Posts Tagged ‘TN Pest Control’

EPA | PestWise

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

PestWise is a collaborative suite of EPA partnership programs that promote environmental innovation in pest management where we live, work, learn, play, and farm. More About Us >>

 

A Lesson in Pest Prevention and Treatment

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Stinging Insects 101: A Lesson in Prevention and Treatment

By NPMA Staff

Stinging insects are most active in the summer and early fall when their nest populations exceed 60,000. Some 500,000 people are sent to the hospital emergency room every year due to stings from insects such as yellow jackets, honeybees, paper wasps, hornets and fire ants.

“Stinging insects pose a major health concern for families around the country, and these are the months when you are at the greatest risk,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “It is important to take certain precautions to ensure that you are not their next victim.”

Experts at NPMA offer numerous tips for preventing stinging insects and treating stings:

  • Hire a trained pest professional to destroy hives and nests around the home.
  • Eliminate standing water and other sources of moisture in or around the home.
  • Keep trashcans covered and sealed.
  • When dining outside, keep food covered until ready to eat.
  • If approached by a stinging insect, remain calm and quiet. Avoid swaying or swinging, as this may provoke an attack.
  • Avoid wearing dark colors and floral prints, loose-fitting garments, open-toe shoes and sweet-smelling perfumes or colognes.

Henriksen advises, “A licensed pest professional will be able to use an integrated pest management approach around the home to inspect, treat and keep stinging insects at bay while giving homeowners the piece of mind they need to enjoy their backyards while the warmer temperatures stick around.”

Earth’s Most Extreme Insects

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Entomologists at the University of Florida scoured the literature to come up with a list of insects that were the coolest, fastest, largest, longest, loudest and brightest. They also chose more unusual champions: best imitator, least specific vertebrate bloodsucker and most spectacular mating just to name a few of them. Wired Science put together a list of 40 of their favorites, all which have their own allure to them: Earth’s Most Extreme Insects.

Boxelder Bugs Making A Fall Appearance In Tennessee

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Boxelder Bugs Making A Fall Appearance In Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Many people may have noticed a flying black bugs with red markings near their homes. Boxelder bugs make themselves know in the fall.

“Boxelder bugs spend most of the time in the spring and summer up in trees,” according to University of Tennessee entomologist Frank Hale.

The Boxelder Bug live on an near Maple trees and look for areas to keep warm when cooler weather moves into the area during the fall.

“They like to aggregate on the sides of foundations of buildings, nice warm areas in the sun, they get under leaves and such,” according to Hale.

The bugs do not cause any damage to property, they are more of a nuisance.

“They’re just a plant feeding bug, they just happen to like our structures as a nice place to spend the winter,” Hale said.

There are several different ways you can remove Boxelder bugs from your property.

“You can used insecticides that are labeled for use on the foundation of the house,” Hale said.

But there is a cleaner, less expensive method to get rid of the crunchy bugs.

“Many times I just tell people to get soapy water, get a bucket of it, throw it on them and just suck them up with a shop vac,” Hale said.

Boxelder bugs are in the area year-round, but during the cold winter months they hide in cracks and crevices to keep warm.

email: ccannon@newschannel5.com

Tick-Borne Illnesses Soar in TN

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Tennessean.com: Tick-Borne Illnesses Soar in TN

Seven-year-old Kaitlyn Stetzer of Hendersonville was released from the hospital Saturday after a week there. Doctors suspect she contracted Rocky Mountain spotted fever after being bitten by a tick. / Submitted

Her parents never saw a tick or any indication of a bite, but 7-year-old Kaitlyn Stetzer spent almost a week in the hospital with what doctors believe is Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

She came home from the hospital Saturday.

“Thanks so much for all the prayers – please keep praying for Kaitlyn,” her father, the Rev. Ed Stetzer, wrote on his blog.

