Are Rodents More Aggressive During COVID-19?

Rodents are entering Knoxville TN homes during the pandemic - Russell's Pest Control

With Rodent Awareness Week upon us, now is the perfect time to look into why rodent problems are on the rise. Since the start of the pandemic, reports of rodent sightings and infestations have been on the uprise—but why? When restaurants and bars were put under orders to limit or shut down operations, rodents were suddenly deprived of one of their most important food sources. This in turn caused two things: one, more aggressive behavior as they have to compete for food and two, a tendency to get into homes in search of food. Plus, with the weather beginning to change, rodents will seek out warmth and shelter right in your home for the coming months. All of this has caused an uptick in rodent problems right here in Knoxville TN. Keep reading to learn how to prevent rodents in the coming months.

Rodent Behavior During COVID-19

The good news is that rodents are not responsible for transmitting COVID-19 as they do with other diseases. The bad news? The pandemic has caused them to be more aggressive and rampant than ever. The shelter in place shutdowns caused an uptick in residential rodent sightings as rats and mice became colder in their hunt for resources.

This has since caused an uptick in infestations and rodent-spread issues. While they won’t transmit COVID-19 to you or your family, rodents still can spread other diseases including hantavirus, salmonellosis, and many more. They also can cause significant damage to your home with their nesting and chewing habits.

Tips & Tricks to Keep Rodents Out of Your Home

Rats and mice are on the rise right now, but you don’t need to let them infest your home. To keep rodents out and away from your property, our top tips include the following.

  1. Seal off cracks and crevices around openings. Mice can squeeze inside holes the size of a dime.
  2. Keep rodents out of your food by securely storing it in sealed containers.
  3. Clean inside the house and around the garden. Less clutter means fewer places to hide.
  4. Put outdoor garbage bags in metal garbage cans with securely fitted lids to stop them from feeding on contents.
  5. Clean up pet food and bird seed debris, and store pet food in robust containers with fitted lids, preferably above ground level.
  6. If you have a compost heap don’t include organic food waste, as this will attract them.
  7. Inspect your garage, attic, crawlspaces, and vents for potential rodent hiding spots.

The Importance of Rodent Awareness

Rodent Awareness Week only happens once a year, but it’s crucial to stay wary of these pests all year long. Especially during the pandemic, rats and mice are looking to get inside your home in the coming months. Russell’s Pest Control can help keep them out. Contact our rodent exterminators today!

Why Do Asian Lady Beetles Infest Homes in the Fall?

Asian lady beetles crawl into Knoxville TN homes - Russell's Pest Control

We all know that stink bugs and boxelder bugs are common fall pests, but what about Asian lady beetles? Often confused for ladybugs, the Asian lady beetle was introduced into the United States more than 40 years ago to help control crop pests. They are now a widespread insect and are most commonly seen here in Knoxville during the fall. They will congregate in large numbers on the sunny sides of structures during October and November. From there, they often make their way inside. Their attraction to light keeps them near windows and although they aren’t the most dangerous pest, they are nonetheless a nuisance. The team at Russell’s Pest Control knows how distressing any pest problem can be on your property, and we’re here with all you need to know about the Asian lady beetle.

Fall pest prevention in Knoxville, Tennessee - Russell's Pest ControlAsian Lady Beetles vs. Ladybugs

The Asian lady beetle is easily confused for the ladybug, and it’s easy to see why! Both have similar body shapes and coloring. However, there are a few characteristics that set them apart:

  1. Asian lady beetles are slightly larger than ladybugs.
  2. They are multicolored and can be anything from mustard yellow to a dark red color.
  3. Asian lady beetles have two white oval markings on the spot behind their head.
  4. Some have an M-shaped mark on the pronotum.
  5. Beetles will emit an odorous fluid and stain when crushed.

Preventing Asian Lady Beetles in the Fall

Keeping these fall invaders out of your home requires many of the same efforts you would take to prevent stink bugs or boxelder bugs. Simply put, sealing off any openings can help keep the Asian lady beetles outside. Here’s what to do:

  • Seal cracks around windows, doors, utility pipes, siding, behind chimneys, and around any other openings.
  • Repair or replace damaged screens on doors and windows.
  • Replace the weather stripping around windows and doors.
  • Consider planting mums in your garden or around your home. These beetles are not fans of the plants and will avoid them at all costs.
  • Try out an all-natural deterrent using citrus or citronella scents. Make a spray with orange or lemon essential oil diluted with water, and spray around your windows or doors.

