West Nile Disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) West Nile is a virus most commonly spread to people by mosquito bites. In North America, cases of West Nile virus (WNV) occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. The World Health Organization states that the symptoms of severe disease include: headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 150 persons infected with the West Nile virus will develop a more severe form of disease. Serious illness can occur in people of any age, however people over the age of 50 and some immunocompromised persons (for example, transplant patients) are at the highest risk for getting severely ill when infected with WNV.

The current data on West Nile Disease can be worrisome. As of January 9, 2018, a total of 47 states and the District of Columbia have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes in 2017. Overall, 2,002 cases of West Nile virus disease in people have been reported to CDC. Of these, 1,339 (67%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 663 (33%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.

For an incident report here is a county-by-county report from the CDC.

Pro-Tech Lawn Care suggests being especially cautious this mosquito season and follow some simple guidelines that we set out in a recent blog on “Preventing Mosquito Bites.” For more information about West Nile Disease and treatment options for your property against this mosquito-borne illness contact Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

Preventing Tick Bites

Ticks may be tiny, (almost undetectable in some cases), but they sure can cause a heap of trouble. In our region of the United States, Lyme Disease is one of the biggest threats when it comes to tick-borne diseases. Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that are transmitted to humans through a bite from an infected black-legged or deer tick. Symptoms can occur anywhere from 3 to 30 days after the bite and can be wide-ranging, depending on the stage of the infection. In some cases, symptoms can appear even months after the bite. Early signs and symptoms include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes, all of which are common in the flu as well. In up to 80% of Lyme infections, a rash is one of the first symptoms. If this is not frightening enough, a recent CDC study found that cases of Lyme increased more than 80% between 2004 and 2016 — from 19,804 to 36,429. So how can you protect yourself and your family each time you head outside from tick bites?

 

  • Consider treating your yard for both mosquitoes and ticks through a treatment plan at Pro-Tech Lawn Care.
  • Avoid areas where ticks are likely to hang out. This could include woody areas of your yard, hiking paths, or even just being in your backyard. Ticks love wooded areas with lots of shrubs, tall grasses and weeds, and leaf litter.
  • Use repellant. Products that contain DEET or permethrin can add a layer of protection when outside.
  • Wear protective clothing. This includes: light-colored clothes, which makes it easier to spot them once you have come indoors, as well as long pants tucked into your socks. We also suggest long sleeve shirts and shoes that cover your toes. A hat is a great idea too since they may be difficult to find in black hair.
  • Always check yourself and family members when you come in and at the end of the night. Ticks especially like hairlines, behind the knee and crux of the elbow.
  • Remove any ticks and watch for signs of Lyme and the telltale bullseye.

 

Are you concerned about ticks in your yard? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care for tick solutions for your property at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

 

Preventing Mosquito Bites

Are you a mosquito magnet and dread going out for fear that these pests will find you and bite you relentlessly? Beyond the itch factor is the danger of contracting a mosquito-borne disease such as West Nile Disease, EEE, or, if traveling to tropical areas, the Zika Virus. Thankfully there are some steps that even the biggest mosquito magnet can do to avoid being bitten this season. Here are a few ideas to prevent mosquito bites in your own backyard.

 

  • Always Use Repellant –  Just like you should always put on sunscreen, you should also always apply bug repellant to both skin and clothes. DEET works well on skin and permethrin or picaridin works well on clothing.
  • Avoid Peak Hours – Generally, mosquitoes are more active at dusk and dawn, although this may differ depending on the species. These are also peak times for exercise and outdoor patio use so use repellant and clothing cautions.
  • Avoid Elevated Heart Rates – According to Prevention Magazine, carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary thing mosquitoes search for to identify food sources. And when your heart rate is elevated, your body produces more CO2. From exercise to drinking alcohol or eating spicy foods, anything that cranks up your metabolic rate will increase your CO2 production—and make you irresistible to mosquitoes.
  • Use Nets and Fans – Mosquitoes can not land to bite if facing the force of wind so consider putting a fan or two on your porch or deck. In addition, many homeowners find netting a great way of preventing these pests from interrupting a perfectly good BBQ.
  • Remove Standing Water – Standing water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes so be sure to clear out kiddie pools, upside down frisbees, and even pet food bowls. Remove the breeding ground and you will have fewer pests.
  • Dress for Prevention – Wear light weight long sleeve shirts and long pants to avoid the critters who will seek out the heat of your skin.