The Hendersonville girl is among several Middle Tennessee residents who have gotten sick with the fever – a tick-borne illness that is more widespread this spring. As of mid-May, 74 confirmed cases have occurred statewide – a threefold increase from the same period a year ago. Six of those cases are in Davidson County, and 15 are in the counties surrounding Nashville. The Tennessee Department of Health is urging people to take precautions against exposure and to recognize signs of the illness.

“Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a very serious illness,” said Dr. John Dunn, deputy state epidemiologist. “It can be a fatal illness, but when recognized early, the treatment is highly effective.”

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the most common tick-borne illness in Tennessee, but there are others. A mild winter followed by early spring means insects that carry all types of diseases will be worse this year, said Frank Hale, professor of entomology with the University of Tennessee Extension. West Nile virus has already been found in mosquitoes in North Nashville – the earliest positive detection the Metro Public Health Department has ever reported.

Kaitlyn’s recovery from Rocky Mountain spotted fever has been slow because she did not start taking doxycycline, the recommended medication, sooner, her father said. The classic symptoms of the disease – a high fever, joint pain and a rash – came later in the course of her illness. Doctors began administering the medicine before a firm diagnosis.

“If you wait for the actual confirmation, it could come when it’s too late,” Stetzer said.

Kaitlyn’s fever peaked at just under 104 degrees on Wednesday at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. That day, Stetzer and elders from Grace Church, where he is the pastor, anointed the girl with oil and prayed for her healing. Stetzer also serves as vice president of research and ministry development for LifeWay Christian Resources.

“She kept going down every day,” he said. “From Sunday, every day was progressively worse. On Wednesday, we despaired of Thursday because we just didn’t know how much more down it could go.”

By Friday, the family could tell she was finally getting better. That morning, Stetzer fed French toast to Kaitlyn, who was no longer having to receive intravenous fluids.

“Everyone has heard of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, but I had no idea how serious this was,” he said. “You are having conversations about mortality rates and everything else. We’ve been pretty worn out, but right now we’re just relieved.”

Dunn said it is not unusual for one or two deaths from a tick-borne illness to occur in Tennessee during the spring to autumn period, but he is not aware of any this season. Although a tick bite by itself is not a reason to seek antibiotics, he said, anyone who gets a fever after a bite should seek treatment from a medical provider.

Preventive measures

Children who have been outdoors should be checked carefully for ticks, but sometimes the pests end up inside. Often, they come in on a pet, even if the pet has been treated for ticks and fleas, Hale said.

Keeping the grass mowed is one of the ways to keep ticks and other pests out of your home.

“It lowers the moisture in the grass,” Hale said. “That allows sunlight to penetrate and it causes these ticks to dry out. Usually to get moisture, a tick has to go down to the ground and kind of reabsorb some moisture. When it gets enough moisture, it goes back up on the high grass, where it waits for a host to come by.”

Spraying with an insect repellent containing DEET will help ward off ticks. The best option for people who don’t want to use the repellent is to wear long, light-colored pants and to tuck the legs into their socks. Ticks are easier to spot on the light-colored clothing.

Anyone who is reluctant to use DEET on children because of concerns about chemical exposure can use it without making skin contact, Hale said. Recently, he sprayed his shoes, socks and pants when he went into the forest.

“I forgot to give a co-worker the spray,” Hale said. “He didn’t do it and found like five ticks on him. I did not have any. It works.”

Dunn also recommended the use of DEET-containing repellents. A stronger repellent is permethrin, which can be sprayed on clothing.

“Typically, we recommend using a DEET-containing product,” Dunn said. “There are a variety of those on the marketplace. There are some specific recommendations about permethrins and some permethrin-impregnated clothing. Those require following directions, but they can be used both for adults’ and children’s clothing. For any of those repellents, it is important to look at the label. There are different formulations, different strengths, and people need to be aware of that.”

Why this year’s tick season will be really bad

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Why this year’s tick season will be really bad

AP file

This little critter, a common brown dog tick, is looking for a snack. Don’t let it be you!

