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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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.

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.

Termite Swarms in Smyrna and Murfreesboro Tennessee

Termites are on the move in Middle Tennessee. They can be identified as ants with wings and can swarm by the thousands.

Termite Swarmers

A Termite Story from March 2011

The Bug Man received our first termite swarm call this week.  This occurred in Smyrna at a residential slab home.  The termites entered the structure behind the refrigerator through a crack in the concrete slab.  During the inspection, we found that the termites have damaged the walls and trim behind the refrigerator.  In this situation, we will recommend a soil treatment to eliminate the termite colony and recommend the damages be repaired.  In this case, the termites where discovered early and only minor damage has occurred.

Termite swarms are usually the first evidence a homeowner will discover when they have a termite infestation.  They are described by many homeowners as flying ants, or ants with wings. A homeowner may also discover mud shelter tubes on foundation walls built by the termites.  These shelter tubes provide a highway between the soil and the food source, and help protect them from predators.  Shelter tubes can be found on crawl space walls, exterior walls, on interior walls and in cracks between moldings.

If you ever experience a swarm of  “ant-like” bugs in or around your home, we recommend that you have them identified by a professional. Termites will usually swarm between March and June in the Middle Tennessee area.  The swarms are triggered by humidity and temperature.  We will usually have a significant number of calls after a heavy rainfall when the humidity levels are high.  Swarms usually occur between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.  If you arrive home from work and find large quantities of bugs on the floors and windowsills, this is a good indication that you have experienced a termite swarm.   Catching a termite infestation early is the key to preventing damage to your home.  A trained professional knows where to look and what to look for when it comes to termites.

Termites are still swarming now in May. Here’s a video of a termite swarm in Murfreesboro in May 2011:

We are always here to answer any questions you may have about all your pest needs.  The Bug Man 615-217-7284

Storm Damage and Termites: What You Need to Know

If you experienced storm damage that disturbed the soil surrounding your house and you have a termite treatment agreement with us, please call us at 615.217.7284. A re-treatment of your home is necessary to maintain your agreement and to prevent future termite damage. We will schedule a time to inspect your home and re-treat it.

With the recent damaging weather in Tennessee, many homeowners are cleaning up debris left over from the storms. While it’s not hard to remember to take care of the tree that fell over in your yard because you see it all of the time, checking the soil surrounding your home may be more elusive.

When we treat for pest or termite control, we establish an exterior barrier outside your home. Anytime the soil surrounding your house is disturbed, your home is at risk for pest invasions. If you add a deck or a sun room without adding pest protection, you may be involuntarily inviting bugs to join you for dinner. You may see a resurgence of ants or spiders after you do some landscaping. Or, termites may begin meeting for a feast inside your home after a night of bad weather.

If you experienced storm damage that disturbed the soil within five feet of your house and you have a termite treatment agreement with us, please call us at 615.217.7284. A re-treatment of your home may be necessary to maintain your agreement and to prevent future termite damage. We will schedule a time to inspect your home and re-treat it.

Please call us if you have questions about how home improvements, storm damage and landscaping affects pest control. If any of your friends or family has damage that disturbed the soil around their home, please ask them to check in with their pest control company. If they don’t have pest protection, their home may be at risk.

Storms are hectic. Cleaning up after storms can be overwhelming. We are here to help you keep your home protected.

Spring is in the Air and Ants are on the Move in Middle Tennessee

At The Bug Man, we want to equip you with as much information as we can on how to keep your home pest free.Here’s your latest installment of Bug Basics. Follow these tips to help your pest control professional better protect your home.Inside Tips:

  • If you spill something, clean it up. That ketchup on your kitchen table that fell off your corn dog last week is singing, “Come to me, ants. I have succulent sweetness for you to devour. Invite your friends. It’s a party!”
  • Regularly take out the trash. Keep this task on your chore list, folks. It is important.
  • Before you throw jars and containers into the trash that you just vowed to take out with devoted diligence, rinse them out. This applies to containers in your trash and in your recycling bin.
  • Pick up and store Fluffy’s/Fido’s food before you go to bed. Unfortunately, you may have to train your furry friend that they cannot graze on their food all night long. Much like your corn dog’s spilled ketchup, pet food attracts ants.

Outside Tips:

  • Seal your doors and windows. Not only will this help with your house’s draftiness, it’ll keep bugs out too.
  • Clean those rain gutters! This declarative sentence reminds us of the line, “Get those nail breakers!” in the classic 90s movie Ladybugs, starring Rodney Dangerfield. Hey, we’re a bug company. Of course we’re going to reference a bug-themed movie every once in awhile. If you have no idea what we’re talking about (or if you do and you love that movie), watch this YouTube clip.
  • Trim the trees and shrubs near your house. Ants will use tree limbs and bush branches like a bridge to march right into your house. Imagine it as a sophisticated ant interstate. You could call it I-ANT40.
  • Store firewood off the ground and away from your house. As you sit by your fireplace enjoying the evening and the ambiance, you don’t want ants sitting there with you, enjoying it too.

You may not know this, but most do-it-yourself pest treatments that you buy at a store actually hinder the pest removal effort because they repel bugs. Instead of killing the bugs, they just cause the pest to move locations, ultimately leading to more damage in the home.

If you find ants in your home, give us a call (615.217.7284).