Pest Prevention vs. Pest Control – There is a BIG Difference!

The development of our Pest Prevention program proves our dedication to providing the best service and the best results, while minimizing our impact on the environment. That dedication has consistently driven us to find new and better ways to serve our customers better. In the early 1990’s, Massey Services introduced this unheard-of new program, a concept that shattered the paradigm of ordinary pest control.

pest prevention

So what exactly is the difference?

Pest control involves the indiscriminate application of pesticides in and around your home, whether needed or not, to control and eliminate pests.

Pest PREVENTION is a customized environmental management program that focuses on eliminating the conditions, avenues and sources conducive to pest infestation in and around a home.

How a Pest Infestation Begins – Focus Points of Pest Prevention

Conditions:  Pest infestations start outside your home in conditions where they can live and breed, such as unsanitary areas around garbage cans, standing water and wood stored near your home’s foundation.

Avenues:  Pests use ready-made pathways to get inside your home, such as unsealed cracks and crevices in walls and the foundation, limbs of trees and shrubs touching the roof and breaks in caulking or weather stripping around windows and doors.

Sources:  Pests breed near areas that provide a food supply, such as mulch beds, accumulated leaves and clogged drain gutters.

By eliminating the conditions, avenues and sources around your home, we prevent pests from getting inside your home in the first place!  Contact us today to schedule a free pest inspection!

 

Are Those Circles in My Lawn Brown Patch Fungus?

brown patch fungusIs your lawn dotted with large yellow or brown circles? A fungus in your lawn’s soil might be the reason for these spots. Brown patch fungus is common in the fall, winter and spring and the beauty of a lawn can be quickly destroyed by the fungus. So as the temperatures begin to change this fall, your lawn is changing too.

Brown patch fungus thrives in cool temperatures and high moisture, and may lie dormant in the summer months before making its appearance. Shaded areas that receive and hold water are most at risk.

If brown patch fungus goes untreated, it can cause major damage to your lawn by attacking the lower portions of the plant and thinning large areas of turf. When turf thins due to brown patch fungus, weeds that flourish in cooler temperatures and high moisture will take advantage of the empty space and fill it in.

How to Identify Brown Patch Fungus In Your Yard:

  • Circular patches of damaged turf that may be several feet in diameter
  • Turf changing from green to yellow, or even orange or purple
  • Blades of grass that are rotten and slide out easily when pulled

Prevention and Treatment Tips:

  • Prompt responsive treatment is the best way to keep brown patch fungus at bay.
  • Irrigate grass only when needed and to a depth of 4 to 6 inches (generally 1/2 inch of irrigation per watering event and no more than 1 inch of irrigation or rainfall per week), but do not subject the lawn to drought conditions. Watering in the morning, ending by sunrise is best since the grass blades have plenty of time to dry during the day.
  • Avoid spreading the disease to other areas. Remove clippings if brown patch fungus is present and avoid walking through the patches to prevent spread to other areas.
  • Mow your lawn at the highest recommended height for your grass type. Different types of turf have different recommendations for mowing height. Standard varieties of St. Augustine should be mowed at 3.5 to 4 inches. Seville is a dwarf variety of St. Augustine and should be mowed at 3 inches. Empire Zoysia should be mowed at 2.5 inches. Bahiagrass should be mowed at 4 inches.
  • Have the soil pH tested and treat according to test recommendations.

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

Training Thursday: Protecting Pollinators

bee-friendly gardens help in protecting pollinatorsMassey Services is pleased to support the health of bees in the communities we serve. 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. Massey Services has taken steps to develop service protocols and share important information with our customers to aid in protecting pollinators.

Why have pollinators experienced losses? Potential causes have been debated and include:

  • Bee-keeping practices
  • Diseases
  • Use of certain pesticides
  • Lack of available nectar and pollen sources due to urbanization.

Why is protecting pollinators important?

  • Pollinators are important because every fruit, vegetable or nut we eat comes from a flower.
  • Bees account for one third of the food we eat.
  • They also contribute to the diversity of flowering plants we enjoy around our homes and gardens.

What steps does Massey Services take in protecting pollinators?

Our landscape specialists and pest technicians have been trained to:Massey Services GreenUP specialist

  • Recognize the importance of pollinators on our environment.
  • Use alternate control measures or to delay treatment when plants are in bloom and pollinators are present.
  • Avoid the application of pest control materials when pollinators are foraging and plants are currently in bloom.

What can you do to protect pollinators?

