Spring into a Pest-Free Home!

Spring is almost here. The warm weather brings blue skies, longer days, and – unfortunately – plenty of pests. That’s why now is the time to look around your home and yard and think about the measuresa gloved hand holding a basket of cleaning supplies and precautions you can take to be pest-free*. Typical springtime pests that would be unwelcome guests are ants, spiders, wasps, crickets, beetles, mites, and bees. So how can you keep them from invading your space? 

The following is a list of things to do, not only for spring cleaning, but at any point in the year.

Clean and Inspect Kitchen 

Anywhere there is food or water you are likely to attract various pests. They could hibernate in colder seasons under your sink or in your cabinets. 

Some preventative inspection can be done that includes: 

  • Keep food stored in tightly sealed containers or refrigerators. Clean floors and countertops of food debris on an ongoing basis.
  • Seal holes under or around cabinets, and other potential entry points
  • Check pipes for leaks. 

Clean Pantry 

Did you stock up on flour, sugar or cake mixes for the holiday season? Check the expiration date and consider transferring dry goods to airtight, sealed containers of plastic, metal or glass. This can help keep pests at bay. 

Dry goods can harbor insects from the grocery store, so always check packages for tears or holes before bringing home. 

Declutter Closets 

Warmer weather means you no longer have a use for the heavy coats and thick sweaters of the previous season. Take advantage of this opportunity, and this is a great time to declutter. When your closet is overstuffed, it can attract pests like spiders who are looking for a home. Instead of providing shelter for insects in your closet, provide comfort to families in need by donating clothes you either don’t like, or don’t fit in anymore.

Once decluttering you can get in there and vacuum all the dark corners and get rid of any hiding pests.

Declutter and Clean Attic 

Mice like to make their nests in warm and dry places, like the average attic in East Tennessee. The best way to prevent this is to seal any holes leading to outside. It’s important to be thorough in your efforts, as mice can enter through a hole the size of a dime. 

Once again you can take this opportunity to donate what you don’t use, and keep the rest stored in sealed crates as opposed to cardboard boxes. When you do this it’ll not only eliminate clutter, but it’ll keep your stored items pest-free* as well.

Examine Your Homes Exterior 

Any opening along the exterior of your home can be a potential entry point for pests. This includes cracks and holes in your foundation or siding, as well as any faults around the frame of your windows. Even a seemingly insignificant hole can be big enough to invite ants, the main spring and summertime pest in East Tennessee, so keeping your exterior sealed cannot be stressed enough. 

The most proactive thing you can do to prevent infestations in the home is to eliminate the causes that are attracting them to begin with. But what attracts insects and other pests to the home?

Dark cluttered places are near-ideal hiding places for spiders, ants, cockroaches and rodents. So by minimizing clutter, you can discourage pests from taking up residence by taking away their hideouts. 

Another method you can do is to keep your home clear of any standing water. This includes pools and lakes, as well as birdbaths and even overturned buckets. Remember, all it takes for mosquitoes to breed is a body of water the size of a small puddle. 

Trim Shrubs and Cut Back Trees 

Anything touching the ground and the exterior of your property could be used as bridges to gain access to your house. So make sure to keep shrubs trimmed and trees cut back. Keep your lawn mowed and weeds down. And make sure not to let piles of yard trimmings or brush accumulate, as these both easily become a perfect place for pests to hide. 

Trash Cans 

Make sure your trash can lids are tight fitting and using trash bags adds an extra layer of pest prevention and control.

Remove Firewood away from your home 

Stacks of firewood provides food and shelter for a variety of pests in spring and summer. That’s why we suggest keeping your firewood positioned above the ground and at least 30 feet away from the exterior of your home. Only take what you plan on burning at once, and make sure not to spread pesticides on any kindling you aim to throw into a fire. 

Johnson Pest Control for Springtime Pest Control

There is no shortage of tips on how to prevent pests in East Tennessee. But whether you’re a home or business owner, you deserve service that’ll cover you through rain or shine. No matter the season, you can trust that the team at Johnson Pest Control can handle your pest control needs. From ants on the counter to a bees nest in the eaves, we have over 40 years of experience in keeping the streets of our city pest free. Want to know more? Contact us today!

The Kissing Bug: What You Need to Know

A kissing bug sounds sweet, like something you’d find in a children’s picture book. But when you learn more abouta kissing bug on a gray wall these pests and what they do, they suddenly become far less romantic. In a month dedicated to love, the last choice you’d want for a date is a parasitic pest known for biting and defecating on your face. 

If that wasn’t enough, kissing bugs can carry the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi in their stool. When rubbed into breaks in the skin, it runs the risk of transmitting Chagas disease. This can be potentially life-threatening if left untreated, which makes it all the more important to identify and prevent kissing bugs through both exclusion and extermination.

