Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ant

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ant frass with ant and insect parts

Carpenter Ant Frass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carpenter Ants can be black or combination of red and black or red and brown. Workers vary in size and can range from ¼ to ½ inch and the queens range from ½ to 5/8ths.     These ants are an important part of recycling and composting wood in their natural setting, but are destructive and unsettling when they invade our homes and businesses. Most carpenter ant queens start a nest in decayed or water-damaged wood that is softened by fungus. Normally, we find a major nest containing thousands of ants and smaller satellite colonies containing fewer ants. These satellite colonies can be found anywhere. The presence of winged ants (a swarming) indicates a mature colony close by.

Our Pest Management Professionals are experts in eradicating carpenter ants. They will ask questions to try to deduce where the ants may have set up the primary nest. Their questions may include: Have you had any water leaks or water problems in general? How many ants do you see and in what area do you see the most? Do you see ants every spring or do you see any with wings? Our professional will also look for conducive conditions such as mulch up against the foundation, excessive leaf litter, woodpiles and scrap wood, bushes and trees which touch the home and any earth-to-wood contact.  If ants are seen, the technician may put carpenter ant bait down. The ants will pick up this “food” and head back to the nest to feed the queen and the young. These clues will hopefully lead to where the problem is and the discovery of where the nesting sites are.  If you are a do-it yourself person and continue to have ants yearly, you may be causing a small problem to become a big one. Are you beeing bugged? Contact us at FORDSHOMETOWN.COM or 1-800-649-9992.

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The Road of Life is Paved with Flat Squirrels..

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The Road of Life is Paved With Flat Squirrels..

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Are Violets Infiltrating Your Lawn?

Violet Control

What are violets? Violets are considered an annual in cool  season climates and a violetperennial in warmer climates. Perennial types have  rhizomes or long stolons, heart-shaped leaves on long petioles, and  purplish-white flowers; annual types can have irregular-shaped leaves, hairy  stem with light yellow to purple flowers.  It is a nasty and sometimes impossible broad-leaf weed (dicot) to  control.  Its waxy leaves make liquid  herbicides roll off it, as on the finish of a new car.

Control: Our fertilizing program  includes three selective herbicides to control a broad range of broad-leaf  weeds. With our program we have experienced medium control of violets. We  recommend (between regular treatments), additional violet control so that the  plant will not have a chance to recover between applications. We are unable to  give you a specific number of applications needed to fully control them.  Overall price will vary; each application will be a separate charge.

Fords Hometown Services   is the only known Lawn Company who still presently possesses an off the market  chemical (Confront) know for good violet control. We purchased all the  remaining stock in the area.

It is recommended to eliminate  any violets from your property. If they are in your flowerbeds, we do not spray  the beds with this service. We do offer a hand selective spray for such areas.  This is offered at an additional charge.

If you are not on our  fertilizing programs, we recommend a minimum of three services approximately 4  weeks days apart according to label.

Contact us  today or call us at (800) 649-9992 for your free estimate with on-site analysis (our price is based on square footage).

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Peek-A-Boo!

I ran across this funny picture and just had to share it. Imagine you are enjoying your favorite meal and a giant pulls the roof off of your home. This is most likely how you would look too.

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Peek-a-Boo!

I ran across this funny picture and just had to share it. Imagine you are enjoying your favorite meal and a giant pulls the roof off of your home. This is most likely how you would look too.

 

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The Art of Excluding Animals.

Ford's-BATS 144x47Ford’s Hometown Services is often asked to perform the removal and exclusion of bats and squirrels from commercial buildings and homes. Infestations can fester for years and can infiltrate wall and ceiling voids, floor voids and interior and exterior voids, attics, roof voids, overhangs and behind fascia boards. Basically, animals can infiltrate every void from the attic to the basement.

We approach the exclusion of animals in phasesSquirrels2 008

Elimination Phase

  1. In the event of squirrels we set up squirrel traps to remove any animals.
  2. With Bats,all entry points are sealed leaving only 1 exit. A one-way door is then placed so all bats can exit, but not re-enter. Bat work is shut down during the time the mothers are raising their young pups. Work is resumed once all young are able to fly.

Follow-up

  1. Check all traps
  2. Empty and re-Set traps
  3. Follow-up bat work requires the attic to be inspected for activity and if no signs of bats are found, the one-way door is removed and the hole will be sealed.
  4. All visible entry points will be sealed to prevent re-infestation of  squirrels,birds and bats.

Warranty

  1. Warranty times may vary depending on the integrity of the structure.

 

Are you having an issue with bats, birds or squirrels? Call today 1-800-649-9992

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Do you have Termites or Winged Ants?

