Fall Pests That Can Live in Your Walls

a mouse peaking out of a hole in the wall

 As the weather gets colder, you may start to notice an increase in insects and other unwelcome creatures in your home. This is a process called overwintering, which is when pests try to escape the increasingly cold weather, and it happens like clockwork every fall. Some species migrate to warmer climates, some burrow in or under debris, while others just try to get into our homes to warm up. It’s easy to avoid in most cases, but once they cross the threshold into your living space it becomes a big problem.

There are several types of pests known for trying to get in. The most difficult pests to get rid of, however, are the ones that make their way into the attic or behind your walls. These are the hidden dangers that you often don’t notice until they’ve caused real damage. This can include Asian lady beetles, rodents, termites, stink bugs, and wasps. Read on to learn more about these common pests that invade homes in the fall.

 

Contact us today to keep these fall pests out!

 

Asian Lady Beetles

White Asian Lady beetle are a little larger than ladybugs and share the same general shape and coloration. They look harmless at first glance, so what’s the problem? White Asian Ladies stick together in groups and use pheromones to communicate their location. So, if one or two get into your home, it can very easily balloon into a huge infestation. The good news is that these bugs aren’t known for stinging, biting, or destroying the household. Still, their presence could trigger respiratory issues in sensitive people. Because of this, it’s best, like with any insect infestation, to make sure the cracks and crevices of your home’s exterior are thoroughly sealed.

Rodents

Squirrels, roof rats, and mice are all known for their excellent climbing capabilities, and the odds are good that you’ve seen one of them scurrying across a fence or through some trees. With skills like theirs, they can easily get into your attic and make a nice and cozy nest to wait out the cold. Have you been hearing any scratching or gnawing noises from inside your walls? If so, you likely have a rodent inside your attic or wall voids. That means that it’s time to call an experienced rodent exterminator like Johnson Pest Control

Stink Bugs

How do you catch a stink bug before things get smelly? The Brown Marmorated stink bug, an invasive species straight from the East, is the most common variety to find in the quiet parts of your house. They’re shaped like a shield, range in size from ¼” to ⅜, and colored in shades of brown and gray. When the cold season rolls around, they tend to stick to undisturbed spots in the home like the attic, crawlspace, or space between walls. Handling them can be tricky to do on your own, as if they feel that their lives are in danger they are known for releasing a titular smell that’s undeniable and definitely unpleasant.

Termites

Termites are the nightmare of any homeowner in America, with the estimated annual cost of damage done ranging up to $30 billion. These microscopic menaces always want to get inside your house. However, the most destructive species of termites are the subterranean termite, and they’re capable of burrowing deeper in the ground in the fall and winter and causing damage you won’t notice till spring.  Termites in the home are focused entirely on consuming anything with cellulose. If you’ve noticed things such as blisters on painted, hollow-sounding wood and unexplained pinhole-sized holes, that means you’re in desperate need of service from one of our qualified exterminators. 

Wasps

Most of the average wasp colonies don’t overwinter, which means that a majority of the population dies as the weather gets colder. However, fertilized queens are able to overwinter outdoors in hollow logs, stumps, under leaves or in structures such as the attics of homes. The most common way for wasps to get in is through attic vents that aren’t screened. So like with the stink bug and other pests and vermin, this can be prevented by making sure your attic is properly sealed from the elements.

Your Local Exterminator

Johnson Pest Control has been East Tennessee’s first call for pest control for over thirty years. We’ve earned the trust of homes and commercial properties in the Sevierville, Knoxville and Maryville areas, and we’d love to earn yours as well. If you want to avoid unwelcome fall pests, contact us today!

Prevent Ladybugs, Boxelder Bugs & Stink Bugs From Overwintering in Your Home

Boxelder bugs in Eastern TN - Johnson Pest ControlHeading into winter, all sorts of pests start looking to head indoors. Overwintering is the process that many organisms go through to survive the harsh cold and the conditions that come with it. It comes in many forms depending on the organism, but the two major ways that it manifests are through hibernation and migration.

Here in Eastern TN, there are a few insects to look out for when it gets cold. Ladybugs, boxelder bugs, and stink bugs all like to spend the winter indoors, so your home could be their target in the coming weeks if it isn’t already! To learn how to prevent insects from overwintering in your home, read on for advice from the Johnson Pest Control technicians!

