Heat and Summer Rain Bring Cockroaches

11american_enlThe hot summer weather has arrived and so have the bugs! This includes cockroaches, and according to the Smithsonian, there are 4,500 different species of cockroaches in the world! Fortunately, we don’t find all of them in the United States! Where we live, there are seven species that are most common.

  • American Cockroach:  This group is commonly referred to as “Palmetto Bugs” and is the largest of the roaches infesting homes.  They have reddish-brown wings and are good flyers. They often invade from sewer systems and heavily mulched areas.  They can be found nearly anywhere in a home and can contaminate food, carry disease, damage book bindings, fabrics and wallpaper.
  • German Cockroach:  This roach has two dark stripes running from front to back on its body. They can be found throughout the world, thriving wherever man lives, eating the same foods and sharing the same habitats.   Populations build rapidly from egg capsules being produced about every 20-25 days.  Each capsule contains about 35 eggs, with the young maturing in about 100 days.  German roaches contaminate food, leave stains, create foul odors and carry diseased organisms.
  • Asian Cockroach:  These roaches are nearly identical in appearance to German roaches. Adults are light brown to tan in color and possess two dark stripes on the top rear portion of the head.  They are strong flyers and prefer to live outdoors.  They can be found in places such as horse trailers containing hay, strawberry flats, mulch and ornamental plants.
  • Brown Banded Cockroach:  Easily recognized by alternating light and dark bands across its back and about the same size as the German roach, these roaches can be found in any structure. They can be harder to control because they tend to be scattered all over the structure.   They are often found high on walls, in picture frames, behind molding, near appliance motors, in light switches, closets and furniture.
  • Florida Woods Cockroach:  This roach is often called the “stinking cockroach” because of the foul smelling fluid it produces to protect itself from predators.  They are mainly found in North and Central Florida and are commonly found in leaf mulch, wood piles and under rotting logs.
  • Australian Cockroach:  These roaches are large and reddish to dark brown with yellow bars on the front edge of their forewing.  They are good flyers and enter homes through windows, doors, soffits and gables, especially where moisture problems exist.  They breed and live in moist, decaying vegetation outdoors.
  • Smoky Brown Cockroach:  This roach is uniform in color, typically brownish-black and very shiny. They are good flyers and are attracted to lights at night.  They can be found in warm, dark, moist areas such as tree holes, ivy, mulch, woodpiles and soffits/eaves of attics with moisture problems.  These pests have the reputation as being the most difficult to control because they are so active and have many habitat preferences.

If the rain and hot weather has driven these pests into your home, contact Massey Services for a free pest inspection today!

Happy Fourth of July from Massey Services

MSY_2016_4thJulyCardFireworks, flags, food and fun. Explosions of red, white and blue. The Fourth of July is one of our most celebratory holidays.

As we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, we thank the men and women who serve our country and protect our freedom. In keeping with our Massey Services’ holiday recipe tradition, we’re happy to share a fun treat for your Fourth of July celebration.

 

Star Pops

CRISPY STAR POPS

INGREDIENTS

8 cups miniature marshmallows
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
12 cups Rice Krispies
12 Popsicle sticks
1 cup white baking chips
1/2 teaspoon shortening
Red, white and blue sprinkles

 

DIRECTIONS:

In a Dutch oven, heat marshmallows and butter until melted. Remove from the heat; stir in cereal and mix well. Press into a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Cut with a 3-in. star-shaped cookie cutter. Insert a wooden popsicle stick into the side of each star; place on waxed paper. In a microwave, melt white chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Spread over stars. Decorate with sprinkles.

Yield: 15 pops.

Thank you for choosing Massey Services and best wishes for a safe and Happy Fourth of July!

Prevent Bed Bugs from Spoiling Your Summer Vacation

3686613741_3aa70644ba_mThe Fourth of July is traditionally the busiest time for summer travel. Experts are predicting that this year’s Independence Day holiday period will be the busiest in at least 16 years with 44 million travelers hitting the nation’s roads, airports, buses, trains or cruise ships between Thursday, June 30, and Monday, July 4. If your holiday plans include travel and hotel stays in unfamiliar surroundings, you may be concerned about bed bugs.