Now that the warmer weather is finally here, you may encounter a “swarm” of insects inside or outside of your home. Both ants and termites will produce reproductives with wings to ensure the survival of the colony. The act of swarming usually means the colony has been active for 2 or more years.  Homeowners should be vigilant in making their homes less attractive to these wood-loving pests. An important method for preventing carpenter ant and termite problems is to eliminate high moisture conditions that are attractive to them. Also, replace any moisture-damaged wood and never have wood-to-soil contact. Be careful that wood or lumber that is stored in a garage or near the house is kept dry and, if possible, elevated to allow air circulation. Store firewood as far away from buildings as possible. Remove tree and shrub stumps and roots.  If you find these insects close to the home or inside, call us! 1-800-649-9992.

ant_vs_termite

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Your Lawn Has Snow Mold

Symptoms:

Damage from snow mold fungi usually becomes apparent as the snow melts and exposes the grass in late winter. Snow mold symptoms consist of roughly circular patches (at least 3 to 12 inches) of dead and matted grass blades. In severe cases, these patches coalesce and may not be recognizable as individual circles. Just after snow melt and while the grass remains moist, it may be possible to differentiate between the two common types of snow mold found in New England by their color. The web-like mycelium of pink snow mold (Microdochium nivale) may initially look white and mature to a faint pink to salmon color. Gray snow mold (Typhula spp.) is white to gray in color. The mycelium of both types of fungi will disappear quickly as the grass dries. A useful identifying characteristic of gray snow mold is the presence of tiny brown to black mycelial masses (sclerotia) on the blades and in the leaf sheaths of infected plants. These survival structures vary in size and color, becoming smaller and darker as they dry. The pink snow mold fungus does not produce sclerotia.

    

It is useful to determine whether the disease is pink or gray snow mold because gray snow mold rarely damages more than the blades of the grass. Lawns with gray snow mold can be expected to recover fairly quickly even when damage appears extensive. Pink snow mold, in contrast, may invade the crowns and roots causing more serious injury. It is not unusual for both types of snow mold to be found in the same area. All common lawn grasses may be infected, but Kentucky bluegrass-fescue lawns are the least susceptible to severe damage.

Season:

Snow mold fungi are active at temperatures just above freezing in moist conditions. These conditions occur most frequently under snow cover or anything else that covers the grass, such as fallen tree leaves. Gray snow mold usually only occurs after prolonged snow cover. Pink snow mold may be active in cool, wet conditions from late fall through early spring even in the absence of snow or other covers, a factor which greatly enhances its potential as a damaging disease.

Disease Cycle:

Snow mold fungi remain inactive during the warm months when other disease fungi are most active. They survive in thatch and on plants as sclerotia (gray snow mold) or as mycelial threads (pink snow mold). In the fall, Typhula species sometimes produce small, white or pinkish, club-shaped spore-producing structures that may be seen among grass blades in lawns that have not been recently mowed. They grow from sclerotia that were produced in the previous winter for survival over the summer.

As cool, wet weather develops, the fungi begin to grow and infect grass plants. Like all living organisms, these fungi require moisture to survive. The cold, dry air of winter prevents active growth. The shelter of leaves, snow or any other cover on the grass maintains the necessary moisture for growth. Optimal conditions for snow mold activity occur when snow falls suddenly and remains on ground that has not yet frozen. In such cases, grass is often still lush, providing an excellent food base for the fungi.

Cultural Management:

The most important means of preventing or reducing snow mold problems in lawns is the care of the grass at the end of the summer season. As long as the grass continues to grow, it should be mowed. Fall fertility programs should be timed so that they do not influence the ability of the grass to become dormant for the winter season. Fall fertilizers should be applied more than six weeks before dormancy, or they should be applied after leaf blade growth has stopped but while the grass is still green. Addition of nitrogen fertilizer just before the grass becomes dormant will stimulate a late burst of succulent green growth, making the grass prone to winter injury caused by frost, ice or exposure and also providing the snow mold fungi with vulnerable host plants. This condition is particularly dangerous when an early snowfall occurs.

Because snow mold activity is greatest beneath covers that maintain moist conditions, all leaves or other materials should be removed from the lawn. In addition, it is best to avoid piling snow deeply along sidewalks and driveways where it will form a long-lasting snow bank. In large lawn areas, the strategic placement of snow fences and landscape plants may prevent deep drifting of snow. In the spring, rake away dead and matted foliage from damaged areas to allow the new growth to begin.

Chemical Management:

Fungicide applications for snow mold are not recommended for home lawns except in extreme circumstances. The cultural practices described above are the most effective means of reducing snow mold damage. In most cases, the grass will resume healthy growth in the spring, even though damage may appear widespread at snow melt. In unusual circumstances, where cultural practices have not been sufficient, fungicide application may be considered. Fungicides are most effective if applied just before the first lasting snow fall. Fungicides are not effective in spring after the damage has already occurred unless pink snow mold is involved. Pink snow mold may renew activity if cool, moist weather conditions prevail and may warrant treatment.

Adapted from the UMass Extension, 2000

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April is Lawn Care Month

Chris Ford the VP of Ford’s Hometown Services and current President of The Massachusetts Association of Lawn Care Professionals (MALCP) attended a gathering at the State House for Agriculture Day at the State house for the Governors acceptance proclaiming  that April is “lawn care month.” He had the privilege of meeting with Senator Harriet Chandler and several state representatives on industry issues.

Chris Ford Meeting Ag Day

 

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