What House Flies Do When They Rub Their Feet Together

The House Fly, or it’s Latin name Musca domestica, is one of the greatest nuisance pest to grace the face of the earth. But what most people don’t know is just how nasty these “pain in the necks” really are.

House Flies are mainly gray in color, and are about a 1/4” in length. The have 4 very distinct black stripes on the thorax, or what would appear to be their backs. They’re pretty quick fliers and can be fairly difficult to control, as most flying insects are, by traditional pest control techniques.

They prefer corners and edges to rest on. Inside the home, they will rest on floors, walls, and ceilings during the day and they rest in places that are usually near sources of food at night. They spend 85% of their time resting 5 to 15 feet off the ground.

Outdoors, you’ll find them resting on plants, the ground, fence wires, garbage cans, the walls near your doors, and mostly hanging out when you’re trying to enjoy BBQ time with the family – my favorite!

They love human food, cat and dog food, farm animal food, of course garbage and excrement, and the ever popular – carcases.

This wide variety of food choices gives way to the reason why House Flies are known to carry over 100 different diseases, including cholera and tuberculosis. They transmit those diseases both by carrying pathogens on their feet and mouths and then happily sharing them with us on our food.

Quick little note: when you see a House Fly resting on something and you look really close and see that they’re rubbing their nasty little feet together, ready for this … they’ve vomited on whatever it is they’re resting on. Maybe your hot dog. Nice, huh?

They’re also prolific little boogers. House Fly eggs are laid in almost any warm, moist material that will supply adequate food for their larvae. The female can lay 400 to 600 eggs in her lifetime, which is about 15 to 30 days, and those eggs hatch out in 12 to 24 hours. So, once you start seeing them it can get out of hand in a hurry!

We mostly see the adult flies; the larvae are a little harder to find. But if you’re lucky, you can catch them crawling out of whatever breeding material the mom left them on. Then they pupate, or more to their next stage of life commonly referred to as MAGGOTS. Fun! They have a funny way of making us queasy, even writing this I’m a little sick to my stomach. It may be the nasty smell, or the sight of those nasty little white creepy crawly things, or a combination of both, but they get me almost all the time!

Ok, so why am I getting so graphic and making you sick? Because I want you to react when you see House Flies in a way that you probably haven’t reacted before reading this.

 You see, if I can make you a little sick, maybe you’ll take them as serious as they are. House Flies are a major threat to our health.

As I mentioned earlier, they carry over 100 pathogens resulting in ailments, including typhoid, tuberculosis, cholera and dysentery. They carry diseases of all sorts. They collect these pathogens on their legs and mouths when feeding on trash, feces and other dead and decaying material.

They are a major detriment to healthy living.

So, what can you do if you have, or see, House Flies in your home?

Well, the most important thing to know is that controlling House flies, or any flying insect really, is really difficult. I know, not much inspiration there, but I have to share the truth.

But, there are a few things you can do to help. It really comes down to sanitation. If you think about that first, then the steps you can take will come easier for you than you think.

For example, leaving dirty dishes in the sink is a no-no. Grab that teenager and put them to work 🙂 Any kind of uncovered food, human food or pet food, needs to be addressed. So, if you leave a fruit cake on the counter so everyone can grab a piece whenever they want, it should be in some sort of container or wrapped up tightly.

The dog food bowl is a fiesta to the Housefly, so if you can just put the food down when it’s time for Fido to eat and pick it up when he’s done, that would be great. Leaving it out for free-feeding is an open invitation for the House Fly.

Also, while we’re talking about Fido, it’s best if you can pick up his “deposits” when he goes and not leave them for later. House Flies REALLY like feces and if they’re depositing eggs on a pile one minute, and then hanging out on your hamburgers the next. Now you’ve got problems!

One more thing, make sure your garbage cans are tightly secured. It’s best if you can use garbage bags in your garbage cans and even better is double-bagging. This will help prevent any leakage and eliminate a food source for the flies. I suggest cleaning your outside garbage cans thoroughly, maybe even with some bleach, at least once a month or for sure if there has been a leak in a bag.

Lastly, if all else fails, and there’s a likelihood for this, (just saying) call us.

We, Okeena Termite and Pest Control, can use a variety of different treatment techniques and put together a plan (baits, liquid pesticides, larvicides, etc….) that will help put a dent in your Housefly problem.

If you want more information, call our office or visit our website to get a Free Estimate and Healthy Home Inspection.  (731) 285-4982  Okeena.com

Have a great week,

Scott Riley



You Are What You Breathe

Ways You Can Have A Positive Impact On Your Health

The air we breathe, the foods we eat, and the drinks we choose to consume each day make up our health and who we are. So it’s common to hear now days about how the food and drinks we take in and the effects it has on our health. We can choose through our own decisions to live a healthier lifestyle today so ultimately, we can live a healthier life in the future.

But what often times goes unnoticed is the concern of the air we breathe. Out of sight, out of mind, right? You probably have heard talk about all the pollutants we take in our lungs from the outside. What about the air quality inside our home? Don’t hear much about that, huh?

