Pest Proofing Your Backyard in 10 Steps

A backyard to be serviced in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

The sunshine and heat of spring have been widely welcomed around Knoxville TN this year. Good weather brings us all out of our homes and into the world, but it brings all kinds of regional pests out of their winter hiding, too. Especially after a spring rain, all kinds of insects and wildlife enjoy new plant growth, easy access to food and water, and hospitable conditions. Are you looking to keep pests out of your backyard this spring and summer? Read on to find out how with Russell’s Pest Control!

10 Tips to Help You Pest-Proof Your Backyard

If you don’t take proper preventative measures during the spring, your backyard is sure to be overridden by pests all summer long. We recommend that you consider this advice for easy at-home pest prevention. Here are our top 10 tips for DIY pest control in your backyard:

  1. Deal with standing water: Standing water pools, even tiny puddles, can provide mosquitoes with a place to breed and lay their eggs. Pour out or cover still water in gutters, planters, tarps, buckets, and anywhere else in your yard.
  2. Trim plants: Letting your plants grow out of control can provide many kinds of pests with shaded hiding places. Trim your plants back to keep mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and more out of your yard.
  3. Get rid of yard waste: Scattered branches and leaves or piles of yard waste left in your yard can provide hiding places for many kinds of insects. Deal with yard waste as often as you can.
  4. Use garden netting: If you have a garden, chances are that many insects and even wild animals know about it. Using garden netting can deter common garden pests from beetles to raccoons.
  5. Mow the lawn often: Mowing your lawn once a week can prevent overgrowth from trapping standing water and hosting all kinds of bugs.
  6. Dethatch your lawn: While a thin layer of thatch keeps your lawn’s temperature regulated, too much of it will lead to a rapidly increasing lawn pest population in your backyard, capitalizing on new hiding places, moisture, and prey.
  7. Keep bins sealed and distant: If given the opportunity, pests ranging from wasps to opossums will go through your trash bins looking for food. Ensure your trash bins are sealed shut and keep them far away from your backyard if possible.
  8. Store firewood safely: Stacks of firewood left leaning against the outside of your home can lead to devastating termite infestations in your back deck or your home. Store your firewood off of the ground and far away from your house if possible.
  9. Water your lawn carefully: Overwatering and underwatering your lawn can both lead to pest problems. Installing a sprinkler or irrigation system can help you regulate your lawn’s water intake.
  10. Hire an exterminator: An experienced local exterminator can help you determine the reasons for your pest problems and figure out the best way to put a stop to them.

Pest Control for Your Backyard in Knoxville TN

If you want to ensure that your backyard is pest-free* this summer, reach out to your local pest control company. The technicians at Russell’s Pest Control are familiar with all of the common pest problems that Knoxville residents face. We can develop a unique pest control plan that fits the needs and qualities of your backyard, keeping you pest-free* all year long. Contact us today for a free quote!

6 Tips for a Pest-Free Patio

Mowing your lawn helps reduce pests in your Knoxville TN backyard - Russell's Pest Control

When you’re spending more time outdoors as the summer winds down, you likely don’t want pests invading your space. Insects are infamous for being uninvited guests to your backyard barbecues, picnics, parties, and more in the summertime here in Knoxville. Pests may be a normal part of outdoor life, but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with them infesting your yard! At Russell’s Pest Control, we are committed to providing our customers with pest-free* living both inside and outside the home. Our team of experts has gathered their best tips to help you achieve a pest-free* patio and outdoor space.

What Pests Are In Your Backyard?

Insects are out in full force this time of year! Whether you spend time in your backyard on a playset with your children or barbecuing with neighbors, you’ve likely encountered an insect or two. Here in Tennessee, we are home to many types of pests that infest year-round. The most common ones you’ll see this time of year in your yard include mosquitoes, stinging insects (bees, wasps, and hornets), ants, spiders, ticks, fleas, and flies. Out of these nuisance pests, it’s important to be especially wary of mosquitoes and ticks, both of which can transmit diseases to humans.

How to Get a Pest-Free Patio

There are endless tips to keep pests out of your home, but what about out of your yard? It’s best to know how to make your yard less attractive to pests and insects in general. Russell’s best tips are to: 

  1. Get rid of standing water. Stagnant water is one of the biggest attractants for mosquitoes.
  2. Keep your lawn and shrubs trimmed. Ticks and mosquitoes will shelter in overgrown vegetation or tall grass.
  3. Be on the lookout for ant hills. Even a tiny mound can contain thousands of ants inside.
  4. Inspect all wood structures. Wood-destroying pests (carpenter ants and termites) will damage your wooden decks or porches.
  5. Use an insect repellent. Most store-bought repellent containing DEET will help repel mosquitoes and ticks.
  6. Clean your patio or space regularly. Spills or leftover food will surely bring ants around.

Preventing Pests Outdoors

Pests aren’t just dangerous to your family—some can be dangerous for the structure of your home, as well! For this reason, it’s best to enlist the help of a professional exterminator for protecting your property (inside and out) from pests. The residential exterminators at Russell’s can help. Contact us today!

Is Coronavirus Transmitted Through Mosquito Bites?

Mosquito bites do not transmit COVID-19 in Knoxville TN and worldwide. Learn more from Russell's Pest Control.

Here at Russell’s Pest Control, we understand how uncertain times are right now, and how our communities are being affected. We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation to stay up-to-date with the latest information. Now and always, our focus remains to be our dedication to the safety and health of our neighbors here in Knoxville TN. With news about the nature of the virus being updated constantly, there are still endless questions about how it is spread. Currently, there is no evidence or proof to suggest that mosquitoes and ticks transmit coronaviruses. Although these insects responsible for some of the world’s worst diseases with their bites, COVID-19 is thankfully not one of them.

In the following post, we will explore on the differences between vector-borne diseases and COVID-19 to help dispel common myths about transmission.

Are Mosquito Bites Transmitting COVID-19?

To date, there is no scientific evidence that mosquitoes and ticks transmit COVID-19. Coronavirus is a respiratory virus that, to date, is spread through person-to-person contact.  COVID-19 spreads through droplets from saliva or nasal discharge, often generated when an infected person sneezes or coughs. It can also be transmitted via contact with a contaminated surface and is increasingly considered to be an airborne virus. From what we know, coronaviruses are best avoided by avoiding exposure with infected persons. Studies have shown that COVID-19 may be spread by asymptomatic people, making social distancing a must. Diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks are entirely different.

Diseases Transmitted by Mosquitoes and Ticks

Ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes are considered vectors. But what are vectors? Vector pests are organisms that transmit diseases to humans through bites. Ticks and mosquitoes are feared worldwide for their roles in the transmission of dangerous diseases over the past decades:

  • Mosquitoes are are able to transmit some of the most deadly diseases, including malaria, Zika virus, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, and more.
  • Ticks are most known for their ability to spread Lyme disease, which is currently the most common vector-borne disease in the United States.
  • If these vector pests feeds off a diseased host, they can transmit pathogens that can infect other hosts it subsequently bites. This is how humans get these diseases.

Mosquito Prevention During a Pandemic

Mosquitoes may be feared for their transmission of diseases, but to date, COVID-19 is not one of them. Here at Russell’s, we understand mosquitoes are still a threat. As always, it’s important to take caution in the presence of pests and to always enlist the help of a professional exterminator to prevent dangerous insects. Our team continues to provide essential pest control services to our communities during these trying times.

As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold, we encourage our customers to seek more information and follow guidelines released by the WHO and the CDC.

What To Do If Fleas Have Invaded Your Tennessee Lawn

What To Do If Fleas Have Invaded Your Tennessee Lawn

Springs has sprung and fleas are becoming more and more of a problem for residents in our Tennessee service area. If you have a pet, your furry friend has the potential to pick fleas up every time he goes out into the yard. If you don’t have a pet, fleas can come into your home on mice, rats, and other critters. And when flea infestations take root, those fleas are hard to control. So, what do you do if fleas have invaded your Tennessee lawn? You keep doing what you’ve been doing. Apply flea prevention to reduce fleas in your yard and prevent them from getting into your home.

