A Few Things You May Not Know About Memorial Day

flags-292774_960_720This weekend many people will head to the beach or their favorite picnic location to celebrate the unofficial start of summer. For nearly 150 years, Americans have observed Memorial Day, a day to honor men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

Here are a few facts from History.com that you may not know about Memorial Day:

  • The practice of honoring those who have fallen in battle dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held annual days of remembrance for loved ones, decorating graves with flowers and holding festivals in their honor.
  • In May 1868, General John A. Logan, the commander-in-chief of the Union veterans’ group known as the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a decree that May 30 should become a nationwide day of commemoration for the more than 620,000 soldiers killed in the recently ended Civil War.
  • Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was known by that name for more than a century.
  • Memorial Day didn’t become a federal holiday until 1971.
  • Veterans groups worry that more Americans associate the holiday with the first long weekend of summer instead of its intended purpose of honoring the nation’s war dead and continue to lobby for a return to the May 30 observance.
  • In 1966, 100 years after the town of Waterloo, New York, shuttered its businesses and took to the streets for the first of many continuous, community-wide celebrations, President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation naming the tiny upstate village the “official” birthplace of Memorial Day.
  • The American flag should be hung at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day, then raised to the top of the staff.
  • Since 2000 when the U.S. Congress passed legislation, all Americans have been encouraged to pause for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time.

Massey Services hopes all of you enjoy time with family and friends during the long weekend.

Tips to Prevent Lyme Disease

prevent Lyme diseaseMay is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Lyme disease is an acute inflammatory disease caused by the bite of a tick infected with the bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme Disease Awareness Month is a campaign which promotes tips to prevent Lyme disease.

In the United States, the deer tick or western black-legged tick and lone star tick are known or suspected transmitters of Lyme disease (not the common brown dog tick that is so common indoors on dogs).

The deer tick spreads the disease in the north central and eastern parts of the United States. The western black legged tick spreads Lyme disease on the west (Pacific) coast. Both species of ticks are found in wooded areas. Only a very small percentage of deer tick bites in Florida spread Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is a multi-stage infectious disease that can be debilitating if left undiagnosed or untreated; and diagnosing the disease is difficult. The symptoms are often similar to other diseases and the diagnostic tests are not reliable. The circular, outward growing rash around the bite helps identify Lyme disease. However, about 15% of the cases are asymptomatic, meaning that these patients with Lyme never develop the symptoms.

Early symptoms may include:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Joint aches
  • Stiff neck
  • Bulls-eye rash, called erythema migrans, develops within three days to a couple of weeks after the bite in 60-80 percent of those infected.

Chronic, Late-Stage Manifestations of Lyme disease

  • Without early treatment, Lyme disease can become chronic with potentially devastating consequences.
  • Late-stage complications occur within months to years after infection.
  • Disease can spread to several organs.
  • Late-stage complications may include chronic joint disease which usually appears as arthritis, with pain and swelling in one or two joints, memory impairment, irritability, spinal pain and numbness, tingling in the hands and feet, eye complications such as inflammation of the main nerve to the eye and inner lining and occasionally heart abnormalities.
  • Chronic infection may require extended treatment or hospitalization

People who spend time outdoors during the peak season, May through August, have a higher risk of exposure. Finding ticks crawling on one’s clothing or skin after a venture into the woods is quite common in most areas.

Massey Services Offers These Helpful Tips If You Spend Time Outdoors

  • Clothe yourself protectively. Wear long-sleeved shirts; keep shirts tucked in; wear long pants and keep them tucked into socks.
  • White or light clothing is recommended as it is easier to spot any ticks.
  • Do not place soiled clothing on your bed or ticks may transfer to bedding.
  • Use repellents per their label directions.
  • Keep your property as clean as possible of leaf litter and tall grasses.
  • Keep bird feeders away from the house and clean underneath.
  • Check your pets regularly for ticks.

What Do You Do If A Tick Bites You?

