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.

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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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We are closed today April 4th

Our annual company meeting is being held today April 4th and our office will be closed. This is a chance to introduce new employees to the company, go over safety procedures (priority) and make sure we are ready to provide our customers the BEST possible service. Our own employees do presentations to inform everyone what their specialty is. Talk about a great way to get to know your fellow employees. This really makes us feel like a team and not just some service company. We feel our customers deserve the best team possible. Personally, I think because Ford’s Hometown Services is a family owned & run business, they want our team to feel like family and in turn treat our customers like family. If you are being bugged, call us 1-800-649-9992.

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Get your first Tick or Mosquito Application for $28.00!

 

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Tick and Mosquito Prevention Program Special

tick special

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Be Aware of Ticks-Save on our Tick Programs

Ford’s Hometown Services pre-season special: You pay just $28.00 for your first tick program service just to try us out. (up to 6,000 sq. ft.) CALL TODAY 1-800-649-9992.

From the UMass Extension: Turf Program

Management Updates: Mar 7, 2016

Be Aware of Ticks
Mar 7, 2016

Practitioners are advised to be aware of ticks while working outdoors.  We have recieved a number of reports recently of individuals encountering ticks in the landscape.  It is possible to speculate that prolonged mild temperatures this winter along with little snow cover have reduced tick mortality, but ticks as a general rule are resilient and can be active any time that temperatures are above freezing.  Furthermore, the same unseasonable conditions that have increased tick activity have also increased the activity of people in and around tick habitat, which greatly increases the potential for tick bites to humans and also pets.

The most notorious offender here in Massachusetts is the Black-Legged Tick (also known as the Deer Tick), Ixodes scapularis.  This tick is most well-known as a carrier of Lyme disease, but can also transmit other serious infections such as Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis.

For more information about how to protect yourself against tick bites, refer to the following fact sheet from the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services:http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/id/epidemiology/ticks/prevention-and-control.html

The Laboratory of Medical Zoology at UMass tests ticks for the presence of Lyme disease and other disease pathogens.  For more information about these services, as well as general information about ticks, tick biology, and links to other useful resources, visit https://ag.umass.edu/services/tick-borne-disease-diagnostics.

Submitted by: Jason Lanier

 

 

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Come see us at the Home Show March 4th, 5th or 6th

Looking for something to do this weekend? Why not stop by the Worcester Home Show at the DCU Center. Our booth always has the most activity because we bring our live insectarium for you to see. Have you ever seen a Scorpion close up? Have you ever heard a Hissing Cockroach hiss? We will also have Ozzy the skunk there off and on over the weekend.  If you are in the Worcester area and need a free pass, stop in our office and we will be happy to give you some. Come see our unique insects and learn about our GREAT Pest Control and Lawn Care services.

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Termites

PEST OF THE MONTH

termites

Eastern Subterranean Termites As their name indicates the type of termites we deal with in New England are Subterranean and are typically moving around in the soil. Termites are an important part of recycling in the environment but are a structural destructive force in your home or business. Termites enter your home through a crack less than 1/16th of an inch. In a colony you will find workers, soldiers ant_vs_termiteand reproductive termites.  Termites require a moist environment in order to survive so they need to get back down into the soil to re-moisturize their bodies. In the springtime a “swarm” of winged termites can be seen inside or outside of your home.   

 We Have Found Termites Damaging:

Pool Liners, Cardboard Boxes, BooksPaper Off Of Sheetrock, Wood Paneling, Carpet Backing, Tree Stumps, Wood Piles, A Baseball Bat Lying On The Ground, Mulch, Picnic Tables & Other Wooden Lawn Furniture, Wooden Stakes In Gardens (For Tomato Plants), Styrofoam Insulation, Pressure Treated Wood, and Pallets On The Floor Of A Basement.
 

Since termite colonies are in the ground or must return to the ground, the full area around the foundation is treated to create a barrier around your home. The chemical used (a termiticide) cannot be detected by the termites. Through there social interactions, they pass this material on to each other. Slowly knocking off each member of the colony in such a way that they don’t realize they are in danger. Are you beeing bugged? Contact us at 1-800-649-9992 or FORDSHOMETOWN.COM 

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We want you to be pest and weed-free!

Pest of the month carpenter ants

Giving our customers the best service is our number one priority. We want our customers to be Pest and Weed-free! Are you unhappy with the results from your pest control or lawn care company? Our lawn care program and pest control programs make great gifts for that hard to buy for person.  Nothing says “I love you” like a pest and weed-free property. We can give free estimates right over the phone. Give Ford’s Hometown Services a call today: 1-800-649-9992.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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