Rodent Entryways

This image is looking up below a deck at a corner in the foundation. Mice expanded an existing seam where the cut wood and concrete foundation was not flush. The grease (sebum) marks are from the hair (fur) of the mice passing through repeatedly. The ground below is littered with eaten acorns. Mirrors are essential for finding rodent entryways and performing rodent exclusion because you have to look up.

Fall Plant Health Care – Horticultural Oil

The Hemlock below has the woolly masses of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid eggs between the needles or leaves pictured in the photo.  Severe infestations resemble snow.  Dormant oil or Fall Horticultural oil applications to your plants has many benefits.  For hemlocks, the oil application suffocates hemlock woolly adelgid.

  • Oils are effective controls of many plant pests.
  • Advantages of oils include safety, effectiveness and limited effects on beneficial insects.
  • Horticultural oil sprays are directed to specific targets and do not leave a residual impact on beneficial insects or other organisms.

Various oils have been used for centuries to control insect and mite pests. Oils are an important tool to manage certain pest problems (e.g., scales, aphids, mites) on fruit trees, shade trees and woody ornamental plants. Several recently developed oils extend this usefulness to flowers, vegetables and other herbaceous plants. Oils also can control some plant diseases, such as powdery mildew. Oils used to protect plants have been called by many names, but perhaps horticultural oils best describes them.

  • For spider mites – hemlock, euonymus, forsythia, privet and pine.
  • For scale – euonymus, cherry, magnolia, hemlock, pine, oak, taxus, rhododendron, fruit trees, blueberry.
  • For hemlock woolly adelgid.
  • For lace bugs – andromeda, azalea, rhododendron
  • For winter moth – maple, birch, oak, blueberry and fruit trees.

Oils have different effects on pest insects. The most important is that they block the air holes (spiracles) through which insects breathe, causing them to die from asphyxiation. In some cases, oils also may act as poisons, interacting with the fatty acids of the insect and interfering with normal metabolism. Oils also may disrupt how an insect feeds, a feature that is particularly important in the transmission of some plant viruses by aphids.

Oils pose few risks to people or to most desirable species, including beneficial natural enemies of insect pests. This allows oils to integrate well with biological controls. Toxicity is minimal, at least compared to alternative pesticides, and oils quickly dissipate through evaporation, leaving little residue.


Grass Carrying Wasps

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Grass carrying wasps, A solitary wasp, packs a small cavity such as around a window or storm window frame with grass, stings a grasshopper or other bug and lays her egg inside. Her hatched egg feeds on the insect and grows up to build a pupae casing in the grass nest created by its mother. Next spring the pupa will emerge and start the process again. Not structure infesting, does not sting, never even noticed by customers usually with the exception of the grass in the windows.

Change your dehumidifier filter every 3 months.


Change your dehumidifier filter every 3 months and the black plastic prefilter annually. A dirty filter makes the machine less efficient and have to work harder.  The picture here is a clean Santa Fe Classic dehumidifier filter on the right compared to a dirty filter on the left side.

Citronella Ants – Fall ant swarms

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On nice sunny fall days we get calls for flying ants, often suspected as termites, inside homes or adjacent to them. Inside they are often in the basement near a furnace.  Usually the culprit is:  Citronella Ants.  Crushing the ant between your fingers will release the characteristic odor of citronella that gives this ant its name.  Not a structure infesting ant this ant lives in the ground and is usually only a pest when they swarm in the fall and are confused with termites which normally only swarm in the spring in eastern Massachusetts.
-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

A flock of crows attacks a lawn

A flock of crows on the lawn or animals rolling back sections like the lawn is carpet.  Grub damage in the shows up as brownish areas that are often attacked by animals who feed on the grubs.  Grubs can be reduced by an application in the spring with a material that will be in the plants root system to kill any eggs that hatch in the summer and start to feed on the root zone.  In the photo to the left the lawn on the left whose property line is in front of the white picket fence has been protected by a June treatment with Acelepryn.  The lawn on the right was not and was treated with a curative treatment now.  Preventative treatments are much longer lasting and lower toxicity when compared to curative treatments.

Termite Mud Tubes

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The thin brown line running down the side of this foundation is a termite mud tube. In New England we deal with the Eastern Subterranean termite. This termite must be near soil at all times, so to move up into and out of your home the termite (the size of a small ant, lacking pigment so referred to as a grain of rice as a visual reference) builds mud shelter tubes by placing grains of soil cemented together with saliva to protect the termites from drying out. Even inside the wood they consume they carrying in soil and plaster it against the walls to control humidity in the wood. They need the soil to manage the moisture in their environment. Exposed termite shelter tubes like this can easily be overlooked against gray foundations or when the height of the grade is much closer to or in contact with the siding of the structure.

Lawn and Plant Care Boston

Make plans to get to 2017 Boston Flower and Garden Show – Superheroes of the Garden!

Make plans to get to the 2017 Boston Flower and Garden Show.  It is March 22 to 26 at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston.  When in the neighborhood, stop by La Casa de Pedro’s newest location 505 Congress St, Boston.  The theme this year is Superhero’s.

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


To the right you will see a section of bamboo floor with beetle exit holes marked with red circles. The large oblong circle also covers a difficult to see powderpost beetle frass. This was found by the owner of a Boston condo in a 6 unit 5 year old building. Traditionally, the treatment options were fumigation or removal of the infested wood in finished wood like this because surface treatments would not be effective due to the wood finish.

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

Valentine’s Day Lovebug

  The Lovebug is a small black fly that is common in areas of South, Central and Gulf Coast North America.  The male and female Lovebugs are known for their large swarms twice a year.  Lovebugs will mate and remain attached for days, even in flight, leading to their name.  These bugs are unfortunately attracted to vehicle exhaust, especially diesel exhaust, and end up in large numbers near roads and highways.  They are so numerous near highways they cover windshields, body panels and even radiators leading to engine overheating in extreme cases.  In entomological terms, the name Lovebug lets you know it is not a true bug.  True bugs, order Hemiptera, have a space between the name and the word bug, like Bed bug.  Ladybugs and Lovebugs are not true bugs, so have no space in the name.  The Disney movie of the same name is based on the Volkswagen Beetle, but rules don’t apply when describing a car.

-Sean Greenhow