Rodent Risks – Poop and More

mouse in house chewing on cord

Rat and mouse droppings aren’t something you want to find in your home. The average mouse produces up to 100 pellets a day, and these dark brown lumps are a surefire sign of an infestation within the home. What are the potential health risks that come from exposure to mouse poop? What should you do if you find evidence of rodents in the home, and who can you call for reliable rat and mouse removal in Tennessee? The Bug Man is here for rodents as well as insects, and we have the answers to all of those questions and more.

Mouse vs Rat Poop

Mouse droppings and rat droppings are fairly similar but easy to distinguish if you know what you’re looking for. Since rats are considerably larger than other forms of rodents, their droppings are also bigger, as well as rounded in a shape similar to raisins or coffee beans. Mouse poop, on the other hand, is only around 1/8 to 1/4″, closer to the size and shape of a grain of rice. Another indicator of rats versus mice is location. Rats are known for defecating essentially anywhere they wish, while mice designate a specific area separate from their nest to use as a toilet.

There are other pests that may leave droppings similar to rodents. Cockroaches, as an example, leave poop roughly the same size as mice – although their droppings are blunt around the ends rather than pointed. And squirrel poop looks a lot like rat poop, but their droppings are rounded at the edges as opposed to tapered. Regardless of the shape or size, though, mysterious piles of droppings in your home are something that needs to be taken care of as soon as possible. If left alone they can pose a health risk and a danger to the structure of your house itself.

Rat Poop Risks

It’s safe to say that the droppings of any animal are unpleasant to be around. Feces transfer diseases, and mouse poop is no expectation. The main offender, and the biggest danger to humans, is the possibility of being exposed to Hantavirus. Hantavirus is a potentially life-threatening respiratory illness transferred from rodents to humans through urine, droppings, or even saliva. Not every rat or mouse is necessarily infected, but those who are leave the virus in every pile of droppings they make. It makes even cleaning up the mess potentially dangerous, as disturbing the poop will cause the virus to be released into the air.

So if you find droppings it’s crucial not to vacuum or sweep them up. Instead, don a pair of rubber or plastic gloves and spray the area with bleach or disinfectant before carefully wiping it up with a paper towel. From that point on you can clean the surrounding area by mopping, vacuuming, and steam cleaning depending on the area infected. Doing all of this is the best way to avoid Hantavirus, as well as other illnesses that can be spread by rats like salmonellosis and rat-bite fever.

Other Mouse Poop Implications

Something that can’t be ignored is that, if you’re finding rodent poop around your property, you probably have rats or mice. Other signs of a rat or mouse infestation include chew marks on food packaging or through walls and floors. You’ll likely hear them, you’ll certainly smell them, and along with droppings, you may find scraps of fabric, paper, or other material used for creating nests. If you notice any of this, you need an exterminator to avoid damage such as:

  • Nests burrowed into upholstered furniture
  • Tunnels driven through insulation
  • Chewing through wiring in walls or appliances, potentially causing a fire
  • Chewed personal items around the area of nest

If you have a mouse or rat infestation, you need quality pest control, fast for the sake of your home and those who live in it. For homes in Central Tennessee, The Bug Man has the training and expertise you need to get rodent-free and stay there.

Pest-Free Living with The Bug Man

Rodent control is about more than removing mice or rats from your home. If we do that without addressing how they got in, it won’t be long before you’re dealing with the same problems all over again. We provide long-term control, including removal and exclusion, that focuses on your property as a whole. So, if you find a pile of droppings around your house, don’t wait to see what your rodent invaders have planned next. Contact The Bug Man today and take back control of your home.

Can Overwatering Your Lawn Attract Mosquitos?

Mosquito on narrrow leaf

For a healthy lawn, it’s crucial to strike the right balance. Too little watering can leave grass looking unhealthy and create unsightly yellow patches of dead grass. Watering your lawn too frequently can cause problems too. Excessive moisture can cause lawn diseases and attract unwanted mosquitoes, which would make it even harder to enjoy your lawn. Read on to find out how you can prevent mosquitoes on your property by watering appropriately.

