Pest Advice Blog

Palm Desert Visits Pegasus Therapeutic Riding

Employees at Palm Desert (Branch 063) became “Side Riders” for a day of fun at Pegasus Therapeutic Riding. Throughout the event the team helped special needs children with horseback riding by steadying them on horse as they ventured around an enclosure. The fun didn’t stop there as the team then helped the children with other fun activities like ring tosses and basketball shooting throughout the rest of the afternoon!  

The “Green” Side of Truly

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Each year April 22nd marks the anniversary of “Earth Day”, a day that is largely considered to be the founding of the modern environmental movement in 1970. The inspiration for Earth Day came to former U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, after witnessing a catastrophic oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Senator Nelson came to the realization that a public movement with enough attention would force the notion of environmental protection onto the national political agenda and in doing so, spark advances in water and air pollution technology.

This Earth Day, Truly Nolen Pest Control explores advances in residential pest control treatments that will continue to ensure our commitment to remain environmentally conscious. We will also discuss major industry changes that have had an impact on the “greenness” of pest control treatments from a commercial standpoint.

Advances in Residential Pest Control

Unfortunately, pest control service is associated with the idea that only highly toxic chemicals are the primary ones used to prevent pests from our homes. However, advances in residential pest control over the decades helped to establish new industry protocol where both the health of the consumer and the environment are the focal points.

Today with the support of extensive research, industries like the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have made drastic reforms to pest control practices. An example of the aforementioned modifications is the mandating of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Integrated Pest Management as defined by the EPA is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment (EPA 2014).

With our obligation to environmental protection, Truly Nolen fully embraces the ideals of IPM by “managing” pests rather than simply exterminating them by any means possible. IPM programs incorporate the use of both non-chemical and chemical-based treatments to promote pest management that is as ecologically responsible as possible. Examples of green treatment methods Truly Nolen incorporates residentially include:

  • Using Botanical Aerosols derived naturally from plants
  • Exterior web wiping: a treatment that involves cleanly wiping away spider without the addition of any repellants
  • Borate-based powder application: Borates have little to no toxicity with mammals
  • Mechanical Exclusion: using tools and knowledge of pest behavior to blockade every possible entry point into a home

Seeing Green: Environmentally Conscious Commercial/Industrial Treatments

Although commercial/industrial properties may differ from residential ones, Truly Nolen’s commitment to environmentally safe pest control remains constant. We realize the health of both employees and customers are at stake and with that being said our IPM program’s reach extends beyond the residential setting, and addresses the commercial ones as well.

In addition to the previously mentioned green options, Truly Nolen combines a range of options designed to address pest issues in a commercial setting, including:

  • A free, detailed inspection the property
  • Constant monitoring of the property
  • Precise installation of baiting/trapping systems

Whether you are a home or business owner, Truly Nolen service experts can customize an effective and environmentally friendly plan to meet all of your pest control needs. This Earth Day, we ask that you please keep the environment in your thoughts and “go green” in all that you do, including choosing a pest control service provider!

What’s Eating Your Lawn?

florida-grass

The Sunshine state is truly the ideal place to live and work. With the sun shining year round, your yard is the perfect place to host a BBQ, watch the kids play, lounge by the pool or even take a nap under the shade of a tree.

Having a healthy and beautiful lawn in Florida is important when it comes to maintaining the aesthetics of your home, but all of that sunshine and Florida’s humid climate can put a lot stress on your lawn. Our year round tropical climate makes keeping your lawn healthy and beautiful a year-round task. Florida is susceptible to grass and plant funguses and other pathogens, salt intrusion and poor water retention, providing the perfect conditions for invading insects and weeds to thrive. Considering the multiple types of grass found in Florida, in combination with the different types of common pests that are known to destroy the aesthetic value of Florida Lawns, all Florida homeowners can benefit from a brief Florida Lawn 101.

Types of Grasses Found in Florida

Florida is home to certain types of grass that flourish well in warm, humid climates. While many lawns consist of a mixture of grass varieties, let’s take a closer look at some of the specific types commonly found in the Sunshine state:

  • Augustine grass/Floratam

This dark green, course grass is probably the most common grass found in warmer climates. With a broad blade and rounded tip, St. Augustine grass (also known as Floratam) requires a lot of moisture in order to survive. In summer month’s it grows quickly, requiring weekly mowing. During the winter, spring and fall months the grass can generally be cut every five weeks.

