Will Rodents Damage My Insulation?

rat covering eyes with paws

You may already know the signs of a mouse or rat infestation. There are the droppings, the punctured bags of food and gnawed-on stored belongings. Some people don’t even need to hear the trademarked scratching coming from inside their walls or above their heads at night, but anyone who does knows they need help. Leo’s Pest Control can handle a rodent infestation, regardless of the species. But if the rats or mice get into your insulation, they can cause damage beyond our scope of expertise.

How does a rat or mouse infestation get in your insulation? What can you do to protect your home, and how can Leo’s Pest Control Help? Let’s go into all of that below.

Insulation: A Rodent’s Best Friend

Rodents aren’t that different from any other living thing in the world. All they want is shelter, something to eat, and to not be bothered while they do so. When it comes to the average home, a rodent can find all of that in the quiet corners of the attic or in the void between walls. It’s just a happy coincidence that these are also the two most insulated parts of the average property. Happy for them, at least.

Fiberglass insulation is the most common in households in Tennessee and Virginia, as it’s affordable and fairly durable. Unfortunately, it’s also the favorite amongst invading rodents. Once rats and mice get inside the structure of a house, they enjoy tunneling through the soft and fluffy material. They’ll even tear it apart to either eat it or use the material for their nests. You can call us and get your property clear of mice and rats, but that might not be enough to solve your rodent problem in its entirety. The nest they can leave around can be foul-smelling and messy. And rodent droppings may contain Hantavirus, a flu-like condition that can be fatal, so trying to handle damaged insulation on your own can actually be hazardous to your health.

You can’t fix insulation once it’s been contaminated. What you can do is call for professional home technicians to replace the material safely and efficiently. Or, even better, you can make sure rodents don’t get into your home to begin with.

How Leo’s Pest Control Can Help

We already said that there isn’t much we can do with insulation once rodents have damaged and contaminated it. We offer TAP® Insulation, but that borate solution isn’t designed to deter or kill anything larger than a slug or cockroach. What we can do is plan and execute a wildlife exclusion strategy tailor-made for your specific property. This will involve finding every potential point of entry in your home and addressing it, covering gaps and filling cracks as needed. When we’re done there will no longer be easy access for not only rodents, but many other pests as well. This is only one step in our rodent exterminating process, which we’ve been using to treat homes around Bristol and beyond for years. So if you want to protect your insulation, your home, and your peace of mind, do so with Leo’s Pest Control. Contact us today to get started!

Common Pests During the Late Summer

A deer tickSome of us look forward to the end of summer to finally catch a break from pests, but August and September won’t afford us this opportunity quite yet. In fact, there are several kinds of bugs and wildlife that thrive in the conditions of the late summer. If you want to ensure that the last of the warm season isn’t ruined by pest problems, you have to weave prevention strategies into your routines. To learn about common late-summer pests in Bristol TN and what you can do to stop them, read on for advice from Leo’s Pest Control!

Pest That Thrive in Late Summer

Late spring and early summer are commonly regarded as the height of pest season, but this doesn’t mean that the late summer and other seasons are free of pest issues. Here in Bristol, we commonly face the following pests in the late summer:

  • Wildlife: If an animal hibernates during the winter, you can be sure that they will be active all summer. Our late summers usually come with raccoon, opossum, and squirrel problems.
  • Bees and wasps: As long as people are gathering outside, bees and wasps are going to hang around. If you cook outside often or have a habit of leaving out sugary or protein-rich foods, you can expect bees and wasps to build nests close to these newfound food sources.
  • Ticks: Ticks breed in the early summer to produce booming populations that hang around until temperatures drop significantly again. Watch out for ticks around tall grass or dense vegetation.
  • Mosquitoes: If you don’t disturb their breeding grounds, mosquitoes can develop a consistent output of offspring that stick around into fall.

