Chikungunya Fever and Mosquito Reduction

Chikungunya Fever and Mosquito Reduction

Chicken who?? Chikungunya.

The Chikungunya virus has been limited to Africa and Asia for a very long time. In fact, it was first recorded in a human in Tanzania in 1953. So, this is not a new virus. But, it’s quickly becoming a hot topic in the media since it was discovered in the caribbean in December 2013. The concern is that this could soon spread to the United States in the coming year from travelers.

According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), the Chikunguyna virus can cause high fever, severe pain, nausea, vomiting, and headache. The disease is spread by being bitten by a mosquito that has previously bitten an infected person. It is not transmitted person to person.

The Bug Man is in the business of controlling pests and we are not medical professionals. But, because pests can spread disease and cause a variety of illnesses we are often caught in the middle of addressing the medical concerns caused by the pests. If you have any of the symptoms listed above we will always tell you to discuss them with your physician. What we CAN help with is education on what you can do to reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes, in general.

The mosquitoes that carry the chikungunya virus (as well as other viruses) are the Yellow-Fever Mosquito (aedes aegypti) and the Asian Tiger Mosquito (aedes albopictus).

As of this writing, no infected mosquitoes have been found in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, or anywhere in the United States. So far the CDC is reporting that all of the documented cases of chikunguyna in the US have been in people who have recently traveled outside of the United States to a country with the infected mosquitoes.

Recommendations to reduce the mosquito population in Murfreesboro, middle Tennessee, and beyond:

To reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes we have a long list of recommendations that we give to every customer on our Mosquito Management Program. Almost every item in our list involves getting rid of anything that holds standing water and/or making sure to empty and scrub items that hold water, frequently. Also, contact your City and/or County and make sure that they are treating water retention areas with a larvicide on a regular basis.

  • 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, etc) in your 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 other causes for water 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.

In addition to these steps, The Bug Man also offers a Mosquito Reduction Program.

Don’t worry… bee happy about beneficial insects!

kids love bugs

Children Embrace our beneficial insects. Shouldn’t you?

Children are so fun and curious about bugs!  Little Johnny often doesn’t think twice about picking up a spider by the leg and running to show his mommy. When he shows her his discovery, mom will often scream and run as far away as possible. Johnny will inevitably laugh, uncontrollably, while mom yells “Get that thing out of here!”

It’s a common story that we hear over and over.  There are so many exaggerated horror stories about various insects: Brown recluse spiders will cause your leg to fall off. Termites will eat your house down to the ground. You will surely die a terrible disease if bitten by a mosquito. Who knows where these stories come from or why. But, they create a fear in some folks that are hard to shake.

The honey bee and other beneficial insects have an important role in our environment

Take the honey bee, for example.   They are the pollinators for our food crops. Their population has been in a steady decline in recent years due to a number of factors such as viruses, parasites, poor nutrition, limited access to clean water and exposure to pesticides. WHAT??? Exposure to pesticides?? Yes, it is true. We all (including us) have a huge responsibility in taking care to protect the honey bee and other beneficial insects.

In the spring you will sometimes see huge swarms of bees in the bushes and flowering trees. Sometimes they will stick around for a few minutes and then be gone. Sometimes they will stay for a few days. It’s easy to grab that jug of bug juice or call an exterminator to get rid of them. But, if they are not in an area that will harm you or your loved ones then it is usually best to leave them to collect the pollen. The additional benefit is that your plants and flowers will be even more beautiful later on.

There are a variety of other insects that are beneficial. Usually, most people first think of ladybugs or the asian lady beetle. Absolutely! Did you know that there are more than 400 species of the lady beetles in North America? There are also lacewings, parasitic wasps, spiders, tachinid flies, pirate bugs (aaaargh!) and ground beetles, just to name a few.

Protecting the environment and people at the same time

As a pest control professional, our goal is to protect your home from a pest invasion. If there is a pest problem in your living space then, yes, there is a cause for concern. You will want to eliminate the problem to prevent disease and illness/injury in your family. But, if we can keep your environment safe without having a negative impact on the rest of Murfreesboro, middle Tennessee, and beyond, then we are all winning.

Termite Activity Found in Murfreesboro, TN

When is termite season in central TN

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

Termite 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 a 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.  They 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 Bug Man has teamed up with the makers of  Termidor, BASF.


