Why Fungus Gnats Are In Your Knoxville Home

Why Fungus Gnats Are In Your Knoxville Home

One of the most annoying pests that get into Knoxville homes is the fungus gnat. Like other gnats, they are very tiny. A fungus gnat doesn’t look like much more than a tiny black speck. This black color can help you tell the difference between fungus gnats and fruit flies. Fruit flies are tan with bright red eyes. Here are a few more things you should know about fungus gnats, including why you have them in your Knoxville home.

“How do fungus gnats get in?”

These insects can come into your home through a hole in your screen and an open window, they can fly in through an open door, or they can be carried into your home within plant soil. When they’re carried in, they are in their egg, larval or pupal stage of development.

“Where are the gnats coming from in my house?”

Once fungus flies get in, they will begin to reproduce. They can do this in many locations. Wherever they reproduce, there is going to be decaying vegetation or fungi present. Some common breeding locations are:

  • Damp soil in potted plants or on portions of house plants that are dying.
  • Rotting organic matter in open trash receptacles.
  • Rotting organic matter in drains.
  • Overripe fruit sitting out on a counter.
  • Fermenting liquid in returnables.

“What are fungus gnats attracted to?”

Dampness will usually attract fungus gnats because, where there is dampness, there is usually fungus. They’re also drawn to any organic material that is decaying or fermenting. People sometimes put out traps for fungus gnats using apple cider vinegar but, if made improperly, these can allow fungus gnats to reproduce quickly in your home. It won’t be long till you’re finding apple cider vinegar-colored splotches on white door frames where eggs have hatched and larvae have slithered around. And it won’t be long till you’re finding bright-colored walls covered in tiny black flies that prefer to run away from you rather than fly away. The good news is that they’re easy to squish. The bad news is, they do fly around and they can be very annoying, especially when they land on your face and run across your forehead.

“How do you get rid of fungus gnats?”

Adult fungus gnats don’t live very long. If you really want to get rid of them because they’re driving you crazy, a vacuum cleaner can help get the job done. If made properly, a trap can help control them. But ridding your home of adult fungus gnats isn’t going to fix your problem. You need to figure out where the gnats are reproducing and address the breeding sites. This can be difficult. Fungus gnats don’t always reproduce in locations that are easy to find. They could be in your ventilation ducts. They could be in your walls. They could be in a dirty drain. It is best to contact a pest management professional to track down a fungus gnat infestation.

“Are fungus gnats harmful to humans?”

Fungus gnats aren’t a direct threat. They don’t bite people. But they climb around on rotting things. This can make them a mechanical vector for bacteria. If you have a cat box, you could have some very filthy fungus flies in your home. These insects are known to crawl on moist cat feces that aren’t properly covered. If a gnat goes from a dirty location to your food-prep areas or dishes, they can spread harmful bacteria and pathogens. But in a home that is clean, and where there is no cat box with exposed droppings, fungus gnats are low threat for illness.

Fungus Gnat Control

If you’re having issues with fungus gnats and you’re in our Greater Knoxville service area, we can help you resolve your issue. Schedule a free in-home evaluation to get started.

Knoxville’s Exclusive Guide to The Brown Rat

Knoxville's Exclusive Guide to The Brown Rat

In Tennessee, rats getting into buildings can become a huge problem in the winter. When the weather begins to drop, rodents may try to seek shelter inside your home. Now is time to protect your home from the arrival of brown rats and learn what to do if they get inside. Here’s some helpful information about brown rats and what to do about them.

How to Identify a Brown Rat

Brown rats are the most common type of rat. In fact, they’re among the most common mammals and are considered to be the most successful. They live everywhere that humans live, which is why they could end up inside your home this winter. Because brown rats live in so many places, they are known by a lot of different names. You may know them as brown rats, Norway rats, sewer rats, wharf rats, or street rats.

They’re fairly large, around 5 to 10 inches in length. They can weigh half a pound. They range in color from gray to brown, or even black. Their fur appears greasy, unlike mice, and they have long, hairless tails. They’re nocturnal and very cautious, making them hard to spot and hard to get rid of.

