What Are These Bugs With Pincers?

An earwig found in Eastern TN - Johnson Pest ControlHave you noticed a strange-looking insect species crawling around your home this fall? Every year, our technicians at Johnson Pest Control hear reports of weird, skinny bugs with pincers on their rears creeping out our customers in Eastern TN. If this sounds like you, you’re probably wondering: what are these bugs, and why are they on my property? If you are, read on to learn!

Earwigs: What are They?

If you’re noticing bugs that are 1/4” to 1” in length with long antennae, dark brown to black midsections, and big pincers on the ends of their bodies, you’re dealing with earwigs. Their name sounds creepy, and indeed, it comes from unsettling origins. Earwigs are named as such because of an old myth saying that they would crawl into the ears of sleeping people to bore inside their brains. This, of course, is untrue, but the name sticks around to keep us on our toes.

Earwigs live wherever they have easy access to plant and animal matter. They are not picky—earwigs will eat all sorts of things, including:

  • Leaves and flowers
  • Fruits
  • Fungi
  • Aphids, flies, and other small insects that they can capture in their pincers

Some people worry that earwigs can poison them with their pincers. In reality, earwig pinches aren’t poisonous, and shouldn’t even break your skin. They will hurt a bit, though, and they do use this as a defense mechanism to ward off would-be predators.

How to Get Rid of Earwigs

You might have earwigs without even knowing that they’re around. Earwigs are especially attracted to homes with gardens or lots of vegetation, so you might find jagged and holey leaves all over your yard along with small, black pellets of earwig excrement.

If you’re seeing them inside your home, do not squish them. They leave behind an odorous residue that is quite unpleasant to smell and clean up. Instead, try these strategies to get rid of earwigs:

  • Spread petroleum jelly at the base of infested plants. Earwigs won’t crawl on it.
  • You can spray insecticides on your plants to ward earwigs off, but make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label.
  • Diatomaceous earth can be spread around plants to stop earwigs, but only in dry weather.
  • Lay sections of bamboo or garden hose between the plants in your garden to function as barriers or traps to crawl into.
  • Make sure you check everything that you bring inside from outdoors for earwigs.

Are Your Earwigs Getting Out of Hand?

If you are dealing with excessive earwigs around your home in Eastern TN, reach out to your local pest control company. Our technicians at Johnson Pest Control can help you identify the source of your infestation and put a plan in place to bring it to a swift stop. For more information on our services or a free quote, contact us today!

Pest Problems? Check For Leaky Pipes!

Roaches enter homes through pipes and plumbing - Johnson Pest Control in Eastern TNDealing with a leaky faucet or plumbing problem is frustrating enough for any homeowner. However, the problem can become double fold when pest infestations ignite due to the excess moisture in the home. This is because all types of pests are attracted to damp environments, which is why they’re commonly found in bathrooms, crawl spaces and more. Needless to say, a broken water pipe or sewage issue can directly correlate to an increased risk of pests in the home. This makes it crucial to always attend to maintenance problems as soon as you have them. Read on to learn everything you need to know about preventing pests and leaky pipes that can cause them in your Eastern Tennessee home!

What Pests Are Attracted to Moisture?

Bugs and insects are drawn toward areas that provide them with their main sources of survival: food and water! The most common pests that are going to be attracted to areas with excess moisture are as follows.

  1. Termites: If a broken pipe has caused water damage in the very structure of your home, you can be sure termites are to follow. Subterranean termites in particular are attracted to moist wood and soil. When there are unattended-to leaky pipes or plumbing issues, you could be leaving your home vulnerable to termites.
  2. Ants: These tiny pests will appear seemingly out of nowhere when excess moisture is abundant. Leaky faucets or spilled water from a pet’s bowl can bring ants out in the hundreds. In addition to your typical house ant, water can be a main attractant to the wood-destroying carpenter ant as well.
  3. Cockroaches: Roaches may be known for their resiliency, but they aren’t as strong as you’d think. Without water for a week, a roach will not survive. Cockroaches also love to linger inside of pipes and plumbing fixtures. An issue can quickly introduce roaches into other parts of the house.
  4. Rodents: Rats and mice alike are always looking for a water supply. Leaky pipes or broken faucets in your crawl space or laundry room can provide a haven for rodents. The last thing you want is rodents scurrying around when you have a plumbing issue, making it important to prevent them.