 

Do you have a mosquito-filled backyard or are you personally a magnet? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care for treatment options. Call us at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733 and visit our website.

 

The Dangers of Biting Insects

Spending time out in nature is one of the best things about the spring, summer, and fall months. For New Englanders who must endure long, sometimes brutally cold, winter weather, these months come as a gift from Mother Nature. There is nothing like enjoying the salty sea air along the coast, or the cool air of one of the hiking trails in the many conservation lands in our area. Unfortunately, being outdoors means the possibility of being bitten by one of the many biting insects that make their habitat in our region. What are the potential dangers of these biting insects and what can you do to prevent bites as you enjoy the great outdoors?

 

  • Mosquitoes – These annoying buggers can ruin any day when you are being swarmed and bitten. The dangers of mosquitoes lie not in the bite itself but, rather, in the diseases that can be spread in saliva of the insect. Mosquitoes can transmit Eastern Equine Encephalitis or, most well known, West Nile Virus. West Nile virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness that is carried from infected birds to humans via mosquitoes. Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a rare illness in humans, and only a few cases are reported in the United States each year. EEE can progress from flu-like symptoms to seizures, coma, and even death.

 

  • Ticks – Ticks in our area are known to carry Lyme Disease. Lyme disease is a multisystem inflammatory disease that affects the skin (a bullseye rash) in its early, localized stage, and then may spread to the joints, nervous system and, to a lesser extent, other organ systems in its later, disseminated stages.

Want more information about the dangers of biting insects and how to protect yourself? Visit our website or call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733.

Hydroseeding, Broadcast Seeding, or Sod?

Most homeowners who tend regularly to their lawn and garden want a healthy and aesthetically pleasing landscape. Our customers often seek out our help in regard to making their lawn full, green, and healthy. They often ask what method will best create the look they are hoping for: hydroseeding, sod, or broadcast seeding? Since each method has advantages and disadvantages, here is a quick breakdown to help you decide which method is right for you.

 

  • Budget – Deciding on which method to use to create a healthy lawn may come down to what the homeowner can afford. Sod tends to be the most expensive option, followed by hydroseeding, and then broadcast/hand seeding. What level of cost are you willing to meet to get the lawn you desire?
  • Germination Time – Sod is the quickest way to receive an instant lawn. Roll it out, water it, and voila! The hydroseeding procedure involves using a mixture or slurry of grass seed, wood-fiber mulch, fertilizer, and binding agents. These items help to speed up seed germination, which can take place sometimes within a week. Hand or broadcast seeding may take many weeks to even months to fully germinate and grow in. It may also need overseeding to get bare patches. How patient are you? Are you willing to wait for the perfect lawn or do you want it immediately?
  • Time of Year – When a homeowner wants the perfect the lawn, timing is a key component on which option to pick. For example, sod can be installed at anytime in the spring, summer, or fall. It just needs watering and some care so the seams do not shrink and become visible. Hydroseeding is best done from late spring to early fall. The best time to broadcast seed is in the fall, followed by summer, and then spring, respectively.
  • Other Thoughts – If your yard is large or has areas where erosion is common hydroseeding may be a good choice as it can stop the erosion while not costing an arm and leg, like sod would.

 

Do you need help getting your lawn to look fantastic? Having trouble deciding which option is best for your property? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

Prevent Pests from Ruining your Outdoor Entertaining

Summer is such a great time for outdoor entertaining around the grill, fire pit, or pool, as the days are longer and the weather is perfect for such events. Unfortunately, these fun get togethers sometimes have uninvited guests such as pests like bees, flies, mosquitoes, and ticks. Here are some simple, yet effective ways to prevent pests from ruining your outdoor entertaining this summer.