Fall Invaders: Who Are They?

Lady bugs, boxelder bugs, and stink bugs are all grouped in together with “fall invaders,” a list of pests that start to make their way into our homes as the temperatures drop. Let’s learn more about them:

  • Ladybugs: While these are one of the most beloved insects here in Eastern TN, when they find your home suitable for hibernation, their numbers can become overwhelming. Ladybugs often find their way in through gaps around windows and doors.
  • Boxelder bugs: For most of the year, boxelder bugs live in the bark of boxelder trees. Fitting! However, even if you don’t have a boxelder or other maple tree on your property, you could be in for a swarm of nearby boxelder bugs trying to get inside your home this winter.
  • Stink bugs: As an invasive species, stink bugs have no native predators in the region. Their numbers have been multiplying every year, and as a result, more and more homeowners in the area have dealt with stink bug infestations.

How to Prevent Bugs Overwintering in Your Home

The best way to keep pests out of your house this winter is to limit the number of access points to your home that they have. We recommend taking the following steps to keep bugs out:

  • Look for cracks in the foundation of your home, plumbing fixtures, and roofing. Seal any gaps with a silicone-based caulk.
  • Install sweeps on your doors and screens on your windows.
  • Replace any loose mortar and weather stripping.
  • Use screens on your vents and chimney openings.

Professional Help for Overwintering Pests

If you’ve tried all of our prevention strategies to no avail, it’s time to bring in a professional pest control technician to assess your situation. At Johnson Pest Control, we train our techs to complete exhaustive inspections to ensure that no vulnerability is left undiscovered. We use the safest and most effective pest control products in the industry to get rid of unwanted pests and provide our customers with top tips to prevent problems on their own going forward. If you need help today, reach out for a free quote!

What Are These Stink Bugs?

What brown marmorated stink bugs look like in Eastern TN - Johnson Pest ControlMany people here in Eastern Tennessee have come to us asking questions about the amount of stink bugs that they’ve seen around their home over the last few years. They have been around for a little while now, but it seems like their numbers just keep growing. What exactly are these stink bugs, and why are they multiplying so quickly? Read on to learn more about them with help from the technicians at Johnson Pest Control!

What Are Stink Bugs?

There are some species of stink bugs native to the United States, but brown marmorated stink bugs are the ones that are taking over. They were accidentally introduced to the country after being brought over on Eastern Asian cargo ships in the 1990s. Since they were documented in Pennsylvania almost 30 years ago, they have spread to most of the continental United States and are projected to spread across our entire continent, given that they have almost no natural predators here.

Brown marmorated stink bugs can be differentiated from other stink bugs by their brown coloring and scattered markings of black, white, and brown on their backs and antennae. They have a characteristic shield-shaped body and are usually about ½” long.

Do Stink Bugs Bite?

Brown marmorated stink bugs will bite on very rare occasions, and their bites won’t do more than cause temporary pain. Stink bugs aren’t dangerous, but they are aptly named. Their main defense mechanism comes by way of the release of a foul-smelling gas from their scent glands. This reaction is usually triggered by grabbing, touching, or trapping them.

Stink bugs are probably in your home looking for plants or produce. They are infamous in the agricultural industry for extracting nutrients from crops. Here in the states, they have plentiful resources and barely any inhibiting factors keeping them from proliferating.

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs in Eastern Tennessee

It’s much easier to prevent stink bugs than to get rid of them once they’re in your home. You can keep them out best by using screens in your ventilation system, sealing gaps by doors in windows and cracks in plumbing fixtures, and making sure that your roofing and foundation are completely intact. Stink bugs in the house are best dealt with using a vacuum cleaner.

That said, we know how quickly a small stink bug problem can turn into a huge one. If you have an infestation on your hands right now, no matter the size, your local pest control company can take care of them. The technicians at Johnson Pest Control are trained with the best strategies and products to get rid of stink bugs and can teach you how to best prevent them around your unique home. For a free quote on stink bug removal, contact us today!