Mosquitoes Love Water

Do you know what both your plants and mosquitoes love? A damp habitat. mosquitoes require abundant moisture to survive and reproduce, so an overly saturated lawn can very easily become a hotspot for these pests. An oversaturated lawn allows for a thick layer of thatch to form, protecting mosquitoes and other insects from sunlight, predators, and even some pesticides. If you adequately maintain and irrigate your lawn, it will look better and you’ll reduce the risk of mosquitoes disturbing your enjoyment of your lawn.

Signs That You’re Overwatering Your Lawn

Overwatering your lawn can cause more problems than just mosquitoes. Too much water stunts root growth and makes your grass more susceptible to fungus and diseases. 

Watch for these signs that you’re watering your lawn too much:

Spongy Soil 

A quick and easy way to check if you’re oversaturating your lawn is to perform a step test. Soil that’s overwatered will have a squishy or spongey consistency. You can check the consistency of your soil by stepping around multiple areas of the lawn; if all or multiple parts of your lawn are spongy, it’s safe to say you’re overwatering (As long as you didn’t just water the lawn).

Weed & Fungus Growth 

In a nicely watered yard, patches of mushrooms and weeds will stick out like a sore thumb. You may not realize it, but how much you water your lawn can aid the growth of fungus and weeds which may attract insects. If you notice a sprout of weeds in your yard, you may need to reduce your watering. 

Runoff Water

 Sometimes soil can be completely saturated. This forces extra water up and creates runoff that strips the lawn of important nutrients and carries it to the sidewalk or street. It’s important to notice when this happens as your grass will be extra susceptible to disease, insect invaders, fungi, and weeds.

How Can I Prevent Mosquitoes?

Step one to preventing mosquitoes: get your lawn in a healthy irrigation regimen. Watering your lawn every single day is probably unnecessary, even if you live in a hot, dry area. The ideal amount of water your lawn should get a week is 1 – 1.5 inches. Experts recommend three days of irrigation a week for 30 minutes to give your grass the optimal amount of water.

Trusted Mosquito Control

Even if your yard doesn’t have any standing water, you can still be pestered by mosquitoes. If you live in Central TN and you need mosquito exterminators, the experts at The Bug Man are here to help. Our expert technicians will find the source of the mosquitoes, eliminate them and help keep them away. Contact us today for a free quote!

Why Do Ants Always Come Back In?

Ants inside a house

Ants are one of the hardest pests to get rid of if you aren’t taking the right pest control measures. Anyone who’s dealt with an ant infestation before knows that getting rid of them is not as simple as taking out their trail. These persistent pests will keep on coming back as long as they can find what they need to survive in your home. This means that in order to protect your home in Central TN from ants all year long, you have to continually ensure that your property is not a hospitable place for them to live. Our ant exterminators at The Bug Man can help you with that—read on for at-home ant control advice for your home!

Why Isn’t My DIY Ant Control Helping?

The problem with the easiest ant pest control strategies is that they don’t take into account how ants work. Many people rush to squash the ants that they find or spray them with a store-bought pest control product to eliminate them. An approach like this will only delay or worsen your problem! This is because ants release a pheromone signal when they die that warns nearby ants of a threatening area. Their other colony members will divert their path to enter your home from a new access point. Ants are so small and stealthy that they can easily sneak into your home in many different ways.

Ant Control Strategies That You Can Trust

If getting rid of the ant trail in your home won’t solve your problem in the long run, how are you supposed to get rid of ants in the house for good? These approaches are geared toward long-term ant control:

  • Locate their entry point: If you can trace the ant trail in your home back to a crack in the wall or small opening by a window, you can fill it with a silicone-based caulk or install a screen to keep the ants out. Check around your home for any possible openings and correct those, too.
  • Block off food and water: Ants are probably in your house because they have access to food and water within. If you’re routinely cleaning up your messes, keeping food sealed in airtight containers, and making sure your kitchen and bathroom are well-ventilated, you will prevent them from finding accessible sources of food and water in your home.
  • Work with a professional: An expert ant exterminator can show you why your ant infestation developed, get rid of all of the ants on your property, and teach you how to prevent ants on your own going forward.

