ANTS

DESCRIPTION & DETECTION

Ants generally are spotted as they forage through your home and lawn. Some ants, including fire ants, create ant hills that are visible through grass. Carpenter ants infest wood and wood-built objects. Ants don't pose a direct threat to lawns but are considered a nuisance. Ants are found throughout the world. They are very social insects and live in colonies consisting of a queen, female workers, and males. The species of ant determines where the ants are found. Ants usually live and build their nests in mounds outdoors, in wood structures, or in plants and trees. Using a product such as Diatomaceous Earth can eliminate a variety of crawling pests.


ALSO KNOWN AS

Argentine Ants, Carpenter Ants, Crazy Ants, Fire Ants, Little Black Ants, Pavement Ants


ANT CONTROL OPTIONS

Methods of controlling ants include ant baits, especially those made with boric acid or diatomaceous earth, glue trays, and pheromone traps. Since ants do not usually harm the environment and are beneficial, leave outdoor colonies alone.

Boric Acid is deadly to ants, roaches and other crawling insects. Some boric acid products contain a food and or pheromone attractants. When using straight boric acid, mix a small amount of boric acid to foods that ants will eat.

Sweet or greasy foods usually attract them. Mix at a ratio of 1 teaspoon to a cup of the food you are using for bait. Ants will take some of the boric acid back to their colony for other ants, assuming it is food, and feed to larvae, other workers, and even the queen. The colony can be severely damaged or eliminated.

Although boric acid is relatively nontoxic, keep it away from children and pets. It should be enclosed in a bait station or placed in an area inaccessible to children or pets.

Diatomaceous Earth is a dust-like product that contains the crushed fossilized remains of diatoms. The dust is ingested by the ant and affects the cuticle of the ant, resulting in its dehydration. The best part about DE is that insects cannot develop a resistance to it since there are no chemicals to which they can develop an immunity. If the area where the DE is applied becomes wet, it will need to be reapplied.

Glue traps have a sticky surface that prevents the ants from escaping once they have ventured onto the trap. These traps are easy to use, since you only need to release the paper that protects the glue surface and place the glue trap along the ant trail.

Pheromone traps lure ants as well as other crawling insects, and once inside the trap, the insects cannot escape.

Carefully read and follow all product label instructions completely for safe application

Ant bait may take a few days to take effect before results are noticed. Setting the bait as soon as ants are spotted, however, will help in reducing the infestation as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more time it gives the colony to produce more ants.


NATURAL PREDATORS

Anteaters are obviously predators of ants, as their name implies. Other predators include spiders, toads, and lizards. Ants themselves can be predators of other ants, as well. Predators of ants find ants to be most abundant in the warmer months, generally when they are most active.

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TICKS

DESCRIPTION & DETECTION

Ticks are small, potentially deadly parasitic arachnids that that spread diseases and feast on the blood of their victims. As they feed, their body fills with blood and they swell up and become more visible to the naked eye.

While ticks are not a threat to lawn health, their presence can pose risks to people and pets using the lawn.

Several afflictions, including Lyme disease, are transmitted through tick bites. As a result, they are considered a major pest.

It's highly advised to thoroughly check yourself, your family and your pets each day for ticks.


WHAT'S A TICK?

Ticks are members of the arachnid group, having eight legs in the adult stage and lacking antennae at all stages. There are two groups of ticks: hard ticks and soft ticks. The main focus for this website will be on hard ticks, which are encountered much more frequently than soft ticks; in fact, some people will never encounter a soft tick. Both groups of ticks can transmit certain diseases to animals, while the hard tick is responsible for transmitting diseases to animals and people.

Perhaps the three most recognized hard ticks are the American Dog Tick, the Brown Dog Tick and the Blacklegged Tick, commonly known as the Deer Tick. Although each tick has certain species-specific characteristics, there are some characteristics all hard ticks have in common. Besides eight legs and no antennae, these ticks have a hard shell with the mouth area attached directly to the shell.

· American Dog Ticks tend to be reddish brown in color and appear very flat when they have not eaten lately. After the female hard tick has fed, she resembles a small bubble or grape, although males do not seem to change their shape after feeding.

