Massey Services Acquires ECOSHIELD Pest Control of Dallas, Houston and San Antonio


Harvey L. Massey, Chairman and CEO of Massey Services, proudly announces the purchase of ECOSHIELD Pest Control of Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, Texas.

“We are pleased to welcome the ECOSHIELD Pest Control team members and customers to the Massey Services organization,” said Mr. Massey. “We look for companies who have a reputation for exceptional customer service and ECOSHIELD Pest Control has done an outstanding job in its commitment to total customer satisfaction.”

The acquisition of these locations expands Massey Services’ presence in the Texas market. Massey currently has residential service centers in Austin, Dallas, Euless and Plano and commercial service centers in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, Massey Services provides service to over 488,000 customers throughout Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, South Carolina and Oklahoma.

Massey Services was founded in 1985 by Harvey L. Massey, an industry leader and 52-year veteran of the pest management and landscape services industries. Massey Services is the fifth largest pest management company in the industry. In addition, Massey Services is the largest, privately-owned family company in the industry.

The Potomac Company represented and acted as the exclusive financial advisor to ECOSHIELD in the sale.

Is Zoysia Grass Right for Your Lawn?

zoysia grassZoysia grasses are relative newcomers to Florida residential lawns. There are many exciting attributes to Zoysia grass, but it is important to separate the marketing hype and common misconceptions from reality

Zoysia are finer textured than St. Augustine grasses and have a softer feel. They are slower growing and produce less leaf clippings than St. Augustine varieties.

Once fully established, Zoysia lawns will produce underground plant parts known as rhizomes in addition to above ground stolons. This attribute allows Zoysia to be more tolerant of traffic, drought and freeze than St. Augustine. However, establishment to this degree will typically require 12 to 18 months.

In northern and north central areas of Florida, Zoysia grasses will typically go dormant in the winter. When completely dormant, the turf will appear uniformly brown. However, when the grass is going into or out of the dormant state, the turf may appear mottled with green and brown splotches. Zoysia grasses are often the last turf varieties to become green again in the springtime.

The GreenUp Landscape Services experts at Massey Services offer the following information if you’re considering Zoysia grass for your lawn:

  • Make sure Zoysia is the right grass for the conditions of your lawn. Zoysia grass lawns perform best in full sun and will tolerate only moderate shade.
  • While Zoysia grass is often marketed as being more drought tolerant than St. Augustine grass, Zoysia requires just as much water in terms of frequency and volume as St. Augustine to remain green and attractive.
  • The attribute that makes Zoysia grasses more drought tolerant is its ability to transition into a dormant state under drought conditions. In the dormant state, the color of the turf is brown to grayish-brown. Under short-term dry conditions, St. Augustine grass will wilt; upon receiving sufficient water, it will return to an attractive appearance within a few days. Under the same short-term dry conditions, Zoysia grass will turn brown in its dormant state and require new leaf growth to cover the dormant brown leaves.
  • The benefit of Zoysia grass over St. Augustine is only under severe drought conditions. In severe drought situations,Zoysia grass would be more likely to ultimately recover, while St. Augustine grass may require replacement.
  • Zoysia grass does not perform well in areas that retain water excessively. Like most turfgrasses, Zoysiagrass prefers a soil that is moist, but well drained.
  • Proper mowing height and frequency is crucial to the health and appearance of a Zoysia grass lawn. Avoid mowing at heights higher than recommended. The most widely planted Zoysia variety in Florida is Empire. Empire should be mowed at 2 – 2.5 inches. Dwarf varieties such as Geo require a lower mowing height of 1.5 to 2 inches. Mowing should always occur when the height of the grass becomes 1/3rd higher than the mowing height.
  • It is highly recommended that the mowing height be reduced by 1/3rd of the recommended mowing height for the first mowing in the spring.
  • If possible, the cuttings should be bagged and removed from the site. This process allows sunlight to more easily reach the new shoots emerging from rhizomes and will provide a quicker spring green-up.
  • Zoysia grasses are equally or more affected by disease issues than St. Augustine grasses; dollar spot and brown patch fungus are the primary concerns.

For additional information or for a free landscape inspection, contact Massey Services today!

Winter Irrigation Tips

475343297croppedIrrigation is one of the most important factors in maintaining our lawns. Irrigation systems should be reset seasonally to reflect the water requirements of different grasses based on the time of year. Proper winter irrigation is just as important as that of any other season.

How frequently should you water?
Irrigation frequency varies based on the type of grass, rainfall amounts, soil type, shade presence, geographical location and season. Failure to adjust for seasonal changes usually leads to overwatering. Overwatering increases disease susceptibility and thatch buildup and leads to a shorter root system, which reduces the turf’s stress tolerance and ability to survive with less water. Overwatering also promotes the growth of certain weed species such as dollarweed and sedge.

