Afraid of Rodents and Bugs? 2021 May Not Be Your Year

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Entomologists from Russell’s parent company, Rentokil Provide their Pest Predictions for 2021

READING, Penn. (Jan. 4, 2021) — As if 2020 didn’t present enough challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 could be a banner year for pests around the country.

To help residents prepare for 2021, entomologists from Rentokil used field knowledge and data to provide their predictions for pests in the upcoming year.

1. Rodents, Rodents Everywhere:

With shutdowns across the country, it’s no surprise that rodents are on the rise nationwide. Empty buildings, the scarcity of food and warmer winters have combined to create a rodent apocalypse.

“We’re seeing more rats in urban, suburban and rural settings because of the shutdowns,” said Marc Potzler, Board Certified Entomologist. “Food sources are cut off, and rats are having to travel to scavenge for food. We’ve seen rats out in public during the day, which is highly unusual.”

Warmer winters have also allowed for mice populations to boom in residential areas as it allows for a longer breeding season and there is a lower population loss due to hard freezes.

“Right now is the perfect time to rodent-proof your home,” said Potzler. “Make sure to repair any gaps on the exterior of your home, such as around garage doors, windows or pipes.”

2. Mosquitoes on the Move:

Mosquitoes populations have been increasing over the last few years. Aedes species, which are disease-carrying mosquitoes, are also moving to new areas. These mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Zika virus, among other diseases.

“There is an increase of mosquitoes across the country, but notably on the West Coast, and they are adapting each year,” said Eric Sebring, Associate Certified Entomologist. “We have seen evidence of behavior adaptation, where mosquitoes lay their eggs strategically to hatch throughout the season.”

Protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes by removing any standing water on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one teaspoon of water. Also, wear EPA-approved insect repellent while spending time outside.

3. Bed Bugs:

The chatter about bed bugs was quiet in 2020, but that’s not because they have gone away.

“As people begin to travel again, we will start to hear about bed bug infestations,” said Sebring. “Bed bugs can be dormant for several months at a time, so they can emerge when a food source, humans, become available.”

Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers, traveling from place to place on people, luggage, clothing and other personal belongings. Homeowners and businesses such as hotels, colleges, hospitals, senior living facilities, retail stores, and libraries have experienced problems with bed bugs.

If traveling, inspect the bed by pulling back the sheets to examine the mattress. Check your luggage before packing and unpacking, and look for signs of living or dead bugs the size of an apple seed or black fecal smears.

4. More Time Outdoors = More Pests.

From hiking to gardening to dining al fresco, there is no doubt that the pandemic has forced people to spend more time outdoors.

In 2021, we will see the outdoor pest pressures continue:

Ticks: Ticks are responsible for transmitting several diseases, including Lyme disease, to humans and animals. These small insects are found in grassy areas and in the woods, so it is important to inspect yourself and your pets after spending time outdoors. Cover as much skin as possible while outdoors, wear long pants, long sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and tuck pant legs into socks. Light-colored clothing will also help any ticks you pick up stand out.

Ants: “As soon as the weather starts to warm up, we will see an increase in ant populations,” said Tom Dobrinska, Board Certified Entomologist. “Most of the ants we are dealing with are odorous house ants. When spending time outside, make sure to clean up any food, water or sugary substances and ensure that your home is free of any holes or cracks for them to enter.”

Stinging Insects: Stinging insects, such as wasps and yellow jackets, emerge at the first sign of warm weather, and as warm weather seasons are getting longer, stinging insects have more time to create issues. Make sure you check for nests early in the spring as they are smaller and get early nest treatment. Make sure to keep windows and doors shut, and secure outside bins so stinging insects are not attracted to the contents.

5. Termites Aren’t Going Anywhere

Termites are a pesky problem, and unfortunately, are not going anywhere. Termites can cause extensive damage to structures, especially homes. As people are moving out of cities during the pandemic to more suburban areas, education about termite protection is key.

“We received more calls for termites this past year than we have in many years,” said Potzler. “It’s important to raise awareness for homeowners now to have proactive protection to keep from costly repairs in the future.”