· Brown Dog Ticks are often called Kennel Ticks because they are mainly found in kennels as well as homes where there are dogs. These ticks attach themselves to dogs and feed, but they are not generally known to attack people See photo right for identification of a brown dog tick. Brown dog ticks can live indoors inside cracks in floors, among upholstery, and near heaters. The female can produce over 3,000 eggs – in the comfort of your home!

· Deer Ticks, as the Blacklegged Ticks are now more commonly known, are also reddish brown in color, but are much smaller than the American Dog Tick, so they are not as easily spotted on animals or people. In the nymph stage, they are only about the size of the head of a pin, making it even harder to see them when they attach themselves to people or pets. These ticks are the precursors of the dreaded Lyme disease, which can cause severe complications if untreated.

All ticks, whether hard or soft, go through four stages of development. Females will lay their eggs after feeding. When the eggs hatch, the emerging miniscule six-legged larvae feed on a nearby host. After going through one or more molts, a larva becomes a nymph with eight legs. These nymphs in turn will molt and become adults who are ready to feed and reproduce.

Ticks are found throughout the United States, mainly in outdoor areas with woods, shrubs, weeds, and tall grasses. They are particularly found in humid environments. The only ticks generally found to live indoors is the Brown Dog Tick. Other ticks may enter the home via a pet or person who has been outside in tick-friendly areas.

Spraying lawn to treat ticks is the best course of action to prevent a tick outbreak.


CONTROL OPTIONS

Insecticidal soap and pyrethrin-based sprays are best used in combination for tick control.

These solutions are combined to create the equivalent of a one-two knockdown punch. The soap will penetrate the tick's shell enough to weaken and dehydrate the arachnid and allow the pyrethrin to absorb into the tick and do its job.

Pyrethrin is a nerve agent and will paralyze and kill the arachnid on contact. Keep in mind this soap is not like dish detergent, it's a base from a blend of plant sources and pyrethrin oils and comes from the chrysanthemum flower.

Insecticides containing pyrethrins can be applied by your L&M technician. 

*Use in accordance with directions on the product label.

  

Ticks can be present at any time of year. Their activity decreases in colder weather and increases in warmer weather. Lawn treatments for ticks may be necessary year-round in warmer climates but in more seasonal climates, tick treatments are probably only necessary in the spring & summer. 


NATURAL PREDATORS

Parasitic wasps and certain birds, particularly the Guinea fowl, eat ticks. 

tick, ticks, dog tick, deer tick, brown tick, lyme disease

ARMYWORMS

DESCRIPTION & DETECTION

Armyworms are smooth-skinned and about 1 1/2 inches long. Body color varies, but generally is yellow, green, dark brown or black. Stripes run down their side. Armyworms feed on grass plants, creating brown patches that may appear to be drought stress. Adult armyworm moths are tan, light brown or grayish-brown in color and have a 1 1/2" - 2" wingspan. On each of their front wings, they have a small white dot.

Armyworm larvae or caterpillars are brownish or greenish in color with dark and light stripes along the length of their bodies. Eggs, which are a greenish white color, are laid in large groupings on the undersides of foliage leaves.

Armyworms spend the winter as mature larvae or in a pupal stage amid plant debris or down in the soil itself.

The armyworm larvae will feed during springtime and then pupate for two weeks. It is in this feeding period that the larvae cause the most destruction. After pupating, they will emerge as moths ready to mate, lay eggs, and continue the cycle.

There can be anywhere from 2 to 3 generations per year, with some areas having 4 if the conditions are favorable.


ALSO KNOWN AS

Army Cutworms

Armyworm Moth Larvae

Fall Armyworms


SYMPTOMS OF DAMAGE

Identifying the symptoms and controlling an armyworm infestation may be very difficult because a group of armyworms can destroy entire plants overnight. By the time the symptoms have been spotted, the armyworms may no longer be feeding in preparation for the next stage, or may have moved to another field, garden, or golf course to infest.

If symptoms present themselves early enough and you spot them in time, however, there are some ways to control an infestation. When you see plants that look defoliated or notice grasses or fields being devoured, you will need to immediately act.


