The itch of mosquito bites is usually the price we pay after an encounter with these pests. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), cases of a mosquito-borne illness with flu-like symptoms called chikungunya (chick-un-gun-ya), is affecting people throughout the U.S. As of late-July, the illness, which has not been prevalent in the United States, has a total of 497 cases reported from U.S. states. Of these, 197 were locally transmitted in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. All other cases occurred in travelers returning from affected areas in the Caribbean and South America, the Pacific Islands or Asia.
With the recent outbreaks in the Caribbean and the Pacific, the number of chikungunya cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States from affected areas will likely increase. These imported cases could result in additional local spread of the virus in the continental U.S.
Here are a few tips to protect you and your loved ones as you travel and at home:
- Mosquitoes that transmit chikungunya bite mostly during the daytime; other mosquito species are most active at dawn and dusk
- When outdoors, use insect repellant with DEET as an active product on any exposed skin
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to reduce the amount of skin exposed
- Make sure all windows and doors in your home, or in your home-away-from-home while traveling, are closed tightly and that screens are well-sealed to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside
- Empty standing water from outdoor containers
Symptoms of chikungunya usually begin 3‒7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. They include fever and severe joint pains, often in the hands and feet, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash. There is no vaccine or medication to prevent chikungunya.
There are 13 species of mosquitoes which are capable of transmitting diseases in humans and animals. If you suspect you have a mosquito infestation at your home or want to protect yourself from potential attacks, contact Massey Services for more information on our Mosquito Abatement programs to reduce the risk faced from contact with disease-carrying mosquitoes.
Happy Fourth of July! As we celebrate this Independence Day with parades, cookouts and fireworks, we honor our nation’s history, heritage and freedom.
Today and every day, Massey Services proudly honors and thanks the men and women who serve our Country. Closer to home, we are thankful for the opportunity to be a contributing part of our community and to our customers for their continued confidence in the services we provide.
Every Fourth of July, we select a patriotic dessert to share with our Team Members and Customers and this year, we’ve chosen the American Flag Cookie Tart. Enjoy!
American Flag Cookie Tart
- 1 package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
- 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1-1/2 tsp. lemon juice
- 2 cups fresh raspberries
- 1-1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 cup quartered strawberries
- 1/4 cup apple jelly
- Flour for forming crust
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 12-inch pizza pan with cooking spray. Cut cookie dough into 1/4 inch slices and place on the pan. With floured fingers press down to form crust. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 25 minutes. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon juice until fluffy. Spread over baked crust. Arrange berries in star pattern. Drizzle or brush with melted jelly. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. Store in refrigerator.
Best Wishes for a Safe and Happy Fourth of July!
Summer is here and the mosquitoes have started biting. Summer rains lead to standing water, which is a primary location for mosquitoes to breed. It’s an important reminder to all homeowners that mosquitoes are not just a nuisance because of their bites; they are also known disease carriers.
Here are a few tips to help reduce the population of mosquitoes around your home:
- If the weather has been rainy, be sure to drain standing water from bird baths, kiddie pools and plant pots on a weekly basis.
- Clear gutters and drains to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water.
- Avoid working or playing outdoors at dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- When you are outdoors, wear insect repellent with DEET as an active product.
- Make sure all windows and doors in your home are closed tightly and that screens are well-sealed to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside.
There are 13 species of mosquitoes which are capable of transmitting diseases. If you want to reduce the mosquitoes around your home, call a professional service company for proper control and elimination. The experts at Massey Services can conduct a thorough inspection at no charge and provide you with a detailed report of their findings. We will also recommend a customized mosquito abatement program that’s right for your home.
Your home or business probably has an irrigation system, right? You just set the timer and it does the job of giving your lawn and landscape the right amount of water, right? Wrong! Water conservation is critical to ensure we protect one of our most precious resources and create healthy landscapes and beautiful plants. That’s why a properly functioning irrigation system is so critical.
Irrigation systems need regular maintenance – fixing and adjusting heads, adjusting timer settings for the changing water needs, making additions and changes to adapt to your growing landscape, just to name a few. If you just set the timer and forget it, you could be wasting water and money when you have to pay your utility bill. Here are a few irrigation tips to ensure your system is working properly:
- Conservation begins with observing the irrigation system in operation. Since most irrigation systems run very early in the morning, it’s difficult to detect a problem, such as a broken sprinkler head or a misdirected sprinkler that may be watering the sidewalk or street rather than your landscape. Watch the sprinklers in operation at least every other month to ensure they are watering plants at the roots, where they need it.
