Knoxville’s Complete Guide To Rodent Prevention

Knoxville's Complete Guide To Rodent Prevention

The term “rodent” has become somewhat synonymous with mice and rats. While squirrels are also considered rodents, they don’t travel around inside Knoxville homes. They get into attic spaces and go in and out to gather food. So, for the purposes of this guide, we’re going to focus on mice and rats.

What Mice and Rats Are Pests in Knoxville?

In our area, house mice and deer mice are the mice to worry about, with the house mouse being the worst of the two. House mice love to live in our homes with us. When they get in, they tend to stay in permanently. Deer mice prefer rural areas and would rather infest a barn, shed ,or outbuilding. They can get into your home. But they may not stay inside your home.

Knoxville is home to two pest rats. They are the Norway rat and the roof rat. A case can be made for each of these rats being the worst of the two. Norway rats are considered by many to be the worst because they can get aggressive. But Norway rats prefer to create ground burrows outside rather than live permanently in your home. The roof rat, which is also referred to as the common house rat, prefers to be in man-made structures. When roof rats get in, they often stay in. But, like a squirrel, roof rats may go in and out to gather food. This makes the common house mouse the worst of all rodents that can get into your home.

Rodent  Activity

A rodent that prefers to be in your home will be a greater threat to you, your family, and your property because it is prone to cause more damage and spread illness to more locations. Mice and rats chew holes. They chew their way into your home. They chew holes in insulation. They damage items that are in storage. They chew holes through sheetrock and baseboards. They chew on the wiring inside walls. They also spread organisms around your home. Some are so small you aren’t able to see them, such as bacteria and parasitic worms. Some are large enough to see, such as ticks, fleas and lice.

Rodent Attractants

There are a few things that can attract rodents to your yard. Removing them will reduce rodent populations and reduce your chances of an infestation.

  • Rodents love bird seed as much as birds do. If seed falls onto the ground, you’re going to have a very attractive food source in your yard. Consider moving feeders to at least 20 feet away from your home.
  • Rodents get into open trash. They can jump high and climb walls like ninjas. Make sure your trash is in sealed receptacles.
  • Rodents prefer a yard that has lots of hiding places. Remove items from your backyard that don’t need to be there. This will reduce rodents.

Rodent Exclusion

There are many ways rodents can get into your Tennessee home. They can use entry points from the very bottom to the top of your chimney. Sealing entry points and protecting vulnerable spots is key to keeping all rodents out of your home.

  • Seal cracks, gaps, and holes in your foundation walls, especially around pipes, windows and doors.
  • Inspect your doors and windows for damaged screens, holes in frames, missing door sweeps, gaps in weatherstripping and damaged seals around the frames.
  • Make sure your vents are covered.
  • Make sure your weep holes are protected.
  • Add metal flashing to areas of your roofline that are vulnerable.
  • Install a cap for your chimney.

What a Pest Control Company Can Do

Once you’ve done what you can do to reduce rodents and seal them out of your home, it is time to consider what a pest control company can do. At Russell’s Pest Control, we use tamper-resistant traps to control rodent populations around Knoxville homes. This gives added protection from gnawing-rodents for homes that are sealed up tight, and it gives much-needed protection for homes that aren’t sealed very well. If you need help making your home rodent-free, reach out to us. We can help you get the control you’re looking for. Get started by requesting a free in-home pest evaluation.

Why DIY Is Not A Great Idea When It Comes To Rodent Control In Knoxville

Why DIY Is Not A Great Idea When It Comes To Rodent Control In Knoxville

Rodents can get into Knoxville homes all year long, but during the cold winter days, they have more incentive. As a rodent scurries past an exterior door and senses heat radiating through the door or warm air leaking from a gap in some weatherstripping around the door, it will want to know where that heat is coming from. This can inspire a rodent to chew through the rubber protective barrier and slip right into your home. When they do, you may consider addressing your rodent problem with DIY rodent control methods. Let’s talk about some of the methods you might use and discuss some of the ways they fall short of appropriately dealing with a rodent infestation.

Not-So-Great DIY Rodent Control Ideas

We’re always being asked questions about natural rodent remedies, such as, “What scent will keep mice away?” “Do mothballs keep mice away?” “Does cinnamon keep mice away?” And, “Do mice like vinegar? All of these questions center on controlling mice and rats with natural products that rodents find repelling. But repelling rodents isn’t going to solve a rodent problem. These animals can climb up and down through your wall voids and chew access holes in locations you haven’t sprinkled with something repelling. They aren’t likely to leave your home, especially if it is cold outside. Repellents are best used for keeping mice and rats from getting into your home in the first place. Some common repellents that can be successful at deterring rodents are: used kitty litter in an open container, peppermint oil, instant potatoes, mothballs, vinegar, and onions.

