Fire Ants found in middle Tennessee

Are there fire ants in middle Tennessee and Murfreesboro?

Fire AntsI am asked frequently if fire ants are found in middle Tennessee.  The short answer to that question is Yes!  The first documented case of imported fire ants in Tennessee was back in 1987 in Hardin County.  Since then, the fire ants have been spreading across the state at a rapid pace.  Each year since 2001 when we started The Bug Man, we have seen increased activity and had increased customer calls requesting fire ant control.

Fire ants have been found in the Murfreesboro, Smyrna, and Christiana this past week and they are active!  We have sited them at local parks and sports complexes, in the median strips in parking lots, and even while out camping this past weekend in Oliver Spings, Tn.  The imported fire ants are taking over at a rapid pace.

Fire ants are easy to locate, look for the mounds

Imported fire ant nests are easy to locate once they are built.  The ants build large mounds in the soil that can be over a foot tall and two feet wide.  The nests can extend into the ground up to 3 feet and spread out a few feet past the width of the visible nest.  Please, Do NOT disturb these nests.  A typical nest can have between 80,000 and 250,000 stinging ants in the colony!  Keep children and pets away, as the fire ants are dangerous when defending their nest.  When a fire ant nest is disturbed, all of the ants surface and begin to attack and sting any intruder.  They will climb up a stick or other device that was used to disturb the nest and sting the one holding it.  They will also swarm your feet and climb your legs, and sting!  The resulting stings will cause puss-filled blisters and will last few days to weeks.  This is not fun.  Growing up in Florida, I know personally what it feels like to be stung repetitively by fire ants.

If you find imported fire ant mounds when out around town, please leave them be.  If you locate them on you property, it is best to have them eliminated for the safety of your children and pets.  This can be done professionally by The Bug Man or you can visit a local store and purchase products to do-it-yourself.  If you choose the do-it-yourself option, please be sure to read and follow all label directions and be sure to wear your personal protective equipment.  Be safe!  I am including a link here to the University of Georgia that discusses in more detail the fire ants and the how to control them.

The video below shows what a typical fire ant nest looks like and how active they become once the nest is disturbed.  We do not recommend disturbing a fire ant nest.

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The Ants are Marching in Murfreesboro

It seems that almost everyone who calls us this week says that the ants are marching in a big way through Murfreesboro and the rest of middle Tennessee. Even for the professional like The Bug Man, ants can be the most challenging pest to control. But, with thorough training and know-how even the trickiest ant problems can be resolved with a little patience.  Ants marching in Murfreesboro

What Causes the Ant Invasions??

Ants are very weather sensitive insects. During periods of heavy rain or, the opposite, abnormally hot and dry weather the ant colonies will move to the indoors. Why? Because their homes have either become flooded or else they lack food and/or water. They are very much like us, those pesky ants. When we understand why they react to certain situations then we can usually solve the problem pretty quickly.  Lately, we have had a lot of rain and the temperatures have been getting nice and warm. So, the ants have been quite active!

Late spring and early summer is the time of year when you can expect to see swarming ants in the Murfreesboro and middle Tennessee area. If you see a swarm inside your home then chances are that the colony is somewhere in or under the home. You will want to get that taken care of quickly before the problem gets worse. However, they should not be a problem if you only see them outside. If they are a nuisance around porch lights then consider turning them off or else use a yellow outdoor light. Ants will find the yellow light less attractive.

So Many Ants, So Little Time…

Carpenter, Odorous, Pharaoh, Imported fire, Pavement, Yellow, Acrobat & Little black ones, too. Yes, these are all various species of ants found in Tennessee. Why is that important to know?  Identification, my friend. One of my favorite entomologists, Dr. Austin Frishman, would ask the following questions: 1. What is it? 2. Why is it here? 3. How can I solve the problem for my client NOW? and 4. What are the long-term solutions?  When we know the answers to these questions then we can solve the ant crisis. So, save some of these little creatures for your pest control technician!! Specimens are very helpful in solving the big ant puzzle.

Ants in a Potted Plant in Murfreesboro, TN

 

What can you do to help with the ant problem?

