Rodents And New Construction

A norway rat in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest ControlHere in Knoxville TN, we’ve helped clear rodents out of dozens of homes and businesses every winter. While we commonly think of older homes as having more vulnerabilities that could lead to rodent problems, brand-new construction provides rats and mice with all kinds of opportunities to find shelter for the winter. If you’re going through the process of building a new home or office and are experiencing or worried about rodent problems, read on. Our rodent exterminators at Russell’s Pest Control are here to teach you the best ways to secure your property from rodent problems.

Rodent Infestations in New Construction

The arrival of the winter season means that the mice and rats in this area are on the hunt for indoor nesting sites to keep them warm until the cold passes. Mice can invade any building that has a hole the size of a pencil or larger. Their bone structure can flex and bend to allow them to fit into impossibly small spaces. Rats may require slightly larger openings, but they’ll still squeeze through unbelievably tight spots. Because of this, all homeowners should make sure that their foundation vents are in good order and that weather-stripping is in place around all doors and windows.

However, some property owners are at greater risk than others. For instance, mice and rats always put more pressure on homeowners in areas near new constructions. Even if one of your neighbors is undergoing construction, the rodents nesting underground near the build site, finding their hiding spots revealed, will have to scramble to new homes. They might find yours suitable!

How to Keep Rodents and Mice Out

So, what can you do to prevent rodents from acting on new construction to find warm shelters? These are a few steps that we recommend you take: 

  1. Seal all gaps that give access to your building: This is easier when it’s not your home that’s undergoing construction. Inspect the outside of your property to seal any cracks in your walls, foundation, plumbing fixtures, or otherwise with either a silicone-based caulk or steel wool as you see fit. If your home is undergoing construction, make sure that any temporary tarping isn’t leaving small gaps that could allow rodents in.
  2. Be safe about food: Make sure your bins are sealable, your food is sealed and stowed away, and your trash cans are far away from your home. Rodents will pick up on the scent of food and establish nests nearby a food source, which can easily be obtained through your waste.
  3. Tidy up your yard: Having overgrown plants can allow for temporary rodent hiding places outside your home before they sneak into your house.

Professional Rodent Exterminators in Knoxville TN

If you can’t find the source of your rodent infestation and they are causing problems for you, it’s time to get your local rat or mice exterminators involved. At Russell’s Pest Control, we take a multi-faceted approach to rodent control, involving complete inspections to find infestation sources, exhaustive and safe rodent removal with professional technology, and preventative maintenance to ensure it never happens again. For a free quote, contact us today!

Install Chimney Caps to Keep Birds Away

Birds on a chimney in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

There is a fine line between having a pleasant amount of birds around your home and having a bird problem. If you don’t monitor the number of birds living around your house, you can quickly expose yourself to a list of problems. Bird issues can range from nuisances like noise to serious health risks caused by chimney blockage and droppings. They can also cause property damage in a few different ways. If you’re looking for the best ways to keep birds out of your chimney and yard in Knoxville TN, read on for advice from the experts at Russell’s Pest Control!

How Birds Create Problems around Your Home

Birds can cause problems for Knoxville homeowners in a few different ways. If you have been noticing an increase in bird activity around your home, watch out for the following:

  • Droppings: Bird droppings can possibly contain a certain fungus that, when its spores are breathed in, causes histoplasmosis in humans. This disease can escalate to dangerous levels and cause symptoms like fever, aches, chills, and more.
  • Gutter blockage: Birds often find our gutter to be a convenient nesting location, but their nests can cause improper drainage, leaving our homes with water damage and waterlogging our gardens.
  • Chimney blockage: When birds nest inside your chimney, they can cause fumes from your fireplace to stay trapped inside. This can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning and other health risks.

Preventing Birds in Chimney Stacks

When birds create their nests in your yard, they often look to your chimney to find warmth and shelter. As we’ve explained, this can cause property damage and health concerns for your home and your family. To keep birds out of your chimney, we recommend installing a chimney cap. A chimney cap covers your chimney with a grate-like cover, allowing fumes from your fireplace to exit safely while keeping debris, droppings, and bird nests out. This structure will discourage birds from nesting nearby and save your home from potential problems.

