How to Keep Ticks Off Your Dog

Tick stuck in the fur of a dog in Tennessee

Nobody likes encountering ticks. They are tiny, they are sneaky, and they are hungry for blood. Not only can ticks make your dog itchy, but they can also make them seriously ill. Ticks are not just a pain in the neck—they are a pain in the whole body! They can transmit diseases that weaken your furry friend and even kill them. It is more than enough reason you must not let your canine companion become a tick’s next victim. 

You cherish your dog and want them to live a long, healthy life. But you also want them to have fun outside and explore the world. How can you balance these two goals? How can you keep ticks off your dog without locking them up indoors?

Tick Prevention Tips

Here are some simple and natural tips for flea and tick prevention for dogs. These tips will help you protect your dog from these nasty critters without using harsh chemicals.

Check Your Dog for Ticks Daily

Do not let those pesky ticks ruin your dog’s day! Check them for ticks daily, especially after playing in the woods or grass. Use your fingers to feel for any bumps or lumps on their skin. Look carefully at their ears, neck, belly, and legs. If you find a tick, do not be a wimp. Grab some tweezers or a tick remover tool and pull it out gently. Do not squeeze or twist, or you will leave part of the tick in your dog’s skin. Flush the tick down the toilet or put it in alcohol.

Stay Away From Tick Hotspots

Ticks love to hide in tall grass, bushes, and leaf litter. They wait for a host to pass by and then jump on them. So, try to keep your dog away from these areas when you go for a walk or a hike. Stick to well-maintained trails and paths. You can also mow your lawn regularly and clear any debris from your yard. 

Bathe Your Dog Often

Use a mild shampoo safe for dogs, and rinse them well. You can also add some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the water. These ingredients can help to repel ticks and other pests. 

Buy a Dog Vest

A dog vest is a protective garment that covers your dog’s chest and back. It can prevent ticks from biting your dog in these areas. Permethrin, a chemical that kills ticks on contact, also treats some dog vests. You can find dog vests online or at pet stores, or ask your veterinarian about good options for your pet.

Talk to Your Vet

Finally, it would be best to talk to your vet about flea and tick prevention for dogs. Your vet can recommend the best products and methods for your dog’s needs. Many options, such as collars, sprays, drops, pills, and vaccines, are available. 

Call Russell’s Pest Control

Even if you take all the necessary precautions, there is still a chance that ticks may find their way onto your property. If that is the case, call Russell’s Pest Control for help. Russell’s Pest Control is a family-owned and operated business serving East Tennessee since 1971. They have the experience and expertise to handle any pest issue you may have.

Russell’s Pest Control offers comprehensive pest control services for residential and commercial customers. Using safe and effective methods, they can eliminate ticks and other pests from your home or business. They also offer free inspections, estimates, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Do not let ticks ruin your day or harm your dog’s health. Call Russell’s Pest Control today and say goodbye to those pesky parasites.

How are Bee and Wasp Stings Different?

What honey bees look like in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

Most people in our area have dealt with a bee or wasp sting at some point in their lives. We all know that their stings are painful, but did you know that they can cause serious allergic reactions, potentially resulting in hospitalization?

It is important to be able to identify stinging insects on your property in Knoxville so that you understand the risks associated with being stung by them. Read on for expert advice about bees, wasps, and their stings from the experienced technicians at Russell’s Pest Control.

Wasp Stings Versus Bee Stings

Sometimes, bee and wasp stings can feel almost identical in their strength and symptoms. Although they are quite comparable in results, they work very differently. There are three main differences:

  1. Stinger: Bees’ stingers completely eject from their bodies when they target a victim, pulling out parts of their innards and causing them to die shortly after. Wasps’ stingers stay intact and can be used many times in a row on a single victim.
  2. Volume: Bees only sting once, but use all of their venom on this sting, usually totaling around 50 micrograms. Wasps limit their stings to 2-15 micrograms of venom, but it is more powerful and can be used multiple times in quick succession.
  3. Venom: Wasps and bees’ stings also differ due to the venom that they contain. However, despite the different chemical makeups of their venom, they both cause the release of histamine in our bodies, which creates hive-like bumps across our skin.

