How to Keep Ticks Off Your Dog

Tick stuck in the fur of a dog in Tennessee

Nobody likes encountering ticks. They are tiny, they are sneaky, and they are hungry for blood. Not only can ticks make your dog itchy, but they can also make them seriously ill. Ticks are not just a pain in the neck—they are a pain in the whole body! They can transmit diseases that weaken your furry friend and even kill them. It is more than enough reason you must not let your canine companion become a tick’s next victim. 

You cherish your dog and want them to live a long, healthy life. But you also want them to have fun outside and explore the world. How can you balance these two goals? How can you keep ticks off your dog without locking them up indoors?

Tick Prevention Tips

Here are some simple and natural tips for flea and tick prevention for dogs. These tips will help you protect your dog from these nasty critters without using harsh chemicals.

Check Your Dog for Ticks Daily

Do not let those pesky ticks ruin your dog’s day! Check them for ticks daily, especially after playing in the woods or grass. Use your fingers to feel for any bumps or lumps on their skin. Look carefully at their ears, neck, belly, and legs. If you find a tick, do not be a wimp. Grab some tweezers or a tick remover tool and pull it out gently. Do not squeeze or twist, or you will leave part of the tick in your dog’s skin. Flush the tick down the toilet or put it in alcohol.

Stay Away From Tick Hotspots

Ticks love to hide in tall grass, bushes, and leaf litter. They wait for a host to pass by and then jump on them. So, try to keep your dog away from these areas when you go for a walk or a hike. Stick to well-maintained trails and paths. You can also mow your lawn regularly and clear any debris from your yard. 

Bathe Your Dog Often

Use a mild shampoo safe for dogs, and rinse them well. You can also add some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the water. These ingredients can help to repel ticks and other pests. 

Buy a Dog Vest

A dog vest is a protective garment that covers your dog’s chest and back. It can prevent ticks from biting your dog in these areas. Permethrin, a chemical that kills ticks on contact, also treats some dog vests. You can find dog vests online or at pet stores, or ask your veterinarian about good options for your pet.

Talk to Your Vet

Finally, it would be best to talk to your vet about flea and tick prevention for dogs. Your vet can recommend the best products and methods for your dog’s needs. Many options, such as collars, sprays, drops, pills, and vaccines, are available. 

Call Russell’s Pest Control

Even if you take all the necessary precautions, there is still a chance that ticks may find their way onto your property. If that is the case, call Russell’s Pest Control for help. Russell’s Pest Control is a family-owned and operated business serving East Tennessee since 1971. They have the experience and expertise to handle any pest issue you may have.

Russell’s Pest Control offers comprehensive pest control services for residential and commercial customers. Using safe and effective methods, they can eliminate ticks and other pests from your home or business. They also offer free inspections, estimates, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Do not let ticks ruin your day or harm your dog’s health. Call Russell’s Pest Control today and say goodbye to those pesky parasites.

Knoxville’s Top Five Fall and Winter Pests

Image of a lady beetle infestation - small image size

Knoxville’s Top Five Fall and Winter Pests

Winter is coming, and just like people, insects and rodents want to avoid the cold. While some will burrow underground, and some will migrate to warmer locales, others will simply seek out the closest, warmest, and most inviting place they can find. Unfortunately, that usually means your house. You may not even notice these fall and winter pests at first. That’s because pests prefer quiet areas that are free of people. Think in your attic, or inside your walls. Creepy, huh?

So, which pests should you be on the lookout for here in the Knoxville area?an infestation of asian lady beetles inside a home

1. Asian lady beetles

Asian lady beetles resemble ladybugs, but they’re a bit larger. Their coloration ranges from red to orange, and not all of them have spots. The problem with these little ladybug lookalikes is that they use pheromones to communicate their location. So if one Asian lady beetle comes into your house, within a few days it can turn into a large infestation. While they won’t eat your home or sting you, their waste is unsightly and triggers breathing difficulties in sensitive individuals.

2. Rodents

If you hear scurrying on the roof, it could be a squirrel, or it could be roof rats and mice. They get on your roof via nearby branches, fences, you may even see them climb a drainpipe! From there, it’s easy to get into your attic and make a warm nest. If you hear scratching or gnawing noises, you may have rodents inside your attic or walls. And that’s a problem that can quickly multiply if you don’t get it taken care of by an experienced rodent exterminator.

