Secrets to Eliminating Silverfish From Your Home

Secrets to Eliminating Silverfish From Your Home

Ever turn on the light during a middle-of-the-night trip to the bathroom only to be startled by a tiny prehistoric-looking pest prowling around the floorboards? Then you are familiar with silverfish, a common household pest. Eliminating silverfish once they invade is no easy feat. Arm yourself with the following knowledge and tips to fight these pests and keep them out of your home.

Evil Invaders or Harmless House Guests?

The answer is a little of both. Silvery and scaled, silverfish are mostly household nuisances not known to bite or carry disease. That said, no one likes to find these creepy creatures inside the home. Plus, the pests damage all kinds of stuff around the house. Their diet favors carbs and sugars, and they love everything from wallpaper glue to clothing to books and boxes. Your family photos are not safe from silverfish. And a photo album, well, that’s just a multi-course meal! They even have the audacity to invade your kitchen, chewing through cereal boxes and getting into cooking canisters of flour and sugar.

Our Top Tips for Eliminating Silverfish

The key to eliminating silverfish is prevention and making your home a less desirable environment. Follow these tips to help pest-proof your home.

  • Eliminating silverfish starts with eliminating moisture in your home. These pests prefer damp or humid environments like bathrooms or basements, especially if there are leaky pipes, dripping faucets, or any moisture issues. For a damp basement use a dehumidifier, and make sure bathrooms are ventilated.
  • The next step is to inspect your home for any points of entry. Indoors and out, seal up any cracks or crevices in walls or foundations and around windows and doors. Repair torn window screens and patch up gaps around pipes or utility lines entering the home.
  • Keeping a clean house is essential. Dusting and vacuuming regularly removes silverfish food sources. In the kitchen, store food in airtight containers, wipe up crumbs, and never leave out leftovers. Take the garbage out often.
  • Silverfish love to hide in and feed on piles of paper and cardboard, so remove stacks of old newspapers or magazines and trade cardboard boxes for plastic storage bins.

Let Us Help

Silverfish are nocturnal critters and notorious hiders. They are also super fast. Try to kill one by hand and watch it wiggle away fast into a crack or crevice, or any opening that their flat bodies fit but humans have a hard time reaching. At the first sign of an infestation, call in an expert. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone] and we’ll eliminate silverfish and any other pest problems for you.

Tips for Fall Pest Prevention: Keep Unwelcome Guests out of Your House

Tips for Fall Pest Prevention: Keep Unwelcome Guests out of Your House

Many things come to mind with the onset of fall. We associate the season with back to school, leaves changing colors, and football games, to name a few. But there’s one thing no one wants to think about: small creatures invading homes to overwinter in the cooler weather. With proper fall pest prevention you won’t have to worry about what bugs you now and throughout the winter. Here’s how to protect your home and family from creepy crawly intruders.

Pests to Prevent (and Why They Bug Us)

Some of the usual suspects for pest invasions in fall are rodents, spiders, ants, termites, cockroaches, fleas, centipedes, stink bugs, and even innocent looking ladybugs. But why do they head into our homes? Many creatures sense the change in weather and search for a warm protected place to overwinter, preferably before the first frost. And it’s easier for them to take cover in already existing structures like sheds, garages, basements, or any dark quiet corner in your home. Besides warmth and protection, the new nesting area must provide them with food and water.

Our Top Tips for Fall Pest Prevention

It’s time to brush up on fall pest prevention with these tips.

  • Seal up tears in window screens and weather stripping. Check for cracks and crevices around doors, windows, and floorboards.
  • Many pests take a fancy to your food. Crumbs on the floor, leftovers left out, and even pet food make a meal for these invaders. (One man’s trash is a bug’s treasure!).
  • Take out the garbage as soon as it’s full or has any kind of smell.
  • Invest in a caulking gun to seal up cracks in foundations and around windows and doors. Don’t forget gaps around pipes, plumbing, and places where wires enter the home.
  • Clean up inside. Stacks of papers, cardboard boxes, and clutter in general give pests a cozy place to nest. And, some bugs feed on paper and cardboard.
  • Remove their water sources by fixing leaky pipes. Check for rotted wood and repair.
  • Clean up outside, too. Unfortunately, this involves yard work. Trim tree and shrub branches that are too close to the house. They function as an easy access bridge for bugs. Move any firewood away from the house. Clear out any junk in the yard. It makes nice nooks and crannies for bugs and rodents.

Let Us Help Ban Bugs from Your Home

A few bugs are a nuisance, but a pest infestation often leads to more problems like structural damage, gnawed electrical wires (and potential fire), and food contamination. Some pests even bite and cause unpleasant allergic reactions. Call an expert to help pest-proof your home. At Free Spray Lawn Care we specialize in fall pest prevention and keeping unwanted guests out of your home in any season. Contact us at [phone] today.

