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CHINCH BUGS

Chinch bugs are easy to recognize, but hard to see. They're about ⅕" long with black bodies and white wings folded across their backs. It takes chinch bugs about four to six weeks to mature. They start out yellow, then soon turn red as they grow. They have a telltale white stripe across their bodies.

Chinch bugs mostly feed on St. Augustine grass but occasionally feed on other types of grasses. The chinch bug sucks out the plant juices through a needle like beak causing internal injury to the grass. During the summer eggs hatch in 10 days and the young develop into adults in about 3 weeks. Signs of chinch bug infestation includes yellowish / brownish patches of turf. Problems are usually noticed first along concrete edges or in areas without adequate moisture receiving full sun. Chinch bugs can be found by parting the grass runners in yellowed areas and observing the soil.

Chinch bugs don't exactly tap you on the shoulder and introduce themselves. You have to look for them. If you don't see them when you get down on your hands and knees in your lawn, try the tin-can method. Cut out both ends of a tin can, making a tube. Push one end of your tube into the ground. Then pour water into the can and keep it filled for 10 minutes. If you have chinch bugs, they'll start floating up to the surface. You may also see chinch-bug nymphs, which range from pink to red and have a white stripe across their middles.

Grass attacked by chinch bugs looks like grass suffering from drought. Along your driveway and sidewalks, your grass blades wilt, turn yellow-brown, then dry out and die.

If you've checked for chinch bugs and are still not sure you have them, call Westfall's at (941) 761-0125 for a professional lawn evaluation.

 

SOD WEB WORMS

Sod web worms are the larval stage of a type of moth and may cause damage to most types of grasses, while Bermuda grass being the most desirable and Bahia grass being the least desirable. The sod webworm is usually greenish with many black spots. While sod webworms are usually not prevalent in enough numbers in Florida before June, the army worms and loopers are usually present during the spring, summer, and fall.  Newly hatched sod webworms cause very little visible damage, but when they become full grown the feeding shows up almost overnight usually causing extensive damage by the time the results are noticeable.  Included in all Westfall's lawn spraying services are the appropriate pesticides for killing webworms during all life stages.

Sod webworm larval damage often is observed as brown patches up to the size of a baseball in the lawn. In some instances, the brown patches are punctured with pencil-sized holes a result of birds searching for the webworm burrows. Feeding damage from sod webworm larvae frequently goes unnoticed during periods of drought. The most severe damage usually occurs in July and August. Larvae chew off leaves and stems just above the crown. As webworm larvae continue to grow and feed, the injured areas enlarge and coalesce into big, brown patches. The economic threshold for sod webworm larvae has been suggested to be 4 to 6 per square foot but can be variable. Areas frequently infested include steep slopes, banks, and other locations that are difficult to water. Another good indicator of fresh sod webworm larval feeding is the presence of moist, fresh, green fecal pellets in the thatch. Damage caused by dogs may be confused with sod webworm damage. Dog urine on a lawn produces a small patch of yellow grass. This patch may turn brown and die later, but the border of the patch will be very green and there will be no signs of grass having been clipped. Sod webworm spots are not bordered by rich, green grass and do not yellow before turning brown.

Sod webworm larvae can be detected by examining the turf for their silken tunnels and associated frass (green fecal pellets). If you suspect you have an infestation, call Westfall's for a free lawn evaluation.


MOLE CRICKETS

Several species of mole crickets are prevalent in Florida, but the most common include the southern and the tawny mole crickets. Both species are believed to have been introduced around 1900 at the seaport of Brunswick, Georgia inside ships from South America. The mole cricket has proliferated due to having few natural predators as well as having millions of acres of edible turf grass.  Signs of infestation include the drying out of the soil near the root zone. Visible tunneling near the soil surface should also be prevalent.  Westfall's deploys a custom blend of insecticides specifically targeted towards the elimination of not only the mole crickets but the eggs too.