3. Stink bugs

While there are several stink bug species, the brown marmorated stink bug is the one you’re most likely to see in your home. An invasive species that’s rapidly spread across most of the U.S., they’re shield-shaped, with mottled brown and grey coloring, and range in size from 1/4″ to 3/8″. Stink bugs lurk in quiet parts of a home where they’re unlikely to be disturbed, and as their name implies, when they feel threatened or get squashed, they emit an awful smell. Stink bugs are attracted to lighter color homes, which is why you may see them, but your neighbor doesn’t. 

4. Termites

Termites want to enjoy your house as a meal any time of year, so what’s different about fall and winter? Subterranean termites, the most destructive species, burrow underground in the winter and build up their nests. When spring comes around, they emerge and cause immense structural damage. They ravenously consume not just the wood in your home, but any material that contains cellulose. Termite signs can include blisters on painted walls, hollow-sounding, weak, and flaky wood, mud tunnels in your crawl space, chewing sounds, and those telltale pinholes in wood. If you suspect you might have termites, hire a termite expert right away. Termites cause an estimated $30 billion in property damages every year, making them by far the most destructive pest in America.

5. Wasps

Wasp colonies don’t survive the winter. But fertilized queens do. They usually survive in hollow logs, stumps or under leaves, but they can also be found in attics or the siding of homes. Typically, they enter through unscreened attic vents, so it’s best to ensure that your attic is as sealed as possible. If a wasp queen does winter in your home, she may decide to start her new colony on your porch, or worse, inside. Get a preventative wasp checkup this winter to ensure no nasty stinging surprises next spring.

Let Us Solve Your Fall/Winter Indoor Pest Problem

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that pest control is for the spring and summer only. Here in Tennessee, preventative pest control during the fall and winter is a smart strategy so you won’t be caught off guard when warm weather returns. Russell’s Pest Control has been serving the greater Knoxville area since 1971 and we pride ourselves on doing the job right.

Call us today for a free quote!

Dealing with Late Summer Pests

An American dog tick

If you think that the end of summer will come with a break from pest problems, you might be sorely mistaken. Many different kinds of bugs and wildlife here in Knoxville TN are well-equipped to deal with the conditions of the late summer. If you want to make sure that the last of your summer isn’t taken over by pests, you have to make regular preventative efforts to keep them away. Read on to learn about the late summer pests we commonly face and what you can do to keep them away with Russell’s Pest Control!

What Pests Like the Late Summer?

Although we are now past what is usually referred to as “pest season”, there are several kinds of critters that we still have to watch out for. These are the pests that we are usually called to help with in August and September:

  • Ticks: These parasitic arachnids breed during the late spring and early summer so that they have the rest of the warm season to thrive. Ticks lurk in tall grass and densely vegetated areas waiting for potential hosts to walk by.
  • Mosquitoes: If you don’t get to mosquitoes early on in their season, you could be stuck dealing with them all the way through fall. By developing breeding grounds in hidden areas, they can continue to increase their numbers through the late summer.
  • Wildlife: Animals that hibernate during the winter have to make the most of their summers. Raccoons, opossums, and squirrels commonly infest Knoxville homes and businesses in late summer.
  • Bees and wasps: Bees and wasps will hound anybody nearby who’s cooking or eating. If you’re leaving food outdoors or hosting frequent get-togethers, you might end up attracting them.

Preventing Pests during the Late Summer

Before reading on, it’s important to note that any serious pest infestation should be addressed immediately by a professional exterminator. However, if you’re dealing with a minor issue, noticing signs of vulnerabilities, or just want a head start on pest prevention, you should take this advice from our team:

  1. Close entryways: You might have gaps or cracks in your siding, foundation, fencing, roofing, windows, or doors that could lead to pest infestations. Seal any cracks you find with a silicone-based caulk or use screens on doors and windows to prevent pest entry.
  2. Be careful with garbage: taking out your garbage as often as possible and using outdoor bins with sealable lids will prevent many of the common late summer pests.
  3. Take care of your yard: If you trim trees and shrubs, quickly dispose of leaf piles and grass clippings, and do a general decluttering sweep, you can prevent pests from finding temporary hiding places in your yard.
  4. Find and remove standing water: Mosquitoes lay their eggs in pools of still water, no matter how tiny. Try to find and get rid of standing water wherever you can on your property, paying close attention to gutters, planter boxes, and other receptacles.

Late Summer Pest Experts in Knoxville TN

Some pest infestations get out of hand before we have a chance to do anything about them. If this is what you’re going through right now, it’s time to reach out to your local pest control experts. Our technicians at Russell’s Pest Control are highly knowledgeable about the types of pest problems that residential and commercial properties often see in the late summer here in Knoxville. We can rid your home or business of pests and collaborate with you to keep them away year-round. Contact us today for a free quote!

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.