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!

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!

Afraid of Rodents and Bugs? 2021 May Not Be Your Year

Johnson Pest Control - Quality pest control services in Sevierville, Knoxville TN and surrounding areas.Entomologists from Johnson’s parent company, Rentokil Provide their Pest Predictions for 2021

READING, Penn. (Jan. 4, 2021) — As if 2020 didn’t present enough challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 could be a banner year for pests around the country.

To help residents prepare for 2021, entomologists from Rentokil used field knowledge and data to provide their predictions for pests in the upcoming year.

1. Rodents, Rodents Everywhere:

With shutdowns across the country, it’s no surprise that rodents are on the rise nationwide. Empty buildings, the scarcity of food and warmer winters have combined to create a rodent apocalypse.

“We’re seeing more rats in urban, suburban and rural settings because of the shutdowns,” said Marc Potzler, Board Certified Entomologist. “Food sources are cut off, and rats are having to travel to scavenge for food. We’ve seen rats out in public during the day, which is highly unusual.”

Warmer winters have also allowed for mice populations to boom in residential areas as it allows for a longer breeding season and there is a lower population loss due to hard freezes.

“Right now is the perfect time to rodent-proof your home,” said Potzler. “Make sure to repair any gaps on the exterior of your home, such as around garage doors, windows or pipes.”

2. Mosquitoes on the Move:

Mosquitoes populations have been increasing over the last few years. Aedes species, which are disease-carrying mosquitoes, are also moving to new areas. These mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Zika virus, among other diseases.

“There is an increase of mosquitoes across the country, but notably on the West Coast, and they are adapting each year,” said Eric Sebring, Associate Certified Entomologist. “We have seen evidence of behavior adaptation, where mosquitoes lay their eggs strategically to hatch throughout the season.”

Protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes by removing any standing water on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one teaspoon of water. Also, wear EPA-approved insect repellent while spending time outside.

3. Bed Bugs:

The chatter about bed bugs was quiet in 2020, but that’s not because they have gone away.

“As people begin to travel again, we will start to hear about bed bug infestations,” said Sebring. “Bed bugs can be dormant for several months at a time, so they can emerge when a food source, humans, become available.”

Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers, traveling from place to place on people, luggage, clothing and other personal belongings. Homeowners and businesses such as hotels, colleges, hospitals, senior living facilities, retail stores, and libraries have experienced problems with bed bugs.

If traveling, inspect the bed by pulling back the sheets to examine the mattress. Check your luggage before packing and unpacking, and look for signs of living or dead bugs the size of an apple seed or black fecal smears.

4. More Time Outdoors = More Pests.

From hiking to gardening to dining al fresco, there is no doubt that the pandemic has forced people to spend more time outdoors.

In 2021, we will see the outdoor pest pressures continue:

Ticks: Ticks are responsible for transmitting several diseases, including Lyme disease, to humans and animals. These small insects are found in grassy areas and in the woods, so it is important to inspect yourself and your pets after spending time outdoors. Cover as much skin as possible while outdoors, wear long pants, long sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and tuck pant legs into socks. Light-colored clothing will also help any ticks you pick up stand out.

Ants: “As soon as the weather starts to warm up, we will see an increase in ant populations,” said Tom Dobrinska, Board Certified Entomologist. “Most of the ants we are dealing with are odorous house ants. When spending time outside, make sure to clean up any food, water or sugary substances and ensure that your home is free of any holes or cracks for them to enter.”

Stinging Insects: Stinging insects, such as wasps and yellow jackets, emerge at the first sign of warm weather, and as warm weather seasons are getting longer, stinging insects have more time to create issues. Make sure you check for nests early in the spring as they are smaller and get early nest treatment. Make sure to keep windows and doors shut, and secure outside bins so stinging insects are not attracted to the contents.

5. Termites Aren’t Going Anywhere

Termites are a pesky problem, and unfortunately, are not going anywhere. Termites can cause extensive damage to structures, especially homes. As people are moving out of cities during the pandemic to more suburban areas, education about termite protection is key.

“We received more calls for termites this past year than we have in many years,” said Potzler. “It’s important to raise awareness for homeowners now to have proactive protection to keep from costly repairs in the future.”

6. Pests in the News:

There are a few pests that will continue to steal the limelight in 2021.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive pest that has been making its way across the country since it was first introduced from Asia in 2001. Besides its pungent odor, this stink bug has become a nuisance for homeowners as it gathers in large numbers on the sides of houses and buildings and enters through small cracks in the home. “The brown marmorated stink bug is here to stay,” said Dobrinska. “We will continue to see this species emerge in late spring in large numbers.”