Another solution people turn to is natural forms of poison, such as mixing Plaster of Paris and cocoa powder together. It is believed that mice will eat this mixture and then leave a home in search of water. When they do, they die outside. Don’t count on those rodents to eat this concoction or to go outside to die.

Once rodents have gotten in, the best solution to get rid of them is to trap them. This is another way DIY can fail. There are many traps that just don’t work. And if a trap does work, it can become ineffective when placed in the wrong location or when the wrong type of bait is used. There are many ways trapping can go wrong.

Effective DIY Rodent Control Tips

When we provide rodent prevention tips, we focus on environmental modifications to exclude and resist rodents rather than “control” rodents with natural remedies and DIY products. Some examples of natural rodent management are:

  • Removing unnecessary clutter and vegetation from landscaping.
  • Sealing holes, gaps and cracks in your exterior.
  • Addressing conditions that promote moisture or create puddles.
  • Putting trash in sealed receptacles.
  • Putting foods in sealed, hard plastic containers.

Using rodent management, you can make your Knoxville home less interesting to rodents. But, when it comes to “controlling” rodents, it is best to hire a professional. A rodent control professional uses tamper-resistant traps that are appropriately selected for the animal being trapped and placed in a way that will achieve the desired results. Most of all, a professional is able to monitor rodent activity and make sure that no rodents remain in your home once the service is completed.

Make Sure You Get All The Rodents

The best solution for rodent control in Knoxville is to reach out to the rodent control experts at Russell’s Pest Control. Our pest control team knows what is required to monitoring rodent activity and effectively eliminate rodents. Don’t trust DIY rodent control to protect your health and property from mice and rats. It just isn’t worth it.

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.

How Mice Get Into Knoxville Attics In Winter

How Mice Get Into Knoxville Attics In Winter

How Mice Get Into Knoxville Attics in Winter

Winter is upon us and mice are out looking for a way to get into homes, but why? The simple truth is, mice prefer warmth over the chilly weather of winter and this fact drives them to seek out the best shelter they can find. Frankly, your home beats any other form of shelter they will be able to find in the wild. It has plenty of warmth, is always stocked with food and offers a variety of places to hide, whether in the walls or elsewhere. It’s no wonder why mice want in.

Mice Are Built To Invade

Mice are built to invade homes. They are small, agile, and are among some of the more clever pests out there. Just to put it into perspective, a fully grown house mouse can squeeze its body through a hole the size of a nickel. If you can find a nickel nearby take a look at it. Now consider the foundation of your home. Does it have any nickel-sized holes? On top of that, mice are also fairly good climbers meaning, more often than not, they can scale the walls of your home and invade at any level. This includes your attic. Now think back to the nickel fact again and this time consider your entire home for potential entry points. Even if your house is a fortress, there is always a chance a mouse can find a hole big enough to squeeze through.

Why Mice Are The Last Thing You Want In Your Home

Did you know that a mouse’s incisors never stop growing? And to combat this they chew on practically everything? This becomes a major problem when mice are surrounded by insulation and wires as they crawl through your walls. On top of chewing on everything, mice are also not the cleanest of animals. They often forage in areas of waste just as easily as they traipse through our food when they invade. This raises more than a few sanitation concerns. Finally, mice are known carriers of various diseases, ones that can be transmitted through their feces and urine, which they leave wherever they go. All around, mice are not a pest you want in your home.

Call Russell’s For All Your Mice Needs

When it’s all said and done, one thing will always be true, mice are a pain to deal with. They commonly elude traps, wreak havoc when the lights go out, and are an all-around threat to your health and well-being. So, if your home has mice, we want to help. By calling on Russell’s Pest Control, you are gaining over 40 years of pest control experience. Our pest control technicians are known for getting things done right. Any day, any time, we would be happy to do right by you and your home. So give us a call today!

How Rodents Get Inside Eastern Tennessee Homes In The Winter

How Rodents Get Inside Eastern Tennessee Homes In The Winter

Do you consider your home to be secure? If you have locks on the doors and windows, outdoor lights, and possibly a security system or camera set up, you probably feel good about your safety. However, there are intruders lurking about this winter that won’t break in through the front door. If you’ve ever wondered how rodents get inside your Eastern Tennessee home, we have the answer.

