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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Ticks in Tennessee will be active this year

Ticks in Tennessee during the summer can be very frustrating. Actually, as I wrote this Ticks in Tennesseeblog there were several words describing ticks that floated to the surface: creepy, gross, worrisome, concerning… just to name a few. Mostly, people are very fearful. Not really about the tick, itself, but more about the diseases caused by the bite of a tick.

The best cure for tickborne dieases such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is to avoid getting bitten by ticks.

This is another one of those situations where pest-related problems concern our health. Since we are in the business of pest control and are not health professionals, we generally prefer not to comment on the medical conditions caused by the pest. We do recommend  information on the CDC site titled Symptoms of Tickborne Illness. If you have health symptoms that you suspect may be caused by a tick or other pest then we suggest that you contact your physician. What we can do is educate you on tick control in order to reduce the chance that you may be bitten by a tick.

Ticks are arachnids, not insects, and classified as an external parasite.

A lot of people are surprised to learn that ticks are actually in the same family (arachnid) as spiders, mites, and scorpions. They have 8 jointed legs and no antennae. They require  a blood meal from a host in order to survive. A tick will attach firmly while they slowly feed on the blood of their host. They will feed, unnoticed, for several days before they release their grasp. They will feed on mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.

There have been many species of ticks found in Tennessee. The three most common species are the American dog tick, lone star tick, and brown dog tick. All of these common ticks have four life stages- egg, larva, nymph, and adult. According to Dr. Karen Vail in her article titled Common Ticks of Tennessee and Their Control, each of the stages, other than the egg, requires a separate animal host to complete its development, which all together may be two or three years long. Each blood-engorged female leaves her host animal and lays a single mass of 3,000 to 6,000 eggs.

Ticks in Tennessee are most active from April through September. Though, it is not uncommon to see some tick activity through the winter months. During periods of high activity we recommend that you remain extra vigilant. Avoid areas known to be infested with ticks such as wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. If you have to walk though these types of areas we recommend that you apply a repellent according label directions. Also, walk in the center of trails to avoid brushing up against vegetation.

Wear long sleeve shirts and pants. Tuck your pants into your socks to prevent ticks from climbing up the inside of the pant legs. Also, wear light-colored clothing so that you can detect ticks more easily. Upon returning from tick infested areas make sure to thoroughly check your body for ticks. You will want to quickly remove all ticks that are found.

Modify your environment to make it less desirable to ticks

Maybe you’re not going on a hike in the woods but you want to reduce or prevent a tick infestation around your home. There are several non-chemical things that you can do:

Make your surroundings less inviting to rodents and wildlife. They are often carriers of ticks. Reduce the rodents and you will reduce the ticks. It’s a win-win situation.

  • Repair areas where rodents can enter the home.
  • Remove wood piles and debris that make a good nesting area for rodents.
  • Keep pet food stored in sealed containers
  • Keep the lawn mowed and weeds to a minimum

    Lincoln is a tick free dog
    Lincoln is our precious golden doodle

Don’t forget about your four-legged babies, too. Please discuss tick treatment for your pets with a veterinarian.  There are many treatment methods available and something that works well for one pet may not be best for the other. Cats and some breeds of dogs can be sensitive to some products. So, it is always best to check with your vet, first. Also, you will want to inspect your pets and their bedding frequently for ticks.

The final measure for tick management is to hire a professional such as The Bug Man in Murfreesboro to treat the exterior of your home. Our technicians are very knowledgeable about areas that make a great tick habitat and areas that don’t. Most people are surprised to learn that ticks will avoid direct sunlight. So, treating the entire lawn is rarely necessary. We have noticed that customers on our mosquito program usually do not have a problem with ticks. This is probably due to the fact that mosquitoes and ticks have similar habitats such as the trees, shrubs, and shaded areas. Check out our blog, Mosquitoes… The Bug Man to the rescue and contact our office at 615-217-7284 if we can answer any questions for you.

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How Acorns are Contributing to More Ticks This Year

Did you know that 2010’s acorn crop is contributing to this year’s increase in ticks?

acorn

It’s not the early hot weather that we’ve had. It’s acorns!

While browsing Twitter the other day, we came across a story that the National Pest Management Association (@PestWorld) tweeted. To read their full article on the topic, you can follow this link: Acorns, Not Weather, to Blame for More Ticks.

Basically, the increase in the acorn crop led to an increase in mice eating the acorns. And with more mice, come more ticks. The science of pest control has a lot to do with the predator and prey food chain. One pest affects another pest.

The Bug Man serves Rutherford and Wilson County in Tennessee. We have a specialized tick service. For more information on how we can take care of your tick problem, please call us at 615-217-7284 or email us at service@thebugman.us.

And, we’re active on Twitter and Facebook. We frequently post updates about pest issues in our area, as well as funny photos and videos. Join us there!

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.

Rats! I’ve got mice! Tips and Tricks for Keeping Rodents Out of Your Home

Rodents are rapidly running inside homes this holiday season. Check out our blog for tips and tricks on how to keep them out. Baby, it’s cold outside. And, just in time for your holiday gatherings, rodents are moving inside your home to steal a meal.

To rodent-proof your home, here are a few tips and tricks:

  1. Thoroughly examine the exterior of your home. If there’s a hole larger than a quarter or a dime, then a rodent can get through it. If a rodent’s nose fits through the hole, then their entire body can fit through, too. Check the area around pipes, heating/cooling hoses, etc., etc.
  2. Use steel wool and/or caulk to seal up any holes you may find.
  3. Remove any vines hanging down the side of your home, because rodents can use those to climb up to your roof and potentially get inside.
  4. If your doors and windows have gaps, seal them. Not only will this help keep pests out, it will also keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. #winning
  5. Trouble with rodents? We would be more than delighted to help you. Call us at 615.217.7284 to schedule an appointment.

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Cooler Weather Brings Rodents Inside: How to Oust the House Mouse Louse

Cooler breather is bringing pests inside, especially rodents. Check out this blog for quick tips on pest proofing your home. As cooler weather chills our climate, the temperature isn’t the only brisk thing around. Rodents are beginning to scurry inside warm houses to hunker down for the winter.

With the ability to squeeze through holes the size of a nickel (mice) or a quarter (rats), quarterrogue rodents are quite clever when it comes to finding a way inside your home. Sadly, though, they don’t bring you any lost coins when they enter. But they may cost you some coin if you need to get rid of them.

As we discuss on our website, the dust of a rodent nest can lead to hazardous bacteria. They can also damage your home or business by chewing through siding or wiring, increasing the possibility of a fire.

How to Oust the Mouse or Scat the Rat

Make rodents unwelcome by sealing up any cracks and voids around doors or windows that are larger than the size of a pencil. Also, divert the water from your gutters away from the building.

After rodents have nested inside a structure, it can be difficult to remove them. A professional pest management company is usually needed. Call The Bug Man at 615.217.7284. We’ll identify nesting areas and feeding grounds and then eliminate them. Upon completion of the ousting, your house will be free of the mouse louses.