- Too much water on the wrong part of the plant causes the leaves of the plants to be constantly wet, which leads to disease and fungus problems.
- Make certain the timer is set to water before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.; by avoiding the hottest part of the day, the water that is applied has a better chance of helping the plant before it evaporates and you won’t have to water as frequently. Be sure to follow watering restrictions as designated by the county or municipality you reside or do business in.
- Your lawn has different watering needs than shrubs and trees. Consult an irrigation professional to ensure your yard is getting adequate water without over-watering.
Our Irrigation Maintenance Program, along with our Water Management Audit, takes the guesswork out of maintaining your irrigation system. We make all necessary adjustments, changes, and enhancements to ensure your landscape receives the right amount of water at the right time.
We perform our Free Water Management Audit before starting service to build a customized plan, which when combined with our Irrigation Maintenance Program can save you a minimum of 30% in water usage.
Have you heard the news? The My Massey App is now available for both iPhone and Android devices.
We created the My Massey App two years ago for use with the iPhone but received many requests from our customers to offer this for Android devices as well. This officially launched last week and we’re excited to share the news with all of our customers and team members.
So what exactly can you do using the My Massey App? The answer is a A LOT. You can essentially manage your Massey Services account(s) anytime, anywhere – right from your phone!
The My Massey App allows you to easily:
- Pay your bills
- Request an appointment
- Sign up for paperless billing
- Communication with a Massey Customer Care Team Member about any immediate concerns with your home or landscape
- Send pictures of any issue you may have a question about
- Submit service requests
- Review service history
To learn more about the My Massey App, visit our My Massey App page and find quick and easy links to download the app to your phone!
Everybody loves a lush, green and healthy looking lawn. At Massey Services, we continuously work on eliminating or minimizing the number and types of weeds that you may commonly find in your landscape. Our focus is on growing the thickest lawn possible because the best defense against weeds is a thick, dense turf. So how do we do it? Below are just a few of the proactive steps we take to ensure you have a healthy, beautiful lawn year-round.
- Choose the Proper Type of Grass: We’ll first identify the species and variety of turf grass presently growing in your landscape. Some varieties do best in semi-shaded areas while others need full sun areas to survive. This is important because a grass poorly suited for shady locations will be thin and susceptible to chronic weed infestation.
- Managing the Health of your Soil: Using soil pH testing and our years of experience in managing soils, we apply a customized fertilization program that balances the need for high lawn quality and color while maintaining the healthiest root system possible. The end result is a thick, green and healthy lawn.
- Recommendations for Proper Mowing: Different grass species have different mowing height requirements. When your lawn is mowed too low, the grass will become less able to promote growth. A scalped or closely mowed lawn will allow weed seedlings to receive the light and space required to root in your lawn. It’s important to mow with a sharp blade and often enough to not remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade in a single mowing.
- Watering Only as Needed: Many weed problems that develop in your lawn are symptomatic of over-watering or another irrigation problem. As a general rule, you should water deeply (3/4 to 1 inch of water per session), but infrequently (no more than twice a week in most cases).
- Controlling Pests: By reducing the amount of insects and diseases active in your property we will reduce the number of thin turf areas where grass weeds can develop.
- Stopping Weed Seeds Before They Germinate: We’ll apply pre-emergent herbicides in the spring and fall to manage weed seeds before they germinate. While good turf management practices and pre-emergent herbicides are an effective way to manage many types of weeds, they cannot guarantee that weeds will never develop in your lawn. Once a weed is established, there are four ways to eliminate it:
- Wait for it to die of old age
- Crowd it out with a thick lawn
- Mechanically remove it by hoeing/hand pulling
- Treat it with a post-emergent weed control product (part of your GreenUP Landscape Services program)
We know no two landscapes are alike. The experts at Massey Services will perform a free, detailed inspection of your landscape and irrigation system and build a customized program specific for your property. Contact us today for a free landscape inspection!
If you’ve driven on any interstate during the past few weeks, chances are your car came away with a few (or hundreds of) new hood ornaments. May and September in the Southeastern United States are notoriously known as “love bug season!”
While there’s not much that can be controlled about love bugs, Massey Services has a few fun facts we can share about these lovable pests:
- Love bugs are not native to Florida. They migrated slowly across the Gulf States from Central America and reached the Florida Panhandle in 1949.
- Female love bugs will fly up into swarms of male love bugs. When a lucky male unites with a female, their abdomens stay attached for up to two days, although mating only lasts about 12 hours. The male then dies and is dragged around by the female.