Entomophagy – Man eating Insects

eating insects

Time for lunch, please pass the insects

Now that I have your attention, I am not speaking of insects that eat man, but literally of man eating the insects.  Entomophagy is the practice of eating insects, especially by people.  This practice is a common occurrence around the world, except here in the US.  Silkworms, grasshoppers, ants, crickets, scorpions, waterbugs, dung beetles, and termites are just a few of the insects that are prepared into meals and snacks.  Over 1,400 species of insects are known to be edible.

Why eat insects?  There are a few reasons.  They actually are good for you, they are high in protein and low in fat.  This is great for all the die hard dieters!  Next time you head to the gym, take a cup of toasted crickets for your snack!  They are plentiful and multiply quickly.  Insects prefer to be raised in close quarters and  require much less space than cattle.  They are plentiful and much easier to produce than beef, pork and poultry.  Insects also require less food and water to raise and have less waste than other protein sources.



photo credit: JOHN S. DYKES

Overwintering Series: Can the Brown Recluse Spider Survive a Tennessee Winter?

brown recluse overwintering in central tn

Brown recluse spiders in the winter

Like the mosquitoes in our previous blog, the fiddle-marked brown recluse spider also enters into diapause/dormancy during the winter.

Brown recluses seek insulation and protection from leaves and accumulating snow. They’ve also been known to envelop themselves in a protective silk encasement. By seeking shelter in these types of insulation, brown recluse spiders can keep an average of three degrees warmer than the temperature of the air.

But how cold is too cold for the brown recluses spider? And does it get cold enough in Middle Tennessee to fatally freeze the brown recluse spider?

Short answer: It has to get really cold for a long time. And it doesn’t get that cold here.

Basically, if it was 23 degrees or colder for 30 days in a row, the population of brown recluse spider hiding out in the winter wilderness would not survive. However, even in our chilliest month–with an average low of 28 degrees–that’s not cold enough to fatally freeze all of the fiddle-bearers. And we all know that the weather in Tennessee is often bipolar and probably couldn’t commit to being one temperature for an entire month.

The Brown recluse spider often live in firewood. If you have firewood at your home, store it at least 20 feet from your house and at least five inches off of the ground. This firewood storage rule isn’t only good to keep brown recluses at bay. It also helps to keep termites away from your home.

When it’s time to bring a batch of firewood inside, carefully inspect it. It’s helpful to use gloves when inspecting, as a line of defense against a potential spider encounter. Besides that, who wants a splinter in their finger because they didn’t wear gloves? For some, getting a splinter out may be more traumatic than a spider bite.

Even if you don’t have firewood, brown recluse spiders still hide in low-traffic areas, such as boxes in the closet. Shake out your clothes after taking them out of the hamper. Store shoes, boots and clothing inside of plastic totes whenever possible.

Stay tuned to The Bug Man blog as our series on overwintering continues. If you’ve got a question about a particular pest, let us know.

Overwintering Series: When do Mosquitoes stop biting?

Do mosquitoes stop biting in the winter?

“Baby, it’s cold outside. But I’ll take the chill in the air over the mosquitoes and bites on my arm any day!” – Anonymous resident of Middle Tennessee

Much to the delight of many, the mosquitoes that once populated the air space have chilled out for the winter. These bugs typically stop biting humans in temperatures below 50° Fahrenheit.

To survive the winter or to endure a drought, mosquito eggs and certain types of larvae enter into diapause—a delay of development due to a change in environment where the pest goes into a state of dormancy. The dormant mosquitoes have enough molecules stored to make it through the winter.

Adult male mosquitoes die after the fall mating season. Female mosquitoes find a safe place to hide out for the winter. Then, when the weather warms up and the rains return, they seek out a blood meal from the local neighborhood human and then lay their eggs in standing water. If you’re the person collecting H₂0 with the eclectic mix of old tires, kiddie pools, and pie tins in your back yard, they’re coming for you.

We typically treat for mosquitoes between May and October. However, in 2012, we started our mosquito treatments early because of how hot it got in April. It’s not uncommon to treat for mosquitoes after October, either. If the weather became unseasonably warm in December, it’s possible to see mosquito activity.

As the weather goes, so do our mosquito treatments. Don’t hesitate to call us at 615.217.7284 if you’re seeing them in your area, even if it seems too early or too late in the season.

Seasonal Series: The cold and overwintering bugs

The Bug Man presents a series on overwintering bugs. Stay tuned to our blog over the next several days as we dive into the details of how common middle Tennessee pests survive the winter!

Just because we can’t see bugs in the winter, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. The bugs are overwintering! If you don’t see your neighbor all winter because he’s holed up inside his house with a heating blanket, does that mean that he doesn’t exist? If we don’t believe our neighbors disappear, why do we believe that bugs disappear?