Pests & Leaky Pipes

A plumbing problem can cause numerous pest problems. This is because almost all pests are attracted to water. In fact, some will die without a source of water within a few days. If you want to help prevent pests in your home, the best thing to do is keep an eye out for leaks and address any issues right away. Regularly inspect to ensure your faucets aren’t dripping, your drains aren’t clogging, and there are no leaks from your fridge, washing machine, or dishwasher.

Need to Get Rid of Pests in the Kitchen or Bathroom?

If you are noticing a flux of pests after dealing with a plumbing issue, it’s important to take care of it right away. The last thing you want is a full-blown infestation, making it important to contact your local exterminator. At Johnson Pest Control, we will work hard to get rid of any pest problems and provide you with tips to prevent future ones.

The Dirty Truth on Bed Bug Bites

Signs of bed bugs in Eastern TN - Johnson Pest ControlBed bug bites are gross, they’re itchy, they’re bothersome. It’s a generally unpleasant feeling. But what might be worse is the anxiety that pairs with the knowledge of an active bed bug infestation in your home. When you know that there’s a chance you’ll be bitten by bed bugs as you sleep, it’s likely that you’ll be tossing and turning for hours or getting a restless night of sleep.

So, how can we avoid this feeling? And do we really need to be so scared about bed bug bites?

Some Things to Know About Bed Bug Bites

If you’re wondering whether you currently have bed bug bites or you just want to learn more about them, read on. We’ve laid out some important bed bug bite facts from our experts at Johnson Pest Control:

  1. Bed bug bites look like small bumps or a rash. Their bites will often be laid out in zigzag patterns across skin that you leave exposed at night.
  2. Bed bugs do not transmit diseases. During the feeding process, bed bugs inject an anticoagulant in order to enable them to draw more blood, but they do not pass on any diseases through their bites.
  3. Bite symptoms imitate a rash. Bed bug bites will leave you with redness, itchiness, and possibly swelling at the source of the bites. In some cases, bed bug bites can cause allergic reactions. Hydrocortisone cream can be used as a treatment option.

What Are the Signs of Bed Bugs Inside?

Unfortunately, no matter how clean you keep your house, you are still at risk for bed bugs. Since they travel on used furniture, clothing, bags, and accessories, bringing anything into the house and back or introducing new items to your home can spur a bed bug infestation.

Because of this, it is important to be aware of the signs of a bed bug infestation so that you can deal with it before it gets out of hand. Here are some the signs of a bed bug infestation in your home:

  • Bites: People often find out about their bed bug problems by noticing bites on their skin. They will often be laid out in lines and look like a rash.
  • Excess material: You could possibly find bed bug excrement, tiny white eggshells, or reddish-brown smears along the places that bed bugs are inhabiting.
  • Active bed bugs: Bed bugs are very small, but they are visible to the naked eye. Look out for them around your mattress, furniture, and baseboards.

Don’t jump to throw away all of your belongings when you discover a bed bug infestation. There are ways to get rid of bed bugs without tossing all of your things!

Bed Bug Treatments in Eastern TN

Bed bugs can be eliminated most effectively by prolonged exposure to high heat. If you’re looking for a professional heat treatment in Eastern TN, talk to your local pest control company. Our bed bug experts at Johnson Pest Control can eliminate your infestation in only a day’s work. For more information on our services or for a free quote, contact us today!

Gnats vs No-see-ums vs Mosquito Bites—How Do They Differ?

A mosquito on the water in Eastern TN - Johnson Pest ControlWhether you’re sleeping or awake, inside or out, getting active or just hanging around, the pests are out and biting this summer! Winged insects are some of the hardest to avoid when it comes to biting because they can attack us from all angles. We’ve heard a lot about no-see-ums, gnats, and mosquitoes being a nuisance this season, so we’re here with some advice from our Johnson Pest Control technicians on how to identify these pests and their bites.

