Spring Flowers!

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Just this past week, while measuring lawns for lawn care quotes, in some areas it was possible to see the small green shoots of bulbs coming up in some garden beds. Even though it will be cold and snowy again this winter, it will do your garden and probably your mind a bit of good to think about spring. The Massachusetts Horticultural Society, known for their work at Elm Bank on the Wellesley, Natick and Dover line, is putting on a Spring Flower Show at International Place. This event, BLOOMS, will run the weekend of March 13th to March 15th at One International Place, the Intercontinental Hotel and 125 High Street. Companion exhibits will be on display at area malls including the Atrium, The Mall at Chestnut Hill (both on Boylston St, Route 9, Chestnut Hill), and Copley Place (also on Route 9, but on Huntington Ave in Boston). These companion flower exhibits will be on display from March 12 to 22nd. Just going and seeing the color of displays should inspire spring ideas on these grey days. Take heart in the approaching spring with the signs of life, from budding bulbs, to even the return of carpenter ants and termites.
Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Life Cycles-Fairly simply explained.

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Understanding pest life cycles, or insect development, is critical to pest control. The process is called metamorphosis. There can be critical differences in where pests are located from each stage in an insects life cycle. An IPM or GPM professional must know the differences to be effective. The example is killing an adult fly, without addressing where the larvae are feeding will be ineffective. First, what is metamorphosis? Imagine the butterfly you want in your garden, it is important to understand that it starts as a egg, proceeds through a larval stage, pupates and then becomes the admired adult butterfly. The four types of metamorphosis are without, gradual, incomplete and complete. The first, without metamorphosis, or ametabolous insects, such as silverfish, grow from egg to adult increasing in size and gradually maturing with each molt. All stages are found together. The second type, gradual metamorphosis, includes a set number of molts with definite development of reproductive organs (and wings if applicable) over the stages. Insects that develop through gradual metamorphosis share the same habitat as nymphs and adults and include bed bugs, cockroaches, and termites. The third type, incomplete metamorphosis, includes dragonflies. This type has an aquatic nymph known as naiads. The adults have a different habitat then nymphal stages. Usually, these are not pests. The final type, complete metamorphosis, includes many pests such as ants, fleas, flies, mosquitoes and moths. The larval stage is usually complete different than the adult (think maggot larval stage of winged fly). The differences include not only body type and mouthparts, but also habitat. For an IPM or GPM strategy to be successful, the professional must understand the pests’ life cycle.
Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Plan for Spring.

March is the perfect time to plan for spring. Start with a review, think about what worked last year and what you didn’t like. If you notice sticks, piles of leaves or other material (trash sometimes) in your garden or lawn, take advantage of the harder ground now to trudge through your beds and do a clean up. This will help remind your of your plans last year and let you revisit them. Some typical spring garden planning work would include reviewing rain management. Often we recieve a great deal of rain here in New England in the spring. Were the gutters cleaned in the fall? If not consider making this a priority in the spring. Make sure your sump pump is plugged in if you unplug it in the winter.

-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Exempt Products. What are they?

What is meant when you hear the term “exempt products” when pesticides are discussed? They are products classified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as exempt from the pesticide registration process. These are called minimum risk pesticide or “25b products,” named after the section 25b that defines the requirements for pesticide exemption from registration. The key to exemption is both the pesticide products active and inert ingredients must come from an approved list of materials. Most of the active ingredients are naturally occurring, such as plant oils or salt. These products are critical for those implementing Green Pest Management (GPM) strategies for thier homes or businesses. A review is underway by the EPA (does that rhyme?) to address a common concern, which is making sure these products are effective. One important aspect to efficacy is to ask other users or look for products from major manufacturers. One example is the EcoSmart line of products. EcoSmart makes a variety of products from homeowner, commercial property manager products to agricultural and commercial products. Before buying and trying a product, try to read about the formulator, since as with any product, registered or not, a quality formulation by a reputable manufacturer should deliver consistent results for the user.

Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Getting close to time for termites

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With active interior mud tubes being found and termite swarm’s starting to peek out, we are getting close to time for termites. Weather over the next few days is expected to top 50 degrees Fahrenheit and if you add a period of rain, increasing humidity, we are reminded that spring is on its way. These winter weather breaks are usually followed by more cold, snow and ice, but serve as welcome reminders that spring is imminent. We have begun urgently preparing for spring with the feeling that (like every year) it seems to approach faster than we expect it. That means ordering materials, reviewing our Sentricon Installation and Maintenance Procedures, and honing our inspection skills. We are excited to continue to use the Sentricon Colony Elimination System, a winner of the Presidential Green Chemistry Award and registered under the EPA’s Reduced Risk Pesticide Initiative, this system is both effective and low-impact. Those properties of the system dovetail nicely with our customers goals of having an effective and environmentally friendly solution to their termite problems.
Here’s to looking forward to spring.
-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.

www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Signs of Spring.

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Last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, GreenHow team members spent time at NE Grows, the annual trade show and education source for landcare professionals. Whether taking courses for Pesticide Continuing Education Units, networking with other professionals or walking around the exhibition halls to see what vendors had to offer, NE Grows never fails to remind us that spring is just around the corner, even if it began with a 4 to 5 inch snow event the opening morning. This year, there will be no New England Flower Show at the Bayside Expo, another spring to mind event that used to occur annually. Instead, to get your mind on flowers, consider BLOOMS, March 12th to 15th as an alternate event or a trip to Providence for the Rhode Island Flower Show February 19th to 22nd.
From a pest control standpoint, this is the time of year that a little prevention can prevent a lot of issues. A thorough inspection and treatment with a material like Diatomaceous Earth in cracks and crevices near infested sites can prevent a lot of carpenter ant activity and excavation in around 6 to 8 weeks when ant activity starts to ramp up in the spring. Implementing a green pest management program or integrated pest management program this time of year is an effective way to plan and to be ready for spring pest issues.
Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

What are snow fleas?

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With warm weather approaching this weekend (maybe 45 to 50 F), we may start to see snow fleas. The insect order Collembola, known by the common name springtails, appears on snow usually at the base of trees or other vegetation, where some areas have melted away to soil. Springtails need a high level of humidity and feed on algae, fungi and decomposing vegetable material. As we get toward march, children (or adults) playing in the snow on warmer days may see snow fleas in large numbers in those areas at the base of vegetation. The other common name for springtails, “snow fleas,” is applied to them when they appear on snow. The flea reference comes from the ability of this small gray wingless insect to jump suddenly by means of a forked appendage on the underside of the abdomen. Do not worry, this insect usually occurs outside only (or with extremely high humidity inside). This insect also cannot and will not bite people.

Pest management is not needed, but if necessary for control indoors, lowering the humidity will control springtails.

For excellent information on snow fleas, look at this link from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, EEK! Website for kids.

Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.