Flea Prevention in the Yard

Fleas are brought into your yard by animals. The more you do to control wildlife, the fewer fleas you’re going to have in your yard. It’s just that simple. How do you control wildlife? Here are a few tips:

  • Keep exterior trash in sealed receptacles. Trash smells lure pests in.
  • Keep yard clutter to a minimum. Rodents and other small animals use clutter to hide in.
  • Create a fenced-in play area for your dog(s). This will keep animals from bringing fleas into that sensitive area and prevent your pet(s) from exploring your landscaping and picking fleas up.
  • Reduce moisture to make it hard for fleas to survive in your yard. Trim tree branches to allow the sun to dry shaded areas near your home. Create space between the plants in your landscaping to allow the air to flow through and keep the topsoil dry. Fix leaky spigots and hoses. Fix or clean your gutter system and fix any broken downspouts.
  • Put pet or livestock foods down only during meal times.
  • Do routine inspections of your exterior and address any entry points that rodents can use to get into your home.

 What to Do if Fleas Have Invaded Your Home

If you’re seeing fleas inside your home, reach out to a licensed professional. Fleas can be a nightmare to get under control. Also, consider an ongoing reduction of fleas in your yard to reduce exposure. A residential pest control plan that includes coverage for fleas is something every homeowner should have. Fleas and other pests can significantly threaten the health of your pets and everyone living in your home. If you’re in the Greater Knoxville area, let the experienced and friendly professionals at Russell’s Pest Control help you get the right plan in place.

When Do Fleas Become A Problem In Tennessee?

When Do Fleas Become A Problem In Tennessee?

If you have ever experienced a flea infestation, you know it is not a fun experience and that they are not easy to get rid of. When fleas invade an area, they multiply rapidly, leaving you with annoying flea bites that turn red and become quite itchy.

Typically, people with pets are more prone to have issues with fleas since the pets themselves pick them up. While outdoors they pick up fleas brought onto your property by other animals and then bring them into your house in their fur when they come back inside. Even if you don’t have any pets at all, you can inadvertently pick fleas up in your own backyard, at a friend or neighbor’s house, or at your local park. They travel on shoes, clothing, bags, or other personal items and, before you know it, your entire house will be invaded.

Fleas are mostly found where people and pets spend much of their time. You may most frequently find them jumping around in sofas, beds, and carpets. They have just one thing on their mind – food! Fleas feast on human and animal blood in order to survive and reproduce.

Problems Fleas Cause

Fleas are active all year long, but they become more of a problem in the southeast during our warmer months. Throughout the entire spring, summer, and fall seasons the flea population will flourish, especially since people and pets spend a lot more time outdoors during these times of the year. Fleas become more dangerous during this time, due to their large numbers. They can transmit tapeworm to pets and humans, and may also spread murine typhus and the plague. Mostly, fleas cause itchy red bites that can be annoying or even lead to secondary infections such as staph or impetigo.

Fleas are hard to get rid of on your own using DIY methods or over-the-counter products. Most of the time those methods don’t kill all of the eggs and live fleas, leaving you with an ongoing problem. Female fleas can lay upwards of 500 eggs at a time, and fleas can live for about 100 days. Flea infestations can become a huge problem in no time at all if not taken care of properly and in a timely fashion.

Getting Rid of Fleas

Flea removal and prevention is best handled by professionals. In Tennessee, you can trust Russell’s Pest Control to take care of your flea problems efficiently and effectively. We offer quality service to everyone in our service area, to control fleas and other pests that plague their homes and yards throughout the year.

Give us a call at Russell’s Pest Control to learn more about our state-of-the-art pest control technology and to get rid of fleas for good.