By April Hussar

Picnics, hikes, afternoons in the garden — all wonderful ways to take advantage of the warmer weather. But keep in mind that along with fresh air and exercise, you’re also potentially exposing yourself to tiny, unwanted visitors — ticks! Luckily, with a few steps, you can minimize your exposure and keep yourself safe.

According to Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., this is poised to be an especially bad tick season, because of the way the white-footed mouse population was affected by a great acorn season two years ago, and a bad acorn season this past year.

Since ticks feast on white-footed mice, and white-footed mice are very effective at transmitting Borrelia burgdorferi (the bacterium that causes Lyme disease), the infected tick population grew last year, says Dr. Ostfeld. Now, this year, fewer acorns means fewer mice, which in turn, theorizes Dr. Ostfeld, essentially means ticks will need something else to snack on. Us!

Gary P. Wormser, M.D., the chief of infectious diseases at Westchester Medical Center and a professor at New York Medical College, is familiar with Dr. Ostfeld’s theory. “That, combined with the nice weather, and people being out and about enjoying the nice weather, might bring people into contact with more ticks,” he says.

Ticks are less active in cold weather, Dr. Wormser explains, but they can still be active even in the winter as long as it’s not freezing. “And this has been such a mild winter and spring, they’re likely to be more active than they would be under colder conditions, and people are more likely to be outside,” he says.

Plus, Dr. Wormser says the even years tend to be a little worse in terms of numbers of cases of Lyme disease. “I’m not sure exactly why that is,” he says, noting that the deer tick has a two-year life cycle, so it’s possible there are more of them around during the even years. “It’s not a very scientific principle,” he says, “but it’s an observation!”

Whether or not there are more ticks this year than usual, it’s important to protect yourself. “Prevention is the key,” says Dr. Wormser, who points out that it’s much easier to take a few precautions in advance than deal with Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses after the fact. Here are his top strategies for preventing tick bites:

1. Stay away from tall grass, bushy shrubs and areas where there’s a lot of leaf litter. “Manicured lawns that are well-mowed are less risky,” he says.

2. Use insect repellant on your exposed skin (other than your hands and face). Dr. Wormser recommends using repellant with DEET, because it’s proven to be effective. “You can easily see a tick that’s on your face or your hands,” he explains.

3. After you’ve been outside and potentially exposed to ticks, take a shower or a bath. “If you can bathe within a couple of hours of exposure, you will reduce your changes of getting a tick bite.”

4. Do a tick check! Dr. Wormser says one of the best strategies is to enlist someone’s help and check your body for ticks every 24 hours during the time you are potentially exposed to ticks. “Look at your entire body to see if there are any attached ticks, and remove them,” he says. “If you can remove the tick within 24 hours of it biting you, you usually don’t contract any of the related diseases.”

Speaking of removing ticks — Dr. Wormer says is a misconception that you have to get every last bit of the tick out. “They do cement themselves in,” he says, “and normally they would stay on your body for 3-7 days if left undisturbed.” So, he says, “when you pull them out, occasionally a little bit of the mouth part will remain in, but that isn’t necessarily a concern because it comes out on its own.”

Once you pull out the tick with tweezers, Dr. Wormser recommends treating the area with a topical antibacterial (like Bacitracin) and observing the area for at least a month. “Typically a rash would develop 7-14 days after your remove the tick,” he says, so if you have a rash right away, it’s probably a reaction to the bite itself, rather than Lyme disease. In addition to watching out for a rash, you should make an appointment with your doctor if you have symptoms like headaches or fevers that don’t seem to be related to a cold, says Dr. Wormser.

5 Disgusting Bugs That Could Invade Your Home

Monday, November 28th, 2011
Written by MikeDeHaan

Head LousePhoto: CDC/ Dr. Dennis D. Juranek

Here is my selection of the worst home invaders from the world of insects. You want to keep these bugs out of your home – or get rid of them once they get in!

1) Bedbugs

BedbugPhoto: JLplusAL

Bedbugs are small insects. They feed on blood and prefer humans over birds or other mammals. They are quite small and are mainly active at night. They tend to nest near their human host, rather than staying on the body or in the hair.

