Common Pests in Tennessee and How to Keep Them at Bay
Tennessee has stunning rivers, gorgeous mountains, and year-round temperate weather. However, we also have bugs — and lots of them. A few of the most common pests in the area include brown recluse spiders, cockroaches, and mice. For the most part, we have learned to live with these critters, but there has to be a balance. This is especially important if you have out-of-town visitors heading in for summer, as the site of a lone spider or the scuffle of mouse paws is a sure way to send them scuttling off to the nearest hotel.
Brown recluse spiders and cockroaches are perhaps the two most concerning pests in Eastern Tennessee: cockroaches because they carry diseases and brown recluse spiders because they are one of two poisonous arachnids in the area. The National Capital Poison Center explains that while brown recluse spiders strive to avoid human contact, they bite when threatened. This can cause a serious injury that may require surgical debridement and weeks of antibiotics. Bed bugs, mice, and ants are other unwanted house guests that require an eviction notice.
Regardless of the kind of pest you are trying to avoid, there are a few things you can do to cover all of your bases. Start by cleaning and organizing your home, especially the dark areas such as the garage, basement, attic, and closets. Get rid of clutter by purging duplicates, taking out as much paper as possible, and storing important documents in the filing cabinet. You will also want to eliminate excess electronics, such as old radios and televisions, as bugs can climb inside them and live happily without human interference. Old furniture also has to go.
Food is another factor that attracts many pests, including cockroaches, mice, and ants. Any time you leave food accessible, you are writing an open invitation for an infestation. Planet Orange, a California-based pest control company, also notes that strong odors from garbage can attract unwanted visitors. So, make a point to clean up after each meal and do not leave food in an open trash can. Utilize your garbage disposal as much as possible, and clean your pantry regularly. Open packages, such as cereal or cookies, are an easy meal for bugs and mice, so transfer these items to a rigid plastic container once they have been opened.
Once you have the inside taken care of, you will need to turn your attention to the exterior of your home. All pests enter from outside, and blocking their access can significantly cut down on the number of intruders in your interior. Check the foundation and exterior walls for cracks, holes, and crevices that might allow bugs and mice inside. Keep in mind that mice are smaller than they look and can fit into openings the width of a pencil. Seal these issues with caulk, and make sure to install weather strips on doors and windows.
Banish Bed Bugs
These bothersome little biters can hitchhike from one location to another by way of moving boxes, luggage, and clothing. If you have guests coming, check the bed for signs of an infestation, keeping in mind that bed bugs can live for several months to a year without feeding, so there is no guarantee an unused room will be free of them. Your best bet at this point is to completely clean and sanitize the room and invest in a new mattress and bedding. A waterproof mattress cover and regular vacuuming will also help keep these creatures at bay.
Sharing your home with pests can be hazardous to your health. That said, cleaning, preventing access, and eliminating food sources can help reduce the number of rodents, insects, and arachnids that call your house home.
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