Irrigation Can be Tricky in the Summer

With Memorial Day this weekend, we all know summer is essentially here! And in the Southeast that can mean hot, humid weather and rain, which makes irrigating your landscape very tricky!
Typically the summer months bring unpredictable periods of dry and wet conditions. So watering with the right amount of water can be tricky. Here are some tips475343297cropped to help:

  • Be sure to have a rain sensor installed and that it’s working properly
  • Check your coverage to ensure all your sprinklers are covering each zone evenly with 3/4 to 1″ of water
  • Check your landscape frequently for browning, dry areas and hand water if necessary
  • Look out for areas that are saturated and overwatered, and reduce your watering time in those zones

Water conservation is critical to ensure we protect one of our most precious resources. That’s why a properly functioning irrigation system is so crucial. Over time, landscapes change (as does the weather!) and may require different watering practices.  We’ll provide a free, written irrigation inspection along with a recommended Irrigation Maintenance Program that can take the guesswork out of maintaining your irrigation system!

Love Bugs are Back

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.” And there are some very interesting facts about these bugs that we wanted to Love Bugsshare.

  • 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 will stay attached for up to 2 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 to 600 of them – she will soon die.
  • Under laboratory conditions, females live for about 72 hours, whereas males survive for about 92 hours. In nature, the adults live just 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 – all untrue.
  • Wind currents have lifted love bugs up as high as 1500 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 romantic 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. That’s why emerging adults are often more abundant when you’re driving by cow pastures.
  • Love bugs don’t bite or sting, nor do they carry any infectious diseases.

Chikungunya is on the Rise

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is warning people who live in areas where encounters with mosquitoes are prevalent, such as along lakes and canals, to be aware that these pests may be carrying the Chikungunya virus. From January to October 2014 there were 272 cases of the virus reported in Florida, which had more cases than any other state. Nationwide, there have been mosquito-abatementmore than 1,100 cases of Chikungunya.
Symptoms of the virus 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. The illness is rarely fatal, but the pain it produces could last for months.
Massey Services offers the following information about Chikungunya, the mosquitoes that carry the disease and tips to combat it:

  • Mosquitoes that transmit Chikungunya typically bite during the daytime; other mosquito species are most active at dawn and dusk
  • Chikungunya is passed from a mosquito to a human. A mosquito will bite an infected human and then bite another, passing the virus
  • When outdoors, use insect repellant with DEET as an active product on any exposed skin and clothing to keep mosquitoes away
  • 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, including children’s toys that may have been left in the yard

There are 53 species of mosquitoes worldwide capable of transmitting diseases in humans and animals. If you suspect you have a mosquito infestation at your home or want to protect yourself, contact Massey Services to schedule a free inspection and mosquito abatement to reduce your risks.

Ticks are a Danger to both Humans and Pets

As the warmer months return, so do a variety of pests that can be very troublesome to both humans and our pets. One of these pests is ticks. There are two common kinds of ticks found in the Southeast region: the Brown Dog Tick and the American Dog Tick, and while ticks can easily be removed from your pet, an infestation in your home is much harder to handle. The adult female 17tick_enltick can lay clusters of 1,000 to 3,000 eggs, and these egg clusters can usually be found in homes around baseboards, window and door casings, curtains, furniture and the edges of rugs. Sometimes ticks will even climb the walls and lay their eggs in the crevices of crown molding, leaving you with a floor to ceiling problem.
Here are a few facts about ticks to keep you informed:

  • Ticks are not insects and are closely related to the spider. Adult ticks have eight legs. Their life cycle is divided into four stages: egg, larva, nymph and adult. All ticks feed on blood during some or all stages in their lifecycle.
  • Ticks can transmit Lyme disease. Though mostly found in New England states as it is transmitted primarily by the deer tick, there have been cases of Lyme disease in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas. Sportsmen and people who work outdoors may encounter the tick that carries Lyme disease.
  • Although cats are rarely infested, the most common indoor tick on dogs is the brown dog tick. This tick may transmit diseases to dogs such as canine ehrlichiosis and babesiosis.
  • Outdoors, ticks hide near foundations of buildings, in crevices of siding, or beneath the porch.
  • The American dog tick may carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and other diseases that can be transmitted from animals to people. Dogs are not affected by these diseases, but people have become infected through contact with these ticks.

Our Pest Prevention program identifies and removes even the most stubborn pest challenges and then through regular service we keep pests out of your home.  If pests return at any time, we’ll come back at no charge to eliminate the problem.  Contact us today to schedule your free inspection.

Hybrid Termites are a New Threat to Florida

Two of the most destructive termite species in the world, Formosan subterranean termites and Asian subterranean termites are swarming simultaneously in south Florida this spring, which means new concerns for termite experts. These two species of termites are the most destructive termites in Florida and now they appear to be mating with each other creating a new hybrid termite. If this new hybrid takes hold, they will have the potential to spread across the state. Here is some information that has been captured so far on this new hybrid species of termite:

  • While both the Formosan and Asian subterranean termites have developed and evolved separately for thousands of years, they have now come together and are mating with each other in southeast Florida
  • Laboratory research has shown that the hybridization of the two species can produce a hybrid with a faster growth rate.
  • It is unknown at this time if the hybrid termite is fertile or sterile or if hybrid colonies will be successful in developing and sustaining.
  • If successful, there is the potential for large hybrid colonies to spread much like the formosan termite has spread throughout Florida over the past 30 years.
  • Both the Asian termite and the Formosan termite are established species throughout the world.
  • Formosan termites were first discovered in the 1980s and have now been reported in almost all urban areas in Florida. The Asian termite has been in southeast Florida since 1996.