Why Rodents Get Inside Eastern Tennessee Homes in the Winter

In the warmer months, rodents are not often a concern. You may see them outside once in a while, but they’re unlikely to get into your home because they don’t need to. So why do they enter homes in the winter? When the weather turns cold, they begin to look for warm shelter. Even if they’ve already found a relatively warm spot to nest, they may decide to move if the area where they currently live doesn’t offer a steady food supply. Chances are, your Eastern Tennessee home offers both shelter and food.

How Rodents Get Inside Eastern Tennessee Homes in the Winter

In order for rodents to make the transition from outdoors to indoors, several things must happen:

  • The outside of your home must be appealing enough to make them want to investigate further. A yard that has a lot of areas to hide, plentiful food, and easily accessible water sources will attract rodents.
  • Once rodents have made it into your yard, they will move closer to your home. If there are easy ways to access your roof or there are areas around your foundation that allow for entry, they will check them out and, most likely, end up inside your home.
  • Once inside, rodents choose a secluded spot to build their nests. Wall voids, attic spaces, and cluttered storage areas are all favorite spots for rodents.

How to Keep Rodents Out of Your Eastern Tennessee Home in the Winter

To prevent a rodent invasion, you need to start by making your property unappealing to rodents:

  • Keep your grass trimmed short.
  • Remove lawn debris and wood piles so there are fewer places for rodents to hide.
  • Cover garbage bins with tightly fitting lids.
  • Don’t leave pet food outside.
  • Remove bird feeders.
  • Make sure there is no standing water on your property.
  • Cut back tree limbs so they do not touch the exterior of your home.

You also need to make sure your home doesn’t have any obvious entry points. Smaller rodents, like mice, can fit through a hole the size of a dime, and all rodents have the ability to nibble on a small hole to make it big enough to squeeze through.

  • Cover or cap all obvious holes, such as chimneys, vents, and downspouts.
  • Check for and repair damaged roof shingles.
  • Inspect your foundation for cracks and holes, and fill any that you find.
  • Check for gaps around windows and doors, repairing those you discover.
  • Repair torn screens.

What to Do if Rodents Get Inside

Sometimes even our best precautions aren’t enough to stop rodents from getting inside. If they do, it’s important to call a pest management professional to help take care of the problem. Russell’s Pest Control can safely eliminate your rodent problem while also identifying how they were able to get inside in the first place, helping to prevent future infestations.

You can also save time by calling Russell’s to do the prevention work for you. Our Power Programs keep your home safe from over 30 pests. Give us a call to learn more.

How Rodents Get Inside Tennessee Homes In Fall And Winter

How Rodents Get Inside Tennessee Homes In Fall And Winter

The leaves are falling, the air is crisp, and winter is on its way. Tennessee is beautiful this time of year and, as much as we’d like to spend all our time enjoying the weather, certain preparations must be made for the coldest months.

As we prepare for winter, so too are the wildlife who live around us. If we’re not careful, our two worlds might come into contact in a way that is much too close for comfort.

When fall hits, rodents realize that it’s not as warm as it was a couple of months ago and that food supplies are not as plentiful as they were in the summer. Their instincts kick in and they begin to look for warm shelter that also offers an easily accessible food source. Oftentimes, they’ll find both of these things within the walls of your home.

How Rodents Get Inside Tennessee Homes

While you can’t eliminate the warmth or food in your home, you can prevent rodents from getting inside. In order to do so, you need to understand how they find their way indoors in the first place.

Mice and rats are cautious creatures. They like to hide, and are not eager to come out in the open. If the outdoor landscape around your home offers plenty of hiding spots in the form of tall grasses, bushes and shrubbery, stone walls, wood piles, and the like, they are much more likely to be near enough to your house to look for openings to the inside.

They’ll also be attracted to your yard if there are food sources outside. Pet food left on the porch, bird feeders, or open garbage containers are a sure way to attract rodents to your property.

Once near the perimeter of your home, rodents will look for any entry points to get inside. Mice can fit through an opening the size of a dime, and rats can fit through an opening the size of a quarter, so it does not need to be big to serve as an easy entry point.

How to Prevent Rodents From Getting Inside

Now that you know how they get inside, you can eliminate or diminish the things that are drawing rodents to your property. Consider landscaping options that keep grass trimmed short and bushes, shrubs, rock walls, and wood piles a distance from your house.

Remove all potential outdoor food sources and place garbage in containers with tightly fitting lids.

Check around your home, including on the roof, for holes, gaps, and cracks, and fill or cover any that you find. Don’t forget vents and the chimney!

What to Do if Rodents Get Inside

In the event that mice or rats make their way inside, it’s important to take care of them in a timely fashion. They can cause extensive damage to a home and present some serious health hazards to the people residing in the home, as well.

