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!

Safe Tick Removal Tips

Tweezers are used to safely remove a tick - Russell's Pest Control in Knoxville TN

Here in Knoxville, we are used to dealing with a number of pests in the spring and summertime. Few pose more of a threat than ticks, who are infamous for carrying and potentially spreading Lyme disease. While this disease is rare, it’s nonetheless important to learn how to protect yourself from tick bites. When removed in the first 24 hours, the risk of tick-borne illnesses is low. For this reason, time is of the essence. With May being National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, the team at Russell’s Pest Control is here with their top tips for safe tick removal.

Tick-Borne Diseases

Ticks don’t only spread Lyme disease, and certain types of ticks transmit other diseases. For example, dog ticks transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, but not Lyme disease. Deer ticks, also known as blacklegged ticks, are the species known to transmit Lyme disease. These tiny parasitic insects can and will attach to any part of the body but are often found in the groin, scalp, and armpits.

Thankfully, the chances of contracting a tick-borne disease is low when the tick is safely removed within the first 24 hours of the bite. It is only when an infected tick has been attached for 36–48 hours can the bacterium be transmitted. Knowing how to promptly and safely remove ticks, then, is essential to stopping the transmission of Lyme disease.

Tick removal guide - Russell's Pest Control in Knoxville TNSteps For Safe Tick Removal

When you are bitten by a tick, it’s important to act quickly to remove it. Thankfully, you can typically do this right at home with a pair of fine-tipped tweezers. This method, backed by the CDC, is proven to safely and effectively remove ticks:

  • Firmly grasp the head or mouth of the tick with your tweezers, as close to the skin as possible. Avoid grasping the tick’s body to the best of your ability, as this could inject the tick’s blood into the skin.
  • Steadily pull the tick outward in a straight motion. Try to not twist the tweezers, as this could dislodge the head, leaving it embedded in your skin.
  • After the tick is removed, carefully clean the area of the bite, as well as your hands, with soap and water.
  • To safely dispose of the tick, place it in a sealed bag or jar with alcohol. Another option is to flush the tick down the toilet. Do not crush the tick.

If you notice a rash or other symptoms developing after a tick bite, immediately see your doctor.

Safe Tick Removal Services in Knoxville TN

Ticks are an important pest to keep in mind in the spring and summertime in our region. By knowing how to prevent a tick bite as well as how to remove a tick when you are bitten, you can stay safe from the dangers they pose. Learn more by contacting the experts at Russell’s Pest Control today!

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.

When To Expect Ticks In Knoxville And Around Eastern Tennessee

When To Expect Ticks In Knoxville And Around Eastern Tennessee

Every year, in the early summer, ticks begin to become a serious problem in Eastern Tennessee. This increase in activity occurs for two reasons. Wildlife that carry ticks and spread them around are much more active, and summer heat often drives animals to get into homes, especially when they detect cool air coming out. This is bad news for Knoxville residents because ticks spread diseases.

Tick-borne diseases are on the rise nationally. Last year, the CDC reported that cases of tick-borne diseases had more than doubled from 2004 to 2016, with Lyme disease accounting for 82 percent of the diseases tracked. If you are not yet aware of Lyme disease, it is caused by a bacterium that of most often carried by black-legged ticks. It is associated with a bullseye rash on the skin and can have serious acute and chronic symptoms. In its chronic stage, Lyme disease is reportedly incurable. Early detection is key.

Sadly, Lyme disease isn’t the only disease spread by ticks. Ticks are known to spread babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, Southern tick-associated rash illness, tularemia, tick-borne relapsing fever, Powassan encephalitis, Q fever, Colorado tick fever, and more. Yes, more. If that long list wasn’t enough for you, there are detailed white papers provided by entomology departments of highly respected Universities that detail many more illnesses that are linked or possibly linked to ticks. So, it is vital that all residents learn how to avoid ticks.

Tick Tips

  • Avoid walking in tall grass and stay in the center of paths when walking outside.

  • Consider spraying mosquito repellent on your legs to prevent ticks from crawling up.

  • Do an inspection for ticks after you’ve been outside. Early detection and removal of ticks can prevent the transfer of diseases.

  • Invest in a flea and tick collar for your pet(s).

  • Reduce moisture around your home to reduce conditions that allow ticks to survive in your landscaping.

  • Take steps to resist and exclude wildlife from your property.

  • Put bird feeders away from your exterior walls and away from outdoor recreation areas. Birds are a common vehicle for blacklegged ticks.

  • If you have a rodent issue in your home, seek the assistance of a pest professional to remove them and keep them out. Rodents can spread ticks to every floor of your home.

If you live in the Greater Knoxville area and need assistance with tick reduction services for your yard, we can help. Russell’s Pest Control is an industry leader and a QualityPro Certified pest control company. We have the education and experience to give you the support you need to protect yourself from tick-borne illnesses.

How Fall Wildlife Problems Bring Tick Infestations

How Fall Wildlife Problems Bring Tick Infestations

With fall not far off, rodents and other wild creatures are being pushed into residential areas as they search for a good place to stay sheltered and warm during the colder months of the year. As these warm-blooded creatures rush past thick brush and scurry into our neighborhoods, they often pick up ticks, bringing them along into our yards and homes.

While people seem to think that tick season covers most of the summer, then starts dying off as fall begins, some ticks—such as the black-legged or “deer” tick—are just getting started. Unlike a lot of other parasites, ticks are not able to jump or fly. Instead, these clever little bloodsuckers wait in thick foliage or along fence lines for any mammal to walk by. Then, as that deer, dog, or even human brushes past their hiding spot, they quickly climb onto that host and find a place to latch on and start feeding. Female ticks commonly choose to lay their eggs in leaf litter and dry brush, meaning that when those eggs hatch, they are already in a good hiding spot to wait for a warm-blooded host. The thicker the vegetation around your home, the more likely it is that you or your pet will come into contact with ticks.

Pets that are let outside often are prone to pick up ticks that other pests brought into your yard, and will then bring those ticks from your yard into your home. Ticks also hitchhike on shoes or clothing and will then move on to an area where skin is exposed before starting to feed.

A few tips to remember when attempting to reduce the number of ticks that get into your yard include keeping your lawn neatly trimmed, removing hiding spots for ticks (such as leaf piles or thick brush), wearing long sleeves in heavily wooded areas, and cutting back any wooded areas near your home.

Ticks are often quite difficult to get rid of, due to the fact that wild animals are the reason they are brought into residential areas. Because of this, professional pest control is your best option. Russell’s Pest Control offers seasonal tick control services when ticks are most active. We have several different pest control plans, including Power, Power Gold, and Power Plus protection, which all protect you and your home from 30+ common pests. Contact Russell’s Pest Control for more information or to request your free estimate.