Signs and Symptoms of Bedbug Infestations

Look for visible signs that bedbugs have invaded bedding. These signs include: smears of blood; fecal spots; and moult casings.

Victims of bedbug bites may develop a red rash and sometimes experience intense itching; but some people do not show any symptoms. Others may become allergic and have more severe reactions.

Scratching the bites may lead to bacterial infection. There is no evidence that bedbugs pass disease from one person to another.

Treatments to Kill Bedbugs

Treat building and possessions, since people do not ‘harbor’ bedbugs. They prefer to sneak away and nest in or near beds.

Several treatments are possible. Hot steam cleaning of buildings and possessions will kill bedbugs. Place diatomaceous earth where the insects would walk – the rough material abrades the waxy shell, causing the bedbug to dry out. Wash clothing and bedding in very hot water for a long cycle. Some chemicals are available. Bedbugs will try to migrate away from one room or apartment to another, so it is important to get them all.

2) Carpenter Ants

Carpenter AntPhoto: KaCey97007

Carpenter ants are also known as wood ants. They excavate wood in order to build their nests; unlike termites, they do not eat wood. They actually eat sweet foods, fat, grease and meat. They mainly work at night.

Signs of Carpenter Ants

You may find small piles of frass (bits of wood, soil, and insects) outside of nest exits, or in window sills. The excavated nest is smooth and does not have ‘mud’, which is a sign of termites. They prefer already-decaying wood but will work with healthy wood if other conditions are right. You might see these large ants marching in your home in the spring.

Preventing a Carpenter Ant Invasion

Use these steps to make it difficult for carpenter ants to invade your home:

  • Keep tree limbs away from the roof.
  • Keep wood piles away from the home and elevate the wood so it does not rest on the ground.
  • Seal the home’s foundation (and windows and doors) with caulk.
  • Seal vents with very fine mesh.
  • Repair any leaky plumbing and ensure air conditioners do not drip onto the side of the house.

Treatment for Carpenter Ants

Four insecticide options are available to get rid of carpenter ants:

  • Dust or spray the perimeter at ground level
  • Dust or foam the interior wall voids
  • Spot-treat specific infested wood, and adjacent wood
  • Apply bait indoors and outdoors

Note that bait is a combination of food and very slow-acting insecticide. Never combine the two approaches, because the quick insecticide makes the bait useless. Bait is a rather finicky approach, but might result in the best outcomes.

3) Head Lice

Head lice (see top) colonize a person’s head, in the hair and skin. They drink human blood and can cause itching. A louse is about the size of a sesame seed.

Symptoms and Signs of Head Lice

Your scalp may itch, although it may take several weeks for the itching to develop. Bites may be visible if the hair is moved aside. Eggs or lice may be seen on close examination; you may need to use a magnifying glass. Use a louse comb to check, especially near ears and nape of neck.

Lice do not transmit any specific diseases. Scratching may introduce germs and cause infection. Only in rare cases will the bites cause swollen lymph nodes.

Transmission of Head Lice

Head-to-head contact is the most common way lice move from one person to another. Sharing hats or pillows is rarely a cause. Victims are usually children.

Treatment of Head Lice

Your doctor or pharmacist can recommend specific medicated shampoos or rinses, and these will have specific instructions. Generally, comb the shampoo through the hair and remove the eggs (‘nits’, hence ‘nit-picking’). This is not usually effective on first treatment, since eggs may be missed and survive. Therefore repeat in about 10 days. Only treat people with live lice, since the chemicals are somewhat harmful.

4) Termites

TermitePhoto: Aaronyx

Termites invade the wooden structures of homes because they eat cellulose. Termites are hard to detect at an early stage because they stay inside the wood structures. An above-ground tunnel outside the home is easily seen. Damaged wood might be detected by feeling that it is soft.

