Protection from Ticks

Over the last few months, we have discussed the potential dangers of tick-born diseases and viruses due to tick bites. Today, we will be discussing methods you can take to protect yourself and your family from these medical events caused by ticks. Spring, summer and fall are peak tick season, so follow these guidelines put out by pest experts and the scientists at the Centers for Disease Control to protect yourself against the hazards of a tick bite.

Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care for treatment options for your lawn and property area from ticks. Our professionals can help you choose an option that is right for your family and pets.

Check – Check yourself and your family members for ticks EVERY DAY. Here are some warm hidden places that ticks like to take hold. Here’s where to look:

  • Inside and behind the ears
  • Along your hairline
  • Back of your neck
  • Armpits
  • Groin
  • Legs
  • Behind your knees
  • Between your toes

Be Smart about your Surroundings and Dress Wisely – If you are going out for a hike or nature walk, stick to paths and try not to rub up against trees, bushes or sit in tall grass. The transfer of a tick can happen fast in these areas. If you are going out, dress smart. Wear long sleeves and pants. Tuck your pants into your socks.

Use Repellent – Repellents that contain DEET can be used on your exposed skin. Permethrin is a product that can be used on your clothes. Always follow the product instructions and use repellents with no more than 30-35% DEET on adults and 10-15% DEET on children. Never use insect repellents on infants.

Remove Ticks and Keep an Eye on the Spot – If you should find a tick remove it completely, including the head from your skin. Circle the area with a pen and watch to see if a rash or bullseye develop. Talk to your doctor about what should be done next if your suspect you have any tick-born disease.

Irrigation or Sprinkler System Maintenance Tips

Pro-Tech Lawn Care services provide spring start-ups, mid-season maintenance checks, and fall winterizing services for sprinkler or irrigation systems. While we won’t rush ourselves to winter just yet, we do want to discuss our spring and summer services in case you have yet to open your system or need some routine maintenance on your system. Here are our tips on maintaining your irrigation system or sprinkler system this year.

 

  • Spring – After a long cold winter you may notice that your lawn is going to need some TLC to get it back to the lush healthy look it had last year. Part of that process is opening your irrigation system. Spring is the perfect time to check your sprinkler system for peak summer performance. As part of our start up service we will check and prime the mainline, test controller operation, identify needed repairs or leaks, check operation of each zone and sprinkler head, and calibrate the rain sensor and run timer. In short, we will get your system up and running properly.

 

  • Summer – As spring turns to a hot, dry summer, your system may need adjustments or maintenance for any issues that could occur. Our maintenance visits may include: resetting the controller, checking for system leaks, cleaning out overgrowth around heads, ensuring rotors are turning properly, and/or leveling heads and diagnosing system repairs.

 

  • Winterization – We will be discussing winterization in more detail in a few short months when it’s time for blow outs and shutting down the system before the cold of winter sets in. This winterization is your best protection from freezing pipes or damage due to falling temperatures.

 

Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care for all your irrigation system needs all year long.

Protection from Mosquitoes

Last month we discussed the many mosquito-born illnesses that pose a threat to humans during the warm summer months and well into the fall. This month, we are discussing some common sense methods to protect yourself and your loved ones from mosquitoes in order to not only avoid the itchy bumps of their bite, but also to protect yourself from diseases and viruses. Here are a few methods that you should make a regular part of your family’s routine to protect yourselves from mosquito bites.

 

  • Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care about yard treatment plans to reduce and in some cases eliminate mosquitoes from your area.
  • Wear mosquito repellent.  We recommend repellents containing 30% to 50% DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) for adults and children over 2 months of age. We also recommend repellents containing up to 15% picaridin, which must be applied often.
  • Dress for protection. Clothing that are light colored and cover all parts of your skin is preferred. Many people choose, even in the heat of the summer, to wear lightweight long sleeves and long pants to avoid bites. Repellents or insecticides, such as permethrin, can be applied to clothing and gear for added protection. The more skin that is exposed to a bite, the greater the possibility of getting a bite.
  • Be aware of time. According to the Centers for Disease Control, mosquitoes may bite at any time of day, peak biting activity for vectors of some diseases (such as dengue and chikungunya) is during daylight hours. Vectors of other diseases (such as malaria) are most active in twilight periods (dawn and dusk) or in the evening after dark.

 

If you want more information about mosquitoes in your area, call Pro-Tech Lawn Care to discuss treatment methods.

Hydroseeding Benefits

Want your neighbors to be green with envy about your lush green lawn? Hydroseeding is a fast, cost effective way to create the lawn you have always desired. Pro-Tech Lawn Care has added this to our list of services in order to help your home or business stand out from the rest. Many of our customers report that they chose this method over sod or hand seeding because of the numerous advantages of hydroseeding. Compared to the cost of sod and the labor intensive method of hand seeding, hydroseeding has excellent benefits to make your lawn beautiful. Let’s take a closer look at hydroseeding benefits.