Bird Control with Russell’s Pest Control

In some cases, birds are too stubborn to be deterred by a chimney cap. If you’ve installed one and are still dealing with birds around your chimney, it’s best to get your local pest control company involved. The bird removal team at Russell’s Pest Control has years of experience handling all of the local birds in Knoxville TN and can develop a plan for your home that gets rid of birds both humanely and effectively. For a free quote or to learn more about our bird control services, reach out to us today!

What Is Attracting Cockroaches To My Home?

A brown-banded cockroach in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

Having cockroaches in your home can be an unendingly frustrating experience. What’s even more frustrating is not being able to tell where they’re coming from. To top it all off, if you let them hang around for too long, you put yourself and your family at the risk of exposure to many different diseases—salmonella, typhoid fever, and dysentery are just a few. To avoid being subjected to the burden of an infestation and the possibility of common cockroach diseases, you have to understand more about the pests and what you can do to prevent them in Knoxville TN. Learn all about cockroach prevention with Russell’s Pest Control below!

Why Do I Have Cockroaches?

Cockroaches are not picky creatures—they are only looking for a bit of food, a source of water, and a place to hide. You can keep your home squeaky clean for the most part, but cockroaches can find and pick on certain weaknesses, eventually deciding to move in. Here are a few causes that could be contributing to your cockroach infestation:

  • Dirty dishes, counters, and floors that may have accumulated food crumbs and residue.
  • Areas with high levels of moisture such as bathrooms and kitchens. 
  • Uncovered garbage cans and recycling bins.
  • Excess yard waste or overflowing compost bins. 
  • Dark, cluttered areas that provide shelter for the cockroaches’ growing family.

How to Get Rid of Cockroach Infestations

Cockroach infestations can be quite difficult to deal with once they’ve already established a breeding population on your property. The best way to avoid dealing with this is taking preventative measures before an outbreak starts. Here are some ways you can prevent roaches on your property:

  1. Wash and dry your dishes thoroughly after meals. Clean counters and sweep floors often to prevent food debris from piling up.
  2. Reduce moisture in your home by running a dehumidifier in problem spaces. Also, check around your plumbing fixtures and gutters often for cracks and moisture buildup.
  3. Keep all garbage bins and recycling cans sealed shut and properly emptied. Compost piles should be turned over often or kept in their own separate bins.
  4. Organize and declutter your home. The fewer places cockroaches have to hide, the less interested they’ll be in staying.

Not all cockroaches will be deterred by these preventative efforts, though. It takes a trained and experienced eye to discover the source of some cockroach infestations.

Get Rid of Roaches with Professional Help

Are you struggling to find the source of your cockroaches and wondering how to get rid of them quickly? Reach out to your local pest control company for help. The cockroach exterminators at Russell’s Pest Control have years of experience upending the roots of roach outbreaks, safely removing roaches in homes and businesses, and helping our customers prevent future infestations with advice and preventative maintenance. For a free quote or to learn more about how our team can keep you roach-free, contact us today!

Do Mosquitoes Bite During the Winter?

Mosquitoes in the winter in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

Here in Knoxville, we deal with all types of pests year-round. While we all know to expect mosquitoes in the summer and even fall, it may startle some to encounter these biting pests in the winter. More often than not, mosquitoes die off and disappear in the winter when temperatures dip below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. But when warm temperatures linger well into the winter here in Knoxville, these pests can definitely outstay their welcome. Whether you’ve encountered mosquitoes when putting up your Christmas lights or out shopping for the holidays, you may be worried about bites this time of year.

At Russell’s Pest Control, we know how frustrating mosquitoes can be in our region year-round. Read on to learn more about winter mosquito activity, and whether you should be worried about bites during the winter.