Expert Home Ant Extermination in Central TN

If you’re looking for help dealing with the ants in your home in Central TN, talk to your local ant exterminators. The Bug Man’s technicians are trained to deal with all of the common ant species we find in our region. With industry-leading training protocol and EPA-registered products, we can deliver an efficient, eco-friendly ant control solution and provide you with critical advice for at-home ant prevention based on your unique property. For a free quote, reach out today!

How You Can Get Rid of Ants in the Bathroom

Ants in a bathroom in Central TN - The Bug Man

Every year, our technicians at The Bug Man are called to wipe out ant infestations all over Central TN. All kinds of ants are trying to get into our homes in the region, and more often than not, these ants find what they need in our bathrooms. Sneaking out of their colonies and onto our properties after rapid weather shifts, ants on the hunt for food, water, and shelter can quickly become an unignorable nuisance. So, what can you do to get rid of ants in your bathroom? Read on to learn!

Why Are Ants Getting into my Bathroom?

The readily available water and shelter in our bathrooms make them a safe haven for ants. Water pooling up in your shower, in your sink, or on your floor can provide ants with a place to hydrate on their search for food. Carpenter ants in particular are well-known to infest bathrooms by tunneling through water-damaged wood, but all sorts of ants can end up in your bathroom. They usually make it inside in one of these ways:

  • Ventilation system openings
  • Cracks in your home’s walls and foundation
  • Holes in and around plumbing fixtures
  • Windows and doors that don’t close all the way

Ants can also sneak into your bathroom from other rooms in your home, so make sure to follow their trail and try to trace it back to where it’s coming from.

Getting Rid of Ant Trails in Your Bathroom

Many people end up stumped trying to figure out where their ants are coming from. Being such tiny insects, it’s easy for ants to travel through little cracks and gaps in your walls that you’ve never even noticed. To make matters worse, once they’re out of sight, it’s very difficult to figure out where the rest of their colony is. This is why we recommend getting ahead of possible infestations by taking preventative measures. We recommend these ant prevention strategies:

  • Replace any water-damaged wood in your home
  • Find and seal cracks along your home’s exterior with a silicone-based caulk
  • Check your doors and windows to make sure they close properly
  • Make sure your bathroom is well-ventilated
  • Move mulch away from your foundation and keep plants trimmed away from your walls

Central TN Ant Exterminators

If you can’t figure out why ants are in your bathroom or where they’re coming from, you can trust your local ant exterminators to figure it out. The Bug Man’s technicians are trained to find the source of ant trails and eliminate colonies using industry-leading techniques and tools. We will make sure no opportunities for ant infestations remain and show you how to maintain an ant-free home going forward. For a free quote or to learn more about our ant control services, contact us today!

Learn How to Avoid Ticks & Lyme Disease

A deer tick found in Central TN - The Bug Man

Have you ever caught a tick mid-bite? Finding a tick trying to latch itself onto you to draw your blood is one of the creepiest pest-related experiences you can have in Central TN. Unfortunately, our climate proves suitable for many different species of them to thrive. The most dangerous species in the area is the deer tick because of its ability to spread Lyme disease. Wondering how you can keep safe from tick bites and their dangerous consequences? Read on to learn how with expert advice from The Bug Man.

How Do People Contract Lyme Disease?

The most common reason for people contracting Lyme disease is being bitten by a deer tick nymph. Deer ticks are capable of harboring and spreading Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that leads to Lyme disease in humans and animals. At only 2 mm long, deer tick nymphs are tiny enough to sneak up onto our legs undetected, and with their anesthetic saliva, they can ensure that their bites cause no pain during the process.

If you contract Lyme disease from a tick bite, the first symptoms you will feel are usually headaches, fever, rashes, muscle and joint pain, and exhaustion. However, if left untreated, these symptoms will snowball into serious nerve damage and arthritis. If you think that a recent tick bite has left you with the initial symptoms of Lyme disease, call your doctor immediately.