 

  • Yard Treatment – Talk to our experts about treating your yard for mosquitoes and other pests that can be a huge pain during outdoor dinner parties. Our comprehensive monthly treatment program can protect your family and guests from ticks, mosquitoes, and other flying pests throughout the active season.
  • Cover Foods – The item that most attracts pests during your BBQ or dinner parties is most likely the food! Cover all food serving dishes when possible or, better yet, move them into the kitchen and have guests serve from inside. One item that tends to attract bees are soda and beer cans. Bees love to nose around in these cans and can sting an unsuspecting drinker. Keep cans and drinks covered as well.
  • Dress for Prevention – While it may be hot outside, the pests love exposed skin. Try to wear long sleeved, light weight clothing that will protect the largest part of your body. Use insect repellent such as Permethrin on clothing and DEET on skin.
  • Use Fans – Mosquitoes and other insects have trouble landing when there is a stiff wind or human-made wind from a fan. Bring out some standing fans and direct them on guests around your patio so that these buggers can’t get a chance to land and bite.
  • Try Insect Repelling Plantings – Up the odds that your outdoors will be pest-free by planting some naturally insect repelling plantings. The following plants are known to have mosquito-repelling properties: marigolds, Rosemary, Lavender, Basil, and Catnip.

 

Talk to our team at Pro-Tech Lawn Care about how you can prevent pests from ruining your time outside with our helpful tips and treatment solutions. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

 

Mosquito-Proof Your Yard

Nothing can ruin a day of gardening, playing, or entertaining quite like the annoyance of mosquitoes. They buzz in your ear, bite your ankles and cause welts that itch like crazy! Not only are these little pests a nuisance, but they can also be dangerous as they can carry and transmit diseases. Zika, West Nile Virus, and a list of other mosquito-borne diseases carried by these pests can make humans very ill and, in some cases, can be fatal. Here are a few tips to mosquito-proof your yard this year so you can enjoy it for what it was intended.

 

  • Remove Breeding Sites – For a typical yard this means removing all sources of standing water around your yard, whether it is a pet bowl, an upside down frisbee, a kiddie pool, or a spare tire hidden behind the shed. Fix leaky hoses, properly store pool covers, and clean out gutters that may harbor a hidden breeding location.
  • Keep your Lawn Well-Manicured – Long grass is a great place for mosquitoes to get out of the sun. Keeping your grass short and yard well-maintained is essential to mosquito control.
  • Treat your Yard – Many homeowners are turning to mosquito treatments, especially along fence/property lines and along foundations. Talk to our experts at Pro-Tech Lawn Care to see how this could benefit your family.
  • Avoid Peak Hours – Mosquitoes tend to be most active at dawn and dusk. The lack of wind, sunlight, and heat makes this an ideal time for feeding. If you must be out during this time, wear lightweight long sleeved/pant clothing and protect yourself with Permethrin on clothing and DEET on skin.
  • Encourage Neighbors to Get Onboard – If your yard is mosquito-proofed and your close neighbor is not then your efforts may not work. So get your neighbors on board and help them create a mosquito-free zone as much as possible.

 

Need help making your yard mosquito-proof? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

4 Tips to Prevent Tick Bites and Lyme Disease

As the weather improves, New Englanders tend to start spending more and more time outdoors playing, gardening, enjoying the sun, and entertaining. While humans are getting out more, so are the pests and insects, specifically pests like ticks that can transmit disease such as Lyme. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are 300,000 new cases of this tick-borne disease every year. Now is the time to take certain steps to prevent tick bites and potentially Lyme Disease. Here are four tips to help keep you and your family safe this season.

 

  1. Create a Tick-Free Zone – Staying indoors during the height of the tick season is not a viable option, so try to create a tick-free zone around your home. Do this by keeping your lawn, garden, and plantings well-groomed and manicured. This can keep the tick habitat away from your property. In addition, consider a tick barrier by placing wood chips or bark mulch around the perimeter of your property. Some homeowners choose to have their property treated by professionals like our technicians here at Pro-Tech Lawn Care.
  2. Enjoy the Outdoors Safely – If your outdoor plans include being in an area that could have ticks, which is just about anywhere, dress wisely. Wear lightweight long pants and shirts, stay on hiking paths, and protect yourself with tick repellant such as DEET for skin and Permethrin for clothing.
  3. Perform Tick Checks – After being outdoors, make a habit of checking yourself, your partner, and children every evening. Ticks especially like to hide in armpits, along the neck and hairline, in the scalp, behind the knee, and along the waistline. Do not just rely on a sight check; also use your hands to feel for small specks that could be ticks.
  4. Remove Ticks – If you should find a tick, don’t panic! Attempt to remove the tick with tweezers. Getting the tick off in the first 24 hours can dramatically reduce the chance of transmitting Lyme Disease from tick to person.