Gnats vs No-see-ums vs Mosquitoes: Identification

These three pests are some of the most irritating insects found in Eastern TN. Although you’ve probably encountered all of them before, they can be hard to tell apart, especially from further away. Here are some features that you can use to identify them:

  1. Gnats: Gnats are a type of fly with bodies ranging from gray to black in color. They move in swarms of thousands during the spring and summer.
  2. No-see-ums: These insects are actually a certain kind of gnat. They are very small—at only 1/16” in length, they can infiltrate our homes through even the smallest gaps in walls and screens.
  3. Mosquitoes: Much bigger than the other two, mosquitoes are the most easily identifiable of the bunch. They have a needle-like proboscis, upward-slanting wings, and a hunched back.

Telling Apart Bug Bites

Learning how to identify bugs around your home based on the symptoms of the bites that you experience is another quick way to determine the best pest control approach you should take. Mosquito bites, gnat bites, and no-see-um bites vary in these ways:

  • Gnat bites: Gnat bites are small, dark red, and rough-looking. They last for a week or more depending on how much they are scratched.
  • No-see-um bites: These bites look very similar to gnat bites, of course, but are more likely to be clustered together and in more uncommon areas, like your face.
  • Mosquito bites: Mosquito bites are smoother and lighter in color. They start as a raised white welt and flatten out as they darken to a pinkish-red in a few days. They are most common on areas of exposed skin, like your arms and legs.

In summary, these bites can be told apart by their color, their location, and the length of their effects.

Keeping Safe from Bug Bites in Eastern TN

Using EPA-approved bug sprays using up to 20% DEET can work well to avoid insect bites here in Eastern TN. However, sometimes these products fail to do the trick, especially if you have a continual problem around your home. In this case, you can rely on your local pest control company to help you get rid of any pests on your property! For a free quote or more information from the experts at Johnson Pest Control, contact us today!

Prevent Summer Pests From Ruining Outdoor Festivities

Pest infestation in Sevierville TN backyard - Johnson Pest ControlThey may not be on the guest list, but many pests including ants, flies, mosquitoes, and other stinging insects are likely to disrupt outdoor festivities this summer. Pest season is in full force during the summer months here in Sevierville TN. Spending time outside can sometimes be a gamble considering the heightened pest activity.  Unfortunately, plenty of pests are attracted to our food, so they tend to frequent our outdoor cookouts, but there are ways to prevent these uninvited guests from crashing the party. To keep pests away from your outdoor living space this summer, keep reading for expert tips from Johnson Pest Control.

Common Backyard Pest Problems

In our region, we are used to dealing with all types of pests all year long. However, the summer and early fall are known for their influx of insects. This includes right in your backyard! The most typical pests you may encounter right in your backyard include:

Keep Pests Away From Your Yard

The good news is that keeping pests away from your yard can be simple when you take the time to make your property less attractive to the pests in general. The National Pest Management Association, a nonprofit organization committed to the protection of public health, food, and property from household pests, offers these tips to help pests from ruining your summer gathering: 

  1. Prior to the summer months, check screen doors and repair any holes.
  2. Remove sources of standing water in your yard, including birdbaths, wading pools, or garden ponds.
  3. Have insect repellant containing an EPA-registered active ingredient like DEET or Picaridin available for you and your guests.
  4. Adorn your deck or patio with citronella candles that can help minimize the presence of mosquitoes.
  5. With guests coming in and out of your house, make sure the doors close behind them.
  6. Plan to serve food and beverages indoors, and reserve outdoor space for eating and entertaining.
  7. Keep food sealed in containers whenever possible, and wipe tabletops frequently.
  8. Clean trash, spills, and crumbs immediately from tables and other surfaces.
  9. Bring utensils and dishware indoors shortly after the meal.
  10. Rinse all beverage bottles and cans, and dispose of them in tightly closed garbage containers.

Outdoor Pest Control in Sevierville TN

We all know that pests are a fact of life, especially outdoors and especially in the summertime! If you’ve done all you can to keep pests away from your backyard to no avail, it’s time to enlist the help of your local pest control experts. At Johnson Pest Control, we will work to keep pests out and away from your yard for good. Contact us today to get started!