Winter Mosquito Activity

During the spring or summertime, mosquitoes are expected whenever you venture outdoors. This is due to the fact that mosquitoes prefer temperatures in the 80s or more. Needless to say, it can be rather startling to come across these pests in the wintertime. Most male mosquitoes will die off when, as mentioned previously, temperatures begin to dip. Even when it begins to get colder, however, female mosquitoes can go into a state similar to hibernation called diapause.

So why are we still seeing and dealing with mosquitoes this time of year? Typically, it’s because we are experiencing warm weather well into the winter months. This enables mosquitoes to bite you, even during the winter months when you have your guard down.

Preventing Mosquitoes Year-Round in Knoxville

Despite the fact that you might see one or two mosquitoes this time of year, they are mostly inactive. This makes it the best time to start preparing for next year’s mosquito season. Some of the best mosquito prevention tactics you can do yourself in the next couple of months include the following.

  1. Look for hiding mosquitoes. Female mosquitoes may look to wait out the winter in your backyard if she lays her eggs nearby. Make sure to inspect your yard and get rid of debris, old tires, or tree trunks that could harbor these insects.
  2. Get rid of standing water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, even before wintertime. Remove, overturn, or cover any tires, buckets, birdbaths, flowerpots, and other things that contain standing water.
  3. Take proper care of your yard. Keep your grass mowed and take proper care of your yard to avoid mosquitoes harboring in dense brush.
  4. Try out natural mosquito repellents. While not always effective, planting rosemary, mint, and lavender in your garden could make for a natural mosquito repellent.
  5. Team up with your local mosquito exterminators. Your best chance of not dealing with mosquitoes year-round is by teaming up with an expert. Professional-grade repellents can help keep mosquitoes away for good!

Seasonal Mosquito Control

No matter what time of the year, the experts at Russell’s Pest Control are ready to help you stay safe from the threat of mosquitoes. We will work with you to implement the best mosquito treatments, no matter what time of year. Contact us today to get started!

Why Am I Suddenly Seeing A Lot Of Spiders In My Home?

Spider in Knoxville TN home - Russell's Pest Control

Spiders are one of the most feared creatures of all time. The good news is that most of the spiders you see in your home are relatively harmless. In fact, some of them are actually helpful in helping reduce the populations of other insects and bugs in your property. Nonetheless, very few people are thrilled about dealing with an excessive amount of spiders in their home or business.

If you start to see more and more spiders or webs inside your property, there are likely a few things to blame.

There are two attractants that typically draw spiders:

1. Shelter

When it gets cold, insects look for a warm place. This brings them inside man-made structures—including your home Spiders don’t have as much of a problem with cold because they have a built-in antifreeze that makes them resistant to freezing. But they go where the food is. So, if their food sources move indoors, you can be sure they’re to follow.

2. Food

The number one reason why spiders come into our homes is in the search for food. If you have food sources that insects can get into, they will thrive inside your home. And, when insects thrive, spiders will thrive too. If you want to control spider populations in your home, it’s crucial to prevent pests in general.

Some bugs don’t come into our homes because of cold or in search of food. Some bugs are carried in. If you don’t examine your packaged food when you purchase items at the store, you may have brought pantry pests into your home, and spiders feed on pantry pests.

If you brought fruit into your home and put it on the kitchen table for display, you may be seeing fruit flies or fungus flies zipping around. Flies are a dietary staple for spiders, who will show up in hoards to feed on other insect populations inside your property.

What to Do When You Have a Spider Infestation

The best way to control spiders is to control the bugs that spiders feed on. And the best way to control bugs is with ongoing pest service from a professional. At Russell’s Pest Control, we know how distressing a spider problem can be. Our spider exterminators can help you zero in on the pest service that will work best to keep spiders and other pests out of your home. Contact us today to get started!

Fall & Winter Pests to Prevent in Knoxville

House mouse in Knoxville TN home - Russell's Pest Control

Here in Knoxville, we are used to dealing with hoards of pest problems year-round—including in the wintertime. Although some pest problems only persist through the summer, there are certain bugs and pests that stick around throughout the colder months as well. Namely, rodents! In partnership with PestWorld, the NPMA recently released their 2021 Fall & Winter Bug Barometer® predicting a significant increase in rodent activity this time of year. Rodent infestations have been on the rise in the past year or two, and this winter is no exception.