In the winter months, St. Augustine grass with 6-inch roots can go without irrigation for as many as 10-28 days. University of Florida IFAS Extension recommends watering lawns on an “as-needed” basis, which can be determined by looking for the following signs:

  • Leaf blades that are folded in half lengthwise to conserve water
  • Grass that begins to have a blue-gray tint
  • Footprints or tire tracks that remain visible on the grass

Not all parts of your lawn have the same irrigation needs. Grass that grows in the shade will require much less irrigation. Sandy soils can require more frequent irrigation.

Check with your local Water Management District to learn about any watering restrictions in your area.

How much should you water?
The amount of water applied does not vary seasonally. Efficient watering wets only the turfgrass root zone and does not saturate the soil or allow water to run off. When grass begins to show stress symptoms, ½ to ¾ inch of water should be applied.

When should you water?
The best time for lawn irrigation is early morning. During the day, excess evaporation can waste water. Watering in the evening extends the time the lawn is wet from dew and can lead to disease.

It’s important to check your irrigation system regularly to make sure it is operating properly and providing uniform coverage. Contact the experts at Massey Services for a free inspection and recommendations on an irrigation maintenance program that’s right for you.


Fire Ants Were Transported by Spanish Ships

tropical fire ants

Photo by Stephen Ausmus

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), invasive ants cost billions of dollars annually in control, damage repair and medical care. A recent genetic study revealed that tropical fire ants were transported by Spanish ships from Acapulco, Mexico, across the Pacific Ocean to the Philippines, where they were then transported to other parts of the world.

Researchers at the the Agricultural Research Service’s Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE) in Gainesville, Florida; the University of Vermont; and the University of Illinois used genetic markers to retrace the history of the tropical fire ant (Solenopsis geminate), which was a native of Central America and parts of South America. They also studied the trading patterns of Spanish vessels during the 16th century.

CMAVE entomologist DeWayne Shoemaker, whose earlier research reconstructed the invasion history of the red imported fire ant said, “We theorized that tropical fire ants were likely moved around by people and that the early trade routes most likely provided that transportation. Sure enough, when we started looking at the Spanish galley trade routes, the movement of the ants, inferred from genetics, mirrored the historic trade route.”

According to Shoemaker, early ships used soil as ballast to stabilize the ship. When the soil was removed to make room for cargo, it likely contained ant colonies.

Knowing the history and travel patterns of insects can help in in determining the best way to prevent them from invading other places.

The full story “Genetic Detective Work on Invasive Ants” was published in the December 2015 issue of AgResearch magazine.

Preparing Your Lawn for a Freeze

Freeze PictureThe forecast calls for freezing temperatures in northern Florida, through 9:00 a.m., Wednesday, which can result in severe and sometimes permanent damage to lawns, trees and shrubs. The following information will be helpful to you for the pending freezing temperatures.

  • Irrigate before the frost or freeze to ensure there is proper moisture in the soil root zone, however make sure irrigation is stopped early enough to allow time for leaves to dry in order to avoid ice forming on them.
    •  Please Note: Do not irrigate during a freeze. This practice is beneficial in nurseries and citrus groves only because they are equipped to water non-stop until the ice is melted. If not done properly, this practice can prolong the amount of time that plants are subjected to the harsh, cold temperatures.
  • Cover cold-sensitive plants with blankets or boxes but NOT plastic. Be sure to remove the covering as soon as the temperatures begin to warm up.
  • Do not mow turf that is frozen, and keep the lawn mowed high. This can reduce cold injury in a number of ways. First, it will promote a deeper root system, which will provide greater stress tolerance. In addition, higher mowing heights can create a warmer micro-environment due to the extra canopy cover provided by the longer leaf tissue.
  •  Avoid foot traffic or vehicular traffic on frozen turf as this can increase damage.

For more tips and information, click here or contact us at 1-888-2MASSEY (262-7739).

Keep Rodents Out During the Winter Months

After an unseasonably warm fall, even Southern climates are beginning to experience cooler weather. As temperatures fall, squirrels, rats, mice and even larger rodents such as raccoons will be looking for a warm place to take refuge. Many will be looking for a way to enter your home, garage or attic. Massey Services offers the following tips to keep rodents out during the winter months:

  • AC conduitMake sure the underside of the flashing that covers the air conditioning conduits to the attic is sealed. This is one of the most common residential entry points for rodents in the Southeastern states.
  • Check the edges of the garage door to make sure there are no gaps or openings.
  • Seal off openings around pipes with sheet metal or concrete.
  • Block all possible rodent entry points such as the bottom of doors, pipe entry holes, ventilation pipes, roof vents and eave vents.
  • Pick up any trash or debris around the outside of your home that could provide a shelter for rodents.
  • Rodents are always on the lookout for food. Keep garbage cans sealed and eliminate any areas of standing water. Do not leave open food items out including pet food.

Rodents can squeeze through any opening their heads can fit through. For mice that can be an opening as small as ¼ inch. Eliminating all possible entry points is key to keeping rodents out.

For more information on preventing rodents from entering your home, contact Massey Services for a free inspection.