Best Ways to Avoid Ticks

Ticks usually hide out in shaded, vegetated, humid areas, waiting for small animals or humans to cross their paths. No one wants to spend their spring and summer inside in fear of tick bites, so it’s important to understand the best methods of protecting yourself, your children, and your pets from coming in contact with these pests. Follow our advice to steer clear of ticks:

  • Wear long pants and long socks while spending time outside to limit exposed skin.
  • Keep your children and pets on the trail and close by when going on hikes or walking in densely vegetated areas.
  • Always perform a tick check on yourself and everyone else when coming back in from extended time outside.
  • If you find a tick on your body, don’t pinch it with your fingers. Secure the tick with tweezers as close as possible to the skin and pull it out slowly.

Professional Tick Control in Central TN

You shouldn’t be dealing with ticks on a regular basis. If you, your children, or your pets are constantly coming back inside with ticks on their legs, you have a tick problem that needs to be addressed by a professional tick exterminator with regional experience. The Bug Man’s team can come out to your property to inspect the premises for tick hotspots and apply a barrier treatment that will keep them away through the summer. Contact us today for a free quote on our tick removal services!

The Bug Man’s Top 10 Spider Facts

Searching for spiders in Central TN - The Bug Man

The Bug Man’s technicians are no strangers to spiders. We’ve helped many different home and business owners around Central TN put a stop to their spider infestations. You can’t help but learn a lot during the spider extermination process, both about spiders and the people that want them gone. There are a lot of arachnophobes out there! We believe that if you learn more about spiders, you might be less afraid of them and more intrigued by them. Read on to hear our exterminators’ favorite spider facts!

The Bug Man’s Top 10 Facts About Spiders

  1. Most spider bites won’t hurt you: There are only a select few spiders around Central TN with enough venom to seriously harm a human. Although all spiders are venomous, most of them only need enough venom necessary to kill small bugs.
  2. There are spiders everywhere: Not just around the world, around you, too! Research suggests that you’re likely within 10 feet of the nearest spider at any time. Don’t worry, though. Spiders would much rather stay hidden than bother you.
  3. Thousands of spider species have been found: Over 35,000 species of spiders have been documented, and experts believe that they’ll find many more in years to come.
  4. Male spiders give presents: When a male fancies a female, he might capture and wrap an insect in silk to present to her as a gift. Some dishonest spiders have been observed cutting corners by wrapping up leaves or other junk instead.
  5. They also dance: Some male spiders perform a dance routine consisting of arm-waving and scurrying movements as part of their courtship practice.
  6. Female spiders will attack males: Some female spiders will kill and save the body of their mate after copulation to be able to provide food to her offspring later.
  7. Spider silk has many purposes: Spiders don’t just use their silk to spin webs. They also create transportation lines, tunnels, nests to hide in, and use it as a floating device.
  8. Spider silk trumps steel: If you were to cut a piece of silk down to the dimensions of a string of spider silk, it would be 5 times weaker!
  9. Silk starts as a liquid: Before coming into contact with air, spider silk sits as a liquid in the spinning gland. It is solidified after it is ejected. This makes its strength all the more impressive!
  10. Spider muscles are quite different from ours: Spiders can’t extend their legs out with the same muscular mechanism that draws them in. Instead, they pump a special fluid through their legs that also allows them to jump great distances.

Do You Still Need Spider Control?

We hope you’ve come away from this with a few new spider facts to take with you going forward. However, we understand that even if you think they’re interesting, having hordes of them in your home or business can be quite distressing. If you need spider removal services, reach out to our team at The Bug Man. Our spider exterminators will provide you with a free quote if you contact us today!

Termite Season is Here in Middle Tennessee!

Termites in Middle Tennessee - The Bug Man

Every Spring, as the temperatures warm and the rains fall, a tiny insect wakens. This tiny insect, known as the subterranean termite, emerges from inside walls, floors, trees, and the ground to make a mating flight and begin a new life as the king and queen of a newly established colony. In the pest business, we call this termite swarm season! When this occurs inside a home, thousands of winged ant-like insects begin to fly from out of the wall and towards the windows and other light sources. Fortunately, all of these will die if they are unable to reach soil quickly.

