite behavior, biology, and home construction especially since there is no simple solution for termites. 

“Do-It-Yourself termite treatment methods may seem like a cost-effective option; however, damage caused to homes from ineffective treatment can cost homeowners thousands of dollars and is not covered under most homeowner’s insurance policies,” said Ashley. “Most professional termite control companies provide additional protection through a warranty protecting your home from future damage and covering the cost of treatment should termites return.”

As a homeowner, there are measures you can take to minimize the conditions that are conducive to termites and help reduce the likelihood of an infestation. From eliminating wood-to-soil contact wherever possible to diverting water from the foundation of the home, prevention is key.

“Whether you end up trying to handle the problem yourself or calling a professional to conduct a termite inspection, the atypical winter weather ensures a surge in termites sooner than later,” said Ashley.

For more information about termites, call our North Atlanta service office at (678) 561-2847.

 

Celebrate Brain Awareness Week, March 14-20

Join the global initiative to promote public awareness of the benefits of and recent developments in brain research. Every year the Dana Foundation, a private philanthropic organization that supports brain research through grants, publications, and educational programs partners with networks of brain research and healthcare professionals, to bring you a variety of events. From March 14-20, brain awareness events will be taking place all over the globe. Find events in your area by searching the BAW Calendar of Events. In honor of Brain Awareness Week, Truly Nolen Pest Control gives homeowners some food for thought:
Brain Awareness Week

Rat Brains: Exploring Similarities Found in the Brains of Rats and Humans

Neuroscientists are constantly studying the human brain to fully understand its complex nature; they recently revealed more similarities between human brains and rat brains than we used to think existed. In a 2013 Penn State Center for Neural Engineering and affiliates of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences paper, published in Frontiers in Neural Circuits, researchers Jared Smith and Kevin Alloway discovered game-changing parallels between the motor cortices in rats and humans.

Significance for biotechnology advancement

The significance of this discovery helps engineers in the biotechnology industry in developments, such as brain-computer interfaces that advance prosthetic limb movement control. Due to a growing demand for state-of-the-art prosthetics, for injured troops returning from Middle Eastern conflicts, researchers are always on the lookout for ways to improve the functionality and enhance end-user experience.

Similar structure and functions of the motor cortex

In order to design biotechnological devices, engineers and neurologists are required to understand the workings of the brain’s motor cortex. The motor cortex sends messages to the body to execute behavioral movement. Due to the discovery that a rat’s brain functions more like a primate’s brain than previously believed, rats make model subjects for neurological studies.

Subdivisions in human and rat motor cortexes are similar

Subdivided into multiple regions, a primate’s motor cortex corresponds to inputs responsible for specific motor functions. According to the study conducted by Smith-Alloway, although the motor cortex in rats’ brains is smaller, it responds in much the same way as primates’ brains respond. This illustrates that rat motor cortexes are subdivided into distinct regions that perform specific motor functions as well. Like the human brain, sensory inputs to the rat’s motor cortex end in a smaller region that is distinct from the regions that generate motor functions.

Whiskers are to rats are eyes are to humans

As Huck Institutes’ neuroscience program graduate student and one of the study’s authors, Jared Smith said, “You have to take into account the animal’s natural behaviors to best understand how its brain is structured for sensory and motor processing.” Smith went on to say that for humans, “That means a strong reliance on visual information from the eyes, but for rats it’s more about the somatosensory inputs from their whiskers.”

As it turns out, even though a rat’s whiskers take up a mere 1/3 of one percent of the rat’s total body area, more than 1/3 of a rat’s sensory motor cortex is dedicated to managing “whisker-related” information. Almost 40 percent of the entire motor cortex in humans is dedicated to handling visual information, even though the eyes are the smallest organs in the body.

Sensory centers totally separate from motor function controls

In understanding how the rat’s motor cortex is constructed and functions, the Penn State researchers focused their experiments on the medial agranular region, the part of the motor cortex that responds to whisker stimulation, eliciting whisker movement when activated.

“We discovered different sensory input regions that were distinct from the region that issued the motor commands to move the whiskers,” said Alloway. Going on to say that with the help of Patrick Drew, Penn State Engineering Science and Mechanics and Neurosurgery Department Assistant Professor, the team, “showed that the sensory input region was significantly less effective in evoking whisker movements.”

Smith and Alloway’s discovery, revealing the similarities between the human motor cortex and the rat motor cortex opens many avenues into the study of neuroscience, a better understanding of the human brain and its practical biotechnological applications in the real world.

Rats think a lot like their human counterparts

The Smith-Alloway findings point to the fact that rats think a lot like their human counterparts, begging the question, “When rats invade your home, are they clever enough to avoid detection and elimination, until their plot to take over your home, contaminate your food and cause structural damage, while spreading diseases and pathogens succeeds in a full-blown rodent infestation?”

In observance of Brain Awareness Week, Truly Nolen asks homeowners to call us for a free rodent inspection. When you’re up against a mind that thinks like humans, contact Truly Nolen.

What You Need to Know About the Zika Virus

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

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

What Is the Zika virus?

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

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

What Happens to people who have been infected?

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

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

How is Zika Spread?

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

Is the United States at Risk for the Zika Virus?

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

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

How You Can Protect Yourself

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

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

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

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

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

Pest Alert for Atlanta Residents: The Zika Virus and Chagas Disease

Recently in the news, there have been several reports of viruses coming from mosquitoes and insects that Atlanta residents should be aware of. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently been communicating information on the Zika virus and the Chagas virus.

The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus that has been linked to brain damage and birth defects in babies in Brazil. Pregnant women are being warned to re-think traveling to Latin America and the Caribbean at this time since there is no vaccine for this virus.
kissing bug
The Chagas virus has also been on the news, this virus comes from the “kissing bug” that transmits a parasite, trypanosoma cruzi, to those it infects. Like the Zika virus, most of those infected visited Latin America where it is most often found.

It is important to be aware of deadly pests that are emerging. Truly Nolen of Atlanta offers a mosquito control program and a Four Seasons Pest Control program that include preventative measures to keep your family safe. Call for an inspection 678-561-2847.


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