Asian Lady Beetles Inside Your Home

If you start to notice these insects inside your property, there’s no need to panic. The good news is that they rarely bite—if they do, the bites are not known to cause any harm. Nonetheless, you likely don’t want them flying around your home. Vacuum them up with your vacuum cleaner and dispose of it in a sealed bag. They may leave stains and emit an odor when crushed, so take care in handling them. As always, the residential exterminators at Russell’s are happy to help with any pest problem you have this fall and all year long. Call us today to learn more!

Prevent Boxelder Bugs & Stink Bugs This Fall

Stink bugs are a common fall invader in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

Here in Knoxville, we are accustomed to seasonal pest problems. Few are more troublesome than boxelder and stink bug infestations. These fall invaders are known as such because they enter homes when temperatures drop to escape the impending winter months. They are of course also known for the foul odor they emit when stepped on or if they feel threatened. Although they aren’t too dangerous, their populations can grow to large numbers, making the very sight of them worrisome.

The real trouble is when boxelder bugs or stink bugs crawl their way into your home. The team at Russell’s is here with information about these fall invaders, including how to keep them away.

Stink Bug & Boxelder Bug Facts

These insects can and will easily make their way inside via any crack or crevice on the outside of your home in the fall and winter. Besides the odor they emit, it’s important to know a few facts about these fall invaders:

  1. Stink bug
    • Their backs look like shields, and they can blend easily within the foliage.
    • If threatened, these bugs release an odor.
    • There are two main types we see in the states: the brown marmorated stink bug and the green stink bug.
    • They do not bite or spread disease.
  2. Boxelder bug
    • These insects have dark brown bodies with unique red markings.
    • They emerge out of hibernation in the springtime.
    • True to their name, they live in boxelder trees as well as maple, ash, and fruit trees.
    • Their feces can leave a stain.

Stink bug and boxelder bug identification in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

How to Keep Fall Pests Out of Your Home

The key to preventing boxelder bugs & stink bugs this fall is to seal-proof your home. These steps will help prevent all sorts of pests. Inspect the perimeter of your home, focusing on areas around windows and doors. Check the caulk around the molding, seal up cracks around roof soffits and siding, and replace torn screens on doors or windows. It’s also important to clean and repair fences, decorative rocks, woodpiles, patio furniture, and your lawn. Lastly, make sure to trim back vegetation to avoid tree limbs and bushes touching your home.

When to Get an Exterminator for Fall Pests

These insects can get indoors more easily than you may want to believe. If you have an infestation indoors or want to further seal your home off against them, the team at Russell’s can help! Contact our residential exterminators today for more information on our boxelder bug and stink bug control tactics.

Are Spiders More Common in the Fall?

Brown recluse spiders are dangerous in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

Spiders are a common pest problem for property owners in Knoxville TN all year long. However, they are in full force in the late summer and early fall months. Spiders are drawn to your property in search of water, food, and shelter, which is why they get inside your home! The good news is that most spiders you encounter indoors are totally harmless. The bad news is that there are two spiders in particular that you need to be on the lookout for: the black widow and the brown recluse spider. At Russell’s, we know how distressing spiders can be, which is why we’re here to share to need-to-know facts about spiders in the fall!

Why Do Spiders Come Inside?

Just like other pests, spiders are attracted to sources of food, shelter, and water inside. These tiny arachnids can get inside through the tiniest of cracks in your home. Broken screens or crevices in your doors and windows often let spiders in. An unkempt yard or lawn will invite spiders to your property. You may also notice more spiders when you have other bugs and insects in your property. Spiders will be more drawn to properties that provide them with shelter and food (bugs) inside. For this reason, keeping a clean home will go a long way to prevent spiders.

Black Widow vs Brown Recluse Infographic - Russell's Pest Control in Knoxville TNAre There Dangerous Spiders in Knoxville?

The black widow and brown recluse may not be a common pest problem, but they are nonetheless a dangerous one! Both of these spiders can bite when they leave threatened, which can be dangerous. Here’s what to know about these potentially dangerous spiders:

  1. Black widows
    • These spiders have a characteristic red hourglass shape on its body.
    • They build sticky, tangled cobwebs in garages, sheds, and near the ground.
    • They can bite when they feel threatened.
  2. Brown recluse spiders
    • Brown recluse have a darker brown violin-shaped mark on their brown bodies.
    • They build loose, dome-shaped webs for shelter.
    • A brown recluse bite is known to be very painful.

How to Stay Spider-Free

Let’s face it: no one wants spiders in their home. Even if you have harmless house spiders, these creatures can be frightening for everyone.

If you are noticing spiders on a daily basis or if you’ve spotted a more dangerous spider species, it’s best to contact your local spider exterminators at Russell’s for assistance.