Mole crickets are common turfgrass pests. Three species of mole crickets are considered pests in the Southeast United States.: tawny, southern, and short-winged mole crickets.
This insect’s "hands" are uniquely adapted for digging, allowing it to tunnel through the soil. Sod farms, home lawns, golf courses, and pastures can all play host to mole crickets. Any species of turfgrass can be damaged by mole crickets, but they particularly like bahiagrass and bermudagrass.

Mole crickets make tunnels in the ground, severing grass roots and causing the earth to bulge upwards. They also eat the roots and shoots of grass. Mole cricket damage looks like ugly brown patches. Predators such as raccoons and armadillos may further dig up the turf to snack on the crickets

GRUBS

White grubs are actually the larval stage of the June beetle and the masked chafer beetle and feed directly on the roots of turf grass. To test for grubs, use a spade to dig around the edge of the area of grass that is yellowing approx 2 inches deep. Force the spade under the sod and lay it back looking for grubs or damaged roots. Signs of white grubs include the yellowing and off coloration of grass during times of adequate precipitation.  An application of professional strength insecticide is necessary to wipe out the grubs.

Plants affected by grub feeding may suddenly wilt. Grubs can kill small plants and gnaw cavities in root vegetables. Species of white grubs that feed on grass roots cause yellow patches in lawns. In many cases you may be able to lift back dead patches of your lawn like a carpet where grubs have been feeding. Heavy infestations of grubs attract raccoons, skunks, armadillos, opossums, crows, ibis, and other birds, which make holes in the lawn and garden to feed on the grubs.

Beware of Lawn "Ghosts"



If you’ve got a lawn and hate to mow, beware the lawn service “ghosts.”

“Ghosting” is an insiders’ term used by lawn care professionals to describe workers who promise to come out and treat a homeowner’s lawn but who don’t actually do any work.

Homeowners who’ve been ghosted will find service flags stuck in their lawn and a receipt in their mailbox, but not much else. Complaints about ghosting and the “splash and dash” -- which is like ghosting, except a little bit of fertilizer or herbicide is thrown around -- abound on online lawn care forums.

Some consumers are catching on. More than 3,500 complaints were filed last year in the Better Business Bureau network against various lawn care services, including gripes about shoddy workmanship, contract issues or problems with billing and collections.

“Either the grass [problem] is not ‘cured’ or the lawn is not any better than before they came … or the contract is never-ending, so they get stuck in that long-term contract,” said Steve Bernas, CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois, citing some common complaints.

David Feeney of Land O’ Lakes, Fla., caught a lawn ghoster shortly after installing a home security camera in 2010. On the video he posted to YouTube, which stops and starts when motion is detected, an employee from a lawn service can be seen driving up to Feeney’s house, placing a flag in the yard, knocking on the front door and leaving without doing any work, as he looks over his shoulder.

“The lawn really looked great, and I think that was probably why the guy decided not to do anything,” Feeney told the ABC News Fixer. “It was a Friday afternoon. Maybe he wanted to get done early and go have a beer.

“I was pretty shocked,” Feeney added.

After Feeney examined the video – and the $42 bill for the nonexistent service – he complained to the lawn service, which apologized, withdrew the bill and let him cancel his account.

Bernas of the BBB said it’s tough to prove “ghosting” without crouching behind the curtains or installing a security camera. “It’s a spray,” Bernas said. “How can you tell?”

Consumers need to check out the company and know exactly what they’re signing up for – and not agree to a plan over the phone without first seeing a contract, Bernas said.

- The ABC News Fixer

Westfall's Lawn Care and Pest Control Company offers a wide choice of Lawn Care and Pest Control programs in the Sarasota, Bradenton and surrounding areas. Westfall's Lawn Care and Pest Control offers a fast response to phone questions, lawn, and pest problems. We are confident that you will love our great service and results. Contact us at (941) 761-0125 for a free pest inspection and evaluation. Our monthly pricing plans are very affordable and we offer a full guarantee.