Benefits of TAP Insulation

TAP Insulation in Sevierville TN - Johnson Pest ControlWhether you’re looking to upgrade your existing insulation or need to insulate a brand-new home, TAP® Insulation is a sound choice. This home insulation product is renowned for many reasons, including its energy-efficient performance and pest-resistant properties. Infused with borate, TAP works to prevent and control pest problems in the household. Because it outperforms traditional insulation, TAP is quickly becoming the go-to insulation option here in Sevierville TN and beyond. The pros at Johnson Pest Control are here to share all you need to know about this industry-leading home insulation option.

How Does TAP Insulation Control Pests?

TAP is prized for its pest control properties. The insulation is infused with a borate product that will prevent and eliminate pests. Some of the pests affected by this insulation product include:





What Are the Other Benefits of TAP Insulation?

TAP Insulation outperforms other home insulation options on several levels. Not only is it energy efficient, TAP provides superior thermal and acoustic insulation and wards off pest problems in your home. Other benefits include:

  • TAP Insulation is the only insulation registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • More cost-effective than traditional insulation, TAP is a one-time investment with no need for re-treatments.
  • TAP can be installed over existing insulation and comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • As an energy-efficient option, TAP can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 30%.
  • TAP is environmentally friendly by using recycled paper diverted from landfills to create the product.
  • This insulation is capable of filling the nooks and crannies that are unreachable with traditional insulation.

How to Get TAP Insulation in Tennessee

Johnson Pest Control is your local leader in TAP installation. Our technicians are licensed and registered to install TAP on top of your existing insulation. To learn more about our home insulations service or to schedule an appointment, call our team today!

Common Spring Pests to Be on the Lookout For

Prevent spring pests by spring cleaning your Sevierville TN home. Get tips from Johnson Pest Control! Spring is almost here in the Sevierville area, and many people are welcoming the warmer weather. Unfortunately, with the spring season comes the pest season. This time of year, many pests that may have been less active in the winter have a resurgence of sorts. To prevent the many types of pests that will likely look to invade your Tennessee home, it’s important to implement some pest prevention measures into your spring cleaning routine! Read on for top tips from the experts at Johnson Pest Control.

Spring Pests in Tennessee

While many of the following pests are active all year long, they are particularly in action starting in the spring months. There are five pests in particular that create trouble for property owners every spring: ants, stinging insects (wasps and hornets), stink bugs, termites, and rodents! Spring is simply the start of the pest season and can last well into the summer if pest control isn’t implemented right away. By safeguarding your property now, you can help lessen the risk of getting an infestation as pests become more and more active.

5 Spring Cleaning Tips for Pest Prevention

With so many people planning to clean their home for springtime anyway, it’s the perfect opportunity to implement pest control measures. For the best chance of making your home unsavory for pests, try the following tips:

  1. Tidy up! Clean under furniture, wipe down surfaces, and inspect areas of your home that need some fixing up.
  2. Clean your windows and doors thoroughly. If you find any cracks or crevices make sure to securely seal them.
  3. Deep-clean your carpets and rugs. Vacuum, shampoo, or even steam-clean the surface.
  4. Sanitize and clean your kitchen with a focus on your appliances. Crumbs and spilled liquids welcome all types of insects and pests.
  5. Remove debris from your yard, and trim any shrubs or tree branches away from your home. Clear out your gutters and downspouts.

You Have Pests in the Spring—Now What?

Sometimes pests are inevitable, especially this time of year. For your best chance at controlling active infestations and preventing future ones, the exterminators at Johnson can help. Our team will work with you to develop a custom pest control plan suited to the needs of your property.

What Is This Bug Invading My Home?

Kudzu Bug
Kudzu Bug, photo courtesy of Wikipedia

It is fall, and with fall comes cooler temperatures and the season onslaught of bugs that are making their way into your home.

So what bugs are invading your home? We’ve compiled a short list to be on the look out for.

Asian Ladybugs

Sometimes considered to be Ladybugs, the Asian Ladybug can be a different coloring than the traditional red and black we are familiar with. The Asian Ladybug is looking for that place to hibernate for the winter. They are likely finding their way into your house around cracks or openings at windows and doors. The Asian Ladybugs are also more prevalent on the sunnier sides of your home.

There is not much to worry about when it comes to your health or home. The bugs are not going to pose a threat to anyone or any property. They are a nuisance bug and when they get caught in your home in the masses they will likely be flying around and landing on you from time to time. A simple vacuum will be able to clean up the living and the dead bugs and you can then dispose of them outside. If you do not get a perimeter pest treatment (and sometimes even if you do) they will likely show back up for a few more weeks until winter starts to really set in.

