Common Tennessee Insects That Can Destroy Your Home

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Pest problems come in all shapes and sizes. Some start from unclean conditions while others begin in even the cleanest of homes.

Nobody wants bugs in their home. Let’s take a look at the most common Tennessee insects.

Tennessee Insects that Invade Homes

This landlocked state extends 440 miles, with 6 distinct land regions. All sorts of insects can thrive in the state’s environment.

Don’t let that affect your home. Keep out harmful insects to stop the problem before it begins.

Ants

This little insect can cause a huge headache for homeowners. While some types, like little black ants, are simply annoying, others can cause damage and even harm your family.

Acrobat Ants

Acrobat ants carry a heart-shaped abdomen and come in many colors. Their size ranges from 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch.

The workers tend to look like an acrobat as they lift their abdomens over their heads. These pests end to nest all over the house.

Throw out food contaminated by these ants and watch out for the workers as they bite and give off a foul odor when killed. They tend to nest all around the house and require professional ant control.

To prevent them, keep piles of leaves and decaying branches away from your home. Also, clean out your gutters, as clogged debris will attract these pests.

Argentine Ants

They appear shiny black or brown and sport segmented antennae. These ants grow anywhere from 1/16th of an inch to a quarter-inch long.

You can smell large Argentine ant colonies. They give off a musty odor.

These guys colonize homes in large quantities, making extermination extremely difficult. They crawl in through open windows and doors, and cracks in the foundation. Close them out and seal any foundational cracks you see in the home.

Carpenter Ants

They only come in black and grow much bigger than the other species. These guys can get anywhere from 1/8th of an inch to a quarter-inch long.

These guys cause much more than an annoyance to homeowners. Carpenter ants create nesting sites in wood. They cause significant damage in homes as they nest.

Keep them out by sealing cracks in the foundation, especially where pipes and wires enter the home. Also, take care of any leaks or moisture problems.

Fire Ants

Fire ants contain a copper-colored head with red, black, or brown bodies. During times of drought, flood, or extreme heat, these pests enter into homes in search of food, water, and shelter.

These pests will invade your home and hunt down anything that threatens their colony. A fire ant sting causes instantaneous, intense pain.

Odorous Ants

This species of ant will not hurt you, but their scent will bother your senses. These Tenessee bugs are tiny with an unevenly shaped thorax.

Due to their size, the smallest crack gives them an opportunity to invade the home for food and water.

Like any other ant, keep them out by closing doors, windows, and any cracks in the foundation. Also, keep the home clean and free of food crumbs.

Carpenter Bees

These large bees can grow from 1 to 1.5 inches in length. They have a shiny abdomen. Females appear completely black in color, while males look orange.

These common pests fly solo, so each female creates her own little nest. The female will bore into wood to lay her eggs.

This creates minimal structural damage. However, these nests attract woodpeckers, which will cause significant damage to your home.

To prevent these pests from nesting, spray the wood on your home with citrus or almond oil, as these scents tend to repel them. Painting and staining the wood will also help keep them from nesting.

Cockroaches

Depending on the species, cockroaches can grow anywhere from half an inch to 2 inches long. Their coloring can appear reddish-brown, tan, or shiny black.

They typically do not cause any structural damage. But, they do destroy the sanitation in your home.

These nasty critters can pose a threat to you as they often travel through sewers, garbage, and fecal matter. They carry harmful bacteria that spread disease, and their excrement can trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks.

You can accidentally introduce cockroaches into your home from contaminated packages or used furniture. They can also enter the house through pipes, drains, and cracks.

Prevent cockroaches in your Memphis home by sealing cracks and spaces around pipes and drains. Also, inspect packages and anything used you bring into your home. Keeping your home clean and properly storing garbage will also help to keep these bugs at bay.

If they do colonize your home, you may see ridged, cylindrical droppings. Cockroach infestations also tend to muster up a distinct pungent, must odor. Call for help in exterminating these bad boys before they pose a health risk.

Hylotrupes

Also known as, old house borers, and the longhorn beetle, they appear flatter than most beetles and grayish-black in color. Their wing covers contain white stripes and they have two shiny segmented areas behind the head with antennae that stretch as long as or longer than the bug itself.

The larvae of these common house beetles can appear cream-colored or grayish-white. Their heads are rounded and they contain mandibles and three eyes on the sides of their heads.

These beetles typically come from contaminated wood from lumberyards. They mate in late summer months. Each female lays about 200 eggs into softwood.

For about 2 to 10 years, the larvae will feed on the wood to mature. Once they reach full size, they will burrow out of the wood to produce another generation.  Over time, this process can create serious structural damage.

You can prevent these pests by only using kiln-dried lumber that never got left outside in the late summer months. Also, properly ventilated, as moisture will soften the wood and make it more prone to infestation.

Keep an eye out for the larvae exit holes in your home’s wood. If you find them, then know that the only way to completely rid your home of an infestation is to fumigate.

Termites

Termites infest around 600,000 homes in the United States annually and cause approximately $40 billion in damage around the globe, making them one of the most common home insects. Tennessee is not exempt from the termite’s reign of terror, so you should know how to identify, prevent, and eradicate them.

Winged termites possess two straight antennae and 4 wings. Each of the wings grows to the same length as the termite’s body. These guys appear brown or black in color.

However, you may see termites without wings as well. Worker termites appear white or translucent with antennae while soldier termites look brown in color with antennae and pincers, and neither have wings.

Leaks and other moisture issues will attract these Tennessee bugs. They can also come in by way ow wood that comes into contact with the structure of the home and through cracks in the foundation.

You can prevent an infestation by correcting these issues that attract them. Replace fix leak and plumbing problems, replace damaged wood, and properly ventilate your home.

Despite the best prevention efforts, sometimes these pests break-in. If termites do infest your home, identifying the problem quickly can save you a ton of money.

Listen to your walls. You can hear moving and scratching noises with a large infestation.

Also, look for visible signs of these Tennessee insects. You may see their wings near windowsills and doors in the springtime, as they shed them after mating.

If you do not catch them right away, you may see signs of their structural damage. Pay attention to uneven or bubbling paint and any wood damage around the home.

By the time you notice the infestation, you most likely cannot handle the problem yourself. Call a professional to treat a termite infestation.

Wasps

Though wasps and bees may appear similar to some people, wasps do not buzz around pollinating plants. These aggressive creatures can pose a problem for you and your house if they nest on your property.

Wasps usually appear black or brown with yellow markings and gray wings. They are longer and more slender than bees and their back legs hang down during flight.

These predatory creatures feed on other insects and look for spaces, like attics, walls, and chimneys, to survive the winter. Wasps generally search for the opportunity to get into a home, like already splintered wood, rather than working their way in. So, they do not create the same level of structural damage as termites or carpenter ants, but their nests can still damage the ceiling and wallboards with their nests.

Capping chimneys and vent covers, keeping intact screens on doors and windows, caulking around windows, and repairing broken shingles can make it more difficult for wasp queens to choose your home as nesting space. Also, trim trees and shrubs away from the house, as that will draw them near.

If you do suspect a wasp infestation, contact a professional right away. Many species of wasps carry a potent venom that stings badly and can even cause a life-threatening allergic reaction.

They protect their nests fiercely. So whether your little one curiously pokes around at it or you attempt to remove it, they will go into an aggressive attack mode.

Call a Professional Memphis Tennessee Exterminator

Many Tennessee insects play a role in balancing the ecosystem. However, they do much more harm than good once they enter your home. 

Insect infestations do not go away on their own. They can be difficult to treat.

We can help! If you suspect a pest problem in your home, call us right away for your free estimate!

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About the Author:

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