How bee and wasp stings differ in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest ControlDo Bee or Wasp Stings Cause Allergic Reactions?

You can develop an allergic reaction after either a bee sting or a wasp sting. It is possible to be allergic to both kinds, just one or the other, or neither at all. Usually, a sting from a wasp or bee will only result in mild symptoms, as in:

  • Swelling
  • Itchiness and redness
  • Pain and soreness

However, serious allergic reactions can catch you off guard if you aren’t prepared. There are thousands of hospitalizations resulting from bee and wasp stings every year. The most dangerous result of a bee sting is the development of anaphylaxis, a particular kind of allergic reaction. The worst symptoms of anaphylaxis are:

  • Swelling of the tongue and throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain and itchiness across the body
  • Vomiting
  • Fainting

Avoiding Bee and Wasp Stings

While you can respect that stinging insects like bees and wasps play an important role in the ecosystem, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work to avoid the threat of their attacks. Different bees and wasps have different things they’re attracted to, and a lot of what is done to deter them will also prevent a variety of other pests. Precautions to help keep bees and wasps out of your property may include: 

  • Treating exterior wood with a proper repellent to keep nests from being built
  • Eliminating sources of stagnant water, which will keep them from multiplying
  • Covering food sources, especially pet food and any sweet-smelling trash
  • Hire a professional exterminator: If you find a nest on your property, call a professional to have it removed safely.

If you do all of that and still wind up with a nest full of sharp-ended invaders, that’s okay. All it means is that it’s time to hire a professional wasp and bee exterminator. And if you’re a household in the Knoxville area, the best bee and wasp nest removal is done through Russell’s Pest Control.

Treating Bee and Wasp Stings

Sometimes things don’t go your way, and you or someone else ends up with a nasty wasp or bee sting. So how do you treat a stinging insect wound? The answer depends on the attacker in question.

If you need to treat a bee sting, it’s important to remove the entire stinger as soon as possible. This can be done as easily as with a pair of tweezers. Afterward, you should wash the area with soap and water before covering it with a warm compress. From that point on you may experience itching and mild swelling, both of which can be relieved by mild painkillers and hydrocortisone cream.

But what do you do if you get stung by a wasp? Wasps don’t leave behind a stinger, which is why they’re able to sting as much as they’re able. Aside from that, you can treat a wasp sting in the same way you do a bee, by washing the area with soap and water and applying an ice pack to sooth pain and swelling.

With bees and wasps, stings should normally result in mild pain and irritation for a short duration of time. If you or someone you know experiences symptoms that are particularly severe, you shouldn’t hesitate to seek immediate medical attention.

Wasp and Bee Control for Knoxville Homes

Bee and wasp stings are not to be brushed off as inconsequential. Even if you’ve never had an allergic reaction to a sting before, there is an underlying chance of an adverse reaction. If you need help telling apart bees and wasps in Knoxville, talk to your local pest control company. The experts at Russell’s Pest Control will be able to assess your situation to determine the species of insect, the location of their nest, and the safest and most efficient removal strategies.

What’s the Secret to DIY Mosquito Control in Tennessee?

a burning citronella candle with many dead mosquitoes

Tired of itchy bites and mosquito-riddled evenings? If you live in Knoxville TN, you’re no stranger to bloodsucking mosquitoes, and you may be wondering if there are any DIY methods to stop them. The truth is that while DIY mosquito control methods can provide some temporary relief, the rapid life cycle of the mosquito means that it will likely be an ongoing effort. Even if you are successful in eradicating swathes of the adult mosquito populations, many more are constantly emerging. 

The key to mosquito prevention is to be strategic and make the most of the work you do. That’s why, in this blog, we’ve decided to use our years of expertise to offer up some tips on how to get the best results from your DIY mosquito control. From practical steps to prevention strategies, our goal is to help you enjoy a mosquito-free spring and summer.

When Is the Best Time for Mosquito Control in Tennessee?

In warm climates like ours, mosquitoes can be a problem for much of the year. That said, these pests are definitely at their worst in the heat of summer. That’s why the best time for preventative mosquito control is in the springtime – before they get bad.

