Bugs Move in for the Winter

Mice Billboard1As the temperatures start to get cooler in the evenings, the insects and mice start to find a place to overwinter so there are a few housekeeping chores you need to attend to that you may not have considered. Mice, lady bugs, western conifer seed bugs, stink bugs, spiders and many more insects seek the comfort of your home to overwinter. So what can you do to make your home less attractive to them? First,  approach things at ground level. Door sweeps break down over time and if you can see light shining in around your door, you need to replace it. Basement doors and windows should be sealed properly to prevent easy entry. Now is also a great time for one more preventative spray on your foundation and around window and door frames. Cut back shrubs that touch the home to increase ventilation and remove insect highways to your home. Remove leaf litter from around the foundation especially around steps and under porches. Now you can work your way up. Remove window air conditioner units, it is inevitable that insects can find their way in through these and into your home.  Now look up. Gaps in your soffits should be closed and ventilation louvers to the attic should have insect screening. Tree limbs touching the home will allow insects, mice and squirrels a direct road to your attic, even if they need to chew their way in.

Excluding insects is a permanent way to keep the unwanted insects out. Fall is also a great time to have an exterior preventative spray for insects. If you would like more info call us today 1-800-649-9992. Have a Pest & Weed Free Day!

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YOUR LAWN CAN’T BREATH!

Fall Aeration & Seeding Services

 aeration

  • The majority of root growth occurs in the Fall. Therefore; the Fall is the best time to aerate a lawn.  A deeper root system will help against Winter, drought and disease stress. In addition; it will increase water & nutrient efficiency. It is by far one of the best services for your lawn.
  • Fall is also the best time to plant new grass. Aerating with over-seeding is a great way to thicken your lawn. We offer optional over-seeding with this service. We recommend seeding no later than Oct 10th. Slice-seeding for very bare areas is also available. If you need seeding, now is the time, not Spring.
  • Oxygen Is A Key Nutrient For Maintaining Plant Health. Luckily, Mother Nature Offers It Free, But Your Lawn Needs Your Help Supplying It To The Roots. 

For a FREE estimate please call 508-459-3644

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Excluding Bats and Birds is no problem for Ford’s Hometown Services!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Your Environmental Pest and Turf Professionals

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Our Bat Team works at incredible heights

Are Nuisance Bats and Birds Driving You, Well, Batty? Are bats the latest unwelcome visitor in your home or office building? Are bat and bird droppings causing you to worry about your health, your kids’ health, even your pets’ health? Are these bats and birds damaging your property?

Bird and Bat Droppings: Health Hazards Waiting to Happen. You’re right to be concerned about the problems caused by bird and bat droppings. Besides the unsightly mess, droppings cause property damage and pose health risks. Pigeon and bat droppings contain uric acid. This acid eats into the surface it drops on. Painted surfaces, canvas awnings, signs, and other similar materials are most likely to be affected. Dried droppings contain many fungal and viral diseases that pose health risks as well (think of your kids and pets playing in the backyard). Histoplasmosis, encephalitis, meningitis, and salmonella are just a few of the common viral and bacterial diseases that have been associated with bird droppings.

Ford’s to the Rescue: Safe and Effective Bird and Bat Removal When You Need It Most. At Ford’s Hometown Services, we tailor a bird or bat exclusion program to meet your specific needs. We always use the latest and most effective humane bird and bat removal methods—methods that work for your home or office building over the long term.

From a few birds and bats to large habitations, we have the expertise to capture and exclude birds, bats, and other wildlife nuisances from homes and commercial buildings.

Call us at 800-649-9992 when you first see signs of trouble.

Ford’s Hometown Services…The Best in Pest Control and Lawn Care for Over Sixty Years.