  • Remember, not all ticks carry Lyme disease.
  • To remove a tick, grab it as close to the skin as possible with tweezers and gently pull outward.
  • Do not grab the tick with your fingers, cover it with nail polish, or try to heat or smother it, or it can cause the tick to inject the bacteria.
  • Carrying a tick removal kit is advised as they can be used to effectively remove ticks from the body reducing the risk of disease transmission. Often the disease is transmitted when a tick is not removed properly.
  • The body breaks away with the head still buried in the skin; this causes the tick to regurgitate its contents into the person’s body.
  • “Do It Yourself” tick kits should include an insect repellent, a pair of fine tweezers, an antiseptic and small vial.
  • If the mouthparts remain in the skin, do not worry, the tick cannot pass the bacteria if only the mouthparts remain.
  • In most cases, ticks must remain attached for 36 hours to pass the bacteria. Check yourself thoroughly, regularly and promptly to prevent infection.

If you have removed ticks from your body and start noticing the symptoms of the disease, see a doctor!


Milder Winter Means More Spring Pests

mosquito-abatementA unpleasant consequence of a milder winter is earlier and heavier pest activity in the spring. In colder winters, many pests will die due to freezing weather. In warmer winters, the majority of pest colonies survive, and as soon as the warm spring weather arrives, pest colonies will begin to thrive.

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) releases a bi-annual Bug Barometer, forecasting what to expect from pest populations in regions across the country.

In the Southeast, a rainier winter created strong breeding grounds for mosquitoes that will continue to thrive. In addition, termite swarms and ants will emerge in full force during the hottest periods of spring and summer.

NPMA offers the following tips for homeowners:

  • Maintain a one-inch gap between soil and wood portions of a building.
  • Keep mulch at least 15-inches from the foundation.
  • Seal cracks and small openings along the bottom of the house.
  • Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water.
  • Keep tree branches and other plants trimmed back from the house.
  • Keep indoor and outdoor trash containers clean and sealed.
  • Screen windows and doors.

Massey Services offers additional homeowner tips for preventing pests around your home.

Massey’s Pest Prevention program will identify and eliminate the avenues and other unseen entry points pests use to gain access to your home.  Contact us today for a free pest inspection!

Tips for Planting Bee-Friendly Gardens

European_honey_bee_extracts_nectarExperts say that the domestic honey bee population has declined nearly 50 percent in the last 50 years. Wild honey bees, bumble bees and other pollinators have also experienced losses. While the causes have been debated, lack of available nectar and pollen sources due to urbanization has been identified as a significant factor.

Bees and other pollinators play an essential role in the nation’s food supply. Honey bees are responsible for pollinating fruits, nuts and vegetables that feed humans, birds and other wildlife. It is estimated that bees contribute to the production of a third of the food we eat. They also add to the diversity of flowering plants we enjoy around our homes and gardens.

Here are a few tips for creating a pollinator-friendly habitat in your garden:

  • Plant flowers that are native to where you live.
  • Combine plants that will bloom from early spring to fall (even in winter in milder climates) to provide a consistent food source.
  • Include diverse colors, fragrances and shapes. Bees are attracted to blue, purple, white and yellow. Butterflies love red and purple blooms.
  • Plant in full sun.
  • Plant generously. Large groupings of flowers are more attractive than single plants.
  • Plant non-hybrid flowers. (Hybrids may have less fragrance, nectar or pollen.)
  • Provide food and water.
  • Follow label instructions on pesticides and avoid spraying when pollinators are active.

*Tips developed by author and garden expert Lance Walheim, whose books include Citrus and The Natural Rose Gardener among others. Lance is currently the garden expert for Bayer Advanced™ lawn and garden products.

Pest Management Companies Prepare for Zika

CDC-Gathany-Aedes-albopictus-1The Orlando Sentinel recently ran a front-page article about Massey Services and other pest management companies preparing for an increase in demand for mosquito abatement services this year because of fears related to the Zika virus, which can lead to birth defects in pregnant women.

Reporter Paul Brinkmann noted that the mosquito-borne illness has arrived in the United States just in time for mosquito season, which begins when the heavier rains start in May or June.

The article points out that the 100 Zika cases in Florida have been attributed to travelers who contracted the virus in other countries.