 

While we encourage people to enjoy the outdoors every spring and summer, we also caution everyone to be vigilant for ticks by proactively treating as well as checking for ticks after each time outside. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care for more information and help treating your yard this season. Call us at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

 

Don’t Make These Common Spring Lawn Care Mistakes

Sometimes homeowners find it hard to get back into the swing-of-things when it comes to caring for their lawn each spring. After all, it has been a few months and all those things you thought you would do or, at least, remember to do with your lawn have gone by the wayside. Did you remember to drain the gas and oil out of the lawn mower? Did you plant bulbs last year or agree to wait? Hmmm. Well, while you adjust to your spring lawn care chores again, let us remind you about some of the more common mistakes homeowners make every year so you can avoid them yourself.

 

  • Forgetting to Sharpen the Mower Blade – Yep, this is an easy one to forget about. The mower blade should be sharpened regularly and over the winter was a great time to do it while you don’t need the mower. If you still need to do this, now is as good a time as any.
  • Failing to Test the Soil – Too many homeowners skip this step of finding out how acidic or alkaline your soil is. Without this, you really don’t have any idea about the needs of your lawn.
  • Failing to Remove Items from the Grass – Lots of homeowners allow lawn ornaments, grills, and even cars to stay on the lawn over the winter months, thinking that they will not do any harm. Anything left on the grass can almost ensure that the grass underneath will be long dead and leave a large bare spot on your lawn. To fix this, you may need to reseed completely in this area.
  • Bagging the Lawn Clippings – Research has shown that, while it doesn’t look as clean and tidy and lawns that have every cut blade removed, the results can be astounding. By leaving clippings in the grass after mowing you are adding much needed nitrogen and organic matter to the grass.
  • Over/Under Watering – This mistake is fairly common. Do you see dry dead patches on your lawn or possibly the opposite – puddling? These two conditions are an indicator that you are either watering too little or too much, respectively. Water several times a week deeply. Check with a screwdriver to see how easily the tool sides in to the grass or if it is met with resistance, thus indicating dry ground.

 

Do you need help avoiding lawn care mistakes? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

Fungus, Mold, and Mildew… Oh My!

There are many things that can ruin our lawns, from pests to Mother Nature, but trifecta of destruction can be done by fungus, mold, and mildew! Yuck. Lawn fungal diseases can take on a variety of forms, from dark brown patches to slimy moldy looking areas. None of it is healthy and should be dealt with to get your lawn back to a healthy state. Let’s take a look at some common fungal diseases that can harm your lawn, as well as what could be the root cause of them.

 

Common Fungal Diseases

 

  • Brown Patch is a turfgrass disease that is caused by the Rhizoctonia species of fungus and tends to strike during hot, humid weather. It is one of the most destructive lawn diseases as it can destroy large areas of turf virtually overnight when the weather conditions are just right. The disease begins to show growth when temperatures reach 65°, but the most active growth of brown patch lawn disease occurs at temperatures of 80-85° when humidity levels are very high. The appearance of large swaths of brown patches are usually the first sign of the disease that homeowners notice.
  • Fusarium Blight is also known as Necrotic Ring Spot and is a devastating, soil-bound disease that is most noticeable and damaging during the prolonged hot, dry conditions of summer. This disease first appears near sidewalks, driveways, and on areas with direct sunlight. This disease may appear as a round area of dead grass with a small area of thriving grass in the middle.
  • Dollar Spot develops in a distinct circle about the size of a silver dollar. This disease tends to occur when nights are cool and the dew is heavy. Excessive thatch and high humidity also gives rise to this disease.

Causes of Lawn Fungus

Your lawn is naturally full of mold, spores, and fungi of all different types. Most of this is harmless unless conditions become ripe for disease growth. Conditions that can cause this include:

  • High levels of thatch and soil compaction
  • Drought
  • Overwatering
  • High humidity for extended periods of time
  • The wrong amount or type of fertilizer

 

Do you suspect that the rings, brown spots, thin patches, or slimy areas may be fungus, mold, or mildew growing in your lawn? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website to schedule an appointment.