Ideally, you should keep standing water off your property if at all possible. Removing standing water is one of the most important parts of home mosquito control. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, where they develop as larvae and pupae in water. The mosquitoes don’t emerge from water until they’re adults ready to fly and breed. Standing water can mean a puddle, a pool, a bird bath – any object that fills with even a small amount of water is a potential mosquito breeding ground.

You might also consider scheduling a preventative mosquito control service with a professional pest control company during this time. Calling in April to make an appointment for preventative mosquito control can make your property much more enjoyable in the summer.

Which DIY Mosquito Control Strategies Actually Work?

If a mosquito infestation is bad enough, there’s a chance that none of these will work. However, for mild to moderate mosquito infestations, you may have varying levels of success with any of these methods:

  • Heavy duty fans: You may be surprised to learn that mosquitoes are not good at flying, but it’s true. They naturally avoid areas with high winds. Many homeowners replicate this in their backyard with powerful outdoor fans.
  • Mosquito repellent topical sprays: Although they won’t solve your mosquito problem, they can greatly improve your time outside by helping you avoid bites. Just be sure to get one with DEET or picaridin as the active ingredient. These are the most effective.
  • Store bought mosquito insecticides: Be extremely careful when using any kind of insecticide and only use it exactly as directed on the product packaging for safety and effectiveness. Insecticides can be very dangerous to humans and pets if exposed to in large quantities. If you’ve reached the point where you’re considering store bought insecticides, it may be a better use of your valuable time and money to call a professional mosquito exterminator like Watson Pest Management.
  • Fish: If you have a pond, fountain, or other body of water on your property, it’s not like removing the water is an option. At the same time, mosquitoes will lay their eggs in it. Many homeowners have gotten creative with the solution – acquiring koi fish to reside in their water feature. Why? It’s simple: koi fish are a natural predator of mosquito larvae and devour them in huge quantities.

DIY mosquito control works best when you have as much knowledge of mosquito habitats and behaviors as possible. For more on that, check out our Mosquito Learning Center.

Should You Worry About Mosquito Borne Disease in Tennessee?

Around the world, mosquito-borne disease is a major problem. It’s one of the leading causes of death of people in tropical regions and makes life difficult for millions more chronic sufferers.

Here in the Knoxville area, we are fortunate enough that mosquito-borne disease is very rare. Still, people in Tennessee should be aware of the mosquito situation around them, as it’s still possible to suffer health consequences from a bite. West Nile is one mosquito-borne disease that’s been found in Tennessee. Additionally, data suggests that it may be possible to find Zika mosquitoes in areas around Nashville

Why Do It Yourself When You Can Leave It to the Mosquito Pros?

If you’re looking for your next DIY project and mosquito control is something you’re considering, take it from us: save your energy for something more rewarding. Sure, it’s possible you may save a few bucks with DIY mosquito control, but you may also end up spending over a longer period of time. And, compared to professional mosquito control, you’re likely to get inferior results. 

Russell’s Pest Control does this professionally, and we have the best tools and expertise at our disposal. We’ve worked with amazing homeowners across the Knoxville area and would be proud to work with you next.

Clean Sweep for a Pest-Free Home

the back of a woman wearing dishwashing gloves and holding cleaning supplies

Spring is almost here, and it’s easy to look forward to getting out in the warmer weather. But as you step out from hibernation, so do the pests in the Knoxville area. Now is the time to look around your home and yard for ways you could insure being as pest-free as possible. Typical springtime pests that would be unwelcome guests and rodents, roaches, termites and mosquitoes

The following is a list of things to do – not only for spring cleaning – but on an ongoing basis throughout the year. 

Clean and Inspect Kitchen

Anywhere there is food or water you are likely to attract various pests. They could hibernate in colder seasons under your sink or in your cabinets. 

Some preventative inspections that can be done include:

  • Always store food in tightly sealed containers or refrigerators. Keep kitchen counters and floors clean of food debris. Ants and roaches are attracted to food sources.
  • Seal holes under or around cabinets, and walls that lead to outside to prevent rodents from gaining access.
  • Check pipes for leaks. Moisture is also an attractant to termites, ants as well as roaches.

