Honey Bee Swarms – HELP is here!

How can we help the honey bee?

honeybee pollinated of flower
honeybee pollinated of flower

We have asked ourselves this question here at The Bug Man for many years.  We practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in our business, this basically means to be successful at our jobs while making the smallest impact on our environment possible.  Each year, we receive calls reporting honey bee swarms hanging from trees and the sides of houses.  We attempt to seek out a beekeeper to catch and relocate these bees safely.  Most of the time, the beekeepers are unable to respond in a timely manner because most of them have regular jobs and can’t get away.  This year, we have solved this problem!  Dan and Vicky Cassidy, owners of The Bug Man, have become the beekeepers!

Endor Farms – Honey Bee Apiary

Endor Farms - Apiary
Endor Farms – Apiary

Dan and Vicky Cassidy have started a small honey bee farm out in Rockvale to relocate and raise honey bees.  They will be available to catch and relocate honey bee swarms to this property and to care for them.  Dan and Vicky also have contacts (other beekeepers) in the local association that would be happy to take any hives that they are unable to keep.   Dan and Vicky are members of the Rutherford County Beekeepers Association (since July 2014), and constantly seeking out additional training in this new field.  Eventually, our customers will be able to purchase the local honey at The Bug Man office.  We will keep everyone posted when it becomes available.

What to do if you see a honey bee swarm

Honeybee swarm hanging from tree.
Honeybee swarm hanging from tree.

Most people become worried and even scared when they see a honey bee swarm.  While this is a normal reaction, the honey bees are not usually dangerous during a swarm.  Their goal is to seek out a new home quickly before they run low on energy stores.  The queen will land on a branch or wall and all the bees will gather around the queen bee and form a large ball-like mound.  This is often referred to as a basketball of bees.  This is the best time to contact a beekeeper.  They may stay here for 30 minutes or 2 hours.  Eventually, they will move on to another area until they find a suitable home.

When you see this cluster of bees, call our office and we will dispatch Dan & Vicky, with the bee response equipment.  If successful, the honey bee cluster will be captured and relocated safely to Endor Farms and the bee will be able to pollinate the crops out in the country.

If you find a swarm of honey bees, call us at 615-217-7284 and we will dispatch our beekeepers!

Chikungunya Fever and Mosquito Reduction

Chicken who?? Chikungunya.

Prevent Chikungunya and other mosquito illnessesThe Chikungunya virus has been limited to Africa and Asia for a very long time. In fact, it was first recorded in a human in Tanzania in 1953. So, this is not a new virus. But, it’s quickly becoming a hot topic in the media since it was discovered in the caribbean in December 2013. The concern is that this could soon spread to the United States in the coming year from travelers.

According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), the Chikunguyna virus can cause high fever, severe pain, nausea, vomiting, and headache. The disease is spread by being bitten by a mosquito that has previously bitten an infected person. It is not transmitted person to person.

The Bug Man is in the business of controlling pests and we are not medical professionals. But, because pests can spread disease and cause a variety of illnesses we are often caught in the middle of addressing the medical concerns caused by the pests. If you have any of the symptoms listed above we will always tell you to discuss them with your physician. What we CAN help with is education on what you can do to reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes, in general.

The mosquitoes that carry the chikungunya virus (as well as other viruses) are the Yellow-Fever Mosquito (aedes aegypti) and the Asian Tiger Mosquito (aedes albopictus).

As of this writing, no infected mosquitoes have been found in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, or anywhere in the United States. So far the CDC is reporting that all of the documented cases of chikunguyna in the US have been in people who have recently traveled outside of the United States to a country with the infected mosquitoes.

Recommendations to reduce the mosquito population in Murfreesboro, middle Tennessee, and beyond:

To reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes we have a long list of recommendations that we give to every customer on our Mosquito Management Program. Almost every item in our list involves getting rid of anything that holds standing water and/or making sure to empty and scrub items that hold water, frequently. Also, contact your City and/or County and make sure that they are treating water retention areas with a larvicide on a regular basis.

  • Dispose of old tires, tin cans, buckets, drums, bottles, plastic sheeting, or any water-holding containers.
  • Clean debris from rain gutters to allow proper drainage.
  • Fill in or drain low places (puddles, ruts, etc) in your yard.
  • Keep drains, ditches, and culverts clean of weeds and trash so water can flow properly.
  • Cover trash containers to keep out rain water
  • Check around outdoor faucets and air conditioner units and repair leaks or other causes for water puddles.
  • Empty plastic wading pools at least once per week and store indoors when not in use.
  • Make sure your backyard pool is cared for while away from the home.
  • Fill in tree holes and stumps that hold water with sand or cement.
  • Change the water in bird baths, plant pots, and drip trays at least once per week.
  • Keep the grass cut short and shrubbery well trimmed around the house where adult mosquitoes may rest.
  • Irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing.
  • Eliminate seepage from cisterns, cesspools, and septic tanks.
  • Stock ornamental pools with top feeding predacious minnows.
  • Check window and door screens on the home. Be sure they are in good condition to seal out mosquitoes.
  • Wear light-colored clothing, plus long sleeve shirts and long pants for extra protection.
  • Use repellants on skin and clothing while outdoors.