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Westfall's posted a blog post
Termite swarming season will be ramping up soon as the weather starts to get warmer and the spring season approaches — with many termite species being particularly prevalent in the Southeast. In case you’ve never heard, termites are nicknamed “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and wallpaper without any immediate signs of damage. In fact, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year— costs that are typically note covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. That is why it’s extremely important to know what types of termite species are active in your area and to understand ways to prevent them from causing damage to your home.
Here are five types of termite species to be aware of at the turn of the season if you reside in the southeastern United States:


Subterranean Termites


This termite species is extremely common in southern states and hotter climates. Subterranean termites live in underground colonies with as many as two…
Jun 11
Hi, I called for a fire ant quote. You said it would be $45. We would like to have it treated now. 941 341-1343. 4829 W Country Club Way, Sarasota.
When I signed I had signed for the Turf Platinum Program at $45,00 per application. I would to change to the Turf Gold Program at $53.00 per application. We did not know they were coming today and Thursday is our day to water
we watered right before they came will it still work.
my lawn, all 12000 sq ft is infested with bermuda grass that has crowded out the st. augustine..as you know we discussed this..i was told today by a golf course super that the lawn is far gone. he has no dog in this deal. he suggested killing the lawn, and putting new st augustine grass down. please contact me, i called today and spoke to your wife and hope you got the message..no amount of fertilizer will bring this lawn back. gary shapiro
Westfall's posted a blog post
It has been reported that in the 20 most mosquito-infested cities across the nation Texas, Florida and Georgia took the top spots.

Data was examined from top pest control companies across the country between April 1, 2016 and April 1, 2017 to determine the areas where customers are most pestered by mosquitoes. Texas earned the "honor" of the top three spots on the list, followed closely by Florida and Tennessee.


The full list of the top 20 cities is:
1. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
2. Houston, Texas
3. San Antonio, Texas
4. Atlanta, Ga.
5. Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
6. Memphis, Tenn.
7. Nashville, Tenn.
8. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
9. Mobile, Ala.
10. Jacksonville, Fla.
11. Cincinnati, Ohio
12. Washington, D.C.
13. Tampa, Fla.
14. Louisville, Ky.
15. Baton Rouge, La.
16. Little Rock, Ark.
17. Tulsa, Okla.
18. Birmingham, Ala.
19. Oklahoma City, Okla.
20. Indianapolis, Ind.
We provide effective mosquito reduction in Southwest Florida to keep mosquitoes at a minimum on your property allo…
Jun 12, 2017
Westfall's posted a blog post
Now that spring has finally arrived, and the weather conditions are beginning to improve along the east coast, many homeowners will be spending the next couple of weekends tackling their spring cleaning to-do lists. If you are one of these people, make sure that you address the pest hot spots around your home in between wiping down the windows and shampooing the rugs. 
Here’s a handy room-by-room guide of specific things to do to keep pests at bay this spring.
Kitchen

Ants, among other common pests, are known to infest kitchen spaces because this room provides easy access to food and water sources. They often march one-by-one through the heart of the home while searching for crumbs left behind from dinner, sticky residue from liquid spills and overripe fruit sitting out on the countertop. Although you may make a concerted effort to keep the kitchen clean on a daily basis, there are still a few other projects you can do to make it less attractive to pests.
First, remove all of the ite…
Mar 11, 2017
Westfall's posted a blog post
Pest infestations are the worst. Aside from property damage, some creepy crawlies can cause physical harm or transmit diseases. Read the list below to learn more about the pests we consider the worst of the worst – the ones we love to hate!


Bed Bugs




The thought of bed bugs feeding on humans while they are sound asleep at night is enough to make anyone quiver with fear. Over the last decade, bed bug populations have continued to rise, and today, one out of five Americans has experienced a bed bug infestation or knows someone who has encountered these despised pests. Unfortunately, bed bugs are extremely elusive creatures, and they can hide just about anywhere. This makes treating an infestation with do-it-yourself measures nearly impossible. Vigilance is key to avoiding a bed bug problem.





