Swarm Season: Pests to Prepare For

a swarm of bugs outdoors at dusk

Springtime is one of the best times of the year for many people. The gloom of winter slowly fades and nature begins to wake up, spring flowers blooming and trees starting to bud. In addition to flowers emerging from the ground, many pests are also coming out of their winter hiding places.  As spring pests in Central TN come out of their hibernation, they will congregate in large groups or swarms looking for food, a mate or to find new places to nest. These large swarms of insects can be frustrating to deal with for many homeowners.

Common Swarming Pests in Tennessee

When dealing with large swarms of insects, it can be important to know what type of pest you are dealing with, especially when trying to determine whether you are seeing flying ants or termites. Below are some of the most common spring swarming pests and how to identify them:

  • Ants: Ants are known to swarm in the spring as they look for food and to establish new colonies. Carpenter ants are particularly dangerous to have swarming in your yard. They, like termites, will tunnel into the wooden structure of your home causing extensive damage if left untreated. Swarming ants have a thin waist, long legs and forewings that are much larger than the hindwings. 
  • Termites: Termites are common in Tennessee due to the warm, humid weather in the spring and are one of the most destructive insects to a home. They will burrow into and eat the wood of your home, often causing thousands of dollars in damage. You can easily identify a termite by its four large wings that are all the same size, long thick abdomen, and short legs. Seeing a termite in your home is most homeowners’ worst nightmare. If you see signs of termites, call an exterminator immediately.
  • Bees and Wasps:  Bees can be identified by their round black and yellow bodies. They will seek out open cavities to build their nests such as hollow trees, under sheds, in the eves of a home or even in your home’s siding. Carpenter bees will burrow into wood and damage the structure of your home, it is essential to take care of a carpenter bee swarm quickly.  Wasps will have a thin long body with a tiny waist. They will often build nests in trees or the eves of a home.
  • Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes are common outdoor pests in the spring and summer. They are known for their bites that leave itchy red bumps on your skin. These small insects become more active in the spring as the females emerge from their winter hibernation and begin laying their eggs in areas with standing water.

Keeping Pests Out of Your Home and Yard

As the temperatures outside begin to rise, many people begin thinking about summer barbecues and enjoying time in their yards. Dealing with swarming pests while trying to spend time outside can be frustrating. Swarming pests are not just unpleasant, they can also cause damage or introduce unwanted bacteria into your home making it important to prevent swarming pests from entering your yard or home. Here are a few simple ways to keep swarming pests out of your yard and home.

  • Clean any crumbs and spills in your kitchen immediately.
  • Seal cracks and holes on the exterior of your home.
  • Close all doors and windows without screens.
  • Stack all of your firewood 20 feet away from your home and make sure it is elevated off of the ground.
  • Turn off outdoor lights when not needed.
  • Collect and dispose of yard waste such as leaves, grass clippings, and fallen fruit.
  • Eliminate any standing water and fix leaking faucets.
  • Clean up leftover food quickly after having meals outside. 

Spring Pest Control in Central TN

Spring is usually thought of as a time of renewal and happiness as the gloom of winter passes but dealing with swarming pests can be a nightmare. If you are tired of pests in your yard and home, contact the experts at The Bug Man today. We have been keeping homes pest free in Central TN for over 20 years. Our experienced technicians will be able to quickly and effectively eliminate any pest infestation. Contact us today for a free quote and learn more about our services!

TAP Insulation FAQ

A termite sits on an uneven wood surface

We spoke last month about TAP® Insulation, and how this pest-killing insulation can defend your home from a variety of potential insect infestations. If you want to know about the basics of the technology and an overview of what it can do for you, you can find all of that in our previous blog. If you read through that already and found that you have some questions, that’s exactly what we plan to help with now. Below you’ll find some more detail about TAP and its benefits.

TAP® Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What’s Boric acid? Is it safe? 

A. Boric acid is a naturally occurring chemical compound that takes the form of a colorless crystal or white powder. It’s antiseptic, which makes it a handy component of any first aid kit. It’s also a great cleaning agent, as it can remove stains, deodorize, and kill mold. But the reason why it’s used in TAP Insulation is because it’s one of the most effective pest-killing compounds available. In small amounts, it isn’t strong enough to harm larger pests, animals, children, or adults but it should always be handled carefully and installed by a professional.

Q. How long does it take to install TAP®? How long will it last?

A. The length of the initial installation depends on the size and structure of the space you want to insulate. Typically, the process of blowing the cellulose into the attic, floors or wall takes between four to six hours. Once it’s added, though, it has the potential to last for decades without needing to be replaced.

Q. Will TAP® save me money?

A. We’ve noted that TAP has the capabilities to prevent pest infestations from forming. Because of that, you’ll likely spend less on est control treatment than homes in your neighborhood without TAP Insulation. Not only that, but the insulating qualities of TAP allow your HVAC appliances to use less energy, resulting in lower monthly utility bills. With all that taken into consideration, it’s easy to see how this one installation can quickly pay for itself.

