Fungus

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Many Boston Area lawns have brown or yellow splotches and circles on them, after a week of mostly wet weather including rain days and cool nights in the upper 40’s and low 50’s. The suspects? Many customers rightly say the grass looks stressed or burned but they know water is not the issue. Other customers have said they suspects insects, but grubs probably haven’t caused that kind of damage yet, more toward July and August. In most cases we have inspected, the cause is fungus. There are many lawns with brown patch or yellow patch and red thread. Against intuition, these areas affected tend to be the sunnier parts of the lawn. The reason, according to Craig Heffron from John Deere Landscapes, the temperature in these areas is high enough to incubate the fungus. Cultural controls are critical for fungi, illustrating the importance of balanced lawn fertility, and proper maintenance practices.
-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.

Carpenter Ant Frass

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To the left you will see conical piles of sawdust and carpenter ant body parts (carpenter ants are cannibals) that piled on folding tables below a pair of skylights. This sawdust and ant parts is called “frass” and when falling continuously from the same spot forms conical piles. This is a sure sign of a structural carpenter ant nest and should not be ignored. An integrated or green pest management program should be implemented to eradicate the nest and a plan put in place to protect the structure from further attack.
-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.

Poison Ivy

In Watertown, this maple tree is covered in poison ivy. If you look at the green foliage in the photo, it is the poison ivy facing the sidewalk growing up the tree bark. If you are allergic, keep your eyes open, poison ivy is out and doing well. Remember the old saying, “Leaves of three, let it be.” Leave poison ivy alone in a wooded or secluded setting since it produces great berries for birds. But in an urban setting, like against a sidewalk or path, it should be treated, then removed.
-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.

Carpenter Ants!

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You may have noticed Carpenter Ant foragers returning to the exterior of your home. Look out for foraging trails to see what lines the ants are using. This is useful for you or us to apply baits and other materials to the active areas. Carpenter Ants are most active after dusk, so inspecting at the end of the day, or early morning will yield the best results. And always think of wood that has gotten wet in the past, such as areas with former plumbing leaks or ice dams. When examining those areas look for frass, essentially sawdust with ant parts in it, falling out from wood members.
-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.

Gutters and Biting Flies (Mosquitoes)

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Mosquitoes and biting flies such as the small, but painful biter called the no-see-um, will soon be here, usually arriving in late June as we begin to enjoy the warm dusk outside. Reduce wet vegetative matter is critical to mosquito and biting fly control, that means treating with dunks catch basins on your property and eliminating potential breeding sites. Look for water collecting in tires, planters, cans, trash cans, children’s toys, even forgotten cups or pet bowls hiding under tables or play area equipment. A critical and often overlooked area is the gutter. We install the Leaf Defier to keep debris out of the gutter and to keep mosquitoes and biting flies from using the gutter as a site to lay eggs. Even if you don’t want to install a solid product like the Leaf Defier, keep your gutters clean and catch basins clean and dunked (with Bacillus thuringiensis isrealensis) to reduce the biting fly population around your home.
-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.

Air Humidity

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In New England, it is common that homes have a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers are great appliances to remove moisture from air inside homes, usually in basements and crawl spaces. Controlling humidity is a great addition to a integrated pest management (or green pest control / green pest management) program. We sell, install and recommend high quality units. The brand we prefer is Thermastor, using the Santa Fe Classic or Compact to efficiently and effectively remove moisture from the air at typical basement and crawl temperatures. These units offer better energy efficiency and water removal performance over other units. In Metro Boston, these are usually installed with a condensate pump pulling the condensate from the unit to the exterior of the structure.
-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.

Think about composting, It’s spring.

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Use the return of warm weather as a chance to open your composter and begin to use it again. Remember to add paper towels or other “browns” to augment the green material you are putting in. And use a hose to wet it down, it should be as moist as a wrung out sponge.
-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.

Rats!

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A continued menace in Metro Boston. Since the time the first ships with settlers arrived. No fun to deal with in your home, either alive, or dead.
Integrated or Green Pest Management Keys for rat control:
1) Sanitation: Remove and deal with trash effectively, metal cans or strong plastic, in a room with tight fitting doors and concrete floors. Rats love to burrow, concrete will slow them down.
2) Exclusion: Exclude the rats from the structure by employing concrete instead of dirt or wood basement and crawl floors. Fill holes in the foundation walls with cement or metal. Use gravel in dirt areas inside and outside the foundation walls.
3) Harborage Reduction: Remove clutter inside and out to reduce areas for rats to move about undetected. Keep grass mowed and shrubs trimmed 18″ off the structure. Remove debris around the structure. Inside stored items should allow access to all perimeter walls, so keeps stored items 18 to 24 inches away from the walls.

-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.