July 18th, 2017
As temperatures continue to rise in East Tennessee, some pests are becoming more active.
Several Knoxville pest control companies say calls are flooding in this summer more than past years, especially for spider infestations.
Calls are ringing off the hook at Russell's Pest Control company, where staff are now receiving 20 to 30 calls per week for spider problems alone.
"Spiders especially have skyrocketed this year," said Brian Smith, service manager for Russell’s Pest Company. "It wasn't as active last year. It was very hot, but very dry, and there wasn't a lot of rain. We've had a good amount of rain this year.”
Across Knoxville, at least three pest companies report a rise in spider-related calls, including a venomous spider called the Brown Recluse.
The spider, identified by a violin-shaped torso, can be found all over the South, from East Tennessee to Oklahoma. Smith said they are usually more prevalent in the Midwest than East Tennessee, but multiple companies say calls are becoming increasingly more common.
One company, Dayton's Pest Control, reported about half a dozen calls for Brown Recluse in the past month. Experts say that is not overly prevalent, but still more than usual for East Tennessee.
Last week, another Knoxville company, Frogg's Pest Control, responded to a home littered with them.
“The Brown Recluse gets a lot of attention because of the severity of the bite,” said Smith. “Their venom can cause flesh and muscle to deteriorate.”
However, experts at the University of California Riverside found “90 percent of Brown Recluse bites are not medically significant, and heal very nicely often without medical intervention.”
Smith said the spider is likely to live in more homes than many people realize, due to their secluded nature. Exterminating the spiders is tricky, however, because they hide in nooks and crannies, often making glue traps more effective than pesticides.
"We try to put a lot of glue boards, a lot of monitors out to try to catch those spiders because they are so reclusive," Smith said.
Smith said Russell’s Pest Control is beefing up staff to handle the uptick in pest calls.
If you do find Brown Recluse in your home, your best move may be to call the professionals.