The Spotted Lanternfly will continue to wreak havoc across the Northeast and beyond. The invasive pest, first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, is spreading across the Northeast, with New York reporting its first sighting this year. The pest can significantly damage trees and plants.

“The Spotted Lanternfly is becoming a big problem in the Northeast, and it will continue to spread,” said Potzler. “It can be devastating for agriculture and is a nuisance for homeowners.”

The egg masses look like a smear of mud on trees and outside of homes. It’s important to scrape the egg mass off, put it in a bag with rubbing alcohol and throw it away, and then call the state department of agriculture.

The infamous “Murder Hornet,” also known as the Asian giant hornet, grabbed many headlines, causing homeowners to panic trying to decipher the difference between stinging insects in their yards and this aggressive species. The Asian giant hornet is the largest hornet species in the world, growing up to 3 inches in length. Currently, the Asian giant hornet has only been found in the Pacific Northwest.

“We know that there was one colony found and eliminated in Washington State,” said Sebring. “Unfortunately, if there is one, there will be more.”

While your chances of being stung by an Asian giant hornet are fairly low, the sting can be dangerous as the venom volume is higher, causing more pain. The hives are primarily built underground or in hollows in trees. If you suspect it is an Asian giant hornet or any stinging pests, call your pest management provider to assess the situation as soon as you spot activity.

How to Be Pest-Free in Your Backyard

Learn to be pest-free in your Sevierville TN backyard with tips from Johnson Pest ControlIf you are spending more time in your backyard than ever this year, you’re likely noticing just how many pests are outdoors! Especially in the late summer months here in Sevierville, insects are out in full-force. Unfortunately, they can quickly put a damper on your outdoor plans. Whether you’re spending time barbecuing outdoors at night, or your kids are playing on a swing set, it’s important to know how to keep pests away from your outdoor living space.

Insects & Pests in the Backyard

Your backyard can be a haven for many pests and insects, especially this time of year. Whether you’re dealing with mosquitoes infesting your birdbath or ants surrounding your outdoor dining set, pests are at full-force. The most common pests you’ll encounter in your yard are stinging insects (bees, wasps, and hornets), ants, spiders, mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, flies, and more. Any of these can be a nuisance to deal with, but mosquitoes and ticks are especially dangerous to be in your yard.




8 Ways to Prevent Pests in Your Outdoor Living Area

No one wants pests infesting their outdoor living areas. While it can be hard to avoid pests when spending time outdoors, there are a few things you can to do help steer them away from your property. Our top tips are:

  1. Apply an insect repellent. Any repellent with DEET will help repel mosquitoes and ticks.
  2. Get rid of standing water. Mosquitoes only need a half inch of standing water to breed.
  3. Keep your lawn and shrubs trimmed. Overgrown grass or vegetation provides mosquitoes and ticks with shelter.
  4. Inspect your yard for ant hills. Even a tiny mound can contain thousands of ants inside.
  5. Inspect wood structures. Your deck or porch may be vulnerable to termite or carpenter bee activity.
  6. Clean your patio or space regularly. Crumbs or spilled liquids will attract ants and other insects.
  7. Light up some citronella candles. While not a long-term solution, this will repel mosquitoes during outdoor activities.
  8. Consider replacing your light bulbs. Yellow bulbs or sodium vapor lights will not attract as many insects as bright light bulbs do.

Professional Outdoor Pest Prevention

If you have endless pests in your backyard, it’s best to contact your local exterminator. An expert can pinpoint areas of your yard that may be conducive to pest problems as well as help you prevent them! The team at Johnson is happy to help–contact us today!

Do Mosquitoes & Ticks Transmit Coronavirus?

Mosquitoes and ticks do not transmit COVID-19 in Sevierville TN and worldwide. Learn more from Johnson Pest Control.Here at Johnson Pest Control, we know that our communities are going through many difficulties in the time of COVID-19. As always, we continue to focus on our commitment to protecting our Sevierville TN neighborhoods. As this current pandemic unfolds, there is a lot of information coming out each hour as we learn more and more about this virus. One of the main concerns is, of course, how it is spread. We’ve noticed a lot of inquiries about whether insects can transmit COVID-19 or not. Although data is changing constantly, there is currently no evidence or proof that mosquitoes and ticks transmit coronaviruses. These vector pests are infamous for transmitting diseases worldwide, but COVID-19 is not one of them.

Our team is committed to the health and safety of our customers. In this blog, we’ll explore the differences between vector-borne diseases and COVID-19.

Diseases Caused by Mosquitoes and Ticks

Vector pests are organisms that transmit diseases to humans. Mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas are common vectors in that they spread diseases through their bites. Ticks and mosquitoes in particular are known to spread some of the world’s most concerning diseases. Mosquitoes transmit malaria, Zika virus, West Nile virus, chikungunya, and yellow fever, among others. Ticks, on the other hand, are responsible for transmitting the nation’s most common vector-borne disease: Lyme disease.