    Mosquito Reduction to prevent chikungunya
    Mosquito Reduction Program by Robert at The Bug Man

In addition to these steps, The Bug Man also offers a Mosquito Reduction Program. You can read more about that service on our past blog titled Mosquitoes… The Bug Man to the rescue or feel free to give us a call at  615-217-7284.

 

Don’t worry… bee happy about beneficial insects!

Children Embrace our beneficial insects. Shouldn’t you?

Children are so fun and curious about bugs!  Little Johnny often doesn’t think twice about picking up a spider by the leg and running to show his mommy. When he shows her his discovery, mom will often scream and run as far away as possible. Johnny will inevitably laugh, uncontrollably, while mom yells “Get that thing out of here!”

Beneficial insects are fun for the children to study and read about

It’s a common story that we hear over and over.  There are so many exaggerated horror stories about various insects: Brown recluse spiders will cause your leg to fall off. Termites will eat your house down to the ground. You will surely die a terrible disease if bitten by a mosquito. Who knows where these stories come from or why. But, they create a fear in some folks that are hard to shake.

The honey bee and other beneficial insects have an important role in our environment

Take the honey bee, for example.   They are the pollinators for our food crops. Their population has been in a steady decline in recent years due to a number of factors such as viruses, parasites, poor nutrition, limited access to clean water and exposure to pesticides. WHAT??? Exposure to pesticides?? Yes, it is true. We all (including us) have a huge responsibility in taking care to protect the honey bee and other beneficial insects.

In the spring you will sometimes see huge swarms of bees in the bushes and flowering trees. Sometimes they will stick around for a few minutes and then be gone. Sometimes they will stay for a few days. It’s easy to grab that jug of bug juice or call an exterminator to get rid of them. But, if they are not in an area that will harm you or your loved ones then it is usually best to leave them to collect the pollen. The additional benefit is that your plants and flowers will be even more beautiful later on.

There are a variety of other insects that are beneficial. Usually, most people first think of ladybugs or the asian lady beetle. Absolutely! Did you know that there are more than 400 species of the lady beetles in North America? There are also lacewings, parasitic wasps, spiders, tachinid flies, pirate bugs (aaaargh!) and ground beetles, just to name a few.

Honey bee gathering pollen: We must protect our beneficial insects.
Honey bee gathering pollen: We must protect our beneficial insects.

Protecting the environment and people at the same time

As a pest control professional, our goal is to protect your home from a pest invasion. If there is a pest problem in your living space then, yes, there is a cause for concern. You will want to eliminate the problem to prevent disease and illness/injury in your family. But, if we can keep your environment safe without having a negative impact on the rest of Murfreesboro, middle Tennessee, and beyond, then we are all winning.

Murfreesboro Jazz Festival May 2-3, 2014

The Bug Man proudly supports the MainStreet Murfreesboro Jazz Festival

Jazz Festival LogoWith spring in the air, what better way to enjoy the beautiful weather than a weekend of jazz music and carnival food while sitting in the grass in the Historic Downtown Murfreesboro Square?  The Southeast Tourism Society has named Main Street JazzFest one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast for May, 2014.  We are fortunate to have such an event right here in our own backyard.  The Jazz Festival with have music, food, and activities for the children.  And don’t forget to purchase a souvenir t-shirt, as the proceeds from the sales help keep this event returning each year.  So pack a blanket, a chair, and your kids in the van for a weekend of fun and relaxation.

Volunteer Opportunities at Jazz Fest

I have been a volunteer at the Murfreesboro Jazz Festival for the past 13 years.  The first year I volunteered in the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Youth Group tent.  I was then recruited onto the Jazz Fest Committee and have held a role each year since.  My wife Vicky and two sons have also put in many hours during the event hauling ice, greeting sponsors, erecting tents and signs, and cleaning up once the music stopped playing.  This has been a great learning experience for the children over the years.  I encourage you to volunteer, it only requires a 2-3 hour commitment, to help Jazz Fest be a success again this year.  If interested, click on this link to register at the Jazz Festival website.

Saturday Performance Schedule Announced – Main Stage Schedule

Saturday, May 3 2014

11:00  Stewart’s Creek High School

11:40  TBA

12:20  Murfreesboro Youth Jazz Orchestra

1:00   MTSU Jazz Ensemble I

2:00   Kevin Whalum

3:15   MTSU Faculty Combo

4:30   Dara Tucker

5:45   Joe Davidian

7:00   Music City Swing

8:00   Joe Johnson

9:15   129th Army Jazz Band

  • Clinic at 3:30 featuring Kevin Whalum

The Friday Night schedule will feature the Rutherford County School Jazz Bands and on Saturday the Kroger Stage will also be running music all day long.  We are looking forward to seeing these schedules posted soon.  Are you ready for a weekend full of Jazz Music, food, and fun?  I know I am.  I hope to see everyone out at the MainStreet Jazz Fest 2014.

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