Termite Season is once again knocking at the door

Termite season will arrive in just a few weeks. When the weather breaks, the termites will begin to swarm. Swarming is when the new reproductive termites take flight looking for a new place to call home. The termite swarm will usually occur on a sunny, humid morning. Termite Swarmers - AlatesOnce the termites have swarmed, they find a mate, and attempt to return to the soil to begin a new life. Most of the swarming termites will die. If they swarm inside a house, they die. When they swarm outside, other predators such as birds, lizards, spiders, and other insects will dine on the termites.

Many homeowners ask what they can do to protect their home. The first step is to have a qualified pest control technician inspect the home. The Bug Man offers a free termite inspection and evaluation. The inspection and evaluation takes between 30-60 minutes, depending on the type and size of home you have. Our technicians are all certified with the State and will provide a detailed report of each inspection, and even photo document any concerns. The next step is to design a gameplay to protect your home. This could include a treatment of the home or we may recommend having the home checked again in 12-18 months. The Bug Man features Termidor HE, America’s number 1 Termite Termite WorkersDefense! And The Bug Man is a locally owned and operated company, established in 2001.

Spring is the time termites swarm, so now is the time to have a checkup.  If your home has not been properly inspected in the past 2 years, now is the time to act.  Don’t wait until you see a problem, be proactive.

Don’t wait, contact The Bug Man today and ensure your house is protected!  We can be reached at 615-217-7284 or email us service@thebugman.us

Fleas and Flea Control in Tennessee

Flea 101

adult fleaSummer time is prime time for flea infestations in middle Tennessee.  It all starts in May when the weather warms and animals and pets are beginning to move around outside.  The flea pupa have been laying dormant and are awaiting the proper conditions to emerge and become biting adults.  Did you know that the adult flea can remain in the protective cocoon (pupa phase) for up to 5 months waiting for the proper conditions before if emerges?  Heat, carbon dioxide, and vibrations are all triggers that tell the adult when to emerge.  The adult female is the only flea stage that requires a blood meal and will bite a host.  The adult flea generally makes up less than 5% of the total population inside a household.  The other 95% are the ones you don’t see: the eggs, larva, and pupa.  This is why it can be difficult to to control fleas.  But, more on this later.

What can the homeowner do to prevent flea infestations?

Lincoln is a tick free dogThere are steps that a homeowner can take to help prevent a flea infestation.  We highly recommend talking with your pet’s veterinarian about flea control for your four-legged family member.  They will usually recommend a product that can be used on the pet to help keep the pet from bringing outdoor fleas inside the home.  Outdoors, it is a good idea to keep the grass trimmed on a regular basis and all shaded areas free from overgrown bushes, shrubs, and debris.  Fleas can not survive for long in direct sunlight.  Also keep the crawl space access properly sealed to keep pets, feral animals, and rodents from entering and leaving behind a flea infestation.  Wash pet bedding on a regular basis to help remove any flea eggs, larva, and pupa that may have been left behind.

I have fleas!! Now what??

If you have a flea infestation, the first thing that needs to be done is to ensure your pet has been properly treated. Please discuss this with your pet’s veterinarian.  Next, wash all of the pet bedding and vacuum all of the floors in the house.  This includes hard surfaces and carpets.  Use the crack and crevice tool along the baseboards to help remove any pet hair and flea dirt.  Vacuum under beds and furniture, and pick up clutter.  Fleas love the cracks and crevices.  The vacuum can pick up to 60% of the eggs, larva, pupa and adult fleas in the home.  Vacuum every day for the quickest relief.  And don’t forget, empty the canister or dispose of the bag from the vacuum after each cleaning or the fleas will emerge out of the vacuum!

Once the cleaning is done, now you can consider a flea treatment.  At this time, you can find a do-it-yourself product or call The Bug Man.  If you do it yourself, please read the label and follow the directions carefully.  Flea treatments take time to work. Once the flea treatment is applied, the adult fleas will continue to emerge from the pupa cases (cocoons) and continue to bite before the flea treatment has time to kill them.  This is normal and the cycle can last a few days to a few weeks, depending on the level of infestation and how often you vacuum!  Please refrain from repeated applications of flea sprays, as most products will have limits on how often they should be re-applied.  Safety first!