CONTROL OPTIONS

Products featuring bacillus thuringiensis are organic resources that can be used to help control the armyworm. B.t. (Bacillus thuringiensis) is a useful method for eliminating armyworms without environmental concerns or harm to wildlife and beneficial insects. Insecticides containing pyrethrins can also be an effective method of controlling the armyworm.

Applying products that kill armyworm larvae, thereby preventing further damage. When the B.t. is ingested by the worm, it works as a gut rot poison that makes the worm stop feeding. The armyworm will stop feeding immediately and die within days of malnutrition. B.t. usually comes in a dust or concentrate and kills a variety of caterpillars and worms, including the destructive armyworm. It will not harm beneficial insects, children, pets or wildlife. Insecticides containing pyrethrins can be applied by your L&M technician.

If you do decide to self treat *  

Carefully read and follow all directions on the product's label. It is recommended with any pesticide to test plants for sensitivity to the product. Spray a small section of the plant in an inconspicuous area and wait 24 hours before applying full coverage.

B.t. is generally applied when it is a cooler time of day, preferably later in the afternoon or early in the evening since the product breaks down in sunlight and heat.


armyworm, army worm, moth, army moth, cutworms, fall armyworms, Armyworm Moth Larvae, army moth

wasps & hornets

DESCRIPTION & DETECTION

Before taking any action to address “bees” that may be infesting your yard, make sure you know the species of "bee" you’re encountering. Yellow Jackets are the most common ground-nesting nuisance stinging insect. Paper wasps are semi-aggressive and may make lawn areas near their nests unusable.

DO NOT KILL HONEYBEES, instead contact a professional beekeeper who may remove the bees for free.

Though hornets are a type of wasp, they still have slightly different characteristics from other wasps. In most cases, wasps are smaller than hornets. A wasp grows to be about 1-inch while hornets can grow to 1.5-inches. Yellow jackets are often one of the most common wasps that visit picnics and other populated areas during the warmer months. They measure about 1/2" and are generally yellow and black. Paper wasps or umbrella wasps are 3/4 to 1" long with smoky black wings. Wasps also have more color variations than hornets, which are usually black, white or a reddish brown. Many wasps have yellow on their bodies, which hornets usually do not.

Some other differentiating characteristics include:

· Hornets make aerial nests that appear to be paper-like.

· Wasp nests are usually smaller than hornet nests.

· Yellow Jackets build nests mostly below ground but sometimes above.

· Paper wasp nests won’t have a paper envelop enclosing the nest.

· Wasp nests tend to have more workers than hornet nests.

· Both wasps and hornets eat insects, but mostly wasps are only attracted to sweet or protein-rich foods or drinks.

· The aggressiveness of a wasp depends on the species. Yellow jackets and hornets both tend to be quite aggressive regardless of the situation, whereas paper wasps won’t usually sting unless provoked.

Depending on what species of hornet or wasp you have, they may or may not be aggressive. However, the problem with these pests is that they tend to build their nests in the same areas where people like to congregate. This poses a mild threat, as wasps and hornets can pack a powerful punch when they sting — and they can also sting multiple times.

Although they all chew wood pulp to build their nests, yellow jackets generally locate their nests below the ground surface, while hornets and other wasps build their large nests up in the trees, under eaves, along roof lines, in attics, or any other space that might be desirable.

While most hornet species are not normally aggressive, they will all become aggressive if their nest is disturbed. If wasps decide they like the same outdoor space and food as you do, problems can also arise.


CONTROL OPTIONS

While natural wasp control can be beneficial, elimination may be the best bet when kids or pets are involved. There are several natural ways to get rid of wasps and hornets when they come too close to your home or outdoor event. Wasps tend to be territorial, so even hanging a “false” nest where you don’t want them can act as a deterrent. However, if you already found a wasp or hornet nest on your property, it’s likely too late to simply employ the false nest method.

Wasp traps are often good at getting rid of wasps. The wasps go in after the bait but they won’t be able to figure out how to escape. Whenever you need yellow jacket, hornet or paper wasp control, you’ll just have to make sure to empty the trap and ensure the bait is fresh. The bait should be replaced when emptying a full trap or after 7 days in normal temperatures. High heat can cause the bait to evaporate quicker. 

