May/June 2011 Newsletter

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Mon, May 09, 2011 @ 04:22 PM

Ants Are Moving In

As ant experts, we notice interesting things about ants. For instance they are no respecter of property-they invade homes of all sizes equally, and they infest every neighborhood. They are so common a problem that they are the #1 pest listed in Gallup polls. You can be sure that every day, ants are either invading your home or trying to.

The first ants that march into your home are the "scouts" looking for food, water, or a nesting place. Once they find what they are looking for, they go back to their colony, laying down a scent trail as they go so other ants can more quickly find their way. Depending on the species of ants, they may prefer sweets, or proteins like meat and grease. Some ants eat both, and they may switch their food preferences-one day they may be attracted to sweets, and another day they may ignore sweets and go after proteins.

Whenever possible, refuse to provide ants food and water. Clean up crumbs, grease, and liquid spills. Occasionally rinse out your kitchen garbage container, even if you use garbage bags. Place opened food in sealed containers.

Some ant species would like to more their colony indoors. They may nest in oddest places, but favorite areas are behind walls and baseboards, beneath floors, in the soil or potted plants, and in other hidden areas.

As the area ant experts, we effectively control these common and persistent invaders. If you know someone who suffers from these pests, please tell them about our professional and courteous services

Are You Encouraging Termites?

No one knowingly hangs a sign on their front door saying:

"Termites Welcome Here!"

But unfortunately, most homes have conditions that practically beg termites to invade.

One of these "welcome" signs for termites is excess moisture in the structure. This is a common problem-one study found that 88% of all homes have one or more moisture problems. Some common moisture problems that study found include: improperly drained air conditioners and downspouts, leaks in the roof, windows, and gutters, poor drainage around the foundation, and sprinklers spraying water onto the side of homes. Excess moisture attracts termites and many other wood destroying pests, so fix these today and we can help.

Here are some other important steps to take to discourage these home-destroying pests.

Undecided Do not allow shrubs or vines to even partially block any air vents.

Undecided Make sure no wood in and around your home is directly contacting the soil. Termites can invade wooden fences, trellises, and flower planters too, and then use these as hidden routes to enter your home.

Undecided Remove pieces of wood, roots, form boards and cardboard buried or lying on the soil.

Undecided Never store firewood indoors until ready to use.

Undecided Have Greenleaf inspect all potential termite problem areas on a regular basis (if we are not already doing this), and treat if needed. We can save you money by catching an infestation early, before extensive damage is done, and your inspections and treatments can help prevent termites from ever getting started in your home.

Clothing treatment for Ticks

Clothing that has been treated with Permethrininsecticide to reduce bites by ticks, mosquitoes, and other blood-sucking insects has been used for many years now, especially by the military and outdoors-man. This insecticide is based on a natural insecticide that occurs in certain flowers. Permethrin has an advantage that it is tightly bound to fabric so even after the clothing has been laundered many times it still is very effective at repelling insects. Plus, applying any repellent to a fabric, rather than directly to skin, greatly reduces skin exposure.

Many people have the impression that to be effective, such clothing must cover their entire bodies. But a study in a recent issue of the Journal of Medical Entomology proved that even summer-weight clothing like treated sneakers, socks, shorts, and T-shirts greatly reduces problems with ticks. In fact, people wearing Permethrin-treated tennis shoes and socks were 74 times less likely to have a tick bite than people wearing untreated shoes and socks. (Most ticks are close to the ground when they contact a human host, so wearing treated shoes makes a lot of sense.)

You can buy clothes that are pre-treated with Permethrin, or spray it on with a special kit. A combination of treated clothing and repellents on your skin would provide the most thorough protection from ticks, mosquitoes, and other blood-suckers.

Mosquito Breeding Sites

With all the wet spring weather, it's especially important this year to eliminate water where mosquitoes may be breeding right in your yard. Mosquito larvae don't need a lot of water to live and develop into adults mosquitoes-even a saucer underneath a potted plant can be a place they can breed in.

Inspect your yard regularly and drain any standing water you find at least once per week. This included flower pots and saucers, buckets, wheelbarrows, pet watering bowls and birdbaths (drain and change the water often), and any other place where you find standing water. All ornamental ponds and rain barrels should be stocked with mosquito-eating fish, or treated to kill mosquito larvae.