While DIY methods of extermination are often tempting, they are also frequently ineffective. Traps, for instance, rarely take care of an entire rodent population. Instead, the best way to eliminate the entire problem is to bring in professional pest control experts. Russell’s Pest Control will eliminate your rodent problem at its source, as well as correct any conditions that are making it easy for rodents to get inside in the first place. We also offer ongoing home pest control solutions so that you can get back to enjoying autumn while knowing your home is well-protected. To learn more, give us a call today.

Tips For Preventing Fall Rodent Infestations In Knoxville

Tips For Preventing Fall Rodent Infestations In Knoxville

Cooling temperatures bring mugs of hot chocolate, toasty warm campfires, and long-sleeved clothing for that desired sweater weather aesthetic. However, just as we are looking for warmth and peace of mind, rodents are doing the same. As the temperature outside drops, rats, and mice begin looking for potential heat sources and food sources. Your home happens to provide both of these things, as well as many nooks and crannies to squeeze into and hide.

There are several ways you can prevent rodents from entering your home this fall, here are just a few.

  • Rodents, like several other pests, are attracted to any food sources your home provides, whether that be inside or outside. Keeping your food sealed in plastic containers, sweeping your floors to get rid of crumbs, not leaving pet food outside, and making sure your trash bin is sealed tightly are just a few of the ways to reduce the number of rodents you attract to your home.
  • Outside areas that remain untrimmed are great hiding places for rats and mice. Leaving piles of wood around, not mowing your lawn, failing to trim tree branches and weeds away from your house, and even leaving children’s toys or other clutter in your yard provides ways for rodents to hide and eventually creep close enough to your home to invade it. Keeping your yard neat and uncluttered is a great way to prevent rodents from having the opportunity to infest your property.
  • Rats and mice are masters at finding the smallest cracks or tears that grant passage into your home. If left unchecked, window screens can accumulate rips and tears just from sticks and other debris that the weather blows around—which creates an opening for mice and rats to sneak inside. Cracks in the foundation of your home are another way rodents enter your home. By routinely checking to be sure these areas are secure, you greatly reduce the ways these pests can get in.

You may want to try and remove rodents from your home by yourself, however, if the prevention tips above have failed to keep them out of your home, eliminating these pests is best left to the rodent control experts here at Russell’s Pest Control. Rodents are a difficult pest to get rid of on your own. With our rodent elimination services, we have the skills required to make your pest problems vanish once and for all. Don’t let rodents ruin your autumn weather fun, contact Russell’s Pest Control for a free estimate today!

Why Rodents Enter Our Homes

Why Rodents Enter Our Homes

Winter is on its way, we can feel it in the air as it is getting colder outside. Unfortunately, pests are feeling the same temperature change and will be in a search for a warmer place to call home throughout the winter months. Besides warmth, these pests are in search of shelter to raise their young, as well as food and water to survive. These particular pests are rodents, like those mischievous mice and rascally rats that scurry about and skulk around the pantry foraging for food. And here’s the problem with rodents inside your house: they carry diseases, chew everything in sight, and cause damage to your home. Not a creature you want to have around.

Let’s start by talking about the diseases they can carry, like the deadly hantavirus, which can lead to hemorrhagic fever or acute respiratory failure. You and your family could be at risk for other diseases as well, like leptospirosis, lymphocytic disease, and salmonella as a result of a rodent infestation. Rodents can also bring parasites like mites, fleas, and ticks into your home that can affect the health of your family and pets too. On top of this, rodents are looking for food, and will contaminate anything they can get their claws into.

Since rodents have incisors that continuously grow, they chew incessantly to prevent overgrowth of their teeth. They can chew the legs of furniture, picture frames, books, clothing, wires, pipes, insulation, and much more. Normally the chewing would just damage single items, but if an electrical wire is chewed, it could spark a fire in your home. Likewise, if a plumbing pipe is chewed through, you could experience a lot of water damage.

So, how do you prevent rodents from entering your house in the first place? You will need to block off all entry points by caulking all gaps and holes around your foundation and exterior walls, the preferred method is to stuff a hole with steel wool and then caulk it, as rodents can chew through the caulk alone. You will also need to fix or replace all damaged vents, screens, chimney caps etc… Try to keep trees and bushes trimmed back away from your house and eliminate piles of wood and junk near your home. Your garbage cans should have tight-fitting lids as well. Inside your home, keep all of your food secure in containers with tight-fitting lids, and never use food that has ripped, torn or chewed packaging. You should also be on the lookout for rodent droppings that look like small black rice with tapered ends. As an extra precaution, you should clean up food and drink spills right away and repair leaky pipes and faucets.

