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 Summer the Season of Cockroaches?

A cockroach in the summer is a bad sign of an infestation in Knoxville TN. Russell's Pest Control

Here in Knoxville, cockroaches are a very common pest throughout the year. However, both homeowners and business owners deal with cockroach problems more often than ever in the summertime. This is because cockroaches are drawn to the heat and humidity that only summer months can provide. With a rapid rate of reproduction this time of year, roach infestations can grow out of hand. Because this pest is so troublesome, it’s important to know what you can do to keep them away in the summertime. The team at Russell’s Pest Control is here with expert information on cockroach season: summer!

The Dangers of Cockroaches in the Summer

Cockroaches are known to be gross, but they are one of the more dangerous types of pests. Especially in the summer months, cockroach infestations can explode in size. When you have an infestation, roaches can spread germs and filth. Some of the bacteria they carry can lead to a number of transmitted diseases. In addition, certain individuals are known to have allergic reactions due to the presence of roaches. Because they can be a dangerous pest problem in the summer, it’s crucial to know how to keep them away in the first place.

Here’s How to Prevent Cockroach Infestations

A single cockroach can quickly lead to more…and more. To avoid the frustration of a roach infestation this summer, follow these tips to keep them away:

  • Inspect the perimeter of your home and seal cracks and crevices. Seal windows and doors or install screens.
  • Ensure your kitchens and bathrooms are clean. Promptly wipe or clean up spills and crumbs.
  • After feeding your pets, pick up pet bowls and avoid leaving food out overnight
  • Keep all food securely sealed in airtight containers, and refrigerate unsealed food.
  • Seal all garbage cans with a tight-fitting lid, and routinely take it out when needed.
  • Avoid leaving piles of clutter or junk both inside and outside of your property.
  • Because cockroaches love moisture, promptly fix any leaky pipes or clogged rain gutters.

Cockroach Control in the Summertime

If you’ve done all you can to prevent cockroaches this summer and still have an infestation on your hands, it’s important to contact a professional for help. DIY cockroach control can be a never ending process that rarely results in complete control of the cockroach colony. The cockroach exterminators at Russell’s can ensure you are roach-free this summer and all year long.

Characteristics of Wasp Nests

Wasp nest identification tips in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

During the summertime in Knoxville, insects are a fact of life. Wasps are one of the most common summer insects that are encountered. In nature, they’re a perfectly normal part of the environment. In fact, certain wasps are beneficial in several ways. However, they can become a nuisance when they build their nests on the sides of homes or buildings. In the late summer months, wasps can become more aggressive as their colonies grow and resources begin to dwindle. It can be difficult to identify wasp species. The easiest way to do so is to know what their nests look like. The team at Russell’s is here to share expert tips on identifying different types of wasp nests you may see near your property this summer.

Wasp Nest Identification Tips

To identify a wasp, it’s crucial to know how to identify their nest! Here’s what to know:

  1. Yellowjackets. Likely the most common nest you may see, yellowjacket nests are a papery material and have a single opening. The inside of a yellowjacket nest can have up to 100 tiers of cells. Yellowjackets can also build underground nests that can be enormous in size.
  2. Paper wasps. These nests famously look like upside-down umbrellas. Paper wasp nests are often open, and can get quite large in size. They are typically supported by a single stalk and consist of a paper-like material.
  3. Mud daubers. True to name, female mud daubers construct their nests out of mostly mud. The nests are small and tubular in size, often looking like organ pipes. They are typically found in cracks or crevices.
  4. Bald-faced hornets. These nests are almost always at least three feet off the ground. They are made of chewed wood fibers mixed with saliva. They often grow to be the size of a football or basketball.

Wasp nest identification guide in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

When do Wasps Make Nests?

Wasps usually begin to build their nests in April.  This is the time of year when certain queen wasp species awaken from the winter and begin nests. Once the queen wasp has chosen a location and built the nest, the queen will lay her eggs inside. Once they hatch, the larvae will be fed until the colony starts to grow in size. Nests typically become full size in the late summer. Certain wasp species will outgrow their nests and swarm, which is when people encounter stinging insects most often.

Can You Remove a Wasp Nest on Your Own?

It’s not recommended to try to knock down a nest on your own. Even when a nest appears inactive, there could be dozens of stinging insects inside. Certain types of wasps will not hesitate to sting you repeatedly when they feel their nest is under threat. For this reason, our team always recommends calling a professional wasp removal expert for assistance.

Mosquito Breeding Grounds in Your Yard

Mosquito breeding grounds in your Knoxville TN yard - Russell's Pest Control

Summertime here in Knoxville calls for warm, humid days. Unfortunately, our climate is ideal for mosquitoes, who are very active at dawn and dusk. If you’ve spent time outdoors during this time, you know it can seem like mosquitoes are everywhere. You may unknowingly have mosquito breeding grounds right in your backyard! Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to keep mosquitoes from breeding in your yard.