Massey Services, a leader in termite protection, is researching ways to combat this new termite threat. If you suspect you may have a problem, contact us for a free inspection.  We’ll inspect your home inside, outside, over and under and provide the right termite protection for your home.

Massey Recognized as Finalist for PLANSPONSOR 401(k) Award

Harvey L. Massey, chairman and CEO of Massey Services, announced that the company was one of the top HLM Tony Signfinalists in the 2014 PLANSPONSOR of the Year Award for its corporate 401(k) program, along with companies from Dayton, Ohio; Harrisburg, South Dakota; East Meadow, New York; and Sanford, Florida. PLANSPONSOR is a trusted information and solutions resource for America’s retirement benefits and plans decision makers. Jean Nowry, Executive Vice President, CFO accepted the award at the Awards for Excellence celebration dinner in New York City on March 31, 2015.

“We are honored to be recognized for this accomplishment,” Massey said. “Ninety-two percent of our team members are currently enrolled in our 401(k) program with participants deferring an average of 4.5% of their incomes into their plans. We are proud to have such a significant number of team members planning for their future retirements.”

Happy Earth Day!

In honor of today being the 45th Earth Day, we dug up some interesting facts about this special day and how it originated.enviromental-benefits

  • According to SoftSchools.com, the first Earth Day in the U.S. was celebrated on April 22, 1970.
  • Every year on April 22, men, women and children collect garbage, plant trees, clean up coral reefs, show movies, sign petitions and plan for a better future for our planet, based on DoSomething.org.
  • TimeforKids.com reports that the recycling rate has increased from less than 10% in 1980 to more than 34% in 2011.
  • Earth Day was created by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin.  He created it after learning about the devastating effects of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, according to Earth Day Network.
  • Earth Day Network also estimates that 500 million people from 4,500 organizations in 180 countries will participate in Earth Day events during the month of April.
  • Massey Services was the first company in our industry to be asked to sponsor Earth Day in Central Florida

We’re proud to provide environmentally beneficial services to our customers.  Learn more about our services and their environmental benefits today!

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, actively growing turf has great environmental rewards? Here are just a few of the benefits you can enjoy from a healthy landscape:

  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.

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.

Andrea Massey-Farrell Appointed to Nemours Foundation

Harvey L. Massey, chairman and CEO of Massey Services, is proud to announce that Andrea Massey-Farrell, president and CEO of the Harvey and Carol Massey Foundation, Inc., has been appointed to the Florida Board of Managers of the Nemours Foundation.

The Nemours Foundation is a non-profit organization created by Alfred I. DuPont nearly 80 years ago. andrea-massey-farrellIts mission is to restore and improve the health of children through programs not readily available. The Foundation owns and operates the Nemours Children’s Hospital in Lake Nona’s Medical City, Nemours Children’s Specialty Care locations in Delaware, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and the Nemours/Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Delaware. Overall, the medical facilities treat more than 300,000 children annually.

“As a mother of two young boys and an aunt to eight nieces and nephews, Andrea is intimately aware of how childhood illnesses can impact a family,” said Harvey Massey. “Her involvement with the Nemours Foundation and its mission to provide high-level medical care for so many young lives is an expression of her commitment to the health of future generations.”

Andrea is a fervent advocate for educational advancement, improved health and the arts. She serves on several boards including Orange County CRC Governing Board, the Rollins College Hamilton Holt School Advisory Board, the Orlando Shakespeare Theater Board of Trustees, the Winter Park YMCA Family Center Board and the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Board. She is a 2011 winner of the Woman of Distinction award presented by Girl Scouts of Citrus Council, and was also a 2012 nominee for the Orlando Business Journal’s Women to Watch award.

The Health Risk of Rodents

They surprise us by suddenly appearing, tiny eyes and long tails, squeaking as we scream. Just the appearance of rats and mice can scare us. The diseases they carry on their bodies and produce from their urine and droppings are just as frightening.rodent_02housemouse_enl

Rodents are known to carry at least 10 different kinds of diseases, including murine typhus, salmonella, rat-bite fever, bubonic plague and bacterial food poisoning, all of which can cause severe illness. Hantavirus, another disease carried by rodents can progress to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), which can be fatal. Cases of HPS occur sporadically, usually in rural areas where forests, fields, and farms offer habitats for rodents. Hunters and campers have been known to contract HPS when they make camp in areas that have been infested with mice. Deer mice, cotton rats and rice rats in the southeastern states carry the virus.

Keeping rodents at bay helps reduce the threat of illnesses they may spread. Here are some important things you need to know about rodents:

  • Block access points like holes around plumbing pipes, spaces in eaves and around doors and windows to keep rodents out of homes and sheds. Rats can enter a building through holes half an inch wide; mice can enter through holes one quarter of an inch wide.
  • Rats and mice tend to enter homes in search of food and shelter and will eat any kind of food that people eat. Store food in airtight containers. Rodents can gnaw through cardboard boxes and plastic packages.
  • Rodents can contaminate 10 times as much food as they eat, with urine, droppings and hair. Discard any food that may have come in contact with rodents.

Keeping rodents out of your home is one of the best ways to avoid the illness and disease that they spread.  Massey Services’ Pest Prevention program will prevent these pests from gaining access by identifying and eliminating areas they may be using to get inside your home.  Contact Massey for a free inspection today and avoid these frightening encounters!

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