When mice and rats come knocking

Are the mice and rats knocking at your door?

family of miceAs the cold weather approaches, we all head inside where it is warm, sit by the fire and relax.  The same happens to all the pesky rodents this time of year.  The rodents are also looking for a nice warm place to nest for the winter time.  Here at The Bug Man, we receive an increasing number of calls about rodent activity after the first frost, and it continues until Spring.  Our trained technicians are well equipped to handle the pesky mice and rat calls as they occur.

The Bug Man recommends that business and homeowners proactively take steps to help keep these rodents away form the structures.  Sealing all entry points on the exterior larger than 1/4″ will help to keep them out.  Mice are able to enter through the smallest of holes while rats require a slightly larger opening for entry.  Many times rodents are able to enter into the crawl space of a home from utility lines or near the HVAC system.  It is best to seal these holes and openings with hardware cloth (metal screening) or mortar.  We find that the expanding foam can be chewed through by the mice and rats sharp teeth.

Removing alternate food sources that may attract the mice and rats

The Bug Man recommends storing all pet food, bird and grass seed in metal containers.  This will help to remove alternate food sources that the rodents are searching for.  It is recommended that you not leave pet food outdoors, as this will attract the rodents to your house.  Inside, it is best to remove all foods from tables, counter tops, and floors.  The mice and rats can climb and jump over 3 feet!

What do you do when you have a rat or mice infestation?

The Bug Man recommends that you trap indoors and bait outdoors when necessary.  Baiting in living areas is not recommended.  This can cause two main issues, it will attract the mice and rats into your house and they will die in your house.  Neither of these two results are what we are trying to accomplish.  The Bug Man will place bait in tamper resistant stations outside, in the crawl space, and possibly in the garage depending on the situation.  Your trained technician may place traps inside the house.  By placing the bait (think food source) outside, we are luring the rodents out of your living space!  This is our goal.

If a mouse or rat dies inside your home, it could smell for a few days.  Unfortunately, they will occasionally die in places that they are not accessible.  This could be in the attic or inside the walls.  When this occurs, it is usually impossible to locate the exact location for removal and you must resort to an odor neutralizer!

When it comes to rodent control, it is best to seal them out before the arrive.  A little preventative maintenance goes a long way.  But if you are faced with a rodent situation, feel free to contact The Bug Man, and our trained service technicians will be out to help.

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Indian Meal Moths: Silently Lurking in the Kitchen

Nothing makes me shudder more than the thought of indian meal moths in my food pantry. We all have our bug fears & rants. Mine happens to be this evil little time gobbler of an insect that invades our food. This particular blog is personal for me, today. If you have not heard or experienced indian meal moths before then you will want to definitely read on.

Where are all of these moths coming from???

This will be the first thing that you say. Indian meal moths seem to come from nowhere. In the beginning it’s one here or there. After a couple of days it’s three or four. The next thing you know… they’re everywhere!  Indian Meal Moth

They struck our family last summer when we were in the middle of a family emergency. We had to travel to and from Tennessee for weeks on end. It’s almost like they sensed that we had no time to find the exact source of the problem. If you can find the source of the problem quickly then you will avoid the pantry crisis. We did not have the time to look at every item in the pantry like we KNEW we should do. We opened a few items like cereal, corn starch, flour, dog food, and nuts. We found several infested foot items and considered the matter finished.

How long do indian meal moths live?

The larvae of indian meal moths can take anywhere from 2 to 14 days to hatch. An adult will live anywhere from 5 to 25 days. Of course, this is all depending on the environmental conditions. In my book, 5 minutes is too long.

The indian meal moths continued to flutter about my kitchen for days on end. The problem was becoming worse by the day. Until finally, I said enough is enough. I’m tearing apart the pantry!!   Well, I found the nasty culprit. It was a lovely tin of popcorn from Christmas (thanks Mom!) that had gotten pushed to the corner over time and forgotten about. When I opened up that tin it was like something from that scene in the movie The Green Mile where John Coffey “takes back” the bugs. There were literally hundreds of them and they swarmed out of that tin in a black cloud all around my head. To say that I invented a new dance in the kitchen of my Murfreesboro, TN home that day would be an understatement.

Indian meal moth elimination
The kitchen was a mess!

Actually, finding the source was great news! I knew that I could finally get down to solving the problem. I removed every food item AND sealed container and inspected it. Every corner and crevice. Any containers with larvae, pupae, or moth was discarded in a trash bag. Everything else was wiped down thoroughly with a soapy sponge. Every time I saw a moth I would quickly suck it up in the vacuum.

There were all stages of indian meal moths everywhere I looked: In the food, crevices of bags, crevices of boxes, the screw-on lids of herbs, cracks of wall shelving, corners of pantry, inside lip of the chip clips.   Everywhere! I even found larvae & pupae in “sealed” storage containers holding herbs and seasonings that I had blended together myself. Some things are just not as sealed as you think they are. I was very disappointed to have to throw away those blends. Herbs and seasonings can be so expensive!

Indian meal moth pupae in chip clip lip
Look closely for the cocooned pupae on inside lip of the handle of this chip clip!

The process was very time consuming, but in the end the problem was resolved. Did I mention that no pesticides were used? The solution for indian meal moths can never be accomplished with pesticides. Sometimes, the job of a professional is not in what they do but in what they know. In the work of an exterminator this is called Integrated Pest Management or IPM. Basically, it is a combination of common sense and scientific principles we use to solve a pest problem whereby we reduce the risk to the environment and people. In the case of indian meal moths, we cannot treat the food or their containers so we rely on IPM to remedy the problem.

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Green Pest Control: EPA Implements Changes to Rodent Regulation

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently made changes to how rodents are regulated. As your resident rodent catchers, this affects how The Bug Man takes care of you: our customers.

Let us start by saying that the best way to manage the rodent population is through a fancy term called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). It’s also known as Green Pest Control.

When it comes to rodents, IPM is essentially battening down the hatches of your home. Imagine that a hurricane was coming. You’d board up your windows and make your home secure. To protect yourself from a hurricane invasion of rodents, you should do what you can to protect the entry points to your home. We’ve described this process in our blog Rats! I’ve got mice! Tips and Tricks for Keeping Rodents Out of Your Home.

EPA

When you call The Bug Man for your pest problem, you’re calling an expert who can show you how to secure your home to protect it from pest invasion. Anybody can go to the store to buy a can of pest spray or a mouse trap. Securing your home doesn’t only involve spraying a product. It also–more importantly–involves utilizing our trained and educated technicians to show you how you can keep your home or business pest free.

One of the biggest changes implemented by the EPA is that all rodent bait now needs to be stored inside a bait station so that children and animals will not be able to access the bait. With this new EPA law, we are now required to use bait stations, so there will be a nominal fee for the bait stations. If you have questions about the bait station fees, please call us at 615.217.7284.

Both our office staff and our technicians want to partner with you to keep your home pest free through IPM and Green Pest Control.