Lots! Ant colonies exist in and around homes because there is ample food and water nearby to support the ant colony. Make the ants unwelcome and they will find another place to hang their hat. Where do you start in your quest to eliminate the food and water? Try some of the following tips:

  • Fix leaky faucets, remove standing water, etc.
  • Replace any wet or rotten wood
  • Clean window sills of dead insects which can serve as food for the ants
  • Remove the food source if ants are trailing to food. Use a mild detergent to wipe ant trails and remove the trail pheromone. (Do not interfere with any ants trailing to bait that your technician has used to draw the ants out of the home.)
  • Locate entry points around the home such as around windows and doors and seal those areas to prevent ants and other insects from entering.
  • Check potted plants and firewood for ants before bringing them indoors
  • Keep vines, branches and limbs from coming in contact with your house. The ants use the branches as a mini-highway.
  • Pull mulch away from the foundation for your home about 12-18 inches.
  • Do NOT use any over-the-counter sprays! They can often aggravate your ant problem and be counter-productive. It’s best to leave actual treatment to The Bug Man!

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Technician Spotlight – Marcel Deshaies

Marcel Deshaies is The Bug Man technician of the week.

Marcel DeshaiesMarcel is originally from Kirkville, New York, but has made Lebanon his home for 20 years.  Marcel has two sons, Brandon (9) and Steven (10), and enjoys fishing, auto mechanics, and wood working.  His spirituality and love of nature is inspired by his Mohawk Indian heritage.  Marcel’s family is part of the Wolf Clan from the St. Regis Indian Reservation in upstate New York.

Marcel Joins The Bug Man and Services Wilson County

Marcel joined The Bug Man Team in January 2011 after running Advantage Pest Control for 10 years.  In 2011, The Bug Man acquired Advantage Pest Control customers and Marcel joined our team to continue servicing the Wilson County area.  Marcel currently services the cities of Lebanon, Mt. Juliet, Hermitage and Watertown.   Marcel is a licensed pest control technician and has been working in the pest service industry for 17 years.

Education and training and teaching children

Marcel is all about education, training, and teaching children.  Marcel regularly attends training classes to continue his education in the pest service industry, and then puts that education to use when out in the field.  Ants are his favorite pest.  Marcel enjoys the persistence it takes to track the ants down, locate the nests, and eliminate them.  Many times with ants, it can take multiple visits to locate and eliminate all the colonies, and that is what Marcel enjoys.  Of course, Marcel is also skilled at servicing for other pests, such as the spiders, centipedes, roaches, crickets, termites, mosquitoes, ticks and fleas.  He just really enjoys the ants.

pest_controlAnd when it comes to children, Marcel enjoys educating them on why the pests and insects are around, what can be done to prevent them, and the difference between a dangerous pest, a nuisance pest, and the beneficial insects that are found around the home.  Marcel likes when the kids look forward to his arrival, asking “When is The Bug Man coming back?”.

Marcel says he is a problem solver by nature, that his enjoyment for this career is not from just killing bugs, it comes from helping to solve the problems that his customers have with the bugs.  At the end of the day, The Bug Man and our employees all are empowered to help others.

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What Pests Eat When They Are In Your House: A Food Chain Factoid

Have you ever stopped to wonder what bugs eat? You know you see ants in your kitchen from time to time, but what are they after? And what in the world do spiders think they can find inside your house? What’s so delicious about hanging out in the corners of your rooms?

 

Here’s a quick food chain factoid for what pests eat when they are in your house!

 

Cricket

Cricket

Crickets: Fabrics, especially those full of perspiration

Cockroaches: Sweets, cheeses, meats, grease, and starches. Vegetables and fruits. Household items like leather, beer, glue, dried skin, books, paper, human dander, and a lot more

Brown Recluse Spiders: Other bugs, like cockroaches and crickets

Black Widow Spiders: Their mates! (Actually, that’s a myth. They don’t eat their mates). But they do eat other insects.

Carpenter Bees: Wood! Nope. They actually don’t eat wood. They just bore into wood to lay their eggs. They eat pollen.

Ants: Sweets, eggs, oils, and fats

Bed Bugs: You. They feast on you for a blood meal. They will also dine on animals.

Termite

termite

Fruit Flies: Decaying fruits and vegetables

House Flies: Liquids. They can also turn solids into liquids and then eat the liquid form of that food.