  • Bahia grass

This soft, deep green grass tends to do well in sandy soil and warmer conditions. Similar to the St. Augustine blade, Bahia grass grows quickly in the summer month’s but slows during the other seasons. Unlike St. Augustine grass, Bahia grass has a pointed tip instead of a rounded one. Even though the blade itself grows slowly, the seed stalks tend to grow rapidly.

  • Bermuda grass

With a deep green color and a sharply pointed blade, Bermuda grass can most often be spotted on the rolling hills of the golf courses in Florida. Chosen for its dense quality, this grass requires consistent watering and fertilizing.

  • Centipede grass

Centipede grass prefers more humid, warm areas and does not require as much fertilizer as other grasses. The blades themselves tend to be pointier, and grow very low, almost horizontally to the ground.

  • Zoysia grass

This dark green, turf type grass tends to have a softer blade, and is the most susceptible to damage due to lack of moisture. Homeowners like this grass because of its ability to stand up to foot traffic, as well as provide an attractive choice for lawn cover.

Common Lawn Pests found in Florida

Due to Florida’s environmental conditions and warm weather, many pests tend to thrive in both the Northern and Southern parts of the state, causing headaches for many homeowners as their lawns become susceptible to damage. Actively seeking on-going pest management and lawn maintenance is essential to identifying the culprit at hand early on, saving homeowners’ money in the long run, as well as unnecessary additional damage to the lawn.

Some of the pests that might be causing damage to your lawn include:

  • Chinch Bugs

If you’ve noticed areas in your lawn turning yellow, and then a reddish color before dying, chances are Chinch bugs are around. Partial to the St. Augustine grass, Chinch bugs extract the liquid found in grass through their needle like beaks, depleting the grass of its nutrients, often feasting in large groups. Since Chinch bugs like the sunny areas of the grass, you may notice patches on your lawn, especially in well exposed areas.

  • Mole Crickets

Preferring the warm coastline of the southeastern United States, Mole Crickets can be particularly destructive to your lawn if left untreated. Feeding on the roots of mostly Bermuda grass and Bahia grass, Mole crickets, tunnel through the soil causing the roots of the grass to loosen eventually drying out the grass and killing it. Though hard to spot, you’ll notice evidence of mole crickets by dry patches of grass on your lawn and signs of tunneling in the soil.

  • Sod Webworms

Adult sod webworms are in fact a small brown moth that lives in turf grasses. Though the adults do not actually consume the grass, their offspring are the main cause of lawn destruction. After the female sod webworms lay their eggs, these eggs hatch and the small caterpillars that emerge begin feeding on the top growths of the grass where they have hatched, usually in the spring time.

  • Army Worms

St. Augustine grass and Bermuda grass are often times the feeding choice for Army worms. Growing up to 2” in length with gray/yellow stripes going down its body, army worms feed mostly at night on the blades of these warm weather grasses. Since these insects love chewing on grass, you’ll notice brown areas on the blades that indicate where an army worm has chewed.

  • Grubs

White grubs in particular, are the most damaging turf insect pest. Feeding on the roots of grass plants, they tend to be most active in mid to late summer. Just under an inch in length and shaped like a “C”, these bugs can go undetected for a long time before evidence, such as irregular sections of brown grass, appears. Since they have been busy eating away at the roots of the grass, the damaged turf can be easily detached from the soil.

  • Spittlebugs

As their name implies, Spittlebugs produce a white, ‘spit’ like protective barrier that can appear as a frothy substance on plants and grass. Adult spittlebugs do not produce this foam, but rather the nymphs that have hatched in early spring who then adhere themselves to plants and begin feeding. In particular, the Two-lined spittlebug damages grasses such as St. Augustine and Bermuda grass by causing patches of turf to turn yellow and eventually, brown. Proper fertilization techniques can aid in discouraging the development of Spittlebugs in your garden.

The Grass is Always Greener

Tips for Ornamental Care

Ornamental plants generally require little care and can provide interesting textures and colors to any garden. The benefit of ornamental plants is that they can flourish in diverse soil conditions. Unlike lawn grasses that require specific care and treatment, ornamental plants can be considered a bit hardier, despite their often delicate appearance.

Some ways to keep your ornamental plants happy among the rest of your garden:

  • Maintain regular fertilizer, pruning and pest control.
  • Add compost to the soil when transplanting ornamental plants.
  • Proper drainage and irrigation are important despite moisture retentive plants.
  • Periodically trim your ornamental plants, preferably in the spring as new growth occurs.
  • Allow enough space for your plants to grow.

Tips for Grass care, Fertilization & Weed Control

In addition to active pest management control, proper fertilization and weed control techniques should be used to help maintain healthy, vibrant grass. With year round tropical conditions, applying best practices to lawn care can extend the life of your lawn and provide a beautiful landscape for you to enjoy.

