Rodent Awareness Week 2020: The Surge in Rodents

Rodent infestations rise during the pandemic in Sevierville TN - Johnson Pest Control

Have you noticed more rodents this year than ever? There are a few reasons behind this. First, rodents are typically more active this time of year as the weather shifts. This drives many into properties and homes in search of warmth. However, you may be seeing them more now than ever due to the pandemic. Restaurant closures or restrictions in the past year has depleted the normal food source for rats. This has led not only to an increase of infestations, but also an increase in their aggressive behavior! More competition for food means that rodents are more compelled than ever to get inside your home here in Tennessee. This Rodent Awareness Week, the team at Johnson wants to share their best tips to protect you and your family from rats this year.

Are Rodents More Dangerous During the Pandemic?

While rodents may be more common right now, there’s no reason to worry about them spreading COVID-19. As of now, there is no evidence to show that rodents are transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to humans. The main concern with rats and mice currently is that they are getting more aggressive in nature, can carry other diseases, and could cause damage to your property.

The shelter in place shutdowns caused an uptick in residential rodent sightings as rats and mice became bolder in their hunt for resources. This has since caused an uptick in infestations and rodent-spread issues. While they won’t transmit COVID-19 to you or your family, rodents still can spread other diseases including hantavirus, salmonellosis, and many more. They also can cause significant damage.

Tips to Keep Rodents Out

Rodent exclusion is the best way to ensure you stay safe from rodents. Our top tips to prevent rodents this year include:

  1. Securely store all food in metal or glass containers with tight-fitting lids.
  2. Clean inside the house and around the garden. Less clutter means fewer places to hide.
  3. Put outdoor garbage bags in metal garbage cans with securely fitted lids to stop them from feeding on contents.
  4. Seal off cracks and crevices around openings. Mice can squeeze inside holes the size of a dime.
  5. Clean up pet food and bird seed debris, and store pet food in robust containers with fitted lids, preferably above ground level.
  6. If you have a compost heap don’t include organic food waste, as this will attract them.
  7. Inspect your garage, attic, crawlspaces, and vents for potential rodent hiding spots.

Why is Rodent Awareness Week Important?

Here at Johnson, we make sure to inform our customers every Rodent Awareness Week about the dangers of rats and mice. This year is especially important with the ongoing rise in infestations. If you need assistance sealing off your home to these pests, our rodent exterminators can help. Contact us today to learn more!

Asian Lady Beetles in the Fall

Asian lady beetles get inside Sevierville TN homes in the fall - Johnson Pest ControlAsian ladybugs are commonly mistaken for ladybugs, but these two insects are different! The Asian lady beetle is considered to be a common pest here in Sevierville in the fall. This is because the insects will congregate outside properties on warm sunny afternoons. From there, they have been known to make their way into your home as well as make themselves at home once indoors! They may be found in attics, wall voids, on siding, and are attracted to light. These beetles normally enter homes on the southern and western exposures (sunny side) of structures. The team at Russell’s Pest Control is here to help shed some light on this common autumn pest problem—keep reading to learn more!

What Do Asian Lady Beetles Look Like?

Asian lady beetles are usually confused for normal ladybugs. However, they are slightly larger than native species. The coloration of this beetle varies from mustard-yellow to a dark reddish-orange. The key identifying marks on this beetle are two white, oval markings on the pronotum (just behind its head) along with an occasional M-shaped marking on the pronotum. The biggest difference between Asian lady beetles and ladybugs is their behavior as the beetles look to enter homes in the fall.

How to Prevent a Fall Asian Lady Beetle Infestation

Before the first frost, adult Asian lady beetles begin to seek shelter to spend the winter. This is why fall infestations are so common as they flock to the sides of your home in the sun. To prevent the insects from getting inside, try out the following tips:

  • Seal cracks around windows, doors, utility pipes, siding, behind chimneys, and around any other openings.
  • Repair or replace damaged screens on doors and windows.
  • Replace the weather stripping around windows and doors.
  • Consider planting mums in your garden or around your home. These beetles are not fans of the plants and will avoid them at all costs.
  • Another all-natural deterrent is citrus or citronella scents. Make a spray with orange or lemon essential oil diluted with water, and spray around your windows or doors.

Asian Lady Beetle Infestations

If Asian lady beetles have already entered your home, use a vacuum cleaner to vacuum them up, and dispose of them in a sealed plastic bag. These bugs are capable of biting, but their bite is typically harmless. Like other bugs, they will release an odorous scent when crushed, and their stains can discolor items in your home. For more help with Asian lady beetles, the residential exterminators at Johnson are happy to help. Contact us today!

