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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.

termites (1)

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:

  1. 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 million members and are also found in moist, secluded areas above ground. They build distinctive tunnels, often referred to as "mud tubes," to reach food sources and protect themselves from open air. Subterranean termites are by far the most destructive termite species — their hard, saw-toothed jaws work like shears and are able to bite off extremely small fragments of wood, one piece at a time. Over time, they can collapse a building entirely, meaning possible financial ruin for a homeowner.

  2. Drywood Termites


    Largely found coastally from South Carolina westward to Texas, these types of termites form colonies of up to 2,500 members and primarily attack wood structures, frames, furniture and flooring, as they receive all of their nutrition from wood. Unlike other termites, drywood termites do not require moisture from soil. They typically swarm on sunny, warm days after a sudden rise in temperature and can be difficult to treat because they have the ability to create multiple colonies within a home.

  3. Dampwood Termite


    Occasionally found in Southwest and Southern Florida, dampwood termites are attracted to wood with high moisture content and have a preference for decaying wood, areas with leaks and woodpiles. These termites create a series of chambers in wood, which are connected by tunnels with smooth walls, as if sandpapered, and are usually found in logs, stumps, dead trees, fence posts and utility poles. Dampwood termites do not usually infest structures because of their need for excessive moisture.

  4. Formosan Termite


    This species lives in huge underground colonies with an average of 350,000 workers and can be found in several Southeastern states, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee.

    In addition to structures, they also infest trees, shrubs, utility poles, timber, railroad trusses and even boats. Formosans build intricate mud nests in the ground and can chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper. The average formosan termite colony can consume one foot of 2X4 wood in less than a month.

  5. Conehead Termites

    Originally called "tree termites," this species was renamed conehead termites to alleviate the misconception that this pest is only found in trees. These termites— most prevalent in the Broward County, Fla. region — build dark brown "mud" tubes and freestanding nests on the ground, in trees or in wooden structures. The nests can be up to 3 feet in diameter and have a hard surface of chewed wood. Unlike most termites, the conehead termite does not rely on underground tunneling to travel. Instead, they forage on the ground like ants, allowing them to spread quickly.

Termites are not a pest that can be effectively controlled with do it yourself measures. If you live in an area prone to termites, it’s important to have regular, annual termite inspections. Contact Westfall's Pest Control for a termite inspection and evaluation.

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Aaron muzzana is now a member of Westfall's Lawn Care and Pest Control
Nov 9
Harold Schiferl is now a member of Westfall's Lawn Care and Pest Control
Nov 5
Robert Minshall is now a member of Westfall's Lawn Care and Pest Control
Nov 3
Samantha Riley is now a member of Westfall's Lawn Care and Pest Control
Oct 11
Guillermo Losada is now a member of Westfall's Lawn Care and Pest Control
Oct 10
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
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 proper…
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…
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
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