Silverfish: Paper, glue, clothing, flour, and oats

House Centipedes: Flies, spiders, and plant tissue

Fleas: Cats, dogs and humans

Rodents: Grains, fruits, seeds, chocolate, random items in your trashcan

Termites: Cellulose: A polysaccharide consisting of long unbranched chains of linked glucose units: the main constituent of plant cell walls and used in making paper, rayon, and film

After reading this diverse list of what pests eat, it makes a lot of sense that they’d look for food inside your home. To keep pests out, call The Bug Man. You can reach us by phone at 615.217.7284 or find us online at Facebook.com/TheBugManTN orTwitter.com/TheBugManTN.

Experimenting with Ants

Reasons why DIY Pest Control May Not Work

Experimenting with ants is interesting! If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a 22-minute-long video is worth about eleven million words. 🙂 To spread the wealth, we split the video up in to two separate segments.

One of our technicians put together an impromptu experiment to show what happens to ants when different pesticides are used. He experimented with water, a repellent, a non-repellent, granular bait, and gel bait.

If you’ve ever gone to the store to buy your own spray and wondered why that spray didn’t work, this video will answer that for you. If you’ve tried a bunch of different things and the ants are still there, this will show you why.

Without further adieu, we give you Ant Experiment, Part 1:

And Ant Experiment, Part 2:

Feedback in the comments is always appreciated. Or, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter at TheBugManTN.

Ants on a Potted Plant in Murfreesboro, TN

It’s the first day of spring! And with our warm weather comes lots of ants. Lots and lots and lots and lots of ants. And then more ants.

‘Ant’yways, one of our Quarterly Pest Control customers recently called us to see what we could do to get rid of an ant invasion at her home. Dan Cassidy, owner of The Bug Man, captured a video of the pesky ants.

If you continue to find ants indoors, there is a good chance that they may be nesting inside the house.  Many times the ant nest is relocated indoors with a potted plant.  They will nest inside the soil and when you move the plant inside, the nest of ants will move with the plant.  Always check between the potted plant before bringing them inside.  This will help deter this problem.

Ants will also be attracted to potted plants on patios, sun rooms, porches, and even indoors.  The ants like the frequent watering the plant requires, many of the plants also have aphids that the ants are attracted to.

Home for the Holidays: Protect Your Nest From the Pests

As you celebrate this Christmas season, we hope you home is free of any pesky outside nuisances. However, if you find yourself in a bitter battle with pests, give us a call, and we’ll be on our way.

There’s no place like home for the holidays…

For some reason, the combination of the holiday season and the gathering of friends and family leads to humorous situations. Countless movies are based on holiday hilarity. Family traditions include watching some of those movies.

One such movie marvel is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. There’s the Christmas tree, the sled on the hill, the Christmas lights, cousin Eddie, the Christmas bonus, and…the squirrel.

Crazy things can happen when outside pests invade your cozy nest! Although The Bug Man doesn’t directly deal with squirrels, we do come to your defense when it comes to pests like spiders, ants, rodents, silverfish, termites, mosquitoes, and fleas.

As you celebrate this Christmas season, we hope you home is free of any pesky outside nuisances. However, if you find yourself in a bitter battle with pests, give us a call, and we’ll be on our way.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Why do I still see bugs after The Bug Man treats my home?

Pest control is a sophisticated science. Using fun examples from Nintendo’s Mario Kart, learn about the reason we’re able to offer a warranty on our services.

Attention Homeowners Hosting for the Holidays:
If you’re noticing the beginning of an ant invasion, please call us as soon as possible so our products have time to take full effect. Because of the biology of ants, it may take a few days for their invasive colony to be wiped out. Please, read on for more…

 

King BooBugs are bootastic! You don’t want them in your house, but they show up anyway. You call The Bug Man, but sometimes the bugs still remain after a few days, even after a treatment is done. What gives?

Biology. It’s all about biology.

Believe it or not, pest control is a sophisticated science. Products are created to fulfill different purposes. Some products kill things immediately, but don’t last very long. Other products take longer to eliminate the bugs, yet last a long time. And, still others use a combination.

Toad

To illustrate–and have some fun–let’s think of this in terms of Mario Kart.   Yes, Mario Kart.

