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Florida Lawn Care

Information on Lawn Pests

AntsLooking for information on lawn pests in Florida? You have found the right place on the web! Most homeowners in Florida take pride in maintaining their gardens and landscapes. But healthy landscapes can bring certain Florida bugs, and these pests feed on plants and grass. Unless protective pest control measures are taken, various outdoor invaders can do extensive damage to your yard and garden.

Chinch bugs are seriously damaging to St Augustine and other turf grass species. They suck the plant juices through their needle-like beak and can also cause other internal injuries to the grass, which can result in yellowish and brown patches in lawns. These affected areas are frequently noticed first along concrete or asphalt-paved edges, or in water-stressed areas where the grass is growing in full sun.

Aphids and whitefly feed on vegetable plantings, ornamentals and tender plant parts such as grass shoots, sucking out essential fluids. Aphids and scale excrete a sweet substance known as honeydew that attracts ants and forms a sticky coating on leaves. The honeydew can form a fungus called “sooty mold,” which can make leaves, especially on ornamentals, look black and dirty. Aphids can also transmit plant viruses to their food plants, which can cause the plant to die. These pests, as well as chinch bugs, are particularly prevalent throughout the spring months.

Armyworms, sod webworms and grubworms eat the grass blades and shoots that make up healthy lawns, causing major damage to various kinds of turf grass. They are common during the fall months.

During fall and winter, mites and scale are common. Scale insects live in the soil and suck the juices from the grass roots of turf grass; they can also be harmful to ornamental plants. Symptoms attributed to scale insects include yellowing of the grass, followed by browning; scale damage becomes most noticeable when the grass is under stress due to drought, nutritional deficiencies and other afflictions. Ordinarily not a pest in well-managed lawns, mites are known to attack grasses. They suck the sap and cause leaves to appear blotched and stippled, and severe infestations can also kill plants.

Some of these pests are especially damaging since they are literally born and raised on lawn turf grass in the surrounding soil. Sod webworms eat various grasses as larvae and continue doing so as adults. Others, like mole crickets, destroy lawns by tunneling through the soil near the lawn’s surface, which loosens the soil so that the grass is often uprooted and dies due to the drying out of the root system. They also feed on grass roots, causing thinning of the turf, eventually resulting in bare soil. Mole crickets are common when the temperatures are the warmest and rainfall and humidity is high. They can also be found in and around your home in dark, damp places.

Slugsandsnails often move about on lawns and may injure adjacent plants. They are night feeders and leave mucous trails on plants and sidewalks. Plaster bagworms, close relatives of the clothes moth, are often found in sheds and garages.

Do you live in Florida and have a lawn pest problem in your landscape? Hulett Environmental Services offers custom designed lawn care treatments to control and prevent these pests!

The Hulett Environmental Daily


PEST-PROOFING CAN HELP KEEP PESTS OUTDOORS THIS SPRING

PEST-PROOFING CAN HELP KEEP PESTS OUTDOORS THIS SPRING

Hulett Environmental Services offers tips to help homeowners pest-proof their home

Spring is here and that means weekends throughout April will find homeowners opening windows, packing away the winter clothes and returning patio furniture outdoors. While partaking in these annual “spring cleaning” routines, Hulett Environmental Services is also encouraging people to add pest-proofing inside and outside of the home to their spring to-do lists.

“As the weather continues to warm, homeowners should expect to see increased activity from various insects such as ants, termites and cockroaches,” said Greg Rice at Hulett Environmental Services. “Taking preventive measures early in the spring season is the best approach to avoiding infestations and the subsequent health and property risks associated with these pests.”

Experts at the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and Hulett Environmental Services recommend the following steps homeowners can take to keep unwanted pests outside where they belong:

  • Seal cracks and holes along the foundation of the home including entry points for utilities and pipes.
  • Screen windows and doors.
  • Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water around the house, including birdbaths and in clogged gutters.
  • Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and on a raised structure such as concrete blocks or poles.
  • Keep kitchens clean by wiping counters and emptying the garbage frequently.
  • Avoid leaving pet’s food dishes out for long periods of time.
  • Inspect the outside of a home for nests built by stinging insects — typically found in the eaves under roofs.

