Thatch and dethatch

Thatch is living material that is part of the growth of bluegrass in lawns.  An amount of thatch is normal in a lawn.  In the photo above, my finger is pressed down on the thatch layer that is growing over the top of the soil.  If soil is compacted or if the natural process of the lawn to consume thatch is compromised excessive thatch may build up.  If excessive that builds up, up to 1/2 or 3/4 inch or more, the best solution is to core aerate the area that has excessive thatch.  Regularly dethatching a lawn each spring usually is not necessary and will lead to other issues like increased summer annual weeds and will force the lawn to repair itself in the spring instead of tillering and building density.  Follow this link to UMASS on thatch management.

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.

National Houseplant January 10

Celebrate National Houseplant Day on January 10th by buying a houseplant from your local florist.   Remember to rotate your houseplants so they get light evenly on all sides.

-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.

2016 University of Massachusetts Garden Calendar

They are here and ready to go out!  Let us know if you are interested a free copy of the calendar from us while supplies last.  Follow this link to the UMASS Garden Calendar page for more information or to get a copy if we are out of the free ones.

-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.

Termites Made Nervous by Rock Music

A study done in Florida in 1968 found that termites exposed to rock music ate wood faster, but also abandoned social responsibilities like taking care of the queen.  The research indicated that the termites would consume more wood.  The behavior would endanger the colony because the termites neglected the other worker duties that included caring for and feeding other colony members that cannot feed themselves.  This nugget was mentioned in a book my daughter is reading on Crazy Facts, and it can be verified at The Miami Times article from September 18, 1968 linked here.

-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!

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.

Observing Honeybees in Cambridge

The Harvard Museum of Natural History, admission is free to Massachusetts residents every Sunday morning (year-round) from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and on Wednesdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm (September through May) has a observation honeybee hive.  The exhibit is called Honeybees in Action and is located in the Arthropods:  Creatures that rule exhibit area.  The observation hive provides a look at the activity of a colony, as the bees collect pollen, make honey, and care for their eggs and larvae.

Lauren Greenhow
-Greenhow, Inc

Please don’t feed the birds.

Very few topics about urban pest control get people more upset than asking them not to feed the birds. A huge number of, in the neighborhood of 1 in 6, Americans feed the birds.  Generally the biggest challenge is trying to stop bird feeding when rodents are an issue. It may seem miserly not to feed birds when there is snow on the ground, but preventing negative unintended consequences is the reason for discouraging the practice of feeding any wildlife. Bird seed inside a home is a food source for rodents and meal moths.  Outside it is a food source for many animals and the feeding sites can contain many diseases that may impact visiting birds. For information from Mass Wildlife biologists on feeding wildlife click here.  An interesting book on urban wildlife worth reading is “Nature Wars,” by Jim Sterba.

-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.

Support Massachusetts Business – Dean’s Beans

A great local company with a compelling mission is Dean’s Beans in Orange, Massachusetts.  If you have a K-Cup machine, check out their lower impact filter pack that will fit in your machine.  The coffee is very good and it will warm your spirit to support this business.
  -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.

Congratulations Molly on becoming a Board Certified Entomologist!

Molly Moran Achieves Board Certified Entomologist Status
Molly Moran was recently certified as a Board Certified Entomologist by the Entomological Society of America Certification Corporation. To achieve Board Certified Entomologist (BCE) status, the minimum requirements one must have are a degree in entomology (or a related field), 3 years of experience in the entomology field, two letters of reference, the willingness to abide by ethical standards set in the BCE Code of Ethics, and one must pass two rigorous exams.
A 2008 graduate of the University ofMassachusetts, Molly started in the industry working in the field doing termite and pest control. Her great background at UMASS and in the industry is a solid foundation to start her career as a Board Certified Entomologist. Since October 2010, she has worked at GreenHow, Inc., a family owned pest and termite control business in Newton Massachusetts. As in any small business, she serves many capacities including troubleshooting issues at customer sites. She routinely meets with clients, performs site inspections and documents feedback of actions to be taken by the client and by the company. She uses a hand lens, a desk microscope and a usb microscope to identify collected specimens in the office and in the field. All the company service technicians depend on Molly’s insect identification and problem solving skills to make their customers happy.  Molly is a second generation BCE, joining her father, Kevin Moran of Residex, as a BCE. Kevin has been a BCE for more than 30 years.  Molly worked very hard to prepare for the test, which she passed on the first try. She developed training posters and study guides over the past year as she studied for the exam.

Everyone is very proud of Molly’s accomplishments and know she will be a great entomologist.

-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.