Some products work like Toad. They take off almost instantly. Others work like Donkey Kong. It takes a bit to get that fella going, but once he’s moving, it’s hard to stop him.

When it comes to killing ants and termites, we use products that have a high residual and a transfer effect. Translation: We use products that are going to last awhile, and will kill the pests over time. The ants and termites walk through the products or eat the bait, and then they transfer the poison to their colonies. Then they will die off gradually. That’s how we’re able to offer you a warranty.

This high residual and transfer effect explains why you may still see ants in your kitchen up to 10 days after we came out to your house. It’s not that what we did in treating your house failed. It’s just that the product is rollin’ around your house like Donkey Kong, bustin’ up on those pests!

If you still see a lot of pest activity 10 days after we’ve treated your home, please give us a call at 615.217.7284. We’re pleased as Punch Brothers to come back and scope out the situation. Our One-Time Pest Control comes with a 45 day re-treatment guarantee. And our Quarterly Pest Control service is guaranteed in between visits.

Ants Move Indoors to Flee from Wintering Weather and the Rain

The forecast for the next two weeks includes the perfect ingredients for a big stew of issues with ants. To find out how to stop Middle Tennessee is about to weather a perfect (ant) storm.

The forecast for the next two weeks includes the perfect ingredients for a big stew of issues with ants.

Ant StewIngredients 

    • Colder weather

 

    • Rain

 

    • Sugary Halloween candy

 

    • Empty candy wrappers

Ant Stew

The resulting stew produces a slew of issues for homeowners. As the rain floods out ant habitats, they will head inward to your home. And, if the ants discover a fresh batch of Halloween candy, it’ll be their treat and your trick.

Many homeowners choose not to use pest control services when it gets colder outside because they don’t see as much pest activity. While the pests seem to disappear, they actually don’t. This concept is called overwintering–when pests migrate, hibernate, or take up residence inside your home for the season. Check out our blog on overwintering, originally posted February of last year. It includes a link to a great article about overwintering by the Smithsonian Institution.

To make pests unwelcome this Halloween (and always)…

    • Clean up any candy wrappers or spilled beverages.

 

    • Don’t allow your kids, your siblings, your husband, your wife, or your sweet grandma to store stashes of candy in a secret hiding spot — chances are the ants will find the secret spot. Instead, follow our next tip…

 

    • Store candy in a sealed container, rather than out in the open.

If you do find yourself surrounded by ants, we’re standing by. We’re ready and willing to brew up our own batch of anti-ant stew. Call us at 615-217-7284.

Demystifying Red Velvet Ants: The Buzz on the Fuzz

Some call them red velvet ants. Some call them cow killers. Most don’t call them what they really are: wasps.

Have you seen a fuzzy red bug that looks like an ant walking around lately? Check out our blog for the buzz on the fuzz! There’s a great buzz in Middle Tennessee over a pretty little bug called by a variety of names.

Red velvet ants

If you’ve seen a fuzzy red thing walking around on the sidewalk or in your yard lately, it’s probably a female red velvet ant. When left alone, they aren’t looking to threaten humans. However, when picked up and toyed with, a threat may emerge.

When most people see something fuzzy, they think, “Aww, cute! I want to touch it.” However, when it comes to velvet ants, it is not recommended that you pick them up, because they may sting you. And, if something can be called a cow killer, it’s sting hurts…a lot!

Velvet ants are wasps that cannot actually fly. They feed on the cocoons of ground-nesting bees. Essentially, the mama velvet ant bores a hole in the cocoon of bees nesting underground and lays her eggs inside the cocoon. Then, when the velvet ant eggs hatch, they prey on the eggs in the cocoon.

Interesting, huh? Wasps killing bees in a dynamic, underground battle.

In an even more interesting twist, velvet ants often prey on cicada killers. A cicada killer is a large wasp that preys on cicadas. Female cicada killers capture cicadas, sting them, and then place them in holes they’ve borrowed into the ground. As their young hatch, they feed on the burrowed cicada.

That shifts our food chain paradigm to wasps killing bees and/or other wasps who kill cicadas.

Is your head swirling yet? Or is that just the buzz of all of these insects swarming around in your yard preying on each other? 🙂

If you’ve got a question, please post a comment. As always, you can find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/TheBugManTN.