Preventing These Late Summer Pests

We want to preface this prevention information by reminding you that any serious pest infestation should be dealt with immediately by an experienced technician. However, if you want a head start on keeping these late summer pests off of your property, we have some advice for you:

  1. Look for standing water: Because mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, getting rid of all potential breeding grounds will keep them off of your property. Pour out rainwater wherever you find it — be sure to look in gutters, planter boxes, and similar places.
  2. Keep your yard tidy: Trimming plants, removing leaf piles and grass clippings, and decluttering in general will all help prevent temporary pest shelters.
  3. Seal entry points: Look around the outside of your house and any structures in your yard for gaps in roofing, siding, fencing, foundation, or elsewhere. Seal holes with a silicone-based caulk or install screens to cover window gaps.
  4. Protect your trash: Taking out your trash regularly will prevent indoor pest problems, and using lids that seal on your outdoor bins will prevent wild animals and bees.

Professional Pest Control for Late Summer

If you have already tried a bunch of prevention methods and have had no luck keeping pests off of your property in Bristol TN this summer, it’s time to team up with your local pest experts. Our team at Leo’s Pest Control knows all about the pest problems that residents and business owners face year after year in our region. We can quickly assess your property for crucial vulnerabilities and put together a uniquely-crafted plan that tackles them safely and efficiently. Reach out today for a free quote!

Get Ants Out of Your Bathroom

Ants found in a bathroom in Bristol TN - Leo's Pest ControlHere in Bristol TN, we’re used to dealing with all kinds of ants throughout the year. Unlike most kinds of regional pests, ant problems aren’t confined to one season. Any time we experience a dramatic weather shift, ants come out of their colonies on the hunt for more reliable resource access. They usually find everything that they need in and around our bathrooms! Does this sound like your current situation? If so, read on to learn how to prevent and get rid of ants in the bathroom with help from the ant removal experts at Leo’s Pest Control!

Why Are Ants Taking Over My Bathroom?

Bathrooms are desirable places for ants because of the easily accessible water and shelter that they provide. It’s easy to let still water pool up in your sink, in your shower, or on your bathroom floor, but even tiny puddles can allow ants to hydrate while scouring the rest of your home for food. Carpenter ants are particularly infamous for infesting bathrooms because of the likelihood of water-damaged wood to tunnel through. That said, all kinds of ants can probably find what they need in your bathroom. This is how they usually get in:

  • Holes in and around plumbing fixtures
  • Cracks in foundation and walls
  • Ventilation systems
  • Doors and windows that don’t completely close

Ants can also sneak from room to room in your home, so try to trace their trail to figure out if they’re coming from somewhere else in your home.

Getting Rid of Ant Trails in the Bathroom

Finding out where your ants are coming from is easier said than done, though. It’s near impossible to figure out where your ants are coming from when they’re escaping through tiny holes in the walls or moving through your ventilation system. This is why it’s so important to work to prevent ants beforehand. We recommend you take this ant prevention advice:

  • Make sure your bathroom is properly ventilated
  • Use a silicone-based caulk to seal any cracks around the outside of your home
  • Replace water-damaged wood
  • Move mulch away from your house and trim plants away from your walls
  • Make sure your windows and doors seal shut

Best Way to Get Rid of Ants in Bristol TN

If you just can’t figure out how to get rid of ants in your bathroom, reach out to your local pest control company to see how they can help. At Leo’s Pest Control, we train our ant exterminators to leave no stone unturned. We will conduct a complete property inspection to find how your ants got in, locate the colony they’re coming from, perform exhaustive ant control measures, and teach you how to keep your house ant-free on your own going forward. To learn more about how we do all of this and receive a free quote, contact us today!

Pest Proof Your Backyard in 10 Steps

A backyard to be serviced in Bristol TN - Leo's Pest ControlThe sunshine and warmth bring everyone outdoors all spring and summer here in Bristol TN. However, we aren’t the only ones excited about the good weather. All sorts of common pests capitalize on the warmth that follows after a rainy season, and if we aren’t careful, our lack of preparation can invite them into our yards to settle, feed, and reproduce. Looking to learn how to keep pests out of your backyard? Read on for advice from the technicians at Leo’s Pest Control!

