March 27, 2013
Weekends throughout April will find homeowners undertaking the tradition of “spring cleaning.”Â Windows will be opened, fresh sheets will replace wool blankets, and patio furniture will return to its rightful place outdoors. Although the focus of spring cleaning is typically indoors, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds homeowners to also partake in spring cleaning activities outdoors so as to prevent pest infestations through the spring and summer months.
“Spring is the season when homeowners begin to notice pests again because the warmer temperatures encourage greater activity,” says Jim Fredericks, technical services director for NPMA. “The first step to minimizing potential pest problems is simply prevention. If homeowners focus upon eliminating sources of food, water, and harborage for pests within their home, they will be taking the first step in avoiding infestations and the subsequent health and property risks associated with pests and rodents.”
As NPMA research shows that spring and summer are when pest problems are of most concern to homeowners, the following pest-proofing tips are offered to assist homeowners in preventing infestations:
- Seal up cracks and small openings along the foundation of the house.
- Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water.
- Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house.
- Keep kitchens clean by wiping counters and emptying the garbage frequently.
- Keep all food containers sealed.
- Avoid leaving pet’s food dishes out for long periods of time.
- Keep trash containers clean and sealed, both indoors and outdoors.
- Screen windows and doors.
“Early spring provides a terrific opportunity for homeowners to thoroughly inspect their homes as part of spring cleaning practices,” advises Fredericks. “If homeowners spot any sign of infestation, contact a licensed pest professional who can help to identify problems as well as prescribe the proper course of treatment.”
Pest Ops consists of a team of trained professionals including an on-staff entomologist. If you need your home to be inspected, a pest identified, or an infestation treated, contact us. To schedule an appointment, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
December 19, 2012
According to the 2010 Pest Control Attitudes and Usage Survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), ants are the number one pest concern, with termites, spiders, cockroaches, and mosquitoes not far behind. Nearly 60 percent of U.S. homeowners currently use or have used a professional pest control company for pest problems and preventative care in their homes.
“Pests are more than nuisances in our daily lives. They can destroy property and pose health risks to children and adults alike. Our survey tells us many homeowners recognize these threats and recognize that effective pest control requires professional services,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Regular professional pest control should be part of every homeowner’s maintenance plan.”
The survey polled more than 1,000 homeowners in the U.S. and examined their opinions about pest problems and professional pest control. Here are several key highlights:
- 54 percent of survey respondents named ants as their top pest concern. Ants have long been the scourge of homeowners as they invade kitchens in warm months in search of food.
- 53 percent of survey respondents believe pest control professionals are more effective in handling household pest problems than they are. That number spikes to 88 percent when asked of current pest control users.
- 59 percent of current pest control users elect to have a contract with a pest control company because they feel it best protects their family. 56 percent also cite intolerance of pests as a secondary issue.
- 84 percent of respondents, who use professional pest control, had their most recent pest problem resolved in one to two visits. Those who tried to deal with the problem themselves had varying rates of success, many failing to eliminate the problem.
If you are experiencing problems with ants or other pests, contact Pest Ops at (865) 966-0750 or click here to schedule an appointment.
November 28, 2012
Small household pests are no small problem. TheÂ National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns families that cockroaches are a leading triggerÂ of allergies and asthma attacks. The pests’ saliva, droppings, and decomposing bodies containÂ allergen proteins known to trigger allergies and increase the severity of asthma symptoms,Â especially in children. Small rodents can chew through electrical wiring, increasing the potentialÂ risk of fire. And ants, which are not only unsightly, can contaminate food.
One of the best ways homeowners and pest professionals can work together to prevent andÂ control pest infestations is to employ a method called Integrated Pest Management, also referred toÂ as IPM.Â IPM is a process involving common sense and sound solutions for controlling pests. TheÂ focus is upon finding the best strategy for a pest problem,Â and not merely the simplest. Pest professionals never employ a “one-size-fits-all” method in IPMÂ but rather utilize a three-part practice: inspection, identification, and treatment by a pestÂ professional. Treatment options in IPM can vary from proactive measures like sealing cracks andÂ removing food and water sources to reactive measures, such as utilizing pest products, whenÂ necessary.