Clean Pantry

In addition to the above-mentioned pests you want to check your pantry for these unwelcome pests in particular: Rice Weevils, Cigarette Beetle, Confused Flour Beetles, Indian Meal Moth, and Sawtooth Grain Beetle. While these pests don’t pose a health hazard to humans, they are destructive to food items. If you find evidence of infestations in your dry goods it is recommended that these items be thrown out. Consider transferring dry goods to airtight, sealed containers of plastic, metal or glass. This can help keep pests at bay.

Dry goods can harbor insects from the grocery store, so always check packages for tears or holes before bringing them home.

Declutter Closets

Warmer weather means it’s time to swap out your winter clothes for lighter springtime wear. This is a great time to declutter. An overstuffed closet can be home to pests like spiders looking for a new home. Once decluttering you can get in there and vacuum all the dark corners and get rid of any hiding pests.

Trim Shrubs and Cut Back Trees

Trim back trees and bushes, as they could be used as bridges to gain access to your house. Keep your lawn mowed and weeds down. Don’t let piles of yard trimmings or brush accumulate as this becomes a perfect place for pests to hide.

Declutter and Clean Attic

Mice are prone to take up residence in your attic, as they are looking for a nice warm, dry place to nest. The best way to prevent this is to seal any holes leading to outside, remember mice can enter through a hole the size of a dime.

Declutter by donating things you don’t use and storing items in tightly sealed plastic bins rather than cardboard boxes. This not only helps eliminate clutter but will keep your stored items pet free.

Examine Your Homes Exterior

Check for cracks or holes in your foundation or siding. How about your windows? Any opening leading into your home is an invitation for pests to enter. 

Ants are spring and summertime pests who typically invade your home through tiny cracks or holes around your doors or windows.

Sealing up any cracks or holes can’t be said enough.

Eliminating anything that could attract insects or pests to your home is the most proactive thing you can do to prevent infestations. 

Dark cluttered places are very attractive hiding places for spiders, ants, cockroaches and rodents. Minimizing any clutter discourages pests from taking up residence by taking away their hideouts.

Remove anything collecting standing water. Buckets, pots and tires become breeding grounds for mosquitos.

Trash Cans

Make sure your trash can lids are tight fitting, especially if you live in a rural area or have populations of raccoons. Consider using trash bags, as this adds an extra layer of pest prevention and control. 

Remove Firewood Away from Your Home

Stacks of firewood can attract many insects, including termites. It acts as both shelter and a food supply. To keep pulp-eating pests out of your home’s woodwork, move your firewood at least 20-30 feet away from the exterior of your property. Elevate your stacks off the ground as this makes it harder for termites and other wood-eating pests to access wood that will be brought inside.

Springtime Pest Control in Knoxville

If you take all the precautions listed above and still wind up with a pest infestation, don’t worry! The team at Russell’s Pest Control is specialized in treating all the major springtime pests, and we’ve been treating homes and businesses in the Knoxville area since [founded]. So you can still work smarter in keeping all the major insects away from your property. But when the bugs start bugging you, you can trust our experts to eradicate infestations of any size and scope. Want to know more? Contact us today for more information and a free quote!

How Dangerous is the Kissing Bug?

A kissing bug perches on a flower without petals.

Kissing bugs may sound cute, but you’re not going to be affectionate toward these creepy critters. The reason for their nickname is that these minuscule pests are infamous for biting people in the middle of the night, usually near the mouth. Waking up covered in bites on your face is unpleasant enough but can kissing bugs actually be deadly? The pros at Russell’s Pest Control share the answer as well as advice on how to keep kissing bugs, and other insects, out of your home.

What’s a Kissing Bug?

Triatomine bugs, sometimes known as “kissing bugs,” are parasitic insects that feed on blood. They’re oval-shaped, dark in color, and normally reach lengths of between 1/2 and 1 inch. Although youngsters lack wings, adults have them and can fly. Their long, noticeable beak, which they employ for feeding, is their most distinguishing characteristic.

Kissing bugs are nocturnal so they typically hide close to animals or people who are sleeping. They tend to hide in small cracks or crevices. Although females may leave eggs behind, adults are mostly solitary and do not reside in large groups.