History of the Brown Rat

Brown rats, though often called Norway rats, did not originate in Norway. They first appeared in Asia. They did well as stowaways on ships and traveled across the world as trade increased. This is one of the reasons they are so prevalent everywhere humans live. Today, brown rats are sometimes kept as pets. Often, they’re used for research in laboratories. However, most of the time, they’re just pests.

Rat Dangers

There are reasons people don’t like rats. These pests are extremely dangerous. Rats have been known to carry many different diseases. These include hemorrhagic fever, leptospirosis, rat-bite fever, and salmonellosis. Even if you don’t directly come in contact with a rat, you can become sick by touching rat-contaminated food and cooking surfaces.

Rats are dangerous to property. They gnaw almost constantly, and can destroy furniture, cabinets, food, clothing, books, or even electronics. In some cases, rats have been known to chew on wires, causing electrical fires. Furthermore, they can get into your pantry and cabinets and eat and ruin food products.

If you have rats, or even if you just suspect you do, contact Russell’s Pest Control. We believe in strong customer care and in taking the time to make sure your house is completely rat-free. We’ll begin with an inspection. Not only will we determine the exact species of rodents in your home, but we can help you identify entry points or attracting factors. We then create a custom treatment plan that works for you. We have experience and tools to eliminate brown rats quickly and safely. What are you waiting for? Contact us today.

The Creepiest Crickets Ever Seen in Knoxville

The Creepiest Crickets Ever Seen in Knoxville

If you’ve heard someone talk about camel crickets and the name makes you gasp, you’re not alone. Imagining a cricket-camel hybrid is terrifying. We can ease your fear by assuring you that camel crickets are not the size of a camel. They get their name from their humped backs. However, these pests do look like spiders. If you’ve never heard of camel crickets, or even if you have, keep reading for answers to all your camel cricket-questions.

What are camel crickets?

Camel crickets, also called spider crickets, cave crickets, and sprickets, are creepy pests. They look a lot like spiders but are a kind of cricket with a humped back and long legs. They also have long antennae, which is what gives them a spider-like appearance. They are brown and tan and can be around ½ an inch to 1 ½ inches long.

How do camel crickets get inside?

Camel crickets can get inside through cracks in the exterior of your home or tears in the screens around your windows or doors. They come inside looking for shelter and often hide out in basements. They like cool, damp, dark areas. Besides basements, you might find them in crawl spaces, storage areas, or garages.

Do camel crickets die in the winter?

Camel crickets, unfortunately, can be year-round pests. If they get inside, they can live out the winter inside your Knoxville home. In fact, during the fall months and early winter, you may see more camel crickets than at any other time of year since they’ll be looking for warm places to spend the winter and will be seeking shelter in your home.

Can camel crickets hurt you?

Camel crickets don’t bite or sting. They also aren’t known to carry dangerous diseases or bacteria. That means the short answer is no. However, they are considered nuisance pests. They don’t chirp like other crickets do, but their chewing noises can be loud and annoying. Plus, they can be terrifying pests to have around. Their defense mechanism when scared is to jump straight at you… something that can be horrible to experience when you’re trying to relax in your home. Plus, their chewing can cause expensive damage to your home. They eat fabrics, so you may begin to see holes in clothing, upholstery, curtains, bedding, and more.

How do you get rid of camel crickets?

The best way to get rid of camel crickets is to stop them from getting in. Check the exterior of your home for holes or cracks that may be acting as entry points for camel crickets. You can also keep them out by making your home less appealing to them. Use a dehumidifier and fans in damp and infrequently used areas of your home, like the basement and garage. This will keep the humidity levels down so that camel crickets seek shelter elsewhere.

If you aren’t sure how to keep camel crickets from getting inside, or if they keep getting in despite your best efforts, ask Russell’s Pest Control for help. We have the experience to help you identify these creepy-crawly creatures, and we know how to keep them outside. Our pest control treatment plans are effective and personalized, so you won’t ever have to see these scary pests again.

