Decking the Halls Can Bring Unwelcome Holiday Pests

21760367363_98d80d4c94_cOnce we recover from the effects of our Thanksgiving feast, many of us will haul out the decorations and head to our favorite tree lot for an aromatic, fresh-cut fir, spruce or pine that will serve as the focal point for holiday parties and family gatherings for the next few weeks.

Since these trees are grown in a natural setting, we may end up bringing in a little more nature than we anticipated. There are several kinds of insects that spend the winter in these types of trees. Once you bring the tree into your home, the insects behave as though spring has come and become active again.

The two pests most commonly found on fresh-cut trees are aphids and spiders. Often, eggs that would have remained dormant through the winter hatch when the tree is brought into your nice warm home. These newly hatched insects and spiderlings are very small (approximately 1/16th inch) and can go unnoticed. Although they can be a nuisance, they are generally harmless and usually wander a very short distance before drying out and dying.

Here are a few tips to avoiding “holiday hitchhikers” on your Christmas tree:

  • Shake your tree before bringing it into your home. Many lots have mechanical shakers.
  • Inspect the tree and remove bird nests and egg sacs if not dislodged by shaking.
  • Vacuum up pests using an attachment without a beater bar. (Crushing the bugs can create a stain.)
  • If the tree is badly infested, return the tree for another one.
  • Don’t use insecticide on your tree. The low humidity in most homes will usually kill these invaders in a short time.

Another source of holiday pests are the decorations that have been stored in attics, basements, garages and closets. Here are a few tips to follow as you pull out your decorations:

  • Open your boxes outside before bringing anything indoors.
  • Remove all the contents outside and inspect them for pests before placing them around your home.
  • If you find boxes with chewed openings, open them with caution – this could be a sign of rodent activity.
  • When putting your decorations away, use tight sealing containers rather than cardboard boxes. They’re more difficult for pests to gain access inside.

If you do discover a pest problem, contact Massey Services for a free pest inspection so you don’t have any unwanted guests this holiday season!

Our Thanksgiving Recipe for 2015

Thanksgiving is a special time of the year when we celebrate and give thanks for what is important in our lives. Massey Services gives thanks to you for your continued confidence in our company and the services we provide. In keeping with tradition, we’re happy to share this year’s Thanksgiving recipe.

Pecan PieIncredible Pecan Pie

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 cup butter, chilled
4 tablespoons ice water
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup pecans, finely crushed
1 cup pecans, quartered
1 cup pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350°F.

TO MAKE CRUST: In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and white sugar. Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually sprinkle the water over the dry mixture, stirring until dough comes together enough to form a ball. On a floured surface, flatten dough ball with rolling pin. Roll out into a circle that is one inch larger than pie dish. Place pie shell into dish and refrigerate until pie filling is complete.

TO MAKE PIE FILLING: In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, light and dark
corn syrups, brown sugar, butter, salt and finely crushed pecans. Spread quartered pecans over bottom of refrigerated pie crust. Pour syrup mixture over top of pecans, then arrange pecan halves on top of pie. Bake in oven for one hour or until firm. Let cool for one
hour before serving.


Have Clothes Moths Been Eating Holes in Your Favorite Sweater?



With the holidays rapidly approaching, many of us are pulling out our favorite sweaters, coats and scarves in anticipation of cooler temperatures and holiday travel. Sometimes this happy ritual can lead to the discovery that clothes moths have been eating holes in these items that have been stored away in the dark undisturbed areas of our closets.

Clothes moths are well-known as pests of stored woolens and consume a wide range of other fibers including wool carpeting, hair, fur, silk, felt and feathers. The larvae tunnel within and under oriental carpets, nibble up the felt within pianos and destroy hats, woolen sweaters and valuable suits, blankets, animal trophies, leather, skins, down pillows and clothing soiled with food stains or body oils.

The casemaking clothes moth larvae will travel away from infested materials and attach themselves to the ceiling or upper areas of the room to develop into adults. Adult clothes moths fly around the home and land on other susceptible items to lay eggs.

The best way to avoid clothes moth infestation is through prevention.

  • Woolens and other susceptible fabrics should be dry cleaned or laundered before being stored for long periods.
  • Store clean suits inside zippered plastic suit protectors.
  • Pack other articles in tight-fitting containers with moth balls.
  • Don’t put moth balls or moth crystals in the open inside of closets or under beds. If the area is not tightly sealed, the fumes will not kill or repel the moths and can pose a health risk.
  • Cedar closets or chests are seldom effective by themselves, because the seal is insufficient to maintain a lethal or repellent concentration of the volatile oil of cedar.
  • Inspect material that is susceptible to infestation regularly.
  • Standard household insecticides should not be used to treat clothing; however, mothproofing solutions may be applied to susceptible clothing by professional dry cleaners.
  • Store valuable garments such as furs in cold vaults (a service offered by some furriers and department stores).
  • Vacuum regularly, including along baseboards, under and behind furniture, inside closets and both sides of oriental carpets.
  • Consider cleaning oriental carpets annually to prevent moth damage.

