Gardens and the Battle Against Japanese Beetles

Filed under: Pest Control — Megan Howard @ 5:28 am August 29, 2014

Japanese beetles

 

Just when you are enjoying your garden, you discovered that some of your flowers have been defoliated. Roses in particular and other favored plants are in danger when the Japanese beetles arrive. Japanese beetles love to eat rosebuds and they are not shy to show their presence. They come in great numbers and will shock you with their offensive behavior at the expense of your garden.

These bugs first came to America in 1916, where they were first spotted in the East Coast. Now, these bugs are common in Maine, Alabama, and west to the Mississippi. It is also making a slow motion invasion of the West Coast at the rate of five to ten miles per year.

These Japanese beetles will come to search for a mate in early July while searching for their favorite food. Controlling these pests may become difficult since they send out a congregation pheromone to call a few hundred of their friends to dine in and do sexual orgies.

Since most homeowners want to get rid of these beetles right away, manufacturers of baits have created their own well-known scent lures with the idea that these beetles will take the scent and kill them. However, the opposite has just occured. These pheromone-baited traps are just attracting more beetles into the garden, and they are not dying. In fact, these beetles will feed on your flowers and plants, and will mate continually until they produce their eggs.

They will descend to the soil every day or every other day to lay their eggs. By mid-August, each of them would have created up to 6o eggs. Once they reach maturity, these beetles can live up to 30 to 45 days. During those days, they can travel 2 miles to locate their food. These pests can damage lawns with an average of $230 per lawn. These shiny white grubs will feast on your garden and will damage your lawn.

Control Measures for the Japanese Beetles

The best time to control these insects, is during August and September. During these months, these beetles are active and in great numbers. They will be commonly seen feeding near the surface of plants. To control these beetles, use milky spores and parasitic nematodes.

Milky spores are commonly used for new lawns that have been established for less than eight years while parasitic nematodes, which are tiny worms can be used to effectively target only these beetles. If you are going to use chemical grub poisons, you need to be careful on how you will use this since this poison can possibly affect the environment, your household, and beneficial insects.

If you do have some time, you can pick these tiny beetles, one at a time and drop them in a bucket of soapy water to die. You can also use sprays, but again, you will need to be careful with how you are going to use insecticides since there are other pollinators out there that you need to take care of.

If you really want these creatures out of your lawn, you can avoid growing the flowers that these Japanese beetles love. Stop growing roses, grapes, fruit trees, and hollyhocks. However, most gardeners will never succumb to the threat of any insects. There is no complete way to stop them from eating the flowers that you are growing. The only simple solution is to just cut the affected rose blossoms, wait for the next season when these pests have already died, and just continually grow plants.

Crawl Spaces and Mold: A Not So Good Combination

Filed under: Mold Control — Megan Howard @ 5:28 am August 26, 2014

Moisture and crawl spaces are never a good combination. Crawlspaces that are left unchecked and unsealed usually create a damp environment, which is just what mold and mildew are looking for. When a crawlspace suffer from mold and mildew, it is not just the attic that suffers, but the whole house as well.

Since the natural circulation of air flow goes in circles, from bottom to top, the spores from mold will circulate together with the good air from the upper part of the house, which then becomes part of the air quality that homeowners will inhale. Poor indoor air quality may result to some health risks and respiratory problems.

There are different reasons why mold enters crawl spaces. This can be the cause of:

  • Dampness created by recurrent water entry
  • No ventilation
  • Dirty crawlspace floor
  • Plumbing leaks or improper ventilation
  • Presence of fiberglass

When mold is present in crawl spaces and are not treated, individuals may become sensitive to damp and mold environments that can create different health risks. While there are those who are not affected by mold and mildew, there are those who are sensitive to it. Molds are known to cause nasal stuffiness, coughing or wheezing, throat irritation, and skin problems. Those with severe reactions to mold may compromise their immune system and may have serious infections in their lungs.

These health risks are not just your reasons for making sure that your crawl space is free from molds since the integrity of the house will also be compromised. A dirty crawlspace will invite more pests to harbor the area. Rodents and wood destroying insects will come to live in the area, and will create more problems than what you originally had at first.