What Do Kissing Bugs Look Like?

The average kissing bug is between ¾ to 1¼ inches, with an elongated and oval-shaped body. They’re mainly hued in shades of brown or black, but their abdomen may also have splotches of red, yellow, or tan. 

They originated in Mexico, as well as Central and South America. But they’ve migrated to several locations around the Southern US, including East Tennessee. For the most part they’re seen outdoors, adjacent to the wild and domesticated animals that they feed off of. However, they can get into homes through open doors and windows, where they may choose to hide in various corners and other secluded areas. 

How Do You Treat a Kissing Bug Bite?

Kissing bug bites look a lot like other bites, irritations, or infections. They can be anywhere on your body, but mainly take the form of 2-15 marks around your mouth or eyes. And they may itch, but for a majority of people, all you’ll need to soothe it is an ice pack and an over-the-counter antihistamine. 

But what about the risk of Chagas disease? It’s a very real problem in warmer areas where kissing bugs are found. It starts with similar symptoms to a bad flu, with fever and nausea. If it progresses to swollen eyelids and more acute pain you should seek medical attention immediately.

Can You Prevent Kissing Bugs?

Fortunately, out of all the parasitic pests, kissing bugs are one of the least likely to infest homes in East Tennessee. And, even better, you can use the same solutions you’d take to exclude a variety of other pests. If you seal cracks and gaps around your home and cover larger openings with screens and other forms of mesh, you’re actively eliminating easy entry points for a majority of bugs. 

But nothing is perfect, and pests can be unpredictable. If you take every precaution and still wind up with an infestation of kissing bugs, or any other type of bug, you can trust the team at Johnson Pest Control to take care of the problem safely and effectively. We’ve been making pest prevention easy since 1984, and with our help we can help you break up with kissing bugs for good. Contact us today to get started!

TAP® Pest Control Insulation FAQ

two hands holding a pile of cellulose insulation

We spoke last month about TAP® Insulation, and how the team at Johnson Pest Control can use this pest-killing insulation to defend your home from a variety of potential insect infestations. If you want to know about the basics of the technology and an overview of what it can do for you, you can find all of that in our previous blog. If you read through that already and found that you have some questions, that’s exactly what we plan to get into now. Below you’ll find some more detail about TAP and its benefits – things you might not have known or considered previously. For homeowners in East Tennessee that are still on the fence, this might be enough to push you towards giving your family the pest protection you all deserve. If you come to that conclusion, the team at Johnson Pest Control is ready to help!

TAP® Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is Boric acid? Is it safe? 

A. Boric acid is a naturally occurring chemical compound that takes the form of a colorless crystal or white powder. It’s antiseptic, which makes it a vital component of any first aid kit. It’s also a great cleaning agent, as it can remove stains, deodorize, and kill mold. But the reason why we use it in TAP Insulation is because it’s one of the most effective pest-killing properties on the market. In small amounts, it isn’t strong enough to harm larger pests, animals, children, or adults. To them it’s safe, but it should always be handled carefully and installed by a professional.

Q. How long does TAP® take to install? How long does it last?

A. The length of the initial installation depends on the size and structure of the space you want to insulate. Typically, the process of blowing the cellulose into the attic, floors or wall takes between four to six hours. Once it’s installed, though, it has the potential to last for decades without needing to be replaced.

Q. Will TAP® save me money?

A. We’ve noted that TAP has the capabilities to prevent pest infestations from forming. Because of that, you avoid having to pay for treatment. Not only that, but the insulating qualities of TAP allow your HVAC appliances to use less energy, resulting in lower monthly utility bills. With all that taken into consideration, it’s easy to see how this one installation can quickly pay for itself.

Q. Do I need to prepare for TAP® Insulation? 

Maybe not! If you have damaged insulation, it’s always suggested to remove it before installing TAP. Otherwise, if you have intact cellulose or spray foam, you can easily install TAP over it for an additional layer of pest-free* protection.

Q. What are the downsides to TAP® Insulation?

TAP insulation is fire-resistant, and it doesn’t lose effectiveness over time. However, since it’s made of cellulose it’s vulnerable to water and runs the risk of mold. If you have a leaky roof or water intrusion in your attic, this could be an issue. It also has a mid-tier R-value that’s higher than fiberglass, but not quite as high as spray foam insulation.

 ChooseJohnson Pest Control for TAP® Insulation in East Tennessee

We believe that homes in the East Tennessee area deserve the very best – and the same goes for the people that live in them. We’re happy to combat any variety of pest infestations that may occur in or around your property, but we’d prefer for you to be able to live pest-free* without any effort at all. That’s why we’re so fond of TAP Insulation and the way it can make your home more comfortable. Our team has been providing preventative pest control for 40 years, and in that time, we’ve come to learn what works and what doesn’t. And to put it very simply: we think TAP Insulation works.

