Prevent Ants from Entering Your Home

Prevent Ants from Entering Your Home

Everyone loves a parade. But no one wants a parade of pesky ants marching into their house. It’s the time of year when armies of these tiny creatures show up in kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. Get ahead of the parade. Find out how to prevent ants from marching into your home.

Who Invited Them Anyway?

As the weather warms, ants enter homes in search of food, water, and a place to nest. Unfortunately, one or two ants are not usually alone, or at least not for long. Ants are social creatures that travel in large numbers. Scouts arrive ahead of the colony to see if it’s a worthwhile location, then leave a scented trail for the colony to follow.

Although some species bite, and others, like carpenter ants, can cause structural damage, the majority of ant species are benign. Hundreds of harmless ants parading through your kitchen, however, is a huge nuisance, especially when they get into your food and contaminate it.

Tips to Prevent Ants

It’s a lot easier to prevent ants from entering your home than to get rid of them once they are inside. Follow these tips to keep these miniscule pests from becoming unwanted guests.

Seal off any points of entry. Ants are so tiny that they fit through the smallest cracks and crevices. Use caulk to seal up cracks around windows or in walls, and check weatherstripping on doors and windows. Repair holes or tears in window screens. As a bonus benefit, you’ll keep other pests out as well, plus conserve energy.

Eliminate their food and water sources. Clean up crumbs and put away leftovers in tightly sealed containers. Ants are not only attracted to sugary foods, but also go for greasy foods and proteins. They aren’t picky, so don’t leave anything out on the counters. Even the pet food isn’t safe! Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink, and keep garbage bins securely covered. Also, fix any leaky pipes to remove water sources.

Build barriers. Use natural materials like talc powder and chalk to line doorways and window sills. These materials prevent ants from crossing. Other natural deterrents include peppermint oil, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. If there’s a particular point of entry previously used, make a barrier with tape. Face the sticky side up to stop ants in their tracks.

Keep it clean, inside and out. A clean and clutter-free home is less likely to attract any pests. Scrub counters and other surfaces with a mixture of vinegar and water. Not only does vinegar remove traces of ant scent trails, but ants dislike its smell. Outside, keep branches and shrubs from touching the exterior of your home. Garbage and recycling bins should be tightly lidded.

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Despite the best proactive efforts to prevent ants, some homes won’t be able to avoid an invasion by these persistent pests. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] if you encounter any pest problems or wish to prevent them.

When Ladybugs Aren’t Lucky: Managing Asian Lady Beetle Infestations

When Ladybugs Aren’t Lucky: Managing Asian Lady Beetle Infestations

Finding one ladybug may be considered lucky by some, but finding a swarm of them in your home is definitely bad luck. Mass invasions of these bugs often occur in the fall, but the warm days of spring awaken the gatherings of these unwanted guests. Here’s some tips on managing Asian lady beetle infestations.

The Difference Between Good and Bad Ladybugs

There are many species of ladybugs. Most are harmless and actually helpful. These beneficial bugs eat destructive pests such as aphids and mites, helping out farmers and gardeners. But another species, the Asian lady beetle has become a nuisance. They were introduced to our country to help control pests that were destructive to crops. Unfortunately, the population expanded rapidly, and so has this bug’s habit of invading our homes in large numbers.

Signs and Symptoms of an Asian Lady Beetle Infestation

In the fall, swarms of these beetles gather outside homes and buildings looking for somewhere to hibernate for the winter. They easily enter through cracks, crevices, and holes. And they leave behind a trail of pheromones so the rest of their relatives can find the same prime location. Besides being an annoying presence, they secrete a smelly fluid that stains walls and belongings a yellowish color. The scent remains for years.

Unlike the beneficial ladybugs, these bugs are aggressive. They’ll bite if they feel threatened. Some people have allergic reactions to them.

Battling the Bugs: Managing an Infestation

If you find a swarm of these beetles in your home, the best way to handle it is with a vacuum. This avoids the risk of getting bitten, and it avoids the stinky secretions they make when disturbed. After vacuuming them up, immediately remove the bag or canister and deposit them outside. If left in the vacuum, they just crawl back out.

Another method of managing Asian lady beetle infestations is less humane. There are light traps available at home improvement stores. These traps kill the bugs by luring them inside where they drown in a liquid solution.

Preventing an Asian Lady Beetle Infestation

Prevention is the best bet when battling bugs. The first step in managing Asian lady beetle infestations is to seal up any cracks or crevices in foundations and walls to stop the bugs from entering. Also, make sure window and door frames are properly sealed. Repair any damaged window screens.

Lining the perimeter outside your home with diatomaceous earth not only keeps out these beetles, but it prevents other pests from entering as well. Diatomaceous earth is a safe and natural deterrent, but applying an insecticide around your home works too if you aren’t concerned about the chemicals. Apply insecticides in the fall and repeat treatments.

Call Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone] if you need help managing Asian lady beetle infestations or any pest problems. We’ll get rid of unwanted guests for good.