Fall Pest Control Efforts In Knoxville Will Pay Dividends During The Spring.      

Fall Pest Control Efforts In Knoxville Will Pay Dividends During The Spring.      

Now that warm summer weather has gone and the chill of fall has arrived, it’s easy to believe you don’t have to worry about pest infestations. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Pest animals don’t just die off as soon as the first frost hits, not all of them anyway. Some pests will try to invade any Knoxville home that protects them from the cold.

Why do fall pests invade?

There are many types of pests that try to invade as the weather gets cooler, but a few of the most common fall pest infestations include spiders, mice, rats, cockroaches, box elder bugs, stink bugs, and ladybugs. Insects such as ladybugs and stink bugs invade Knoxville homes to find a warm, safe spot where they can enter diapause for the winter. However, many insects that overwinter become active before spring arrives. Like insects, rodents invade to avoid the cold, but they also seek out properties with easily accessible food sources. Some fall pests create nests in your attic or basement, ripping up insulation and other materials to do so. Pest infestations can lead to damage, disease, and stress, which is why fall pest prevention is imperative.

Tips for Fall Pest Prevention

You should always increase your pest control and prevention efforts during the fall. Not only are fall pest infestations difficult to get rid of, but they can also be a danger to you and your Knoxville home. Without proper pest prevention, you might be spending your winter with rodents and experiencing your spring with overwintering insects crawling out of your walls. No matter what pests invade your property, pest prevention is important. To make your property less attractive to fall pests, implement a few of these pest prevention tips around your home.

  • Keep your garbage cans sealed and stored away from your exterior walls.
  • Seal gaps, cracks and crevices around the exterior of your home.
  • Install door sweeps.
  • Replace torn window and door screens.
  • Store pet food in airtight containers when not in use.
  • Reduce moisture around your property.
  • Keep the interior and exterior of your home clutter-free.
  • Contact professional pest control.

For more prevention tips, advice, or help with your pest problems, contact the licensed pest specialists here at Russell’s Pest Control today. We have the skills and equipment needed to keep your Knoxville home 100% pest-free* all year long.

5 Ladybug Facts Most Knoxville Residents Do Not Know  

5 Ladybug Facts Most Knoxville Residents Do Not Know  

Ladybugs are oval with dome-shaped bodies, six legs, and brightly colored protective coverings over their wings. Depending on the species, ladybugs are often red, yellow, orange, or brown and typically have black spots or other patterns on their wing covers. One fact you might not know about these colorful beetles is that they have several different names. Ladybug, ladybird, lady beetle, lady fly, lady cow, and lady clock are all names that can be used for these distinctive-looking insects. Despite their names, not all ladybugs are female.

Why do ladybugs invade?

During fall, ladybugs try to find warm and safe locations where they can overwinter. Unfortunately, the warmest and safest location to overwinter might be within the walls of your Knoxville home. While one or two ladybugs might not seem like a big deal, ladybugs invade in large numbers. An interesting fact about ladybugs is that they release strong pheromones to attract more ladybugs to a property. In severe cases of ladybug infestations, there could be several thousand individual ladybugs in a Knoxville home.

Problems Ladybugs Cause

Ladybugs don’t bite or sting as many other insects do, and they aren’t generally harmful to humans. However, they are still not pests you want to find on your property. Not many people are aware that ladybug infestations can trigger allergies in some individuals, especially in cases of large infestations. These small insects excrete a foul-smelling liquid when threatened or crushed, which can stain furniture, fabrics, wallpaper, clothing, and personal items.

Ladybug Prevention Tips

The last thing you want is to discover a ladybug infestation in your Knoxville home once spring arrives and thousands of ladybugs wake up from their dormancy to fly around your windows and lights. Prevent ladybugs from invading your Knoxville home this fall with a few of these ladybug prevention tips.