The “integrated” in Integrated Pest Management does not merely describe theÂ three-part practice of inspection, identification, and treatment. It reflects the joint commitmentÂ between homeowners and pest professionals to stop pests before they invade. The two parties workÂ together to identify the causes and risks of invasions and to devise treatments for when theyÂ do.
When it comes to IPM, prevention can be as important to pest control as treatment. It’sÂ important to find a qualified professional that can identify and point out a home’s vulnerabilitiesÂ and offer prevention tips for homeowners. Here are a few pest prevention techniques in an IPMÂ program:
- Repair any leaky pipes, especially in areas under sinks where pests can often goÂ unnoticed.
- Seal up cracks and holes around pipes and wiring.
- Keep all foods in sealed containers, including pet food.
- Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house.
- Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water.
- Wipe counters, floors, and other surfaces frequently.
- Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
- Vacuum often.
If you are experiencing problems with pests in your home, feel free to contact Pest Ops. To schedule an appointment, click here or call (865) 966-0750.
October 8, 2012
Five signs it’s time to call in a pro
As a homeowner, you know there are some home projects you can take on yourself (painting the guest room) and some that are better left to the professionals (installing electrical wiring in the basement). The same logic goes for pest control. In some cases, do-it-yourself measures are fine but in others, it is best to call in a pest professional to ensure the job is done correctly and safely. So how do you know which pest scenarios are DIY-approved and which are pro-worthy?
In most cases, the answer depends on the several factors, including the type of pest, its threats to your family’s health, the potential for property damage, and the size of the infestation. For example, one lone yellow jacket that found its way into your home is no cause for alarm. But a nest of yellow jackets near your front porch? Time to call in the pros.
Specifically, here are a few pests that you should leave to the professionals:
1.Â Â Â Termites
Termites are especially destructive pests that cause more than $5 billion in property damage every year. These wood-eating insects use their scissor-like jaws to chew through walls, floors, and ceilings 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means that a termite infestation can cause serious property damage and compromise the structural stability of your home in a relatively short amount of time. What’s worse, damage from wood-boring insects like termites is not typically covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. Pest Ops technicians are trained to understand the unique biology and behaviors of termites. They can perform routine inspections to spot early signs of a problem, and if necessary, have the tools and know-how to effectively treat an infestation.
2.Â Â Â Other wood-boring insects
Like termites, other wood-boring insects such as carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and powder post beetles should be taken seriously. Carpenter ants, for example, excavate wood in order to build their nests. Their excavation results in smooth tunnels inside the wood. Carpenter bees, on the other hand, bore through soft woods to lay eggs and to protect their larvae as they develop. Powder post beetles can be equally as destructive. These beetles create tunnels in unfinished wood during their larvae stage, reducing it to a fine, flour-like powder. Once the powder post beetles reach adulthood â€” as much as a year to five years later â€” they emerge and lay eggs on the wood, continuing the cycle. Given time, wood-boring pests can damage important support beams in your home, resulting in expensive repairs.
3.Â Â Â Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are certainly not a pest that should be handled on your own. For one, they are notoriously elusive, often hiding out in hard to detect places like behind electrical switches and under wallpaper. Our trained professionals know where bed bugs are likely to hide in your home and can develop a treatment plan to target the pests while ensuring the safety of your family and pets.
To effectively treat a bed bug infestation all stages of the bed bug life cycle must be treated, including bed bug eggs, nymphs (babies), and adult bed bugs. Unfortunately, DIY pest control methods are often ineffective against bed bug nymphs and eggs. Attempts to control a bed bug infestation on your own may only exacerbate the problem and give the infestation time to grow. And bed bugs reproduce quickly: one female bed bug can lay one to five eggs in a day and more than 500 in their lifetime, meaning that a small infestation can quickly grow out of control.