Fall Nuisance Pests

Fall Nuisance Pests

No matter what the season, no one wants to deal with invading pests. However, there are a select few pests that invade homes during the fall for the purpose of overwintering. Ladybugs, boxelder bugs, and stink bugs are all species of insects that seek out safe, warm areas where they can avoid the winter weather and wait for spring. Often, our homes become a target for these nuisance insects, which can be both frustrating and annoying to deal with.

Boxelder Bugs

These red and black insects become problematic in the fall because of their tendency to invade homes in large numbers. Boxelder bugs will flock to the warmest exterior wall of your home once the weather begins to cool, and will then come in through any cracks or gaps around vents, windows, walls, and doors. Once inside, boxelder bugs can become a nuisance because of the large numbers they come in, and their tendency to seek out the warmest spot in your home—which is often around A/C units. If they gather around your heating system in large clusters, it can cause your A/C unit to overheat. Additionally, boxelder bugs can stain curtains, walls, and fabrics with their feces.


Ladybugs are another insect species that enter homes during fall to escape the cold. Once they find a way inside through gaps around windows and doors, they generally stay within attics, wall spaces, and underneath floors, but will emerge anytime there happens to be a sunny winter day to congregate on windowsills. Ladybugs also excrete a yellow liquid when they are threatened or squished, which can stain upholstery, walls, and furniture.

Stink Bugs

Usually considered an agricultural pest during other parts of the year, stink bugs become a nuisance for homeowners during the fall and winter months when they invade homes to escape the colder weather. Similarly to both ladybugs and boxelder bugs, stink bugs will cluster on the sunniest side of buildings and find their way inside through any crevices in exterior walls, vents, and windows. Living up to their name, stink bugs will produce a foul-smelling liquid if crushed or threatened, which can stain furniture as well as curtains.

For any issue with overwintering pests, it is always important to contact professional pest control once you realize you have a problem. Russell’s Pest Control offers a wide variety of pest control services, including our residential pest control programs. Boxelder bugs, stink bugs, and ladybugs can be difficult to get rid of, especially when they come inside in large numbers. But with Russell’s Pest Control on your side, your home can be pest free in no time.

Foolproof Pest-Proofing Tips To Keep Pests Out Of Your House This Fall

Foolproof Pest-Proofing Tips To Keep Pests Out Of Your House This Fall

It’s that time of year when nothing feels better than curling up in front of the fireplace on a chilly evening. If you have pets, you know they enjoy it too, so it should come as no surprise that other animals also love to cozy up in the comfort of a warm room.

When the temperatures begin to drop, rodents, cockroaches, and spiders are just some of the critters that will begin to make their way indoors in search of a warm place to stay. Russell’s Pest Control would like to remind you that fall is the perfect time to pest-proof your home to keep these unwelcome visitors out.

It’s no great surprise that these pests try to get in. When colder weather hits, they go into survival mode, searching for a place to call home for winter that not only provides warmth, but also food and water. They often end up in houses because inhabited homes are the most likely places that will provide for all these of their winter needs.

Once inside, these pests are bad news. Rodents, cockroaches, and other invaders contaminate food, spread disease, destroy property, and can even bring other unwelcome visitors into your home. In order to minimize your chances of allowing these pests into your house this fall, Russell’s recommends following the guidelines on fall pest-proofing set forth by the National Pest Management Association. By acting on these tips, you can protect your home and family from the threats that these pests bring.

  • Cap chimneys, screen vents, and cover any other openings to the outdoors, such as mail slots or pet doors.
  • Keep areas prone to moisture, such as basements and attics, well-ventilated and dry. Consider using a dehumidifier in these areas and repair any water-damaged spots immediately.
  • Keep food stored in airtight containers or in the refrigerator. Clean counters and remove trash from your home regularly. When trash is stored outside, keep it in tightly sealed bins away from your house.
  • Replace damaged tiles, shingles, and weather stripping around your home. Check for holes, cracks, and gaps, and fill any you find.
  • Inspect boxes, mail, and grocery bags for pest damage before bringing them into your home.
  • Do not leave pet food outside.
  • Contact a professional pest control service like Russell’s Pest Control when you suspect an infestation.

Remember pests can fit through the smallest of openings, so your best line of defense is to make sure your home is in tip-top shape and if it’s not to repair any damage you find. Try using caulk and steel wool in damaged areas to help keep pests out. They can work wonders.

For more information about fall pests and how to prevent them, give us a call today!

How To Prepare For… The Invasion Of The Ladybugs!

How To Prepare For… The Invasion Of The Ladybugs!

When you hear the words, “The invasion of…” what do you expect to follow? Maybe you think of “The invasion of aliens,” or “The invasion of Normandy,” or perhaps that old movie from the 50’s called, “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” These all sound pretty intense. But do you ever think about ladybugs invading? The invasion of the ladybugs! It just doesn’t have the same scare factor that those other things. But do you want these bugs inside your home, especially considering that when they do come in, they bring a whole lot of their friends?