  • For thin grass, consider seeding it during the spring. If overseeding, it can sometimes be helpful to choose a different grass variety that has been grown for natural insect resistance.
  • Paying special attention to the type of grass ensures that the appropriate amount is cut. For example, Floritam grass should be cut at 4”, while Zoysi grass is typically cut between 2 -3 inches.
  • Watering your lawn less frequently, but with more water helps ensure that the roots are receiving adequate moisture, which will encourage them to grow deeper.
  • Fertilization applications are best done in spring and late summer.
  • Proper mowing techniques can also ensure that fertilization treatments have had time to work. Ideally, waiting a day before and after your lawn has been fertilized makes for the optimal time for mowing.
  • Weed control is best applied when the weeds have grown a bit to allow the solution to adhere from the top right down to the root

With Truly’s Lawn Care program, an initial analysis can help determine current problems pertaining to pests and overall health of your lawn. Taking into consideration everything from grass type, nutrition, watering, fertilization and more, Truly’s Lawn Care experts can identify areas that are prone to weed or insects and provide tips on how you can maintain a beautiful lawn. Contact Truly Nolen today to see how we can develop a customized lawn care plan that will keep you and your toes happy all year round!

Those Aren’t Mosquitoes… They’re Crane Flies!

It’s a Bird! It’s a Mosquito! NO! It’s a Crane Fly!

Over the past month, Arizona has seen a tremendous influx of flying insects that look very similar to giant mosquitoes. However, these insects are not mosquitoes; they are, in fact, crane flies! Often mistaken for mosquitoes, crane flies look somewhat similar to mosquitoes but are different in many significant ways.

The similarities between the crane fly and the mosquito are mostly physical, they do look similar and this is why they are often confused. Crane flies and mosquitoes also share the same type of life cycle – complete, which means that they are both born from eggs that hatch into larvae before pupating where they develop into their final adult form.

The differences between the crane fly and the mosquito are much more in number than the similarities.

  • The crane fly tends to be larger than the mosquito, with a skinnier body and very long legs.
  • Crane flies vary in size from very small up to two and a half inches long with as long as a three inch wingspan. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why people call them ‘mosquito hawks’, although the truth is that they do not eat mosquitoes or even attack them.

Interestingly, adult crane flies might not even eat at all during their short lives. After emerging from the pupa stage crane flies live for just a couple short weeks. During this time it is not known for sure if they eat nectar from flowers or not, but it is fairly certain that nectar is the only substance they eat during their adult lives if at all. They do not eat “blood meals” like mosquitoes; this is the most important difference between the two insects.

Crane flies pose no threat whatsoever to humans, so if you see one in your home, fear not, it is not there to feast on you like a mosquito. If you do see a crane fly in your home it is most likely because a door or window was opened and the crane fly sensed the light, following it inside to the source. They are very poor fliers and will simply fly toward any light source they see.

In order to keep crane flies out of your home follow these simple tips.

  • Seal, screen, or close any doors, windows or other entry points into your home as this will make it harder for them to get inside.
  • Turn off porch lights at night. Since crane flies are attracted to light, they will not be as likely to be drawn to your home in the dark if you turn off your lights at night.
  • Keep foliage, wood piles and other decaying organic matter away from the perimeter of your home as this is what the larvae feed on.

Between their poor flying skills, short life expectancy and these tips, you will drastically reduce the crane fly population in your home.

A truly amazing fact about crane flies is that their bodies have features that humans have mimicked to allow for more effective design – halteres. Halteres are small club shaped objects about the size of the crane fly’s antennae that stick out of their body and sit just behind the wings. When the insect flies at high velocities the halteres vibrate which allows the insect to maintain control of the yaw, pitch and roll of its flight. This is similar in function to what we call a gyroscope on our modern aircraft. Crane flies, though annoying, had perfected flight long before humans ever thought it possible.

Spring Cleaning: Tips for Preventing Pest Infestations

For most individuals, the transition into spring does not come fast enough, especially after the cold days of winter. It’s no secret that the onset of spring also brings about the need for homeowners to air out their homes and start their spring cleaning. After months of keeping doors and windows closed up to avoid the cold, homeowners are now eager to let the fresh air in and enjoy all that spring has to offer.

Unfortunately, this time of the year may also let more than just the fresh air in. Pests that have been laying low (hibernating and in some cases, overwintering) over the winter season, are making themselves known during these spring months as the warm temperatures are more conducive to an increase in pest activity. For pests such as ants, rodents, termites, spiders, mosquitoes and more, spring is the optimal time to reproduce, establish new colonies and forage for new food.