How to Prevent Tick Bites and Tick-Borne Diseases

How to Prevent Tick Bites and Tick-Borne Diseases

Time spent outdoors puts you in possible contact with ticks, parasitic pests that plague humans and pets. Although bites from these blood-sucking bugs are often harmless, some cause allergic reactions, while others may transmit dangerous diseases, like Lyme. Here’s what you need to know to prevent tick bites.

What You Need to Know to Prevent Tick Bites

To prevent tick bites and avoid diseases they may carry, it’s important to recognize these parasites. The black legged tick (often responsible for carrying Lyme disease) is an eight-legged creature with a dark brown-to-black body that’s oval and flat. These little pests usually measure up to 1/8 of an inch as adults. They take their nourishment from humans and animals by lingering in tall grasses and shrubs, waiting for a victim to pass closely by, and then latch on. Once aboard the host, a tick punctures the skin and feeds on blood.

Signs and Symptoms

Most tick bites are harmless, however, it’s possible to get an allergic reaction to them. Often, symptoms include swelling, a rash, or blistering. Shortness of breath can occur if the allergy is very serious. Some ticks carry diseases that they transmit to the host when feeding. It’s sometimes easy to identify a tick bite, because the culprit remains at the bite site to feed a while.

Get medical attention immediately if you have a reaction. Also, see a doctor if the following symptoms of a transmitted disease occur: rash, aches (especially in the neck or joints), headache, nausea, swollen lymph nodes, or a fever. These possible symptoms occur anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks after the bite.

Tips to Prevent Tick Bites

Always apply tick repellent when your are working in the yard or heading into the woods. Products that include the ingredient DEET work best. When hiking, stay on the path and out of tall grasses and weeds. Treat the clothes you wear with a product that contains permethrin, and wear long sleeves and pants (tucked into boots preferably). At the end of your hike or outing, completely check your hair, clothes, and body for ticks. Be sure to check in warm areas where these pests hide like under the arms, in the hair, and around the groin area.

Ticks access your home via your pet. They easily tag onto fur for a free ride inside. Protect your pets with an anti-tick product, but consult your vet first to find out what’s best for your furry friend. After a walk or after your dog roams anywhere freely, check him over before taking him indoors.

We Can Help Prevent Pests

Tick-borne diseases may be as close as your backyard. Contact a specialist today. Call Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] to help prevent tick bites from affecting your family and furry friends. We’ll take care of tall grasses, piles of leaves, and overgrown shrubs to eliminate environments where pests thrive.

Stop Mosquitoes! How to Ban Blood-Thirsty Bugs from Your Backyard

Stop Mosquitoes! How to Ban Blood-Thirsty Bugs from Your Backyard

A summer barbecue is a fun time for all, that is until the following day when you wake up with itchy welts. Unfortunately, outdoor gatherings sometimes turn into feeding fests for blood-thirsty bugs. Want to stop mosquitoes from crashing the party? Here’s how to ban these bugs from your backyard.

Stop Mosquitoes Before They Start Bugging You

Warmer weather sets the stage for all kinds of fun activities. If biting bugs are not part of the plan, check out these prevention tips to stop mosquitoes from messing up your summer.

Good gardening gives pests something to detest. Many plants naturally repel mosquitoes, like marigolds, lavender, citronella, basil, and some scented geraniums. Add any of these to your landscaping and they’ll not only look nice, but deter unwanted guests.

Stop mosquitoes from breeding in standing water. Bird baths, koi ponds, puddles, and empty flower pots create ideal breeding grounds for these pests. Take a tour of your property to locate stagnant water. Turn over empty flower pots, level off lawn areas prone to puddling, and add moving water features to ponds. Place “dunks” inside of bird baths and decorative water-collecting features. These small disc-like products stop still water from becoming a breeding ground. Other places to check include clogged gutters and open trash cans or recycling bins.

Use Deterring Devices to Stop Mosquitoes

There are plenty of devices on the market that claim they stop mosquitoes from biting such as clip-on repellents and bracelets. Read up on a product’s reviews before purchasing to make sure they do what they claim. Of course, there’s all kinds of bug zappers that attract the pests to a light then electrocute them. Just remember that bug zappers kill beneficial insects as well.

Foggers spray a fine mist of insecticide to target the tiny creatures (conventional spray solutions don’t work because the particles are too big). Available in thermal and ultra-low volume versions (ULV units don’t use heat and also work indoors), these units come with advantages and disadvantages, so be sure to do your research.

It’s wonderful what a little wind will do! Not a “fan” of mosquitoes? Here’s a simple solution: place a big oscillating fan on the patio at your next barbecue and blow what bugs you away. Not only does this device provide relief from the heat, but mosquitoes can’t fly well in wind.

Let Us Help

It’s never been more important to stop mosquitoes from making you miserable. Besides being itch-inducing pests, they sometimes carry dangerous diseases like dengue, Zika, yellow fever, and malaria. Call in a professional now to protect against unwanted pests. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone].