Consider planting a bee-friendly garden. Here are a few tips for planting wildflowers that provide natural habitats for foraging pollinators:

  • For mild-winter areas: You can plant almost anytime,
    except during your hottest season.
  • In Florida, fall is best.
  • In cooler climates: Plant after the last frost.
  • Seeds can be planted in a pot or directly into the ground.
  • Plant in an area that receives full sunlight.
  • Loosen soil and scatter seeds generously.
  • Rake lightly to cover seeds.
  • Keep seeds moist. They may need to be watered
    more than once a day in warm conditions.
  • Seeds should germinate within two to three weeks.

Cooler Weather Brings Unwanted Attic Guests

rodent_01roofrat_enlAn unwelcome consequence of the change of seasons is an increase in rats, mice and other animals finding their way into our attics. Adam Jones, vice president of quality assurance at Massey Services, recently shared his expert recommendations for keeping these unwelcome guests out of our homes with the readers of Pest Control Technology magazine.

Massey Services recommends a comprehensive rodent control program that incorporates sanitation, exclusion, repellents, traps and baiting. “Taking one action without the others may allow rodent problems to persist,” Jones says.

Homeowners can apply many of these strategies in their own efforts to keep rodents out of their homes.

Sanitation. Proper sanitation is the first step. Animals need food, water and shelter. Eliminate debris such as piles of unused lumber or trash to reduce potential shelter. Remove fruit that falls from trees in your yard and keep lids on trash cans. Store pet food and seeds in rodent-proof containers.

Exclusion. Rodents can squeeze through any opening their heads can fit through. For mice that can be an opening as small as ¼ inch. Conduct inspections for possible access points, focusing around wires, conduits and pipes, chimney and plumbing stacks. Also inspect soffits, eaves, attic and crawlspace vents for openings, and check your doors for worn or missing door sweeps. Seal small access points with rodent proof materials such as copper mesh, ¼-inch hardware cloth, 24-gauge metal or cement.

Repellents. Place gel repellents made with plant and pepper oils in and around access points. If you have a heavily pitched roof or a crawlspace with large open areas, consider using strobe lights to drive animals out of the space. The light should be placed in an area that allows for maximum coverage.

Traps & Baiting. Use snap traps or sticky traps baited with seeds, fruit and other foods that attract pests. Secure the traps so that the pest cannot move it. Repeater traps can also be used. It’s important to follow up once traps are placed. Dead rats or mice must be removed before decay begins. This helps avoid odor and staining and prevents the attraction of other pests, such as flies and beetles. Note: Rodenticides should never be used in the attic.

For more information on preventing rats and mice from entering your home, contact Massey Services for a free, detailed inspection and written analysis.

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.

termite threat to our biggest investmentTermites 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.

Beneficial Bugs for our Gardens

Pests can be very annoying but at the same time, some of them can be very beneficial for us.

There are a variety of bugs that can particularly be good for a healthy garden. These beneficial bugs actually keep destructive bugs away from your fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs.

Beneficial bugs are categorized into three groups:

Predators

beneficial bugs

The praying mantis (mantids) is one of your garden’s best friends.  These bugs only eat other insects including many that may attack plants in your garden.  In addition to mantids, spiders and centipedes also feast on garden insects.  Mantids will catch and eat flies as soon as they land on a plant.  Spiders simply wait until files, moths and other flying insects get caught in their webs before they begin snacking.  Centipedes typically attack garden insects on or near the ground.

Parasites

beneficial bugs

Certain wasps and flies will fly up to and land on garden damaging caterpillars.  Once they land, they lay their eggs on the caterpillar and fly away.  These eggs will then hatch and the larvae begin to feed on the caterpillar until it dies.

Pollinators

beneficial bugs

Honeybees are the primary pollinators in our crops and gardens but there are a number of other bees, wasps, flies, beetles and butterflies that also like to feed on nectar or pollen.  When they feed they spread pollen from male flowers to female flowers and as a result, provide a wide variety of food that we are able to enjoy.

Attracting Beneficial Bugs

beneficial bugsA number of different perennials, including pollen and nectar-producing plants such as
fennel, daisies, dill, clover, cabbage, sunflowers, goldenrod, catnip and yarrow can be planted to attract beneficial insects and pollinators.  Having a variety of these plants helps to maintain a ready source of pollinators to aid in pollinating any fruit that you may be growing.

Rodents and Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

Rodents and Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome are a duo that no one should ever encounter. According to Human Diseases and Conditions, the Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is defined as a lung disease that causes respiratory distress and, in some cases, death. Hantavirus, the virus that causes the disease, is carried by rodents. Rodents and Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

While the disease is carried by rodents, it does not make them sick. They shed the hantavirus through their saliva, urine and droppings. Humans come in contact with the disease when they disturb the dried droppings (ex. by sweeping) and inhale the particles that are sent into the air. People can also contract the disease by touching an infected animal or dried droppings and then touching their nose or mouth.