If you suspect you have an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to identify the species and recommend a course of treatment. For more information, please visit www.bugs.com

USDA Urges Americans to Prevent Invasive Pests, Protect American Agriculture

USDA Urges Americans to Prevent Invasive Pests, Protect American Agriculture

WASHINGTON, The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced that it is dedicating the month of April to sharing information about the threat that invasive plant pests, diseases and harmful weeds pose to America’s fruits, vegetables, trees, and other plants—and how the public can help prevent their spread. APHIS works each day to promote U.S. agricultural health and safeguard the nation’s agriculture, fishing and forestry industries.

“Invasive pests hit close to home and threaten the things we value,” said Rebecca A. Blue, Deputy Under Secretary for USDA’s Marketing and Regulatory Programs. “We need the public’s help because these hungry pests can have a huge impact on the items we use in everyday life, from the fabric in our clothing, the food on our table, the lumber used to build our home and the flowers in our garden. During one of the most successful periods in history for U.S. agriculture, it is important that we step-up our efforts to educate Americans about USDA’s good work to protect our nation’s food, fiber, feed and fuel from invasive pests.”

Invasive pests are non-native species that feed on America’s agricultural crops, trees and other plants. These “hungry pests” have cost the United States billions of dollars and wreak havoc on the environment. USDA and U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection-working closely with state agriculture departments and industry-are dedicated to preventing the introduction and spread of invasive pests. The goal is to safeguard agriculture and natural resources from the entry, establishment and spread of animal and plant pests and noxious weeds.

But federal and state agencies can’t do it alone. It requires everyone’s help to stop the unintended introduction and spread of invasive pests. The number-one action someone can take is to leave hungry pests behind. USDA urges the public to visit www.HungryPests.com to learn more about invasive pests and what they can do to protect American agricultural resources by preventing the spread of these threats. Here are a few actions that people can take today:

  • Buy Local, Burn Local. Invasive pests and larvae can hide and ride long distances in firewood. Don’t give them a free ride to start a new infestation-buy firewood where you burn it.
  • Plant Carefully. Buy your plants from a reputable source and avoid using invasive plant species at all costs.
  • Do Not Bring or Mail fresh fruits, vegetables, or plants into your state or another state unless agricultural inspectors have cleared them beforehand.
  • Cooperate with any agricultural quarantine restrictions and allow authorized agricultural workers access to your property for pest or disease surveys.
  • Keep It Clean. Wash outdoor gear and tires between fishing, hunting or camping trips. Clean lawn furniture and other outdoor items when moving from one home to another.
  • Learn To Identify. If you see signs of an invasive pest or disease, write down or take a picture of what you see, and then report it at www.HungryPests.com.
  • Speak Up. Declare all agricultural items to customs officials when returning from international travel. Call USDA to find out what’s allowed:
    (301) 851-2046 for questions about plants
    (301) 851-3300 for questions about animals

At www.HungryPests.com, a website available in both English and Spanish, visitors can access the interactive Pest Tracker to see what pests are threatening in a selected state, and to learn how to report suspected invasive pests. The public can also engage on the invasive pests issue via Facebook and Twitter. HungryPests.com is optimized for mobile devices. Public service announcements in both English and Spanish will air on television and radio throughout April and at peak times for domestic travel this summer. APHIS has also been actively collaborating with a number of state partners who will conduct targeted stakeholder engagement on invasive pest issues with state-specific outreach materials.

Added Blue: “The USDA and its partners are fighting invasive pests on three fronts: abroad, at the border, and across the homeland. We’re also developing new tools, improving our systems, and working hard to educate the public on how they can join the fight and help stop the spread of invasive pests.”

