Have you ever wondered where all the bugs and pests go during the winter months? The answer really depends upon the pest that you are thinking about; some overwinter in the bark of trees, others seek shelter in places like your garage, basement, or attic, and still others migrate for the long, cold winter months. Here is a quick run down of where these pests have disappeared to during the harsh New England winters.
- Flying Insects – Insects that rely on crops and flowering plantings for basic survival must figure out a way to get through the winter. These insects, such as beetles, moths, and dragonflies, migrate as the need arises, similar to the way that birds migrate south for the winter. For some insects, the timing means that the adults that migrate south are not the ones that return in the spring but rather the offspring who emerged during the reproductive season down south fly back to your area.
- Mosquitoes – Bug hibernation is called diapause and this is what many pests, like the mosquito, do to survive the winter months. During diapause a mosquito’s metabolic rate drops to one-tenth of its usual activity, allowing the bug to enter a state of inactivity. Prior to this, insects like mosquitoes seek out shelter where they can remain in this inactive state all winter such as: under your house shingles, inside your chimney, in storm drains, and in naturally occurring places like tree stumps.
- Ticks – Ticks also slow down and end up in a state of inactivity, and they do something special that several types of pests do during winter – they produce glycerol to stop their bodies from freezing. The glycerol serves as a form of antifreeze!
- Ants – Depending upon the type of ants in your area, and the freeze and thaw dates, ants tend to seek out areas such as the behind the bark of trees to get through the winter. Areas such as this absorb the sunlight and allow just enough heat to help ants survive the winters.
- Mice, Rats, and other Wildlife – Here comes the bad news. Some pests find a really great winter hideout – your home. These rodents and other wildlife seek out shelter in your attics, garages, basements, and crawl spaces.
If you have found that there are pests spending the winter in your home call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733 to “protect” your gardens.
It may not feel like it, but spring is only a couple of months away. Are you dreaming about your garden yet? Do you know what plantings you will use this year in your window boxes? Have you planned out every inch of your landscape? Well, if you haven’t done so yet, here are some great planning tools and resources that we have found online. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your couch to get started on your labor of love – your lawn and garden. Garden-lovers rejoice because this could keep you busy until the buds have started showing on the trees. Are you ready for some garden planning?
- Fruit and Veggie Gardens – For those of you who have a green thumb and can’t wait to dig into the soil and start working on your fruits and veggies, this website, Old Farmer’s Almanac can get you started. This ultimate garden planner makes it easy to draw out your vegetable beds, add plants, and move them around to get the perfect layout. Either feet and inches or metric units are supported and any shape of garden can be created.
- Annual and Perennial Gardens – Better Homes and Garden offers an assortment of planning tools for container gardens, garden beds, rock gardens, specific fragrance or color gardens, and many more.
- Raised Bed Gardens – Use this free online planner to get the blueprints to a super-productive vegetable garden, based on square-foot gardening techniques instead of traditional rows. This planner from Gardener’s Supply Company offers a unique way to cultivate an herb garden.
- For Beginners – Gardening is for everyone, even for newbies! Check out this garden planning tool specifically designed for novices from Vegetable Gardening Online.
No matter what type or size of garden you have at your home, you will want to be sure that you keep the pests away. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733 to “protect” your gardens.
Caring for your lawn to keep it lush, beautiful, and free of pests is pretty much a year-round endeavor. Knowing what to do to maintain your grass, plantings, and garden is only half the battle, and knowing when to do them is the other half. So, to help you get started right this spring and stay on track for summer and fall, here is a quick cheat sheet to let you know what actions you should take and when in order to maintain a healthy lawn all year long.
Spring – Time to get the tools and mower ready!
- Remove any debris such as twigs, branches, or left over leaves from last fall and winter.
- Aerate if your grass looks compacted or if high traffic areas are getting bare of grass. Look for puddles during spring rains that tell you where the lawn is compacted.
- Choose a long-term fertilizer that can nourish your grass and get it growing.