How Dangerous Are Kissing Bugs?

Kissing bugs are harmful, just like any other insect that feeds on blood. Although their bites are not extremely painful, they have the potential to spread infections. Chagas disease, which may have chronic consequences lasting a decade or more after the initial transmission, is the illness these insects are best known for spreading.

Chagas Disease: What’s That?

Typanosoma cruzi, a parasite that kissing bugs carry in their digestive systems after feeding on an infected organism, is the cause of Chagas disease. The parasite enters the bite wound through the feces that the kissing bug generally leaves behind after feeding; it does not spread while the insect is actively feeding. Chagas disease may be fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Early symptoms of the illness include:

  • Swelling around the bite
  • Fever and exhaustion
  • Body pains
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite or nausea
  • Swollen glands

Get medical help right away if you think you might have Chagas disease, or another sickness. If you think your pet has been bitten, call your veterinarian right away because other animals might also be afflicted with this illness.

How to Avoid the Kissing Bug

The last thing you want to see looking in the mirror in the morning is bite marks on your face from one of these bugs. The best way to avoid being bitten is to keep them out of your home. Here are some methods for keeping kissing bugs away:

  • Seal any gaps around your foundation, windows, and doors.
  • Repair or replace any old screens or weatherstripping around windows.
  • Clear the area around your property of rubbish and keep your landscape tidy.
  • Put your yard lights further away from your home’s foundation.
  • Let your pets sleep indoors at night.
  • Check sleeping areas frequently for bugs.

What To Do If You Find A Kissing Bug

Seeing a pest in your house is never fun, especially one as ominous as a kissing bug. The CDC advises against coming into contact with the kissing bug, despite the fact that your first inclination might be to squish it immediately.

Instead of smashing it, place a transparent container on top of it and trap it. After that, call an exterminator. They’ll be able to verify the species of bug and check your home for evidence of other pests. 

Knoxville Pest Control Experts

Whether you’re worried that you have a kissing bug in your home or other pests, Russell’s Pest Control is here for you. We’ve been providing quality service at a fair price since 1971. Contact us today for your free inspection!

Why Does a Pest Control Company Install Insulation?

three dead roaches on a floor

If you’ve been looking into pest control techniques in and around Knoxville TN, you may have heard of TAP Pest Control Insulation. It’s a specialized service offered by a select group of exterminators across the country. What is TAP insulation, you might wonder? And why would a pest control company install insulation? Whatever questions you may have about the product or the process, we can answer them!

TAP® Insulation: What is It Used For?

TAP, or T·A·P as it’s sometimes spelled, stands for Thermal, Acoustical, Pest Control Insulation. Unlike sheets of fiberglass batting or foam insulation, TAP is made up of loose cellulose that is blown into your attic or the voids in your walls. It settles, and once it does it can kill a variety of pests while also functioning as an excellent insulation.

How Does TAP Insulation Work?

Unlike other forms of insulation, TAP is specially treated with a borate solution that, to humans, is about as toxic as table salt. But as insects come into contact with it, the material sticks to their bodies and is then ingested when they groom themselves. Since they are unable to pass the substance, it gathers in their guts and eventually causes them to die of dehydration or malnutrition.

Which Bugs Will TAP Insulation Kill?

You can see the complete list of pests that TAP insulation is effective against on the product’s EPA label. TAP is effective on smaller insects like ants and termites, as well as bigger pests like beetles, roaches, and slugs. TAP is not effective on rats, mice or squirrels, but at the same time, our insulation does not act as a food source the way that some others may.

Is TAP Eco-Friendly?

Yes! Cellulose is already considered one of the greenest building products in the world, and the cellulose TAP is made from is over 80% recycled materials. If that wasn’t enough, TAP is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, which has devoted entire studies to knowing exactly how this product can control bugs and protect your home in a way that is sustainable as well as effective.

How Long Lasting is TAP Insulation?

Since insects cannot build up a tolerance to the borate inside the cellulose, TAP insulation has the benefit of maintaining its pest-killing properties for decades at a time. Unless the material is damaged by moisture or rodents, it can insulate and kill pests for decades, up to 100 years in ideal conditions!