The bad news is that in not too many weeks, the temperatures will begin to drop, and insects will begin to seek the warmth of our homes. The good news is that it is not too late to start preparing for “The invasion of the ladybugs.” Consider taking the following steps to keep ladybugs, and other invading insects, out of your home.

  • If you already have ladybugs crawling around inside your home, get a vacuum or dustbuster, and suck them up. Then go to work on making your property less attractive to them and sealing any places where more could get inside.
  • Keep your trash in tightly sealed containers. Ladybugs love exposed trash. In fact, all bugs love exposed trash. So do rodents and wildlife.
  • Never leave food outside, not even your pet’s food. This will definitely draw bugs onto in.
  • Keep clutter to a minimum. Remove as much as possible and, if you need to keep some items, consider storing them away from your home. Bugs love places to hide and tend to congregate in clutter.
  • Store woodpiles or construction materials away from your home as well.
  • Keep outside lights off at night or replace outside bulbs with yellow, insect-resistant bulbs. Ladybugs and other flying insects are drawn in by light.
  • Draw your shades at night. This will also reduce the chances of luring insects close to your home.
  • Examine the outside walls of your home, and use a caulking gun to seal any cracks there. Make sure to seal around the places where pipes, wires, or air conditioning units enter your home.
  • Inspect all of your window and door screens and make sure they are present and in good repair.
  • Install, or check, all door sweeps and make sure they are making a good connection all the way across.
  • Place window grade screens over all chimneys and vents to the outside.
  • Have your exterior walls, or perimeter, treated by a pest control professional from Russell’s Pest Control.

If you have done all you can, but you are still getting ladybugs in your home, or you don’t want to do all the hard work of keeping them out, consider pest services from Russel’s Pest Control. With more than 40 years of experience getting rid of, and sealing out household pests, we are happy to help. Don’t let yourself be the victim of a ladybug invasion this fall! Reach out to Russel’s Pest Control today.

Creepy Crawly Fall Pests

Creepy Crawly Fall Pests

The Halloween season is upon us and the stores are filled with candy, costumes, and, of course, creepy decorations. Hairy scary spiders, skeletons, ghosts, goblins, red beady eyed mice, and creepy crawly cockroaches are all common Halloween props that are used to scare the neighbors and trick or treaters. Halloween is a fun holiday, as long as those creepy crawly things are fake and not actually living in your home.

Russell’s Pest Control is here to remind you that actual creepy crawlers like mice, earwigs, spiders, and bed bugs can enter into your home and give you and your family a real scare! Below are some helpful tips about pests that are a bit more creepy and scary than most and how we can help.


While some people may find mice “cute” most people find them downright creepy especially if they are living in their home. Mice will eat and contaminate your food-including the stash of trick or treat candy you’ve been building; chew through and damage the structure of your home and personal items; transmit a variety of dangerous diseases; and leave trails of urine and feces throughout your home.

Bed bugs

Bed bugs hitchhike their way into people’s homes and feed on their blood as they sleep- really, how much creepier can you get? While they aren’t known to transmit any dangerous diseases, once inside a house they can breed quickly and take over an entire home in a relatively short period of time. Their mere presence can trigger a fear response and cause people to lose sleep until they are completely eliminated.


Earwigs are a nuisance pest. They are attracted to basement and bathroom areas that provide them with a high humidity environment. Most people are afraid of earwigs because of the myth that is associated with them. The myths states that earwigs burrow into people’s ears as they sleep in order to lay their eggs in the brains if their unsuspecting victims. Luckily for everyone, there is absolutely no truth to this myth – it’s just a good story to tell on Halloween!


Spiders, poisonous or non-poisonous, are probably one of the most feared pests. They have 8 legs, can be large or tiny, are sometimes hairy, quick moving, and reclusive. Many people don’t even realize that they have spiders living in their home until they are startled by one as they are trying to find their shoes in the closet; or when they walk through one of their webs dangling from the ceiling in the guest room; or, worst of all, you just climb into the shower and get the water adjusted to the right temperature when a big black spider descends from the top corner of the shower stall heading directly for you. Ahhhh! Spiders are definitely the most feared!

Russell’s Pest Control can help to control all of these creepy crawly pests and other common slightly less creepy pests now and throughout the rest of the year. Don’t be scared living in your own home. Implement a year-round home pest control service and have the peace of mind that you, your family, and pets are the only ones living in your house!

For more information about how we can help through our home pest control or bed bug control services contact us today, and you, too, can experience the Russell difference!