Was I Stung By a Bee or a Wasp?

Bee vs wasp sting infographic in Sevierville TN - Johnson Pest Control

Spending time outside in the summer can lead to a plethora of bug bites. Two of the main culprits are, of course, bees and wasps. Unlike mosquitoes, bees and insects will sting to defend themselves. Usually, they prefer to mind their own business and have no interest in stinging you whatsoever. That said, stings happen—typically when they are provoked. Wasp stings are more common than bee stings, and also more painful. Although the symptoms from bee and wasp stings are similar, it’s important to know how to identify whether you were stung by a bee or a wasp. The experts at Johnson Pest Control are here to help you differentiate between the two—read on to learn more!

Wasp Sting or Bee Sting?

With different temperaments, bees and wasps have different stinging habits. For the most part, bees are not aggressive and thus unlikely to sting unless directly provoked. Honey bees are the bees that will lodge their stinger in the person they sting, causing them to die shortly afterward. Other bees can sting repeatedly, but it is rare for them to do so.

Wasp stings can be much more painful than bee stings. This is due in part to the fact that wasps are capable of stinging repeatedly—often in the same spot. Wasps are more aggressive and will sting at will, especially when they are provoked or when their nest is threatened. They get more aggressive in the late fall months, which is when their populations grow in size and resources start to thin out.

What Are the Symptoms of a Bee or Wasp Sting?

The reactions to or symptoms of a bee or wasp sting are usually the same, and will clear up in just a few day’s time. After being stung, it’s important to remove the stinger (if it was lodged) and immediately clean the area with antibiotics. Some of the common reactions to a bee sting vs wasp sting include:

  1. A sharp, stinging pain at the site of the bite
  2. Swollen, red bumps wherever a bite occurred
  3. Itchiness and irritation
  4. A numb feeling at the site of the bite

If someone is allergic, the symptoms of a bee or wasp sting can be much more dangerous, or even lethal. Anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting can start within two hours of the incident and rapidly get worse. Immediately get to a doctor if you start to break out in hives or have trouble breathing.

Wasp and Bee Problems in Sevierville TN

Bees and wasps play an essential role in pollinating our flowers and foliage! That said, stings are a common occurrence in the spring and summer. If stinging insects build a nest on or near your property, it’s crucial that you contact a local bee and wasp removal expert to deal with the problem. Trying to get rid of them yourself can lead to being stung by these insects repeatedly. For help with wasp or bee problems, contact the experts at Johnson Pest Control today!

What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?

Bed bug in Eastern TN - Johnson Pest ControlDiscovering bug bites of any sort on your skin can be distressing. But how do you know what bit you in the first place? Many bugs will bite sight unseen—meaning you won’t know what bit you until you see the symptoms of the bites on your skin. One of the main types of bug bites is bed bug bites. In fact, seeing bites on your skin are oftentimes one of the first signs you have a bed bug problem in general. For this reason, it’s crucial to learn how to identify bed bug bites against other types of bug bites. In this article, the bed bug experts at Johnson Pest Control are here to share their knowledge on identifying bed bugs through their unique bites.

Behaviors of Bed Bug Bites

Bed bugs are unique in a number of ways. For one, their bites are typically not felt whatsoever. Here’s what to know about bed bug bites:

  • Bed bugs will likely bite you during the night. This is not always the case, but it is their normal behavior. So if you are waking up at in the morning with bites that were not present before bed then bed bugs can be a possible problem.
  • Bed bugs will feed on exposed skin, not through clothes or sheets. However, if you wear loose clothing they can crawl underneath clothing to find optimal spots to bite you.
  • When a bed bug bites you they will insert saliva, which keeps your blood from clotting. This process allows the bed bug to fill up on your blood while biting you, and also numbs any pain associated.
  • Bed bug bites do not pose immediate health hazards to a person. The allergic reaction a person has can be the most immediate concern. As an infestation grows the amount of bites one receives can be the largest nuisance leading to potential health hazards.