In addition, homeowners that attempt to control a bed bug infestation on their own often spend more money in the long run on failed treatments. Some residents with bed bug infestations unnecessarily throw out furniture, clothing, and other personal property in an attempt to control an infestation. In extreme cases, homeowners have seriously damaged their homes or sickened their families by misusing pest control products.
4.Â Â Â Stinging Insects
Infestations of any type of stinging insect – such as wasps, yellow jackets, or fire ants – should always be left up to the professionals. Stinging insects pose serious health risks. In fact, they send half a million people to the emergency room every year. A single colony of stinging insects can contain anywhere from a few hundred to 80,000 members, which can attack if their nest is threatened. Those with allergies to insect stings are especially at risk, but if a large nest of stinging insects attacks, it can be life threatening to anyone.
5.Â Â Â Reoccurring or heavy infestations
No matter the type of pest, if you have an infestation that keeps coming back no matter what you try, it’s time to contract Pest Ops. Reoccurring pest infestations are a sign that your home is just too enticing for pests. Perhaps a small access point (such as a tear in a window screen or a crack in the foundation) is providing easy access indoors for ants. Or perhaps a drip under the bathroom sink is creating the perfect conditions for cockroaches. Whatever it is, Pest Ops will inspect your home, determine the infestation, and help you resolve it once and for all.
DIY methods are also no match for heavy pest infestations.Â Because many pests pose serious health and property threats, a sizable pest infestation should be left up to the professionals to handle, before it can grow any larger.
As a homeowner, there are a lot of DIY steps you can take to help prevent pests from finding their way into your home, but even these are most effective when completed in partnership with a pest professional. And, if you suspect you have an infestation, your first step should always be to call Pest Ops. They will be able to properly identify your pest problem and recommend an appropriate course of treatment.
** To schedule an appointment or inspection with Pest Ops, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
August 27, 2012
The relationship between insects and humans can be quite complex because it fits into all three categories of a biotic relationship; therefore, this association can be one of parasitism, commensalism, or mutualism. Depending on which category the relationship is at the time, people decide to take action to either combat or encourage insects in the world. If an insect has become a pest, humans seek to eliminate it from their homes; however, if the bug is helping in some way, such as controlling the population of another pest, people will promote this behavior. Hence, it can be concluded that insects have both definite advantages and disadvantages in the environment.
One problem that people have with insects is that some of them can be parasitic. Examples of parasites include bed bugs, lice, and mosquitoes. Some bugs (flies, mosquitoes, ticks, etc.) can also transmit diseases to humans. Furthermore, termites have the power to cause significant damage to structures. Another disadvantage of insects, such as locusts and weevils, is their power to destroy crops, costing the agricultural business dearly.
Although bugs have various negative impacts on humans, their positive contributions far outweigh any harm they cause. Insects are necessary for pollination, which is the most important function of their role in the environment. Wasps, bees, butterflies, and ants all contribute to the process of pollination, a mutualistic relationship between plants and insects. Pollination is vital for the production of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. This process also serves to strengthen the genetics of plants which helps overall agriculture. In the larger picture, pollination is needed to sustain all life on Earth; without it, the food chains and food webs of the world would collapse, causing the destruction of all human life.
Not only are insects advantageous because of their role in pollination, but they have many other benefits. For centuries, civilizations have valued the honey produced by bees. Other bugs create valuable goods such as silk, lacquer, beeswax, and dyes. Insects are invaluable for natural and biological control of other insect populations; insectivorous insects consume other bugs that pose a threat to agriculture and buildings. An illustration of this relationship can be seen in the way that ladybugs hunt crop-eating aphids. Throughout history, various bugs have been celebrated in diverse cultures (Egypt valued scarabs, Greeks cherished bees) or relied upon for consumption. Insects are also used for the fabrication of drugs and medicinal substances. In recent years, some bugs have even aided in the studies of genetics. As a valuable agent for soil health, insects serve in the process of decomposition which helps aerate and fertilize the soil.