Massey Services’ Vice President for Quality Assurance Adam Jones, who was interviewed for the article, said, “We’re getting a significant increase in customer leads inquiring about mosquito-abatement services on their property, around the U.S.”

According to Jones, pest management companies could play a major role if there were an outbreak. State mosquito-control districts have limited staff and resources which could be overwhelmed if emergency funding was approved. “The state districts don’t have the manpower; we have the army of people,” Jones said.

Jones said that public understanding of the Zika virus is incomplete. The threat of Zika is real, but only as real as historic mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, chikungunya or Dengue fever.

Massey’s mosquito abatement program targets mosquitos where they live and breed – dense vegetation, under patio decks and other areas with poor air circulation.

Contact Massey Services for a free inspection and learn about our mosquito abatement treatment options.

Happy Mother’s Day

tulips-in-basket-mother-day-cardIf you’re still struggling to find the perfect gift for Mother’s Day, Forbes contributor Ky Trang Ho has published a list of the 10 Best Mother’s Day Gifts From Shark Tank. Personally, I’m hoping it’s not too late to order flowers, and I’ll make an effort to set aside a little extra time for our regular phone visit across the miles. As a mother of two grown sons, I’m most grateful for a few hours of their time.

According to History.com, Mother’s Day is observed in different forms throughout the world. Our American observance was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914.

After her mother’s death in 1905, Jarvis wanted to honor the sacrifices mothers made for their children. She managed to get backing from a Philadelphia department store owner named John Wanamaker, and in 1908, she organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration in a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia.

After the success of the first celebration, she set out to have the holiday added to the national calendar arguing that American holidays were biased toward male achievements. She launched a massive letter writing campaign to newspapers and politicians. By 1912, many states and towns had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday, and in 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a measure to establish the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Jarvis, who remained unmarried and childless her entire life, originally conceived of a day of personal celebration between mothers and their families, but once it became a national holiday, merchants capitalized on its popularity. Jarvis became upset with the commercializing of the holiday and actually attempted to remove the holiday from our calendars during the latter part of her life.

Despite her efforts, Mother’s Day continues to be celebrated with gifts and flowers, and it has become one of the biggest holidays for consumer spending. So whether you’re shopping for a gift or planning the ultimate gift of time spent together, Massey Services wishes you a very happy Mother’s Day.

Massey Services Offers Tips To Avoid Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

CDC-Gathany-Aedes-albopictus-1Mosquitoes, more specifically the mosquito-borne Zika virus disease, have been in the news a lot lately. Mosquitoes have been around for millions of years and are one of the most irritating pests. Massey Services, the nation’s fifth largest pest prevention company, offers these tips to lessen the bites and keep you protected from mosquito-borne illnesses.

  • Focus mosquito abatement efforts outside the home; prevent mosquitoes from entering by having tightly closed doors as well as windows and screens that are properly fitted
  • Mosquito larvae can develop and become adults in a matter of days; drain standing water often from the places it collects around your home (bird bath, unfiltered pools) to eliminate breeding habitats
  • If there are excessive amounts of water outside your home, request professional help to apply a larvicide to reduce the mosquito population
  • Clear leaves and debris from gutters and drains to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water.
  • Avoid working or playing outdoors at dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are most active. If you must be outside at these times, wear long sleeves and long pants.
  • Mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing; use insect repellent with DEET, applying it not only to skin but clothing, as well.

“Mosquito abatement is a process that targets mosquitoes where they live and breed, such as uncontrollable standing water,” said Massey Services Vice President of Quality Assurance Adam Jones. “It provides a barrier of protection around your home that is inspected and treated monthly to minimize mosquito populations all year.”

There are 13 species of mosquitoes which are capable of transmitting diseases. A professional pest management company can provide proper control and elimination services through a customized mosquito abatement program.

Contact Massey Services for a free inspection and learn about our mosquito abatement treatment options.

Massey Services Shatters “Mad In April” Records!

BliltzMassey Services conducted its annual company-wide “MAD (Making a Difference) in APRIL” sales event this month, generating over 12,000 new customers for more than $6.2 million in sales. The two-day event was held in all states where Massey Services is located and included all 1,900 team members. For 16 consecutive years, Massey Services has held the event in April and each year the company has significantly exceeded expectations.