Not only can these pesky travel companions create havoc during your vacation, they also can become uninvited house guests when you return home. Massey Services offers a few quick and easy ways to conduct a bed bug inspection and protect yourselves from these pesky travel companions.

bedbugsWhat are bed bugs and what do they look like?

Bed bugs, a classic travel pest, are small parasitic insects that feed on human blood. Bed bugs are tiny, oval, brown and wingless insects approximately 1/4” to 3/8” long (5-9 mm). As their name implies, these bloodsuckers make their homes in beds, but also in couches, clothing and seats of airplanes and trains. They crawl out of crevices to feed on blood and these painless attacks generally go undetected until a skin rash appears.

What can I do to protect myself?

When checking into a hotel room or after guests have left your home, you can perform a simple bed bug inspection of the room.

  1. Pull pillows and sheets down about 1/3 of the way from the top of the bed and look for reddish-brown or black spots on the sheets near the bed’s headboard. You may not see the actual bugs themselves but they do leave a trail of spots.
  2. Look for spots on mattresses, pillows, headboards and walls behind headboards.
  3. Check the inside of dresser drawers for insects and black spots.
  4. Contact Guest Services immediately if you’ve found any signs of bed bugs during your inspection.

If I suspect I was in a room with bed bugs, what should I do when I return home?

  1. Isolate the items in your travel bags from other items in your home – the garage is a great place.
  2. Put clothing and other heat tolerant items into your dryer for a minimum of 20 minutes – the heat will eliminate bed bugs.
  3. After thoroughly heating the items, wash as normal.
  4. Check all luggage before storing it away. Vacuum out luggage and clean the exterior surface.

What if I have guests staying in my home?

When welcoming family and friends into your home who have been staying in hotels or on a cruise ship, be aware that bed bugs may have hitched a ride with them. After your guests leave, carefully inspect guest rooms for any signs of bed bugs. Wash all bed linens as soon as possible.

By following these easy steps, you should be able to prevent bed bugs from ruining your summer vacation.  if you do think you may have brought them home, contact Massey Services for a free bed bug inspection and treatment solutions.  Happy Traveling!

Facts and Fiction about Honey Bees

honey-bees-326337_960_720As we continue our observance of National Pollinator Week, we thought it would be fun to share some facts and fiction about honey bees.

Facts

Honey bees help keep our grocery shelves stocked with nutritious food. It’s estimated that honey bees pollinate one out of every three bites of food that we eat. Honey bees play an important role in pollinating many of our fruits, nuts and vegetables, which contribute to a healthy, nutritious diet.

The number of honey bee colonies is increasing. Honey bee colonies actually increased by 45 percent worldwide over the past 50 years. And in the past five years, the number of colonies in the U.S. and Canada has increased by 13 percent and 18 percent, respectively. Annual surveys conducted by the USDA show that the number of honey bee colonies has risen steadily over the past 10 years.

Honey bee colony health should not be taken for granted. Despite the growth in honey bee numbers, colonies are exposed to many factors such as parasites, diseases, inadequate nutrition or lack of available forage, adverse weather, pesticides and hive management practices that can affect their overall health.

Neonicotinoid insecticides do not impact colony health when used according to the label. Large-scale studies in Europe and North America show that poor bee health correlates well with parasites and diseases, but not with pesticides, including neonicotinoids.

A tiny parasite is one of the biggest threats to honey bee health today. In the late-1980s a parasite called the Varroa mite invaded North American. The Varroa mite is the “single most detrimental pest of honey bees,” according to the USDA. This parasite weakens bees and helps transmit diseases that can wipe out entire colonies. Beekeepers try to control the mite with insecticides, but effective control is difficult to achieve.

