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.
We often get calls from clients asking us to identify certain pests (like the type of bees) that seem to have taken up residence around a homeowner’s property. One type of bee, that is often misidentified by homeowners, is the carpenter bee. Carpenter bees are often confused with Bumble bees since they have similar features and coloring.
The best way to tell these bees apart is to look at the top of the abdomen. Bumble bees have a colorful, hairy abdomen, while on carpenter bees the top surface of the abdomen is bare and shiny. Bumble bees live in small, social colonies, often in the ground, where work is divided among colony members. Carpenter bees, on the other hand, construct nests in exterior structural or decorative wood such as siding, fascia boards, trim, and wooden-shingled homes. And that is where the problem lies.
Carpenter bees can be fairly destructive wood boring insects. Carpenter bees do not consume wood, but their tunneling can be destructive to softwoods and hardwoods alike. Under normal conditions they are not very destructive; however, if several generations of carpenter bees have been tunneling in the same area, extensive damage is possible. Carpenter bees use the galleries that they create to raise their young so generation after generation can take up residence in your home if you do not take action.
According to the University of Michigan Extension School for Agriculture, carpenter bees can make a vast system of tunnels and need to be taken care of by pest control experts. Pro-Tech Lawn Care can correctly identify the bees that are boring into your home, locate the ½ inch diameter holes and create a treatment plan that will get rid of these pests before they have a chance to cause damage.
Who doesn’t love to sit out by the grill and enjoy the company of friends and family? Summer is just around the corner and that means BBQ’s and outdoor entertaining is just weeks away. Memorial Day Weekend is traditionally the kick off to summer and outdoor activities, so here are a few tips to make all of your get-togethers pest free!
- Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care to have an estimate done for treatments that will keep mosquitoes, bees and ticks at bay during the warm weather months.
- Mosquitoes tend to be most active at dusk and dawn, so if you are planning a barbeque around sunset or after, plan on having plenty of insect repellant containing an EPA-registered active ingredient like DEET, picaridin or IR3535 available for you and your guests.
- Wear long sleeves or pants to avoid bites and encourage your guests to cover up.
- Use tightly sealed containers when preparing BBQ fare. Ants and flies are attracted to food so take steps to keep food safe by using tightly sealed containers or coolers.
- Clean crumbs and spills from patio tables immediately and keep food that is out – covered.
- Store all trash away from the party and always keep your garbage bins covered.
- Yellowjackets and other stinging insects are attracted to fragrances from shampoo, perfume, and candles, so avoid using these scented items beforehand.
- Provide covered cups for your guests as aluminum cans and plastic bottles are good hiding spots for stinging insects.
- Prior to the party, check screen doors and repair any holes. Once the guests have arrived, remind them to shut the door behind them in order to keep pests from entering your home.
Did you know that stinging insects send more than a half a million people to the emergency rooms across our nation annually? For many of us, stings from a bee, wasp or hornet are painful for a short while and may swell or cause itchiness for days to come. Sadly, acute reactions to insect stings are growing in numbers according to Massachusetts General Hospital. For some people who suffer a sting, there may be a large area of swelling and reaction. For others, a sting may be a life threatening event where the individual’s entire body reacts to the sting. If you suspect that you have been stung and are suffering a major reaction call 911 immediately. Before the stinging season kicks off in full swing, however, here are some steps you can take to protect yourself as well as prevent stinging insects from being attracted to your area.
- Don’t walk barefoot in the grass. If you upset a nest or, worse yet, step on a nest you could be facing hundreds of angry insects.
- Keep an eye out for stinging insects when gardening, mowing, or other outdoor activities. For example, yellow jackets like to build nests underground, in the walls and cracks of buildings or in woodpiles. Hornets can build nests in trees and shrubs, and paper wasps can live in circular combs under eaves, shrubs or woodpiles. Stay clear of nests and do not try to remove it yourself. Call the professionals at Pro-Tech Lawn Care who have years of experience removing and solving stinging pests from your property.
- Avoid drinking from open containers outside since stinging insects can crawl inside of drink cans and other containers. Put a cap back on your soda, beer or drink from a covered container.
- Keep lids on garbage cans and clean up drips from the grill.
- Avoid wearing bright-colored clothing and perfumes as these may attract stinging insects.
Ouch! Something just bit me!
At some point in our lives, we will be bitten by an insect or pest and suffer the pain, itching or swelling that is associated with it. Some people are bitten far more often because of where they live, the season of the year or as a function of the activities in which they engage. Unfortunately, a small portion of the population who are allergic to certain pests may suffer an anaphylactic reaction when bitten. Let’s take a look at biting insects and how you can avoid them.
Many kinds of arthropods (insects, ticks, mites, centipedes and similar creatures) will bite to obtain nourishment or as a means of self-defense. They do this with their mouthparts which can hurt upon initial insertion into a human’s skin. How each pest bite varies from insect to insect. For example, mosquitoes, lice, bedbugs and fleas have delicate thin stylets that they use to deftly probe for a skin capillary in search of blood. The wound quickly self-seals when the insect withdraws its proboscis. In contrast, black flies and deer flies have blade-like mouthparts that slice and dice the skin to cause blood and tissue fluid to pool at the wound. The physical damage that results is in stark contrast to that of the mosquito. (Source: BugTalk)
In order to avoid these unpleasant (and for some, dangerous bites) there are several actions you can take to protect yourself. The Centers for Disease Control recommends taking the following precautions:
- Use Insect Repellent – Use EPA-registered insect repellents that contain at least 20% DEET (products include Cutter Backwoods and Off! Deep Woods) for protection against mosquitoes, ticks, and other bugs.
- Cover Up – As much as possible, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and a hat. Tuck your shirt into your pants, and tuck your pants into your socks for maximum protection. Some bugs can bite through thin fabric.
- Avoid Bugs – Whenever possible avoid areas that have standing water or where pests may find a feast of food such as outdoor kitchens or grills. Stay a distance away from areas that pests will be drawn to especially during the hours of dawn and dusk.