This grey yellowjacket nest on the side of a home is located at the base of the window shutter. Yellowjackets made paper to construct the nests by collecting wood in their jaws from siding, trees or fences and using water to build layers on the nest. Working together they build the protective shell. Inside are layers of honeycomb larval chambers to use as a nursery. As the year progresses and the nest grows the protective range will increase for yellowjackets. In eastern Massachusetts these nests are built annually. They are not reused each year.
What is making your arborvitae brown? Bagworm is the likely culprit. Bagworm is the second greatest cause of damage to arborvitae in Massachusetts, outdone only by deer. The bagworm larva starts feeding in June, when it can go unnoticed. Insecticide spraying must be done in June before the larva is too large. This larval stage builds a structure made of arborvitae tissue held together with silk. The silken house camouflages and protects the larva. It is hidden from view and also protected from insecticides.
Bagworm damage can appear rapidly, even though they may have been feeding for months, the damage final reaches a critical mass. In July or August the damage appears overnight. Remove, kill and discard of the nuisance pest., best way place in a pail of soapy water, then a sealed plastic trashbag left on a hot surface. Call for a free inspection if you suspect bagworm on your arborvitae.
Happy Fourth of July. We are closed on Friday July 3rd, 2020 and Saturday July 4th for our team members to enjoy the holiday with their family and friends. Email or call in service calls, they will be prioritized for service on Monday morning. Emergencies, like yellowjackets in the baby’s room, will receive service over the weekend.
Wood roaches look a lot like German cockroaches. Wood roaches do not have the two dark marks on the thorax (section of the body after the head) that distinguish German cockroaches. In eastern Massachusetts, wood roaches are very active in June. If you are in your yard or garden, especially in the late afternoon, you will see many wood roaches. These roaches do not infest structures. Wood roaches are attracted by light. They enter around screen doors and window screens at dusk or the early evening. The Boll’s wood cockroach pictured below is the light tan color of a German roach, but without the 2 dark marks on the thorax.
If you find cockroaches in areas of your home without heavy humidity in June, it is likely a wood cockroach and pest control service or treatment is not necessary. First, vacuum or pick and remove the roaches that are inside. Then use blinds or shades to reduce light emission from the inside of your home. Finally, judiciously use exterior lights to minimize wood roach activity around doors.
Great news! Two local enemies of ornamental plants – winter moth and gypsy moths – are not problems we will face this spring. Over the past few years the winter moth population has been declining in eastern Massachusetts.
The winter moth was controlled by an introduced parasitic fly, known as Cyzenis Albicans, that only attacks Winter Moths. Joseph Elkinton and George Boettner, both entomologists at UMASS, reared and released this fly that has established a presence and keeps the winter moth population in balance. Gypsy moth has declined to the point of not being managed due to the resurgence of two of the gypsy moths natural enemies, Entomophaga maimaiga, an airborne fungus that kills gypsy moth caterpillars and nucleopolyhedrosis virus (NPV).
Last year we took most sites from two applications for winter moth to a single application. This year based on the surveys from the winter and the information we have from the University of Massachusetts extension service there is no need to perform the defoliating caterpillar applications. We will not perform applications for defoliating caterpillars this spring unless you request them.
What does this mean?
If you have prepaid for a defoliating caterpillar application the prepay amount will be refunded or applied to a different service if you wish. We are still equipped to handle defoliating caterpillars and if you suspect something is wrong and you have an active infestation, we will come out and treat within 24 hours on the next weather appropriate day. If you are on a plant health care program with monthly inspections we will continue to scout for defoliating caterpillars as part of the routine scouting and treat as needed.
If populations of either insect rebound, we will recommend putting your property on preventative maintenance spraying to control winter and gypsy moths.
Ticks dry out easily. That is why they are not found in the middle of lawns. Ticks are present in large numbers at the edge of lawns where the forest and unmanaged grasslands begin. Tick control is focused on the perimeter of a yard to treat the tick habitat. The impact of leaf litter on tick population is direct. More leaf litter results in more ticks. This is because the leaf litter provides moist tick habitat. Removing leaves to a dedicated leaf pile is fine if the pile is away from areas people and pets will be using. Mulching the leaves in place with a mower works well because they breakdown more quickly.
This video shows how quickly a Norway rat can enter a small hole. A Norway rat can enter any hole they can fit their head. Holes the size of a quarter rats can use to enter a structure. This video is from a basement. The basement has a stone foundation wall with missing masonry. It is important to maintain your foundation wall. Stone, block and brick foundations need more maintenance to keep the joints pointed and secure inside and out. Norway rats get inside quickly with a colony near the foundation. The burrow system of the Norway rat extends underground and usually follows existing structures like sewer, electrical conduit, gas and water lines. Those pipes and structures make it easy for rats to create runways between burrows. Finally, sewer lines are important to rats. Rats need a drink of water every day.
Rodent droppings are dangerous. Never vacuum rodent droppings. Spray rodent droppings using a disinfectant, sanitizer or virucide (DSV). That kills harmful viruses carried on them. Next, use a paper towel in a gloved hand to dab up the droppings and dispose of them in a trash bag.