Farmers and beekeepers have worked together for decades. Farmers and beekeepers depend on each other where bees are needed to help pollinate crops. The farmer gets greater crop productivity and the beekeeper earns a fee for pollination services (and increases the colony’s honey production).

Beekeeping is big business. Modern beekeeping is principally aimed at crop pollination, rather than honey production. Commercial beekeepers manage hundreds or thousands of hives, often packing them on tractor-trailers and transporting them thousands of miles to help pollinate various crops throughout the season. Because this can be stressful for the colonies, it is important for beekeepers to ensure the bees are well-fed and kept free of pests and diseases.

Facts researched by Bayer CropScience.

Common Misconceptions

Here are some of the most common “Urban Bee Legends” according to the UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab:

All bees live in hives. Only 10% of the world’s 20,000 bee species are social, and only a small percentage of these construct hives.

All bees make honey. Only honey bees make enough honey to harvest, and native bees make no honey at all.

Honey is made from pollen. Honey is regurgitated nectar collected by worker honey bees. The nectar, which is 60-80% water, is mixed with enzymes inside the worker bee’s abdomen. Back at the hive, it is regurgitated and fanned with the workers’ wings until it becomes thick, syrupy honey. It is stored in comb cells sealed with wax cappings for use during the long winter months.

Bees die after they sting. Only honey bees die after stinging. Native solitary bees do not die after stinging, however, without a colony to defend, they are much less likely to utilize this defense mechanism.

Wasps are bees. Although they come from the same order of insects, wasps are not bees! Bees are vegetarians, intent on collecting pollen and nectar for their broods, while wasps are carnivorous. The yellow jacket, notorious for raiding picnics, is a wasp that has acquired the misleading name of “meat bee,” which adds to the confusion.

Small bees are baby bees that eventually grow into large bees. Bees belong to the order Hymenoptera, which undergo complete metamorphosis—a full reorganization of tissues between each life stage.

 

 

It’s National Pollinator Week

European_honey_bee_extracts_nectarInitiated and managed by the Pollinator Partnership, National Pollinator Week, June 20-26, celebrates the pollinators that are vital to our ecosystem. Pollinators — including bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles — contribute to the growth of fruit, vegetables and many nuts, as well as flowering plants.

The decline of domesticated honey bee colonies has been a hot topic over the past several years. Some experts 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.

Potential causes have been debated and include: bee-keeping practices, diseases, use of certain pesticides and lack of nutritionally diverse nectar and pollen sources due to urbanization and agricultural monocultures.

Nine years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the issue of declining pollinator populations.

Here are a few fast facts from Pollinator.org:

  • About 75 percent of all flowering plant species need the help of animals to move their heavy pollen grains from plant to plant for fertilization.
  • Most pollinators (about 200,000 species) are beneficial insects such as flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths, and bees.
  • About 1,000 of all pollinators are vertebrates such as birds, bats and small mammals.
  • An estimated 1/3 of all foods and beverages is delivered by pollinators.
  • In the U.S., pollination produces nearly $20 billion worth of products annually.

Treehugger.com offers four ways to participate in National Pollinator Week:

Massey Services is aware and alert to the concerns of pollinator health. Our service programs and product selections are designed to be environmentally responsible while being as effective as possible. Our landscape specialists and pest technicians have been trained to use alternate control measures or to delay treatment when plants are in bloom and pollinators are present.

In addition, we encourage the planting of “bee-friendly” gardens that will provide additional food sources and help keep bee populations healthy.

Avoid Mosquitoes During the Summer Rainy Season

CDC-Gathany-Aedes-albopictus-1Mosquitoes and the diseases they carry continue to be in the news. Mosquitoes have been around for millions of years and are one of the most irritating pests. Now that the summer rainy season is here, it’s more important than ever to take steps to avoid mosquitoes when you’re outside and to keep their populations down around your home. Massey Services offers these tips to lessen the bites and keep you protected from mosquito-borne illnesses.