If you already have an infestation, you should contact a professional pest control service in your area. If you live in the Knoxville and Eastern Tennessee area, call on Russell’s Pest Control for full-service pest management. Our year-round home pest control services effectively address all rodent activity to ensure proper eradication of the rodents and keep them away with a multi-step process. So, if getting rid of pests for good is what you are looking for, look no further. Russell’s Pest Control has solutions that will give you the peace of mind you need, that ensures you a rodent free home all year long.

Identifying A Rodent Infestation

Identifying A Rodent Infestation

Removing rodents from your home is most successful when you understand whether you are dealing with a mouse or rat infestation. Not only do mice and rats look different, but their behavior, habits, and food preferences are slightly different as well – meaning you can improve your rodent infestation removal efforts simply by knowing which species you are dealing with.

Signs of a Rodent Infestation

The telltale signs of a rodent infestation include droppings and urine odors; gnaw marks and holes, nests, and scampering noises throughout your home. The size of the droppings can help indicate whether you are dealing with a mouse or rat infestation. If the droppings are one quarter of an inch or smaller, you’re dealing with mice. If the droppings are half an inch or bigger, you’re dealing with rats.

Behavior Differences Between Mice and Rats

Mice are curious creatures and like to investigate everything. Place traps in areas with mice droppings, as they are likely to run through that area. Rats, on the other hand, are cautious creatures and avoid new things until they have gotten somewhat used to them. Your best bet with rats is to place unset traps in the likely rat path for a few days, to give the rats time to get used to it being there before setting it in hopes of trapping the critter.

Mice build nests near food sources and prefer to eat plants and grains, although they will eat most anything if they have to. Rats, on the other hand, burrow under buildings and under plants and debris, and prefer to eat plants and other animals. Rats will even eat mice. Both are nocturnal creatures, preferring to do most of their exploring at night, but may be seen during the day if their nests are disrupted or they’re in search of food.

Getting Rid of Rodents

Take some time to inspect your property and properly seal any cracks and crevices. Both mice and rats can enter your home through tiny openings (mice only need a hole about the size of a dime to get in, and rats just slightly larger than that!)

If your trapping efforts haven’t eliminated your rodent infestation, call Russell’s Pest Control for rodent elimination services. We’ll conduct a thorough inspection of your home to determine whether you have a rat or mouse infestation, deploy proper pest control measures to get rid of existing rodents, and help you prevent future infestations.

What To Do, And Not Do, About Rodents In Your Home

What To Do

If you are hearing, or seeing, the evidence of rodents inside your home, this is not an issue to be taken lightly. The scritch-scratching sounds inside your walls, the tiny (or perhaps not so tiny) droppings you are finding in your cabinets, and the chew holes appearing in the Cheerios box are not things that should be ignored. Rodents are not only a nuisance to have around, they pose very real dangers to you, your possessions, your family, and even your pets.

Rodents are famous for foraging in filthy places, but they also forage in your kitchen. This means that they carry all sorts of disease-causing pathogens into your home and deposit them everywhere they roam. Rodents are known to transmit diseases, some of them fatal–as well as secondary pests, like ticks, which can transmit Lyme disease. And, rodents are a danger to your possessions as well. Since they constantly have to chew on things to wear down their ever-growing teeth, they will damage or destroy anything from treasured possessions to your whole house, if they accidentally chew on the right electrical wire.

If you have a rodent infestation, it is imperative you get professional help right away. Although some do-it-yourself rodent control strategies can get rid of some rodents, to completely eradicate these pests, so they don’t keep coming back, a pest control company is the way to go.

Why DIY rodent control doesn’t work

  • While many products will kill some rats and mice, killing all the rodents in a home can be tricky. And many products can be dangerous to humans or pets if not properly handled. At best, you can reduce your rodent population, at worst, you could end up with dead, rotting rodent carcasses inside your wall voids, which will only draw more pests into your structure. Many bugs are drawn to dead, rotting things.

  • Using chemical products can result in rodents picking up the chemicals on their fur and then tracking it around your pantries and food preparation areas.

  • While snap traps may catch some rodents, it is impossible to know if you have gotten them all. These critters have a threat avoidance instinct that will cause them to lay low for a while and grow their population to come back later when the threat is gone. If your family is dealing with flu-like symptoms, it may be rodent related, even if you think you’ve gotten rid of your rodents.

If you are hearing and seeing the signs of a rodent infestation, and you live in our East Tennessee service area, call or click today. With over 40 years experience in pest prevention and elimination, Russell’s Pest Control can make your home rodent-free with rodent control you can depend on. Life is better without rodents.