Termite swarmers versus ants with wings.

Termite swarmers

Termite swarmers

If you find ants with wings in the spring, there is a possibility that you have termite swarmers.  Termites swarming inside are an indicator that a mature termite colony has access to the structure.  The termite has a thick waist versus an ant has a pinched waist.  The termite has a curved antennae which appears to be made of beads versus the ant has an elbowed antennae.  The termite will drop its wings and pair up pretty quickly, so you are likely to see wings all over the ground and insects walking in pairs.  Termite wings are all the same length and have a dark vein down the leading edge.  Ant wings pairs are not the same length.  Termites are interesting for many reasons, including they mate for life and the male and female will live up to 25 years.  The eastern subterranean termite we have here in eastern Massachusetts cannot set up in the wood above ground inside because it is too dry and needs to find a sunny spot of soil to dig into to start a nest.  Termite inspections are usually free unless you need paperwork for a FHA or HUD NPMA 33 form.  Call us for a free inspection if you spot swarmers.

Springing up! Time for soil tests, first lawn applications and planning maintenance.

Spring temperatures are here in eastern Massachusetts. We are pulling soil tests and putting down the first applications of the year. Hold off on seeding until temperatures get warmer, usually mid – May is a good time is you must seed in the spring. Only seed bare dirt, salt or plow damaged areas. Any disruptive seeding to existing lawn and turf areas should wait until August. When mowing starts – Sharp blades, Cut high and frequently (not on hot afternoons), always leave the clippings, clippings are not thatch. Water deeply and infreqently when the soil needs it.

Bulbs rise up.

Pestcast – Lawn, Mice & Horror Stories

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Finally a chance to put our knowledge out in an audio only format.  For people that like to learn new things on the move, our Pestcast podcast may be the ticket to learning something about pest control and lawn care.

Springtails! Snow Fleas!

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A favorite spring insect, snow fleas or springtails, are making themselves known outside right now.  These ground pepper sized insects flick their tails and jump to amazing heights.  This jumping action is what gets them confused with fleas.  This insect, pictured here from under a microscope, loves the cool wet conditions of spring.  They are often seen most clearly jumping over a patch of snow in a sunny lawn.  Don’t worry, these tiny insects will not bite.