  • Focus mosquito control efforts outside the home. Keep mosquitoes out of your home by having tightly closed doors as well as windows and screens that are properly fitted.
  • Drain standing water from the places it collects around your home (bird baths, unfiltered pools) to eliminate breeding habitats. (Drain often; mosquito larvae can develop and become adults in a matter of days.)
  • 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.
  • Use insect repellent with DEET, applying it not only to skin but to clothing, as well. (Mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing.)
  • If there is an excessive amount of water outside your home, request professional help to apply a larvicide to reduce the mosquito population.

The CDC provides additional advice on protecting yourself and your family from mosquitoes and the diseases they spread.

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

During the month of June 2016, Massey Services is offering a 10% discount on Mosquito Abatement. Contact Massey Services for a free inspection and learn about our mosquito abatement treatment options.

Termite Threat to Our Biggest Investment

For most of us, our homes are the largest financial investment we’ll ever make. Most people don’t realize the termite threat to our biggest investment. In fact, termites cause more damage to homes in the United States than tornadoes, fires and earthquakes combined – over $5 billion annually.

Massey - Closeup - TermiteLandTermites are silent and very difficult to detect. They can eat on the wood in your home for years before you ever know you have a problem. And each year, unfortunate homeowners fork out thousands of dollars to repair termite damage. If you plan to renovate your bathroom and discover termite damage, it will cost you anywhere between $3,500 and $8,000 to make necessary repairs.

And unfortunately, most homeowners’ insurance does not cover the repair costs of any damage caused by termites.

Termites are active all year round. They get in through plumbing or other openings as well as tiny cracks and crevices about 1/64 of an inch. And it doesn’t matter if your home is made of brick, block or stucco, or even built on a concrete slab. Preventive treatment is critical and is recommended because every home is at risk.

Here are several tips to help you identify termite activity in your home:

  • Termite Wings: Often present after a swarm, wings are typically found in small piles near window ledges or other light sources.
  • Mud Tubes: Made of particles of soil, wood and debris, these allow subterranean termites to reach food sources above ground level.
  • Damaged Wood: This can include wood that sounds “hollow” when it is tapped with the handle of a screwdriver or wood that is soft when probed with a sharp object.
  • Small Holes or Ripples in Drywall: When termites damage wood within your home, they often create tiny holes in the drywall. Extensive damage to the wood can make the drywall look rippled.
  • Pellets: Drywood termites excrete pellets that are kicked out of holes. These pellets often accumulate in piles on window sills, baseboards and under wooden objects.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to protect your home from termites. The financial impact can be devastating.

Contact Massey Services for a free, thorough inspection of your home and learn more about your choices for termite protection.

Tami Swanson Promoted to Senior Director of Multi-Family Division

Tami SwansonTony Massey, President of Massey Services, is pleased to announce that Tami Swanson has been promoted to Senior Director, Multi-Family Division. In her new role, she will continue to lead the multi-family division, developing initiatives to further expand its market penetration and enhancing the division’s customer service, retention and service offerings.

Since joining the company in 2001, she has been responsible for developing the company’s multi-family business, which has grown to $15 million. Prior to Swanson’s promotion, she served as the company’s Director of Corporate Accounts. Over the past year, Swanson managed three of the top six sales performers, who were recognized at Massey’s annual award banquet in 2016.

“During her 15 years with Massey Services, Tami has been the driving force behind the establishment of our Multi-Family Division, growing its sales revenue year-over-year,” said President Tony Massey. “She is deeply involved in the community and the multi-family industry, and she brings a level of excitement to her team that will continue to fuel the growth of this division.”

An Orlando native, Swanson is a National Apartment Association (NAA) Leadership Lyceum graduate and is active on Apartment Associations in three states: Florida, Georgia and Texas. In addition, she is on the Legislative Committee for the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando and participates in a variety of charities, including United Way, Junior Achievement, American Heart Association, Toys for Tots and many others.

