Monday, March 30, 2015

A Few More Spring Activities

We are getting some beautiful days to work in the yard, and after a rough winter, the yard need a little attention.

Oh, those lovely oaks and their leaves and their tassels. Time to rake, blow, and / or mulch your leaves to get them off your lawn areas. Leaves trap moisture and block sunlight from your turf areas, which is great in beds (we call it mulch), but not so good for lawns. When talking to lawn care companies, it amazes me when they tell me that they went to ten yards and could only treat six because the leaves in the yard.

Over the next month, many of us will be applying (or have someone else apply) different products to the lawn for fungus, weeds, and to fertilize, so having the leaves up will insure a uniform application of product.

One part of my job at Possum’s is working with athletic fields and it always amazes me how much difference the field looks verses the surrounding area. The grounds superintendent puts out a preemergent herbicide and the field has little to no winter weeds. Right outside the fence in the untreated area there are all kinds of winter weeds.

The same goes for mole crickets. Right off of the playing surface, there are mole cricket tunnels everywhere. Be sure to treat for mole crickets in your yard. Mole cricket mating season is now and they are doing a lot of tunneling near the surface causing damage to turf. The grasses we have in this area slough off their roots as they begin to grow in the spring, so the last thing the grass needs is a mole cricket separating its young new roots from the soil and drying out the grass plant.

Since our grasses slough off their roots at this time, our (Possum’s) 04-00-10 (Perk) is great to apply. We spray a growth regulator designed to grow roots onto this fertilizer and enhance it with humic acid (also helps to grow roots), so your turf and plants get off to a healthy start.  

With all the rain, fleas have been really bad all winter. Treating inside your house with a growth regulator before you have an issue can go a long to avoiding the flea battle.  Treating your pet with Prefurred One or Prefurred Plus will keep the fleas at bay.

Fire ants are numerous and visible because of the rain. A product like Bug Blaster will help with fire ants, mole crickets, and fleas.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Time to Spend Some Time In The Yard

Have you ever been riding through a neighborhood and see a yard and think , “wow, they have a mole problem”? If that is your yard, here are some quick pointers. For the long version, go to under the Horticulture Hotline tab and look in the archives, or go by your local Possum’s Landscape & Pest Control Supply near you for a handout we have for mole management.

The quick and dirty method involves three steps. Be sure to do these steps in order.
  1. Kill the mole. Traps, proven baits (Mole Patrol, Talpirid, etc), smoke bombs.
  2. Manage the food source. Sevin or Aloft granular are very effective for managing the food source of the mole. Many products do not kill sub surface insects, so be sure to use an insecticide that does.
  3. Repel new moles from your yard. Repellex (granular) or one of the liquid mole repellent products will help deter new moles from entering your yard and occupying the old tunnels.

If you have liriope, holly fern, cast iron plant, pampas grass or other ornamental grasses, this is the time to cut them back.  A sharp pair of hedge shears will do a nice job on the larger stuff, and a lawn mower with a sharp blade will take care of the liriope.  Mexican heather and other burnt back perennials could also be sheared at this time. 

Using Neem Oil now will help kill over-wintering insects as well as adults.  This product also controls certain diseases.  Insects and disease love the new foliage that your plants are getting ready to put out, so kill them before they munch on or damage your new foliage.  This product is organic and very safe for the environment.

Your trees and shrubs are going to do most of the growing for the season during the next month.  Put out fertilizer so they will have plenty of food to put out new foliage and grow.  17-00-09 a 100% slow release fertilizer, or many of the organic products in combination with SeaHume will be a sure way to get your plants off to a good start in 2015. 

If you have any perennial insect problem plants (white flies-gardenias, scale-magnolias, scale-camellias, scale-hollies, lace bugs-lantana, aphids-crepe myrtles…), try Dominion Tree and Shrub.  This product is a drench that lasts a long time in the plant, so you don’t have to worry about spraying weekly. 

If you have not put out your preemergent product for your turf and beds, consider one that contains Dimension for its long reach back potential. Be sure to you use the proper amount of Dimension for this area. There is some low active ingredient Dimension in the area (ai amount 0.1%, 0.13%, or 0.15%) which is fine if you spread the proper amount of product; however, not everyone realizes this (ex. If a 50 pound bag of a 0.20% Dimension covers 10,000 square feet, then a 50 pound bag of a 0.10% Dimension only covers 5000 square feet). Do not be fooled by the low bag price.

Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Don't let the Bed Bugs Bite...

Does all the talk about bed bugs have you scared to travel? When you are in a hotel do you feel phantom insects crawling on you as you sleep? Does your work or sports with the kids require you to stay in hotels, when you would rather be at home in your cozy bed with the dog and his fleas? The worse thing about bed bugs is bringing them home to infest your house in your luggage or on you person. Bed bugs are difficult (expensive) to get manage.

Here some tips for the traveler:

Treat the outside of your luggage with a repellent material labeled for bed bugs on luggage.

Put all your clothes and toiletry items in see-through plastic bags that you can seal tightly. Upon arriving to your room, put your luggage in the bath / shower area while you inspect the room.

Bring a flashlight, Climb-up Bed Monitors and a Bed Bug Detector. Before you unpack, inspect the mattress and box springs for blood stains, cast skins and live insects. The rope-like band around the mattress will usually have some signs of bugs if there is an issue.  Look around the headboard and any adjacent bedside tables especially in the crack and crevices.

Check these areas with the Bed Bug Detector as well. The Bed Bug Detector detects the gases that bed bugs release (affectionately known as The Bed Bug F@rt Detector in the business).  The Bed Bug Detector is very accurate and easy to use. They are used all over the world by hotels, airlines, bus lines, college dorms, pest management professionals, hospitals, movie theaters, clothing stores, just to name a few.

When you check in ask if the hotel has had an outbreak of bed bugs in the last year in the room you are checking into. Also ask if any of the adjacent rooms above you, below you, or on either side have been treated for bed bugs. If they have, request another room far away from any outbreak hotspot.  

Attach the Climb-up Bed Monitors to the legs of the beds, headboard and the bed stands. These monitors will prevent bed bugs from climbing up the bed for a nighttime attack.

Sleep soundly!

When you get home, leave your luggage outside and run your clothes through a hot dryer cycle. The dryer should dry out any unwanted hitchhikers. Check your toiletry items and re-treat your luggage.

These few simple steps can save you thousands of dollars. At Possum’s we sell bed bug killing products, and I’m sure every one of the hundreds of customers whose house has become infested with bed bugs wishes they took these few precautions. Bed bugs bite children, babies and adults. They are very difficult to control, and you have to throw away stuff.