No one likes finding an endless parade of ants marching along a windowsill, wall, or countertop, but almost everyone has had these persistent pests invade their home at some point. One of the most common—and annoying—pests found in our homes, ants come indoors in search of food, water, and shelter. They are attracted to foods like sugar, protein, and grease, as well as rotten or moldy wood. Doors, windows, and cracks in walls or foundations give these colonizing creatures easy access, and once inside, they are hard to get rid of for good. Discover the best methods for ant control in Ohio now.
Identifying Ant Species
To successfully tackle an ant infestation, you first need to identify the species. There are a variety of common species that invade homes. They can range from 1/32 to 3/4 of an inch in size and can be yellowish, light brown, reddish brown, or black in color. Luckily, most species of ants found in Ohio don’t bite or sting. The most common types found in this region include:
- Pavement ants
- Carpenter ants
- Pharaoh ants
- Odorous house ants
Ants are social creatures that form colonies ranging anywhere in size from hundreds to several thousands of insects. Certain members of the colony perform different jobs. For example, each colony has one or more queens to lay eggs. There are worker ants who search out food and water. In their travels, the workers create invisible scented trails in order to find their way back to the nest. Other members are called swarmers. These ants have wings and are often confused with termites. Here are some easy ways to distinguish between termites and swarmer ants.
- Ants are narrow at the waist, while termites have consistently wide bodies.
- Ants have bent antennae, while termites have straight antennae.
- Both ants and termites have four wings, but ants have longer front wings, while a termite’s wings are all the same size.
- Ant wings are clearish or brownish in color, while termite wings are whitish or gray and shed easily.
Ant Control in Ohio Homes
When you see one or two ants in your home, chances are it’s not alone. These social insects usually build their nests outside but enter your home for food and water. However, some ants will set up shop in walls, cracks, and crevices, so the first step in controlling an ant infestation is to locate the nest. Once you find it, you can target the entire colony instead of just killing a couple of ants.
If you see a line of moving ants, you can usually follow them to find the nest, but if that does not work, try putting a dab of honey or jelly near the procession and watch where they take the food.
Preventing an ant invasion is easier than destroying a colony once it is established. The best way to avoid an invasion is to eliminate their food sources. Clean up crumbs and put away leftovers, and make sure that food left out on the counter or in the cabinets is in sealed containers. Fix leaky pipes to avoid rotting wood and providing ants with a water source, and caulk up cracks and crevices that give pests easy access to your home.
When treating for ants, use insect control products sparingly. Only apply the products to the nest or small areas that are infested. If you treat an entire room or area, they will find a way to avoid it. When you treat near the nest or in a crack where you’ve seen pests, the worker bees do the rest by bringing the product back to the colony.
There are many insect control products on the market claiming to control ants, but only a few may help in your situation. It’s difficult to pick the right one and to completely eradicate a colony, so it may be best to leave the task to professionals.
Is it better with baits? Ant baits work the same way as other insect control products—worker ants feed on the product, then take it back to the nest. Baits keep the product contained, and when used carefully, may be a safer alternative to spraying. Place the baits near where you’ve seen ant activity or along their trails.
Call the Professionals
To get rid of ants or other pests, contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone]. We can help you determine the proper method of treatment and eradicate the infestation once and for all.
For you, summertime means fun in the sun, but for your lawn it can be a more stressful time. We tend to spend more time outdoors in the warmer months for sports, barbecues, entertaining, or just relaxing, and we want our lawns to look their best. But heat, drought, sun, pests, and extra foot traffic make it harder for grasses and plants to thrive during these months. You may need to work a little harder to keep your lawn green all summer long, but there are ways to help it beat the heat.
Signs that Your Summer Lawn Is Suffering
It’s not easy being green—even for your lawn. In the dry, hot summer months it is more susceptible to diseases and pests. Keep your eyes open for the following signs that the grass in your yard is suffering from the summertime blues.
- Brown or yellow spots
- Diseased patches
- Dried out grass
- Pest infestations
- Excessive weeds
How to Save Your Summer Lawn
Preparing your yard for the warmer weather ahead can go a long way in keeping it lush. Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy green lawn this summer.
- Watering – The most efficient time to water your lawn is in the morning. When you water in the wee hours, the moisture has a chance to soak into the soil instead of just being evaporated by the afternoon heat. The grass also has plenty of time to dry out before nightfall–wet grass at night creates favorable conditions for diseases to develop. It’s best to water deeply and infrequently, so the lawn’s root system can absorb it better. Keep in mind that summer lawns do well with about one inch of water per week, and that includes rainfall.
- Just breathe – A lawn needs oxygen as well as water, so it should be aerated–a process that helps it to absorb the water better with less runoff. The least expensive way to do this is to use a pitchfork and poke it into the ground every six inches or so. If your yard is very big, it may be better to hire a machine or a professional to take on the task.
- Mow in the know – Summertime also means more mowing for you. Some property owners try to mow grass as short as possible so they don’t have to do it as often, but this is a mistake. Mowing higher may mean mowing more often, but it will go a long way in keeping your lawn healthy and green. By raising the height of the blades on your mower, you can keep your grass better sheltered from the sun and heat–taller grass retains moisture better, grows deeper roots, and keeps weeds from taking over. A good rule of thumb is to never cut more than 1/3 off of the blades at one time. Keep cool-season grasses between 3 and 4 inches, while warm-season grasses do better between 2 and 3 inches.The mower’s blade should be kept sharp–giving the grass a clean cut helps it to heal faster. Dull blades tear the grass instead of making a smooth cut, and will cause the lawn to brown.It’s also a good idea to use a mulching mower, which returns the grass clippings to the lawn. As the clippings decompose they help to feed the lawn, acting almost like a slow-release fertilizer.