Curious to know more? Do you have a question we didn’t answer? Our experts are happy to elaborate! Contact Johnson Pest Control today to learn more or get your free quote today!

Spiders, Rats, Bats: Spooky Pests Can be a Nightmare for Homeowners

Wolf spider crawling on a pile of orange fall leaves - keep spiders away from your home with Johnson Pest Control in TNWith Halloween right around the corner, sightings of classic creepy bugs and creatures will surely be on the rise as homeowners decorate for the spookiest day of the year. We like to remind our homeowners that real pests pose threats to both health and property and an infestation can be a real nightmare.

Pests such spiders, bats, rats and mice are frequently associated with Halloween fun and campy horror movies, but if found inside the home, they are a cause for concern. These pests are more likely to invade houses as the weather cools down, so it’s important for homeowners to be on the lookout for any signs of pest problems.

According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), the following pests could threaten the health and safety of your home this fall:


For many people, spiders of any size and shape cause great alarm when found in the home, and their webs can be a serious nuisance. However, there are only two species of spiders in Tennessee that pose significant threats to human health: the brown recluse and black widow. Both species will bite when threatened and can cause painful, and possibly fatal reactions. Anyone who suspects they’ve been bitten by either of these should promptly seek medical attention. 


Bats prefer to settle in dark, secluded and protected areas, including the attics of homes. They have been known as carriers of rabies in the U.S. and capable of infecting humans and other animals. Their droppings can also cause certain lung diseases. Bats are protected mammals in many states, so it is necessary to contact a pest control professional or the local wildlife service before taking any action to remove bats from the home.


Rats can inflict property damage and threaten human health. Their strong teeth allow them to chew through glass, cinderblock, aluminum and wire, increasing the potential risk for fires. They are also vectors of diseases including plague, jaundice, rat-bite fever, cowpox virus, trichinosis and salmonellosis. Additionally, rats can introduce fleas into a home. These pests can fit through holes the size of a quarter, so closely inspect both the inside and outside of the home for any gaps that could allow them easy entry.

3 Signs You Need Stink Bug Control

So, it’s late summer in beautiful Knoxville, TN and you are just trying to enjoy the bounty from you vegetable garden before fall hits. You walk up only to discover that your garden is being ransacked by little shield shaped insects: stink bugs. You panic. What can you do to save your beautiful garden? Not only are stink bugs a pest to vegetable garden, but they can also be house pests (or as we like to call them: unwelcome houseguests!). Johnson Pest Control can get rid of these stink bugs in Knoxville, Tennessee. Before we do, let us tell you the three signs that you need stink bug control.
Stink bug crawling on a blade of grass - keep pests away from your home with Johnson Pest Control in TN

  1. Stink Bugs Cause Damage to Plants & Vegetables

Like we mentioned earlier, stink bugs are a fan of vegetable gardens. They can be real pests! When the stink bug feeds, it pierces the skin of the fruit or vegetable in order to feed. Once it detaches, the skin will heal over but there will usually be a scar that can be seen. Some say the scar on the fruit or vegetable looks like a cat face. So keep an eye out for scarred tomatoes that have cats face scars on them! To save your vegetable garden, call Johnson Pest Control.

stink bug control in knoxville, tn pest control services

  1. Sunny Side Up – Stink Bugs in Knoxville, TN

Stink bugs like to sun themselves to keep warm. You might notice that some sunny areas outside or around your home are prone to stink bugs posting up so they can tan. Be weary of this and try to seal your home against them. Stink bugs are active on sunny days.
stink bug crawling on a leaf - keep pests away from your home with Johnson Pest Control in TN

  1. Stink Bug Invasion in Knoxville, TN

The most likely sign of a stink bug invasion will be just that: a large number of stink bugs in or around your home. They are easier to get rid of if they are outside. However, it’s about to get colder and the stink bugs are thinking about one thing: winter. Once the stink bugs make their way into your home, they can be extremely difficult to get rid of. They will winterize themselves so that they don’t feed or move.

Don’t let stink bugs invade your home. If you need stink bug control in Knoxville, TN, give Johnson Pest Control a call. We can save your home from any infestation of bugs from harmless (but still annoying) pests like stink bugs to wood-destroying insects to stinging insects. Johnson Pest control can save the day and take steps to make sure that another infestation does not happen. You don’t think of pest control companies until you have to and when you think pest control, you should think Johnson Pest Control in Knoxville, TN.

5 Fall Home Pest Control Tips

Home Pest ControlPest control around the home is a year-round effort, but it doesn’t have to be an exhaustive effort. Here are five tips to prep for your own home pest control this fall.