Did you know that indoor air quality is 70% more polluted than the outdoor air you breathe? And everybody says how much they love to be outside but, in fact, the statistics tell us just the opposite. The average person spends 60%-90% of their lives indoors! All I can think is WOW.

We Also Can Improve Our Indoor Air Quality

There are these “things” that float around inside our homes that will literally and figuratively make you sick. It has been noted that Over 50% of illnesses are either caused or aggravated by indoor air pollutants.

Here are just a few: dirt, dust mites, chemicals, viruses, bacteria, carbon monoxide, mold, allergens, pet dander, tobacco smoke, cooking residues, and yes, even fecal matter! Now that’s down right disgusting.

Fecal matter has commonly been detected in the air inside homes. Flakes of skin from pets and other pests (cockroach to name one) often time carries fecal matter that is released off of their bodies and ultimately helps to “make up” the air we breathe. Yuck!

We have allergic reactions to things we come in contact with and the air we breathe. Over time these particles that float around in the air and find cracks and crevices to get in and harbor. If left alone, these particles continue to build up and will make you sick.

If you have been like me in the past and thinking that regular wiping down the dust is all we can do to make our indoor air we breathe safer, you may need to think again. It certainly helps but over time other necessary steps need to be taken.

The areas we can see are not what we worry about. It’s the areas we can’t see such as above window and door frames, on top of ceiling fans, and inside your air ducts is where the concern really lies.

Thoroughly cleaning your air ducts help remove these dangerous dust particles that have collected over many years. Your air ducts should be cleaned every 3-5 years depending on your surrounding and the environment.

We are what we eat, drink, and breathe each day and knowing the facts about indoor air quality is kind of scary. We only get one “shot” at this thing called life and doing our part to make it as safe and successful as possible for us and our family is our responsibility.

If you would like more information on getting your air ducts cleaned, we would be happy to come out and take a look at your heating/cooling system and provide you with a free estimate and consultation.


Hope this was helpful and have a great week!

To Your Health,


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4evergreenlawnservice.com & okeena.com

(731)264-0088 or (731)285-4982


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Pain and Danger With Wasps

Yellow hornet faceWasps and hornets are from the same species and their stings are not only VERY painful, but also dangerous, and even sometimes deadly. All of us just really wished this pest never even existed. Right? But how much do you know about these invaders and what can you do to help keep them away from our families?

Did you know that female wasp are the only wasp that can sting you? Male wasp do not even possess a stinger. So the female Red Wasp is really the aggressive one as she tries to protect her nest, like any good mother. They build their paper-like nests out of plant materials, even wood. The problem is that they seem to construct their nests in the worst places for humans – generally under eaves, around door and window frames, out buildings and sheds. Basically, everywhere we don’t want them to!

But wasps and hornets are not all bad though. They are beneficial to the environment because they hunt for other insects to feed to their colony mates and some of those pests are worse if you can believe it. Even though they provide benefits to the environment, we cannot have them invade your safe place, which is your family’s home and property.

There are many different chemicals or venom in wasp or hornet stings. Some of the chemicals are known in stings to damage or kill blood cells, get into your blood stream blocking ionic pathways, cause allergic reactions, and even cause degranulation of mast cells. Wow, pretty serious stuff. wasp-face

The most common chemical in a wasp or hornet sting is Kinnin. Wasp or Hornet Kinin is in all stings and little is known about this chemical and all its effects. Kind of scary, right?

Another chemical is Acetylcholine, which is the chemical/venom in the sting that brings the actual pain. No thanks for that!

Phospholipase B is another chemical/venom in wasp stings. This venom breaks down the cell membranes and is simply, not good for your body.

Have you ever felt that your blood pressure rises when stung by a wasp or hornet? Well, you have Noradrenaline to thank for that. Noradrenaline, when injected, will constrict blood vessels and have a direct impact on your blood pressure.

Also, have you wondered what makes you itch so much after being stung by a wasp or hornet? Histamine is the chemical/venom in the sting that causes an allergic reaction and the reason antihistamines are recommended for treatment. Histamines are the culprit of “the itch”.

Oh yea, and on top of all of this, pheromones are released by the wasp or hornet when they sting. That’s when the problem can get very serious. Other nearby stinging insects are notified by the pheromone and will quickly respond and join in on their little “stinging party”.

red wasp nest

These are just a few chemicals/venom that are found in the stings of wasps and hornets. Some chemicals cause minor issues for some but death for others.

Don’t take wasp and hornet signs likely as you never know what kind of reaction you, or another loved one, may have to a wasp or hornet sting.

We know the pain and dangers associated with these pest and we all need a plan to protect the ones we love and care about.

Okeena has the ultimate wasp protection service. We apply 2 strategic wasp applications over the course of a summer to help keep your family safe. Our treatments last for up to 90 days! Now that’s a gift that just keeps on giving. We will hunt them down around your eaves as well as many other nooks and crannies around and under the home where they can hide.