How to Prevent the Bugs on the Side of Your Home

Stink bugs are a common fall invader to Sevierville TN homes in the fall - Johnson Pest ControlDo you notice the same bugs congregating on the side of your Sevierville area home every fall season? You may have a boxelder bug or stink bug problem! Both of these insects are known for a couple of things. One, the foul odor they release when crushed or threatened. And two, their odd behavior of aggregating on the sides of buildings and structures in the fall months. Their populations can grow to large numbers, making the very sight of them worrisome. However, the real trouble is when boxelder bugs or stink bugs crawl their way into your home. While not particularly dangerous, they are a downright nuisance and difficult to get rid of.

Boxelder Bugs vs. Stink Bugs

Both these insects will crawl their way through any crack and crevice in your home’s exterior to gain access to the warmth of your home before the winter months. Even worse, they reproduce at a rapid rate. Here’s how to identify the bugs on the side of your home:

    1. Boxelder bug
      • These insects have dark brown bodies with unique red markings.
      • They emerge out of hibernation in the springtime.
      • True to their name, they live in boxelder trees as well as maple, ash, and fruit trees.
      • Their feces can leave a stain.
    2. Stink bug
      • Their backs look like shields, and they can blend easily within foliage.
      • If threatened, these bugs release an odor.
      • There are two main types we see in the states: the brown marmorated stink bug and the green stink bug.
      • They do not bite or spread disease.

Fall pest prevention in Eastern Tennessee - Johnson Pest Control

How to Prevent Fall Invaders

As you would with any pest, it’s important to learn how to keep boxelder bugs and stink bugs out of your property in the first place. Here are our top tips to make your property less conducive to an infestation:

  1. Check the caulk around the molding of the windows and vents.
  2. Seal up cracks around roof soffits, windows, siding, and foundation.
  3. Clean out any debris around the foundation of the house.
  4. Trim back trees and bushes to keep all vegetation away from the perimeter of the home.
  5. Clean and repair the corners of fences, decorative rocks, old piles of wood, and patio furniture.
  6. Replace torn screens on windows and doors or install brand-new ones.
  7. Consider using low-pressure sodium exterior lighting, as UV rays attract these bugs.

Need Boxelder Bug or Stink Bug Control?

If these insects make their way inside your home before you have a chance to prevent them, it’s important to get help from a professional. The residential exterminators at Johnson Pest Control can help get these bugs out as well as keep them from ever getting indoors again. Contact us today to learn more!

Why Do Spiders Come Inside in the Fall?

Black widows are one of two dangerous spiders in Sevierville TN - Johnson Pest ControlHave you noticed more and more spiders in your home recently? As summer comes to an end and the fall begins, spiders are more likely to be inside your property. Spiders typically hatch in the springtime. By the time autumn arrives, they can seem like they are in full force. These eight-legged creatures are drawn inside homes here in Sevierville TN in search of food, water, and shelter. Thankfully, most spiders you encounter in your home are harmless. That said, there are a couple spiders to keep an eye out for this fall. Keep reading for expert insight from the experts at Johnson Pest Control.

Black Widow vs Brown Recluse Infographic - Johnson Pest Control in Eastern TennesseePreventing Fall Spiders

No one wants to look up and see a spider crawling across their ceiling. To make your home less inhabitable to spiders, try out the following tips:

  1. Keep your lawn and yard trimmed. Overgrown bushes, shrubs, piles of wood, and more can attract spiders to your property and eventually indoors.
  2. Clean your home on a regular basis. Doing so can prevent insects that spiders like to prey on and eliminate hiding spots for pests.
  3. Seal any cracks and crevices. Inspect the inside and outside of your property for tiny spots that may be inviting spiders in, and seal properly.
  4. Install or repair screens on doors and windows. Holes or crevices in screens will easily invite spiders (and other pests) inside.
  5. Inspect boxes and used furniture prior to bringing them inside. Adult spiders or egg sacs could be nestled in old unopened boxes.

Are There Dangerous Spiders in the Fall?

The black widow and brown recluse spiders are dangerous any time of year, but are often seeing in or around your home in the late summer/early fall. Because these spiders can administer a dangerous bite when they are threatened, it’s important to learn how to identify them:

  • Brown recluse spiders: These spiders have a darker brown violin-shaped mark on their brown bodies. They build loose, dome-shaped webs for shelter. A brown recluse bite is known to be very painful.
  • Black widow: These spiders have a characteristic red hourglass shape on its body. They build sticky, tangled cobwebs in garages, sheds, and near the ground. They can bite when they feel threatened.

When to Get Spider Control

Seeing a few house spiders here and there is perfectly normal, especially this time of year. So how do you know when it’s time for a spider exterminator? If you are noticing excess webs, spiders, or dangerous spiders in your home, the experts at Johnson are here to help.