Signs of possible infestations may have gone unnoticed over the winter season only to resurface as the weather warms up, which is why Truly Nolen Atlanta outlines common best practices and preventative measures that most consumers can employ to keep their homes relatively pest free. Atlanta homeowners are encouraged to make a checklist and keep a close eye out both on the interior and exterior of their homes to eliminate opportunities for pests to invade.

Bug Barometer Snapshot- What This Means for the Southeast.

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recently released a forecast for pest activity during the spring and summer months. Named the ‘Bug Barometer’, it provides an interesting insight into what we can expect as a result of winter weather patterns throughout the country and when specific pest activity will take shape. So what does this bug barometer actually do? Specifically, the “NPMA’s Bug Barometer is the result of research conducted by expert entomologists, who analyzed winter weather reports and patterns from across the country to determine the pest pressure index each region will experience this spring.” (Source: pestworld.org)

Due to an extended winter period, the NPMA reports that residents in the Southeast could experience a delay in pest activity since warmer temperatures have yet to stabilize. This means that for Atlanta residents, some areas can experience the onset of termite swarms, while others will see this a bit later on. As the warmer weather continues, the NPMA also predicts that the combination of rain and high humidity could result in a drastic increase in pests such as mosquitoes and ants.

Pest Prevention Tips & Tricks

Although calling your Truly Nolen Atlanta pest professional is recommended for thorough inspection and treatment of your home, there are some simple tips that Atlanta residents can follow to keep your home pest free. Here, we take a closer look at defined areas in the home, especially those that are specific to home construction in Atlanta:

Basements

silverfish
Higher levels of dampness and humidity are characteristic of most basements. Notorious for housing unwanted pests, this lower level structure in your home is the perfect hiding spot for pests who are prone to moisture such as roaches, silverfish and rodents.

Unfortunately, many basements represent a significant amount of storage space for the home, and piles of clutter can often be neglected for extended periods of time.

  • Wherever possible, avoid having clutter in hard to reach places and store off the floor to prevent pests from taking up residence amidst piles of magazines, clothes and other items.
  • To combat dampness, placing a dehumidifier in your basement can help eliminate excessive moisture.
  • Check frequently for areas that may experience leaks. During the winter months, pipes can freeze and lead to cracking or bursting. Making sure that your basement is dry at all times ensures that pests do not have the ideal environment to flourish.

Attics & Crawl Spaces

termites
Attics and crawl spaces are also prone to moisture and if not checked regularly, provide the ideal habitat for pests such as rodents, roaches and termites.

  • Proper ventilation is important in keeping your attic and crawl space pest free. A regular home inspection can identify insufficient ventilation and prove to be a worthwhile short term investment for the long term safety of your home.
  • Keep mice and rats from entering your attic by sealing any small openings or holes from the exterior of the home, especially the roof lines, which could provide a potential entry point.

Wooden porches/decking

Wooden porches and decks are characteristic of Atlanta style homes, and provide a great area to enjoy the outdoors. However, before you break out the sweet tea and lemonade, if these areas are not properly sealed, they offer dangerous pests such as termites, and even spiders, the perfect place to enjoy as well.

  • Check these areas for signs of rotting wood, a favorite among termites. Repair or replace any wood that is rotting or sagging due to excessive moisture.
  • Seal cracks, holes or dents.
  • The underside of porches is an ideal spot for pests to reside, and the addition of a mesh barrier can help keep them out.
  • Weather- proof your deck with an application of sealant or paint to provide an additional barrier between the wood and pests such as termites.

Exterior areas (including landscaping and garden)

Before pests can get inside, they must first pass through the exterior of your home and garden.

  • Cracks in window frames, doorways and window screens are an easy entry point for smaller pests. Sealing these makes it more difficult for them to enter the home.
  • Repair any worn out or cracked siding, as this provides good areas for pests to hide.
  • Repair or replace areas of your roof that may have holes.
  • Store firewood at least 15-20 feet away from your home and at least 5-6 inches off the ground.
  • Leaking outdoor pipes can lead to standing water, the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Ensure that pipes are properly repaired and any standing water is drained.
  • De-clutter your yard and remove any debris.
  • If using wood mulch for your landscaping, begin placement at least 15-20 inches away from your foundation to avoid direct wood/home contact.

Interior / Main living

American Roach
Through regular, indoor maintenance, homeowners can integrate habits that will help to discourage pests from finding their way inside and staying there!