Aside from the cleaning benefits of the vacuum there is another major reason why you vacuum. Vibrations!! Remember that I mentioned that flea pupa can lie dormant for months? Well, they will emerge from the pupa phase if they detect that a blood meal may be nearby. The vibrations from the vacuum on a daily basis sends a signal to them that there is activity in the area. The faster you get them to emerge from the pupa phase and start moving around, the faster they will come in contact with the treated surfaces and begin the cycle of elimination.

What can I do to prevent fleas?

Our customers have asked, so The Bug Man has begun an exterior flea prevention add-on service for our 4 Season Pest Service.  During each quarterly seasonal service, our certified technician will provide an inspection and exterior treatment for the prevention of fleas.  We target the areas that fleas are likely to nest.  With this protection, in the unlikely chance that you have an interior flea infestation, The Bug Man will provide interior flea treatment as necessary at no extra cost.  The Bug Man also offers flea infestation service if you are not currently a 4 Seasons Pest Service customer.  If you are interested in more information on this protection, please contact us.

 

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When is termite season?

When are termites active?  When is termite season?

Termite WorkersTermites are reason for concern, and two of the most commonly asked questions we receive at The Bug Man office are: “When are termites active?” and “When is termite season?”.  In Tennessee, termites are actually active year-round.  We have found active termites in crawl spaces in the winter time when there has been snow on the ground.  Yeah, pretty funny… snow on the ground in middle Tennessee? Ha! That hardly ever happens.  The termites may not be as active, or active outside in the mulch when the ground turns cold but, with our heated homes, the crawl spaces stay warm enough to sustain termite activity year round.

Termite Shelter TunnelsMost people become aware of termite activity during termite swarm season.  In middle Tennessee, this generally occurs in the spring time, between March and May.  This is the time of year when you see the alate termites (the winged termites) emerging from the walls, floors, and ceilings of homes.  Swarm season is The Bug Man’s busiest time for termite work because most homeowners are calling in with sightings of the termite swarmers.  Most swarming termites will die after swarming, as they become a food source for birds, lizards, and other insects and spiders.  And the termites that swarm indoors all die if they are unable to return to the soil in short order after locating a suitable mate.

Termite swarmers are not the termites that homeowners need to fear, but they are a great indicator that you have an infestation.  The termite colony consists of termite workers that consume the cellulose in wood and feed the rest of the colony.  These are the termites that cause the damage to structures.  Our treatments are designed to target and eliminate the colony of termites and protect the structure from future attacks.  The Bug Man treatment of choice is Termidor HE.  Termidor has been proven to last for over 15 years in studies, and we are able to offer a 20 year renewable warranty with our treatments.

When should I have my home inspected?

Termidor HEThe Bug Man recommends having a termite inspection every 12-18 months.  Termite inspections can be completed year round in Tennessee.  During this inspection our certified technicians will inspect all accessible areas for evidence of termites.  We inspect for termite shelter tubes, tunnels, exit holes, wood debris in crawl spaces, and other conducive conditions that can lead to a future termite infestation.  Even with a complete inspection, it is still possible that a structure can have a termite infestation that goes undetected.  Termites can gain entry behind brick, through block, travel behind walls and under floors.  Many of these spaces are not accessible during a visual inspection.  Many times, even the professional must wait until there are visible signs of damage before we are able to locate an active termite infestation.  This is the reason that we recommend treatments on homes even when there is not a current visible sign of termites.  Termite treatment is one of the maintenance requirements of home ownership.  Once a home is under a termite protection treatment and warranty, we continue to perform yearly inspections to ensure the home remains termite free.

The Bug Man offers a free termite inspection and quote for Termidor HE Termite Protection.  Our certified technicians will provide a detailed written report of findings and quote for Termidor HE Termite Protection Protection.  Our goal at The Bug Man is to educate and provide the findings of our inspection so you have all the tools necessary to make a decision on how best to protect your home.

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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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Tips for Reducing Mosquitoes

Here are a few tips to help ward off the mosquitoes in your area.

To aid in the effort to keep your home bite-free, check for mosquito motels around your property. It doesn’t take long to scope out your property to look for potential mosquito hangouts.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another!

That short, yet succinct statement is true right now in Middle Tennessee. Especially in the area of cicadas vs.mosquitoes.

Since they only come around every 13 years, it seems like cicadas would be the biggest news in the bug world. However, due to a lot of rain and hot weather in April, those pesky pests called mosquitoes are making a quite a big bite in the pest popularity contest. Literally!