Using Herbicides to Kill Common Weeds: What You Need to Know

Using Herbicides to Kill Common Weeds: What You Need to Know

Wishing for a weed-free lawn this season? When pulling out these pesky plants by hand isn’t enough, you may need something more than manpower. Don’t let dandelions, crabgrass, and clover spoil your landscape. Here’s what you need to know about using herbicides to kill common weeds.

What Is an Herbicide?

Herbicides are chemical treatments applied to kill common weeds. Used to eliminate unwanted vegetation, these toxic products are categorized by how they work. Some target plants early on before they grow, others work on weeds that have already sprouted. Herbicides can be selective and non-selective. Selective weed killers target a specific type of weed without harming other vegetation around it, while non-selective ones kill all actively growing plants that come in contact with the chemical. A selective herbicide is your best bet for dandelions, because it kills the weed without harming the grass that surrounds it. An example of a use for a non-selective product is a weed killer that targets the unwanted growth in cracks in the pavement or sidewalk.

Two Types of Herbicides

Choosing an herbicide to kill common weeds depends on your goal. Do you want to prevent weeds or eliminate existing ones? And timing is everything.

Pre-emergent herbicides kill the plant seeds before they germinate. This type of chemical is helpful with crabgrass and other annual weeds that appear each year in the same areas. Basically, it works like a barrier to prevent anticipated weeds from growing. To use this chemical, apply to the soil in early spring two or three weeks before seeds germinate.

Designed to target already established weeds, post-emergent herbicides can be contact or systemic. Contact herbicides kill only what they touch, while systemic chemicals are absorbed into the plant to kill the entire weed. Apply these chemicals later in the growing season after weeds are visible but before they set seed.

Safety Tips for Using Herbicides to Kill Common Weeds

Herbicides are potent chemicals that must be handled with care. It’s important to identify the weed first and pick your product accordingly. Always read the labels and follow directions exactly for application. You’ll want to use the correct amount and apply at the right time to get the best results.

Dress appropriately by wearing long sleeves and pants, plus a pair of rubber boots. Wash all clothes thoroughly afterwards. It’s important to wear protective gloves at all times when handling the chemicals or anything that comes in contact with them.

After the application, keep kids and pets away from the treated location. It helps to mark off the areas if possible.

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Knowing which herbicide to use, when to use it, and how to apply it can be confusing and intimidating. If used incorrectly, these chemicals can do more harm than good. If you have any questions about using herbicides to kill common weeds, call in an expert. Contact Contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] and we’ll provide you with a year-round maintenance program to eliminate weeds and prevent them from coming back.

Tips for Lawn Grub Control

Tips for Lawn Grub Control

You don’t see them at work. But what they do underground destroys the hard work you put into making your lawn look good. Grubs are worm-like pests with big appetites for binging on grass and plant roots. Just a few of them are okay, but as the population grows, so does the damage they do. Try these tips for grub control and prevent them from taking over your turf.

What Is a Grub?

Grubs, or grub worms, are the larvae of beetles. These small plump creatures live in the soil right beneath the surface where they can dine on plant and grass roots. When exposed to air and light, they quickly curl up in a C shape. Grubs’ soft plump bodies are whitish gray in color with legs close to the head.

Identifying Grub Damage

If you notice any of these signs below, you may need a method for lawn grub control.

Grubs damage the root systems of grass. Once damaged, the roots can’t deliver nutrients to the grass blades above. This leaves the lawn with areas of thinning or browning grass and even bare spots.

Can you peel back spongy areas of damaged turf like a loose carpet? When a tug on a fistfull of dying grass comes right up to reveal several plump pests below, there’s no denying what’s causing the damage.

Noticed more weeds and wildlife in your yard lately? Lawns with grub damage, like thinning grass and bare spots, provide a place for weeds to thrive. And if you’re seeing a lot of birds and rodents on your property, chances are they found a food source. Grubs make a good meal for many types of wildlife.

Tips for Lawn Grub Control

Taking good care of your grass is the best method of grub control. A well-maintained lawn has healthy deep roots that won’t be deterred by a few nibbling nuisances. While watering your grass is part of a healthy routine, too much watering creates a moist environment where beetles lay eggs.

Make a trip to your local garden center for natural grub control products. Milky spore powder contains a natural bacteria that kills grubs before they become adult beetles. Considered safe for humans and pets, the spores are consumed by grubs. Even after the pests die, the spores continue to multiply and destroy more grubs. Beneficial nematodes are another natural way to get rid of grubs. These microscopic parasites feed on grub larvae. While beneficial nematodes already exist to some extent in the soil, adding a product that contains more of them helps reduce the grub population without harming the environment.

Another way to control grubs without using chemicals is with detergent. Make a mix of one tablespoon of liquid soap to one quart of water and pour it on the infested area. This forces the fiends to rise to the top of the turf. Now grabbing the grubs for disposal is easy. Don’t wish to handle them? Grubs on the soil surface make an easy feast for birds and rodents.

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If all else fails, you may need to apply insecticide. Use these products with care, so as not to ruin the rest of your landscape. Better yet, call in an expert. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] and we’ll get rid of grubs while taking good care of your turf.