Are Fleas Dangerous To Tennessee Residents?

Are Fleas Dangerous To Tennessee Residents?

Fleas are tiny, flat, six-legged, reddish-brown colored parasites that feed on the blood of warm-blooded hosts. These pests most commonly feed on cats, dogs, and humans inside homes across the United States but are also spread by wild animals outdoors. Fleas have the ability to jump vertically up to eight inches and frequently travel on skunks, raccoons, and opossums. These parasitic pests will also hitchhike inside homes on shoes, pant legs, and pets; once indoors, they will reproduce very rapidly. The lifespan of a flea is about one-hundred days, which is enough time for a female to produce up to five-hundred eggs that will then be deposited in carpets, bedding, and other areas around your home.

Though these pests are definitely a nuisance, they can also be dangerous to both humans and pets. Fleas carry and transmit murine typhus, and are also intermediate hosts of tapeworm. Flea bites result in raised, itchy bumps that can cause flea allergy dermatitis; in some cases, these bites cause secondary infections due to the excessive scratching.

Fleas love warm, humid climates which is why pets and pet bedding along with the Tennessee climate is so appealing making it a hot-bed, literally, for fleas. Here are some warning signs you can be looking for in your home that may indicate that you have a flea infestation:

  • If your pet is exhibiting unusual behavior like excessive scratching, licking, or biting, especially around head, neck, tail, and groin, your pet may be infested with fleas; this itching is caused by the fleas crawling on your pet and feeding on their blood.
  • Noticing red spots on the skin of humans or pets, which may be flea bites. Some people or pets may experience an allergic reaction to the flea saliva; these spots can also easily turn into a lesion and can lead to a secondary infection.
  • If your pets are experiencing hair loss, this may be a sign that they are experiencing an allergic reaction to fleas or flea bites, but it can also be due to the excessive biting and licking.
  • If your pet is being fed on by fleas regularly, your pet may become anemic; pale gums are a common sign of this.
  • Finding flea dirt, which is small black or reddish-brown flecks that look like dirt, on your pet or pet bedding is a sign of bed bug activity; these are actually flea feces that are made up of digested blood.

It is important to treat your pets with a flea deterrent prescribed by your veterinarian on a regular basis; however, treating your pet and taking preventive measures against them will not necessarily prevent a flea infestation. Since fleas are very difficult to get rid of and can cause some serious health problems, you should seek the help of a professional pest control company like Russell’s Pest Control in Eastern Tennessee to handle any flea problems you are experiencing! We can eliminate an entire infestation of fleas and prevent them from coming back! Contact us at Russell’s Pest Control to learn more about our residential pest control options.

What Makes Flea Populations Thrive

What Makes Flea Populations Thrive

Fleas can seem like a mysterious pest, appearing out of nowhere and multiplying like crazy, but the more you learn about these tiny little biters, the more you’ll realize that they’re not really all that mysterious after all. There are really only a couple of things that will allow them to thrive in your home and in your yard.

How they get into your home is pretty simple. They ride in. If you have a pet, it is pretty much a no-brainer. But, if you have a flea infestation and no pets, it can make you scratch your head. It wouldn’t though if you had an ability to see how they actually got in. They probably rode in on you when you came in from the backyard or took a trip in on a mouse, rat, or squirrel. The one thing you can be sure of is that they hitched a ride. So, the first item on our list of what will make fleas thrive in your yard is furry animals. More animals coming into your yard from the woods and more animals going in and out of your home will add up to more problems with fleas.

The second thing that will allow fleas to thrive on your property is the right temperature. Fleas are cold-blooded creatures, and, like most cold-blooded creatures, they must rely upon the outside temperature to thrive and stay alive. If it is too cold, they will freeze and die. If it is too hot, they will overheat and die; but between 70 and 85 degrees, these pests will thrive. If you want to stop those fleas from thriving, there are a few things you can do. Reduce areas of shade in your yard so that there is no place to hide from the midday sun, and fleas will be very unhappy. If you’re finding fleas in your home, take bedding and clothing and put it into the washer on the hottest temperature. This should take care of those fleas in all stages of their life cycle; but, just in case, be sure to also dry those items on the hottest temperature as well.

The third thing fleas need to thrive and survive is moisture. If it gets too dry, fleas will get dehydrated and die. Moisture is also necessary for the development of eggs in your yard. However, if you want a beautiful lawn, it can be problematic to keep things dry out there. The best way to reduce fleas in your yard is with pest control.

Most people don’t think of calling a pest control company when they find fleas, but the truth is, calling a pro can save you tons of frustration. Fleas can be hard–if not impossible–to get rid of.

Don’t let fleas torment you or your pet. Get Russell’s Pest Control and get control of those pests. Life has enough issues without adding flea trouble to the list. Take back your yard and your home from fleas today.

Why Do I Have Fleas In My Home & What Can I Do?

Why Do I Have Fleas In My Home & What Can I Do?

“I have fleas in my home! Why do I have them, and what can I do?”

This is a statement we hear all the time here at Russell’s Pest Control. Fleas have got to be one of the most tenacious and irritating pests around. I mean, you don’t even have to own a pet to get fleas. How infuriating is that? And fleas can put rabbits to shame with the rate with which they are able to reproduce! Fleas seem to come out of nowhere in a hurry, and one seemingly lone flea on your sofa can turn into hundreds in no time at all. So how exactly did you get those fleas in your home and what should you do about it? Let’s take a look.

Pets are certainly the number one way that fleas come into homes, but they are not the only way. Fleas are looking for mammal blood. They don’t really care if it comes from your dog, your cat, your kids, or you. They will take whatever comes easiest. They are also lazy travelers. They will hop on anything that will bring them closer to their mealtime goal. They typically hitch a ride to your property on a passing raccoon, mouse, fox, squirrel, or any other furry wildlife friend. After all, what a deal! Free meal while you travel – it’s an all inclusive travel plan for fleas! Once in your yard, they’ll lurk around just waiting for the chance to pounce onto their next taxi (aka: your pet, your child, or you) and gain access to your home where they have shelter and ample access to blood.

You may be tempted to think that those fleas are nothing more than a nuisance. Not so! Fleas are known carriers and transmitters of disease to humans and pets. Dog tapeworm and rodent tapeworm are not only a danger to your pets, but to you as well. Both these parasites are introduced by fleas. Also, I am certain that you have heard of murine typhus and the plague! Yup, these are transferred by fleas too. Yes, the plague is still around and is still infecting people (even in the U.S.). Even if your fleas are not infected or hosting these, there is no denying that their bites are extremely itchy. Scratching of flea bites can lead to infection such as impetigo or staph. Any way you look at it, those fleas have got to go. But how?

Once fleas have gained access to your home, they are extremely difficult to eradicate because not only do the adults have to be eliminated, but you have to get to all those eggs as well. The good news for us here in Tennessee is that you can partner with Russell’s Pest Control to control fleas in our homes.

With a desire to serve his community by providing quality service at a fair price, Russell Bull began this company in 1971, and we have been living up to that goal ever since. When you partner with us for year-round pest coverage, fleas will not be a problem. Neither will a whole host of other common household pests. That’s because we utilize state-of-the-art technology and treatment options to safely and effectively control pests in your home.

If fleas are driving you crazy this summer, give us a call. Not only will we help you to eliminate those fleas, but we can also help you to identify access points and install exclusion methods to keep pests out. For good!

Adult Fleas Are Only The Tip Of The Iceberg

Adult Fleas Are Only The Tip Of The Iceberg

Are fleas driving you and your pets crazy? Have you already washed all the bedding in the house and vacuumed all the rugs twice, but those fleas won’t go away? It can be a real pain to get rid of these blood-eating pests, especially if you don’t understand what you’re up against. The scary truth about fleas is that only 5 percent of the fleas in your home are adult fleas. Those are the ones you notice. Those are the ones that wiggle through your pet’s fur when you part it down the middle or spring onto you when you sit on the couch. But there is a vast population of fleas you don’t see.

