Pest Advice Blog

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

Pinellas Park Organizes Community Pet Food Drive

Truly Nolen of Pinellas Park organized a community pet food drive at Largo Feed, located at 210 West Bay Drive, where over 600 pounds of dry food and 100 cans of wet food were collected for the Humane Society of Pinellas Park. The donated food will benefit the humane society’s senior connection program, which assists local senior citizens in the community who would otherwise be unable to afford to keep their pets. Currently, over 60 senior citizens and 100 pets receive donations from this program. A representative from the Humane Society told Truly Nolen volunteers that food collected would help to support this program for approximately two months. Truly Nolen employees organized the drive to commemorate the company’s efforts to give back and improve the local communities in which they serve

 

TRULY NOLEN PEST CONTROL RI & MA #450 EARNS ESTEEMED 2014 ANGIE’S LIST SUPER SERVICE AWARD

Truly Nolen Pest Control RI & MA Earns Esteemed 2014 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

Truly Nolen Pest Control RI & MA has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2014.

“We are TRULY excited and honored to have been chosen for the fourth consecutive year to represent the top pest control companies in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Our focus is always to deliver on what we promise and provide our customers with excellent service and it’s great to see so many customers reach out and take the time to send us their feedback.” Said Sean Crowley, Co-Owner of Truly Nolen Pest Control RI & MA.

“Only about 5 percent of the pest control companies in Massachusetts & Rhode Island have performed so consistently well enough to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s  a really high standard.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2014 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.

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Angie’s List helps facilitate happy transactions between nearly 3 million consumers nationwide and its collection of highly-rated service providers in 720 categories of service, ranging from home improvement to health care. Built on a foundation of authentic reviews of local service, Angie’s List connects consumers directly to its online marketplace of services from member-reviewed providers, and offers unique tools and support designed to improve the local service experience for both consumers and service professionals.

Tucson Visits the Children’s Museum

 Regional manager Shane McManamy and limo driver Ron Pratt had an opportunity to show off the Mouse Limo at the Tucson Children’s Museum’s “Zoom…Zoom!” event. This event gives the local community a chance to celebrate all the different modes of transportation. Hot rods, fire trucks, dump trucks, and of course the Mouse Limo were just some of the many different vehicles on display. 

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!


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