At Greenhow, our experts can help you with rodent control services. Get a free consultation today.
Protecting the health of team members and customers is the most important part of our job. The coronavirus has heightened the awareness about the steps we need to take to protect ourselves and you. We are following the CDC guidelines and working to make sure team members have the materials, guidance and training to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Team members will not come to work when sick.
We will maintain a safe distance from you when servicing your home.
Our business involves hazardous items each day. Team members take steps to protect themselves. Those same steps can protect you. Trained to safely handle dead animals, animal droppings, pesticides, and dangerous tools, team members wear disposable gloves as a matter of routine. When done with the gloves, they wrap the gloves in on themselves for disposal. Vehicle interiors and handles disinfected regularly. Team members fit tested and qualified to use half face respirators. They have respirators for their use.
If you are apprehensive about having us service your property, we can skip any service you wish. A majority of services this time of year do not require us to enter your home. Many pest problems solved by a professional exterior service of your home. All our services start with inspection and identification. If interior service is not needed or requested we will do the outside only and service the interior on demand. If you need interior service, we will wear gloves and maintain a safe distance from you. If you have a basement or garage door you can open ahead of service or remotely for us we can service those areas without you present. Early spring applications for ant control on the outside foundation are extremely effective. Mouse and rat ground level rodent exclusion is effective at closing entry points. Lawn and plant health care services do not require any interaction. With our electronic service orders and invoicing, we can protect your property and not increase your risk of exposure.
Finally, our hearts go out to all those affected by coronavirus. We all navigate this evolving situation together. Thank you for being a customer.
What makes an insect a social insect?
Social insects are insect that live in caste systems. The word social regarding insects does not have the same meaning as a social person. We expect a social person to engage with others. Social insect caste systems consist a king and queen and a retinue of insect types to support them and the colony. Insect colonies with a social caste system have many levels. Some examples are secondary reproductives, soldiers, and workers. Workers have many roles. Examples of worker roles include nursery workers and foragers. Termites, pictured below, ants, yellowjackets and honey bees are all social insects. Most workers in a social colony are sterile females. They act almost like appendages of the queen. The queens pheromones drive the behavior in the colony. They are not individuals in the sense that they operate strictly to serve the queen. Social insects depend on the rest of the colony for survival. Some types of colony insects, like termite soldiers and termite reproductives before they swarm, cannot even eat on their own, they must be feed by colony workers.
What is a gregarious insect?
An insect that lives very close to other insect of the same species is described as gregarious. German cockroaches, pictured below, are gregarious. Bed bugs also are gregarious. These types of insects live near each other, but don’t depend on each other. Both German roaches and Bed bugs leave droppings in the area they live. This creates fecal focal points that other insects of the same species seek out and live near. Often feces, eggs, juveniles and adults will all be found in close proximity around the fecal focal points. Social and gregarious insects that occur in structures usually need to be controlled or exterminated.
What is a solitary insect?
An insect that lives on it’s own except to mate is solitary. Solitary wasps are the most common solitary insect. They seek out food and shelter without assistance from others. The off spring are fully formed individuals that leave and establish their own nests. A mud dauber, nest pictured below, is an example of a solitary wasp. Solitary insects rarely require treatment. If a mud dauber or grass carrying wasp is a nuisance, simply remove the nest material.
Do not feed wildlife. Absolutely not. No way, under any circumstances. There is not a good reason to feed wildlife. Wildlife doesn’t need your help to survive.
Why shouldn’t I feed wildlife or birds?
I hope that makes it clear. Wildlife needs to be wild and feeding them creates many problems. First, outside feeding is not specific to a particular species. You end up feeding a variety of birds and animals. The feeder, the area below the feeder where seed spills and the feeding site are attractive to a wide variety of animals. This leads to interaction and conflict among animals. Second, this spilled feed brings animals to the same location concentrating droppings and disease among the feed. Birds and animals get sick from the exposure to the diseased food. Even in the coldest winter native species will be fine with natural food sources. A result of spilled seed and feed is structural rodent problems.
Does anyone else think feeding wildlife is a bad idea? Are you just trying to keep the outdoor mice population down?
Don’t just take my word for it, Mass Wildlife also recommends not feeding birds or animals. Mass Wildlife writes, ” The best way to help wildlife make it through the winter is to step back and allow the animals’ instincts to take over.” Animals are great at getting the resources they need. Your feed is never necessary and in many cases is detrimental to the animals. Many people have very strong opinions that I am wrong about feeding wildlife. Watching birds and squirrels from inside your home can be a source of comfort for many people.
Still feel compelled to feed the birds? First, read the sensible Mass Audubon tips on bird feeders and consider a bird bath (change the water weekly) and a net to catch fallen seed to help with site sanitation, available at our recommended products page. Finally, Mass Audubon notes that all bird feeders “should be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis (once a month) to prevent the spread of disease.” A result will be no harm for the birds you are trying to help.
225 Riverview Ave, Suite B3
Auburndale, MA 02466-1369
Phone: (617) 964-4733