6. Pests in the News:

There are a few pests that will continue to steal the limelight in 2021.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive pest that has been making its way across the country since it was first introduced from Asia in 2001. Besides its pungent odor, this stink bug has become a nuisance for homeowners as it gathers in large numbers on the sides of houses and buildings and enters through small cracks in the home. “The brown marmorated stink bug is here to stay,” said Dobrinska. “We will continue to see this species emerge in late spring in large numbers.”

The Spotted Lanternfly will continue to wreak havoc across the Northeast and beyond. The invasive pest, first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, is spreading across the Northeast, with New York reporting its first sighting this year. The pest can significantly damage trees and plants.

“The Spotted Lanternfly is becoming a big problem in the Northeast, and it will continue to spread,” said Potzler. “It can be devastating for agriculture and is a nuisance for homeowners.”

The egg masses look like a smear of mud on trees and outside of homes. It’s important to scrape the egg mass off, put it in a bag with rubbing alcohol and throw it away, and then call the state department of agriculture.

The infamous “Murder Hornet,” also known as the Asian giant hornet, grabbed many headlines, causing homeowners to panic trying to decipher the difference between stinging insects in their yards and this aggressive species. The Asian giant hornet is the largest hornet species in the world, growing up to 3 inches in length. Currently, the Asian giant hornet has only been found in the Pacific Northwest.

“We know that there was one colony found and eliminated in Washington State,” said Sebring. “Unfortunately, if there is one, there will be more.”

While your chances of being stung by an Asian giant hornet are fairly low, the sting can be dangerous as the venom volume is higher, causing more pain. The hives are primarily built underground or in hollows in trees. If you suspect it is an Asian giant hornet or any stinging pests, call your pest management provider to assess the situation as soon as you spot activity.

Top Myths About Bed Bugs

Common myths about bed bugs in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

We all know that bed bugs are a dreaded pest problem. Not only is the thought of these bugs biting you at night disturbing, they are also difficult to get rid of without a professional pest control company. Because these are such a feared pest, there are a lot of theories and myths surrounding bed bugs. With it being Bed Bug Awareness Week.  it’s important to learn how to separate fact from fiction. In this blog post, we’ll investigate the top myths about bed bugs with help from the bed bug exterminators at Russell’s Pest Control.

Fictitious Bed Bug Facts

At one point or another, you’ve likely heard some pretty wild theories about bed bugs. These pests are definitely psychologically distressing, but they may not be as dangerous as you think. Here’s the top myths about bed bugs, debunked:

  • Bed bugs are attracted to messy or dirty homes.
    • As much as you want to blame a bed bug problem on this, it’s not true. Anyone can get bed bugs. Unsanitary conditions or messes will not make you more likely to get bugs.
  • Bed bugs only feed at night.
    • Bed bugs are active when their hosts are at rest. This usually means overnight, but they are able to adjust their schedule to fit yours!
  • Bed bugs are only found in your bedroom.
    • Bed bugs tend to congregate near areas where people rest. This includes sofas, chairs, cracks in the wall and other furniture items.
  • Bed bugs are too small to see with the naked eye.
    • Adult bed bugs are plenty big to see on your own. They are the size of an apple seed and often grouped together, making it easier to spot an infestation.
  • Bed bugs can jump and fly. 
    • Unlike fleas and ticks, bed bugs do not jump or fly. They have underdeveloped wings, and instead move from one spot to the other by crawling or latching onto a moving item.
  • Bed bugs latch or travel on people.
    • Although bed bugs are known to hitch a ride on your purse or suitcase, they do not attach to people as fleas or ticks do.
  • You can get rid of bed bugs with DIY methods.
    • At-home or DIY treatments for bed bugs are not a long-term solution. An aggressive approach from a pest control company is necessary for complete removal of the infestation.
  • Bed bugs transmit dangerous diseases.
    • A bed bug infestation may cause some anxiety and their bites may be itchy, but these pests do not transmit disease as other pests do.
  • Bed bugs can live a year without feeding.
    • While they definitely can survive months without a meal, they won’t make it through an entire year unless they are under the most optimal conditions.
  • You should get rid of your mattress and clothing if you have bed bugs.
    • No, you definitely should not. In fact, it’s actually dangerous to move your infested items–doing so can spread bed bugs into other areas!