- Fertilizing – That brings us to feeding your lawn. If your lawn is suffering from summer stress, fertilizing it isn’t going to help. It’s best to give it a good feeding before the summer to get it in its best shape, then feed it again after the summer heat is gone to help it heal from the demanding season.
To learn more ways to keep your grass lush and lovely in the summer heat, contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone].
Found in lawns throughout the United States, clover is a perennial weed that grows easily in moist areas. At first glance, the petite flowers look like a pretty addition to yards and gardens, but this aggressive weed is sure to spread and may possibly choke out some of the plants or grasses you chose for your landscaping. Once established, it’s hard controlling clover in your lawn—you’ll need the following tips and some patience to do so.
White Clover, Over and Over
There are many types of this perennial weed, but white clover (Trifolium repens) is the most common. Deep green in color, the clover plant consists of three leaves grouped together. Each leaf is tear-shaped and may have a dark stripe on it. Spiked white flowers top off the low-growing plant and are an excellent source of nectar for bees.
Clover seeds germinate best in cool, damp environments. Once sprouted, these hard, resilient seeds turn into a quick-spreading weed that roots to the ground wherever a stem node touches the soil. These runners, or stolons, create a dense mat that can easily choke out grass as it continues to spread.
How to Get Rid of Clover in Your Lawn
A healthy lawn is half the battle when it comes to eliminating clover. This aggressive weed is more likely to latch onto lawns that are sparse and not well maintained. Thick, lush lawns don’t give it, as well as other weeds, a chance to spread.
- Fertilizing is key since it not only encourages good grasses and plants to grow, but it also makes the environment less suitable for clover.
- If you find clusters of clover in your lawn try letting the grass grow a little higher by adjusting the mower blades. Longer grass helps to choke out the clover and blocks it from getting sunlight.
- Use a thick layer of mulch in gardens and landscaped areas to help prevent the clover seeds from germinating.
- Hand pulling. Because white clover grows in clusters, it’s an easy target for the hand-pulling method when it appears in smaller areas. Just be sure to get the entire root system when you pull.
When manually pulling out clover is too big of a task, use an weed control spray. This is a more efficient method for killing the invasive weed when it is covering a larger area. But care must be taken that the weed control does not also harm the plants and grasses you wish to keep. Pairing the hand-pulling method with a weed control spray is the best approach.
Killing clover is not actually difficult—it’s getting rid of the seeds that is the real issue. You may think you have successfully eliminated clover from your lawn, only to discover those little white flowers returning the following year. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] to find out more on how to keep your yard free of weeds.
You and your pet will want to spend more time outdoors during the warmer weather. But if Fido plays in a field, the woods, or even your backyard, he may pick up a tick or two in the process. These parasitic pests can carry deadly diseases, so it’s important to check him over to make sure he is not bringing a freeloader inside on his fur. If a tick does take hold of your pet, there is a safe way to remove it and avoid a trip to the vet.
Tips on Checking for Ticks
When your pet is spending much of the day outdoors, you’ll need to give him regular exams to make sure he hasn’t befriended some ticks. Here are some tips to help.
First, it’s important to be able to identify these tiny parasites. Ticks are arachnids, like spiders, so they have eight legs. Many types of ticks are barely even the size of a pinhead. And it’s not just their size that makes them difficult to find—these tiny pests can be brown, black, or tan in color, blending in easily with fur. The deer tick, also known as the black-legged tick, is a dangerous species because it is a carrier of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. These ticks are brown to brownish red in color and have a flattened appearance.
Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to get up close and personal with your pet. Make sure your dog—or cat—is calm and still. It’s helpful to have a second person holding your four-legged friend in place. Once you get your pet to stay put, run your hands slowly over the fur feeling for any bumps or swollen areas. Make sure to hit the high traffic areas that ticks like most—the underbelly, behind and around ears, and between the toes.
Tools for Taking Care of Ticks
When getting ready to remove a tick from your pet, it’s important to have on hand everything you need.
- Tweezers with a pointed tip (or a tick removing tool)
- Rubbing alcohol
- Lidded container
- Antiseptic wipes
How to Safely Remove a Tick from Your Pet
It’s important to act quickly when you find a freeloader in Fido’s fur because there’s a very small chance you can get to the tick before it embeds itself in your pet’s skin. If it’s already embedded, here are the steps to take that tick out.
- Wear gloves so you are not the tick’s next victim.
- Clean the tick and area around it with alcohol.
- Use pointed tweezers (or a tick remover tool) and grab onto the tick’s body as close to the pet’s skin as possible. (Careful not to pinch your pup!)
- Take the tick out with a straight, firm, and slow pull, but be careful not to squeeze its body. If you pull too fast, you risk leaving the tick’s head embedded in the skin, and that will require a trip to the vet. Once the tick is out, make sure you have the whole thing—head and all.
- Place the removed tick in a lidded jar or container of alcohol to kill it. Ticks are notoriously hard to kill and if not done properly you may find that it’s returned to the scene of the crime. Dropping it in alcohol will do the job. Keep the container on hand for a few days—if your dog shows signs or symptoms of illness, you can take the tick to have it properly identified and tested for disease.
- Clean the area vacated by the tick with an antiseptic, and be sure to sterilize the tweezer or tool you used as well.
- Keep a close eye on your pet for a few weeks after the removal. Symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or fever can be signs that the tick passed on a problem to your pooch. And check the area where the tick was for infection.
To find out more on how to keep your yard, family, and pets free of ticks, contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone].