Managing House Pests

Managing House Pests - House Bugs Managing those house pests, or house bugs, does not have to be a losing battle. You can win at killing off and significantly decreasing your interactions with spiders, scorpions, ticks, bedbugs, ants, bees, and wasps.

Since you are not likely to visit the University of Tennessee’s agriculture website on a regular basis we thought we’d bring some of their great information to you. Here is a download of their “Managing Pests Around the Home” PDF which has a great amount of information.

What are household pests?

Most household pests are insects and are commonly called “bugs.” Other organisms such as spiders, scorpions, centipedes, millipedes, ticks, sowbugs, pillbugs, mites, rats, mice, snakes, bats, squirrels, birds, molds and fungi may enter homes. In Tennessee, one or more of about 40 common pests are found in every home at one time or another. Even the most conscientious person cannot always avoid an occasional pest infestation.

Where are these pests found?

Under optimal conditions, large populations of an insect, rodent or other pest can occur in your yard, home, farm or neighborhood. Large numbers of a pest species can develop in trees, stumps, flower beds, mulch, leaf litter, garbage, wood piles, ditch banks, animal carcasses, stored products, spilled materials, sewer lines and other sites.

Pests enter homes through openings in the walls, floors, around pipes or cracks, under doors or windows. Pests seeking shelter build nests or hibernate within the walls,
attic or in living quarters.

What attracts them to your home?

Pests are attracted by light, warm air, moisture and food. Odors from a dead bird, rodent, dead insects or nest in a wall, soured mop or spilled materials can also be attractive. They seek protection and shelter in dark cavities in walls or crawl spaces.

What can I do to prevent pest problems in my home?

Luckily, many pests are easily controlled. This publication will explain how to manage the most common household pests found in Tennessee. We have placedspecial importance on controlling pests by limiting their access to food, water and shelter. Control devices such as vacuums and traps are emphasized. Pesticides are used in a manner to reduce exposure to you, your property and the environment. Always read the entire pesticide label for directions on mixing, applying, safety precautions, storing and disposing of the product before using it. If you are unsure about how to control a household pest after reading this publication, ask your county Extension agent for additional assistance.

Some pests, such as termites, require the use of special equipment and knowledge to apply large volumes of insecticides to all possible entry points into the structure. Professionals have the proper equipment and the training, including safety training, to apply the large volumes of pesticides needed to rid your home of termites. Termites can also be managed with baits, but professional training in understanding the biology of the termite is essential to obtain control.

Quite often, professional pest control technicians have access to more effective active ingredients and formulations than the homeowner. The professional is trained in the life cycle, habits and preferences of the pest, as well as the safest and best techniques to control them. In Tennessee, pest control technicians are required to pass a test before they can apply pesticides in your home. (They may work 90 days under the direct supervision of a licensed operator before taking the test.) Technicians should carry a commercial pesticide applicator certification card verifying they are approved by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. They need to attend training sessions to obtain points to keep that card. If they do not get enough points within three years, they have to take another test. Also, they must work for a licensed operator if they are charging you a fee. The charter number of their employer’s business must appear on their truck.

When should you ask for professional help?

Of course that is a decision you as a homeowner must make for yourself. You may want to use a professional:

  1. When treating for termites because special equipment and training are needed
  2. When treating for other wood-destroying insects and organisms (especially if you are concerned about reselling the home)
  3. If the pest is found in difficult-to-reach locations and requires treatment with special equipment
  4. If you are concerned about pesticide exposure during mixing and applying
  5. If there is not enough time to do it yourself
  6. If several attempts have failed to control the pest.
  7. Professionals need your help to manage pests too. Please perform all the sanitation and exclusion practices they recommend
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