What to Do About Your Bed Bug Problem

Bed bug problems need to be taken care of quickly–and by a professional. As soon as you notice the signs of bed bugs in your property, contact the experts at Russell’s. We have the years of experience needed to provide effective bed bug treatment that will leave you free of bed bugs for good!

DIY Pest Control vs. Professional Extermination

Mouse traps are a common DIY pest control method in Knoxville TN. Learn more from Russell's Pest Control.

We’ve all hopped on the DIY bandwagon from time to time. Whether you tried to treat a trail of ants with a vinegar solution or bought a spray from the store for roaches, everyone has tried to get rid of a pest problem on their own from time to time. But how often does it work? If you have a small pest problem, DIY solutions can be a short-term solution. However, for infestations and prevention, a professional exterminator is always the way to go. At Russell’s Pest Control, we want our customers to make well-informed decisions when it comes to protecting their homes from pests. Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of DIY pest control vs. professional extermination.

Does Do-it-Yourself Pest Control Work?

When it comes to getting rid of pests, chances are you want it done quickly and effectively. Unfortunately, DIY methods rarely deliver the outcome you want. Some of the downfalls of do-it-yourself pest control include:

  1. Many store-bought products are filled with chemicals that can be dangerous for you, your family, and your pets. Reading the label doesn’t always guarantee the product will be applied perfectly and safely.
  2. At-home remedies rarely work in the long-term and do not prevent future infestations.
  3. DIY or store-bought products don’t come with a guarantee or warranty as often as professional services, meaning you often have to buy more products.
  4. Certain pests, including rodents, termites, bed bugs, and carpenter ants are more dangerous and destructive. Getting rid of these infestations can be challenging without the help of a professional.

When to Use Professional Extermination

Many people assume they only need to hire a pest control company for serious infestations, but that’s not the case. In fact, an exterminator can work with you year-round to prevent pest problems from starting in the first place! There are many benefits to this option. A professional exterminator has a unique understanding of the habits and behaviors of pests, making them better equipped to control an infestation quickly. You can also rest assured knowing that any pest control products are always applied carefully and efficiently for the safety of your family. Lastly, a pest control expert can work with you to develop a custom pest control plan suited to your unique needs, giving you the protection you need all year long.

Is Professional or DIY Pest Control the Best Option for You?

When it comes to DIY vs.professional pest control, the choice is easier than you think. Although do-it-yourself treatments seem easier, they are often fruitless and require more effort on your end. When you team up with a professional pest control company such as Russell’s, you can be sure we will work to prevent pests in your home year-round. To learn how we can provide you with pest-free* living, contact our team today!

Bed Bugs On The Rise In Knoxville

Bed Bugs On The Rise In Knoxville

According to a recent poll, Knoxville is one of the worst bed bug infested cities in the United States. In fact, we came in 24th place. But the bad news doesn’t stop there. We were in 34th place last year. That is not good news at all.

You may be comforted to know that Knoxville wasn’t the only city here in Tennessee to find itself on this unflattering list. Nashville placed 22nd, but the reasons these two cities have bed bugs may actually surprise you.

For a very long time, bed bugs have been considered dirty pests that only infest dirty homes and businesses; but science has completely proven that theory wrong. These bugs don’t go where the filth is–like cockroaches do–they go where the blood is. Since these bugs live almost exclusively with humans, what better place to be than a city filled with humans? But, population isn’t the only factor. If it were, Memphis would have made it onto the list.

So, what makes Knoxville so attractive to bed bugs? We have less that 200,000 people. That isn’t much when compared to the 653,450 of Memphis or the 678,889 of Nashville. We don’t know for sure, but there is a good chance it is connected to the job boom. According to CNN Money, Knoxville has the best employment outlook in the nation.