In a severe scenario, when mold and mildew have severely affected the crawlspace, rot and degradation of wood will become known. This will become a good breeding ground for termites, carpenter ants, moisture ants, beetles, and many other types of pests to harbor the area. Rodents will also love to share the space with you. The stink that this will cause will be prominent. And, once you decide to clean and fix the area, it will be one of a messy place that you may hate to clean, plus thousands of dollars will be wasted for repairs.

While most individual’s relationship with their home’s crawlspaces are an “Out of sight, out of mind” type of relationship. It will still be wise to check this place occasionally. Make certain that the humidity is just right and the wood is still in good condition. Another solution is to have your crawlspace checked to make sure that your home is protected from high levels of humidity, moisture intrusion and condensation, and so on. Also, having professional mold care expert handle your crawl space will aid in the enhancement of your crawl space environment, thus reducing the chances of mold and mildew to stay in the area. They will also be able to provide aid in reducing and eliminating the presence of pests in the crawlspace.

 

All About the Menacing Mosquito [Infographic]

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:21 pm August 22, 2014

Why Gypsy Moth Caterpillars are on a Decline

Filed under: Pest Control — Megan Howard @ 3:13 pm August 19, 2014

The gypsy moth is considered the most destructive forest insect to even infest forests. This is because they have the ability to damage the trees and even kill it. Tree damage commonly happens during the larval stage. This is when the time when these caterpillars feed on the leaves of shrubs, plants and trees.

In 2008, tree damage reached a high of 339,240 in New Jersey. But, for the past 5 years a significant decrease of tree damage has been recorded by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. The great decrease of the damage caused by gypsy moth is because of the annual statewide gypsy moth aerial defoliation.

The need to stop these caterpillars from damaging trees was significant. And, with the combined effort of of spray programs, the use of beneficial insects, and vigilance, the population of these gypsy moths declined.

The use of chemicals, especially if it is done every year, can kill even the healthiest tree. However, the presence of any gypsy moth feeding on a tree will make the tree more vulnerable to other damage that can eventually cause for a tree to die. The Department of Agriculture, however, will not just do an aerial moth defoliation to any area.

To be included in this program, the Department of Agriculture will first conduct an egg mass survey on a recreational forest. The area should be at least 50 acres in size and should have more than 500 egg masses per acre.

Every year the New Jersey Department of Agriculture is reporting a low number of areas needed to be defoliated. This year, the counties of Burlington, Camden, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Ocean and Warren have just sustained minimal tree damage while the counties of Morris, Passaic, Bergen and Sussex sustained 1,110 acres of tree damage as of June and early July.

The fact that the decrease of the aerial spray program is also happening and that the presence of the gypsy moths are also declining indicates that the program is working. The key to their success is vigilance. Vigilance, not only with the decrease of gypsy moths, but also vigilance with the use of defoliation makes this program something trees will look forward to, and moths not.

Why You Should Worry About Cottontails and their Prolific Breeding

Filed under: Rodent Control — Megan Howard @ 3:11 pm August 15, 2014

Cottontails can be really cute, especially those baby rabbit dashing into a bed of flowers. They are soft and they look cuddly, and some even make them as pets. But, most gardeners and farmers will not want any of these rabbits near their produce.

These rabbits are herbivores and will consume any vegetables that they see. Although the damage that they create is not as grave as deers, they can still be considered a nuisance. Both animals have benefited greatly from the increase of suburbanization. They will hide in tall grass, tangly undergrowth or shrubs, and will search for their food in fields, lawns and meadows.

Cottontails in particular are thriving in their new found environment since homes that have great lawns and gardens are providing them with a great habitat. They may not be commonly seen during the day because they feed during the night. To search for these rabbits, try to wait for them during the dawn or twilight hours since these are their preferred time.

With the availability of food and other resources, these rabbits are not stopping from breeding. The phrase “they breed like rabbits” really do apply to them because they can produce three to four litters, and sometimes up to eight bunnies. To protect the babies, the mother will dig a shallow hole with plants and some of the baby rabbits fur that came from their bellies.

The mother will spend two to three weeks to wean the new rabbits, and will stay with them for the next couple of weeks. After that, the young rabbits will disperse and will search for food on their own. By that time, the mother is pregnant again. Baby rabbits become fully mature and can have their own litter after two to three months.

