Pest Library


Ants are social insects. Their nests can be found indoors and out, and the nest consists of one or more queen ants who lay eggs that are being taken care of by worker ants, which are sterile female ants. There are also foraging ants that invade houses. Nests often can be located by following trails of foraging ants. Ants can be a health threat and a nuisance. Fire ants sting, pharaoh ants carry disease-causing organisms on their exoskeleton.

Management Strategy

If the pests are just outdoors, then you may just need to do some pest proofing to keep them from coming in. If you can find the nest, its good to just treat it directly. Often, you can’t find the nest, so you need to set up baiting stations to get rid of them. Find entry points around the home and seal them up. Sprays may not be the best way to eliminate an ant population. Usually only 1-5% of ants forage, the rest are at the colony. So you want the baits, that travel with the foragers back to the rest of the population. When you know where the nest is, apply an insecticide dust or granule directly to it. 


Cockroaches are especially troublesome. They live in filth and then transfer the bacteria in that filth to your home when they penetrate your house. They also smell bad and shed their skin everywhere. Cockroaches have three life stages, egg, nymph, and adult. The females deploy the eggs, nymphs hatch out of those eggs, and eventually grow into adults. Cockroaches move and feed at night and generally move along plumbing lines and electrical wire.

Management Strategy

Use sealants such as caulk, foam, copper mesh, or cement to seal cracks, crevices, and other openings likely to harbor cockroaches. When there is a cockroach problem, it is best to find harborages of cockroaches and treat them with insecticide rather than putting the dust along baseboards or other places that it could contaminate members of the family.
Hundreds of people die each year from allergic reactions to the venom in stings from wasps and hornets. So if you are going after a nest, it should be done with extreme caution. 


Paper Wasps

Paper wasps construct nests of a paper-like material containing finely chewed wood fragments and salivary secretions of the wasps. These are typically found under eaves and ledges. They are not as aggressive as yellow jackets or hornets, but will still sting if bothered.


The European hornet is the only true hornet in Tennessee. Bald-faced hornets nests resemble a large, grey, bloated football, which typically is attached to a tree, bush, or side of a building. European Hornets nests are brown carton nests.  

Yellow jackets

Yellow jackets are often considered the most dangerous stinging insects in the US. They are extremely aggressive and there can be thousands of hornets in the nest. They build a new nest each year and then leave it to shelter away for the winter. It is best to treat these at night when they are all in the nest and less active.

Management Strategy

The first thing to do with stinging insects is to knock down the nest using a wasp dusting tool. Once the nest is taken down and properly disposed of, apply a product over the wasp hotspot on the home to mask the pheromones that keep them coming back. 


Black Widow

Black widows are the most notorious dangerous spider in TN. They are about ½ in long and are shiny black and usually have a red hourglass mark on the underside of the abdomen. Black widows are cobweb spiders that only bite if they are touched or harmed.

Brown Recluse

Brown Recluse spiders are the other dangerous spider species native to TN. Brown recluse spiders have three pairs of eyes where most spider species have 4 pairs. Most are light to medium brown color and 1/8 to ¼ inch long. 


Sanitation and sticky traps are good ways to prevent their occurrence and monitor their presence and location. Once you have the spots located, vacuum exposed spiders and their webs. Then make insecticide applications in the cracks and voids where you think they will be present. Spot, space, and exterior treatments can also be effective.


Mosquitoes have done more harm to human health and well-being than any other insect group. They are the only natural carriers of organisms that cause debilitating diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue, and several types of viral encephalitis. Tennessee has over 52 mosquito species. Only the female mosquito bites because they need an additional source of protein before they can develop eggs.

Diseases caused by mosquitoes

  • West Nile Virus
  • St. Louis Encephalitis
  • Eastern Equine Encephalitis
  • La Crosse Encephalitis
  • Dog Heartworm

Management strategies

Mosquitoes are controlled using special foggers that apply product in gaseous form. The fog is created by blasting the mixture of insecticide and water into very fine droplets through the fogging machine. The product is made to only attach to the waxy outer coating of the bug, so it will not stick to human skin or to pets.
Rats and mice are remarkably well-adapted for living in close association with humans. They also transmit a number of diseases to humans through their feces and urine. There are three common species that live in close association with humans in TN: Norway rat, roof rat, and house mouse.


Norway Rat

Also called the brown or sewer rat, is the largest domestic rodent. Their life span is about 1 year. They prefer to nest in lower portions of buildings in wall voids, underneath floors, crawlspaces etc. They eat essentially the same foods as humans.  They are nocturnal. 

Roof Rat

These are smaller than the Norway rat, 8 to 12 ounces. They are excellent climbers and are usually found above ground level. Nests can be found in attics, roof areas, or ceiling voids. They also prefer human food but can eat a more versatile range of things unlike the Norway Rat. 

House Mouse

These are the smallest domestic rodent. However, they are prolific breeders. House mice tend to move indoors in the winter when food becomes more scarce.

Management Strategies

First you need to identify the rodents causing the problem. You can do this by looking for droppings, runways, burrows, tracks, gnawing marks, urine, visual sightings, nest and food caches, pet excitement. Obviously, the first thing always recommended is sanitation as the first defense. Then you pest proof the place by sealing cracks, installing screen protectors. Then set up a series of traps indoors, these are very effective. Check the traps daily and dispose of the rodents in plastic bags. There are also poison baits, tracking powders, and fumigants you can use to help suppress rodent populations.

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