5 Home Pest Control Tips

  1. Reduce Moisture and Water Around The House: Coming off the summer months you might think that we are done with mosquitoes. That is far from the case. Mosquitoes will continue for a few months. Go around the house and disperse any standing water where mosquitoes could breed. Moisture build up areas around the house are perfect environments for termites and many other pests. If you have areas of the house that are building up moisture then do what you can to dry them out. Some areas may only need some landscaping, shrubs, tree limbs, etc. cut back to give some ventilation and sunlight to dry out. If your crawl space is damp then place a fan or two around the crawl that can be turned on periodically to help ventilation. Open vents around the crawl space, but insert screens at the same time to keep out critters.
  2. Fix All House Integrity Compromises: Every day it seems we visit at least one house that has some vegetation or structural issue that is compromising the house. Walk around the house and look for trees that might be pressing into the eaves, shrubs that are covering over the house vents, leaking pipes, falling screens, or any other noticeable issues. Critters and bugs utilize these types of compromises of the house structure to make their way in for shelter for the fall and winter months. Once these pests get into your house they are difficult (and costly) to get out. Some compromises to your house can even lead to structural issues that go beyond pests and can cause thousands in repairs.
  3. Seal Cracks: This is that time of the year when we will start to notice ladybugs, Asian ladybugs, stink bugs, kudzu bugs, boxelder bugs and other pests showing up in mass around our windows and doors inside the house. They are just looking for a warmer place to call home for the late fall and winter. They will not be causing any harm to your family or destruction to your house, but they can be impossible to get rid of once they are in the house. Especially if you noticed these bugs in your house last year, seal up those windows or doors where they occupied last year first. Creating a nice seal around your house will also help keep some of your heating costs down over the winter, which is a good add on to sealing up the house.
  4. Clean Out the Cobwebs: If you go into your garage or look around the windows of the exterior of your house you will likely find cobwebs all over. Cobwebs generally indicate spiders (bit of sarcasm there) so do not be alarmed. Not all spiders are harmful to us humans, most are not. Some spiders are actually quite helpful to the ecosystem. But not many of us are raving fans of spiders. So we want them out of the house as well. Take a day or so to go through those areas that spiders have staked a little claim of your home and clean them out. If you are paying attention to the first three tips in this list then it is likely the spiders will not come back to those spots because they only want to go places that have options to feed.
  5. Put Down a Perimeter: If you have done all the prior pest control tactics then you are likely ready to put down a little bit of some chemical pest treatments around the house. Our suggestion would be to call on a pest professional at this point. Often when you consider your time, the chemical itself, a spray container, and any other random expenses you might need to get ready to spray on your own, the cost for hiring a professional is cheaper or relatively close to the same price. It doesn’t do you very much good to do this step before the others because creating a perimeter that can be stepped over by climbing trees next to the house or jumping from bushes only makes the perimeter 50% effective at best. Once you have an effective perimeter in place you will find that pests are kept out of the house more efficiently and if they do make it into the house they do not get very far without dying.

Prevent Pests From Triggering Indoor Allergies This Spring

Pests and Insects and cause indoor allergies to kick in just as bad as outdoor allergiesWith the welcome arrival of spring comes some universally unpopular side effects: asthma and allergy symptoms. Every year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) designates May as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, coinciding with the peak season for allergy-related symptoms. We at Johnson Pest Control like to remind our people that even though many associate spring allergies with the outdoors, household pests such as cockroaches and rodents are also known to trigger asthma and allergy symptoms, especially in children.

Pest Related Indoor Allergies

Cockroach droppings, saliva, skins and other body parts contain potent allergens that can cause allergic reactions and worsen asthma symptoms. Additionally, some species of stinging insects found in East Tennessee, such as wasps & bees, can cause serious reactions in people whose immune systems overreact to stings.

With plant-based allergens already making life harder for so many Americans this time of year, the last thing people need are triggers within their own homes. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends the following tips for safeguarding homes against pests that cause asthma and allergies:

  • Keep food sealed and stored properly, and clean kitchen floors and counters daily.
  • Dispose of garbage regularly and store in sealed containers.
  • Seal cracks and holes in homes, including entry points for utilities and pipes and in screen doors and windows.
  • Keep basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.

Should you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as tongue and throat swelling, wheezing, dizziness, or shortness of breath, call 911.

If allergic to stinging insects, learn how to use an epinephrine kit and carry it with you at all times.

If you suspect an infestation or notice a hive or nest on your property then contact us for an inspection and treatment.

A pest-free* home is a happy home, and taking a few simple steps to keep them out can make all the difference in improving day to day quality of life.