These rabbits are prolific breeders, and they do have a good excuse to breed as many as they can because most want to hunt them, kill them, and eat them, that includes people. Animals that hunt them are foxes, hawks, raccoons, owls, crows, coyotes, and opossums. Incidents that even cats and dogs are also after them, really happens. With so many predators out for these creatures, it is no wonder that just 20% of baby rabbits survive to adulthood. And, even if they become adults, these cottontails can live for just about a year.

True, that the world will be their enemy and it is a given fact that they are always running. Lucky, for these creatures, they have powerful back legs that provide them with speed and maneuverability. They also know how to trick their predator by not moving for a while until the predator leaves.

While these bunnies may still have a lot of enemies that includes us, it is still not a reason to allow them from entering our premises. Gardens will be destroyed and vegetables eaten by these cuddly bunnies. To protect your garden, make sure to install barriers on your plants to avoid these cottontails from eating them.

Understanding Carpenter Ants

Filed under: Carpenter Ant Control — Megan Howard @ 6:04 am August 8, 2014

Understanding Carpenter ants

Carpenter ants live in colonies. They have a class system wherein the queen will produce workers to create her tunnels of galleries while they search for food and provide her protection. They are considered pests because of how they create their nests in wood.

Behavior and Habitat

For carpenter ants to create colonies, they will need mature male and female winged reproductives to mate. They mate and swarm during early spring to summer. After the mating season or nuptial flight, the male will die, and the female will search for a suitable nest. Once the nest is found, the female ant will deposit 15 to 20 eggs that will soon become her first workers. These workers will be responsible in nourishing developing larvae and the queen. It may take 3 to 6 years for a colony to grow to around 3,000 to 5,000 ants.

Carpenter ants usually create their nests in hollow trees, posts, logs, and timbers. However, they can sometimes gain entry inside a home and build their nest in moist wood. These ants can take advantage of your chimneys, drain gutters, under bathroom fixtures, window and door frames, wooden shingles, sprinklers, skylights, hollow porch posts and columns, and the likes. These ants may transfer indoors from an existing colony outdoors when they find a home that provides them with all of their basic needs.

Carpenter Ants Vs. Termites

Carpenter ants are sometimes mistaken with termites because of how they create galleries. However, these two pests are entirely two different species and are physically different.

Here are some ways to know if you have carpenter ants or termites:

  • A termite has no waist while an ant has a narrow and defined, constricted waist.
  • A termite has straight antenna, an ant has a bent antenna.
  • A termite has four equal size and shape wings while an ant has four wings with the back hind wings shorter than the front.
  • A termite worker is transparent, creamy white and does not like light. An ant worker is reddish or dark colored and commonly seen any time of the day.
  • Their nests are also different since a carpenter ant creates galleries that are smooth and finished while a termite nest is mostly rough and ragged and is filled with soil and mud.

Signs of Infestation

You will know if your home is infested with carpenter ants when:

  • You see a high concentration of ants going in a particular moist area
  • You hear an active colony, creating a dry rustling sound that is similar to the crinkling of cellophane.
  • You see swarms of winged ants trying to get out of the house
  • You see sawdust-like boring outside their galleries and little openings in woodwork

Having a carpenter ant infestation can be a cause for an alarm because they can easily destroy the structure of a home. Although some home remedies can also be done to get rid of them, such as with the use of insecticides and baits, but there are most cases when these are not effective. If you find a carpenter ant infestation in your home, it is most effective to just call for a professional to assist you with your carpenter ant problems.

Horizon Pest Control provides Carpenter Ant Control to for both businesses and residential homes. Don’t let your home be a victim of these ants. Early detection and elimination should be done to stop these ants from harming your home. To know more about Carpenter Ant Control, schedule an appointment with us now.

How to Avoid Deer Ticks

Filed under: Tick Control — Megan Howard @ 5:57 am August 5, 2014

 

How to avoid deer ticks

The offensive deer ticks are known by its so many different names, such as the blacklegged tick or the bear tick. But, it is not its name that made this tiny bloodsucker popular. They are made popular because they are the only known transmitters of the debilitating Lyme disease. Although Lyme disease is not considered deadly, but the infection, it can bring people and pets are severe. Tick bites will leave a bull’s-eye shaped rash that can grow bigger. If tick bites are untreated, the victim may suffer from facial paralysis, heart palpitations, headaches, and neurological disorders.