Why do bed bugs care if the job market is doing well? They don’t actually, but increased job opportunities means more people are coming into Knoxville. Bed bugs are hitchhiking bugs that travel with people. Usually, they will do it in a piece of luggage, a pocket book, or a duffle bag; but when people move, they bring everything with them. That means that they will bring beds, furniture, and other popular places of bed bug infestation.

We won’t pretend to know all of the many ways bed bugs increase when population increases, or how a thriving job market factors into this. We also recognize that tourism, the hospitality industry, low gas prices, and other things factor in as well. But what we do know is that bed bugs are not a bug we ever have to live with. There are bed bug control methods and treatments that can get rid of these blood-eating pests and keep them from getting a foothold in the first place.

If you need help protecting your Knoxville home or business from the influx of bed bugs, let Russell’s Pest Control help. We have a proven track record of protecting folks from bugs. You’ll be able to sleep well with Russell’s Pest Control on the job.

Get Rid Of Bed Bugs

Get Rid Of Bed Bugs

When bed bugs attack, what happens first? Most often, it is a search of the internet to find out more about these little blood eaters. The words, “Get Rid of Bed Bugs,” are typed in and page after page of information comes up about how to get rid of these invasive pests, and a false confidence is established. Why do we say false? Because most do-it-yourself bloggers will tell you a few facts about bed bugs and use these facts to guide you toward the products or solution they are looking to dispense, but rarely do they give the entire picture.

Here are some examples DIY facts that don’t connect to a solution:

While it is certainly true that bed bugs are drawn out by raised carbon dioxide levels in a room, that doesn’t mean that CO2 traps will eradicate bed bugs from your home. Sure, you’ll kill some bugs. Some of these traps actually work, but they don’t solve the problem. What the blogger failed to mention is that not all bed bugs come out of hiding to feed, and all the bugs that come out will not be killed by those traps. Bed bugs have been around for centuries, and in that time, they have learned how to avoid danger.

Another fact that is definitely true is that bed bugs need to crawl up into your bed to get at you. They don’t fly like mosquitoes. So, you may be directed to put traps under the feet of your bed to kill these bugs before they climb up and feed on you. Makes sense, right? But these traps fail in many ways. If there is a backboard on the bed, the bugs will crawl up and over that. If there are bed bugs already living in the mattress or crevices of the bed frame, they won’t need to crawl up. These bugs can also feed on you anytime they wish. They don’t have to feed on you at night, while you sleep. They can get you while you’re watching television on the couch. They can get you while you’re eating breakfast–or pretty much anywhere you sit or lounge.

There are also products that will kill bed bugs. Your DIY blogger may direct you to these, and when you find bugs lying on the floor, you think you’ve won the battle. The problem is, even if every bug were to come out of hiding and be killed by these products, a new infestation could begin with a batch of unattended eggs in your walls. That is not even taking into consideration that these pest products can be harmful when not applied properly.

We understand the desperate urge to get rid of bed bugs when they are discovered, but please don’t take the do-it-yourself route. Getting rid of bed bugs requires experience, specialized knowledge, and state-of-the-art equipment.

These bugs are enough of a nightmare when they plague you for a week. Don’t turn a week into months of torment. Get a professional bed bug treatment and eradicate those bed bugs the first time.

Everything You Should Know About A Bed Bug Heat Treatment

Everything You Should Know About A Bed Bug Heat Treatment

We’ve all heard the horror stories. We all know that bed bugs have returned to our country, and bed bug infestations are quickly becoming the most frustrating pest problem in the United States. You may have even heard that heat is the best way to treat for these bugs. But it isn’t as simple as turning up the heat in your house. Applying a heat treatment to kill these blood-eating pests requires specialized equipment and specialized knowledge. Here’s why.

Specialized Equipment

If you’re thinking about cranking up the thermostat, using the oven in the kitchen, and setting down some heaters throughout your home, you should seriously reconsider. There is a reason there are so many new stories about houses and apartment buildings burning to the ground because of bed bug heat treatments. The temperature required to kill bed bugs in all stages of development is a consistent 120°F for 90 minutes. Getting an entire home up to this temperature is no easy task. At Russell’s Pest Control, we have to use state-of-the-art self-regulating heating units that shut down if the temperature rises above 135°F. Our team must also place down multiple real-time wireless sensors to remotely monitor the temperatures in every treatment space. The use of this advanced and specialized gear ensures the safety of the structure we are treating, while also ensuring complete eradication of all infesting bed bugs.