The team at Russell’s is here to share expert info on eliminating mosquitoes from your property for good–read on to learn more!

The Mosquito Breeding Process

After breeding, female mosquitoes are able to lay anywhere from 100-300 eggs at a time. Once the larvae hatch, mosquitoes will become adults in just under two week’s time. Their quick life cycle means they can quickly infest your yard! For this reason, it’s crucial to know how to eliminate all mosquito breeding grounds in the first place. A few of the most common mosquito hot spots include:

  • Old tires
  • Birdbaths
  • Gutters
  • Mud pots
  • Tree stumps and wood piles
  • Children’s play sets
  • Trash cans
  • Any other area harboring stagnant water

Mosquito prevention tips and ticks for homes in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

Other Opportunities to Prevent Mosquitoes

On a regular basis, inspect your property for the above listed items. If you notice any of them are holding standing water, dump them out. In addition, it’s smart to cover items as much as possible. If you are able to reduce mosquito breeding sites, you can successfully keep them away.

A few other things you can do to prevent mosquitoes include installing screens on windows and doors, reducing outdoor lighting at night, keeping your lawn trimmed, fixing water leaks promptly, and using repellents containing DEET as necessary following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Keeping Mosquitoes Away in Knoxville

Mosquitoes are a nuisance and no one wants them in their backyard, let alone breeding in their backyard! If you’ve done everything you can to get rid of common breed grounds for mosquitoes and still are dealing with them, contact the mosquito exterminators at Russell’s today. We focus on long-term mosquito control to keep you and your family safe from these blood-suckers year-round.

5 Tips to Keep Ants Out This Summer

Tips to keep ants out this summer in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

Ants are any property owner’s worst nightmare. Not only are they simply a nuisance, they’re infamously difficult to get rid of. Infestations in the summertime spike as ants make their way indoors for food and shelter. To avoid the frustration of an ant problem this summer, there are a few things you can do to limit their access indoors. The experts at Russell’s Pest Control have years of experience controlling these pests and is here to share expert tips to keep ants out this summer.

Types of Ants in the Summer

Did you know there are more than 700 species of ants in the United States alone? For that reason, it is crucial to know which one you’re dealing with in order to properly prevent and control them. An infestation from any of these can be a major pain to deal with, making it important to know what you’re coming up against. The most common ants you will come across include:

How to Keep Summertime Ants Out

If you have had ants before, you know that they can suddenly appear seemingly out of nowhere! To avoid letting ants indoors, there are 5 things you can do to make your property less attractive and accessible to them. Our tips to keep ants out this summer include:

  1. Clean your home regularly. Sweep your floors regularly to get rid of crumbs. Ants are attracted to sugary food sources and a few crumbs will keep them coming back for more.
  2. Store all food items properly. Avoid leaving food out uncovered. Keep food in airtight containers or store them safely in cupboards and fridges.
  3. Seal gaps, cracks, and entry holes. Ants can crawl through the tiniest of cracks. Inspect your property and use caulk to seal any gaps, holes, or potential entry ways.
  4. Avoid excess moisture or water. Areas with standing water or leaks will attract ants quickly. Attend to broken pipes and clean up spills quickly.
  5. Trim back trees and vegetation. Plants close to your home can encourage ants to come in. Make sure tree branches, shrubs, and bushes are trimmed away from the perimeter!

Summertime Ants in Knoxville

Pest problems are common in our area during the summer ants. The last thing you have time to deal with is an ant infestation. If you’ve done everything you can to keep ants out and still are noticing the signs of an infestation, it’s time to call the experts at Russell’s. We are committed to providing you with ant-free living all year round.

Top Myths About Bed Bugs

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

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

Fictitious Bed Bug Facts

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

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

What to Do About Your Bed Bug Problem

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

3 Summertime Wasps to Look For

How to prevent summertime wasps in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

Everyone looks forward to the summertime in Knoxville. With the nice weather, people are compelled to spend more time outside. Whether you have an upcoming barbecue, picnic, hike, or another outdoor activity, it’s important to keep an eye out for summertime wasps! Although there are more than 4,000 species of wasps nationwide, there are three you’ll typically encounter in the summer: yellow jackets, mud daubers, and paper wasps. It can be difficult to differentiate between these wasps, making it important to know about their unique habits and behaviors. Keep reading for info on these wasps from the team at Russell’s Pest Control.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are very common and notoriously aggressive, especially later in the summer. Here’s what you need to know:

  • They are best identified by the yellow and black horizontal stripes that run across their bodies.
  • Yellow jackets congregate in colonies of up to or more than 1,000 workers.
  • Their nests look globe-shaped and are built above ground, often near garages, sheds, and more.
  • Yellow jackets will not bother you unless they feel threatened, in which case they may sting repeatedly. 