10 Pest-Proofing Tips for Your Backyard

Keeping pests out of your backyard during the spring and summer means adding pest prevention measures to your regular cleaning and upkeep routines. Here are our technicians’ 10 best tips to help you do so!

  1. Get rid of standing water: Still water provides breeding grounds for mosquitoes and a hydration source for many other kinds of pests. If you find rainwater pooling in buckets, planters, gutters, or elsewhere on your property, pour it out or cover it.
  2. Trim your plants: Unkempt trees, bushes, and brush can create shaded hiding places for pests like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas.
  3. Clear away yard waste: Piles of yard waste can work as temporary hiding places for pests ranging from ants to rats. Dispose of your yard waste regularly.
  4. Use garden netting: Protecting your plants with garden netting can keep away common garden thieves like raccoons and even smaller garden pests like beetles.
  5. Mow your lawn regularly: Mowing your lawn once a week can ensure that longer grass blades aren’t trapping standing water and allowing common lawn pests to find easy shelters.
  6. Dethatch your lawn, too: A thin layer of thatch can insulate your lawn and keep it healthy, but too much will suffocate the grass and create a sheltered environment for all kinds of insects.
  7. Keep bins sealed and far away: Pests as small as wasps and as big as raccoons will take advantage of open trash cans to forage for food. Seal your bins if you can, and keep them at a good distance from your yard.
  8. Store firewood up and away: Keeping firewood off of the ground and away from your home or back deck can prevent devastating termite infestations from developing.
  9. Hydrate your lawn properly: Your lawn needs a regulated amount of water because both overwatering and underwatering can lead to pest problems. A sprinkler or irrigation system can solve this problem.
  10. Hire an exterminator: A professional pest control technician can approach your yard with the expertise to identify vulnerabilities and create a plan to keep pests off of your property.

Pest Control for Your Backyard in Bristol TN

If you want to make sure your backyard stays pest-free all through the year, get in touch with your local pest control company. Our technicians at Leo’s Pest Control are trained to conduct exhaustive services, starting with property-wide inspections to identify problem sites, following with extermination and exclusion measures, and returning for any preventative maintenance necessary. For a free quote, contact us today!

Dealing with Carpenter Ant Damage

Carpenter ants found in Bristol TN - Leo's Pest ControlCarpenter ants might not be the most destructive pests in the world, but they make up for what they lack in speed and volume with stealth and strategy. These ants nest in our wooden walls, so unlike termites, they never have to leave the home. As they steadily build their numbers inside the wooden structures of our buildings, carpenter ants break off into satellite colonies and continue their tunneling in different parts of the property. Do you think you’ve found carpenter ant damage in your home or business around Bristol TN? Read on for advice from the Leo’s Pest Control ant exterminators!

Did I Just Find Carpenter Ant Damage?

It’s hard to catch carpenter ants before their infestation grows to considerable sizes because they nest inside our walls. As they tear through the wooden structures of our buildings, they split off in different directions to spread their damage all throughout the premises. Watch out for these signs of carpenter ants if you believe you’ve found their damage:

  1. Little piles of wood shavings in unforeseen places
  2. Tiny holes near striated structures in wooden beams
  3. Faint rustling sounds coming from ants in the walls
  4. Winged ants entering and exiting cracks in wood

Carpenter ants are black to dark red in color, ¼-⅜” in length, and their swarmers are winged. Finding these ants around wood damage is a sure sign of an infestation.

What to Do When You Find Carpenter Ant Damage

If you’ve found carpenter ant damage on your property, you should immediately take action to get rid of the ants and prevent any further damage. There are a few carpenter ant removal methods that you can do on your own:

  • Use window cleaner or a soapy water to flush ants out with a liquid that won’t have toxic repercussions
  • Mix borax with sugar water to make a poisonous bait that ants love
  • Spray a citrus-based cleaner, lemon eucalyptus oil, or cinnamon around areas of activity

The problem with these strategies is that although they might take care of a portion of the problem, you’ll never rid your home or business of carpenter ants without wiping out every nest in the building.

Carpenter Ant Extermination in Bristol TN

If you want to be 100% sure that carpenter ants are gone and never coming back, you can rely on your local ant exterminators. Our team at Leo’s Pest Control has helped many home and business owners restore order on their properties. Over the years, we’ve developed efficient and environmentally responsible carpenter ant extermination strategies, and we pair these practices with tips and advice to help you keep carpenter ants out of your home on your own. Learn more and get a free quote by getting in touch with us today!

What Animal is in My Attic?

Squirrel on roof of Bristol TN home - Leo's Pest ControlHearing items moving around up in your attic? Or maybe something walking around in the middle of the night? This may sound like a scene straight out of a B-list horror movie, but it’s likely something far more common. One of the major signs of a nuisance wildlife problem is, indeed, hearing noises in your walls and attic. Animals have a knack for getting into our homes via the roof, where they can take up shelter in your attic. Needless to say, no one wants to share their property with a wild animal—or worse, a whole family of them.

At Leo’s Pest Control, we know how distressing a wildlife problem can be inside your property. Our experts are here to share everything you need to know about potential infestations in your attic.

Types of Animals in the Attic

Here in Bristol TN, we are no strangers to wild animals in our neighborhoods. The wildlife most likely to get in your attic are the ones that have access to your roof.

The most common wildlife that enter attics are:

  1. Squirrels: One of the most common attic pests, squirrels can squeeze in through tiny openings and are feared for their ability to chew through wires.
  2. Raccoons: Female raccoons are known to nest in attics, and can come and go during the day and night. Chattering noises may indicate a nest of baby raccoons.
  3. Bats: Possibly the most dangerous attic-dweller is the bat. Bat waste is toxic and can cause health risks.
  4. Birds: Hearing chirping noises or fluttering indicates you could have a nest of birds in your attic. They have a harder time leaving once they’re inside.
  5. Rats & mice: These rodents can make some of the loudest noises with their scratching, chewing, squeaking, and running. The roof rat is the most common rodent in attics.

How to Safely Get Rid of Wildlife in the Attic

If you suspect you have a wild animal living in your attic, never attempt to locate it yourself. Trying to get rid of the animal, bat, or bird on your own isn’t just dangerous for you and your family—it’s dangerous for the animal, as well! Some wildlife can carry rabies and will bite if they feel threatened. Bottom line: it’s best to always enlist the help of a professional. When you work with a humane wildlife removal company like Leo’s, you can trust the safest traps and measures are enlisted to safely remove and relocate any wild animal.

Humane Wild Animal Removal in Bristol TN

At Leo’s Pest Control, we know it’s stressful to learn you have a wildlife problem in your attic. We also know it can be dangerous for your family. Our experts can thoroughly inspect your property, safely remove the animal, and implement preventative measures to stop wild animals from gaining access to your attic again. Contact us today to learn more!

Do Bees Hibernate During the Winter?

Winter bee hive in Bristol TN - Leo's Pest ControlWe all know bees are in abundance during the spring and summer months. They even remain active—and potentially aggressive—during the fall as their resources begin to dwindle. But what happens to them in the wintertime? Here in Bristol TN, we experience our fair share of winter weather. Needless to say, it’s hard to imagine bees and other insects surviving through these colder months. Although not all bees hibernate, there are some species that can remain dormant and wait out the winter season. The experts at Leo’s Pest Control are here to share everything you need to know about wintertime bee activity.

Hibernating Bees

After their activity peaks, some bee species disappear in late summer or early fall. Bees are less likely to be active when the temperature drops below 50°F. Each of our region’s three most common bee species responds differently to cold temperatures:

  1. Honey bees: For honey bees to survive the winter, they must have a robust population with a secure hive and a large store of honey. Male honey bees die off, leaving the female bees to crowd tightly together in their hive with the queen in the middle. The female worker bees will vibrate and shiver around the queen bee, keeping alive until warmer days return.
  2. Bumblebees: All bumblebees in a colony except the queen will die if temperatures become too cold. The queen bees will hibernate, or overwinter, by digging small holes in the dirt.
  3. Carpenter bees: These wood-destroying bees can remain dormant through the winter in their nests. During the winter months, young carpenter bees that hatched in the summer will hibernate in their nests. During the summer, older bees will die after larvae are laid.

