Fire Ants found in middle Tennessee

Fire ants in Central TN

Are there fire ants in middle Tennessee and Murfreesboro?

I 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.

What Pests Eat When They Are In Your House: A Food Chain Factoid

What Pests Eat When They Are In Your House

Have you ever stopped to wonder what bugs eat? You know you see ants in your kitchen from time to time, but what are they after? And what in the world do spiders think they can find inside your house? What’s so delicious about hanging out in the corners of your rooms?

 

Here’s a quick food chain factoid for what pests eat when they are in your house!

 

 

Crickets: Fabrics, especially those full of perspiration

Cockroaches: Sweets, cheeses, meats, grease, and starches. Vegetables and fruits. Household items like leather, beer, glue, dried skin, books, paper, human dander, and a lot more

Brown Recluse Spiders: Other bugs, like cockroaches and crickets

Black Widow Spiders: Their mates! (Actually, that’s a myth. They don’t eat their mates). But they do eat other insects.

Carpenter Bees: Wood! Nope. They actually don’t eat wood. They just bore into wood to lay their eggs. They eat pollen.

Ants: Sweets, eggs, oils, and fats

Bed Bugs: You. They feast on you for a blood meal. They will also dine on animals.

 

Fruit Flies: Decaying fruits and vegetables

House Flies: Liquids. They can also turn solids into liquids and then eat the liquid form of that food.

Silverfish: Paper, glue, clothing, flour, and oats

House Centipedes: Flies, spiders, and plant tissue

Fleas: Cats, dogs and humans

Rodents: Grains, fruits, seeds, chocolate, random items in your trashcan

Termites: Cellulose: A polysaccharide consisting of long unbranched chains of linked glucose units: the main constituent of plant cell walls and used in making paper, rayon, and film

After reading this diverse list of what pests eat, it makes a lot of sense that they’d look for food inside your home. To keep pests out, call The Bug Man. You can reach us by phone at 615.217.7284 or find us online at Facebook.com/TheBugManTN orTwitter.com/TheBugManTN.

Experimenting with Ants

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 into 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

Ants on a Potted Plant

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, sunrooms, 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.

Home for the Holidays: Protect Your Nest From the Pests

Protect Your Nest From the Pests

As you celebrate this Christmas season, we hope your home is free of any pesky outside nuisances. However, if you find yourself in a bitter battle with pests, give us a call, and we’ll be on our way.

There’s no place like home for the holidays…

For some reason, the combination of the holiday season and the gathering of friends and family leads to humorous situations. Countless movies are based on holiday hilarity. Family traditions include watching some of those movies.

One such movie marvel is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. There’s the Christmas tree, the sled on the hill, the Christmas lights, cousin Eddie, the Christmas bonus, and…the squirrel.

Crazy things can happen when outside pests invade your cozy nest! Although The Bug Man doesn’t directly deal with squirrels, we do come to your defense when it comes to pests like spiders, ants, rodents, silverfish, termites, mosquitoes, and fleas.

As you celebrate this Christmas season, we hope your home is free of any pesky outside nuisances. However, if you find yourself in a bitter battle with pests, give us a call, and we’ll be on our way.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Why do I still see bugs after The Bug Man treats my home?

Why do I still see bugs

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 a while, 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’ upon 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

Ants Move Indoors to Flee from Wintering Weather

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 Ingredients 

    • 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.

Demystifying Red Velvet Ants: The Buzz on the Fuzz

Demystifying Red Velvet Ants

Some call them red velvet ants. Some call them cow killers. Most don’t call them what they really are: wasps.

Have you seen a fuzzy red bug that looks like an ant walking around lately? Check out our blog for the buzz on the fuzz! There’s a great buzz in Middle Tennessee over a pretty little bug called by a variety of names.

If you’ve seen a fuzzy red thing walking around on the sidewalk or in your yard lately, it’s probably a female red velvet ant. When left alone, they aren’t looking to threaten humans. However, when picked up and toyed with, a threat may emerge.

When most people see something fuzzy, they think, “Aww, cute! I want to touch it.” However, when it comes to velvet ants, it is not recommended that you pick them up, because they may sting you. And, if something can be called a cow killer, its sting hurts…a lot!

Velvet ants are wasps that cannot actually fly. They feed on the cocoons of ground-nesting bees. Essentially, the mama velvet ant bores a hole in the cocoon of bees nesting underground and lays her eggs inside the cocoon. Then, when the velvet ant eggs hatch, they prey on the eggs in the cocoon.

Interesting, huh? Wasps killing bees in a dynamic, underground battle.

In an even more interesting twist, velvet ants often prey on cicada killers. A cicada killer is a large wasp that preys on cicadas. Female cicada killers capture cicadas, sting them, and then place them in holes they’ve burrowed into the ground. As their young hatch, they feed on the burrowed cicada.

That shifts our food chain paradigm to wasps killing bees and/or other wasps who kill cicadas.

Is your head swirling yet? Or is that just the buzz of all of these insects swarming around in your yard preying on each other? 🙂

If you’ve got a question, please post a comment. As always, you can find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/TheBugManTN.

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

ants on the move

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).

 

The Bug Man Voted “Favorite Pest Control” – Ruthies Awards 3 Years Running

The Bug Man Voted Favorite Pest Control in 2010

The Daily News Journal holds an annual people’s choice award program each year for the Rutherford and Cannon county area.  For the third year in a row, The Bug Man has been voted “Favorite Pest Control” company!  We are honored to be chosen as your favorite.  We pride ourselves as the best company in town, and continue to exceed our customer’s expectations.  Thank you all for your votes!