If you discover evidence of clothes moths, contact Massey Services for a free inspection.

What are those brown circles in my lawn?

diseases_03brownpatch_enlNovember is a great time of year for lawns. You don’t have to mow them as often, and turf and shrubbery thrive without the stress of the summer heat.

Unfortunately, it is also a good time for brown patch fungus and broadleaf weeds to appear.

Brown patch fungus appears as brown circles or patches of damaged turf with yellow, orange or purple grass blades on the outside border of the patch. Sometimes regrowth in the center of the patch may give it a doughnut-like appearance.

The key to preventing brown patch fungus is to avoid over watering your lawn. Once a week watering should be sufficient, and in areas that retain moisture, you may need to water even less. Proper watering will also help in preventing winter annual weeds.

On the positive side, November is also a good time to establish new trees, shrubs and turf.

If you need professional services to control brown patch fungus or to evaluate your irrigation system, contact Massey Services for a free inspection.



A Few Insect Superstitions for Friday the 13th

It’s Friday the 13th. Did you linger in bed a little longer this morning in fear of what the day might bring?

It might help to know that a 2011 German study published in the World Journal of Surgery reviewed 3,281 days at a hospital facility that included 15 Friday the 13ths, and found no correlation to the frequency of emergency room visits on those days.

Still, more than half of Americans admitted to being at least a little superstitious, according to a recent Gallup poll. Many people are superstitious without even knowing it. Do you knock on wood, avoid black cats or read your daily horoscope?

Under the category of “Nature in Action,” the April 6, 1946 Milwaukee Journal ran an article about insect superstitions. As you make your way through the third Friday the 13th of 2015, here are a few of our favorites:

  • 800px-LadybugStep on a cricket, and rain will follow.
  • Catch the first butterfly you see in spring, and you’ll be unlucky all summer.
  • Kill a lightning bug, and you’ll be struck by lightning the next time it storms.
  • Disturb a yellow cluster of butterflies, lose a pot of gold.
  • Knock down a mud dauber’s nest, break all your dishes.
  • Dream of ants, and you’ll have a large family or move to a big city.
  • Dragonflies sew up the mouths of scolding women, saucy children and profane men.
  • Bees punish wrongdoers. Peasant girls in Central Europe would lead their lovers past beehives, where bees would rush out and sting the unfaithful.
  • If a butterfly lands on your hand, you’ll get money, but if it lands on your head, you’ll get a new sweetheart.
  • If a bee circles your head, you’ll get a letter. If it enters your home, you’ll get a visitor.
  • If a fly buzzes around your head, a stranger wants to meet you.
  • Count the spots on a ladybug, and you’ll find as many dollars or enjoy that number of good months.
  • Hear a cricket in the house or let out a fly along a window pane, and enjoy good fortune.

Whether you’re superstitious or not, if insects are causing you concern, contact Massey Services for a free inspection.

Veterans Day: Remembering Those Who Served

Central Florida Veterans Memorial Park

Central Florida Veterans Memorial Park

As our nation recognizes Veterans Day, Massey Services expresses its appreciation to those who have served and sacrificed for our country.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Day originated from the armistice that went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 – November 11, 1918 – putting an end to the fighting during World War I. In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day, a day to reflect “with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory…”

After World War II, the 83rd Congress amended an earlier act that made the day a legal holiday, striking the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans.” With approval of this legislation, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars. Congress passed a resolution in 1926, calling upon officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting people to observe Armistice Day with ”appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.”

For a short time in the early seventies, the Uniform Holiday Bill established that Veterans Day was to be observed on a Monday to provide a three-day weekend for Federal employees, but many states continued to celebrate the day on its original date. In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a public law, which returned the observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978.

Carol and Harvey L. Massey at the Central Florida Veterans Memorial

Carol and Harvey L. Massey

In 2012, Massey Services pledged $250,000 to build the Central Florida Veterans Memorial Park in Lake Nona, FL.

At a press conference announcing the founding gift, Chairman and CEO Harvey L. Massey said, “We are fortunate to live in the greatest nation the world has ever known and the Central Florida Veterans Memorial Park allows us to remember those who have fallen while fighting for our freedom, liberty and the opportunities that are afforded to us each day.”

On behalf of Massey Services, we salute the men and women who have served or are serving our country.

Home Maintenance Can Reduce Risk of Termites

termitesMany of us are already thinking about getting our homes ready for the holidays, so now is a good time to think about things that we can do around our homes to reduce the risk of termites. While we can never entirely eliminate this risk, there are home maintenance steps that we can take to eliminate the conditions that are conducive to an infestation.