Signs, Symptoms, and Suspects of a Chinch Bug Infestation: A Homeowner’s Guide to Pest Damage

Signs, Symptoms, and Suspects of a Chinch Bug Infestation: A Homeowner’s Guide to Pest Damage

Brown frazzled areas of grass seem to grow before your eyes as you look out at your yard. Is something sucking the life out of your lawn? You may have a chinch bug infestation. Often mistaken for drought stress, the damage caused by these invasive insects spreads fast and costs a lot to fix. Damaged turf may require a complete renovation. Here’s how to chase away chinch bugs before it’s too late.

Little Insects, Big Damage: Signs and Symptoms of a Chinch Bug Infestation

In the northern United States, hairy chinch bugs prefer Kentucky bluegrass. These damaging little devils live in the thatch layer or surface of turf. Covered in fine hairs, adult chinch bugs are black with white wings, while the young are orange and wingless. The bugs suck the sap out of grass blades. But that’s not the only problem. The insects leave their toxic saliva behind to do even more damage.

Damage caused by a chinch bugs shows up mainly in mid to late summer. The dead areas of grass grow in size as the pest population increases. In a matter of weeks, a chinch bug infestation often kills entire lawns.

Other Suspects of a Chinch Bug Infestation

The signs of a chinch bug infestation mimic other lawn issues, like drought, other pests, and turf diseases. Even in appearances, the chinch bug is sometimes mistaken for the big-eyed bug (Geocoris). Ironically, beneficial big-eyed bugs prey on chinch bugs. How do you know what’s hurting your lawn? Try the can test. Take the top and bottom off of a can and press it halfway into the turf. Then, add water to the can, refilling it as the soil soaks it up for about ten minutes. See how many bugs float up. If a couple dozen pests or more appear, you have a chinch bug problem.

Chinch Bug Infestation Solutions

To prevent a chinch bug infestation, plant endophytic-enhanced turfgrass. Endophytes are beneficial organisms that form symbiotic relationships with other living things. Harmless for lawns, the tiny organisms give grass a flavor chinch bugs dislike. The pests then look elsewhere for tasty turf.

Before going to chemicals, consider natural warfare. Beauveria bassiana, a parasitic fungus, thrives in hot, humid weather and attacks chinch bugs. Water regularly to keep conditions moist enough for fungus to do its job.

Already have an existing chinch bug problem? Insecticides with the ingredient pyrethroid effectively kill the pests. Liquid formulas work best because they soak into the soil better. Spot treat the infected areas.

We Can Help

Don’t let chinch bug damage destroy your lawn. If you see signs of any infestation or lawn disease, call in an expert. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone] and we’ll bring your lawn back to life.

Identifying Sod Webworm Damage and What to Do About It

Identifying Sod Webworm Damage and What to Do About It

On warm summer evenings, light brown moths flutter and fly low over lawns. These long-snouted moths are harmless, however, their larvae, sod webworm caterpillars, are not so innocent. Sod webworm damage turns your turf into a mottled mess. Here’s how to recognize if these pests are the problem.

Why Worry About Sod Webworms?

Webworm moths lay eggs in spring and their caterpillar larvae create silk-like tunnels in the thatch or top layer of turf. Here, they remain in close proximity to their food source, the grass. Cool-season turf, like Kentucky bluegrass, tastes best to these pests. Brown with dark heads and spots on their bodies, these caterpillars are approximately 1/2” long in size. A few of the ravenous creatures won’t do much harm, but an infestation means major problems for your landscaping.

Sod Webworm Damage

Detecting sod webworm damage confuses many because it’s often mistaken for other forms of damage. Dog urine, drought, or other pests cause the same sickly symptoms in grass. As webworms devour the grass, small brown patches appear in otherwise green turf. Spring leads into summer, and these patches of dead or half-eaten grass grow in size, eventually taking over the better part of a lawn. The worst of sod webworm damage shows up from the middle to end of summer in sunny or dry areas of the yard.

Determining the culprit of the devastated grass is step one. Dig into the lawn’s thatch layer or topsoil. If you see a silky maze of tunnels and/or the caterpillars themselves, you know it’s sod webworm damage. Another method uses a mix of dish detergent and water. Pour the soapy solution on damaged areas. After a few minutes, the spotted pests appear if they are lurking beneath the surface.

What to Do About Sod Webworm Damage

Now that you know sod webworms are the culprit, consider taking a natural approach to control them.

  • Using the soapy solution works well on smaller infestations. When caterpillars emerge, simply scoop them up and get rid of them.
  • However, a serious infestation requires more than detergent. Try biological controls like beneficial nematodes. These tiny living things feed on caterpillars. Purchase them at a local garden center.
  • Another non-chemical approach is bacillus thuringiensis B.t., a type of bacteria that is toxic to the larvae. Apply it in late afternoon to ensure it works when the caterpillars feed at night.
  • Lastly, if you reseed your lawn, use grass seed labeled “endophyte enhanced” which means it’s engineered to resist certain pests.

We Can Help

Severe infestations require immediate attention and possibly the use of chemical pesticides. Call in an expert to handle it. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone].