KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Step outside for a few minutes on an East Tennessee summer night and the next thing you know, you’re getting bitten by mosquitoes.

Talking in the newsroom this morning, with no scientific evidence whatsoever, it seemed to us that this summer has really brought out those biting bugs. That’s why WATE met with a local pest control company and a UT scientist to learn what’s going on.

Knoxville resident Kimmy Ricks has seen mosquitoes’ effects firsthand.

“It’s really only a couple of minutes before I notice at least one on me or someone in my family,” Ricks said. “We’ve tried different bug sprays. Not very effective.”

The Ricks family isn’t alone. One local pest control company says its phones have been ringing off the hook.

“Looking at the numbers, we’ve had a 52% increase in calls compared to year-over-year in August,” said Stephanie Wheatley, Mosquito Joe.

But why, after a few peaceful weeks, are mosquitoes out for blood?

“Whenever we have 70 degrees or anything above 70 degrees, and about two inches of rainfall, that formula together is enough for us to have mosquitoes within seven days,” explained Becky Trout Fryxell, an assistant professor at The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.

Why do mosquitos love our yards? Two words: standing water.

“Mosquitoes will lay their eggs in there, that water will get into that area and then hatch the mosquitoes so the larvae can come out,” Trout Fryxell explained.

Where does standing water collect? Pots, tree holes, and gutters are just a few places.

“You left your watering bucket sitting out from watering your flowers,” said Wheatley. “Kids finished in their kiddy pool for the evening, empty it out, give them fresh water the next day.”

Experts say by dumping that water you’ll not only lower the chances of getting bitten but also getting sick.

“In East Tennessee, we have mosquitoes transmitting West Nile Virus, La Crosse Virus. Both of those viruses are very common in East Tennessee compared to other areas,” said Trout Fryxell

So what can you do to repel mosquitoes?

Mosquito Joe offers professional assistance including synthetic and natural treatments performed by professionals.

“Either one of those, we’re spraying your yard, the perimeter of the yard, bushes and shrubs, foliage,” said Wheatley.

Other preventative measures include Tip Top Tuesday.

“The American Mosquito Control Association really recommends this idea of Tip Top Tuesday,” Trout Fryxell explained. “You walk around your property or your community and you just look for containers. Check to make sure there’s no water in there and if there is just toss the water in order to keep that water from accumulating in a spot.”

When it comes to sprays and repellents, there are some that work better than others. Click here for a list of repellent products and relevant information including hourly protection time and ingredients.