There has been success in the fight against invasive pests. The Asian longhorned beetle, detected in Illinois in 1998, was declared eradicated from Illinois in 2008 with the help of local, state and federal partners and Illinois residents. The beetle was also declared eradicated from Hudson County, NJ; and Islip, NY. Extensive efforts by USDA and its partners in California reduced European grapevine moth populations in 2011 by 99.9 percent. That pest was first detected in California in 2009.

With Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, APHIS works tirelessly to create and sustain opportunities for America’s farmers, ranchers and producers. Each day, APHIS promotes U.S. agricultural health, regulates genetically engineered organisms, administers the Animal Welfare Act, and carries out wildlife damage management activities, all to safeguard the nation’s agriculture, fishing and forestry industries. In the event that a pest or disease of concern is detected, APHIS implements emergency protocols and partners with affected states and other countries to quickly manage or eradicate the outbreak. To promote the health of U.S. agriculture in the international trade arena, APHIS develops and advances science-based standards with trading partners to ensure America’s agricultural exports, valued at more than $137 billion annually, are protected from unjustified restrictions.

Ticks season is coming: They’ll bug you this spring

Courtesy of CDC

Because of the extra-mild winter this year, the early spring could bring an unwelcome guest: the tick. Be warned: The warmer weather is good news for people and pets who want to be outside, but beware of an uptick of the hard-to-detect pest.

The basic reason is that the eggs will hatch sooner. “Eggs are already in the ground, but this is the time that they will be coming out in great numbers,” said Pollie Rueda, an entomologist stationed at the Smithsonian and Walter Reed Army institute of Research. He noted that the normal tick season is from May through August, but with the 70-degree temperatures in some places, the ticks may get a jump on the season.

Ticks that are already out and about are the visible adult, sesame-sized ones, noted Kristen Nordlund of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Think of these little buggers as the arachnid form of vampires. They hang out in blades of grass for a host to come along — a mouse, a dog, or a human — to attach themselves and feed off your blood over days, or until discovered, and they often leave disease behind — sometimes multiple illnesses.

The big concern for humans, according to the CDC, is that most tick infections occur during the “nymph” stage. Those recently hatched ticks are the size of the period at the end of this sentence, and they have four sets of legs and the ability to suck your blood. Because they are essentially invisible, preying on a host can easily go undetected.

In most cases, the tick must be attached for 36-48 hours or more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted. Infections from ticks, such as Lyme disease (plus babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and anaplasmosisis), are on the rise and are difficult to diagnose. The symptoms are awful: from headaches to long-term joint pain and even heart problems.

Since 1992, the cases of Lyme disease have doubled, according to the CDC, and more than 21,000 cases are reported every year.

The CDC is conducting tests on actual households to confirm if spraying a pesticide in the backyard helps to reduce the incidence of human disease. Check its website for good information on preventive measures.

Ants Top List of Concern for Homeowners

Ants Top List of Concern for Homeowners

Homeowner Advice on Keeping Ants Away

As of 2006 there are 9,000 to 10,000 known ant species and researchers believe that there may be more than 20,000 species worldwide. With this fact in mind it is no surprise that 25% of homeowners listed ants as their main pest concern according to research conducted in 2005 by the National Pest Management Association.  This same study revealed that more than half of all homeowners have had problems with ants – making them the most prevalent pest nationwide.

Ants are social insects and form highly organized colonies with up to millions of members each having a role. Spotting one ant unfortunately signifies that the troops are somewhere close by.

Homeowners should particularly watch out for fire and carpenter ants. Fire ants, found mainly in the south, are vicious and can sting repeatedly if disturbed. Carpenter ants attack wood that is or has been wet or damaged by mold and can build tunnels through dry, undamaged wood causing costly property damage.

Hulett Environmental Services offers the following tips for minimizing invasion by ants:

  • Keep wood and debris away from exterior siding
  • Keep kitchen clean: seal containers, wipe counters frequently, empty the garbage religiously, and avoid leaving pet food dishes out for long periods of time.
  • Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water.
  • Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house.
  • Seal up cracks and small openings along bottom of the house.
  • Store sugar, syrup, honey, baked goods, and other sweets in closed containers that have been washed to remove residues from their exterior surfaces.