Specialized Knowledge

Effectively treating for bed bugs also requires a specialized knowledge. Even with proper heating equipment and temperature monitors, bed bugs can still evade treatment.

  • Bed bugs can live in wall voids. If a constant and consistent temperature is not created inside a structure, bed bugs can remain after treatment. It is important to know where to place heaters, monitors, and fans to ensure complete coverage.

  • Bed bugs are a hitchhiking bug. It is important to understand that these bugs can evade treatment by being carried out by residents. They can hide inside clothing, bags, and even electronics.

  • Without specialized knowledge, some belongings can be damaged. Our technicians know to remove all pets, houseplants, foods that can melt, cosmetics, prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, wax items, stringed instruments, and irreplaceable family heirlooms.

  • Without specialized knowledge, dangerous items may be left in a home like fire extinguishers, hairspray cans, oxygen bottles, solvents, lighters, alcohol, etc.

  • Our technicians know how to secure paper, pictures, paintings, glass items, and other objects that can be disturbed by the large fans that are used to circulate the heat throughout the structure.

If you’ve found bed bugs, a heat treatment is the most Eco-friendly and effective way to eradicate them. Let the specialists here at Russell’s Pest Control help you take care of those bugs in a way that will guarantee complete eradication of all infesting bugs, and do it in a way that is safe for your family, your home, and your belongings. Give us a call today, and we’ll start taking care of those bed bugs right away.

Avoid Bed Bugs This Thanksgiving

Avoid Bed Bugs This Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving holiday will soon be upon us and we will be engulfed in turkey and dressing, pies and more pies! Some of you will travel great distances to be with family and close friends. Others of you will receive guests into your home and enjoy spending your Thanksgiving holiday together. Traveling is just a part of the holiday.

There is one nuisance pest that seems to really enjoy traveling and not just during the holidays, and that is the hitchhiking bed bug. Traveling and staying in motels increases the risk of exposure to bed bugs. Unfortunately, receiving guests into your home can also expose your residence to bed bug infestation.

The good news is that bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases and they cause no damage to your physical property. The most an individual will usually experience is a few itchy red welts from a bed bug bite. Even then, the bite itself is normally never felt.

The adult bed bug is only about 1/4th inch long and is oval shaped and has a rather flat body. Being nocturnal, they are rarely seen in daylight and very adept at hiding. However, one can usually see signs of infestation once they know where to look. The first thing you should do upon soliciting a motel room is to give the room a thorough inspection prior to bringing in your luggage. Lift up the bed sheets and look along the ribbing and edges of the mattress for any sign of bed bugs or bed bug feces. Look behind the headboard and inside the nightstand and dresser drawers. Any sign or hint of bed bugs is grounds enough for moving to a different room and possibly even a different motel.

Never store your luggage on the floor—use the luggage stand to keep it off the carpet. This is another common place in which bed bugs can hide. Keep your clothing in the suitcase rather than placing it in the dressers. These precautions will reduce the chance of a stray bed bug hitchhiking back to your home with you. Inspect your suitcase and clothing immediately upon arriving home. Launder your clothing as soon as possible to remove any chances of a stray bed bug traveling back with you.

Bed bugs are extremely difficult to eradicate once an infestation has occurred. DIY techniques are rarely effective due to the nature of the bed bug and the multiple places in which they are able to hide. Russell’s Pest Control has provided quality services throughout the area for more than 40 years. Sleep with peace of mind and contact Russell’s highly trained professionals to come inspect your home for bed bugs. We will be happy to explain our highly successful bed bug heat remediation program to you.


