What’s Bugging You? 11 Common Memphis Household Pests (And How to Get Rid of Them)

Posted by:

Your home is the host for between 32 and 211 different types of bugs.

Does that bug you? If so, you’re not alone. Unless you chose etymology as your career, you probably aren’t interested in face-to-face contact with bugs or pests of any kind.

We get it, although bugs are kind of our thing.

Knowledge is power when it comes to bugs in your home. Learn about 11 common household pests and what you can do to keep them out of your home.

1. Flies

One of the most common insects found in Tennessee homes is the house fly.

get rid of flies in memphis

Everyone has that annoying fly that visits simply because a door or window is open. If you have more than the occasional visitor you may have a sanitation issue.

If you have leaky faucets, don’t remove pet feces, or leave food out on the counters, you’re putting out the welcome mat for house flies.

House flies are dangerous because they carry bacteria on their legs and bodies.

Controlling house flies isn’t an easy task. A good starting point is storing food in the refrigerator in covered containers. Washing dishes immediately after meals rather than leaving dirty dished pile up in the sink is another proactive control method.

If you have a recurring house fly problem, the best cure is a year-round program designed to control household pests.

2. Ants

Pest control for ants

You may have never seen a bedbug, a cockroach, or a flea (all common household pests) but you’ve most certainly seen an ant. And rest assured, if you’ve seen one, an entire army will soon follow.

Odorous house ants are a common ant species found in Tennessee homes. Step on one and you’ll wish you hadn’t—they smell like rotten coconut.

Some species, like the pharaoh ant, carry diseases. Fire ants deliver a nasty sting that may require medical attention if you’re sensitive to its venom. Carpenter ants wreak havoc on wood structures because they excavate so that they have a place to build their nests.

Other than the ants that transmit disease, sting, and destroy, most ants are just a nuisance. They contaminate food meaning you must dispose of it. And they’re difficult to get rid of on your own.

3. Cockroaches

Roach infestation

The name is enough to give a person the heebie-jeebies but if you have a cockroach infestation in your home, your nerves may not be the only part of your body in danger.

One common cockroach found in Memphis homes is the brown-banded cockroach. These lovelies can make a person sick. They carry and spread a variety of diseases and bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella.

An interesting fact about the brown-banded cockroach—they shed their skin and leave behind their feces. If you have an infestation, check your cabinets, you’ll find the evidence of both. Some people are so sensitive to cockroach “gifts” they have asthma and allergy attacks when exposed to them.

American and German cockroaches also invade homes and like their other cockroach friends, they carry disease. They contaminate any food they touch. Cockroaches also destroy wallpaper and books because they feed on the glue.

Preventing cockroach infestations begins with a clean environment. Once you have them in your home, they breed quickly. Using DIY bug sprays and bombs or roach hotels isn’t effective and may be dangerous for you and your family.

Roach infestations are better handled by the people who know them best—a pest control team.

4. Indian Meal Moths

indian meal moths removal in memphis

Speaking of bugs and food, have you ever opened your pantry and found moths? If so, you’ve encountered another common household pest—the Indian meal moth.

Unlike cockroach infestations, meal moths aren’t associated with filth. They tag along with the foods you buy from a store infested with their larvae. You’ll find them in cereals, pasta, rice, flour, spices, and nuts. They also infest dry pet food and birdseed.

Indian meal moths don’t bite, sting, or carry disease. Instead, they lay eggs in their favorite food products, meaning you shouldn’t eat that pancake mix if you find these pantry pests hanging out in it.

Avoid Indian meal moths by inspecting packaged foods before you buy them. Look for tears and holes in bags and boxes. Once you get pantry items home, rotate them frequently and throw away outdated goods.

5. Termites

termite removal in memphis

If you want to scare a homeowner, talk about termites. The Eastern subterranean termite is commonly found in Tennessee and most other states in the country.

Termites live in underground nests. Their favorite meal is cellulose, which they find in soil, leaves, and wood. But their appetite for wood is what frightens homeowners.

Once they get inside your home, they go to town on the wood structure. They’re not like ants, houseflies, or roaches who march (or fly) defiantly across countertops. These pests remain hidden and you may not know you have them for several months, or even years.

Don’t even attempt eradicating these pests on your own.

6. Ear Wigs

Earwigs memphis tn

Let’s talk about something more pleasant for a minute. Earwigs. It’s fun to say, isn’t it?

Earwigs are the subject of myths and for some people, nightmares. 

The truth is these bugs, also called pincher bugs, don’t crawl in your ears, at least not deliberately. They prefer living outside underneath piles of leaves, grass, or mulch.

Earwigs love cool environments. If you see them in your home, it’s probably due to hot, dry weather conditions outside. If you don’t like earwigs, make it difficult for them to come inside.