  • Keep your trash cans sealed. Ladybugs love eating food left in your garbage cans, like most insects.
  • Close your curtains at night to avoid luring ladybugs to your home.
  • Seal every crack and crevice you can find around the exterior of your home, including holes made for pipes, wires vents, or other utilities.
  • Install door sweeps on doors that lead outside.
  • Never leave food outside, and store pet food in airtight containers when not in use.
  • Remove clutter from your property.

If only a few ladybugs get into your home, you can vacuum them up and implement prevention measures around your Knoxville home to make it less attractive to other ladybugs. If you already have a large ladybug infestation, don’t hesitate to reach out to the professionals here at Russell’s pest control. Our fall pest removal and control services cover a wide variety of common fall pests, including ladybugs.

Did You Know That Homeowners Insurance Is Unlikely To Cover Termite Damage?

Did You Know That Homeowners Insurance Is Unlikely To Cover Termite Damage?

Destructive? Yep. Expensive? You bet. Not covered by your homeowners insurance? Probably also a yes.

Termites cause extensive damage to homes all across the Knoxville area, with species ranging from destructive drywood termites to dirt-loving subterranean termites.

No official numbers are collected by a government body, but the National Pest Management Association estimates that United States home and business owners pay out over five billion dollars a year because of termites. Without an insurance policy or a preventative pest control plan, termite infestations can become dangerous to your health and your wallet.

Termites won’t just effect furniture and firewood, but will weaken the very structure of a home. Some forms of termite damage include:

  • Buckling, hollow walls
  • Weakened support beams
  • Ruined furniture
  • Unsafe attic spaces
  • Drooping floors

Without immediate assistance from a qualified pest control company, your home could be facing a very real threat without the comforting support of an insurance policy.

Why Insurance Doesn’t Cover Termite Damage

Insurance companies don’t usually cover termite damage for a number of reasons that vary from provider to provider. It’s important to remember that insurance policies in general will apply to circumstances that are:

  • Accidental
  • Rapid or sudden
  • Unpreventable
  • Immediately perilous

While a termite infestation may feel like all of these things after an unfortunate discovery, the fact is termite invasions can be prevented with regular maintenance work and inspections completed by a certified pest operative. Reading up about termite behavior is a snap, especially through the informative blog posts found right here at Russell’s.

It might be surprising to learn that homeowners insurance won’t aid policy holders with termite-related property damage, but the result is very clear: Knoxville residents need to be aware of what kind of pests are around their home. To start getting more information about the types of termites and termite activity you should be aware of, reach out to Russell’s Pest Control today.


Russell’s Pest Control is Here for You

Pest control doesn’t need to be difficult to get. That’s why Russell’s Pest Control is proud to offer East Tennessee residents some of the most effective, safe, and results-driven techniques on the market for pest control companies today.

Termite protection is a cinch under one of Russell’s powerful residential care plans. With programs that cover more than thirty outdoor pests with quarterly visits, it’s impossible to miss infestations that may be creeping around your property.

Are you ready to protect your home from termites for the fall season and beyond? Contact our Knoxville office today to get the ball rolling. With or without homeowners insurance policies, Russell’s Pest Control is here to help.

Infuriated Yellow Jackets Buzzing Around Knoxville

Infuriated Yellow Jackets Buzzing Around Knoxville

This fall you may experience swarms of yellow jackets buzzing around Knoxville. As winter approaches, yellow jackets are more aggressive as they are busy trying to get the next generation’s queen ready for overwintering. A yellow jacket Is a type of wasp which means it can sting multiple times. You want to avoid these stinging insects, especially if you are allergic to their stings. Take precautions as a homeowner to keep your property free from yellow jackets. If you are struggling with yellow jackets or have a nest on your property, it is best to call for professional help with removal.

Identifying Yellow Jackets  

Yellow jackets have narrow segmented bodies, thin wings, and distinct black and yellow markings. Typically, they are around an inch long. Yellow jackets typically nest in the ground, often in holes formed by burrowing rodents. This differentiates them from other wasps.

Aggressive Yellow Jackets    

Yellow jackets are aggressive stinging insects. They will sting if they are disturbed in any way. This can include walking over the top of their nest, but even vibrations from a lawnmower nearby or children playing in the yard can agitate them. If a yellow jacket stings, they can leave a scent that alerts other yellow jackets that you are a threat.