Are Insects Transmitting COVID-19?

The information about coronaviruses is changing constantly, but one thing’s for sure: COVID-19 is not spread by vector pests like mosquitoes and ticks. Some things to know about the coronavirus pandemic include:

  • All research points to the fact that COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that is spread through person-to-person contact.
  • Coronavirus spreads through droplets in the air from saliva or nasal discharge, which is often generated when an infected person sneezes or coughs. It is also able to be transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces.
  • SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and now COVID-19 are all known as zoonotic coronaviruses – viruses that have jumped the species barrier from their normal animal hosts to humans.

Pest Control in the Time of Coronavirus

Disease transmission from insects is certainly concerning. Thankfully, mosquitoes and ticks do not transmit the coronavirus from what we currently know. Regardless, we know how distressing mosquitoes can be and are here for you during these uncertain times. It’s important to take caution in the presence of pests and to always enlist the help of our professional exterminators for all your pest control needs.

With the safety of our communities and customers at the top of our priority list, we encourage everyone to seek more information on COVID-19 and follow guidelines released by the WHO and CDC when it comes to navigating this pandemic safely.

5 Prominent Pests in 2020

Pest predictions for your Knoxville TN home in 2020 - Johnson Pest Control When it comes to protecting your family and home against pests, hindsight doesn’t have to be 20/20. Johnson Pest Control is helping homeowners prepare for the 2020 pest season by offering insights into anticipated pest activity.

The experts at Johnson Pest Control have used their field experiences and examined trends and company data to determine these five pest predictions. Along with the predictions, we are offering quick tips for homeowners to help keep their homes pest-free in 2020.


Mice

Warmer than usual winters over the past several years may be to blame for increased mouse populations. With warmer weather predicted for the winter of 2020, mice will continue to reproduce at an alarming rate, which is bad news for homeowners. Mice are year-round pests that invade homes looking for food and shelter to nest.

Homeowner Tips: Mice can squeeze through small openings and gaps under garage doors, door frames, windows, or pipes and cables that penetrate your house. Rodent-proof your home by sealing small cracks and crevices with a silicone-based caulk. Exterior gaps of ¼-inch or larger can be repaired with copper mesh, hardware cloth or metal flashing.


Stinging Pests

Alternating climates cause rippling effects in the pest world, and with mild weather, experts are seeing more yellow jacket and hornet nests. Female yellow jackets and hornets can successfully overwinter in freezing temperatures and will invade structures and manmade or natural voids. When the weather warms up in spring, stinging insects will emerge from their hiding places, ready to start populations earlier in the year.

Homeowner Tips: Since stinging insects can overwinter, they may be out and about at the first sign of warmer weather. Stay alert and look for stinging pests, utilizing a professional pest control service as soon as you spot activity.


Ticks

With outdoor activities, like hiking and camping on the rise, and years of warming winters, humans and their pets may come into contact with ticks more frequently in 2020. The deer tick or black-legged tick, the Lone Star tick, and the American dog tick are ticks of special concern. Nearly 50,000 cases of human tick-borne diseases such as Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever were reported in 2018. Pets are also at risk for some of these diseases.

Homeowner Tips: When spending time outdoors, wear an EPA-approved insect repellent. It’s also a good idea to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks, in areas where ticks may be active. Perform tick checks on yourself and any family members, including pets, after spending time outdoors.

Mosquitoes

If you noticed more mosquitoes this past year, it wasn’t your imagination. If we have another relatively warm, wet winter and spring, mosquito populations could increase by late spring and early summer. Areas of the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest are predicted to have above-average rainfall, while most of the U.S. is predicted to be warmer than average this winter.

Homeowner Tips: With an increase in mosquitoes comes the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, such as the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) reported in 2019. To protect yourself and your family, eliminate standing water from your property and always wear an EPA-approved insect repellent when spending time outdoors.


Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites are the most destructive termites in North America, and they are also the most common termite in Tennessee. According to experts, the two main weather factors that affect termite populations are temperature and rainfall. With warmer and wetter weather predicted for spring, the termite swarming season will be ramping up soon.

Homeowner Tips: To deter subterranean termites, eliminate earth to wood contact and avoid moisture accumulation near your home or structures’ foundation. Because termites can cause such extensive damage, raising homeowner awareness around the need for proactive protection for their homes is critical to prevent costly repairs.


Expert Pest Predictions

The experts at Johnson Pest Control agree that the best step any homeowner can take to prevent pest issues is to have a proactive approach to pest control. With these 2020 pest predictions in mind, utilize the new year to evaluate your current pest control plan and ensure that you have the coverage you need to protect yourself and your family from pests in 2020.

