Though Tennessee residents have built beautiful homes and businesses in towns throughout the state, pests nevertheless are persistent in their search of food, water, and shelter. There are a wide variety of common pests in the south, which we group into five categories: threat pests, occasional invaders, best pests, uncommon occupants, and moisture. U.S. Pest Protection offers pest control services for both residents and businesses alike, and we can prevent infestations and rid your property from these pests and more.


The Southern region of the United States is known for it’s five different types of Common Pests in the South. The Pest Index Categories include the following:

Threat Pests

Ants, Bed Bugs, Cockroaches, Fleas, Flies, Mosquitos, Rodents, Ticks, Termites, Spiders.

Occasional Invaders

Beetles, Hornets, Lady Bugs, Pantry Pests, Stink Bugs, Wasps.

Best Pests

Bees, Butterflies, Fireflies & Lightning Bugs, Moths, & other Pollinators.

Uncommon Occupants

Centipedes, Millipedes, Pill Bugs, Sow Bugs, Firebrats, Silverfish, & More.


Moisture, Fungi, Mold, & Wood Decay.


Threat pests pose a danger to you and your property. Whether through their potential to introduce disease or cause property damage, it is imperative to ensure any threat pest infestation is dealt with quickly and effectively. Threat pests are a common pest of the south and can infiltrate your homes in a variety of ways and can directly or indirectly cause destruction.


Famous as kitchen crusaders, ants can contaminate food quickly and are capable of carrying the results of your cooking many times their own size. Different types of ants pose different threats to humans, as some ants utilize venom that can result in a very painful bite.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to eradicate, and their itchy bites make a bed bug infestation a nightmare scenario for homeowners. Home remedies are limited, and more advanced methods like heat treatments are usually needed to quell the invasion.


The sturdy cockroach has been around since the time of the dinosaurs and is a pro at scavenging for food and hiding in dark spaces. Roaches aren’t just particularly unnerving to find in your home—they can also make you sick.


Flies are a particularly common southern pest. They are drawn to leftover food and breed in or around decomposing matter. Flies may seem like a nuisance, but their population can quickly get out of hand.


While they may seem cute, mice reproduce quickly, can squeeze into hard-to-reach places, and can even cause property damage by gnawing on cables and insulation. Mice also bring with them the potential for disease.


Sometimes deemed “The Most Dangerous Animal on Earth,” mosquitoes are experts at spreading nasty diseases, from the West Nile and Zika viruses to dengue and even malaria. Don’t take them lightly.


Like their smaller rodent cousins, rats bring disease and can cause significant damage to your property through their excrement and gnawing of surfaces. Rats cause more damage than mice due to their larger size.


While spiders do help keep other insect populations under control, their own population can rapidly grow out of hand if you aren’t careful. In addition, certain spiders—such as the black widow and brown recluse—are particularly dangerous.


Termites are one of the most destructive pests. By chewing on wood, termites can erode a structure from the inside out, easily causing thousands or more in damages. U.S. Pest can protect your home from these destructive pests.


Any trip through the great outdoors risks a tick hitching a ride back into your home. Ticks feed on blood and can spread some serious diseases—including lyme disease—while they do so. Ticks can also hitch a ride on your pets.


Occasional invaders are common pests in the south. However, they are called occasional invaders because they are less likely to infest buildings than threat pests. Nevertheless, some of these pests can still cause property damage and pose health risks if left unchecked, and weather patterns and other factors can lead to infestations of your property.


Beetles come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They won’t pose a threat to humans, but they can destroy plants or gardens—and a beetle infestation in your home is certainly startling.


Equipped with a nasty stinger for hunting, hornets protect their nest with abandon. While one hornet is more afraid of you than you are of it, there’s a reason why “don’t poke the hornet’s nest” is a common phrase.


Ladybugs include a variety of similarly colored beetles, including the Asian lady beetle. While they are beneficial to your garden, a ladybug infestation in your house can be a threat to your respiratory system due to their shells.

Stink Bugs

These shield-shaped bugs aren’t just a shock to find in your home. As their name implies, stink bugs release a noxious odor that truly stinks—similar to a skunk—when they feel threatened, making them hard to remove.


A silverfish isn’t a fish, but it is silver and it does look and move like a fish. Silverfish are a particularly creepy nuisance pest, and they have a destructive appetite and can destroy clothing, insulation, and books.


Wasps are territorial, aggressive, and can sting multiple times with one stinger. While one wasp doesn’t pose much of a threat, a hive of wasps can be a dangerous and a potential pain point—literally—if it’s near your property.


A pantry pest, weevils infiltrate your property to eat and reproduce near your food sources. Weevils are most commonly found in pantries and cupboards and are eager to eat foods like grain, rice, and other dry goods.


This group of pests are only pests inasmuch as they can be nuisances if they enter your home unannounced (and in significant numbers). Otherwise, these best pests are generally not dangerous to humans and actually are beneficial to the environment.


Bees are vital to the environment as the most important plant pollinator in Tennessee. Bees sting only as a last resort, and bee stings are only dangerous to those who are allergic. U.S. Pest Protection is proud to support bees through the Tennessee Honey Festival.


Butterflies themselves are beautiful fliers that come in a wide variety of colors and patterns and are benign creatures that lack venom. Their larval stage, otherwise known as caterpillars, can sometimes cause damage to gardens.

Fireflies & Lightning Bugs

A soft-bodied beetle, fireflies—or lightning bugs—are bioluminescent, meaning that they have the ability to light up parts of their bodies. These are harmless creatures that are common throughout the Tennessee outdoors.


Famously drawn to lights, moths are harmless creatures to humans, though they can destroy clothing if they find their way into a closet. Moths are less colorful than butterflies and have fuzzy bodies.


Uncommon occupants are found in humid, moist areas. As such, though you may find themselves in your home in places like basements or bathrooms, they’re usually found outside in shady areas. Uncommon occupants are generally harmless, but they can certainly shock you if you’re not expecting them.


Centipedes look terrifying, and when they scurry quickly across the floor, they look even more so. If you find multiple centipedes in your home, that could indicate you have other pest problems, as centipedes feed on other bugs.


No, millipedes do not have a million legs—but they do have plenty. Millipedes have two pairs of jointed legs on most body segments and look like long worms.

Pill Bugs

Also called rollie-pollies or potato bugs, pill bugs go by many names. Pill bugs are actually crustaceans and are known for their ability to roll into a ball form for defensive purposes.

Sow Bugs

Sow bugs are round with segmented armor plates not dissimilar to a tiny armadillo. They are similar visually and size-wise to pill bugs and are commonly found in mulch and other wooded areas.


Is it a silverfish, or is it a firebrat? That may be your first question when you see one of these creatures. Unlike silverfish, firebrats feed on carbohydrates, starches, and protein sources.


While not a living, breathing animal like the rest of the common pests of the south, moisture can pose an equal or even greater threat than your average bug or rodent. Moisture is a silent destroyer—especially for crawlspaces—and can result in a lot of different problems.


Standing water is always bad for a home and can result in many secondhand problems in addition to direct water damage. However, high moisture areas can be almost as bad and are much harder to locate.


Wood-destroying fungi aren’t nearly as noticeable or as creepy as termites or other pests, but they are just as destructive—if not more. Fungi can make short and silent work of wood in your crawlspace, causing major damage without your knowledge.


Out of sight does not always mean out of mind. Mold grows in high moisture areas, and it can cause a variety of health problems even if you don’t see it. Eradicating mold is vital to a healthy home.

Wood Decay

In areas of high moisture, wood can decay and rot away, leading to potential structural damage to your home, as well as a host of other health issues and maintenance problems.

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