Avoiding the Pests Flood Waters Leave Behind

FEMA_-_37590_-_Community_Flooding_in_FloridaSeveral regions have been hit by heavy rains that left behind flooded homes and businesses. Now that the waters have receded, people will be dealing with the cleanup efforts. Pests that sought refuge from the flood waters add a safety concern to the process. Scorpions, snakes – venomous and non-venomous – mice, rats and ants, sought higher ground from the encroaching waters. Now that they’ve found nice dry places that likely have access to food and water, they won’t be leaving in a hurry.

Massey Services, a 31-year professional pest prevention company, offers these tips to help you take back your home or business from these flood refugees.

  • Be alert for wildlife that may have been displaced by the floodwaters. If you suspect pests have made a home for themselves in your home’s crawl space or attic call a professional pest prevention expert to inspect your home. They have the proper safety equipment should they encounter snakes, scorpions and other biting or stinging pests.
  • Chemical snake repellents may not be completely effective. Engage a professional snake handler to trap and remove any snakes you may find.
  • Glue traps and snap traps can work for a few small mice, but larger rodents may require professional-grade traps for removal.
  • Rodents have the potential to carry at least 10 different kinds of diseases, including salmonella, rat-bite fever, bubonic plague and bacterial food poisoning, all of which can cause severe illness and even death. Once they have been removed from the home or business, eliminate entry points to keep them from returning
  • Lock up any food sources in tight containers and eliminate any access to water/moisture.
  • Pests don’t care where their water comes from but they do need to drink water to survive. Drain all containers that may hold standing water, clean out drain pipes and make certain faucets don’t leak.
  • Fire ants are known to cluster on top of flood waters. Once waters recede, the ants tend to wander around for some time until they establish another ground colony.

If you need assistance removing pests after a flood, please contact Massey Services for a free inspection.

MASSEY SERVICES CUSTOMERS:  Please let us know if we can be of assistance in any way.

It’s Bed Bug Awareness Week

bedbugsAs summer travel season approaches, the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), which serves as the public outreach arm of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), is working to spread public awareness about bed bugs during Bed Bug Awareness Week, June 5-11, 2016. Bed Bug Awareness Week is an annual designation recognized by Chase’s Calendar of Events and is celebrated throughout the pest management industry. In conjunction with PPMA efforts to educate consumers about bed bugs and how to best protect themselves from these transient pests, Massey Services offers the following information:

What are bed bugs and what do they look like?

Bed bugs, a classic travel pest, are small parasitic insects that feed on human blood. Bed bugs are tiny, oval, brown and wingless insects approximately 1/4” to 3/8” long (5-9 mm). As their name implies, these bloodsuckers make their homes in beds, but also in couches, clothing and seats of airplanes and trains. They crawl out of crevices to feed on blood and these painless attacks generally go undetected until a skin rash appears.

What can I do to protect myself?

When checking into a hotel room or after visiting guests have left your home, you can perform a simple bed bug inspection of the room.

  1. Pull pillows and sheets down about 1/3 of the way from the top of the bed and look for reddish-brown or black spots on the sheets near the bed’s headboard. You may not see the actual bugs themselves but they do leave a trail of spots.
  2. Look for spots on mattresses, pillows, headboards and walls behind headboards.
  3. Check the inside of dresser drawers for insects and black spots.
  4. Contact Guest Services immediately if you’ve found any signs of bed bugs during your inspection.

If I suspect I was in a room with bed bugs, what should I do when I return home?

  1. Isolate the items in your travel bags from other items in your home – the garage is a great place.
  2. Put clothing and other heat tolerant items into your dryer for a minimum of 20 minutes – the heat will eliminate bed bugs.
  3. After thoroughly heating the items, wash as normal.
  4. Check all luggage before storing it away. Vacuum out luggage and clean the exterior surface.

What if I have guests staying in my home?

When welcoming family and friends into your home who have been staying in hotels or on a cruise ship, be aware that bed bugs may have hitched a ride with them. After your guests leave, carefully inspect guest rooms for any signs of bed bugs. Wash all bed linens as soon as possible.

If you suspect bed bugs in your home, contact Massey Services for a free bed bug inspection and treatment solutions.

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