Stink Bugs

We’ve talked a lot about the Stinkbug lately. Much newer to the North American landscape the Stink Bug does not have a natural predator in this part of the world so they are basically growing without any population control. So when stink bugs are bad, they are really bad. They are rather large in size (for a bug) and have a tough eco-skeleton that makes them tough to squash (you have to really commit to it). They also secrete a smelly enzyme that warns other stink bugs from coming in that direction.

Stink bugs feed on vegetation, so they are terrible for farmer’s crops. However, homeowners have little to worry about beyond coming across the bugs on a regular basis in your home. They find their way into the home through cracks and openings. They, much like the ladybug, are looking for a place to call home for the winter. You can create some stink bug traps or just vacuum them up periodically and dispose of outside.

Spiders

Spiders will only be making their way into your home because their food sources are trying to get into your home as well. If you have a pretty active spider scene outside during the spring and summer months you will like see an up-tick in spider activity in the home.

Most spiders are not a threat to you home and family. The acception to this rule is the black widow and the brown recluse spider. Both spiders like to be in places that are not disturbed very much, so be cautious with basement rooms or bedrooms that are rarely used. Those would need a quick inspection to make sure they are free and clear of those spiders before you welcome guests or let kids play freely. Orb spiders or wolf spiders that make their way into your home are just looking for their next meal, not you. They can easily be scooped up or squashed and discarded outside.

Kudzu Bug

The Kudzu Bug is a close relative to the Stink Bug but has more the shape of the ladybug. The Kudzu Bug is also new to North America, it is generally believed that it came to the continent via air travel/transportation. Since it has no known predators on this continent its population has grown exponentially. This time of the year they are making their way from the plants that they call home & a food source and looking for a place to hibernate. So if they favor your home you likely have a large amount of these greenish-ladybug looking things crawling all over.

The Kudzu Bug does not pose a threat to humans, and can be disposed of in same fashion as the ladybug and stink bug. If you tried to squash them their secretions could stain floors, carpets, and other furniture. Chemical treatments that you can find at the grocery or hardware store will not work for kudzu bugs. If you have such an infestation that you are totally overwhelmed and cannot vacuum fast enough then contact a pest control professional. Commercial grade pest chemicals can help and they would have the tools to help put a perimeter around your home and many of the access points to your home.

 

Stink Bugs Preparing For Fall Home Invasions

Spring Bugs, the Stink BugAlong with turning leaves, cooler temperatures and the beginning of the school year, stink bug sightings around the house are another sure sign that fall has arrived. These pests begin to enter homes at the onset of cooler weather looking for overwintering spots. it is not that difficult to take necessary steps now to deny stinkbugs entry before they completely invade your home.

Years ago, stink bugs were only found in a few states but, since, have quickly spread to more than 40 states, including Tennessee. Although these pests present a significant agricultural problem and concern for farmers, they are also a major nuisance for homeowners.

Stink bugs release a chemical alerting their brethren to an area they’ve settled in, it’s important to prevent their entry in the first place.

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) notes that stink bugs typically gather near windows, lights, TVs or computer monitors that throw off light and warmth and secrete a bad-smelling, bad-tasting fluid when disturbed or when crushed.

The NPMA offers the following advice to keep stink bugs out and remove them if they are already inside:

  • Seal cracks around windows, doors, electrical outlets, ceiling fans and light switches. Pay close attention to areas including around siding and utility pipes, underneath the wood fascia or other openings.
  • Keep branches and shrubbery well trimmed; store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground.
  • Replace outdoor lighting with yellow bulbs, which are less attractive to stink bugs.
  • Use a vacuum to eliminate stink bugs indoors, empty the contents into a plastic bag and dispose of them immediately.

5 Fall Insects To Watch Out For

Fall weather is in the air and thus begins that transition period where insects and people start to mingle together. We like to open the doors and windows of our home for the fresh air of fall. Insects start to feel the chill air and start looking for places to call home for the winter.

Boxelder Bugs - Insects of Fall

So what insects do you need to be on the lookout for this fall? Here are our 5 insects to be on the watch for this fall.