For more information on other ant species and preventative tips visit

www.pestworld.org and www.bugs.com

“Rate My Rat” Photo Contest

When you hear of a photo contest you generally think of the usual. City skylines, pets, families, insects would all fall into the category of “usual”. This particular photo contest does not fall into that “usual” category.  New York Subway Workers are Running a “Rate My Rat” Photo Contest in which they urge commuters to capture and upload the biggest, fattest vermin. The grand prize you ask? A month free transit pass. If you don’t believe me just visit www.ratfreesubway.com and take a look around for yourself. If you encounter rats I suggest you just call Hulett Environmental Services for all your rat control needs.

Bed Bug Control

NATIONAL PEST MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION REPORTS RESURGENCE IN BEDBUG INFESTATIONS

Bedbugs Infesting Residential and Multifamily Homes, Apartment Complexes, Residence Halls, Hospitals and Hotels

According to the National Pest Management Association, pest control companies are reporting a significant increase in the number of calls regarding bedbug infestations. Renowned hitchhikers, bedbugs catch rides in luggage, shoes, pant hems and any other mobile material.  Although there is no way to determine the actual cause of the resurgence, experts are attributing the increase to several things, which include global travel and the mobility of the pest.

These infestations can be difficult to detect due to the elusive, nocturnal and transient nature of the pest. Although their name suggests otherwise, bedbugs can be found in carpets, peeling wallpaper, light fixtures, and any crack small enough for a thin insect to hide. Bedbug infestations are not a sign of unsanitary or unclean living areas.

Adult bedbugs are about the size and shape of a lentil.  Their color depends on how recently they have eaten.  They turn red after consuming a blood meal and then begin to gradually turn a brownish color. Capable of living up to ten months without a meal, a single bedbug can lay up to 500 eggs in its lifetime.

As bedbugs bite human skin, they inject an anesthetic-like liquid that numbs the skin and allows the pest to bite undisturbed.  In fact, humans don’t usually wake up when they are being bitten; however, they do find themselves scratching circular, red, itchy welts in the morning.

Bedbug infestations should only be treated by trained, licensed professional pest management companies. This is not an infestation that can be treated by do-it-yourself measures.  Professionals know where to look and can offer the most up to date methods of bedbug control.

For more information on other ant species and preventative tips visit

www.pestworld.org and www.bugs.com

Which Parks and Recreation Star Got Bed Bugs?

EOnline.com: Which Parks and Recreation Star Got Bed Bugs?

Making movies isn’t as glamorous as you might think.

Especially indie flicks.

Just ask a certain Parks and Recreation star about the time she got bedbugs…

Aubrey Plaza ended up with a case of the creepy parasites while filming a comedy called, of all things, Safety Not Guaranteed.

Shot on a shoestring budget in about 24 days in rainy Seattle, Plaza stars as one of two magazine editors (the other is newcomer Karan Soni) who are helping a writer (New Girl‘s Jake Johnson) track down a man (Mark Duplass) who claims he can travel back in time.

“It was  a nightmare,” Plaza told me about the bedbug bites while the cast was promoting the movie at South by Southwest at the W hotel in downtown Austin. “But, you know, it happens in hotels.”

Her costars couldn’t help but mess with her about it. “I thought she was just freaking out too much and giving herself hives,” Duplass cracked.

Added Johnson, “I told her, ‘The bedbugs seem to only bite when you have a lot of anxiety.’ I think it may have just been a rash from stress.”

Kidding aside, it seems to have all been well worth it. Writer Derek Connolly actually wrote Safety with Plaza in mind. It first picked up buzz at Sundance and was a must-see at SXSW. “I read it and immediately attached myself to it,” Plaza said. “I had so much fun making the movie. It was a lot of fun.”

And that included getting to shoot a gun. But, Plaza smiled, “we were doing it at such a fast pace, I thought I was going to shoot myself in the eye.”

Hey, it certainly would have made her forget about the bedbugs.