At Russell’s Pest Control, we understand the importance of keeping you and your family safe from pest problems, especially of the rodent variety. Our experts are here to share everything you need to know about preventing the increased risk of rodent infestations this year—read on to learn more!

Fall & Winter Pest Infestations in Tennessee

While many types of pests go away in the fall and winter, there are a few that stick around. With above-normal rainfall predicted, mosquitoes have lingered well into the fall months here in Knoxville. Moving into the winter, the most pressing pest pressures we face this time of year are those pests that look to get inside our homes to escape dropping temperatures outdoors.

In November, you may still be seeing some infamous fall pests inside your home. These include ants, stink bugs, Asian lady beetles, and boxelder bugs, all of which look to overwinter until springtime right in the comfort of your property. The most concerning winter pest problem our region faces this year, however, is a rodent infestation.

2021 Bug Barometer by the NPMA

Where Rats & Mice Nest In Your Home

Rodents can squeeze through some truly tiny cracks and crevices to make their way into your home. Once indoors, they can wreak havoc. Rats and mice use all types of materials to build nests, chew on everything nonstop (electrical wires included), and can create a health hazard with their droppings. It’s important to keep an eye out on the following areas of your property for rodent nests:

  1. Mice: House & deer mice alike will seek out dark, undisturbed places in the home to nest. With their small size, they can nest in rooms, inside of furniture, and even behind warm appliances in your kitchen or basement.
  2. Rats: Norway rats are known to burrow beneath the very foundation of your home, and are thus found in basements, crawl spaces, and more. Roof rats, however, prefer to live in higher areas of a property, including inside of wall voids or inside attics and chimneys.

How to Prevent a Rodent Infestation This Winter

Especially with NPMA’s prediction of increased rodent activity this year, now is the time to implement rodent exclusion services to keep rats and mice outside. The rodent exterminators at Russell’s Pest Control are here to help. We will work with you to prevent rodent infestations this winter and year-round. Contact us today to get started!

Are Centipedes Dangerous?

Centipede in Knoxville TN home - Russell's Pest Control

Here at Russell’s Pest Control, one of the most common calls of concern we receive is something along the lines of, “I’m seeing a lot of centipedes in my basement. Should I be concerned?” This is certainly the time of year to see centipedes in your basement. These creatures have two things going against them when winter comes: They can’t control their body temperature, and they have a hard time regulating their body moisture. For this reason, they will sometimes enter man-made structures to protect themselves and wait out the winter.

Centipedes also lay their eggs in late spring and early summer, which means they will be adults when they come to overwinter in your home. This makes them hard to miss, but the real question is whether these legged insects are dangerous or not. The experts at Russell’s Pest Control are here to lay down the facts.

Dangers of Centipedes

  • If one centipede in your home is one centipede too many, you should be concerned. These creatures are just about as disgusting to look at as any critter you’ll find invading your home. For some people, the sight of them can instill an immediate sense of panic. If this is you, you should probably be concerned.
  • Centipedes can bite. It is quite rare, but they can do it. These pests are no more toxic to most humans than a house spider. There are some people, however, who experience severe pain when bitten. If you know yourself to be one of those people, you should be concerned.
  • If centipedes are getting into your home, you may have some rot issues and water problems that need to be addressed. These creatures like moisture and will often find a way into a home through areas where moisture has caused the wood to rot.

Are Centipedes Beneficial Insects?

House centipedes are known to kill arachnids. If you don’t like spiders, a basement full of centipedes may be a good thing. These creatures can crawl up through wall voids and reduce the spider population in your walls. But it is important to point out that this reduction is slight, and nowhere near as effective as direct pest control measures. So, if you don’t have a pest plan and you’d like fewer arachnids around, you may not need to be concerned. Overall, if bugs don’t bother you, you have nothing to worry about. These pests can crawl over your house with little or no effect on your health or well-being.

Need to Get Rid of Centipedes?

Are you concerned about a basement full of centipedes? The pest experts here at Russell’s Pest Control can give you a hand with that problem and help you assess entry points that are allowing these pests to get in. Effective pest control isn’t just a quality of life upgrade, it is essential to protecting your home’s equity and your family’s health. Contact us today to get expert advice or to schedule an inspection!

How to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs

Every fall in Knoxville, one of the most common household pests we get calls for here at Russell’s is none other than the boxelder bug. These small red and black bugs are infamous for congregating on the sides of homes this time of year. When populations are large, they may even make their way into your property through tiny cracks and crevices. And while these bugs aren’t considered terribly dangerous, they are a nuisance nonetheless—if they do get indoors, they’ll likely look to stay with you through the holiday season. To learn how to keep boxelder bugs away for good, keep reading to learn everything you need to know with the experts at Russell’s Pest Control!

What to Know About Boxelder Bugs

These insects may look scary with their bold red markings, but it’s important to educate yourself about these potential pests that are, for the most part, pretty harmless.

  1. Boxelder bugs first emerge in late March or early April when the buds on a boxelder tree start to open. The adults will spend the warmer months in the host tree, feeding on fallen seeds before moving to seed-bearing boxelder trees or maple trees to eat new leaves.
  2. Females will lay eggs on stones, grass, shrubs, or in the crevices of boxelder trees. Once hatched, the nymphs will also feed on fallen seeds and new leaves.
  3. As the season shifts into fall, boxelder bugs will gather in the dozens to seek out sunny, warm spots on greenery or houses before migrating to nearby properties to overwinter. This is why fall is when people begin to notice these bugs more often.

 

Are Boxelder Bugs Harmful?

Boxelder bugs are not particularly threatening to humans and tend to leave your cats and dogs alone. They also rarely cause damage when they’re inside homes. That said, their feces are known to stain any light-colored material, such as curtains, clothing, or rugs in your home. Like several other pests, they will emit a strong unpleasant odor if squished or crushed. But do bed bugs bite? It’s rare. If and when boxelder bugs bite people, humans may experience slight irritation and redness, but they do not transmit diseases.

Tips to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs Naturally

To get rid of these pests naturally, the key is to prevent them in the first place by making your property impenetrable. Basic boxelder bug prevention tips include:

  1. Trimming back trees and bushes to keep all vegetation away from the perimeter of the home.
  2. Cleaning and repairing the corners of fences, decorative rocks, old piles of wood, and patio furniture.
  3. Replacing torn screens on windows and doors.
  4. Checking the caulk around the molding of the windows and vents.
  5. Repairing any cracks in stucco and bricks.
  6. Sealing up cracks around roof soffits, windows, siding, and foundation.

Fall Insect Control With Russell’s Pest Control

If you’ve done all you can to keep these fall pests out and still are noticing the little red-and-black bugs around your windows or curtains, the experts at Russell’s Pest Control can help. Our exterminators work to eliminate the conditions that let these pests indoors to begin with. To get started, contact us today!

Cobwebs in the Corner: How Cellar Spiders Are Good & Bad In Homes

Cellar spider in Florida home - Florida Pest Control

Have you ever wondered how so many flimsy, dusty, infuriating spider webs seem to magically appear in your house? Much of the time, if we at Russell’s Pest Control get a panicked phone call about spiders, it’s because the homeowner has seen a large specimen (like a wolf spider) scurrying across the floor. This isn’t surprising behavior because wolf spiders (and many other spiders in Knoxville and its surrounding counties) are ambush spiders. They don’t build elaborate webs to ensnare bugs. This means that if you’re seeing a lot of webbing in the corners and windows sills, you probably don’t have a wolf spider infestation. The most likely candidate for your dusty webs is a creature called the cellar spider (also known as the cobweb spider). To learn more about these common spiders in our region, keep reading to learn more with Russell’s.

What Are Cellar Spiders?