Don’t leave grass and leaves piled up outside. Seal cracks in your foundation and caulk gaps in window and doorframes.

Hint: The pinchers on the male earwigs aren’t meant for biting humans. They use them as a self-defense mechanism against their fellow earwigs.

7. Silver Fish

Silverfish live everywhere in the United States in bathrooms and basements. They also congregate in attics and crawl spaces. Have you figured out they thrive in areas with high humidity levels?

The main diet of silverfish is starch and your home is an excellent place for eating starch. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but they’ll feast on any of the following:

  • Paper
  • Books bindings
  • Photos
  • Glue
  • Sugar
  • Dandruff
  • Human Hair

You were probably okay with the paper products, but hair and dandruff? Well, silverfish do work mainly at night. If it’s any consolation, they don’t bite.

Prevention is possible if you vacuum, keep tubs and sinks clean, and use a dehumidifier.

Once you have a silverfish infestation, unless you plan on staying up all night with a newspaper in hand, you’ll soon feel discouraged. These pests are quick and elusive.

Exterminators know silverfish and their habits and can get rid of them better than you can.

8. Stink Bugs

get rid of stink bugs in your memphis home

Stink bugs are probably the most fun insect you can have in a house! Forget for a minute that they smell and just look at them.

With bodies shaped like little shields, they march around on six legs. The two adorable antennas help them find food and detect enemies. Okay, perhaps we’re talking up the stink bug too much but they are cute.

If you have them inside your home, it’s because they don’t like the cold and winter is coming.

Gardeners hate them, especially if they grow any of the stinkbug staples like tomatoes, grapes, apples, peppers, and peaches. They also like soybeans.

Stink bugs don’t bite, carry disease, or destroy your home. They do smell terrible if you smash them!

Keep them out by sealing your home’s cracks and crevices. If that doesn’t work, get on a pest control program with a professional exterminating company.

9. Spiders

Spiders can’t be that bad, right? After all, one of the most beloved children’s books tells the story of one special spider named Charlotte.

Unfortunately, as much as we love reading about friendly spiders, we don’t like them in our homes.

Some spiders are harmless, quietly spinning webs in corners of basements, attics, and yes, bedrooms and living rooms. Others, like the black widow and brown recluse spiders, are venomous. If either of these spiders bite you, seek medical attention!

For the other spiders such as the common house spider and the wolf spider, if you don’t want them in the house, seal up any openings where they can fit through. Also, since they prey on bugs, don’t leave dead ones lying around.

For those people who prefer reading about spiders rather than hosting them, a pest control program is your best solution.

By the way, E.B. White’s famous spider’s full name was Charlotte A. Cavatica. She was a barn spider, known by its scientific name, Araneus cavaticus. You can look but you likely won’t find a Charlotte inside your home.

10. Fleas

get rid of flea infestation in memphis

Now that we’ve talked about some of the more endearing household pests, let’s discuss two no one wants in their home.

The first pest is the flea. Fleas are parasites and feed on blood. Fleas aren’t picky—they’ll bite on cats, dogs, or you.

There’s nothing charming about adult fleas, or their eggs and larvae. 
Adult fleas bite and leave itchy red bumps on the skin. Flea bites may cause allergic reactions in both people and animals.

The flea species found in Tennessee can infect humans and pets with bubonic plague and murine flea-born typhus. Fleas also host tapeworms, which is one reason why vets push flea prevention for dogs and cats.

Your vet can treat your pets for flea infestations but your home will need attention from an exterminator.

11. Bed Bugs

get rid of bed bugs infestation in memphis with Inman Murphy

The last pest we’ll talk about for now is the dreaded bed bug.

Like fleas, bed bugs are parasites and feed on blood. They’ll take any warm-blooded creature but they prefer humans.

Places like hotels and airports are hot spots for bed bugs but so are apartment buildings. If you’re curious whether they live in your home, lift up your mattress and look for tiny reddish-brown bugs.

Be aware they don’t only thrive in the crevices of your mattress. Bed bugs also live in the seams of upholstered chairs and couches. They hide behind baseboards, wallpaper, and electrical switch-plates.

Yes, they bite and it’s unpleasant, but they don’t carry diseases. Even so, you don’t want them in your home.

Bed bugs are impossible to get rid of on your own. It’s not only the adults that need help leaving, but it’s also the nymphs and eggs. If you have them, let a professional help so that you can sleep in peace.

Get Rid of Your Household Pests Today

Thanks for reading about a few of the more common bugs found in homes here in Tennessee. You may find others, not on this list.

The important thing to remember is while household pests are common, you don’t need to put up with them.

We’ve helped people take care of pest problems for over 20 years. Call us today and let’s figure out the best solution to your unwanted houseguests — pests, not people.

0

About the Author:

Chris Murphy is President of Inman-Murphy Inc., one of the fastest growing pest control companies in Memphis, TN.