  1. Boxelder Bugs: The boxelder bug might look like a ‘lightning bug’ (firefly in some circles) until you start to see hundreds of them having a little conference together on the sunny side of your house. They have distinctive red lines on their backs which is the quickest way to identify them. The boxelder bug will not do any harm to your home but they can start to make their way into the house when needing a warmer environment.
  2. Stink bugs:  Stink bugs are a pretty interesting looking insect. They have a body structure that looks like a mid-evil shield. Thus, stink bugs are often called shield bugs. They are not a native species of insect to east Tennessee, so they are actually considered and invasive species as there are not native predators for them. If you squash they excrete a stench, thus the stink bug-naming. Stink bugs have a waxy covering which helps protect them from insecticides. To get rid of them you need to vacuum them up and dispose of them outside. They too are looking for places to hibernate for the winter, so be prepared that one or two will come into the house when you open up an outside door.
  3. Asian Ladybugs: Ladybugs are such cute insects. They feed on aphids (good for us) and are the fascination of many children. However, in fall they invade our homes in such a manner that it is darn near frightening. Ladybugs are only trying to find a spot to hibernate for the winter. They will get into your home through any crack that they can, so windows and doors are super popular spots. To get rid of them you will want to vacuum them up and release them outside. Unless you seal up the areas that the ladybugs are coming in from the outside then you will likely have recurrences through early winter months.
  4. Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes are usually at their worst in the late spring and early summer. When fall comes around you might be less inclined to be watching for ideal mosquito breeding conditions. You need to be keeping vigilant with your mosquito prevention techniques as they will continue to feed until early winter.
  5. Spiders: With new found friends invading your home comes those who like to feed on them, spiders. Spiders will go wherever their food sources are, so if your home starts to become a space that has indoor insects then they are likely to follow. Most spiders can be dealt with using traditional insecticides, however, some can be more difficult to rid the home of.

Fall is a great time of year in Tennessee, just be aware of some of the new friends that might be looking to call your house their home.

What is a Stink Bug?

Stink BugPerhaps you are starting to see these large “shield” shaped bugs wandering around, and sometimes in, your home. When you squash them you smell a pretty foul odor and re-think what you’ve just done. These are most likely halyomorpha halys, or more commonly known as, the stink bug.

So what is a Stink Bug?

Stink bugs are not a threat to your home or your family. They can be annoying and can invade a home in such masses that one wonders if they’ve been invaded by some alien bug overthrow. Be strong, the stink bug is a plant feeder, which does make them a problem for those with gardens or farming crops. The stink bug will pierce the skin of fruits and plants to eat which will kill off the fruit or plant. This poses a problem for gardens and farm crops.

The stink bug is not a native species to the United States but an import from Japan. They first appeared in the US in the late 90’s. The bug can seem increasingly active in and around your house in the fall because they are seeking out places to hunker down for the coming winter cold. If the stink bugs do find your home a suitable place for the winter you can expect to see them again in the spring as they try to get out of your home to feed on the plant life outside.

Why are they called Stink Bugs?

Stink bugs, as their name would illustrate, put off a stench when threatened of squashed (killed). So getting rid of the stink bugs can be a bit tricky.

From NPMA:

The problem more familiar to homeowners who encounter this slow-moving, armored-looking pest – is the smell. When handled or disturbed, stink bugs are able to secrete a bad-smelling, bad-tasting fluid from pores on the sides of their bodies. This secretion protects stink bugs from predators .And, to them that’s what we are – tissue-wielding, newspaper-swatting, foot stomping predators.

How To Get Rid of Stink Bugs

A pest control perimeter treatment will help to keep the stink bug from getting around the house. But as some bugs can go airborne they can fly over a ground treatment and claim the exterior of your house as a nice place to get some sun. If you have the time and energy, plus if the extent of the infestation is small enough, you can create a dish soap / water mixture and flick the bugs in there. The stink bugs will down in the soapy solution. You can then dispose of them. If your problem is too large to handle bug by bug then you can implement a vacuum (but only the suction so you do not squash them) or a pesticide option.

If you can seal of cracks around the outside of you house that will also help to keep the bug from finding their way into your home. It will also do some good in making your home more energy efficient.

So do not freak out about the stink bug. They are just looking for a warm place to call home for the winter.