Deer ticks are commonly mistaken from the dog ticks, but they are different from the brown dog ticks. Here are some ways to know if it is a deer tick:

  • They do not have eyes or festoons
  • They do not have white markings on the dorsal area
  • They are dark brown to black
  • Females have a solid black dorsal shield and a reddish brown abdomen
  • They are 3 millimeters in length
  • They have long mouthparts

Deer ticks are not common in dogs, but they survive feeding on deers and other wild animals. These ticks do not have the Lyme disease at first, especially for nymphs who still have 6 legs, but once they become adults, and they have sprouted 8 legs, then they may be carrying the disease. They commonly get the disease from the white-footed mice, chipmunks or other small animals that live in brushy or wooded areas, but not on deers. After they feed on an infected animal, they will transfer on a deer, which will then transfer them to different locations.

A person who is bitten by a deer tick may not be able to recognize the infection at first since it is just similar to a flu. However, ticks commonly stick on their victim’s skin to get continuous blood from them. A person bitten by a tick may be able to see the bite right away or not. To be able to transfer Lyme disease, a tick must be attached to its host for 36 to 48 hours. After that, victims may unknowingly be carriers of Lyme disease.

The effect of Lyme disease is not fast since it may take a month before you see the signs. If you are bitten by a tick, make sure to place the tick in a jar or sealed bag so that you can bring this to the hospital for analysis. Also, when taking the tick out of your skin, do not touch it with your fingers. Use tweezers instead to remove the tick. Make sure to remove the tick by pulling it with tweezers. As you pull it away from you, its mouthpart should let go, and you will be free. However, do not twist the tick while you are still pulling it because the tick may break, and the head may be left behind.

Since tick bites may happen while you are in an outdoor environment, there are ways to stop them from making a meal out of you. Here are some ways:

  • Wear tick repellent clothes and tick repellents on exposed skin.
  • Educate your children to be cautious about ticks.
  • Treat your clothes with permethrin
  • Spray shoes, athletic gear, back packs, or any materials that will come in contact with the ground.
  • Before going home make sure to check clothing and your body for possible ticks

Deer ticks can be a real nuisance, especially for those who became their blood meal. Do not fall victim to these pests and protect your home against them. Horizon Pest Control offers Residential Pest Control that aims to help and protect you with possible tick infestation. To learn more about our programs and to make you feel safe again, schedule an appointment with us, and we will do the rest.

Chikungunya Virus Hits New Jersey!

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control — Megan Howard @ 6:48 pm July 30, 2014

According to a report on ABC 7 Eyewitness News, 25 New Jersey Residents have tested positive for Chikungunya Virus after traveling to the Caribbean where they were bitten by infected mosquitoes.

Everything You Need to Know About the Carpenter Bees

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:00 am July 25, 2014

Carpenter bees are one of the ecosystem’s most valuable team player when it comes to pollination. These gentle giants, however, are a bit of a nuisance to property owners because they tend to create their nests on exposed, non-decayed wood structure. A single carpenter bee excavating a wood panel for its nest may cause slight damage. Unfortunately, these bees tend to use old nesting sites and branch them out quite extensively, thus resulting to massive structural damage.

How to Identify Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees have noticeably shiny and black abdomen, with orange or bright yellow hairs on the thorax area. They are usually a quarter and half to an inch in length, with noticeably strong and full-bodied figure. Unlike those bees featured in movies where they endlessly sting people, these carpenter bees are relatively harmless. Male carpenters will not be able to sting people because they actually don’t have stingers. They can be territorial and might become aggressive in guarding their nest, but apart from being an annoyance, they simply can’t do any harm. Female carpenter bees, on the other hand, have stingers. It is very unlike for female carpenter bees to sting, unless they are being extremely provoked or they become highly agitated. These carpenter bees can chew wood and burrow flawlessly using their broad, strong jaws. Although carpenter bees reside on any suitable wood structure for their larvae, they do not eat the wood they infest; they simply hollow out the wood for their nests.

Carpenter bees vs. Bumble bees

Carpenter bees are often mistaken to be bumble bees. They may indeed look quite similar, but you can easily tell them apart by their body structure and way of living. Carpenter bees live solitarily while bumble bees live in social colonies. Carpenter bees establish a nest by burrowing on wood decks or any exposed, untreated, and thick wood panels. Bumble bees, on the other hand, live in nests that are set up in trees or in empty rodent holes; they prefer shaded areas as too much sun exposure can trap heat in the nest. Both carpenter and bumble bees feed on pollen and nectar. Both of them are great pollinators as well.