Cockroaches




From their creepy appearance to the odd survival tactics they exhibit, cockroaches are certainly abhorred by homeowners. Not only do these pests possess an ick-factor, but t…
Mar 4, 2017
Jonell Dreznin posted a blog post
Green pest control applications are becoming increasingly popular, particularly for buildings that provide services to the young or those with compromised immune systems. However, some professionals question whether these methods are effective or if they are simply a waste of time and money.The short answer is yes, this form of pest control can provide the desired results. However, it is important to understand what is involved with the process, as well as the benefits of taking such an approach.Green pest control is not necessarily about eliminating the use of chemicals altogether. Instead, it focuses on getting rid of, and controlling the pest population through preventative measures and the careful application of “safe” pesticides.Integrated Pest ManagementIntegrated Pest Management (IPM) is a large component of any green pest control program. However, it is important to note that this type of management is not inherently green on its own; it can also be used as part of a tradition…
Feb 28, 2017
Westfall's posted a blog post
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) explains the mosquito’s overwintering cycle
 FAIRFAX, VA (December 8, 2016) – Concerns over Zika virus in the U.S. were at the forefront of public health conversations this year. But what happens when the temperature drops? Do mosquitoes and the diseases they carry such as Zika virus just simply go away? Well, not exactly, says the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
According to the NPMA, how mosquitoes survive the winter differs by species. “Some mosquitoes may overwinter as adults, hibernating in places like hollow logs or burrows created by other animals. Other species may endure the winter in immature life stages, such as larvae and pupa, remaining in a state of diapause, suspending their development during the coldest months,” said Dr. Michael Bentley, staff entomologist for the NPMA.
Carriers of Zika, including the yellow fever and Asian tiger mosquitoes, overwinter in the egg stage, which means as days get shorter and te…
Feb 27, 2017
Westfall's posted a blog post
Termite swarming season will be ramping up soon as the weather starts to get warmer and the spring season approaches — with many termite species being particularly prevalent in the Southeast. In case you’ve never heard, termites are nicknamed “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and wallpaper without any immediate signs of damage. In fact, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year— costs that are typically note covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. That is why it’s extremely important to know what types of termite species are active in your area and to understand ways to prevent them from causing damage to your home.
Here are five types of termite species to be aware of at the turn of the season if you reside in the southeastern United States:


Subterranean Termites


This termite species is extremely common in southern states and hotter climates. Subterranean termites live in underground colonies with as many as two…
Feb 26, 2017
Jonell Dreznin posted a blog post
A person infected with Zika virus usually has no symptoms or only has mild ones. However, in recent outbreaks, the virus has been linked to increased rates of neurological disorders and birth defects. There is an urgent need for better animal models for laboratory research to study the Zika virus and potential treatments.Previous studies have shown that young mice with specific immune system defects are susceptible to Zika infection. However, studying Zika in mice with compromised immune systems could skew results. Now, researchers at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research demonstrate that mice with functioning immune systems can be successfully infected with Zika."This new mouse model developed by the FDA could be used to explore Zika virus' pathology and potentially help to develop treatments or vaccines," says Mohanraj Manangeeswaran, senior staff fellow in the FDA's Office of Pharmaceutical Quality. "Because the mice used in this model have…
Feb 21, 2017
Jonell Dreznin posted a blog post
In honor of Valentine's Day, the National Pest Management Association shares the most bizarre mating habits in the insect worldFAIRFAX Va. - The most romantic day of the year is almost here! What passes for love in the wacky world of insects, however, can be downright creepy and even fatal to some species. In honor of Valentine's Day, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) explores the top four weirdest methods insects use to woo a mate."While human romance is typically associated with flowers or chocolate, insects have some much more peculiar ways of expressing their adoration," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. "Unfortunately for people, some of these pest mating rituals can even put their own loved ones at risk."Fire ants, termites, kissing bugs and earwigs all make the list of the strangest mating rituals in the insect world.Fire Ants: The fire ant queen can live for up to seven years. Male ants, called drones, aren't so fortunate. Their…
Feb 14, 2017
Jonell Dreznin posted a blog post
Researchers have developed a new mouse model that could be used in Zika research to better understand the virus and find new treatments, according to a study published in PLOS Pathogens.A person infected with Zika virus usually has no symptoms or only has mild ones. However, in recent outbreaks, the virus has been linked to increased rates of neurological disorders and birth defects. There is an urgent need for better animal models for laboratory research to study the Zika virus and potential treatments.Previous studies have shown that young mice with specific immune system defects are susceptible to Zika infection. However, studying Zika in mice with compromised immune systems could skew results. Now, researchers at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research demonstrate that mice with functioning immune systems can be successfully infected with Zika."This new mouse model developed by the FDA could be used to explore Zika virus' pathology and poten…
Jan 17, 2017
Westfall's posted a blog post
Irrigation is a necessary step in getting your grass green. A general rule is 30 minutes for pop up head and mister jets and 45 minutes for rotor heads, two times per week. You should be getting approximately 3/4 inch to 1 inch of water. During the winter months, 3/4 inch to 1 inch of water once every 7 to 10 days is usually adequate. Any rainfall that occurs between watering should be counted towards your plan. If you have questions about your watering or need your irrigation checked for good coverage, please feel free to give us a call.
Nov 13, 2016
Westfall's posted blog posts
Nov 12, 2016
Westfall's posted a blog post
HERNANDO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – July 10th was supposed to be just another day of weed service from TruGreen pest control, but boy did it end badly when Weeki Wachee homeowner Rich Kleber later checked his home surveillance video.
“He didn’t have a backpack on, he didn’t have any chemicals in his hands, at no time did a hose come out of that truck, “said Kleber. Kleber wasn’t trying to catch TruGreen worker Dean Schryer doing anything improper, he was just checking whether Schryer sprayed a trouble spot on his lawn.
But Kleber’s high definition video revealed so much more, enough to cost Schryer his job and his company a lot of money.