Cellar spiders are hard to spot if you’re not paying attention. Here’s what to look for:

  1. They are often fairly pale in color and are unusually thin when compared to most spiders.
  2. They are equipped with incredibly long legs; in fact, they are sometimes mistaken for harvestmen (sometimes called “daddy longlegs”), though the two species are quite distinct.
  3. If you do happen to spot a cellar spider, you’re most likely to see it hanging upside down from its web. Should you disturb it, it may begin to shake its web violently to try to scare you away.
  4. They are physically unable to bite humans or pets because their jaws are too small; it’s impossible for them to hurt you. 

How to Get Rid of Cellar Spiders

If you do have a cellar spider or two, you may want to think twice about whether it’s worth your time to hunt them down and kill them, particularly if they’re in your garage or around the outside of your house. These spindly arachnids are excellent trappers and will rid your home of many six-legged invaders that you may not even see. In fact, the presence of a lot of cellar spiders is just an indicator that there are bugs nearby since hunters only set up housekeeping where food is plentiful. Against all odds, cellar spiders are also known to catch and consume black widows, which can make them very beneficial inhabitants in your garage. If you want to try to eliminate the cobweb makers, start by knocking down the webs every time you see them, and be persistent. 

Need Help With Cellar Spider Control

If you are at your wit’s end dealing with cellar spiders, it’s time to reach out to an expert. At Russell’s Pest Control, our spider exterminators are happy to answer any questions you may have about cellar spiders in your Knoxville home or business. Contact us today to get started!

Plumbing Problems & Pest Infestations

Cockroaches are attracted to leaks in Knoxville TN homes - Russell's Pest Control

Discovering a leak in your home can be a nightmare. Discovering pests like termites or cockroaches can be even worse! The bad news is that these two instances usually go hand in hand. Pests are very drawn to areas with a lot of excess moisture, which is why they’re frequently. So, when you have a leaky faucet or a broken pipe, you can be sure you’re inadvertently creating a haven for pest activity. For this reason, it’s important to always be on the lookout for leaky pipes or issues in your home if you want to prevent pest problems as well. The experts at Russell’s Pest Control are here to tell you everything you need to know about leaky pipes and pests in your Knoxville TN home.

Water: A Pest’s Best Friend

Water is one of the main pest attractants. While most need water just for survival, many others are drawn to the environment caused by excess moisture. The four most common pests that are known to dwell in areas with excess moisture are as follows:

  • Termites: If a broken pipe has caused water damage in the very structure of your home, you can be sure termites are to follow. Subterranean termites in particular are attracted to moist wood and soil. When there are unattended-to leaky pipes or plumbing issues, you could be leaving your home vulnerable to termites.
  • Ants: These tiny pests will appear seemingly out of nowhere when excess moisture is abundant. Leaky faucets or spilled water from a pet’s bowl can bring ants out in the hundreds. In addition to your typical house ant, water can be a main attractant to the wood-destroying carpenter ant as well.
  • Cockroaches: Roaches may be known for their resiliency, but they aren’t as strong as you’d think. Without water for a week, a roach will not survive. Cockroaches also love to linger inside of pipes and plumbing fixtures. An issue can quickly introduce roaches into other parts of the house.
  • Rodents: Rats and mice alike are always looking for a water supply. Leaky pipes or broken faucets in your crawl space or laundry room can provide a haven for rodents. The last thing you want is rodents scurrying around when you have a plumbing issue, making it important to prevent them.

How to Prevent Pests When Leaks Happen

In order to prevent pest problems in your home, you need to know how to prevent the conditions that would attract them in the first place! Here’s how:

  1. Regularly inspect to ensure your faucets aren’t dripping, your drains aren’t clogging, and there are no leaks from your fridge, washing machine, or dishwasher.
  2. If there are problems, get them fixed right away with the help of a licensed professional.
  3. Consider running a dehumidifier in areas of your home that are more prone to moisture!

Need Help Getting Rid of Pests After a Leak?

Whether you’re already dealing with pest infestations that resulted from a plumbing leak in your home, or you want to prevent pests altogether, the experts at Russell’s Pest Control can help—contact us today!