Pest Advice Blog

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

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

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

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

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

Identification – Carpenter Ants

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

Identification – Termites

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

The Truly Nolen Treatment for Columbus Residents

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

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

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

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

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

Interior:

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

Exterior:

  • Dead tree stumps
  • Landscaping material
  • Wooden fences

Foundation:

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

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

Five Simple Ways to Keep Your Home Pest Free

Are you concerned about keeping your home safe from pests and rodents but aren’t sure how to keep your home pest free? Being proactive in pest prevention is key. By the time you notice a cockroach, a fly, or any other rodent it might be too late. A single rodent or pest is probably a sign of a larger problem lurking in your home. Here are some simple tips that can help you keep your home pest and rodent free this summer and year round.

Commit to Making Seasonal Checks

mice
During the winter months, rodents and pests take shelter in warmer areas such as sheds or cracks in our home. Small cracks in the foundation of your home can be an invitation for bugs and even squirrels or mice. Once they are in, they can stay for spring, summer and fall as they now have a stable source of food and shelter with no need to go elsewhere.

  • Inspect your home each season and look for cracks where pests and rodents could easily crawl through and repair them.
  • Check your windows and doors as well and seal any edges that might have cracks. This will make your home more energy efficient as well.
  • Remove large piles of leaves and wood debris from your yard as insects and rodents will use these spaces for warmth and shelter. The soil underneath these piles becomes moist and will attract rodents.
  • Store firewood away from your home as well as this will attract ants and rodents.

Deep Clean Your Kitchen

While even a spotless home might still have insect problems, a pest issue is greatly reduced when a kitchen is kept clean.

  • Keep your kitchen sink clear of dirty dishes and your counter free of food.
  • Sweep floors to remove any crumbs that might have fallen during meal prep.
  • Take the trash out regularly.

To pests and rodents your kitchen is a buffet so be diligent about keeping it picked up and clean.

Keep Up the Outdoors

squirrel
Trim back the trees and bushes outside of your home. Animals such as squirrels and raccoons will use tree branches to access your roof and make their way into your attic space. Consider hiring a tree trimming service to avoid providing these pests with access to your home. Your recycling bins and garbage cans should be sealed and stored away from the home. If you compost, use a sealed compost container and keep it as far away from your home as possible.

Control Excess Moisture

Water is a magnet for insects and rodents. Stay on top of plumbing leaks, roof leaks, or gutter leaks to keep rodents from being attracted to your home. Overwatering your lawn can also be attractive to rodents.

Schedule Regular Inspections

Consider scheduling seasonal inspections with a pest control company to make sure that your home is secure and pests are staying out of your home. These inspections should include perimeter checks of your home as well as indoor. By doing this you will ensure that no problem is ever too big to fix.

Call your local Truly Nolen Atlanta pest professional to schedule your free pest inspection.

Truly Nolen of Port Richey Displays Collective Act of Kindness

Our service office in Port Richey, Fl had a customer, Ms. Mary Pettit, who lost her husband this past year, while being simultaneously diagnosed with cancer. Wes, her neighborhood service coordinator, noticed Ms. Pettit’s yard getting out of hand and decided to do something about it. A few our team members then teamed up to pluck all of her dead vegetation, remove weeds, trim her plants, and put in some mulch. The look on her face was priceless. Thank you Mary for letting us add value to your life. 

Dear Termites, Why My House?

Termites are far more active in the south than in any other part of the country, namely due to the hot, humid weather and an abundance of wooden foundation elements found in homes unique to that area.

subterranean termites
Termites, especially subterranean termites, are Atlanta’s biggest threat where around 1 in every 8 homes has or has had a termite problem. Not only is this a consideration for current homeowners, but it also presents an additional element of concern for those wishing to purchase a home. Previous homeowners may not even be aware that they are leaving behind a termite problem and new homeowners may be faced with inheriting this issue unless proper inspections have been performed.

Developed by the US Forest Service several years ago, Termite Infestation Probability Zones (TIP Zones) estimate termite activity throughout the country and areas that are more susceptible than others, especially when it comes to the common subterranean termites. Southern and Southeastern states such as Georgia are some of the most heavily affected areas (TIP Zone # 1). The TIP Zones map is used by several agencies such as The US Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the International Code Council that utilizes the map to determine building code requirements for subterranean termite prevention.