Preventing Yellow Jackets  

It’s a good idea to make your Knoxville yard less attractive to yellow jackets. You can do this by reducing the things they like to feed on on your property, including fruits and meats. If you have fruit trees, remove any overripe fruit that has dropped. Clean up immediately after picnics and outdoor social gatherings where food is served. Avoid bright patterned deck and patio furniture. And reduce the number of brightly colored and fragrant flowers near your outdoor entertaining areas.

Professional Help for Yellow Jackets    

It’s safest to contact the professionals at Russell’s Pest Control to remove yellow jackets from your Knoxville-area home. Because of their aggressive nature and in-ground nests, yellow jackets are difficult to get rid of with DIY methods and it can be dangerous to try. With one of Russell’s Power programs, your Knoxville home will be protected from wasps and yellow jackets, year-round. Contact us today for help with infuriated yellow jackets buzzing around your Knoxville home this fall.

Why Is Knoxville’s Common House Spider So Common?

Why Is Knoxville's Common House Spider So Common?

The name “house spider” encompasses a large range of common home-invading spider species. Though the most notable of these species is the common house spider. Occasionally, common house spiders are called American house spiders. These pests are usually brown, tan, or gray in color with darker markings across their bodies. Common house spiders are small, measuring between 4 mm and 8 mm in length, depending on the gender. Female spiders are larger than male spiders. Common house spiders love to hide in dark or undisturbed areas, such as closets, attics, basements, wall voids, and crawlspaces.

Are common house spiders dangerous?

Although all species of spiders are venomous, only a few are dangerous to humans. Black widow spiders and brown recluse spiders are the only dangerous spiders in the United States. Common house spiders use their venom to paralyze their insect prey, but rarely bite humans unless threatened or provoked. If you are bitten by a common house spider, you may experience mild pain, swelling, and redness around the bite site.

While common house spiders aren’t dangerous, finding an infestation in your Knoxville home usually indicates a larger pest problem. Spiders are nomadic, which means that they travel to wherever their food sources are found. If insect pests have invaded your property, it doesn’t take long for spiders to show up shortly after. Spider infestations always indicate deeper pest problems on your property.


Spider Prevention Tips

Without a food source on your Knoxville property, spiders will not have a reason to invade. One of the best ways to avoid attracting spiders to your home is to remove all the factors that provide spiders with sources of food and shelter. Keep spiders at bay with these simple spider and insect prevention steps.

  • Insects love moisture. Remove moisture from your property by filling in low-lying areas of your lawn, clearing your gutters of debris, and dumping water out of items that collect rainwater (such as flowerpots).
  • Both spiders and insects are most comfortable in areas with thick vegetation and plant cover. Cut tree branches, shrubs, foliage, and weeds away from your exterior walls. Not only will this reduce how attractive your property is to pests, but it will also allow sunlight to hit your foundation and dry up excess moisture.
  • Common house spiders and insects will invade your home through just about any entry point they can find. If you seal up these areas, fewer pests will be able to invade. Seal cracks in your foundation, install door sweeps, and replace torn window screens.

The most effective way to remove spider and insect infestations is with the help of the licensed pest specialists here at Russell’s Pest Control. We provide a variety of home pest control services, including inspections, general pest management, rodent control, and much more! For assistance with your spider infestation or any pests that encourage spiders to invade, contact Russell’s Pest Control.

3 Things Every Knoxville Homeowner Should Know About Carpenter Ants

3 Things Every Knoxville Homeowner Should Know About Carpenter Ants

In our Knoxville service area, carpenter ants can be a significant threat. These ants can damage man-made structures as they create places to establish nests. If they chew their way into your Knoxville home, there are three important points you should consider.

1.Carpenter ants aren’t always easy to detect.