 

  • Cost – On average, hydroseeding cost about ¼ the price of sod, which may or may not take on your lawn. Sod in general is more expensive to buy and install, while hydroseeding is more budget friendly.
  • Quality – The slurry of seed mixture used in this method of seeding is high quality and can be seen by the green dye as it is applied. So there are no questions about where the seeds will take as is a common problem with rotary seeding or hand seeding.
  • Erosion Control – If your yard has any incline you may be concerned about the seeds washing away with rain or watering. With hydroseed, the mixture sticks to whatever surface it lands on. This guarantees your seeds will plant where you lay them, and offers immediate erosion control.
  • Speed of Germination – Traditional seeding methods take a long time and a significant amount of manpower.  Germination time will depend on the weather, the time of year, the amount of water, the area you live in and other factors.  Usually grass will be visible in 5-7 days, a few days slower in cold weather or the hottest part of summer. Compare this to hand or rotary seeding that could take up to three months to see a full thick lawn.
  • Healthier Grass – Rolling sod on your lawn may seem easy, however, the health of the grass may be in question. With sod, the roots of the grass are chopped off. This, too, is a contributing factor in how well the grass will “take”. Or not. Hydroseeded areas, on the other hand, work with the time-tested method of germination, where the blade grows up while the roots grow down.

 

If you are interested in hydroseeding, call Pro-Tech Lawn Care for an estimate and get started making your neighbors jealous!

Mosquito Born Illnesses

Mosquito born illnesses have been highlighted in the news prominently over the past year since the fear of the Zika Virus last year brought the issue to the forefront. The New England region sees its fair share of mosquito illnesses with two in particular that are concerning.

Mosquitoes in our region can spread to both the West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). People can get WNV or EEE when an infected mosquito bites them. Mosquitoes get these diseases by biting infected birds, but people cannot get WNV or EEE from birds. Most people bitten by infected mosquitoes experience no symptoms or mild symptoms, but some can develop serious disease.

 

  • West Nile Virus – Most people (70-80%) who become infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. Less than 1% of people who are infected will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues).The symptoms of neurologic illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis. (Source: Centers for Disease Control)
  • Eastern Equine Encephalitis – Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a rare illness in humans, and only a few cases are reported in the United States each year. Systemic infection has an abrupt onset and is characterized by chills, fever, malaise, arthralgia, and myalgia. The illness lasts 1 to 2 weeks, and recovery is complete when there is no central nervous system involvement. Unfortunately, approximately a third of all people with EEE die from the disease.

 

In our past blogs we have discusses taking precautions against being bitten including: using repellent, dressing in light clothing that covers your arms and legs, and avoiding being outdoors during the peak times of of dawn and dusk. Pro-Tech Lawn Care also recommends having your yard treated for mosquitoes that could carry these illnesses.

 

Avoiding Ticks and Tick born Illnesses

Ticks are most active during the warm months of April through September. That means that we are currently in peak tick season. Short of staying indoors and missing all the outdoor entertaining and activities, what can you do to prevent tick bites and protect yourself from tick born illnesses?

  • Pro-Tech Lawn Care Tick Protection Program –  Our Tick Protection Program is an effective way to help protect you, your family and your pets from the spread of Lyme disease and other diseases associated with these pests. Our program includes three targeted applications to your property throughout the course of the season. Tick treatments can begin as soon as the snow melts and applications can continue through the end of the fall.
  • Avoid Direct Contact with areas that are Tick Infested – Obviously avoiding the outdoors is not possible but if you are hiking or playing outside,  stay away from wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. If you do go for hikes try to walk in the center of trails.
  • Use RepellentUse spray repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours. Use products that contain permethrin on clothing.
  • Dress Appropriately – If you know you will be in a high tick area, wear clothing that can offer you some level of protection. Long sleeves, long pants and sneakers are a good choice. Tuck your socks into your pants so that there is no access to your skin if you are walking through a grassy area.
  • Removal – If you do spot a tick on your skin remove it completely or if you notice a bullseye marking or a rash contact your doctor immediately. Be sure to complete a thorough examination each time after being outdoors to check for the presence of ticks.

 

At a Glance – The Latest on Powassan Virus

Powassan (POW) virus disease is a rare, but often serious disease that is caused by a virus spread by infected ticks. Over the past decade approximately 75 cases of POW virus disease were reported in the United States. While this number may seem small compared to other tick-borne or mosquito-born diseases, Powassan seems to be spreading along the eastern coast at an alarming rate. Here are some of what the latest research shows.

 

  • The (POW) virus is transmitted to humans by infected ticks.
  • Most cases have occurred in the Northeast and Great Lakes region.
  • Signs and symptoms of infection can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures, and memory loss. Long-term neurologic problems may occur.
  • Unlike Lyme disease, which tends to be transmitted most frequently in the summertime, Powassan is most often diagnosed from March to April, and October to December.
  • Powassan can cause encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.
  • The real scary thing about the Powassan virus is that unlike Lyme disease, which can be transmitted in 24-48 hours, laboratory studies indicate that Powassan virus is probably transmitted in under an hour.
  • There is no specific medicine to cure or treat POW virus disease. Treatment for severe illnesses may include hospitalization, respiratory support, and intravenous fluids.
  • Reducing your chances of tick bites is a preventative action including: avoiding contact with ticks by avoiding wooded and bushy areas with high grass; finding and removing ticks immediately before they have a chance to bite; and applying insect repellents to bare skin, according to label instructions.

