Calculating rain for the rain barrels…

When speaking to a customer today, I was reminded that a common question is, ‘how much water can I collect in a rain barrel?’ Here is a simple formula that will get you close to the amount. Generally each inch of rain yields a half a gallon per square foot. So a 20×30 Cape style home has 600 square feet of catchable area, or 300 gallons in a 1 inch storm. Divide that by the number of downspouts to get approximate yield at the downspout, or 75 gallons in this example per downspout. In the Boston market, we recieve around 40 to 55 inches of rain each year, with around 30 to 40 inches occuring during the catchment time of year (spring to fall). Remember, rain water is a great addition to an organic lawn care or plant health program.

Green pest control in the news…., look at this article from the Lowell Sun on Green Pest Control.

-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.

Green Bottle Fly

This time of year we will receive calls for masses of flies on windows in garages. If the fly is a metallic, usually green, it is most likely the green bottle fly, which feeds on dead animal tissue, animal excrement, or other garbage. The source can be as simple as an animal carcass (dead mouse) to some hamburgers thrown out inadvertently in the recycling containers and then forgotten until the flies emerge. Integrated pest management (IPM) is critical in fly infestations, since the source must be identified and dealt with to have any success.

-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.

Hemlock Wooly Adelgid

Hemlock (Tsuga) woolly adelgids are usually noticed when a hemlock starts to lose needles, or the cottony, white egg masses are noticed on the twigs and leaf bases. They can be treated in early spring with dormant oil to reduce overwintering adults, or spray with insecticidal soaps in June and October. We also use injection systems to inject affected trees with a small amount of systemic insecticide. That gives the tree ongoing protection and minimizes the amount of material used, since it is injected into the tree just behind the bark.
-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.

Keep vegetation off structures.

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Pruning back vegetation from structures is usually done in midsummer to minimize access trails for insects, such as ants and carpenter ants. This practice of physically removing access for insects to the structure is an important component of integrated pest management. Foundation plants need to be kept off a home or business through regular pruning. Try to keep vegetatation 18 to 24 inches from the structure to allow air movement and prevent 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.

Look out for stinging insects.

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This time of year, stinging insects from the order Hymenoptera, family Vespidae, such as wasps, hornets and yellow jackets, start to become a concern. Normally, toward the end of July, these stinging insects have developed large enough colonies or nests that they are noticable around structures and other areas used by people. Aerial wasp nests are beginning to reach large enough sizes to require mulitple treatments to kill the nest. Nests that are on structures or near entry ways or where individuals may be stung should be treated and 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.

Late Blight on Tomatoes

Late Blight or Phytophthra infestans is best known for the devasting disease associated with the Irish Potato famine of the 1840′ and 50’s. UMASS sent out a tomato transplant alert last week regarding the presence of this fungal disease in plants sold in the northeast this year. Our wet weather conditions are perfect for late blight, which creates brown or blackened areas on stems with rings of white mold. Image from Cornell linked here. An organic treatment is to spray the plant with compost tea prior to symptoms showing. If symptoms appear, remove and discard the plants, do not compost the plants.
-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.

Mosquitos

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Biting flies and mosquitoes are coming out. Mosquitoes can breed in moisture as small as a soda or water bottle cap, so vigilantly inspect your yard for breeding sources, swings, kiddie pools, tires and toys that collect water. For mosquitoes an integrated pest management program is critical. Focus on reducing breeding habitat (water) by eliminating standing water, keeping gutters clean and using repellents if outside at dusk and screens on windows. Mosquito dunks, or larvacides, such as the small donut shaped bacillus thuringiensis dunks are available at hardware stores and are widely used around homes in standing water, like rain barrels. They have no effect on other organisms, except they kill all stages of pupating mosquitoes, not just the final pupation like growth regulators do.
-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