Aerosols containing pyrethrin, d-limonene, palmarosa oil or mint oil appear to be the most effective control methods for these insects.


Pyrethrin, d-limonene, and/or palmarosa oil sprays can also be used for instant spot control. In addition, they can be used to drench the nest or hive.

To spray a nest of wasps, be sure to wear a bee veil and very protective clothing which is closed at the cuff of pants and sleeves as well as the collar and belt areas so wasps cannot crawl under your clothes and sting you.

Spray from approximately 10 to 15 feet away or as far away as you can manage based on the position of the nest. Spray with the wind at your back. Carefully read and follow all instructions completely for safe and effective application.    

Once a trap is set up, it will take about 24 hours to fully lure wasps & yellow jackets, so plan ahead if you're having a backyard party or outdoor event.

When treating a full nest, spray aerosol solutions after dusk or before dawn since these insects are dormant at night.

*Always follow product label instructions. If you are uncomfortable with self treating a hive please reach to to a local exterminator.


NATURAL PREDATORS

Birds and other insects eat wasps and hornets, helping to control their populations 

wasp, hornet, white face hornet, paper bee nest, hornet nest, ground bees

grubs

DESCRIPTION & DETECTION

Grubs feed on roots of lawn grasses, often creating irregular patches of brown, dying grass by late summer and fall. Digging up a sample will reveal white or yellowish C-shaped grubs. These grubs may attract skunks and moles. During the late summer and early fall, you may notice lawns turning an unattractive shade of brown in certain unsightly, dying patches. The likely explanation is the grass is being destroyed by hungry, thriving grub worms living below the surface of the lawn. If this has happened in your lawn, there is good news. These pests can be controlled, and your lawn can be restored back to its healthy state by getting rid of grub worms.


ALSO KNOWN AS

  • Lawn Grubs   
  • Masked Chafer Larvae
  • Masked Chafer Grubs,
  • Northern Masked Chafers
  • White Grubs
  • June Beetle Larvae
  • June Bug Grubs
  • June Bug Larvae
  • May Beetle Grubs
  • May Beetle Larvae
  • May Bug Grubs
  • May Bug Larvae
  • Japanese Beetle Larvae

WHAT IS A WHITE GRUB?

White grubs are the slug-like larval stage of many insects. They root around just below the surface, eating the roots of grass and other plants as they grow. The most common white grubs are the larvae of June bugs, European Chafers, Masked Chafers, Billbugs, Oriental Beetles and Japanese Beetles. All these species start as soft-bodied grubs and are practically indistinguishable from one another. They are white-colored, C-shaped and often have small legs and tiny heads. Most are between a ½ inch and 2 inches long. 

 If the soil is exceptionally moist, or at night, they may emerge to feed on the plants in lawns and gardens.

In lawns, the damage can often be so extensive that the sod can be rolled up like a carpet. 

White grubs start out as eggs that hatch and grow into larvae. As larvae, they eat to fuel their transition into adult insects. For most, this process takes about 12 months.

  

Signs of Infestation

When grubs infest your lawn or garden, expect the following:

  • Brown, dead spots in your lawn.
  • Increased animal activity in your lawn or garden.
  • Damage to non-grass plants, which may result in their death or stunted growth.
  • Above- and below-ground feeding.
  • Increased appearances of beetles, flies and other adult insects later in the season.

A more significant infestation in the following season – unless treated.


CONTROL OPTIONS

The key to controlling grubs is to kill them before they hatch and begin to cause damage to your lawn. In spring or early summer, apply a preventative grub control product to your lawn following label directions.  This is especially important if you’ve had problems with grubs in the past. 


If you miss this window and are already seeing damage to your lawn from grubs you will need to apply a curative treatment. Curative treatments kill the older grubs that are currently active in the soil. 


L&M Lawn Care offers both preventative & active grub control treatments. Schedule yours today!


grub, beetle, june bug, june beetle, masked chaffer

BURROWING AND DIGGING ANIMALS

DESCRIPTION & DETECTION

A large variety of mammals can create problems with your lawn. Often, these animals excavate large sections of turf in a hunt for grubs. Other problems include the excessive nitrogen in dog urine, which creates “lawn burn.” Moles, chipmunks, gophers or groundhogs are usually responsible for tunneling and mound creation. To determine what kind of wildlife is causing lawn damage, observe the area or set up a game camera.