- Begin seeding the parts of your lawn that didn’t fare so well during the winter months or the parts that died last fall.
- Mow the lawn regularly, but not more than ⅓ of the height at any one time.
- Have a “Start up” completed on your irrigation system.
Summer – Things are warming up and beginning to really grow!
- Continue mowing the grass but avoid mowing too short as it may burn in the sun.
- Water during the early morning hours or after dusk so that you don’t lose all the moisture through evaporation. Water deep enough and check regularly by sticking a screwdriver into the lawn and seeing how far down it can go. If it is hard as a rock, water more; if it is too wet cut back on your mowing.
- Depending upon the type of fertilizer you used in the spring you may want a summer fertilizer and pest control treatment. Ask your lawn care provider what is best for your lawn.
- Summer is a great time to plant your favorite annuals or start a perennial garden.
Autumn – The leaves are falling and the temps are slowly dropping.
- If you have not already aerated this year, now is the time to loosen up the grass and allow the water, nutrients, and oxygen to get to the roots before a long, dormant winter.
- Rake the leaves and be sure to get all the debris off the lawn.
- Continue mowing the lawn while it is still growing.
- Prepare for the first frost by wrapping bushes and shrubs.
- Evaluate all tools and equipment that may need repairs.
- Arrange a blow out of the irrigation system.
Winter – Old man winter is settling in!
- Avoid walking on the lawn as the grass crowns are brittle and fragile.
- Do not park cars on the lawn.
- Be careful where you shovel piles of snow onto the lawn, especially if there is rock salt mixed in.
Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.
Now that mosquito season is over and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has collected the data, it is time for a review of 2017 and the latest on diseases spread via mosquitoes. According to the World Health Organization, “Of all disease-transmitting insects, the mosquito is the greatest menace, spreading malaria, dengue and yellow fevers, which together are responsible for several million deaths and hundreds of millions of cases every year.” Different regions are impacted by different mosquito-borne diseases depending on climate, the types of mosquitoes common in the region, and access to preventative measures and medicine. In our region of the United States there are specific mosquito-borne diseases to be concerned with including West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
West Nile Virus – The CDC reports that the most common way the West Nile virus is transmitted is by mosquito bite. Most people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. About 1-in-5 people who are infected will develop a fever and other symptoms. Fewer than 1% of those infected develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness. To see an interactive map of the areas most hit by West Nile click here. The CDC has compiled data for the past several decades to compare the spread and statistical data associated with the disease.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis – 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. Most cases occur in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states (see map).
Check back with our blog in the spring as we will continue to cover outbreaks and locations. Our blog will also have the latest on treatment and prevention techniques. As always, if you have any questions call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.
New Englanders are accustomed to snow, ice, and wind, from November through till almost April. We have learned to adapt to the treacherous driving conditions, the freezing temperatures, and precipitation that can change from rain, to sleet, to snow in the matter of a few minutes. While we humans may be able to handle the ups and downs of winter snows, what about our lawns? Do snow, wind, and temperatures damage our lawns? Here is what the experts say.
- Snow is an insulating blanket for our lawns. Snow cover of four inches or more during harsh freezes acts as an insulator and protects plants and roots from the air and drying freeze conditions.
- Snow protects your lawn from transpiration. Transpiration is a form of evaporation from plants such as blades of grass or young plants.
- As the snow melts in the spring it is great for the groundwater supply. That water is absorbed into the roots and the soil to help during the long, hot, dry summer months.
- An absence of snow during the winter months when the temperatures are extremely low and the air terribly dry can be harsh on your lawn. Without an insulating blanket of snow, the frost line can penetrate deep into the soil. This could damage tender plantings.
- Walking on the snow on your lawn can cause damage to the crowns of your grass. As young children make snowmen or sled on your lawn the brittle crowns can be broken or crushed. They may not be able to recover in the spring. Just be careful where and how often you walk on your lawn while there is a snow cover.
For more information on protecting your lawn and garden during the winter months, call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.