How to Identify Carpenter Bee Infestation

To determine if there is a carpenter bee infestation, there are tell-tale signs to watch out for. Examples of these would be:

- Half inch entrance holes in your wooden decks, foundations made of wood or any thick wood where they can burrow
- Yellowish to brown stains below the holes – these are bee droppings that get pushed out of the nest
- Piles of wood shavings – from the continuous burrowing of the carpenter bee queen

At times, infested wood may also have severe external damage due to birds trying to get the larvae inside.

How to Prevent Carpenter Bee Infestation

Preventing carpenter bee infestation can be quite a challenge, especially for homeowners who want to work on it first-hand, because the techniques need diligent implementation. Here are some of the techniques:

- Continuous treatment of entrance holes with insecticide or dust pesticide
- Complete eradication of larvae, eggs, and other bee remnants inside the nest, preventing young and adult carpenter bees to look for alternative exit points
- Instead of filling the holes with wood putty or other insecticide, try replacing the heavily infested wood with new and chemically treated wood materials
- Thorough inspection of exposed, unpainted, and untreated wood parts of the property
- Seal holes or nesting sites completely because carpenter bees can go back to these sites to nest in new set of larvae

Carpenter bees may be a vital part of the ecosystem since they are great pollinators, however, it can be an extreme nuisance to property owners because of the extensive damage they can cause. Seeking for professional help in order to fully eradicate these pests may prove to be more beneficial rather than executing a do-it-yourself pest control scheme.

For more information on Carpenter Bees on your property, call for an inspection today.

Protect Yourself Against Yellow Jackets

Filed under: Bee Removal & Management,Wasp Control — Megan Howard @ 7:16 pm July 22, 2014

 

yellow jacket

 

 

Yellow jackets become mostly active during the summer. It is when they trouble homes and sting those they think are a threat to them. These stinging insects are heavy-bodied wasps that create gray, papery nests below or hanging above the ground. They are about ½ inch in length with alternating black and yellow stripes on them. While they may look like honey bees, this wasp can sting you multiple times, unlike bees that can sting you just once.

While these wasps commonly create their nests in rodent burrows, thick shrubs, and tree branches during the early spring, they can also create their nests in garages, attics, sheds, under porches, spaces behind wall sidings, and in areas where there are hollow spaces in floors and walls. When these yellow jackets create nests inside a home’s structure, they will defend their territory and will sting potential threat to their nest.

The Creation of the Nest

Nesting happens during spring, when a queen starts laying eggs in her chosen nest. Her first batch of eggs will be her first workers. The queen will continuously lay eggs while the workers will take care of her and her eggs while continuously expand the nest. These workers will also be responsible in defending the nest. The nest will continuously grow as new workers assume their responsibilities during spring and summer. By August or September, the queen’s nest may already contain hundreds of yellow jackets that are considered dangerous to those who will approach it.

The yellow jackets and the hornets are considered to be the most aggressive wasps that can sting potential victims continuously. These wasps are considered troublesome because they are known to vigorously defend their nest when it is threatened, which would leave their victim helpless with the continuous sting they will give them.

During the months of August or September, their nest may already have hundreds or even thousands of individuals. When this happens, some of the wasps may just hover around outside their nest looking for more food. They will become scavengers that will be showing up uninvited at picnics and barbecues, and in places outdoors.

Defending Yourself from Yellow Jackets

Although the nest of the yellow jacket will be emptied soon with all of the workers dying during the winter, but it is still unwise to let them nest around your property. If you are able to find the queen this early spring, and you are able to get rid of it that would mean that the eggs she laid will also not survive. However, if you are not able to find the queen, you will have a whole season of defending yourself against their nest.

If your home has a yellow jacket nest around, getting rid of it may bring difficulties. Although there are a lot of insecticide products that are labelled for the use of these wasps, handling them can still be dangerous. In most cases, the removal of yellow jacket nests is given to professionals since most homeowners acknowledge the gravity of handling these wasps.

Protect your home against these yellow jackets and let Horizon Pest Control get rid of the yellow jackets nest for you. We offer Residential Pest Control solutions that will take care of your wasp problems. Do not let these wasps intimidate you and let your home be your home again. Call for an appointment now and let us know how we can help you.

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