Q. Do I need to prepare to install TAP® Insulation? 

If you have damaged insulation, it’s always recommended to remove it before installing TAP. Otherwise, if you have intact cellulose or spray foam, you can easily install TAP over it for an additional layer of pest-free protection.

Q. What are the downsides of TAP® Insulation?

TAP insulation is fire-resistant, and it doesn’t lose effectiveness over time. However, since it’s made of cellulose it can be vulnerable to water and runs the risk of mold. If you have a leaky roof or water intrusion in your attic, this could be an issue. It also has a mid-tier R-value that’s higher than fiberglass, but not quite as high as spray foam insulation.

Preventative Pest Control in Central TN

TAP Insulation is one form of preventative pest control, and an effective one, but there are others. Here at The Bug Man, we’ve been keeping pests out of homes in Central TN for over 20 years. If you’re interested in making it harder for pests to get into your home, we can help. Contact The Bug Man today to learn more or get your free quote today!

TAP into a Pest-Free Home This Winter!

TAP insulation in an attic

As we head into wintertime in Central TN, we all want to find a way to stay warm. Unfortunately, the insects in our area have the same thought in mind. If you are faced with an infestation, you already know that you can rely on The Bug Man for residential pest control services. But the only thing better than eradicating a pest infestation is preventing one before it starts. So how can we do that?

TAP® Pest Control Insulation can lower your energy bills and dampen the flow of sound between your walls and attic. It can also kill and deter most insect pests without you having to do a thing. Want to know more? Let’s go into it below.

What is TAP® Insulation?

TAP stands for Thermal, Acoustical Pest Control. It’s made up of cellulose, particularly recycled newspaper, and it can be applied easily over any existing insulation. All a technician needs to do is blow the material into your walls or attic, and once it settles it’s ready to work.

What separates TAP® Insulation from other varieties is that the cellulose in it is treated with borate. These mineral salts are in a concentration that doesn’t affect humans but is deadly for most insect pests. The borate coats the insect and is then ingested as they clean themselves. Once inside, it effectively disrupts their digestive process and they eventually starve. And that’s only part of the benefits of TAP®.

Thermal, Acoustical, Pest Control Benefits

A major appeal of TAP® Insulation is its pest-killing properties. It’s capable of controlling most small pests like ants, termites and booklice, as well as larger insects like stinkbugs and cockroaches. And it remains effective for as long as it’s present, so there’s no worry about replacing it, unless the insulation gets damaged.

Aside from that, TAP® Insulation also does all the things you want from your home insulation material. It can save you up to 30% on your annual energy bill, and the product is Energy Star certified and has a UL Classification.  And if you install at a level of R-60 or more in your attic you can almost completely eliminate outdoor noise.

All of that just from some recycled newspaper!

TAP® Insulation from the Bug Man

For 20 years we’ve strived to keep homes across Central TN pest-free all year long. Winter is a time to celebrate with loved ones, not worry about pests big or small. That’s why we offer TAP® Insulation for any household in the area, as well as a qualified technician to make sure the job is done right. The Bug Man knows how to clean house and save you time, money and trouble. To get started, contact us today!

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.

Curbing Crickets: Tips on How to Keep the Chirpers Out of Your House

Tips on How to Keep the Chirpers Out of Your House

Read these tips to learn how to prevent chirpy, destructive crickets from entering your home.

Fall means football. That’s an undeniable, wonderful reality! That’s a guarantee.

For many, the fall season also means crickets. Swarms of chirpy, destructive crickets.

Crickets chew on field crops. But did you know that crickets also feast on your fabrics of cotton, wool, linen, silk, synthetics, leather, or fur? They especially enjoy clothes soiled with sweat or food stains. Imagine them chewing on your son’s football practice gear. And, as a final kicker, they even eat other dead cricket carcasses. Yeesh!

Check out these handy tips for how to prevent crickets from invading your home:

  • Secure your doors and windows. Patch up any holes in screens, seal off drafty windows, fix holes in masonry. This not only deters crickets, but lots of other pesky critters, too. Check out this page for other pest prevention tips.
  • Change your outdoor light bulbs.  What a bright idea! By using yellowish-tinted light bulbs or a sodium vapor lamps, you’ll attract fewer crickets. And, like we wrote about in our blog about outdoor lighting, using different types of light bulbs will ward off lots of other pests, too.
  • Remove woodpiles. Not only is this good for crickets, but wood piles could spell disaster here in subterranean termite country. Read our blog about termite prevention tips for a helpful story about that particular problem.
  • Call The Bug Man! We are always willing to come cease the chirping. We want you to be able to sleep at night, chirp free.

Thanks for reading! We’ll catch ya next week for more Bug Basics!