Will I Need to Replace My Existing Insulation?

If your existing insulation is damaged by rodents or excess moisture, you may want to consider getting it removed before installing a new material. If that isn’t the case, since TAP is loose fill, it can be easily blown in over any existing insulation.

Is TAP a Good Insulation?

This is the bottom line, right? It’s nice in theory to have insulation that can combat pests, but the pest-killing properties don’t matter if that same material can’t regulate temperature or block out sound. Luckily, TAP Insulation does more than kill a majority of common insect pests that it comes into contact with it. Since cellulose is thicker than other forms of traditional insulation, it slows the flow of air through it. That means that it keeps your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Your HVAC equipment will be able to use less energy, have less wear and tear, and ultimately save you money on your heating and cooling bills. If that wasn’t enough, TAP is also highly effective at noise insulation – reducing the sounds from outside a home that may otherwise enter through the attic.

All in all, TAP Insulation is an extra layer of protection for any home in the Knoxville TN area. And Russell’s Pest Control can help install TAP in your home today to keep it more comfortable and pest-free. Want to know more? Visit our TAP Insulation page!

Insulation and Pest Control in One

A close up of cellulose insulation fibers

As winter approaches in the Knoxville TN area, the pests in your neighborhood start looking for shelter, warmth, and a reliable source of food. All of these things are present in the typical home. As a result, there is an increase in pest infestations in homes late in the year as pests try to get inside. Russell’s Pest Control has been providing reliable pest control since 1971. If you have a pest infestation, we can get rid of it. But what if we told you there was a step you could take to prevent an infestation from starting in the first place? There is. It’s called TAP® Pest Control Insulation. It’s not only effective against the majority of common insect pests, but it is also high-quality insulation that makes your home more energy efficient. 

What’s TAP® Insulation?

Thermal Acoustical Pest Control insulation is referred to as TAP®. It is made from cellulose, a common insulation material that is blown into attics or wall cavities and can be applied on top of existing insulation. Each piece of cellulose in TAP® Insulation has been treated with borate salts, which is what makes it unique. Although the borate is not concentrated enough to harm humans, it is lethal to insects when they consume it. This material is effective for getting rid of a variety of pests, including:

  • Ants
  • Cockroaches
  • Beetles
  • Snails
  • Silverfish and more
  • Termites

TAP® Insulation Benefits

TAP® Insulation doesn’t lose effectiveness over time. It continues to be an effective and reliable pesticide as long as the material is undamaged. In fact, it’s estimated that under ideal conditions, it can continue to work for up to 100 years!

TAP® not only works well as a pesticide but it’s also excellent insulation. The air that travels through it moves more slowly, keeping areas like your attic warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. This increases the efficiency of your home and lessens the load on your HVAC system. This explains why our insulation has earned the Energy Star label and how it can help you save up to 30% on your yearly energy costs. TAP® Insulation can help your house become pest-free, more energy-efficient, and quieter. Installed at a level of R-60, it will almost totally block out outdoor noise. 

For TAP® Insulation, Call Russell’s

At Russell’s Pest Control, we want to help our neighbors in the Knoxville TN area live as pest-free as possible. Whether you need inspections, insulation, or pest control treatment, we can help. If your home is drafty or prone to pests, you should consider TAP® Pest Control Insulation. Contact us to learn more and to schedule your free consultation!

Rats and Mice: Insulation Contamination!

Rat covering eyes with paws

How do you identify a rat infestation in and around Knoxville TN? It isn’t too hard if you know what signs to look out for. If you’ve found small droppings in the back of the cabinets or larger ones in the corners of your attic, these are both signs of rodents on your property. The same applies if you hear scratching or chittering in your walls or find chew marks on your stored belongings. If you have a mouse or rat infestation in your home, you can count on Russell’s Pest Control for a comprehensive extermination for your household. However, if the rodents get inside your insulation there’s a chance that they can cause damage we are not able to handle.

What attracts rats and mice to insulation, and what can you do to keep the two from meeting? Can Russell’s Pest Control help? Find out more below!

Do Rodents Like Insulation?