Preventing a Termite Invasion

Concrete or steel foundations, and other barriers should prevent underground access. It’s best to keep 18 inches between the soil and wood. Chemical treatment of the base timber is possible prior to construction, but physical barriers are preferred. Chemical treatment of the soil is usually performed on older homes rather than for new buildings.

Killing Termite Invaders

Bait is the preferred method. A bait is a slow-acting poison which will eventually kill the whole colony. Dust toxins are also available but are not recommended for amateurs. Soil treatment is the least preferred, since it uses a large amount of insecticide which leaches fairly quickly into the environment. Pesticides may be injected into the basement wall and also into nearby fences, sheds or trees.

Often it would be wise to get rid of any damaged wood. This is a large and tricky job if the damage is extensive. On the other hand, you do not want to rest your home on load-bearing timbers that have been hollowed-out by termites.

5) Wasps

WaspPhoto: kevinzim

Wasps are social insects that may nest near, or in, homes. They eat many leftover foods: fruits, fruit drinks, pop, and meat. They also prey on flies, caterpillars and aphids. They are active during the day, and return to the nest in the afternoon.

Keeping Wasps Away

Unless you have had a problem with wasps in the past, you probably do not need to take pre-emptive measures. To discourage wasps from nesting in or near a home, apply an insecticide spray several times a year. It is important to use one that is safe for people and pets, but repels insects.

Eliminating a Wasps’ Nest

Locate the nest during the day, but wait until dusk to apply any insecticides. One good way is to ‘puff’ the insecticide dust into the nest’s entranceway – six to a dozen puffs will start the process, but may lead to swift retribution. It is best to go back several evenings in a row.

Poisoning wasps in voids (in a home) follows a similar procedure, and may take several applications. The exact chemicals and applicators may be different between a visible nest and a colony in a void.

This is my top-five list of insect home invaders. Do you have others to recommend?

PEST PROOFING YOUR HOME FOR THE WINTER

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

When it gets colder outside, pests look for a place to live inside.  Our homes are the most likely refuge. It is something we experience every year and homeowners need to take steps during the fall to pest proof for the winter months.

With a cool, moist summer and spring in the Northeast, and extreme moisture in the South from hurricanes, you can expect to see a heavy pest season this winter.  Pests love moisture and, after such a wet summer and fall, they’ve been given an opportunity to thrive.

We are already seeing an increase in calls to professional pest control companies about infestations this fall.  Mice, squirrels, spiders and insects are already beginning to move in for the winter.  Compared to last year, we are already seeing up to a 35% increase in calls to professional pest control companies about these types of infestations.

This time of year, the house mouse is the most common pest in and around homes as well as spiders, squirrels and small insects. While spiders, for the most part, are not aggressive, many homeowners and children find them frightening.  Mice on the other hand can be dangerous as they eat and contaminate our food, chew up woodwork and can create electrical fires by gnawing on wires. Other rodents such as chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, and opossums can get into open areas seeking food

Pests are adaptable and will always seek shelter from the cold.  Most times the shelter is in our homes and businesses.  Homeowners who do not pest proof their homes are taking a real chance.  Pests are always drawn to conducive conditions.  Unfortunately, the warmth, shelter and food found in our homes are just irresistible to pests, especially in winter moths.

Although some homeowners may have higher pest tolerance than others, pests can create major havoc inside a home, ultimately creating a dangerous and potentially costly situation for a homeowner.  People who decide against pest proofing for the winter could be unintentionally creating prime conditions for property-damaging pests like termites to surface in the spring.

Bug Busters USA and The National Pest Management Association recommends the following steps to pest proof your home:

  1. Seal up any cracks and holes on the outside of your home including areas where utilities and pipes enter your home. Frequent vacuuming can help to eliminate tiny pests that other pests feed on.
  2. Make sure vents are screened and gaps around windows and doors are sealed.
  3. Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house.
  4. Inspect boxes, grocery bags and other packaging thoroughly to curb hitchhiking insects.
  5. Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  6. Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
  7. Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off of the ground.
  8. Repair fascia and soffits and rotted roof shingles; some insects are drawn to deteriorating wood.
  9. Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the basement foundation and windows.
  10. A licensed and qualified pest control professional such as Bug Busters USA is your best resource to ensure these steps are completed properly.