Mud Daubers

Mud daubers build their nests out of mud, and look quite different from other wasps. Some things to know include:

  • They are mostly black in appearance but may have light-colored markings. Mud daubers can be identified by their thin, thread-like waist.
  • Nests are usually located in covered areas such as porch ceilings, sheds, and attics.
  • These wasps are less social than other types, often preferring to be solitary.
  • Mud daubers aren’t as aggressive and will only sting when directly handled or threatened.

Common summertime wasps in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps aren’t as hostile as other wasps, but are common this time of year. Here’s what to know about this summertime wasp:

  • They have a similar shape as yellow jackets but are mostly brown in color with yellow markings.
  • Known for the papery nests they build, which look like upside-down umbrellas.
  • Paper wasp nests often hang from tree branches and twigs, as well as porch ceilings and door railings. They typically contain up to 30 wasps.
  • Paper wasps aren’t as aggressive as yellow jackets, but they may sting to defend their nests. Their sting is known to be especially potent.

Safe Wasp Control & Prevention

Seeing wasps during the summertime is inevitable. However, there are several things you can do to avoid them. Always wear shoes outside to protect yourself from ground-level wasps. In addition, seal any food or drinks you have outdoors, and always use a tight-fitting lid on trash cans. If you spot a nest forming on or near your home, it’s crucial to contact the team at Russell’s. We can quickly provide wasp removal in a way that is safe for all involved.

How to Tell if Professional Mosquito Control is Right for You

How to Tell if Professional Mosquito Control is Right for You

If you can’t enjoy your backyard for more than a few minutes without getting bitten by mosquitoes, that might be a sign that it’s time to secure professional mosquito treatment. Mosquitoes are at their peak in activity as we enter the long, hot, final days of summer. For Tennessee homeowners, mosquitoes can become a big problem, as they can transmit disease and ruin summer fun. The good news is that professional mosquito treatment can be highly effective and let you get back to enjoying your summertime activities.


Peak Mosquito Season  

Late summer is full-on mosquito season. There has been plenty of time for mosquitoes to lay eggs and for those to hatch and become adult mosquitoes, who are also laying their eggs. If they’ve found a nice bit of water in your yard, they may be relentless with their attack on your property and family. Late morning and early evening can be unbearable, as mosquitoes are typically active and biting during this time. 


Problems Mosquitoes Bring to Tennessee   

Mosquitos are vectors for various diseases from Zika Virus to West Nile Virus. There is no way to tell from looking at a mosquito or its bite whether a mosquito is infected or not. This makes all mosquitoes a problem. Even if mosquitoes weren’t disease carriers, their bites are irritating and unwanted. Some people only have a mild reaction, resulting in a small itchy bump on their skin that lasts a few hours. Others can develop large welts that last for days, causing itching that is so bad that scratching the bites can cause infection and scars.


Signs That it’s Time for Professional Treatment 

If you find yourself going back inside a few minutes after going outside because mosquitoes are attacking, it may be time to call a professional. If your children return from playing outdoors with bites all over, it’s time. If you can see mosquitoes swarming around your hedges, pool, or the perimeter of your property, call for treatment.


How Professional Mosquito Treatment Works    

At Russell’s Pest Control, we take a three-step approach to reducing mosquitoes on your Tennessee property. Initially, our technician will inspect your property and identify the locations where mosquitoes are likely to breed and hide. Next, treatments are applied to the targeted areas, including hiding spots and breeding sites. Finally, follow up treatments will continue monthly through mosquito season to ensure continuing protection. Contact us to schedule your consultation, or to begin treatment, so you can enjoy the remaining summer days mosquito free!  