Subterranean termites require food, water and shelter to survive, but the number one conducive condition to their survival is moisture. Above ground moisture sources can lead to a suspended colony that no longer needs to return to the ground for water. Massey Services recommends these steps to eliminate above ground water sources:

  • Adjust sprinkler heads so that water does not hit the wall
  • Avoid clogged gutters and make sure downspouts direct rain water away from the house
  • Repair roof and plumbing leaks
  • Trim bushes back at least 18 inches from walls to allow them to dry
  • Eliminate any standing water near the home’s foundation
  • Make sure your house has a good coat of paint to seal out moisture
  • Caulk windows and doors to create a good seal

Earth-to-wood contact is another conducive condition that provides an avenue for termites to enter your home. Massey Services recommends these steps to minimize this risk:

  • Avoid stacking firewood on the ground near the wall of your house. If possible, suspend wood above ground and away from your house.
  • Make sure the wood trim on your house does not come in contact with the ground

You also will want to look out for blistered paint or soft wood, which can indicate a termite infestation. If your holiday preparations reveal signs of a termite infestation or if you just want to be safe, contact Massey Services for a free inspection.

Massey Services Acquires ECOSHIELD Pest Control of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


Harvey L. Massey, Chairman and CEO of Massey Services, proudly announces the purchase of ECOSHIELD Pest Control of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

“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 their commitment to total customer satisfaction.”

The acquisition of the Oklahoma City division expands Massey Services’ presence to the Oklahoma market. Massey Services is headquartered in Orlando, Florida and currently provides service to over 450,000 customers throughout Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, South Carolina and Oklahoma.

Massey Services was founded in 1985 by Harvey L. Massey, who is a leading industry voice and a 52-year veteran of the pest management and landscape services industries. Currently celebrating its 30th consecutive year of profitable growth, 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.


Our Gift to You! Winter Savings Event


This time of year is busy, so let Massey Services make it easier. Massey Services’ annual winter savings event kicks off today. Here’s how we can help:

  • Pest Prevention:  Let us help avoid uninvited multi-legged guests from showing up at your holiday gatherings! Purchase our pest prevention program and prevent pests from getting inside your home now, so you don’t have to control them later!  Our pest prevention program focuses on the outside of your home and does not include the routine application of pesticides in and around your home, which makes it better for you, your family and our environment.
  • Termite Protection:  There is no such thing as a termite-proof home. Once they’re in your home, termites eat non-stop, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Don’t wait until it’s too late. Our termite protection program includes retreatment and repair of any new termite damage and covers both the structure and contents of your home.  Plus, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing your home is protected by one of the best guarantees in the industry.
  • GreenUP Landscape Services:  Is your lawn and landscape ready for the cooler winter months?  Now is the time to prepare your lawn for winter weeds and other cooler weather problems that pop up when the temperatures drop.  Our landscape program focuses on the roots, ensuring your landscape remains healthy all year long!
  • Irrigation Maintenance:  Is your irrigation system working properly?  With the time change, many of us are required to scale back to watering our lawns and landscapes once a week. Because your lawn is in a more dormant state, watering once a week is fine, as long as your irrigation system is functioning properly.  Our irrigation maintenance program takes the guesswork out of maintaining your irrigation system!
  • Mosquito Abatement: Don’t let mosquitoes spoil your outdoor holiday activities. Let Massey Services help you keep them away from your outdoor fun. Massey’s Mosquito Abatement Program is unlike most other mosquito control programs because we target mosquitos where they live and breed.

Call us or visit us online to schedule a free inspection today!

It’s Time to Fall Back and Adjust Your Irrigation


458816733Leftover Halloween candy won’t be the only treat this Sunday. Daylight Savings Time ends on November 1, which will give us all an extra hour of sleep and a longer Sunday!  As you change your clocks, watches, coffee makers, etc. – there is one clock that can be easy to forget but one of the most critical and that’s your irrigation timer.

Proper water management is crucial to the vitality of a healthy lawn. While too much water can be bad for your grass – and your wallet, it is important to continue to water your lawn throughout the winter season.

Now is a great opportunity to re-evaluate the frequency of your irrigation system and ensure your system is functioning properly.  Doing this can save money on your monthly water bill by reducing unnecessary consumption.

In many states, it is also a requirement to change the frequency of your watering schedule to comply with regulatory statutes.  Check your local water management district’s website to understand what requirements to follow in your area at the end of Daylight Saving Time.

At Massey Services, we provide a free Water Management Audit, as well as an Irrigation Program that can save you up to 30% of your water usage.  Our program includes the following:

  • Customized plan for any needed irrigation repair
  • Ongoing inspections of your system for leaks or failures on a zone-by-zone basis
  • Adjustments and cleaning of sprinkler heads
  • Setting the control box to water properly based on your landscape’s needs, seasonal weather patterns and local watering restrictions
  • Written recommendations on techniques and hardware

To schedule your free Water Management Audit, contact Massey Services today!

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