“Our ‘MAD in APRIL’ event is an integral part of our organization,” said Tony Massey, President. “Each year all of our team members, regardless of their role in the company, travel to our Service Centers to participate in the event. They work in teams to meet with our customers and prospective customers.”

The annual event, which builds comradery and team work, also provides friendly competition between Regional Management, Service Centers and our corporate team. Additionally, corporate team members have an opportunity to learn more about customers and field operations.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our team members,” said Ed Dougherty, Executive VP and COO. “This experience provides our corporate team with an excellent learning opportunity of how our Operations team functions and provides our field team members the chance to learn more about our corporate office. All of our team members did an outstanding job during the event.”

Dryer Weather Causes Brown Spots in Lawns

drought grassWhile some parts of the country are dealing with excess rainfall, other regions have been especially dry. The dryer weather can make the slightest irrigation deficiencies or root system deficiencies show up as wilted, browning areas of turf.

For the next month or two, dry soil is a likely cause of brown spots in turf; dry soil is not the only potential cause, but it is a highly likely cause.

Determining if dry soil is the cause of brown areas of turf can be simple, but is commonly overlooked. Landscape professionals will dig through the turf and to determine if the soil is dry in the root zone area. They will also look for other potential causes, such as chinch bugs or grubs. Then, they will check the irrigation system to determine if there is a deficiency.

The only soil moisture that benefits a plant is the soil moisture in the root zone area. Moisture below the root zone does not benefit the plant. If the root system is short, watering will need to be done more frequently. Many factors can inhibit good root growth. It could be a problem for the entire lawn or just localized areas. If the soil moisture in the root zone area is depleted, wilting and brown spots will be the result. With dryer weather, localized dry spots can occur even with the best of irrigation systems, and spot watering may be needed.

Understanding the moisture needs of your lawn:

  • Plant use of water is called transpiration. The vaporization of water from the soil is called evaporation. The combination of the two (evaporation and transpiration) is what causes moisture in the soil in the root area to be used. The combination of transpiration and evaporation is called evapotranspiration and is often referred to as “ET”. At this time of year (warm dry spring and in an open sunny area), it is common for ET to deplete about 0.15 to 0.2 inches of water from the soil per day.
  • Sandy soil will typically hold ½ inch of water in 6 inches of soil. If the plant’s root system is 6 inches long, the plant has access to ½ inch of water. If the plant’s root system is 3 inches long, it only has access to about ¼ inch of water.
  • Turf begins to wilt when ½ of the plant available water is depleted.

So, if “ET” is 0.15 inches per day and the plant has a root system 6 inches deep, ½ of the plant available water (0.25 inches) will be depleted in just under 2 days (0.25 divided by 0.15 = 1.67). With the same amount of soil moisture and the same “ET” rate, a plant with a root system depth of only 3 inches would deplete the plant available water in less than one day.

Having a good understanding of this rather complex issue is important to keeping your lawn healthy and green. For additional information or for a free landscape inspection, contact Massey Services today!

Stu Lewis Promoted To Sales Director

Stu LewisTony Massey, president of Massey Services, is proud to announce that Stu Lewis has been promoted to the position of Sales Director.

Lewis joined Massey Services as a consultant assisting PrevenTech Account Managers and General Managers with sales presentation techniques. He also helped implement a highly effective and successful sales training module at Massey University, a company training program for team members. Lewis began his career with Massey Services in 2015 as a Sales Inspector and was later promoted to a Sales Manager at Massey service centers in Leesburg and the Villages.

“Stu is a highly experienced and knowledgeable sales management professional,” said Tony Massey. “He has delivered outstanding guidance to our sales team and provided them the necessary tools to be successful and contribute to our overall growth plans.”

In his role as Sales Director, Lewis will be responsible for both Massey’s commercial and residential sales business.

Lewis is a past member of the Kiwanis and Rotary clubs and has volunteered with a variety of charities, including the Chattanooga Food Bank, Juvenile Diabetes Association and Chattanooga Alzheimer’s Association.

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