  • Roaches in particular, are prone to taking up residence in dark damp areas such as underneath kitchen and laundry sinks. Regularly checking these areas and making sure that leaks are addressed right away can help keep these critters out.
  • Avoid leaving food, open beverages and used dishes exposed, especially overnight. Keeping your sink and countertops clean, as well as storing food (even pet food) in tightly sealed containers. These habits will not entice roaches and ants to come around.
  • In the spirit of the spring cleaning season, now is the ideal time to de-clutter your home and dispose of unnecessary items such as piles of magazines and newspapers (a Silverfish’s favorite snack) and any other items that are not needed.

By practicing healthy spring cleaning habits, you can deter pests from finding their way in and around your home. However, if they do make it in, contact your Truly Nolen Atlanta pest control expert at 678-561-2847 to schedule your free inspection.

Mesa Leads Insect Presentation at Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce

Branch manager Joe Miksesell met with the Lost Dutchman leads group of the Apache Chamber of Commerce and gave a 20 minute presentation on the top five bugs that Truly Nolen receive the most calls about. Roughly 20 local businesses were represented by a combination of owners and managers at the meeting. Branch 049 added value to others’ by providing a better understanding of the bugs with the greatest impact on the local area!

Mesa Teams Up With Greenfield Elementary Dad’s Club

Mesa (branch 049) teamed up with the Greenfield Elementary Dad’s Club in their annual “Stuck In the Swap Extravaganza” The Mouse Limo was accompanied by an entire array of other vehicles ranging from Helicopters, SWAT Vehicles, Fire trucks, Ambulances along with a host of buggy friends: a Colombian Goldburst Tarantula, a Pumpkin Patch Tarantula, a Desert Hairy Scorpion, and Bark Scorpions. The team also handed out over 200 sport packs filled with coloring books, cups, pens, air fresheners and tattoos. A big thanks to all of the Truly Nolen Team: Ron Pratt, Mike Willis and his wife, Jim Sivigny, and Scott Loveridge

Fumigation vs. No Tent Solutions

trenching
Choosing the proper termite treatment for your home is an important decision. Homeowners should be aware of all the options available to them. Each year thousands of large-scale and small-scale fumigations occur to deal with numerous forms of pest infestation. In the case of a drywood termite infestation, the treatment choices are between traditional tent fumigation solutions and non-tent solutions.

Fumigation

In certain instances, infestation can be so severe that tent fumigation is the only option. Infestations that become widespread, particularly in inaccessible areas, are what make tent fumigation an attractive option. Once settled into a home, termites are able to live in areas we can’t readily see like beams, walls, or perhaps underneath floorboards. When a structure is fumigated, the gas reaches every area and deeply penetrates its wood structures where termites live and feed. The fumigant used is a true gas (meaning it’s lighter than air) once the home is completely aerated it leaves behind no residue whatsoever.

Homeowner should equally be aware of the drawbacks:

  • Neither convenient (must vacate property for 72 hours), nor inexpensive
  • The house must be prepared properly: total removal of all occupants, pets, plants, medicine, food, open containers, and cosmetics. Gas service must be disconnected and pilot lights must be extinguished.
  • Fumigants do not provide protection from future infestation; they only treat for existing termites
  • The heavy tarps used to hold fumigants in can easily damage gutters, tile roofing, and shrubbery

Edison house tenting

Non-Fumigation Solutions

There are several alternatives to fumigation; however the two most predominant methods outside of fumigation are heat and liquid pesticide treatment. Similar to fumigation, each alternative has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Heating: Heat-based treatments have proven to be effective against termite swarms. Heating requires tenting and raising the temperature of the wood throughout a home to 120-130 degrees for a minimum of 35-60 minutes.

  • Effective when localized colonies can be identified
  • Cause damage to heat sensitive belongings (electronics, vinyl, beauty supplies, wiring, furniture, etc…)
  • Energy costs can make heating expensive

Spot Treatment: Involves drilling multiple holes into infested areas of flooring and walls so that a termiticide can be injected.

  • Less expensive and more convenient than heating and fuming
  • Treatment provides lasting effects for protection against future swarms
  • Does not affect termites in inaccessible areas (spot treatment is roughly only 2 square feet)
  • Multiple treatments may be necessary

Total Termite Protection Plan ℠ (TTP):

The treatment option provided by Truly Nolen, which differs from both spot treatment and fumigation. Application of treatment includes areas both on the interior and exterior of household.

  • Covers more area of home than spot treatment
  • Protect against both Drywood termites and Subterranean termites
  • Residual effects of treatment protect against future swarms
  • Preliminary inspections are offered free of charge

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