 

Are Mosquitoes Feasting on you?

Every year, a memo has gone out to the mosquitoes that I am outside and  ready to be eaten alive! It is like I am an “all you can eat buffet” for these pests.  Do you feel the same way? If you are also a feast for mosquitoes, here are a few tips to stop the madness and avoid those itchy bites this mosquito season.

 

  • Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care to discuss treatment options for your backyard and surrounding property. This program includes monthly treatments throughout the active season for ticks, mosquitoes and other flying insects. This comprehensive program is designed to provide your property with maximum protection.
  • Dress for Protection – Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors so wear light tones and cover arms and legs when possible. Long loose fitting shirts and pants can be helpful in deterring a mosquito from landing on our skin.
  • Evaluate your Yard – If you have standing water do whatever you can to rid your yard of it including children’s toy pails, pools and other items. This is where mosquitoes breed so do yourself a favor and prevent the breeding from occurring on your property.
  • Avoid Peak Times – Dawn and dusk are peak mosquito times, so avoid being outside at those times if at all possible.
  • Avoid Sweat and CO2 – Obviously we all have to breath out to survive, but try to stay indoors immediately after exercising for two reasons. One is that expulsion of CO2 attracts mosquitoes and heat and sweat also can be a magnet for these pests.
  • Personal Protection – If you choose to use a repellant spray to protect yourself and your family choose one that has deet or picaridin.

 

If you are interested in stopping the mosquito feast call Pro-Tech Lawn Care today for treatment options.

Is Your Backyard Ready?

Finally the warm weather is here and we can all enjoy the backyard, patio, lawn or garden. Are you backyard ready? Preparing your property including the lawn, hedges, trees, and garden takes lots of work and time. Growing lush, thick, pest-free grass is not an easy thing to do. Keeping ticks and mosquitoes at bay is also a struggle from the spring all the way through the first frost of fall.  Here are a few tips to make sure you are ready for backyard season.

 

  • Clean it Up – Remove any debris that has accumulated. Raking up areas that have been matted down by snow can help bring the grass back to life.
  • Seeding and Hydroseeding – Consider employing professionals to seed your yard, especially if you have large bare patches. Pro-Tech Lawn Care can help you fill in brown spots and get your lawn back!
  • Aeration – This allows water, air and nutrients to reach the root zone faster. This can result in new growth and increased root development.
  • Repair – Salt and snow can really damage a yard, so do the needed repair work to make the entire yard look like new again.
  • Pests – Don’t forget that while all flowers and trees are waking up again this spring, so are pests! Grass, plantings and tree pests can damage, if not destroy, the lawn. Have a thorough inspection done by our expert technicians to ensure that your lawn and garden is protected this season.
  • Mulch and Prune – As you inspect your yard take note of areas that need pruning and re-mulching. Keep branches away from your home as they become a “bridge” for pests to enter the structure.
  • Soil Check – When was the last time you has a soil analysis? Ask our team to test your soil so you know how and when to fertilize, feed and water your lawn.
  • Protect Against Mosquitoes and Ticks – Do you tend to find ticks on your skin or clothes or get eaten alive by mosquitoes when you step outside? Talk to our professionals about treatment options for your property.

 

Protect your Pet from Pests

For those of us with pets, they are more than just faithful companions. They are truly members of our family. We worry about them and want only the best for their health. While this may show itself in the form of providing daily exercise or only the best foods, it may also mean protecting Fido or Fluffy from the pests that can be in your own yard. Here are a few tips to keep your pet from being bothered by pests this spring and summer.

 

  • Talk to Your Vet – One of the first things you will want to do as a pet owner is find out ways that you can medically protect your pet. Your vet can suggest several methods and types of tick and flea control. Deer ticks are especially dangerous for animals that live outdoors such as dogs, cats, rabbits and horses because they can transmit Lyme disease or “tick paralysis.”
  • Talk to Pro-Tech Lawn Care – Our expert technicians can recommend treatments for your yard to reduce pests that may bother you and/or your pet.
  • Avoid Tall Grasses and Thick Woods – While it is nice to take your pet out for a leisurely walk, avoid areas where pests can hide in tall grasses. After walks or playtime outside, inspect your pet thoroughly.
  • Be Vigilant about Grooming – Inspect your pet’s coat when you comb or bathe him/her. If you spot a pest, it is usually handled sooner-than-later. If your pet has long hair, consider having them groomed in the spring and summer, when ticks and fleas are most prevalent.
  • Clean – After walking your dog or when your cat comes in for the evening, be sure to vacuum common resting areas as they may have brought in insects or pests. In addition, wash your pet’s bedding, crate, toys, food bowls and sleeping areas on a regular basis.

If you suspect ticks or other pests are making your pet sick call Pro-Tech for a free estimate on treating your yard.