Who’s protecting you and your family from wasp? Okeena would be honored to help.

Call us today for a free consultation or estimate for a full season of wasp protection.


Have a great week,



Termites Swarmers Are Easy To Identify….Let Us Show You


Notice Difference Between Winged Ant and Winged Termite

This is the time of the year when Okeena gets many incoming calls about what usually turns out to be Termite Swarmers. termite swarmers

Termite Swarmers are called Alates and generally swarm in Spring and occasionally in Fall. Termite Swarmers looks like ants but with wings. The caption to the right shows the difference between flying termites and ants. Termite Swarmers usually swarm or fly in high numbers and can usually be found close to windows, often times dead.  They can be found swarming outside the home or inside. That is usually when we get the call.  Termites swarm several weeks or months in advance to ants. The reason termites swarm is because they’re leaving a mature colony to go start a new one. So, if you see swarmers, you have termites. And if you ever get termites, they don’t just go away or die. They multiply.

Quite simply, termites will tear your house down. It’s what we’ve inherited in our neck of the woods. Termites are common in our area. In fact, unfortunately, very common. It has been said in Tennessee that there are between 12 to 15 million termites…..PER ACRE!WOW:0

It’s really not if your home will get termites, but only a matter of when.

Nearly everyone we talk to tries to come up with why they should not have to spend money on termite protection. Why do we think we should be exempt from the responsibility of getting our homes protected? Maybe because the home has been treated for termites before? To put that theory to rest, termiticides you use in termite protection, like all products, will eventually break down, leaving you unprotected. ter3

So, what are termites looking for? Well termites need food, water, and shelter to survive. The food for them is in the form of your home. Termites eat the cellulose inside the wood and basically begins to break down it’s structural integrity. The water and shelter comes from the moisture from the soil, not only for consumption, but also used to build mud tubes for shelter and thus protection. Termite must have dark shelter since termites will quickly dry up and die when exposed to light.

Well, what can we do?

The very first step is to remove all conducive conditions for termites such as excess moisture and any wood debris under or against any part of its foundation. (See previous paragraph for reason why)

The second step is to treat the home not only for years of future protection but also for active termites as well.

And lastly, monitor your home at least annually, to make sure there is no evidence of termites or excess moisture under or around your home.

The cost of treating your home for termites is substantially less than the cost of repairs. Don’t overlook where we live and decide to gamble against the 12-15 million termites we have PER ACRE in Tennessee. People spend more money on the newest iPhone than they do on protecting their largest investment they have, which is their home. It’s time to wake up.

If you think you may have termites, termite swarmers, or just questions in general about termite protection, call us today for a free consultation and inspection.


Have a great week!

Scott Riley




Wasp Season is Upon Us. Beware!


For those of us in the South, The Red Wasp (Polistes carolina,) is a pest we wished never existed. They have been known to inflict some pretty powerful stings that will send a grown man into a weeping fit. But how much do you know about these invaders and what can you do to help keep them away from our families?

The Red Wasp is generally about an inch long, with a red body (hence the fancy name) and has dark red to purplish-black colored wings. They are social creatures and can nest in populations exceeding 800 individuals. That’s 800 more than we like!RedWasp_02

Since they’re social, like ants and termites, the nests contain a Queen, female and male reproductive’s, and workers. The female Red Wasp is really the aggressive one as she tries to protect her nest, like any good mother. They build their paper-like nests out of plant materials, even wood. The problem is that they seem to construct their nests in the worst places for humans – generally under eaves, around door and window frames, out buildings and sheds. Basically, everywhere we don’t want them to!

Red Wasps are not all bad though. They are beneficial to the environment because they hunt for other insects to feed to their colony mates and some of those pests are actually worse if you can believe it. But, that said, we still don’t want them around so how do we get rid of them once they’ve set up house?

As with all stinging pests, handle with care – safety first. It’s important to try to remove their nests as early as possible after its been built. This will dramatically reduce the population potential and reduce your chances of getting stung.

Nests can be removed with a rake or shovel but that may be a little too close for your com-fort. A high-powered water hose might work best and provide a safe distance from the impending chaos. Make sure you have an escape plan in place just in case you need to high tail it out of there.

red wasp nest

In addition, most retail hardware stores have chemicals for Wasps that can be effective. These products generally are under high pressure and application can be done from a moderately safe distance. They are often foamy in texture so when applied clings to the nest like shaving cream. They work on contact, however, there will be Wasps in the nest that will not be affected and it’s important to note that just because you hit your target, you’re probably not in the clear right away.

Most importantly, any attempt at removal should be done after sunset. The Red Wasp does all its foraging during the day and return to the nest just before dark. You’ll have the greatest chance of getting all of the members if you wait until dark.

If all else fails, call Okeena and we’ll take the risk and get rid of your Red Wasps so you don’t have to. We will take a two-pronged approach. We apply a product that provides for a fast knockdown while another keeps them from coming back from up to 90 days.

For more information please call the office at 731.285.4982 or visit our website at okeena.com

Scott Riley

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