- When they are united, the male transfers nutrients to the female so she’ll produce healthy eggs. Soon after she mates and lays eggs – a mere 150-600 of them – she will die.
- Under laboratory conditions, females live for about 72 hours, whereas males survive for about 92 hours. In nature, the adults live long enough to mate, feed, disperse and deposit a batch of eggs, about three to four days.
- Love bugs can be seen almost every month of the year but their populations generally peak in May and September for a period of four to five weeks. When the bugs are gone, that just means all the adults have died, and it is a matter of months until the larvae developing in the ground finally mature into pupae and new adults emerge.
- The bugs are not the product of a botched experiment by the University of Florida. Urban myth suggests that the school created the love bugs to help solve a growing mosquito problem.
- Wind currents have lifted love bugs up as high as 1,500 feet in the air.
- Adult love bugs often feed on the nectar of flowering plants. Upon reaching maturity the love bug spends almost the entirety of its remaining life copulating with its mate, hence its numerous nicknames like the honeymoon fly, telephone bug and kissybug.
- While annoying, love bugs are actually beneficial as larvae because they help to decompose dead plant material. The larvae develop on decaying plant material and under cow manure.
- Love bugs don’t bite or sting, nor do they carry infectious diseases.
It doesn’t matter if your home is made of brick, block or stucco. Or even if it’s built on a concrete slab. The truth is, termites can get in to any home through tiny cracks and crevices less than 1/16 inches wide.
The best way to protect your home is by having a termite protection program that’s backed by a strong guarantee. In addition to the protection, there are also a few steps a homeowner can take that will help in preventing termites from invading your home:
- Repair any water leaks and moisture problems. Water damaged walls and leaks in roofs, attics, bathrooms and sink areas create favorable conditions for termites to flourish.
- Clean gutters and downspouts. Keep gutters free-flowing to avoid clogs that may eventually lead to water damage.
- Drain water away from exterior walls and the foundation. Make sure drain spouts and air conditioner drainage lines flow away from the home. Use splash blocks to prevent soil erosion around the foundation.
- Keep shrubs, trees and wood much away from the foundation. Shrubs, trees and mulch provide shelter and moisture, which attract termites. Prune trees and shrubs away from exterior walls and make sure mulch is no closer than six inches from the foundation.
- Monitor irrigation systems. Ensure sprinklers are adjusted properly to spray away from the foundation and walls.
- Keep stucco and wood or vinyl siding above the finished soil level. Ensure there is at least a six-inch clearance; otherwise, termites gain easy access into your home.
Maintaining a healthy and beautiful landscape can be challenging, especially in the Southeast due to the drastic weather we experience throughout the year. Here are a few tips for homeowners to prepare our landscapes for the season ahead:
- Spring is the time to apply fertilizer to the turf and shrubs. Make sure to follow the label directions and remove any fertilizer debris from the driveway, sidewalks and roadways for the protection of our waterways.
- Provide a thin layer of mulch to shrub bed areas to aid in the prevention of new emerging weeds and to help retain soil moisture. Mulch should be applied to a thickness no greater than 3 inches.
- Inspect the irrigation system for proper and thorough coverage:
- Each irrigation head overlapping to another irrigation head
- Irrigation heads in all turf corners, such as the corner of the sidewalk and the driveway
- No mixing of spray and rotor zones; the water output of these heads are vastly different
- Make sure a rain shutoff device is installed and working properly.
- Inspect turf and shrubs for plant-damaging insects and disease
There are a variety of pests and weeds that can invade our landscapes, especially as the weather starts to warm up. For additional information or for a free landscape inspection, contact Massey Services today!
As we celebrate Earth Day today, some may ask the question – Can a pest, termite and landscape services company really be Green???
The fact is, Massey Services has been dedicated to providing environmentally responsible services for over 20 years – long before it became politically and socially in vogue. For example…
- We eliminated the indiscriminate spraying of pesticides in your home by creating Pest PREVENTION, an environmentally responsible alternative to traditional pest control.
- We pioneered termite pre-construction and post-construction treatment programs that save up to 400 gallons of water per treatment.
- Our landscape services include soil aeration (soil perforation) – one of the most envriomentally beneficial practices for a green, healthy landscape. Soil aeration increases oxygren in the soil which enhances deep root growth, maximizes water absorption and reduces fertilizer run off.
Massey Services has been recognized by the U.S Enviromental Protection Agency and Orange County as an environmental steward and has been an industry environmental leader for decades.
Green isn’t such a new idea.
At Massey Services, its part of our past… and our future.