Does the cold keep the bugs away

Not only do bugs not vanish in the winter, they often choose to “disappear” inside your house. Then, when spring flutters in, the bugs step on out and make an appearance in your kitchen or living room.

When the weather gets cold, bugs begin to overwinter. Basically, overwintering bugs go into survival mode to live through the season’s cold temperatures. For the cold-blooded insects, chilly times can be difficult for them. Because as the outdoor temperature drops, so does their internal temperature. They seek refuge in a warm, stable environment. Often, that ideal location is within the comforts of your tender Tennessee home.

However, because of the area of the country that we live in, the weather can fluctuate and can go from one temperature extreme to another, even in the winter. Just a few hours of warm temperatures in the midst of winter can cause a stir in the pest world. Bugs become befuddled and confused critters come out of cracks and crevices.

It’s for that very reason that we still recommend pest control even when it seems like there are no bugs. By skipping pest control in the winter months, homeowners can open themselves up to an invasion by letting pests get inside to overwinter.

At The Bug Man, we offer a Quarterly Pest Control service. It’s perfect for keeping your home pest-free in all seasons. Call us at 615.217.7284 for details.

Busting Boxelder Bugs: Round Two

boxelder bugs taking over TN

Boxelder bugs are fighting to get inside houses. Below, you’ll see a photo of quite the gathering of boxelder bugs in Murfreesboro, TN. They are scouting out a house to invade.


These pests search for the warmest side of the home (usually the south side) and head for a dark crevice to try to get inside. For a great illustration of the behavior of boxelder bugs, check out this video that one of our technicians made while out performing a pest control service…

As you can see in the video, the boxelder bugs were attracted to the shading on the wall. They were trying to seek shelter to overwinter in the cracks and crevices.

It’s important to secure the outside of your home as the cold weather moves in. Use caulk to repair holes on the exterior of the home. Make sure your window and door screens don’t have any damage.

If boxelder bugs manage to fight their way inside your home, please call us at 615.217.7284. We’re here to help you keep your home pest-free. Also, if you have any interesting pictures or videos of bugs, feel free to upload them on to our Facebook page at

Knocking Out Boxelder Bugs

boxelder bugs taking over TN

Winter is knocking on our door, and with the swing of climate shift comes a wave of boxelder bugs. In the last several days, we’ve received numerous calls from our customers about these bothersome bugs.

Whether congregating outside the house en masse or making a little boxelder village inside, these red and black bugs are unwelcome.


Boxelder bugs are often found near boxelder trees. As you can imagine–if you have a boxelder tree in your yard–you may find yourself with an infestation of boxelder bugs around this time of year.

However, boxelder bugs also feed on maple trees, and the apples, prunes, and pears that fall off of trees.

If you look closely, you’ll notice that adult boxelder beetles gather on the south sides of trees, rocks, and other buildings to sun themselves. Fall may be in season, but the boxelders are still longing for some soaking sun time.

The boxelder bugs will fly up to two miles to find a place to hide out for the winter. Which, unfortunately for many homeowners, is inside the walls. After settling in, they often make an appearance in bathtubs, sinks, and floors near their cold weather chill spot. This social event for the boxelder bugs often occurs on the south and west side of the house when it’s sunny outside.

It kind of seems like the boxelder bugs are little weather forecasters, notifying onlookers that the sun is shining. Unless you’d like to receive your weather report from black and red bugs in your bathroom, perhaps you should call The Bug Man at 615-217-7284

Fast Facts: Fleas Can Hatch in Under 10 Seconds

Fleas hatching under ten seconds and infest your house

Fleas are fierce this year! It’s the middle of October and we are still receiving numerous calls about flea infestations!

Here are a few flea facts of life:

* Although fleas need to eat within a week of merging into the adult stage, they can survive 2-3 years between meals

* A female flea can lay up to 5,000 eggs in her lifetime

* Once a flea senses that a blood meal is present, it can hatch out in under 10 seconds

Under 10 seconds? That’s pretty quick! We’ve even read studies that say that the fleas can hatch in under 2 seconds!

What else can happen in 2 or 10 seconds?

* We can pump 3/4 a gallon of gas in 10 seconds

* Most caution lights (the yellow light between green and red) last approximately 2 seconds

* A cheetah can get up to 68 mph in around 2 seconds

* Sprinter Usain Bolt can run the 100 meter dash in under 10 seconds

If you find yourself with fleas, don’t let the time tick away. Call us at the office at 615.217.7284. We can schedule a treatment for the interior of your home and for your yard.