TIP Zone

More than just a nuisance pest, Termites represent a real economic impact to homeowners as infestations can go undetected for long periods of time, reaching a level of destruction that can be quite costly. Since termites are considered structural pests, meaning they are known to invade and eat wood structures, it is particularly important for homeowners to be vigilant to their immediate surroundings, as well as consistent with their pest control treatments.

Truly Nolen Atlanta understands the challenges that Atlanta residents face and are specifically trained to inspect, monitor and treat any signs of termite infestation.

Trees and wood and termites, oh my!

Known for its vibrant and trendy downtown area as well as options to pursue more nature-inspired expeditions, Atlanta is a true hot spot for visitors and residents alike to enjoy a variety of activities. The city features an array of entertainment options, but the true beauty of the state lies in its topography, boasting an assortment of plants and flowers, and over 250 types of trees seen growing all throughout.

Sprawling landscapes meet urban development in a unique blend of what makes Atlanta special. Unfortunately, it is also this characteristic that accounts for one of the highest levels of termite activity in the country. Homes and commercial properties are intermingled with dense areas of trees and nestled within the wood laden forests of Georgia. With Atlanta homes in such close proximity to densely populated areas of trees; it is inevitable that homeowners will never cease to experience problems with termites whose favorite meal includes anything made of wood.

Termite Damage Statistics:

  • It’s estimated that termites and similar pests cause $30 billion in damage to crops and man-made structures in the U.S. each year.
  • A homeowner who discovers termites will spend an average of $3,000 to repair the termite damage.
  • Termites damage approximately 600,000 homes in the U.S. each year.
  • U.S. residents spend an estimated $5 billion annually to control termites and repair termite damage.
  • Experts estimate Georgia residents spend between $200 million and $300 million each year to control and repair subterranean termite damage.

Types of Termites Found in Georgia

Though each species of termites have specific ways in which they are destructive to homes, their common trait include consuming cellulose, found in wood and wood products. Different types of termites also swarm at specific times of the day, as well as between certain months of the year.

  • Eastern Subterranean – Early swarmers that are seen between February and May and will usually swarm during the day.
  • Formosan Termite – Late swarmers that come out at night.
  • Tropical rough-headed Drywood Termite – Late spring to summer, swarms at night.
  • Dark Southeastern Termite – During the day between March and June.
  • Southeastern Drywood –Swarms during the night all throughout spring.

What makes Atlanta Homes so appealing to Termites?

Wood destroying insects (a.k.a. Termites!) are particularly drawn to homes in Atlanta for a variety of reasons. In addition to the warm, humid climatic conditions that make it ideal for termites to swarm, certain features that are unique to Atlanta homes also make for favorable conditions for overzealous termite activity:

  • Wooden siding, porches and decking
  • Crawl spaces beneath most homes
  • Basements and attics
  • An affinity for wood design elements such as fences, outdoor storage sheds and more
  • Storage of firewood in and outside of the home
  • Wooden roof shingles on older homes

While Atlanta residents are busy enjoying their city, calling your Truly Nolen Atlanta pest professional for a free termite inspection can prevent termites from invading and enjoying your home! Contact us today to learn more on how we can keep your Atlanta home pest free.

604 Walks to End Lupus

For the last two years 9 of our service offices from various Florida locations have participated in the annual ‘Walk to End Lupus” at the Lowery Park Zoo in Tampa. Truly Nolen’s involvement with the event has personal resonance as District Sales Trainer, Ed Henry’s, wife Michelle was diagnosed with Lupus three years ago. This year there were roughly 150 employees/family members supporting Michelle, with the common goal of raising both money and awareness to combat Lupus. “Michelle’s Mob”, our affectionately named group, was sporting specially designed Truly Nolen Lupus designed in-house by our own Mike Vialapando. Thank you for letting us be a small anchor of support Michelle.

Termites Are Swarming: What You Need To Know!