However, what they leave behind are the worker and soldier termites inside the walls of your house. These are the termites that do the damage, eating the wood that your home is built with. These are also the termites that the homeowners in Tennessee must be concerned with. The experts at The Bug Man are here to help you learn everything you need to know.

Signs You Have Termites

  • Termite shelter tubes or mud tunnels on the foundation of your house. These may be found in the crawl space, on exterior foundations, and in the garage walls. In Middle Tennessee, they are usually orange in color, due to our clay soil.
  • Crumbling baseboards or drywall on the interior of the house. The termites will eat the wood and paper behind the paint, and then the paint will crack or sink in, making it brittle.
  • Swarm castles and pinholes are usually found in the drywall; termites will penetrate through the paint layer in preparation for the swarm.
  • Dead insects are usually black in color and look similar to ants and or wings. The termite swarmers will break off their wings after flight before returning to the earth. They can usually be found near windows and under light sources.

Termite wood damage in Middle TN home - The Bug Man

Preventing Termites in Your Property

The key to termite control is to prevent them in the first place. Here’s how:

  • Termites eat the cellulose in wood, so it is recommended to remove all wood debris from around and under your house. This includes the firewood. It is best to move it 10′ from your house and off the ground.
  • Termites need water, and we recommend that all gutters and downspouts are in working order and directing water away from the house. Make sure you don’t have water puddling under your home. Keep it dry.
  • Ensure all windows and doors are sealed properly to keep rain and moisture out. Wet and rotting wood is a favorite of termites.

What to Do About Termites in Middle Tennessee

In our region, termites are just a fact of life. Although termites damage homes, they don’t cause irreparable destruction overnight. The best way to prevent termites and to keep your property protected is to work with a professional termite control company. At The Bug Man, we will perform regular inspections and implement prevention measures to keep termites away for good.

Contact us today to get started!

Preventing Flying Termites in Your Home

Flying termites in Central TN - The Bug Man

Spring is welcomed by most of us here in Tennessee. Unfortunately, spring is also the time when insects of all types become more active after the winter. Worst of all, springtime is when termites begin to swarm. Flying termites, often confused for carpenter ants, will reproduce and swarm to form new colonies in new areas. This makes it imperative to be on the lookout for termite activity in the coming months.

At The Bug Man, we know how distressing a termite problem is for any property owner. Our experts are here to share everything you need to know to prevent flying termites in your home.

What Are Flying Termites?

Flying termites are the reproductive caste of termites and are also known as “swarmers” or “alates”. These termites leave their colonies in the spring and swarm until they find a new area, reproduce, and start a new colony. Flying termites can indicate an infestation around your home, so you should know how to identify them. Swarmers are black to brown in color and measure 3/8 inches long including the wings. They have translucent or slightly milky or smoky wings. These wings may overlap and are typically as long as or slightly longer than the body.

Swarmers invade structures during spring, particularly around basement windows, doorways, porches, and anywhere wood comes into contact with soil. A termite infestation can cause severe damage to your home before you realize it. This is why preventative measures should be taken in order to keep them from showing up in the first place.

5 Tips to Keep Termite Swarmers Away

Every spring here in Tennessee, it’s important to be on the lookout for termites. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to help prevent flying termites:

  • Routinely clean your yard of any rotting wood, trees, etc. Ensure your porch or deck is maintained.
  • Keep all mulch away from the foundation of your home.
  • Store all firewood above ground and away from the perimeter of your property.
  • Repair issues with your plumbing to avoid any leaks or moisture that could attract termites.
  • Work with a professional termite control expert to implement treatments that repel termites.

Preventing Flying Termites in Central TN

If you notice signs of termite swarmers or think you already have an active infestation, it’s time to contact your local termite control experts at The Bug Man. With regular inspections and preventative treatments, you can rest assured knowing swarmers won’t invade your property this spring.

Contact us today to get started!

How Flies Can Invade a Clean House

Flies infesting Central TN home - The Bug Man

Although flies are typically seen as a pest problem during the summer, they can also be a nuisance at other times of the year. Bottom line: nobody enjoys dealing with flies indoors. Their presence can be frustrating and make you wonder how they got indoors in the first place. To avoid having to deal with flies in your Tennessee property, the key is to know what’s drawing them indoors.