Garage Sale Goodies and Bed Bug Bites

Garage sale bed bugs

Be cautious when searching for that great bargain at the local garage sale. You could be bringing bed bugs and roaches to your home. I drove by my first yard sale of the season this afternoon while cruising through Murfreesboro on Highway 96. You’d think that gazing at the steals-of-a-deals and knick-knacks strewn about on the lawn would bring me feelings of joy and delight.

I did not feel those warm, fuzzy feelings. Instead, I was provoked.

Why the provocation? Allow me to offer you an explanation.

In addition to the goodies out for sale on the lawn, I also saw furniture. I was then reminded that bed bugs and roaches often hang out in used couches, chairs, appliances, and beds. Sometimes bed bugs can even be transferred in used clothing.

Most bargain shoppers are unaware of the dangers of bugs as they shop. We’re not writing this blog in an attempt to scare you away from your neighborhood garage sale. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to provide for you and your family. But we are informing you on bug basics for bargain shopping.

If you purchase any clothes at a garage sale/yard sale/thrift store/etc., wash them before you wear them. The heat of the clothes washing and drying process kills a possible bug threat.

If you see a piece of used furniture that you simply must buy because it’s such a great deal, thoroughly inspect it before you buy it. Look in the seams of the fabric. Lift up the cushions. Inspect the crevices. Look underneath the furniture.

If you’re shopping for mattresses–especially used mattresses–look for any tiny blood stains or dark spots. Comb through the cracks and crevices of this cushioned comfort.

The exhilarating feeling of getting a great deal can easily fade upon discovering a pest infestation because of a lack of diligence while shopping.

Ant Season, Termite Season

Ant and Termite season

Tell me folks, is it ant season or termite season?

Is it Bugs season or Daffy season?

“Duck season!”
“Rabbit season!”
“Duck season!”
“Rabbit season”

Remember Looney Toons? Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck used to argue back and forth about which hunting season it was. And ol’ Elmer Fudd was befuddled by all of the crazy commotion.

Similar to Bugs and Daffy, it’s the time of year where you could find yourself saying:

“Ant season!”
“Termite season!”
“Ant season!”
“Termite season!”

In our previous blog, we talked about how ant-like bugs swarming in your house can actually be termites. To help you identify termites easier, check out the information below:

* Winged ants have two pairs of wings. The front pair is larger than the hind pair. Termite wings are the same shape and size.
* Ants have antennae that appear to have elbows. Termites have short, straight, beaded antennae.
* Ants have long, segmented bodies. Termites have short, stubby bodies.
* Both pests vary in size and color.

When you encounter pests in your home, don’t be befuddled. Call the The Bug Man. We will help you identify exactly what “pest season” it is.

Homeowner Pest Prevention Tips

Pest Prevention tips

Did you know that there are many things that YOU, the homeowner, can do to help prevent pests from getting into your home?

Indoor Tips:

  • Keep air conditioning filters clean. Dirty filters can lead to moisture build-up, which is a magnet for pests.
  • Check for plumbing leaks and seal gaps around pipes. Do this everywhere, but especially behind cabinetry. Water shouldn’t be allowed to accumulate anywhere in or around your home.
  • Check grout around bathtubs and toilets. A good caulk seal assures that even the smallest insects can’t enter.
  • Clear your attic of clutter. Clearing out clutter and sealing cardboard boxes prevents insects from nesting inside.
  • Store food in tightly sealed containers or in the refrigerator. This cuts off potential food sources for pests.
  • Don’t leave pet food or water out overnight. This eliminates a possible food source during a time period when pest activity increases.

Outdoor Tips:

  • Outside doors must be well sealed. If light can be seen from around or under a door, then insects can gain access inside your home.
  • Repair torn screens. Screens are a prime entry point for pests.
  • Seal around soffits and gable vents. This keeps rodents and insects from getting inside the roof or attic space.
  • Seal around conduits and piping where it enters the structure. Many insects and rodents follow power lines or climb conduits and pipes to get inside your home.
  • Check gutter drains to ensure water is kept away from your home. This helps discourage moisture build-up adjacent to your home.
  • Remove excess leaves from the roof and rain gutters. This keeps ants and other insects from breeding under the build-up.
  • Caulk all cracks and crevices. Check and seal under window frames and around pipes entering the side of the home to keep insects from entering.
  • Keep trash cans clean and lids sealed. This keeps ants, roaches, and flies from feeding and breeding in the trash.
  • Keep the garage door closed and make sure the weather stripping is in good condition.
  • Prune excess vegetation touching the home. Pay special attention to eaves and the roof.
  • Remove wood debris and keep woodpiles away from your home’s foundation. This helps prevent rodent nesting or insect colonization next to your home.
  • Ensure your irrigation system is functioning properly. Make sure water doesn’t accumulate near the foundation or sprays onto your home.
  • Guide air conditioner drip line away from the foundation. Extend the piping at least 2 feet.