How to Prevent Bees Year-Round

You don’t have to worry about an infestation during the winter, but it’s a great time to start preparing for the coming months. To protect your yard from bees in the spring, take these steps:

  • Seal cracks and crevices around the exterior of your house to prevent pests from entering.
  • Garden far from your house or grow grasses and non-flowering shrubs.
  • Regularly mow your lawn and prevent overgrowth.
  • Fit your windows and doors with tight-fitting screens.
  • Fill in holes left by animals to eliminate nesting spots for bees and other wasps.
  • Make sure outdoor trash and recycling cans have tight-fitting lids.

Looking For Safe Bee Control in Bristol TN?

If you have bee problems at any time of year, you should contact your local bee control expert. We will identify potential nesting sites around your property or areas where stinging insects might overwinter. As spring and summer approach, we can also prepare you for pests. Contact us today to get started!

Are Ticks Active in the Winter?

Tick in Bristol TN - Leo's Pest ControlThere is a noticeable lack of pests and insects during the winter. While some populations go into a hibernating state called “diapause,” others die off completely. A few species, however, remain active even in the coldest months of the year. Even though ticks aren’t as noticeable in the wintertime as they are in the summertime in Bristol TN, they are still present. Bite frequency is low because many ticks, including deer ticks, enter diapause or latch onto a host to wait out the cold. That said, bites—and disease transmission—can still happen. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye out for ticks, especially when you least expect them. Find out more about the tick life cycle from the professionals at Ja-Roy Pest Control!

What is a Tick’s Life Cycle?

Ticks can live for two to three years. During this time, they undergo four primary stages of life: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. Their life cycle is heavily influenced by the seasons:

  1. Adult female ticks lay their eggs in the spring at the end of their lives. One tick can lay thousands of translucent-looking eggs, which are found in clusters under leaves, bushes, and more.
  2. In the summer, tick eggs hatch into six-legged larvae. Larvae rarely are infectious and will transition into nymphs after feeding on their first host.
  3. During the winter, nymph ticks are most active when the temperature exceeds 37 degrees Fahrenheit. The nymphs are mostly dormant during these cold months and shelter under leaf litter.
  4. After feeding on a host for four to five days, nymphs become adult ticks. During the spring, summer, and fall, these adult ticks will feed and mate before reaching the end of their lifespan.

Can Ticks Transmit Disease in the Winter?

Winter ticks are generally dormant, or nymphs, so bites during that time are rare. When temperatures fall below 37 degrees Fahrenheit, adult ticks that are unable to locate hosts retreat beneath leaf litter or other surface vegetation, becoming inactive. Unless there has been an unusually warm winter, adult ticks will resume searching for hosts in late February or early March. There is a chance you could still be bitten by a tick if winter temperatures are mild. Since it’s possible to get infected by a tick even in the winter, it’s imperative to stay vigilant about preventing tick bites.

Seasonal Tick Control Services

Leo’s Pest Control knows ticks and the diseases they transmit are major concerns. Tick control experts are standing by to help you if you are concerned about ticks on your Bristol TN property. Let us know how we can help!

Why Insulate Your Home Part 1: Saving Money

Installing insulation in Bristol TN - Leo's Pest ControlThere are a variety of reasons to insulate your home, but one of the most enticing is the amount of money that you can save with properly-installed insulation. You spend a lot of money heating and cooling your home, so if your insulation is inefficient, a lot of that hard-earned money is quite literally going right out the window. Having insulation installed is one of the best choices you can make as a homeowner—your quality of life will improve while you’re there and you’ll greatly improve your return on investment for when it’s time to sell. To learn more about the financial benefits of having insulation installed in Bristol TN, read on for advice from the experts at Leo’s Pest Control!

Is Insulation Worth It?

