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.

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.
www.GreenHow.com. 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

Keeping Rodents Out

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If you see mouse droppings, or a mouse, it is time to take action:  Trap, Block, & Clean Up.

Trap:  Set up traps inside. If you are uncertain where your mice may be, focus on warm areas, like under the refrigerator where the compressor keeps the area warm.

Block:  Try to block mice from getting in.  This may be a huge task in some New England homes, especially those with older foundations, stone foundations, or porches and decks you cannot get under.  Your foundation is your frontline.  Filling mouse holes is like filling pot holes, it should be done regularly because rodents will make new openings and the expansion and contraction of buildings in the northeast climate can create openings, particularly where wood and cement or concrete meet (the foundation) or around door seals, such as garage door bases and trim seals.

Clean up:  Clean up, carefully, by spraying the droppings with water, or a light soapy water (to keep dust down) and then pad the droppings up with a disposable paper towel or napkin. Please don’t vacuum rodent droppings since action may pull any harmful microorganisms into the air or onto other surfaces where they can cause an illness.

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

Bugs! are back!

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The Harvard Museum of Natural History is bringing its great bugs exhibit back:  Exploring Science Together: Bugs! on Saturday, July 18, from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm.  Past bugs exhibits have been great hits with kids.  The program has hands-on activities including digging in the dirt, touching live invertebrates, and outside bug collection.There is also a program to create your own scientific equipment to continue the study of entomology at home! All activities are designed to be a fun and interactive experience for families with children in grades K-5.  
-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, 
GreenHow, Inc. GreenHow.com. Effective Organic and Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control and Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Cold weather & Carpenter Ants Indoors

Carpenter Ants under leaking shower pan.

As the weather cools, carpenter ant colonies that may have moved in to structures over the summer can be more apparent indoors.  This is because as the outdoors becomes too cool for foraging, the inside of  a heated occupied structure will be the only foraging areas left.  The pictures here show a colony that moved in under a shower pan with a leak. This black mass is a large group of ants in the exposed rotted wood under the shower door.  Wet wood is ideal carpenter ant nesting material.  The arrows show other ants on the shower door base. As noted by Paul Fisette in thisUMASS article on Carpenter Ants and Termites, “if you see ants in your home and the ground outside is frozen outside, you have a problem.”

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

Ants of New England-Booksigning

At the Harvard Museum of Natural History on Thursday, November 29th at 6 pm, ecologist and author  Aaron Ellison will give a lecture and have a booksigning for the new regional ant guide, Ants of New England.  This event is free with free parking at the 52 Oxford St Garage. 

-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.

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

Chewed Up

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Pictured to the right is a picture of a perfectly round hole chewed into a carefully filled opening outside a customers residence. This opening around the air conditioner line runs inside and up to the attic. When the customer noted a return of a noise in the attic, we went straight to the formerly offending hole and found a mouse had chewed back through the polyurethane. We added copper and refilled the hole, actual size around the size of a nickel.

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

Winter Ants

If you are noticing ants this time of year in the Boston area, then you probably have a nest on the inside of your insulation. Sometimes ants or ants with wings (swarmers) will show up in the coldest months, like now. It is a good sign that a nest exists on the interior side of the insulation, probably near a heating source. These ants will still be trailing in the usual places, looking for food and water. Water or wet food is especially important since in heated home, the relative humidity may be 28 to 32 percent.

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

Site Sanitation

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Pest control is sanitation. Effective pest control, whether structural pest control, or ornamentals and shrubs is based on site sanitation. Keeping debris properly disposed of will dramatically reduce and control pest populations. For exterior pest control, including reducing issues that affect plant health, clean up all limbs, leaves and debris. Site sanitation will reduce the chance of plant disease. In addition, debris that are cleaned up reduce harborages for other pests, both rodents and insects that if left unchecked may multiply and cause problems inside.
-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.