Prevent Silverfish From Eating Your Paper Treasures

While bringing down and storing your holiday decorations, you may have stirred up silverfish that have taken up residence in your attic. These soft, scaly, silver-colored pests nibble on the edges of many types of paper and paper products, book bindings and wallpaper. They also eat cereals, wheat flour and starch in clothes and linens. It’s important to prevent silverfish from damaging your paper treasures and invading your favorite starchy food products.

Silverfish are quite common in almost every attic, but will generally stay within dark, protected areas under the insulation and behind the walls rather than come out into an air conditioned home. After shuffling boxes stored in the attic, you may start to notice these soft, wiggly creatures inside your garage and home.

Silverfish belong to what is thought to be one of the most primitive of living insect orders. They are characterized by the three long tail-like appendages arising from the tip of the abdomen, which is responsible for the group’s common name – bristletails. They have chewing mouthparts, long antennae and a body that is nearly always covered with scales.

There are a variety of silverfish species, but when it comes to meals, they all have similar feeding habits. These insects will roam a distance in search of food, but once they have found a satisfactory source, they remain close to it — a good reason to prevent them from gaining access to your paper treasures.

These pests are extremely resistant to starvation and may be kept alive without food and water for weeks. In an experiment performed inside a laboratory, it was found that when kept inside a glass jar, one adult out of 20 survived for 307 days without food.

Silverfish tend to breed in bookcases, storage boxes and linen closets. They thrive in moist, hot areas such as attics and crawl spaces.

Massey Services recommends the following steps to prevent silverfish:

  • Remove leaf debris around the exterior of your home and gutters.
  • Seal cracks and crevices to keep silverfish from entering the home
  • Box and tightly seal all papered items in storage to keep silverfish out.
  • Keep paper items and wrappers to a minimum.
  • Avoid bringing cardboard boxes that have been stored in the attic, garage or basement inside your home.
  • Vacuum baseboards, especially in storage rooms, closets and laundry rooms.
  • Make sure roof and plumbing leaks are repaired.
  • Reduce humidity by running air conditioners, humidifiers and bathroom fans.

If you have a need professional assistance with a silverfish or other pest infestation, contact Massey Services for a free inspection.

Storing Holiday Decorations

outside-Christmas-lightsAs the holidays draw to a close, many of us will be tasked with taking down and storing holiday decorations until next year.

The attics and basements where these items are commonly stored provide an ideal habitat for pests and rodents. So when your putting away your holiday decorations for the year, consider the following tips to ensure your decorations are kept free from pests until the next holiday season:

  • Remove old cardboard boxes and old wrapping paper from your storage area.
  • Place items made of wool or silk into ziplock or sealed plastic bags.
  • Store your decorations in plastic storage boxes that have tight fitting lids instead of cardboard boxes. Make sure the lids are well sealed to keep silverfish and other small pests from entering.
  • If you label your boxes, cover the label with clear tape and if you include a detailed contents sheet, make sure to place it in a sealed ziplock bag.

We hope you had a safe and happy holiday season and wish you a very happy new year!

Recycle Your Christmas Tree

Real Christmas trees are green in both the traditional and modern sense of the the word. The National Christmas Tree Association suggests the following tips on how to recycle your Christmas tree.

  • Curbside pick-up: Many communities will collect trees during their regular pick-up schedule during the first two weeks after the holiday. You’ll need to remove lights, wire, tinsel, ornaments, stands and other non-organic materials. If your tree is larger than six feet, you’ll need to cut it in half.
  • Yard waste: If you miss the curbside pick-up schedule, you can cut your tree to fit loosely in your yard waste container on your scheduled pick-up day.
  • Bird feeders: Remove all of the decorations, tinsel and flocking and place the tree in your backyard or garden. Provide the birds with food by making pine cone bird feeders, hanging strings of popcorn and fresh fruit or using suet holders.
  • Mulch: Branches can be removed, chipped and used as mulch in the garden.

Useful tip for next year: To avoid a mess when removing the tree, place a plastic tree bag (available at hardware stores) underneath the stand when you set the tree up and hide it with a tree skirt. When it’s time to take the tree out, you can pull the bag up around the tree and carry it outside where you can remove the stand before recycling. It is better to sweep up any needles that scatter inside instead of vacuuming them which can clog the vacuum cleaner.

Note: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Burning the tree can contribute to creosote buildup and could cause a chimney fire.


Our Holiday Cookie Recipe for 2015

As we celebrate the holidays, Massey Services would like to thank all of our customers for letting us serve you.

In keeping with tradition, we’re happy to share this year’s holiday cookie recipe:

reeses-peanut-butter-cup-cookiesPeanut Butter Cup Cookies


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
40 miniature chocolate covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped


Preheat oven to 375° F. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda; set aside. Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and milk. Add the flour mixture; mix well. Shape into 40 balls and place each into an ungreased mini muffin pan. Bake at 375° F for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball. Cool and carefully remove from pan.

From our family to yours, we wish you Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!

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