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!

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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Termite Activity Found in Murfreesboro, TN

The Bug Man found termite activity in Murfreesboro and surrounding areas.

Termite Swarmers - AlatesTermite season is in full swing here in Murfreesboro and surrounding areas.  Most of the calls we are fielding  this week are in regards to active termite swarms.  We have had calls from Mt. Juliet, Lebanon, Smyrna, Rockvale, and Murfreesboro.  The termites are swarming now that the weather is warming up, the humidity is high, and the sun is beginning to shine.  Termites swarm in order to establish a new colony.  When the termites swarm and leave the existing colony, they fly towards the sunlight in search of a mate.  If the termites swarm outside, they will drift in the wind, land, break off their wings, locate a mate, and return back into the soil to begin a new colony.  But, the termites that swarm inside will usually fly towards windows and other light sources.  They will all die if they are unable to find a mate and return to soil.  When this happens, most homeowners will usually find the swarmer termites and wings around the windows, doors, or lights.  This is an indication that an inspection and  treatment is needed.  Here is Termite Shelter Tunnelsa photo of termite shelter tubes that our technician found in a crawl space at a house in Christiana that had an active termite swarm on Friday.

Swarming termites are not the biggest concern

The swarming termites are not the real problem in a home, it is the worker termites hidden inside the walls that concern us.  Termite WorkersThey are the ones that feed on the cellulose (wood) of your home and cause the damage.  The worker termites are responsible for building the tunnels, feeding the colony, and all of the general duties of the colony,  The workers are the termites that get the work done!  But the swarming termites are definitely a sign that you have a problem!  When you see the termite swarmers, it is time to call The Bug Man.  When our trained technicians arrive on site, they will inspect the home, note their findings, review the information with the property owner, answer any questions, and provide a solution for the termite infestation.  The Bug Man uses Termidor HE for all of our termite treatments.  Termidor has been proven as the best termite solution in the industry, and that is why The Termidor HEBug Man has teamed up with the makers of  Termidor, BASF.

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The Bug Man Finds a Black Widow Spider in an Unexpected Location

A black widow spider is tricky and elusive. It invokes terror into many Murfreesboro-ans, Smyrna-ans, Antioch-ans, Lebanon-ans, La Vergne-ans, and most hum-ans in general. Let’s face it, black widow spiders get a bad rap most of the time!

In order to help our office staff become more familiar with what our technicians do out in the field, we occasionally take field trips with the technicians to see how and why they do what they do.

As the writer of this blog, I love learning more about our pest control process so I can speak to our customers in an informed, yet understandable way.

On my latest field trip with technician Daniel Lambert, I learned a lot! I’ll be sharing pictures and videos from my field trip adventure over the next several weeks. Today’s topic is: the black widow spider.

When we arrived on the scene, one of the first things Daniel did was get rid of the webs on the exterior of the home with a brush. This simple, yet effective action added quite the cosmetic upgrade to the home.

One of the bonuses of hiring a pest control professional like The Bug Man is getting the expertise of the technician.

Our technicians are trained to expect the unexpected and look for problem pests that could potentially harm our beloved customers.

As we were making our way around the house to inspect, Daniel pointed to a plastic drainage container under the gutter and said, “I bet there’s a black widow spider under there. I almost always find a black widow under those.”

As I looked on, Daniel swiftly picked up the drain and flipped it over. And, to his credit, there was in fact a black widow spider underneath it. And, wow! It was a hoss! A large, round, ugly-looking-behemoth arachnid.

Black widow spider

Here’s a closer view of the angry 8-legger. Notice how some of it’s legs are raised in an attack-like stance. Eeek!

Angry black widow spider

Shortly after this photo was taken, the angry black widow became a formerly-angry and currently-dead black widow.

Thanks for letting me re-live my field trip with you, blog reader. I’ll keep you posted on what else happened on this knowledge adventure. Check back next week. If you’ve got questions, please post them in the comments below.

Children of the Corn and Beetles of the Dresser

The world of pest control is full of funny stories. Here’s one of the funniest stories we’ve heard in a long time. Be careful where you store your corn hole game. In the pest control industry, technicians see a lot of things. Things that amaze them. Things that make sense. Things that are weird. And lots of things that are funny.

I’m Lindsay. I’ll be your narrator today. I’m the narrator of this blog most days, actually. 

As an office worker at a pest control company, I hear a lot of things, especially funny stories from technicians. Allow me to share this with you, because this story is too good to keep to myself.