Despite the problems that insects can cause, they are a necessary part of life. Bugs provide many needed services and are critical for the continuity of all life. While pollination is the most significant function of insects, they also impact several other areas of life including production of various substances, biological control, culture, medicine, research, and soil health. Always keep in mind that insects are a vital part of nature that fulfill crucial functions in the environment and are beneficial to humans.
August 20, 2012
Upon the creation of various chemicals invented to control and eliminate pest populations, most people did not consider the negative effect that these pesticides could have on the existing human population. Rather than affecting only the targeted pests, these chemicals also posed a threat to humans and other animals, such as pets. Recently, as society has emphasized â€œgreenâ€ efforts and other steps to protect the environment, pest management has shifted to an approach known as â€œintegrated pest managementâ€ (IPM). This method involves taking steps that are least toxic to a homeâ€™s residents while still controlling pest populations in and around the home. In addition, IPM employs preventative measures to further discourage pests from entering residences. As a mild form of pest control, these treatments have less impact on humans and other animals.
There are several ways that a homeowner can protect his home from infestation of difficult pests. The following is a list of least toxic preventative measures and tips that will help reduce insect populations around your home:
– Find and seal all points of entry for insects into your home
– Keep screens in windows and doors in good repair
– Replace weather stripping around windows and doors to seal them in order to prevent entryways for insects
– Caulk cracks in siding, under eaves, and around doors and windows
– Cut shrubs and tree branches away from your house
– Seal food in glass jars with seals or in plastic containers with tight-fitting lids
– Clean kitchen counters, floors, and sinks
– Remove food sources once they have been used
– Clean all spills outside
– Store garbage in tight containers
– Remove standing water found in plant pots, sinks, containers, etc.
– Repair water leaks
– Reduce outdoor lighting
– Use yellow â€œbug â€œ lights
– Do not use bug zappers (they killÂ more beneficial insects than pests; they can cause respiratory problems)
If you see signs of pests in your home, contact Pest Ops so one of our trained professionals can inspect and treat the problem using IPM and low-toxicity solutions. To schedule an appointment, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
In the Knoxville area, there are about sixty-five registered pest control companies ranging from major corporations to small, locally-owned businesses like Pest Ops. For several years, the University of Tennessee has trusted Pest Ops as a liaison to the pest world and during the testing of new pesticides. The chemical testing that occurs on the UT campus serves as the initial test for upcoming pest control products and methods prior to their release to markets.
When Pest Ops tests new products, the chemicals arrive in small, brown jugs with nothing but a label denoting their EPA-issued product number. On the sides of the containers a large â€œEUPâ€ denotes the chemicalâ€™s status as an â€œexperimental use product.â€ Only after testing and research has been conducted can pesticides formally enter the pest control arena as marketable products.
This professional relationship with the University of Tennessee began in 2007 and continues to this day, as the university supports Pest Opsâ€™ mission to be the â€œspear tip of technology and productsâ€ in the pest control world. During these trials, Pest Ops tests chemicals for effectiveness and provides information for ongoing research at the UT campus. The trials are conducted both on site at the University of Tennessee and at the residences of university professors who volunteer for the testing.
This professional relationship has served to benefit both the University of Tennessee and Pest Ops, and we, here at Pest Ops, look forward to the continued alliance with the university.
July 20, 2012
In January 2010, a devastating earthquake and the ensuing aftershocks ravaged Haiti. In the following months, rescue personnel and volunteers flooded into this small nation to help rebuild the country. Despite the ongoing rescue effort, the majority of the population still lived in terrible conditions with a lack of proper sanitation and with all kinds of pests and vermin as neighbors.
Although the earthquake occurred in early 2010, Haiti is still recovering in 2012. It was with this backdrop that a local Knoxville family decided to volunteer in Port-au-Prince rather than take a Christmas vacation in December 2011. While working at an orphanage, the family experienced some of the detrimental conditions and daily hazards that the Haitian population still faced, such as living in open-air shelters to which rats could easily gain entry.