Bed Bugs Can’t Stand The Heat

Bed Bugs Can't Stand The Heat

Have you heard the expression, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen?” At Russell’s Pest Control, we have a slightly different saying. “If you can’t stand the heat, that’s too bad, bed bugs!” We have a hard time feeling bad for a bug that thinks it’s okay to live inside a mattress that does not belong to it and suck blood from people without their permission. That’s why you won’t find any bed bug relocation programs at Russell’s Pest Control. When we find bed bugs, we kill them.

At a sustained temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, all stages of bed bugs die. This includes eggs and nymphs, but you probably already know that. Here are some of the questions we often get that you might not know the answer to.

“Does heat kill bed bugs that are inside my mattress and in the walls?” Yes. A heat treatment will radiate deep into every part of your home and kill these bugs, even bugs that are hiding in mattresses, furniture and behind baseboards.

“Will my home and property be safe?” When done by a professional, a heat treatment is completely safe. At Russell’s, our technicians know how to get your home prepared so that sensitive items are removed and nothing is present that will pose a fire hazard. We use sensors to measure the level of heat at all times and make sure that it stays within that safety threshold.

“Will the bugs return?” When our specialists help you rid your home of bed bugs, they will also look to see what conditions may have brought the bugs into your home in the first place. Bed bugs don’t come in through your walls; they are carried in on clothing and inside luggage. Getting a professional analysis will help you better protect your home from a future infestation.

“Can I do a heat treatment myself?” If not done with state-of-the-art temperature-controlled heating equipment, the risk of fire is high. The stories of homes being burned down are numerous. There is also a risk that bugs will return after a home-treatment. Bed bugs are resilient and able to hide from the heat; that is why it is so important to have a trained professional who knows where to place heating elements for thorough coverage. If even a single female bug escapes, you could be looking at another infestation in a few months.

When it comes to protecting your home from bed bugs, you can trust Russell’s Pest Control. We are members of the National Pest Management Association, and Bed Bug FREE Approved by Bed Bug Central, the nation’s most authoritative source on bed bugs. Let our team of experts make 100% sure your home is bed bug free by turning up the heat on those bugs, contact us today for more details.

Russell’s Turns Up The Heat On Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs. Just the mention of their name and I start to feel as if they are crawling all over my skin. I start to scratch my arms, legs and behind my neck and feel certain they must have taken up residence in my home too! It’s even worse than mentioning lice for me, because at least lice are fairly easy to spot and eliminate. Bed bugs are far more sinister! They are sneaky little pests that can hide in any nook or cranny. They even love to hide out inside electronics like your stereo, t.v., or game system. Who would think to look for them there? And how on earth could you safely spray insecticide inside electronics!!!

These nocturnal little beasts feed on blood – and their blood of choice is human! They bite at night while we sleep and scamper away at the first sign of light. Did you know that they can go for weeks without feeding? Which can give you a false sense of security as you think they have left on their own; or perhaps, you wonder, was it some other type of insect that feasted on you while you slept! The whole idea makes my head spin!

A few facts about bed bugs that I have learned have been very helpful to me; perhaps you will find these helpful too!

  • There are 3 stages of life: eggs, nymph, and adult
  • You cannot see the eggs or nymphs with your naked eye– they are too small and whitish in color
  • Adult bugs are reddish/brown and resemble apple seeds
  • They usually bite on exposed areas like hand, face, neck or arms
  • They are highly resistant to insecticides and easily develop tolerances to new products
  • They NEVER go away on their own

What should you do if you find that these nasty little creatures have invaded your home? Contact the bed bug experts here at Russell’s Pest Control and consider Heat Treatment to eliminate your problem. Heat treatment is a very attractive solution to me because there are no poisonous chemicals used, so there is never any residue or pollution. Heat Treatment is proven effective when done by a professional like Russell’s Pest Control; and once the right temperature has been reached, there is full mortality within a minute! Of course, with set up time and placing of sensors to monitor the heat, it usually takes around six hours start to stop. When the professionals at Russell’s Pest Control treat your bed bugs you know that the heaters are positioned appropriately to ensure even heating and full destruction of your pests, while safety of your home and belongings is maintained! It’s a win, win for you – and a lose, lose for the bed bugs!