Once up on a time, not too long ago, a jolly technician made his way to a routine pest control service call. The customer was seeing grain beetles upstairs in their house, so The Bug Man came out to take a look.

The thing about grain beetles is they are usually found in the kitchen. It was strange that someone would see a multitude of grain beetles any place other than where food is stored.

Upon the technicians arrival, he greeted the perplexed customer and did a little investigating to try to find the root of the problem.

He asked, “I know this is a strange question, but do you have any corn anywhere in this house?”

“No. No corn,” the customer replied.

So the technician kept looking. As the minutes ticked on, he began questioning his own ability as a pest control professional.

“Have I lost my edge?” he wondered. “What am I going to tell this lady?”

The technician imagined his response to the customer.

“Uh, sorry, ma’am. I have no idea where all of these beetles are coming from. Crazy weather these days. It must be bringing in strange bug activity.”

Jolting him out of his inner dialogue, the customer said, “Oh! Hey, I’ve got corn hole bags in my dresser upstairs…”

Renewed in his pest control vigor, the technician booked it upstairs and opened the door of the dresser to find thousands of grain beetles swarming the corn hole bags. In his astonishment, he completely forgot to take a picture of the discovery.

Infestation by corn hole bag. Incredible!

So what’s the moral of the story? Don’t store corn hole bags in your dresser upstairs!

So who wants to play corn hole? Anyone? Anyone?

The Bug Man Celebrates 10 Years; Prepares to Move to New Location

It’s our 10 year anniversary! To celebrate and commemorate, we wrote up a press release. We’d like to share it with you…It’s our 10 year anniversary! To celebrate and commemorate, we wrote up a press release. We’d like to share it with you…

MURFREESBORO, TN — A lot can happen in a decade. Dan and Vicky Cassidy, owners and operators of The Bug Man Pest Control, know firsthand.

Since starting the business in a room next to their bedroom in the fall of 2001 with only one man and a truck, the Cassidy family business has come a long way.

“I guess you could say that our start was a result of the economic impact caused by 9/11,” Vicky shares. “Dan had recently been laid off and—after 9/11–jobs evaporated overnight. Starting our own pest control business was our way of providing for our family. And now we’re proud to help others provide for their families.”

Six trucks and seven employees later, The Bug Man is bigger than Dan and Vicky originally planned. “We attribute our success to the hard work and dedication of our employees–who we consider to be our extended family–and also our customers. It’s about people,” Vicky says, with a smile. “For us, it’s always been about people.”

After acquiring Advantage Pest Control in Lebanon, The Bug Man is now serving Rutherford and Wilson County, as well as numerous other cities within the Middle Tennessee area.

The Bug Man is a three-time (and hopefully four-time) Ruthies award winner. Since the Daily News Journalcreated the Favorite Pest Control Company category, The Bug Man has won first place every time.

This year, The Bug Man was also voted Best Bug Zapper in theMurfreesboro Post’s Besties awards.

As if adding a new set of customers and widening their service area wasn’t enough, The Bug Man is soon moving into a permanent office location in downtown Murfreesboro on Church Street. They hope to be up and running in the new space by the end of this year at 606 S Church Street.

Like a Moth to a Flame: Illuminating How Outdoor Lighting Affects Pests in Your Home

Learn about how the lighting scheme outside your house is related to pest control with these helpful tips.You’ve probably heard the cliche, “Like a moth to a flame,” before. But have you ever really thought about that sentence? Have you ever wondered why moths (and other flying things) are attracted to light sources? A lot of people are in the dark about outdoor lighting.

Well, here’s some illumination for you.

The lighting scheme outside your home affects how susceptible your home is to a pest invasion. Not only will flying bugs be attracted to lights, but spiders, scorpions and bats may become attracted to the bugs that became attracted to your home because of your outdoor lighting.

On a balmy summer night, it’s normal to see bugs swarming around a light. It’s not unusual for a moth to fly inside a house after hanging out at the door waiting for such an opportunity. These two common pest problems–and many others–can be prevented.

Here are a few Bug Basics when it comes to outdoor lighting:

* Many pests are attracted to fluorescent bulbs. That kind of lighting may strain our eyes. Alternatively, it makes bug eyes happy.

* Some insects are picky about their lighting. They may only be attracted to your home on an idle Thursday evening at 11:14 p.m. in June when it’s 67 degrees. Seriously. Others may like your lighting all night, every night.

* Male insects may love the way you’ve lit up your house and be attracted to it. While some female insects couldn’t care less. Isn’t that funny?