UNDERSTAND YOUR PROBLEM

The first step is to identify the size and type of animal that is wreaking havoc on your property. You do this by looking at the damage that is occurring - for example:

  •  If the tops of plants are being eaten, it is most likely a deer-sized animal, which can reach these areas. Deer damage can be found as high as 6 feet up the plant.
  •  Rodents are known to dig tunnels and gnaw on barks and roots. Groundhogs are famous for chewing anything and everything to sharpen their teeth. Burrow holes and dirt mounds are major clues to the presence of a groundhog.
  •  Trashcans tipped over point to an aggressive mid-sized animal such as a raccoon.

Rabbits will eat just about anything. You can identify rabbit damage by 45-degree angled cuts on the end of stems and leaves. 

  

TIP: Most animals are nocturnal. Check at dusk to see if you can spot the animal in areas where you are noticing damage.


SELECT A LIVE TRAP

A live animal trap should be large enough so most of the animal's body can fit inside before reaching the trigger plate (not including the tail). Additionally, the trap should be small enough as to not allow for too much extra space for the animal to move around.


PLACE YOUR TRAP

Place your trap along your animal's travel path, outside its den or burrow, or in the area where you observe animal activity. For best results, position your trap:

  • in a quiet area; far from people and pets
  • close to a water source (unless indoors)
  • on a flat, level surface
  • along a wall or fence line (if available, most animals will travel along this type of guide)

SELECT & POSITION BAIT

Use food to lure your animal inside the trap.

  • Selecting Bait: All animals have different tastes, so pick a food that your animal will like. For help choosing a bait.
  • Positioning Bait: While selecting a bait is important, positioning your bait is key to success. Place your bait in a way that will force the animal to step on the trigger plate. 

SET YOUR TRAP

Carefully set the doors to the open position. Each trap sets differently, so make sure you follow your trap's unique instructions.

  • Check Your Trap Frequently, the longer an animal is trapped, the longer it will grow anxious, frightened, and hungry. It is important to check on your trap periodically to ensure your animal does not remain inside the cage for an extended period. This step may take some patience. Depending on your animal's activity and personality, it could take anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days to catch.
  • When seeking a location for your trap, pay attention to the availability of nearby cover; some animals will not stray far from this kind of protection, while others prefer to be out in the open.
  • You've Caught an Animal!
  • Be gentle and speak softly when approaching and handling the trap.
  • Wear gloves and hold the trap away from your body to protect yourself from contact with the animal.
  • Cover the trap with a blanket or cloth to keep the animal calm.
  • If local laws permit, release the animal at least 5 miles away.
  • After letting the animal go, disinfect the cage with a bleach solution to remove your scent and prevent the spreading of germs.

Many wild animals can carry diseases, so be sure to take the proper precautions when handling a trap. Understanding your animal's habits and preferences will help you catch it sooner. For example, if your animal is nocturnal, you should set your trap at dusk and close it in the morning to avoid catching unwanted critters.

Gloves are important throughout all stages of animal trapping. Not only do they protect you from contact with an animal, but also, they prevent you from transferring your scent onto the cage - which could otherwise make animals suspicious and wary of entering.

Anchor your trap by placing a brick or weight on top of it so an animal cannot knock it over to steal the bait. Alternatively, if you are using an exceedingly small trap, you may be able to tie it down or stake it into the ground. Anchoring your trap will also prevent the trap from rattling and startling the animal when it enters, which is important for exceptionally skittish creatures.

A new trap can produce a glare that might be off-putting to wary animals. Reduce this glare by camouflaging your trap with mud, sticks, leaves and anything else that naturally occurs in the area in which you set your trap. When camouflaging your trap, do not to let any materials get in the way of the trigger and close mechanism.


WHEN IN DOUBT CONTACT AN EXTERMINATOR OR YOUR LOCAL ANIMAL CONTROL FOR GUIDANCE

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