Diapause-and other winter insect survival strategies.

Diapause is an inactive state when animals do not develop any further.  Some insects use diapause to overwinter in cold climates.  Many insects also burrow done to shelter out of the way of wind, cold temperatures and other weather impacts.  Grubs and termites underground stay just below the frostline, yellowjacket and ant queens are under bark, logs and rocks.  Ladybugs and cluster flies are aggregated in groups in tight spaces like cracks in rocks or cracks in trees or in window frames or other components of your home.  In addition, many insects, such as ants, produce alcohols that act as antifreeze allowing them to survive temperatures below freezing.  As temperatures, humidity and sunlight all increase in the spring insects will start to venture out of their winter shelters to find food sources.

Ants are back!

Ants are back.  Starting about a week ago with little black ants showing up in kitchens and near fireplaces or furnaces, ants are starting to appear.  As insects wake up, they are hungry for food and start to forage close to their nesting sites.  Carpenter ants have already been reported and carpenter ants swarms will begin shortly as days continue to grow longer and we get intermittent warm days on top of increasing sunlight.  When they are sighted they are normally within several feet of the nest so your reports of ants this time of year through early spring will lead to great control of ants nesting in the structure.

Winter Feeder-Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Hemlock woolly adelgid egg masses produced in late winter often looks like snow between the needles of a hemlock.  The adelgid is a microscopic winter feeder of sap from hemlocks and can kill hemlocks if left untreated.  This small pest is a serious threat to hemlocks in the northeast causing hemlock decline and death.

Mid winter anti-desiccant applications soon!

Anti desiccant or anti transpirant means to keep from drying out or keep from transpiring.  This plant health care application is done in late November or early December for the first round, then a second time when we get a mid winter thaw.  We have just started the second round and will finish the second mid winter round next week.  This application is a wax material that is sprayed on the leaf tissue of evergreens, such as boxwood, pieris or rhododendrons.  The wax keeps the stomates from opening and water from leaving the leaf when there is little available ground moisture (due to it being frozen) to replace it.  Once moisture leaves the leave and is not replaced the leaf tissue may turn brown and look burned.

Winter Burn Boxwood

January resolutions include cleaning up & getting rid of old useless items in your life. In your kitchen cabinets remove expired food product. Meal moths love flour, baking mixes, nuts, teas, even potpourri. Photo is a jar of nuts with meal moth larva eating them.   It has gotten a little out of control since the nuts are covered in silken webbing. Use tight fitting screw on lids to minimize infestations and turn over your inventory (don’t save things you will never use!) to keep your cereals fresh.

Groundhog Day! Again! In New England groundhogs, or woodchucks, have 2 entries to the burrow, one exposed & one hidden by deck, shed, vegetation.  Typically customers call in the middle of summer when a groundhog is caught laying about in the sun or eating the vegetable garden.  There are a variety of control methods, the most successful

are to make your property unfriendly to groundhogs.  From pulling up the welcome mat by fencing your garden well and letting your dog patrol the area control measures then move up to trapping and removal by a licensed wildlife control agent.  Call us for help for do it yourself or for a trapper to consider using.

 

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.