* Some insects only like your lights if they produce a lot of heat. What do they think it is, a tanning bulb, or something?

Knowing what you know now, here’s how you can adjust your outdoor lighting set up.

* Though they aren’t as bright or as attractive to humans, tinted lights attract fewer bugs. Install lights with a yellow, pink or orange hue. If it helps, pretend it’s like Christmas in July with all of your colored lights.

* If you have accidentally set up a pest tanning bulb boutique outside your backdoor, replace high-heat-halogen and incandescent bulbs with bulbs that produce less heat.

* Consider indirect lighting. Meaning, install lights that aren’t right above your doorway. Set up lights 15 to 20 feet away from your doorway that shine on your door.

* Use curtains on the windows of the rooms you hang out in at night. Even interior lighting is attractive to pests.

* Avoid shining bright lights on white walls, especially near water. Light + White Walls + Water = No Good

* To avoid the bugs that only come out at dusk (i.e. midges) set up your lights to come on two hours after the sun goes down. Pull out that trusty Christmas tree light timer and set it up with your hue lights that we wrote about earlier.

While you’re spending more time outside in the evenings, observe the pest activity near the lights outside your house. If you notice an abundance of pests hovering around one of your light sources, give us a call. We can talk through solutions to your lighting scheme.

White-Nose Syndrome in Tennessee: How the Dying Bat Population Affects You

A mysterious fungus has killed millions of bats in America. Bats are essential for controlling pests, especially mosquitoes.You may not know it, but bats are quite heroic. No, we’re not talking about the Dark Knight, a.k.a. Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman.
We’re talking about the the bats that need no special help of Alfred the butler or Lucius Fox.In the deep darkness of the midnight hours, bats patrol the skies. Pollinating crops and eating pests, bats sightlessly save farmers and consumers billions of dollars annually in pest control.In recent years, a one-two punch has knocked out millions of bats across America. The first blow comes from turbines at wind farms. Air pressure changes caused by the swirling, tumbling turbines cause the lungs of bats to explode and the swinging blades swipe bats right out of the sky.

To combat this, researchers are trying to develop technologies to alert bats that wind turbines are in the area so they fly elsewhere.

The second lethal punch comes from a mysterious fungus called white-nose syndrome. Originating in Europe, it is unknown when exactly it came to America and who or what brought it “across the pond.”

The fungus spreads during hibernation. Basically, when bats hibernate in the winter, their body temperature drops to match the coldness of the caves and caverns where they live. The cooler temperatures and the bats’ sleeping immune systems create the perfect conditions for the fungus to spread. Round by round, bat after bat is losing this bout. Once white-nose syndrome strikes one bat in a colony, it’s likely they’ll all die within a few years.

To prevent the spreading of white-nose syndrome, several states have closed caves and caverns to the public. Officials have also asked spelunkers, hikers and cavers to thoroughly clean their clothing and equipment before visiting a cave again. If you plan on visiting a cave in the near future, be aware that it may not be open because of this problem.

Consider the impact this way: Every dead bat is like 3,000 mosquito bites in one night. Ouch! That’s painful!

Have you noticed a decrease of bat activity and an increase of mosquito activity in your area? It could be because of white-nose syndrome.

At The Bug Man, we offer a mosquito service during the summer months.

Turn on the bat signal and we’ll come running to the rescue.

Or call us at 615.217.7284 to schedule an appointment. 🙂

Exposing the Brown Recluse

Debunk myths about the brown recluse through education, information and humor. And a little Monty Python…We get a lot of phone calls in our office at The Bug Man. Most of the time, the calls aren’t alarming. However, when it comes to brown recluses, most of the calm, cool, collectedness in our customers capsizes.Getting bit by bugs is usually not #1 on the list of fun for most people. Our desire is to offer educational materials and partner with you to keep your home pest free. We try to dispel the fear that comes with bugs through our pest control services as well as educational, informative, and humorous resources. Hopefully this blog will both teach you and tickle your funny bone.Please take a seat in our virtual classroom, and pull out your study materials. The bell has rung and it’s time for Brown Recluses: 101.True to their name, brown recluses usually stay away from people. They don’t prey on humans, but they do bite in defense if they are threatened. Brown recluses are active at night and will move if disturbed. They typically hang out in areas that don’t receive heavy traffic, such as in storage boxes, closets, and in piles of unused clothes on the floor.