Why do rodents leave the Great outdoors in favor of your household? They do so by looking for a source of food and shelter. Ideally, this is in a place that is comfortable while also being relatively undisturbed, giving them the opportunity to nest, feed and reproduce in peace. Your wall voids and the space in your attic make great homes – and the insulation there is an added bonus.

Fiberglass batting is the most common choice of insulation for homes around Knoxville. Unfortunately, it’s also the variety most appealing to rat and mouse infestations. The material is soft and warm, and it’s very easy for rodents to tunnel through it while they go from place to place. They’ll even tear off pieces of fiberglass to either eat or use in their nest.

Once rodents use your insulation to nest, there’s little hope of repair. The material is not only structurally damaged, thanks to the presence of rat or mouse droppings it’s now potentially toxic. To avoid spreading Hantavirus into the air, it’s best to leave replacing your insulation to a professional.

Protecting Your Insulation from Rodents

Bad news: there is no variety of insulation that’s completely rodent-proof. We offer TAP® Insulation, which is chemically treated to kill and deter many varieties of pests. However, it’s only meant to treat insects as large as cockroaches or slugs, so even a smaller mouse would likely not be affected. No, when it comes to protecting your insulation from rats and mice, the best thing you can do is make sure they don’t get in to begin with.

It’s called wildlife exclusion, and at Russell’s Pest Control it is only one aspect of our comprehensive rodent treatment program. There’s a chance that, as you read this, there are gaps, cracks and openings rodents could use to get inside your home. With our help, we can cover and fill these potential entry points. This will not only protect you from rodents but many other forms of pests as well.

Your insulation works hard to keep you comfortable throughout the year. Returning the favor is easy with the help of Russell’s Pest Control. Contact us today to get started!

What to Know About the Giant Atlas Moth

An atlas moth on a gray background

Living in the United States, what do you think when you see a moth outside your home? Maybe you admire its subtle coloring, or maybe you scowl and hope it doesn’t follow you back inside. Or it could be that don’t think anything at all. But imagine you step outside in the morning to find a massive, winged insect quietly perched on the side of your garage. The bug is wider than the palm of your hand and looks like nothing you’ve seen before. That’s exactly what happened to one man in Bellevue WA, and he quickly took a picture to send to his local entomologist. And as he did, he may have asked himself – what is this thing? Where did it come from, and what does it mean now that it’s here?

The Atlas Moth: An Overview

This behemoth is the Atlas moth. Its wings have a distinct design of orange and black, with wingtips made to mimic the head of a cobra. The caterpillars can grow up to an inch thick, and when it pupates the females can be up to twelve inches long! That doesn’t make it the largest of the giant moths, but with a wing surface area of 62 square inches, it’s certainly near the top of the list.

As caterpillars, they can grow up to four and a half inches in length before pupating. Once they reach adulthood, they don’t move much during the day, focused solely on mating in the few weeks they have to live. They don’t eat, aren’t poisonous and have no bite or stinger, but the designs on their wingtips allow them to mimic a cobra to scare away predators.

Atlas moths are native to the tropic and subtropic rainforests of South Asia. And yet, as of July 7th of this year, this polyphemus moth has shown up in the Pacific Northwest. How?

The Atlas Moth in the Pacific Northwest

How does a foot-long tropical moth find its way to the chilly treetops and mountains of Washington? The answer is still up for debate. There’s evidence of a nearby eBay retailer selling Atlas moth cocoons from Thailand for $60 a piece. The shop has since been closed down – as it should since Atlas moths are considered a federally quarantined pest in the United States. That means that it’s illegal to keep or sell them without a proper permit. This is more than needless bureaucratic red tape – it’s a very important guideline meant to keep from introducing a non-native invasive species into the country.

The grown Atlas moth found in Bellevue won’t do much damage. In fact, there’s a very real possibility that this specimen could be a one-off escapee and will eventually die off after a few weeks. If there is a growing population in the area, however, then that’s where things become a problem. It’s in its larval stage that Atlas moth has a tremendous appetite and will decimate growing fruit trees. When kept in captivity in another part of the world their diet is strictly monitored, but if left alone they can cause serious damage to crops across the area. That’s a major reason why experts are so concerned with monitoring their new presence in the United States.