Warm Tennessee Weather Makes Brown Recluse Spiders Happy

Warm Tennessee Weather Makes Brown Recluse Spiders Happy
We love perfect growing season weather! It means that, when harvest time comes, we can visit the farmers market and get locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables! Brown recluse spiders feel the same way about the warm weather this season as we do. No, they aren’t looking forward to yummy Tennessee grown tomatoes or snap beans, but they know that warmer weather brings more of the food that they love: other insects!
Brown recluse spiders, like most other spiders, prefer to feed on flies, cockroaches, mosquitoes, and other insects. They have a paralyzing bite that paralyzes their prey almost immediately. These nocturnal hunters are actually more of a scavenger than an actual web-sitting spider. They are most commonly found roaming around at night in search of dead insects to feed on.
Brown recluse spiders are one of the most feared spiders in Tennessee, though they hardly live up to their reputation. As their name suggests, these spiders are rather reclusive and will hide away in warm, dark places during the daytime. Hunting at night also allows them to avoid coming into contact with people, especially when they are invading a home. Some of the most common places to find these spiders are:
  • Attics
  • Basements
  • Crawl spaces
  • Closets
  • Heating and cooling registers and ductwork
  • Inside storage boxes (in clothing, shoes, boots, linens, etc.)
  • Eaves of buildings
  • In the corners of storage sheds, barns, and garages
  • Inside rock walls
Encounters with the brown recluse spider are relatively uncommon; these spiders typically only bite if a person inadvertently surprises the spider or tries to trap the spider as the spider’s natural instinct will be to bite in order to protect itself. Contrary to popular belief, these spiders do not seek out humans to bite them.
These small, 3/8” long and 3/16” diameter, light brown spiders are easily identified by the dark brown fiddle-shaped marking on their backs. Anyone who is bitten by a brown recluse spider should seek medical attention immediately; the bite of this spider can be extremely painful and the venom that is injected can cause a variety of reactions. If possible, obtaining the spider you were bitten by and keeping it secure for proper identification is important in order to take the proper course of medical treatment.
The warm summer weather in Tennessee is a happy time for many of us, including the brown recluse spider. Keep these dangerous spiders out of your home or business with a year-round pest control plan from the Tennessee pests control professionals at Russell’s Pest Control. We offer several pest control plans to fit your needs, your schedule, and your budget. Don’t wait another day; give us a call to learn more about our residential pest control plans!

Are You Ready For Summer?

Are You Ready For Summer?

Summer pests are coming, are you ready? Perhaps you have already seen some pests around your home, but there are still more to come. Cockroaches, termites, mosquitoes, wasps, and hornets are on the way! So, what can you do to rid your home and yard of the most common and dangerous insect pests that are active in summer? Once the battle of dealing with summer pests is under control, you can get outside and enjoy the summertime to its fullest.

First, let’s examine the dangers of these pests:

Cockroaches are dangerous to both humans and pets. They walk through garbage and travel through sewers before they enter your home. During that time, their legs and bodies collect a variety of bacteria that they can then spread inside your home through contact with food and the surfaces inside your home, as well as through their feces. This bacteria can cause illnesses that can cause vomiting, fever, and diarrhea. Their shed skins and feces can also lead to asthma attacks in some people as well.

Termites are dangerous to structures. They live underground but eat and travel through the wood to gather cellulose to feed the members of their colonies. They stay very well hidden underground or inside the wood and work virtually silently as they hollow out wood where they may create a secondary or satellite nest. It can take months, or even years, to detect an infestation, and by that time your home may already have significant and costly termite damages.

Mosquitoes are now known to carry some dangerous diseases that they can transmit to humans and pets through their bites. These diseases include malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, encephalitis, West Nile virus, chikungunya, and Zika virus. West Nile virus is the most common mosquito-borne illness in the United States and can lead to confusion, weakness, high fevers, and can sometimes even put people in a coma.

Wasps and hornets can sting humans and pets. Their stingers are smooth and can sting their victims repeatedly. Hornets are just larger wasps; both will defend their nests aggressively if they feel threatened. Both wasp and hornet stings are painful. Some people can have a serious allergic reaction to these stings and may require medical attention.

Each of these pests are dangerous in one form or another, and it is important to eliminate them and the threats they cause, but trying to get rid of these pests without the help of a pest control professional can be dangerous. Russell’s Pest Control can help you control these summer pests and provide services to prevent them in the future.

Here are some helpful tips to help you to get ready for summer pests:

  • Keep vegetation trimmed back and away from your home
  • Make sure your chimney caps are tight fitting and vent covers are secure
  • Repair broken, damaged, or loose roof shingles and window screens
  • Seal any gaps, cracks, and holes in exterior walls, windows, and doors
  • Reduce moisture in and around your home
  • Fix leaky pipes and fixtures right away
  • Use a dehumidifier inside your home where moisture is a problem
  • Avoid wood to soil contact around your home
  • Keep your yard free from piles of wood and debris
  • Reduce standing water around your property
  • Take trash out on a regular basis
  • Store food inside airtight containers
  • Clean up food and drink spills right away
  • Keep counters clean and free of crumbs
  • Inspect bags, boxes, and packages for pests before bringing them inside

In the end, professional pest control is essential to eliminate these pests, control them, and keep them away. At Russell’s Pest Control, our motto is: “The Power to Prevent, Driven to Protect”. We are here to help in Eastern Tennessee and Knoxville. We offer four Power programs that protect your home against 30+ common household pests, and more! Our programs are Power, Power Gold, Power Plus+, and Power Platinum. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you get summer pests under control so that you can get out and enjoy your summer, stress-free from dangerous pests.