Rich Kleber’s yard in Weeki Wachee

“The guy walked one lap around my yard and then sat in his air conditioned truck for the remainder of the time that he claimed to be here servicing my lawn,” said Kleber.
Kleber complained to TruGreen managers back at the company’s regional office in Hudson but they were skeptical until he showed them the video. Even then…
Nov 10, 2016
Westfall's posted a blog post
If you’ve got a lawn and hate to mow, beware the lawn service “ghosts.”
“Ghosting” is an insiders’ term used by lawn care professionals to describe workers who promise to come out and treat a homeowner’s lawn but who don’t actually do any work.
Homeowners who’ve been ghosted will find service flags stuck in their lawn and a receipt in their mailbox, but not much else. Complaints about ghosting and the “splash and dash” -- which is like ghosting, except a little bit of fertilizer or herbicide is thrown around -- abound on online lawn care forums.
Some consumers are catching on. More than 3,500 complaints were filed last year in the Better Business Bureau network against various lawn care services, including gripes about shoddy workmanship, contract issues or problems with billing and collections.
“Either the grass [problem] is not ‘cured’ or the lawn is not any better than before they came … or the contract is never-ending, so they get stuck in that long-term contract,” said Steve Bern…
Nov 9, 2016
Westfall's Lawn & Pest posted a blog post
Here are 10 tips to maintaining a healthy lawn.
1. Aerate your lawn. Aeration is an important part of maintaining a healthy lawn. Aerated soil helps keep the roots moist, which in turn helps your lawn grow.
2. Don’t over-fertilize. If you do, your lawn could become vulnerable to a whole host of new problems. Contact a lawn care specialist to learn more about when you should be fertilizing your lawn.
3. Don’t over-water. Watering your lawn deeply is important to help the roots grow; however, if you water too frequently it could do more harm than good. Consider a Rain Your Way lawn sprinkler system that’ll accurately and efficiently water your lawn every time.
4. Don’t use pesticides. Pesticides are actually quite harmful to not only the environment but also your lawn, as pesticides weaken the health of your lawn.
5. Don’t cut your grass too short. Remember, long grass (but not too long) is healthy grass.
6. Check for problems. Be alert, and be sure to check your lawn often for problems…
Nov 8, 2016
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