Some things can be done by a homeowner, however a professional knows the habits and biology of the pests that come into our homes.  This time of year we get a lot of calls because homeowners are frustrated — they’ve tried to keep pests out and can’t figure out where they are living.

If you are already seeing signs of pests inside your home – such as rodent droppings – it is always a good idea to call a professional pest control company.  They can help you identify where pests are entering your home, what they are feeding on, and how to eliminate the conducive conditions.

You can also visit Bugbustersusa.com where we have a list of our services.

Got Bed Bugs?

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Pest Proofing 101

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Why do homeowners need to worry about pest proofing their homes? 

When it gets colder outside, pests look for a place to live inside.  Our homes are the most likely refuge. It is something we experience every year and homeowners need to take steps during the fall to pest proof for the winter months.

Will pest infestations this winter be worse than most winters?

With a cool, moist summer and spring in the Northeast, and extreme moisture in the South from hurricanes, you can expect to see a heavy pest season this winter.  Pests love moisture and, after such a wet summer and fall, they’ve been given an opportunity to thrive.

We are already seeing an increase in calls to professional pest control companies about infestations this fall.  Mice, squirrels, spiders and insects are already beginning to move in for the winter.  Compared to last year, we are already seeing up to a 35% increase in calls to professional pest control companies about these types of infestations.

What types of pests can homeowners expect to see this winter?

This time of year, the house mouse is the most common pest in and around homes as well as spiders, squirrels and small insects. While spiders, for the most part, are not aggressive, many homeowners and children find them frightening.  Mice on the other hand can be dangerous as they eat and contaminate our food, chew up woodwork and can create electrical fires by gnawing on wires. Other rodents such as chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, and opossums can get into open areas seeking food.

What happens to homeowners who do not pest proof their homes for the winter?

Pests are adaptable and will always seek shelter from the cold.  Most times the shelter is in our homes and businesses.  Homeowners who do not pest proof their homes are taking a real chance.  Pests are always drawn to conducive conditions.  Unfortunately, the warmth, shelter and food found in our homes are just irresistible to pests, especially in winter moths.

Although some homeowners may have higher pest tolerance than others, pests can create major havoc inside a home, ultimately creating a dangerous and potentially costly situation for a homeowner.  People who decide against pest proofing for the winter could be unintentionally creating prime conditions for property-damaging pests like termites to surface in the spring.

What are the steps a homeowner needs to take to pest proof their home for the winter?

The National Pest Management Association recommends the following steps to pest proof your home:

  1. Seal up any cracks and holes on the outside of your home including areas where utilities and pipes enter your home. Frequent vacuuming can help to eliminate tiny pests that other pests feed on.
  2. Make sure vents are screened and gaps around windows and doors are sealed.
  3. Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house.
  4. Inspect boxes, grocery bags and other packaging thoroughly to curb hitchhiking insects.
  5. Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  6. Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
  7. Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off of the ground.
  8. Repair fascia and soffits and rotted roof shingles; some insects are drawn to deteriorating wood.
  9. Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the basement foundation and windows.
  10. A licensed and qualified pest control professional is your best resource to ensure these steps are completed properly.

Can a homeowner handle those steps themselves or does a professional need to be involved?

Some things can be done by a homeowner, however a professional knows the habits and biology of the pests that come into our homes.  This time of year we get a lot of calls because homeowners are frustrated — they’ve tried to keep pests out and can’t figure out where they are living.

What do you do if pests have already gotten into your home?

If you are already seeing signs of pests inside your home – such as rodent droppings – it is always a good idea to call a professional pest control company.  They can help you identify where pests are entering your home, what they are feeding on, and how to eliminate the conducive conditions.

“Battle of the Bugs” set to protect hemlock trees from adelgids on Cumberland Plateau

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011