This is the big one. If you know a little about carpenter ants, you might think you’ll be able to detect them and stop them before they damage your home. This isn’t always the case. The ways carpenter ants reveal themselves can sometimes go unnoticed:

  • Worker ants. You might think that you’ll see big, black ants crawling around inside your home when these ants get in. Sadly, this is rarely the case. Carpenter ants can find a lot more to eat on the outside of your Knoxville home than they can on the inside. They don’t need to raid your cabinets to get a bite to eat. You may, however, see a random scout every once in a while. If you do, be aware that one scout ant may be the only warning sign you get.
  • Ants outside. You might think that you’re going to see lots of busy little ants around your Knoxville home when carpenter ants get in. Unfortunately, carpenter ants are mostly nocturnal. They’ll be busy while you’re sleeping.
  • Sawdust. If you know that carpenter ants don’t eat wood, you might think that you’ll see sawdust piles when these ants get into your home. Keep in mind that the nocturnal nature of carpenter ants causes them to get into dark places around and inside your home. These are usually areas that are hard to get into.
  • Winged ants. You may think you’ll see flying ants if you have an infestation. The problem with this warning sign is that swarms don’t last for more than 30 minutes and sometimes flying ants take to the air and move right into the next-door neighbor’s yard.

 2. Carpenter ant damage can cause a lot of problems.

Over time, carpenter ants can do a lot of damage. As they weaken timbers, it can put stress on the structure of your Knoxville home and lead to serious damage.

3. Carpenter ants are difficult to control.

Have you ever tried to eliminate ant colonies? It’s hard. And when you’re unsuccessful, it is difficult to know it. This is something you don’t want to do with carpenter ants. The last thing you need is to have these ants continuing to do damage to your home right under your nose.

For ant control in Knoxville, reach out to Russell’s Pest Control. We have the experience and knowledge to help you protect your property and keep ants out.

Don’t Let Flies Invade Your Knoxville Home in the Summer

Don't Let Flies Invade Your Knoxville Home in the Summer

You don’t want flies invading your Knoxville home this summer, so it’s time to take precautions to keep them out. There are a variety of ways that flies can get into your home. Once they are inside, they are nothing but an annoying nuisance. You can take steps to prevent them as much as possible. However professional treatment can be worthwhile for fly-infested homes.


How Flies Get into Homes

We should be wondering how flies don’t get into homes rather than how they do get in. They are so small it’s a wonder our Knoxville homes aren’t constantly filled with flies.


Let’s look at some of the most common ways flies get in, from house flies to fruit flies:

  • Through the front door. Whether from kids running in and out or leaving the door open to let in the fresh air, it’s easy for flies to come right in.
  • Through the window. Whether you have the windows open this summer or you have tears or holes in your screen, flies will make their way in.
  • In your belongings. From groceries to house plants, anything you carry in from outside has the potential to harbor flies – especially fruit flies.

Why Flies are a Nuisance

Most people don’t enjoy the company of pests in their homes. Flies can be particularly annoying as they buzz around your head or divebomb your food. Due to their habits of hanging around trash, dirty drains, and feces, they can also carry contaminants. When they land on the surfaces within your home, they can transmit these disease-carrying contaminants to your family.


Preventing Flies

There are several things Knoxville homeowners can do this summer to prevent flies as much as possible:


  • Keep doors and windows closed unless you have sturdy screens in place.
  • Make sure that screens are in good repair with no holes or tears.
  • Take the trash out frequently and store food in airtight containers to reduce food sources.
  • Clean drains and garbage disposals frequently.
  • Check around your home to repair cracks and seal openings, wherever possible.

Professional Treatment for Flies

You may spend time searching for DIY methods of fly removal should you find yourself with a fly-infested home. Most of the time these methods are futile and are a waste of time while allowing your fly population to grow. One or two stray flies in your Knoxville home aren’t of much concern. However, if you are regularly dealing with flies or large populations of flies, including house flies, blow flies, or fruit flies, it’s time to contact a professional.


At Russell’s Pest Control we have 40 years’ experience ridding Knoxville-area homes of flies and other nuisance pests. Contact us for options in keeping your Tennessee home free from flies this summer.