Pictures of Bed Bug Bites

Many times people do not have reactions to bed bug bites and may only have some white or small red bumps. For other people bed bugs will cause an allergic reaction that will cause larger, more inflamed, red bumps. Below are some photos to help identify bed bug bites.

Bed Bug Bite Pictures in Sevierville TN - Johnson Pest Control
Photo via www.bedbugcertified.com/
Bed bug bite pictures in Sevierville TN - Johnson Pest Control
Photo via www.bedbugcertified.com/

Flea vs Mosquito vs Bed Bug Bites

Flea Bite Pictures vs Bed Bug Bite Pictures in Sevierville TN - Johnson Pest Control
Flea bites can look like bed bug bites. Look at secondary circumstances to help determine what problem you might actually have.

Bed bug bites can look very similar to mosquito or flea bites. If you have a pet in the house and they are scratching feverishly throughout the day and/or night then your problem is likely fleas. If that pet sleeps on your bed then chances increase that fleas will claim your bed.

Mosquito bites can produce similar red bumps. Usually, those bites will occur on exposed skin during the dawn and dusk hours. If you happen to have bites showing up high on your thighs then you can eliminate mosquitoes as your bug problem.

Do You Have Bed Bug Bites?

If you are noticing bed bug bites on your skin, it’s important to contact your local bed bug control team immediately. Getting rid of these pests on your own is—more often than not—unsuccessful. Because the bites are one of the first signs of their presence, an exterminator can quickly get rid of the problem and save you from the frustration of continued bites. Contact Johnson Pest Control today to get started!


How to Prevent Fire Ants

Fire ant mound in Eastern TN - Johnson Pest ControlFire ants, often called “red imported fire ants” originate from Brazil but were introduced to the United States around 1940. Since then, they have spread throughout much of the southeast, including right here in Tennessee. Because these pests can pose a serious threat, it’s important to know how to recognize them as well as how to stay safe from their painful stings. Learn more with the ant control experts right here at Johnson pest Control.

What to Know About Fire Ants

Fire ants differ from your typical house ant in a number of ways. The most important things to know about these potentially dangerous pests include:

  • If a fire ant mound is disturbed, they will attack as one unit. When disturbed, the ants will begin spilling out ready to attack—and each ant will sting repeatedly.
  • To begin a fire ant colony, queen fire ants mate with males, killing the male in the process, and fly to the site at which she’ll begin the new colony. The queen will lay up to 800 eggs per day, growing the colony to an average size of 100,000 to 500,000 ants.
  • Fire ants don’t bite—they sting! Their stings can result in a burning sensation, hence their name. The sting site may swell and itch. A small pustule sometimes develops where the stinger enters the skin.
  • If fire ants get on you, it’s important to quickly and repeatedly brush them off your skin. The ants can latch on tight, meaning shaking won’t repel them. If you develop symptoms from fire ants, it’s important to seek medical attention.
  • Fire ants typically nest outdoors in open areas. Parks and fields are usually primary targets, but yards can be as well. The mounds are often found lining your grass and concrete, and they typically form on humid days.

Fire ant infographic for Tennessee - Johnson Pest ControlHow to Prevent Fire Ant Problems

To thrive, fire ants need moisture and shelter. By making your yard less attractive to fire ants in the first place, you can keep fire ants away from your property. This is best done by taking care of your lawn and yard. Here’s how to prevent fire ants from building a nest in or near your property:

  1. Trim back your trees and shrubs to keep fire ants from traveling on them.
  2. Rake back any mulch, straw, or other landscaping at least 6 inches from the structure of your home.
  3. Mow the lawn regularly to avoid overgrown grass. Remove grass clippings and piles of leaves to eliminate fire ant harborages.
  4. Store outdoor trash cans and dumpsters as far away from the structure as possible and be sure they have tight-fitting lids.
  5. If you start to see a fire ant nest form, avoid contact and get in touch with your local ant exterminators for treatment.

Need to Get Rid of Fire Ants?

Trying to get rid of a fire ant mound yourself is dangerous. Their colonies extend far under the ground and feature multiple queens. Fire ant treatment should always be administered by a professional ant control expert to keep yourself and your family safe.