Pupae Stage

The next highest population of fleas you’ll find in your home are fleas that have grown to the pupae stage. This is when they have matured enough to make their own cocoon. In this stage they will be hiding in your pet’s bedding, behind baseboards, under furniture, in your rugs, and in other out-of-the-way places. Cocooned pupae make up 10 percent of all the fleas typically found in an infested home.

Larvae Stage

These are the baby fleas, and they make up an alarming 35 percent of the flea population in your home. Why is this alarming? Because all those babies are going to eventually cocoon and turn into adult fleas that bite. In the Larvae stage, they don’t eat a blood meal. They eat pre-digested blood from adult fleas (called flea “dirt”). But someday, they will be crawling on your pet’s fur and crawling in your bed.


Here is where it gets scary. Eggs make up 50 percent of the flea population in a home. These are laid in bunches of about 20 (usually in the fur of your pet) after a flea has had a blood meal. But, unlike many other insect eggs, flea eggs are not sticky. This allows them to roll off of your pet and “seed” the house.

What can we learn from all this?

If you’re trying to kill “adult” fleas, you will lose this battle. Adult fleas are only the tip of the iceberg. You need to kill the eggs, larvae, and pupae as well. This requires an application of special products to strategic areas inside your home.

If you’ve been battling fleas and you’re ready for the nightmare to be over, give Russell’s Pest Control a call. Our technicians know how to treat for fleas in a way that is safe for you, your children, and your pets. We don’t just kill adult fleas, we kill all stages of fleas in your home. If you were following the math, that is 100% of all the flea population in your home.

Help For Fleas

Help For Fleas

Summer temperatures are now upon us and, oh the joyous fun of all those summer activities. So many things are associated with warming temperatures, ranging from beautiful flowers to the newly hatched baby birds and wildlife. However, not all things are met with such happiness.

Warm summer weather also brings an increase of fleas. Your dog is beautifully groomed, bathed and has his summer haircut. He looks so nice for all the guests you are expecting this weekend. The house seems to be immaculate, the kitchen is spic and span and the aroma of fresh baked bread is floating throughout the house. Finally, you sit down to catch your breath before the guests begin arriving. Suddenly, you notice a speck out of  the corner of your eye. You reach to brush it off your pants when it quickly disappears. You look more closely and see two or three more of those “jumping specks.” About this time, you notice your freshly groomed dog scratching with a vengeance and one word leaps into your mind…fleas!!!

Most fleas enter into the house on your pet. Some come in on mice and other unwanted rodents. They also have been known to hitch a ride on your trouser leg as you walk through the grass into the house. Flea eggs do not stay on their host. Unfortunately, they fall off and stick in the carpet or even furniture until they hatch into larvae then pupae stage. Unfortunately, the most recent batch has chosen the day of your summer bbq to become jumping and biting adult fleas.

Identifying a flea population is one thing. Coming up with a quick, successful solution is another. You can be assured this is not the time for any those over the counter products and DIY flea bombs or sprays.

Fleas are very swift reproducers and are extremely difficult to remove from the home. Normally, the adult flea is the only thing that can be seen. However, all eggs, larvae and pupae have to also be found and treated to completely eradicate the flea problem. Any pets in the house must be treated at the same time of the home treatment. Contacting professional Knoxville pest control specialists, like the experts here at Russell’s Pest Control is the best and only real complete answer to ridding your home of your flea problem.

Russell’s Pest Control has three home pest control programs that include treatment and control of fleas in the house and other residential pests. You will enjoy the benefit of quarterly pest services, Russell’s Pest Free guarantee and year round protection from more than 30 common pests. The key to keeping your home free of fleas and other household pests centers on the year round protection and guarantee. Contact Russell’s Pest Control today to select the service that best suits your needs and enjoy your pest-free* summer!