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Reminder to bee-aware

This nest is a danger to anyone who crosses its path. It is blended in with the stones around it and would be very difficult to see. If a person was to get to close several baldface hornets would fly out ready to sting and defend their nest. Noises like lawn mowers and weed-wackers can annoy these pests into a frenzy causing them to come out by the hundreds. Please be careful this time of the year. These nests are often found in shrubs or in the ground around homes so be alert. If you have an issue with hornets or wasps, please leave it to the professionals. Give us a call 1-800-649-9992. We fear no weevil. nest on building3

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Too Cute for Words!

Our very brave Rheanna is always happy to handle our insects and reptiles and just loved the brand new baby snakes!  Most people go running from snakes, but not Rheanna.

Rheanna with baby snakes

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Yellow Jackets

 Huge Nest in atticYellow Jacket Nest in Wall

 

YELLOW JACKETS

 Family ‘vespidae”

 Yellow Jackets are considered beneficial social wasps feeding on sweet secretions and other insects but can become a homeowner’s worst nightmare. The fertilized queen from the prior fall is the only survivor of the winter.  In the spring, she seeks a nesting site in wall voids, stone walls, in the ground, and in shrubs. Ten to twenty eggs are initially laid in her newly constructed nest, which are fed and tendered by her until they reach adulthood. Now her duties become strictly egg laying and her new adult workers support her new offspring while developing the nest.

When fall arrives; the nest becomes noticeable in size as it may contain thousands of worker wasps. We get the majority of Yellow Jacket calls at the end of August till mid October. Usually it is because when shrubs are being trimmed a hidden nest becomes disturbed and attacks. Ford’s Hometown Services responded to an emergency Yellow Jacket call to a property where a tractor tire broke through into a hidden nest in the ground engulfing the homeowner in a cloud of yellow jackets. When we arrived the tractor was still running and thankfully the homeowner was safe inside. These wasps can be aggressive and will defend their nest by stinging multiple times. Homeowners should never attempt to treat a yellow jacket nest which requires a ladder or if you are unsure if you are allergic. For safety reasons these situations should be left up to the professionals. By late fall the colony produces new queens who become fertilized, fly off to over-winter and so the cycle continues.

How we can help

Our technicians use many methods (sprays, organics, dusts and special equipment) to eradicate yellow jackets depending on where the nest is located. Because we are treating during the day- while the nest is active, we must leave the nest up allowing all members of the colony to return into the treated nest so we know all members of the colony will die. If the nest is knocked down, the yellow jackets out foraging for food will return and start rebuilding a new nest. Post treatment: There may be some hatching of drones, but with no colony members assisting, they will soon die. A homeowner should never attempt daytime treatment.

More Information on Yellow Jackets

  • When having a party, place all trash cans away from people. Anything that is sweet will attract yellow jackets- keep all food covered.
  • When nests are first forming, knock them down with a hose to discourage the queen from building there.
  • Keep a close eye on the ground. Ground nests go unnoticed until the traffic in and out becomes fast & furious. Children are especially at risk in a yard with a ground nest.
  • Although not recommended, if you try to treat a nest, do not shine a flashlight on the entrance hole. It can alert the yellow jackets to your presence or give them the illusion the sun is coming up and they will become active.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow Jacket Stinger

OUCH! The Yellow Jacket has the ability to sting multiple times. While stinging, the Yellow Jacket releases a pheromone letting its friends in the nest know there is a threat. This signal will cause more and more angry Yellow Jackets to come out stinging. Your best plan of action if this happens is to run far away from the nest and find an enclosed shelter.

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A great example of a hidden nest!

Hidden yellow jacket nestfind the nest 2

Our technician (Steve Antoni) made a great find while servicing one of our customers. Although this was away from the home, Steve saw the yellow jackets flying around and traced them back to this area. This could have easily ended in the homeowner, the landscaper or a pet getting severely stung if it had gone unnoticed and been disturbed by accident. You can see the gray color of the nest sticking through the middle of the ground cover. Great job Steve, job well done!