To fight the bite, The Bug Man offers a mosquito management program during the summer months that is intended to help reduce the breeding and resting areas of mosquitoes around your property. Call (615.217.7284) or email (service@thebugman.us) our office for more information.

To aid in the effort to keep your home bite-free, check for mosquito motels around your property. It doesn’t take long to scope out your property to look for potential mosquito hangouts. Here are a few tips to help ward off the mosquitoes in your area.

  • 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) in 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 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.

Cicadas in Tennessee 2011

We’re using Llama Font to deliver bad news about the 2011 Cicadas in Tennessee…

Here at The Bug Man, we’re big fans of humor. It’s great to laugh! Because, honestly, some things are quite funny. If laughter is the best medicine, then we’ve got an entire medicine cabinet full of it!

While browsing Twitter today, we stumbled upon a funny little web page called Llama Font. It genuinely cracked us up to think about Tina the llama from the movie Napoleon Dynamite bending to make llama letters.

The creators of Llama Font suggested that their llama letters should be used to deliver bad news…

Bad News About the 2011 Cicadas in Tennessee

Though the news you just read is tragic, don’t be dismayed. Rather, take relief in knowing this good news…

Good News About The Bug Man

If you found this page on Google and really want legit info about cicadas, please read our previous blog post The 13-Year Cicada Set to Invade Middle Tennessee.

Have any questions about cicadas (or any other pest)? Please post a comment. Maybe we’ll answer your questions in Llama Font!

Just kidding. We won’t answer in Llama Font. 🙂

The 13-Year Cicadas Set to Invade Middle Tennessee

The cicadas are coming! You may have heard rumors that the dreaded 13-year cicadas are emerging this year in Tennessee. It’s true. They are coming between April and June.

The cicadas are coming!

You may have heard rumors that the dreaded 13-year cicadas are emerging this year in Tennessee. It’s true. They are coming between April and June. It is predicted that they will appear when the ground temperature reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Several have been spotted in the area already. In no time, there will be thousands of them!

What exactly are the 13-year cicadas? And why are they coming out this year? Don’t they come out every year? What makes this year special? What’s the difference between a 13-year and a 17-year cicada? What’s the difference between a cicada and a locust?

CicadasCicadas are known for their beady little eyes. Contrary to popular myth, they are not blind. They can see just fine. However, fine eyesight does not prevent them from flying onto humans occasionally.

There are several different types of cicadas. You’re probably familiar with the annual cicadas that come out every summer, typically called dog-day cicadas. The rarer 13- and 17-year cicadas are growing underground all the time, feeding on nutrients in trees, but only come out after they’ve fully grown (after 13 or 17 years). The difference between a 13-year and a 17-year cicada is that one species simply takes four years longer to mature than the other.

When the 13-year cicadas appear and make a loud racket, it’s called an emergence. After maturing and growing into adulthood underground for 13 years–they are ready to emerge above ground and begin mating. The loud sound that you hear comes from the males. It’s their mating call. The females hear the mating call, find the males, mate and then lay their eggs in tree branches. Check out this informational page from The Tennessean for more details.

The reason the cicada emergence is so loud is because millions of cicada babies grew into adulthood underground together for 13 years. Then those millions appear above ground singing together in a shrieking chorus, ready to mate and create millions more babies. It’s an ongoing cycle.

The 13-year cicadas sing loudest during the hottest parts of day. They do sing at night, but not as frequently or as loudly. If you hear singing at night, it’s most likely a cricket, katydid or frog.

At The Bug Man, we don’t treat for cicadas because treating them with pesticides has proved ineffective. Other than producing a loud and annoying noise, cicadas are not harmful to humans. They don’t attack or sting. They don’t destroy the wood in houses. Cicadas in a Tree

However, if you have young trees growing in your yard, it’s recommended that you cover them with bird netting or cheese cloth, or to delay pruning until the cicadas have left because female cicadas cut and pierce the branches of young trees, making the trees weak.

Also, if you were planning on any outdoor painting project this summer, perhaps you should reschedule to another time because flying cicadas might ruin your paint job.

Although cicadas are often called locusts, they are not synonymous. Locusts are short-horned grasshoppers. Cicadas are an entirely different, plant-sucking creature.

The 13-year cicadas are a mysterious thing. Many people don’t understand this phenomenon and will respond in fear. If this blog was helpful and informative to you, please forward it along to your friends and family. Hopefully knowing more about cicadas will help you endure their courtship choruses.