The most common carriers of HPS are the deer mouse, cotton rats, rice rats and white footed mice. People of every age, sex and race can contract HPS but it is not contagious and cannot be spread to other humans.

Symptoms

Rodents and Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

Symptoms of HPS usually appear 1-5 weeks after a person has been exposed to the virus. It can be difficult to diagnose at first because many of the symptoms are similar to the flu (fever, tiredness and body aches). From 2-5 days after the first symptoms, a person infected starts coughing and experiences shortness of breath. The disease quickly becomes more severe, and people who do not receive immediate treatment may become extremely ill and go into shock, requiring intensive care in a hospital.

How Can You Protect Yourself Against Rodents and Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome?

The best way of avoiding contracting this disease is to eliminate sources of possible infection, which means avoiding woodpiles and other places where rodents live outdoors and keeping homes and workplaces free of mice and rats. Experts also recommend sealing off holes where rodents can enter and wearing a mask and gloves when cleaning areas with rodent droppings.

For more information on preventing rats and mice from entering your home, contact Massey Services for a free, detailed inspection and written analysis.

Healthy Turf is Nature’s Gift to the Urban Environment

Did you know in addition to being aesthetically pleasing and a great asset to your property value, a healthy turf that is actively growing has great environmental rewards? Here are just a few of the benefits you can enjoy from a healthy landscape:healthy turf benefits

  1. Trees, bushes, hedges, shrubs and flowers reduce air pollution by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.  In fact, one tree can reduce 26 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year…the equivalent of 11,000 miles of car emissions.
  2. In the heat of summer, your bushes and hedges can absorb heat from the sun, reducing your utility bills and conserving energy. Grassy lawns are 14 degrees cooler than bare soil in the summer heat.
  3. A landscaped garden can also reduce noise pollution in your home by blocking out surrounding noises.

How Can We Help You Achieve a Healthy Turf?

Massey Services is committed to Best Management Practices (BMPs) to manage water, nutrients and landscape care applications. When we design a program, we take into account all factors – sun, shade, temperature, soil type and geography – to perform the correct treatment and only apply the necessary applications for the type of plants present in the landscape. Plus we use non-chemical means of creating healthy landscapes like core aeration, which creates healthy roots by ensuring landscape applications make their way into the soil and prevents water runoff to protect our waterways.

To schedule your free inspection and start enjoying the benefits of a healthy, beautiful landscape, contact us today.

Give Your Lawn And Landscape The Right Attention

right attentionProper mowing and watering dramatically impact the health of your lawn. Give your lawn and landscape the right attention with the following tips:

  • Mow frequently. Don’t remove more than 1/3rd  of the leaf blade height in any single mowing. Mow at least once per week during the growing season.
  • Mow high. During the heat of the summer, you should mow your lawn at the highest recommended cutting height to help grass retain water.
  • Water deeply and infrequently.  Our Florida sands dry out quickly so set your sprinkler system to run twice per week to deliver ¾ inch of water per zone.  Clay soils may not need to be watered as frequently. Check your local extension service for recommendations or contact us for a free inspection.

foot prints in dry lawnLook for signs indicating your lawn is too dry:

  • A dull bluish-gray coloring to your grass
  • Foot tracks that seem to remain in the grass
  • Leaf blades that are folded in half or wilted.

The key to a healthy landscape during dry periods is a balance of proper irrigation and proper maintenance. Either too little or too much irrigation can lead to an increase in weed, pest and diseases. For help keeping your landscape healthy and green all year long, contact Massey Services GreenUP for a free, detailed inspection.

Tips for Choosing the Best Pest Prevention Company

Not all pest prevention programs are created equal. While many programs claim that they can keep your home or business pest-free, the methods to achieve these results may not be environmentally-friendly. One of the most important first steps of any pest prevention program is the inspection, which will determine what pests are present and what needs to be done to eliminate them.

How To Choose The Right Pest Prevention Company:

  • Make certain the company does a detailed inspection, from crawl space or basempest prevention companyent all the way to the attic.  This helps to identify the exact type of pest that is present and avoid broad applications to eliminate them.  It also allows the company to determine where the pests are gaining access so they eliminate the entry point the pest is using to get inside.
  • Check that the pest prevention team is made up of full-time employees who have received consistent internal training and are screened to ensure they can properly manage the job.
  • Find out if the company has in-house entomologists who continually work to refine treatments. An entomologist is a broadly trained and educated professional in the study of insects.
  • Ask if the company has a money-back guarantee that will cover you if any problems ever occur.
  • Research to see if the company has received numerous awards for their environmentally sensitive practices.

Massey Services, the 5th largest pest management company in the industry and the largest family-owned company in the business, adheres to these practices and standards to ensure its customers have the best service to protect their homes and businesses.

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