The experts at The Bug Man are here to help—read on to learn all you need to know about keeping flies from invading your home. 

Why Do Flies Come Inside?

We’re all used to seeing flies outdoors, but it can be a real pain to find them invading your own home. Flies get inside for a number of reasons, usually in pursuit of trash, rotting food, or moisture. A common house fly is attracted to decaying organic matter like feces and rotting meat. Drain flies, on the other hand, are attracted to moisture and will lay their eggs inside of drains. Additional conditions that might attract flies in your home include uncovered trash cans, pet feces, animal carcasses in your walls, rotting fruit, spilled sugary drinks, and more. Once flies get indoors, they can reproduce quickly, making it important to learn how to prevent them.

How to Keep Flies Outside

Flies are more common in the summer, but they can be drawn inside your property in the winter as well. This makes it important to learn how to keep flies out all year round. By preventing these pests in the first place, you will not have to deal with them later. Take the following steps to prevent flies in your home:

  1. In the fall as the temperature begins to change, it is imperative to seal off your home to keep flies out. Do this by caulking cracks on the property. Sealing windows and doors is especially important, as some species such as cluster flies tend to enter homes under baseboards and window frames.
  2. In order to prevent nuisance flies like gnats and fruit flies, it’s best to eliminate their food and shelter sources. You should always throw away rotting food from your pantry or fridge. Take your garbage outside regularly and use tight-fitting lids on your cans. Lastly, focus on sealing cracks and crevices around windows and doors near your kitchen.

Need Help Getting Rid of Flies?

If you have a fly infestation on your property, you should hire a local fly control expert. At The Bug Man, we work hard to eliminate the conditions that lead to fly infestations in your home.

To learn more, contact us today!

Do Bees Die in the Winter?

Winter bee activity in Central TN - The Bug Man

Everyone associates the buzzing of bees with spring or summer. Bees and all other types of stinging insects are at their peak during these times of the year, often during the fall. So what happens during the winter? It’s hard to imagine that any insect can survive Central Tennessee’s cold temperatures. The truth is that certain types of bees can survive the winter months depending on how low the temperature drops. Here’s what you need to know about winter bees from the experts at The Bug Man.

Winter Bee Activity

Some species of bees seem to disappear in the late summer or early fall after their activity peaks. If the temperature drops below 50°F, bees are less likely to be as active as they are in the summer. The three most common bees in our region each react differently to winter temperatures:

  1. Honey bees: For honey bees to survive the winter, they must have a robust population with a secure hive and a large store of honey. Male honey bees die off, leaving the female bees to crowd tightly together in their hive with the queen in the middle. The female worker bees will vibrate and shiver around the queen bee, keeping alive until warmer days return.
  2. Bumblebees: All bumblebees in a colony except the queen will die if temperatures become too cold. The queen bees will hibernate, or overwinter, by digging small holes in the dirt.
  3. Carpenter bees: These wood-destroying bees can remain dormant through the winter in their nests. During the winter months, young carpenter bees that hatched in the summer will hibernate in their nests. During the summer, older bees will die after larvae are laid.

Preventing Bees in Central Tennessee

During the winter, you don’t have to worry about a full-blown infestation, but it’s a great time to start getting ready for the coming months. Follow these steps before bees become active in the spring:

  • To prevent pests from entering your home, seal cracks and crevices around the exterior of the property.
  • Plant your gardens far away from your property, or stick to grasses and non-flowering shrubs.
  • Mow your lawn regularly and avoid letting areas become overgrown.
  • Install tight-fitting screens on your windows and doors.
  • Fill in holes in the yard left by animals to get rid of nesting sites for bees and other wasps.
  • Invest in tight-fitting lids for outdoor trash and recycling cans.

Need Help With Bee Control?

Any time of year, you should contact your local bee control experts if you have bee problems. You can count on us to identify areas around your property that could harbor nests or overwintering stinging insects. As spring and summer approach, we can also help you prepare for pests.

Contact us today to get started!