Professionally-installed insulation can save you a fortune on your utilities. The Energy Star program has estimated that properly insulating a typical home can save a homeowner up to 15% on heating and cooling bills, and this number only increases with the age of your home. In essence, uninsulated homes are filled with unnecessary leaks, and patching them will allow you to better regulate your home for less.

Remodeler Magazine releases an annual “Cost vs. Value” report that analyzes the return on investment of popular home improvements. Recent reports have shown that insulating an attic with fiberglass insulation was the most efficient home improvement option, resulting in a 117% return on investment. The savings in energy expenses contribute to an even greater return on that investment.

The Many Benefits of Home Insulation

Residential electricity costs have nearly doubled in just over a decade, and nothing indicates that these increases will slow down in the near future. The Department of Energy makes doing the math easy: they offer the Home Energy Saver calculator to help homeowners understand the return they can expect on energy upgrades, including insulation.

The savings that you can expect with insulation aren’t limited to energy conservation, though. There are a variety of local, state, and federal utility incentives available to homeowners who do their part to conserve energy by investing in insulation. You can find out more about utility incentives through the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE). You could even be eligible for a tax credit of up to $500 of qualified energy efficiency improvements through the IRS.

Professional Insulation Installation in Bristol TN

If you are looking to improve your quality of living and the return on investment of your home, reach out to your local insulation installation company. The technicians at Leo’s Pest Control are trained to conduct efficient and targeted installations to help you save money, and additionally, prevent pest problems! To learn more about the types of insulation we can provide you with or receive a free quote, contact our team today.

Protecting Your Firewood from Home Invading Pests

Subterranean termites in Bristol TN - Leo's Pest ControlOne thing that comes to mind when we think of the wintertime is a warm, crackling fire burning in the fireplace. Although this seems comforting and cozy, if you’re not careful, being too lazy with your firewood storage can lead to pest problems that ruin your holiday season. Fortunately for you, we know the best ways to keep pests out of your woodpiles and out of your home as a result. For the best pointers on winter pest control in Bristol TN, read on—we’ve asked our technicians at Leo’s Pest Control for their advice!

What Kinds of Pests Do Woodpiles Attract?

There are plenty of bugs that you might find around your woodpile that should be no cause for alarm. Earwigs, moths, boxelder bugs, some species of spiders, and other pests will simply be an annoyance in your home, not a direct threat to your family or your property. On the flip side, there are a few pests that you’ll want to keep an eye out for, those being:

  • Termites
  • Powderpost beetles
  • Carpenter ants
  • Carpenter bees and wasps

Of course, bees and wasps in your home come with the fear of being stung, but there are long-lasting issues that arise with the presence of the aforementioned wood-boring insects. Termites, powderpost beetles, and carpenter ants all tear through the wooden structures of our home in the interest of nutrition or nesting. Termites are the worst of the bunch—subterranean termites alone cause over an estimated $5 billion in property damage in the United States every year!

How to Keep Pests Out of Your Firewood Piles

To avoid a pest infestation spurred by woodpile haphazardness, you have to be extra careful about the way that you store and transport your logs. Here are Leo’s Pest Control’s three greatest tips to stop infestations of firewood-dwelling pests:

  1. Keep your firewood high up and covered: Termites and carpenter ants live underground, so woodpiles at ground level become easy sources of food and shelter. Keeping your woodpile protected and stored high will reduce your chances of bringing in pests.
  2. Keep a distance: Your woodpile should not be resting up against the outer walls of your home. In fact, the further away, the better.
  3. Burn older wood first and fast: When you take wood inside to start a fire, choose older logs and burn them right away. Older logs have a greater chance of being infested, but if you burn them quickly, there’s no need to worry about pests spreading out of them.

Winter Pest Control in Bristol TN

If you want to be sure that you’re taking the right steps to keep pests out of your home this winter, reach out to your local pest control company about your concerns. At Leo’s Pest Control, we pride ourselves on offering holistic pest control programs for every season, performing inspections, conducting treatments, and keeping up with prevention plans tailored to each of our customers’ homes. Don’t wait until it’s too late to stop pests this winter—reach out today for a free quote!