As we move further into spring and eventually transition into the summer months, termite activity will increase in the form of termite swarms. Unfortunately, the presence of swarms does not mean that termites are just now showing up in your immediate environment. Often referred to as “the silent destroyer” termites are generally present throughout the year, but homeowners may only be aware of them once the swarms are visible. An infestation may already exist been taking place, potentially causing damage to your home.

What Is a Termite Swarm?

Termites
Termites can enter the structure of your home and remain undetected for extended periods of time. Subterranean termites are especially skilled at creating mud tunnels that twist and wind their way through your house. These tunnels allow colonies to gain access to your home, where they can grow and develop over time.

As the colonies grow and become over crowded, or if there is a shortage of food, the laws of nature dictate that it is time to find new areas to colonize, essentially forcing the displacement of many of these termites. These mature colonies will produce reproductive termites that are winged, enabling them to fly and seek out other spaces to inhabit. These “swarmers” or winged termites, can often be confused with flying ants, or even mosquitoes to the untrained eye.

Although the primary responsibility of termite swarmers is to reproduce and create new colonies, many will not survive as they may fall victim to other predators or the elements. This may account for the vast numbers that leave the colony all at once, giving a good indication of the size and development of the colony.

When and Where Termites Swarm

Termite
Swarmers will leave the colonies in large droves, and prefer to fly on warm days. The warm weather makes the spring season the optimal time for this to occur with peak periods between May and June. Certain types of termites are more prone to swarming during the day while others will swarm at night.

With indoor termite swarms, worker termites will create small, exit holes in door or window frames, baseboards, walls or any wooden structure. This allows the swarmers to exit and continue on their search for livable space. Swarmers typically gravitate toward windows or doors where light comes in, if they are unsuccessful in reaching the outdoors they will die within hours. Homeowners may notice small piles of insects or sometimes just their wings, around the window sills or furniture.

For swarms occurring outside, homeowners will observe large clusters of small, winged termites with swarming time lasting about 30 minutes in any one location.

Signs of Infestation

Observing the evidence of a termite swarm both indoors or outdoors should prompt homeowners to look for additional signs of a termite infestation. Since these low profile insects will work inside wood or underground, they are not always easy to spot. In other instances, termites can leave behind obvious signs that they have been inhabiting a space for quite some time.

Common signs of termite infestations:

  • Discarded wings- after a termite swarm, swarmers will shed their wings after taking flight
  • Fecal Matter –Small piles of fecal matter may be left behind, particularly by Drywood termites.
  • Mud tubes – made from wood and soil, subterranean termites are experts at tunneling their way into your home through mud tubes, designed to protect them and provide ease of entry.
  • Wood damage- although internal wood damage caused by termites goes unnoticed until it has progressed to a more destructive level , keeping an eye on visible areas of the home that are made of wood, can be helpful for early detection.

Termite Tips

Homeowners are encouraged to be aware and observant of evidence of termites in order to catch any brewing infestations. :

  • Annual Inspection by a state-licensed termite inspector will look for signs of previous and active infestations as well as conditions conducive for new infestations
  • Taking careful note of the evidence from an indoor termite swarm (such as broken termite wings near window sills or doorways) can be useful in determining where the infestation may be lurking.
  • As in the case of older homes, knowing the history of the home, including previous termite problems, is helpful in keeping a professional termite inspection top of mind.
  • Any additional structure built onto the house requires special attention. Termites can use the gaps and spaces in between concrete pads to travel and set up their colonies.
  • Mud tunnels found on the exterior walls of the home are also a good indication that an infestation is nearby.

Termites are currently swarming now in Southwest and Central Florida as well as throughout Arizona. Contact your Truly Nolen termite expert as soon as possible to schedule a thorough inspection to accurately identify the type of termite at hand, as well as the most effective treatment application needed.

Accurately identifying and treating a termite infestation is best handled by a trained and licensed termite professional. Your Truly Nolen professional can provide a free home inspection and customized treatment options that are just right for you. Through Truly’s Total Termite Protection Plan SM, homeowners are covered for protection from all types of termites under a single contract. Call Truly Nolen today to schedule your free inspection and discuss how we can help you keep your home termite free!


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