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Alert: Stinging Insect Nests

yellowjacketsStinging insect nests are dangerous to treat for homeowners especially at this time of the year. The drones are now numerous and they are ready to attack and defend their nest with little to no provoking. Buying a can of spray to try to treat these nests is both dangerous and usually unsuccessful. See the two examples of nests found within homes and you can imagine how many stinging insects were inside. Once one member of the colony stings you, a pheromone is released calling others to defend the nest. Many of these nests are found in shrubs and under ground cover which makes them that more dangerous when disturbed. Please leave the treatment of these insects to the professionals this time of the year. Need our help? Call: 1-800-649-99992.

Huge Nest in attic

Yellow Jacket Nest in Wall

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Looking for a fun project for your kids?

I ran across this great idea from the National Pest Management Association to keep the kids busy and may also help you find conditions that are drawing insect to your home.

IPM Scavenger Hunt

– National Pest Management Association

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

School’s out! Hooray! When my kids were younger, summer was a time for “camp mom.”  I loved coming up with creative adventures and explorations.  I often themed our weeks together…Heritage Week where we explored our Scandinavian ancestors, made delicacies from Norway and Sweden, and read books by authors from “the motherland”…Colonial Week offered candle and butter making, games from the early days, and even an attempt at learning to sew (epic fail!). Of course, any themes focused on the outdoors were always a big success!

I was reminded of my days as the chief creator of fun when Jim Fredericks, one of my colleagues and our staff entomologist, published an IPM Scavenger Hunt for Kids.  IPM, or Integrated Pest Management, is a common sense approach to pest control that starts with the removal of food, water, and shelter that pests find attractive on your property.

Why not liven up a summer afternoon by taking your kids on an IPM Scavenger Hunt!?!   Not only will they have a great time learning about bugs but they will learn how to locate potential pest problems on your property. The adventure can offer teachable moments about the difference between bugs and the pests they become when they enter your home and things children can do to help keep your home pest free!

Here are a few ideas of things to look for to get you started….

  • Ants
  • Ant nests
  • Crickets
  • Spiders
  • Termite mud tubes (Hope you don’t find any of those!)
  • Carpenter ant frass (Look for sawdust like wood shavings with insects parts)
  • Carpenter bee holes (Look for perfectly round ½ diameter holes in wood)
  • Wasp nests (Stay away!)
  • Cracks in foundation walls (Spider entry points!)
  • Holes in screens (Don’t invite the mosquitoes!)
  • Gaps underneath doors (If you can slide a piece of paper under the front door, a spider can crawl through!)
  • Holes larger than a dime (Just big enough to let mice inside!)
  • Leaky rain gutters (Water pooling by your home welcomes a host of pests)
  • Leaky Pipes (Cockroaches love these!)
  • Firewood piled less than 20 feet from the structure (Keep it back to keep rodents and termites at bay)
  • Outdoor trashcans with no lids (Find secure lids or else nuisance wildlife will thank you for easy access!)
  • Tree limbs overhanging the house (Branches that come close to your home offer a pest highway indoors)
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What do you mean this roach isn’t bad?

Every year we have panicked people come in worried sick because they have found a cockroach in the house. Surprisingly enough, there are types of cockroaches that are not a threat to the home. The most popular one around here is a Pennsylvania Woods Roach.

The Woods Roach lives outside usually under the bark of trees or in your mulch or other such areas. They are attracted to light which is how they end up in your home. Woods roaches do not get into our food, breed inside or even live very long indoors. They are considered a nuisance pest and are very rarely sprayed for. When inside you will find this roach walking around out in the open during the day. This is a tip that you have spotted a Woods Roach. Normally a German Cockroach (the kind you do worry about) would only be seen at night and shuns the light, scattering as soon as lights are turned on.

So, please don’t panic! When in doubt, bring a sample of the insect to our office or send us a photo and we will be happy to let you know what you have found. Have an insect problem? Call us today 1-800-649-9992.

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