Upon their return from Haiti, the family asked Pest Ops for a solution to the rats that were in the orphanage. The Pest Ops team considered donating either rat bait or rat traps to alleviate the problem, but we decided to donate rat traps since they could be reused and would not present any problems in transportation.
The family soon returned to the Haiti orphanage with two cases of rat traps (about sixty traps) donated by Pest Ops. With these traps, the volunteers were able to show the workers at the orphanage how to use them to effectively catch invading rodents. Throughout that first night, the children and volunteers could hear the traps regularly snapping shut with new victims. In the morning, the kids made a game out of this new blessing by searching for the fullest trap of the night.
By arming locals with a simple way to combat vermin, Pest Ops hopes to do what it can to improve conditions in Haiti for at least one group of children.
This July, the family returned to Haiti to again help out the same orphanage. As before, Pest Ops donated several pest control supplies to improve the standard of living for those in need of some comfort.
Pest Ops hopes to continue this relationship with both the selfless family and the Haitian orphanage. We look forward to the next opportunity where we can lend a hand in Haiti.
July 20, 2012
In the mid 1990â€™s the world seemed to be a simpler place that marched along at a much slower pace. Technology had not yet begun its mad dash of ever-improving computers, cell phones, video games, television sets, and Apple products. Instead, computers were primarily used for business purposes, and no one yet fully grasped the great potential power of the Internet. Terms related to this young concept such as surfing the web, URL, home page, online, and search engine still seemed completely foreign. Phones were not quite so mobile and generally resembled bricks. Recreation still centered on playing sports with friends or exploring the great outdoors and did not revolve around the newest video games. TVs were large and bulky, not sleek and thin, as flat screens are now. IPods had not been created, so music was still played on tapes or a CD. In 1995, it would have been difficult to imagine such a thing as a music library of thousands of songs in the palm of your hand.
During this era, in July 1995, Kyle Lundy founded the business that would become Pest Ops.
According to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the Department of Labor, only 44% of small businesses survive past the first four years of operation. With this great achievement in mind, we would like to celebrate the 17th anniversary of Pest Ops this July.
The world now seems to spin a bit faster, utilizing all of the hi-tech innovations that make our lives both more convenient and more hectic. We live in a rapidly changing world, and, in order to survive, businesses must adapt to the new or be forgotten with the old. Pest Ops uses new technology to improve and to not only stay current, but to be on the cutting edge of the pest control world. Avant garde methods, chemicals, and philosophies are reviewed and adapted to, while keeping in mind our goal of personalized, professional service with the customer always in mind.
If you would like to schedule an inspection or appointment, contact Pest Ops at (865) 966-0750 or click here.
As summer pests are a natural part of the outdoors and typically viewed simply as a nuisance, many believe that they have a full understanding of the risks associated with such.Â Yet, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns that there are a multitude of myths about summer insects that homeowners subscribe to â€” most of which wrongly minimize the threats of stinging insects, mosquitoes, and ants.
Consider the myth of stinging insects, which many believe must be physically provoked to attack and sting. However, stinging insects, especially wasps, do not have to be physically touched or provoked to attack and sting. Rather, these pests must only feel that they or their colony is threatened, which can simply happen when a human gets too close.Â Stinging insects send over 500,000 visitors to hospital emergency rooms every year.
Another prominent pest myth is that mosquitoes are only active at dawn and at dusk. Although most are active then, mosquito activity is not limited to these times of day. Mosquitoes feed on blood, which means that they will be seeking out meals whenever they prepare for reproduction. Although known for causing itchy, red welts, today, mosquitoes pose a much different threat due to their ability to transmit West Nile virus.
Finally, there is the common myth that seeing one ant indoors does not equal a full-blown infestation.Â Although this can be true, ants leave an invisible chemical trail for other ants to follow once they locate a food source.Â If that food source is in your home, you can count on ant colonies developing. More, while most ants are considered harmless, there are those â€” such as fire ants, which sting and carpenter ants, which damage wood â€” that can pose threats to your family’s health and property.