Homeowner Tips to Avoid a Termite Infestation

They’re quiet. They’re hidden. And they’re destructive. Most people don’t think about termites until they’ve already caused costly damage to their homes.

termite infestation

It doesn’t matter if your home is made of concrete, stucco or brick, termites can get into any home through tiny cracks and crevices less than 1/16 wide, and they can create havoc within the structure of your home. It’s estimated that termites cause more than $5 billion in damage each year.

Since these destructive pests work behind the walls and under the foundation, it is imperative to have your home inspected regularly for early signs of termites and proactively treated to keep them at bay.

Tips To Discourage Subterranean Termite Infestations:

  • Repair water leaks and moisture problems. Termites flourish in moist areas.
  • Keep a close eye on irrigation systems to ensure sprinklers are adjusted properly to spray away from the foundation, walls, etc.
  • Trim back bushes and plants to prevent moisture from being trapped against the walls.
  • Keep gutters free of build-up so that water can flow freely and away from the foundation.
  • Avoid any wooden items that touch your home from having contact with the soil. Elevate decks on concrete.
  • Position stucco, wood, or siding six inches above the finished soil level to prevent termites from gaining access into your home.

A house with termite damage often looks the same as any other house…on the surface

termite infestationThe best prevention against the risk of expensive termite damage repairs is to have guaranteed termite protection for your home before a problem occurs. Massey Services recommends termite inspections should be done at least once a year, and include a thorough inspection of the inside and outside of your home.

For a free termite inspection of your home, contact us today and we’ll schedule an inspection at a time that’s convenient for you.

How Do We Effectively Handle Weeds?

Everybody loves a lush, green and healthy looking lawn, but growing and maintaining a beautiful landscape requires constant care and attention.

weeds

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.

Steps To Maintaining A Healthy Lawn:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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:
      1. Wait for it to die of old age
      2. Crowd it out with a thick lawn
      3. Mechanically remove it by hoeing/hand pulling
      4. Treat it with a post-emergent weed control product (part of your GreenUP Landscape Services program)

Now, let the Experts of Massey’s GreenUP Landscape Services make your  Lawn the Best on the Block

weeds

We know no two landscapes are alike. That’s why before we develop a customized program or provide you with a price, we perform a detailed landscape analysis to understand exactly the type of care your landscape needs. Once our landscape analysis is complete – we develop a customized program for YOUR landscape to ensure it remains healthy and beautiful.

Contact us today for a free landscape inspection!

Avoid Furry Pests From Entering Your Home

If your home has small openings to the great outdoors, even cracks and crevices, insects and furry pests, like rats and mice — could be making their way inside.

furry pests

Rodents: The Dirty Truth

Rats can squeeze through holes half an inch wide and mice can get through holes one quarter of an inch wide, taking up rodent residence in your attic, in the crawl space under your home, even where the dryer vents to the outside. Rodents are generally nocturnal animals, with peak activity occurring shortly after dusk and again prior to dawn. Inside occupied structures, they often become active within about 30-60 minutes following the subsiding of evening human activity.

Rodents are the most common pests this season. These pests are capable of causing damage to property by chewing through drywall, insulation, wood and electrical and automotive wiring, increasing the potential risk for fires. They are also known to spread a variety of diseases, including Salmonella, murine typhus, infectious jaundice, rat-bite fever and the potentially fatal Hantavirus.

Tips To Avoid Furry Pests:

  • Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
  • Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home, using caulk, steel wool or a combination of both.
  • Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
  • Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
  • Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.
  • Inspect items such as boxes, grocery bags and other packages for evidence of rodents before bringing them indoors.
  • Regularly check under the hood of the car for signs of a rodent infestation.

Do You Suspect Rodents In Your Home? Don’t Worry!

Contact Massey Services for a free pest prevention inspection and recommendations on how you can help keep rodents out of your home.

Milder Winter Means More Spring Pests

spring pests

A 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, rainier regions collected more standing water, creating ideal mosquito breeding grounds. Areas that were hotter and drier may experience increased rodent pressure in buildings as temperatures cool in fall and winter. The warmer winter season can yield above normal ant and occasional invader activity through the winter months.

Tips To Prevent Spring Pests:

  • 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!

Massey Services Acquires Insight Pest Solutions of North Carolina and South Carolina

insight pest solutions
Harvey L. Massey, Chairman and CEO of Massey Services, proudly announces the purchase of Insight Pest Solutions of Charlotte and Raleigh, NC and Charleston, SC.

“We are pleased to welcome the Insight Pest Solutions team members and customers to the Massey Services organization,” said Mr. Massey. “We look for companies who have a reputation for exceptional customer service and Insight Pest Solutions has demonstrated a strong commitment to their team members, their customers and our environment.

The joining of the two companies expands Massey Services presence into the North Carolina and South Carolina markets. Massey currently has residential service centers in Charleston, Columbia and Greenville, South Carolina. Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, Massey Services provides service to over 500,000 customers throughout Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina and Oklahoma.

Harvey L. Massey, an industry leader and 53-year veteran of the pest management and landscape services industries, founded Massey Services in 1985. Massey Services is the fifth largest pest management company in the industry. In addition, Massey Services is the largest, privately-owned family company in the industry.

Warning Signs of Termites

termites

There’s no such thing as a home that isn’t vulnerable to termites. It doesn’t matter if your home is made of brick, block, stucco or even built on a concrete slab. The truth is, termites can get into any home through tiny cracks and crevices less than 1/16 inches wide. To make matters worse, your home may be sitting on up to six subterranean termite colonies in a single acre plot, with each colony housing millions of termites.
Termites eat non-stop, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And most homeowners don’t realize they have a problem until the damage is already done.
There are some warning signs you can be on the lookout for if you suspect there may be a problem.

Warning Signs of Termites

  • Termite Wings:  Often present after a swarm, they are typically found in small piles near window ledges or other light sources.
  • Powder:  Powder post beetles leave evidence of their presence with piles of a fine, talc-like powder around furniture, flooring and any housing structure made of wood.
  • 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.

If you see any of these signs, contact a professional termite protection company immediately to prevent further damage.  It is also critical for your home to have an annual termite inspection to thoroughly inspect for any new activity and conducive conditions around your home.

Training Thursday: Protecting Pollinators

Massey 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 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.

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.

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.

Tips & Tricks to Rodent Exclusion

Rats and mice are rodents that are very common in the Southeast. They tend to enter homes inrodent search of food and shelter and will eat any kind of food that people eat. They can also contaminate 10 times as much food as they eat, with urine, droppings and hair. In addition, they are known carry at least 10 different kinds of diseases, including bubonic plague, murinetyphus and bacterial food poisoning.

When rodent-proofing your home, it’s important to keep in mind that rats can squeeze through holes ½ inch wide and mice can get through a hole ¼ inch wide.

Rodent Exclusion Tips:

  • Rodent exclusion requires the use of rodent-resistant materials. These materials include sheet metal (26 gauge or heavier), perforated metal (24 gauge or heavier with openings norodent more than ¼ inch), hardware cloth (19 gauge or heavier with openings no more than ¼ inch) and brick with mortared joints.
  • Seal openings around pipes with sheet metal or concrete.
  • Be sure to block all possible rodent entry points such as the bottom of doors, pipe entry holes,ventilation pipes, roof vents and eave vents.
  • Proper sanitation is a very important factor in rodent control. Be sure to cleanup any trash or rubbish around your property which could support or harbor a rodent population. Keep garbage cans sealed and eliminate any areas of standing water. Do not leave open food items out including pet food.

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

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.

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.

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