Warm Weather Brings Out the Mosquitoes and Ticks

Brown Dog TickLocal news station WBIR recently did a news segment on ticks and mosquitoes emergence with the warm weather of spring.

“They like to be active when we like to be active,” said Dr. Karen Vail. “The weather we like the ticks like, too.

A professor of entomology at the University of Tennessee, Vail says ticks are picky, just like us.

“If it’s too hot they are not active, if it’s too cold they are not active, too dry they are not active, too wet they are not active,” said Vail. “So when we like, they like it.”

East Tennesseans likely will see two species – the lone start tick and American dog tick.

Being aware of a tick’s home can help you avoid contact.

“They tend to be in more protected areas like tall vegetation and edges of woods where they are not exposed to direct sun,” said Vail.

If you do come face to face with a tick, Vail gives advice on how to handle that.

“The idea is no matter what tick you have on you, to get it off as soon as you can, grab where it attaches to your skin, pull with steady pressure, treat that wound.”

She says watch for flu-like symptoms because the tick could be infected.

“We have several different disease causing organisms that these ticks can carry and transmit to people,” said Vail.

Ticks and mosquitoes are a reality for so many of us who live for this outdoor weather and love to get up into the mountains and on the trails. Both ticks and mosquitoes you can protect yourself and your family from by using repellents and wearing clothes that cover the body. Mosquitoes are most active in dawn and dusk hours as they tend to be more active feeding during those periods of the day. Ticks are best avoided by avoiding tall grassy areas. They can’t fly through the air and land on you as mosquitoes do. The best they can do is fall on you. If you do go romping through some grassy areas then take time afterwards to check the family, and pets, for ticks.

So as you get out and about this spring be sure to take some quick precautions to protect yourself and your family from mosquito and tick bites.

End of Summer, College Football, and Ticks

Labor Day lettering with wrenchThis weekend is Labor Day weekend, that last weekend of summer (in a way). Or, for many of us, it is now the first weekend of college football!! We will be spending time with friends outside, as well as inside (watching a particular night game on Sunday evening), enjoying this collision of things we love.

Even though it is getting away from summer we still need to be cautious about ticks.

From the USDA:

Ticks are a nuisance.  No one wants anything on their body that drinks their blood or – worse than that – also give you a disease.  Most people are familiar with Lyme disease, but not the many other equally serious diseases that ticks carry. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now lists 14 diseases that ticks in the United States can transmit and cause human disease.  The CDC website also has regional distribution maps with pictures of the ticks that carry these diseases and where in the nation they are most like to be.


What can you do to avoid ticks and the risk of diseases they carry for the rest of this summer? The CDC has suggestions on steps everyone can take to avoid ticks on themselves, their pets, and in their yards.  Here are a few things you can do:

  • Learn what ticks and tick diseases are common in the area where you live or where you are going on vacation.
  • Avoid direct contact with areas where ticks are normally found, such as wooded areas with bushes and high grass, weeds, and leaf litter.
  • If in areas with ticks, frequently give yourself full-body checks for ticks.  If you find a tick remove it immediately and correctly.
  • Consider using tick repellents on clothing.  You can effectively treat boots, pants, shirts, socks, and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin.
  • Keep yourself informed about ticks and diseases caused by ticks.

American Football ready for kickoffSo as you are out and about this weekend ending the summer with some fun or cheering on your favorite college football team (cough: Go Vols!) keep your family safe from ticks in this last stretch of their peak season.

June & July Worst Month for Ticks in Tennessee

The Crossville Chronicle reported last week on why June and July are such fun months for ticks in Tennessee.

Area Map Provided by Center for Disease Control
Area Map Provided by Center for Disease Control

Lyme disease, which is spread by black legged ticks (also called deer ticks or bear ticks), is rare in Tennessee, despite being the most common tick-borne disease in the United States. Here most reported cases of human infection are Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) and Ehrlichiosis. The lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum, is the source of those diseases. (Lone star ticks are reddish brown in color with a white or light-colored spot on the back and a long snout.)

However, tick species-ranges are expanding, which has made effective treatment more difficult in recent years. Tick-borne illnesses now show up in areas where they were not previously found. Babesiosis, a problem caused by microscopic parasites attacking red blood cells, was not reported in Tennessee prior to 2009. Also, ticks are now more commonly found to be carrying (and transmitting) not just one but multiple diseases.

Tick activity starts when temperatures warm in spring and lasts until fall. In Tennessee, June and July have the most reports of tick transmitted infections. Tick numbers (and incidents of tick-borne illnesses) normally drop when the weather turns really hot and dry in summertime. However, tick levels stay higher than normal later in the season during years with plentiful summer rainfall and high humidity (like 2014).