For fire ant treatment in Eastern TN, contact the ant exterminators at Johnson Pest Control today!

Fire Ants in Tennessee [2021 UPDATE]

Fire ants in Tennessee by region - Johnson Pest ControlIf you are getting out into the garden this time of year then you will likely come across some ants. The ants we all know we do not want to come across are fire ants. Fire ants are serious pests that will swarm and bite all over you, your children, and your pets if they are agitated. These pests are common in Tennessee, making it important to learn all you need to know about them and the threats they bring. At Johnson Pest Control, we are committed to helping our communities learn about the threats of fire ants. Read on to learn all you need to know about fire ants in our region.

What Are Fire Ants?

Imported fire ants get their namesake from their ability to inflict painful bites and stings. Fire ants are an invasive species that are common here in Tennessee. They are most known for the large mound nests they create. These nests are large, flat, and irregular in shape. These ants will nest in the soil near buildings or in landscaping. If you come across a fire ant nest, it’s important to stay away—disturbing a fire ant nest can aggravate the ants, who will not hesitate to sting. Fire ant stings result in painful welts on the skin. This can be very dangerous for anyone allergic to insect stings.

What Do Fire Ants Look Like?

The red fire ant is larger in size than the average ant you will come across. The Red Fire Ant that is common to Tennessee will have a burnt red color and a dark, almost black posterior. These ants are segmented and have 6 legs. Needless to say, fire ants possess a stinger.

How To Treat For Fire Ants

To get rid of fire ants, it’s recommended to get assistance from a pest control professional. The three common methods to treat fire ants include:

  • Surface treatment using a residual contact poison. This approach is the least environmentally sound because the treated surface remains toxic for a long time. The ants may survive by foraging underground.
  • Individual mound treatment, which involves the application of a large volume of pesticide to reach the queen. However, it is nearly impossible to locate all of the colonies in an area, difficult to manipulate large volumes of liquid, and treatment is more expensive and time-consuming than other treatment options. Colonies not eliminated may move or split into several colonies.
  • Bait treatment, which uses some sort of attractive substance the ants like to eat. Unfortunately, baits are not always consumed, and the bait’s attractiveness is short-lived. The bait must be slow-acting and effective over a range of doses, since the dose the ants get, cannot be controlled. Baits may also be attractive to and kill some native ant species that compete with fire ants.

Imported Fire Ants in Tennessee

If you notice a fire ant mound in or near your property, it’s important to reach out to your local ant exterminators. At Johnson Pest Control, our ant control team is trained to properly take care of imported ant problems here in Sevierville TN. Contact us today to learn more!

How Do I Safely Remove Ticks?

Deer ticks can transmit Lyme disease - Johnson Pest Control in Eastern TNTicks are one of the most common spring and summertime pests in Tennessee. They’re also one of the most dangerous. Ticks are infamous for transmitting a number of diseases, including Lyme disease. While getting Lyme disease is rare, it can happen when an infected tick is embedded in someone’s skin for upwards of two days. This makes it essential to learn how to safely remove ticks when they bite you or a family member.

This National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, the tick control experts at Johnson Pest Control are here to share all you need to know about safely removing ticks.

What Ticks Transmit Lyme Disease?

Not all ticks transmit Lyme disease. 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.

The good news is that when a tick is safely removed within the first 24 hours, the chances of contracting a tick-borne illness are low. 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 - Johnson Pest Control in Sevierville TN How Can I Remove a Tick?

Fine-tipped tweezers are the tool to use to remove ticks. This method is backed by both the ASPCA and CDC. When followed correctly, you can safely remove a tick without risk to you or your family:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. After the tick is removed, carefully clean the area of the bite, as well as your hands, with soap and water.
  4. For safe tick disposal, 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 a rash develops or you start to experience symptoms, it’s crucial to see your doctor immediately. If the tick was saved, your doctor may wish to see it for inspection.

Professional Tick Control Services in Eastern TN

Ticks may be the last thing on your mind in the spring or summer, but it’s important to learn how you can avoid a bite when you go outdoors. To learn more about tick control or removal, contact the experts at Johnson Pest Control!