What to Do If You See an Atlas Moth

At the moment the odds are low of finding an Atlas moth in Tennessee. But since our climate is closer to what this giant moth is used to, it doesn’t hurt to be on the lookout in case there is a population that attempts to migrate. It might be shocking at first to see an Atlas moth around your property, but if that time comes, all you need to do is send a picture and location to our local state plant health director. After that, you can leave it alone, as it’ll likely move somewhere else overnight.

At Russell’s Pest Control, we’re focused on pests more common to the Knoxville area, like pantry pests and bed bugs. These are the kind of pests that don’t make headlines when they infest a home – but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be treated with experience and intention. Russell’s Pest Control offers pest extermination for properties across Knoxville. To learn more, contact us today!

Knoxville’s Top Five Fall and Winter Pests

Image of a lady beetle infestation - small image size

Knoxville’s Top Five Fall and Winter Pests

Winter is coming, and just like people, insects and rodents want to avoid the cold. While some will burrow underground, and some will migrate to warmer locales, others will simply seek out the closest, warmest, and most inviting place they can find. Unfortunately, that usually means your house. You may not even notice these fall and winter pests at first. That’s because pests prefer quiet areas that are free of people. Think in your attic, or inside your walls. Creepy, huh?

So, which pests should you be on the lookout for here in the Knoxville area?an infestation of asian lady beetles inside a home

1. Asian lady beetles

Asian lady beetles resemble ladybugs, but they’re a bit larger. Their coloration ranges from red to orange, and not all of them have spots. The problem with these little ladybug lookalikes is that they use pheromones to communicate their location. So if one Asian lady beetle comes into your house, within a few days it can turn into a large infestation. While they won’t eat your home or sting you, their waste is unsightly and triggers breathing difficulties in sensitive individuals.

2. Rodents

If you hear scurrying on the roof, it could be a squirrel, or it could be roof rats and mice. They get on your roof via nearby branches, fences, you may even see them climb a drainpipe! From there, it’s easy to get into your attic and make a warm nest. If you hear scratching or gnawing noises, you may have rodents inside your attic or walls. And that’s a problem that can quickly multiply if you don’t get it taken care of by an experienced rodent exterminator.

3. Stink bugs

While there are several stink bug species, the brown marmorated stink bug is the one you’re most likely to see in your home. An invasive species that’s rapidly spread across most of the U.S., they’re shield-shaped, with mottled brown and grey coloring, and range in size from 1/4″ to 3/8″. Stink bugs lurk in quiet parts of a home where they’re unlikely to be disturbed, and as their name implies, when they feel threatened or get squashed, they emit an awful smell. Stink bugs are attracted to lighter color homes, which is why you may see them, but your neighbor doesn’t. 

4. Termites

Termites want to enjoy your house as a meal any time of year, so what’s different about fall and winter? Subterranean termites, the most destructive species, burrow underground in the winter and build up their nests. When spring comes around, they emerge and cause immense structural damage. They ravenously consume not just the wood in your home, but any material that contains cellulose. Termite signs can include blisters on painted walls, hollow-sounding, weak, and flaky wood, mud tunnels in your crawl space, chewing sounds, and those telltale pinholes in wood. If you suspect you might have termites, hire a termite expert right away. Termites cause an estimated $30 billion in property damages every year, making them by far the most destructive pest in America.

5. Wasps

Wasp colonies don’t survive the winter. But fertilized queens do. They usually survive in hollow logs, stumps or under leaves, but they can also be found in attics or the siding of homes. Typically, they enter through unscreened attic vents, so it’s best to ensure that your attic is as sealed as possible. If a wasp queen does winter in your home, she may decide to start her new colony on your porch, or worse, inside. Get a preventative wasp checkup this winter to ensure no nasty stinging surprises next spring.

Let Us Solve Your Fall/Winter Indoor Pest Problem

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that pest control is for the spring and summer only. Here in Tennessee, preventative pest control during the fall and winter is a smart strategy so you won’t be caught off guard when warm weather returns. Russell’s Pest Control has been serving the greater Knoxville area since 1971 and we pride ourselves on doing the job right.

Call us today for a free quote!