To prevent brown recluses from getting into your storage and clothing areas, vacuum and clean as often as you can and store your items and clothes in sealed plastic containers. And, shake out any items/clothes before you put them on to try remove any spiders that may be in there.

Brown Recluse spider specimen that a customer brought in to our office

It is important to note that brown recluse venom is tricky. The size of the person, the amount of brown recluse bites and the immune system of the bitten one all have to be factored in. Some people get bitten on a Tuesday at the beginning of the month and don’t notice anything until on a Friday at the end of the month. Conversely, results of a bite could be immediately apparent. No two people are alike in the way they respond to bites. No blanket statements here. It all depends. It just depends.

Although it is widely publicized that brown recluses are deadly, a bite from a brown recluse has yet to kill someone. Many health issues are mistakenly attributed to brown recluses because of the hype associated with them. Because brown recluses are well known, they get the wrap for other skin problems, like flesh eating bacteria or bed sores.

If a person gets bitten by a brown recluse, it could lead to a large, ulcerative sore if left untreated. However, if the person bitten seeks medical attention and the help of a pest professional within a reasonable amount of time, the bite likely won’t lead to lost limbs.

Let’s put it this way, if you duke it out with brown recluses with the help of The Bug Man and a medical professional, you won’t end up like the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. “It’s just a flesh wound.”

Though the violin shape on the back of a brown recluse indicates what type of spider it is, it’s best to call a pest professional who can properly identify the spiders and track where they are coming from. We have two approaches to brown recluses: conservative and an infestation treatment. When possible, we try to use the conservative method to treat them. We place glue boards throughout your home to monitor where the spiders are coming from and how many of them you have.

After monitoring the amount of spider activity, we will move forward with an infestation treatment if we need to. If necessary, we will come back for several follow up appointments until the problem is totally taken care of.

Well, class, we hope you learned a lot today. We’ll see you next time!

Fruit Flies: Cause, Elimination and Education

Learn about the causes and elimination of pesky fruit flies.Tiny black minions. Foul flying fools. Little looney losers.

Fruit flies.

So you went to the store and bought some fresh fruit. You’re making a push to eat healthier. You’re going to the gym. You’re taking the stairs. You’re determined to learn how to make great smoothies with your collection of bananas, strawberries, grapes, and protein powder. You’re ready.

You’re set.

You’re UPSET!

Because you found fruit flies!

Now you wonder where the fruit flies came from. Instead of hitting the gym, you’re hitting the countertop, the table, the air, and your hands together, in an effort to smash the small, sickening sleuths.

Sad story. Sad story, indeed.

Back to Their Roots
Fruit flies hail from organic matter. Translation: Fruit flies can breed in decaying fruit, drains, and house plants. Rotting fruit is a perfect spot for a flourishing fruit fly family. Bananas are especially responsible because fruit flies lay their eggs in the stems of bananas. Drains in the kitchen, bathroom, and utility room are also popular places. And, the oft-forgotten common house plant is another huge hang out for fruit flies.

Uprooting the Rebels
Eliminating fruit flies can be tricky at times. Upon scouring the internet for you so you don’t have to, we discovered several fruit fly removal formulas. Anything from homemade funnels in sports drink bottles to Drano© to strategically placed wine glasses was suggested.

Here at The Bug Man, we have a few recommendations.

  1. Store the fruit in the fridge or dispose of whatever rotting fruit is attracting the flies. And, make a note to check your fruit at the store before you buy it to make sure no flies are nearby.
  2. After you’ve disposed of the rotting fruit, take out the trash. And while you’re doing that…
  3. Scope out the bottom of your trash or recycle bin. Is it dirty? If so, clean it.
  4. Wipe down your counters, tables and floor. Sticky, leftover residue may be attracting flies.
  5. If you have a house plant, try re-potting it. How long has that soil been in there? Was it re-potted after you bought it?
  6. Clean your drains. We recommend pouring a diluted bleach solution down your drains. Let’s pause 15 seconds for emphasis.

1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8…9…10…11…12…13…14…15…

A diluted solution. Please don’t douse your drain with a container of bleach in an attempt to be overly thorough in your cleaning quest. Use one capful of bleach per gallon of water. Little bleach. Lot water.

If you’re still seeing fruit flies after taking the steps listed above, there are several other things you can try. There are numerous variations of a vinegar/soap concoction. Opinions vary as to which one works the best. If you need a customized recommendation of what to do, please leave us a comment here. We’ll do our best to help you out.

You may now return to your pursuit of healthy living, fruit eating, and workouts at the gym.