Westfall's 's Posts (17)

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.

Read more…

Top 20 Mosquito-Infested Cities

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 allowing you and your family an opportunity to better enjoy your outdoor living area.

Westfall's organic mosquito control is not harmful to humans or pets and can be used to reduce mosquito populations around patios, porches, playgrounds, and swimming pool areas.

Read more…

Spring Cleaning Advice to Keep Pests at Bay

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

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 items from your cabinets and pantry. Go through them and discard of stale spices and other dated items such as flour. These baking ingredients attract pantry pests, including several types of beetlesIndian meal moths and ants. Next, wipe down the inside of your cabinets and install fresh shelf paper. Then, pull out your appliances from the wall as much as possible and vacuum behind them. You might be surprised how much dust, dirt and crumbs you find! Lastly, give the kitchen counter and floor a good scrub-down. Wash them with a sponge and a squirt of dishwashing liquid mixed in a bucket of warm water.

Bathroom

Bathroom in Home

Many pests like cockroaches and silverfish are attracted to moisture, so they are commonly found in bathrooms. Eliminating sources of water in the bathroom is the best way to prevent pest infestations, especially because this pest can only survive for one week without water. In addition to washing the shower curtain and liner, and cleaning out the medicine cabinet, you should check under the sink and around the tub and toilet to ensure there are no moisture issues from leaky pipes or faucets.

Basement

Basement in Home

Rodentsspiders and a slew of other pests can make themselves at home in the basement. The main reason that pests often take up refuge in this underground space is because this room tends to harbor dark corners and clutter, which provides the ideal place for rodents and spiders to hide. Take some time to go through your valuables and eliminate clutter where possible. Steer clear from using cardboard boxes to store items, using plastic bins with secure lids instead. You should also be sure to seal any cracks or crevices with a silicone-based caulk that pests could use to enter your home. Remember, mice can fit through an opening the size of a dime and other small insects need only a paper-thin crack to gain entry.

Outdoor Space

Residential Backyard

Once you complete your list of tasks inside, conduct an audit of your home’s perimeter, taking stock of any damage done over the winter months. Start on the roof by repairing fascia and rotted roof shingles, as some insects are drawn to deteriorating wood. Then, clean out clogged gutters and downspouts to ensure they are properly functioning before the April showers roll in. You may also find you need to repair ripped screens, replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the foundation and windows.

When landscaping, don’t forget to trim bushes and branches away from the home to prevent easy access for pests to move indoors. Also, remove rotted tree stumps and keep mulch at least 15 inches away from the home’s foundation – both of which could be magnets for termites.

The Bottom Line

The arrival of warm weather brings with it a renewed energy needed to tackle home improvements. Take advantage of this to maintain a healthy living environment for your family and deter pests from infesting your living space this spring.

Source: http://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/pest-articles/spring-cleaning-advice-to-keep-pests-at-bay/

Read more…

Top 5 Pests We Love to Hate

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!

  1. Bed Bugs

    77685748-b6d3-441d-bcef-c4b6b9172a45 2.jpg
    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.
  2. Cockroaches

    1a7c886b-85eb-4915-9ee4-2e6ad750f750.jpg
    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 they can also pose health risks to humans if they find a way inside our abodes. Many types of cockroaches have been reported to spread bacteria and pathogens by picking up germs on the spines of their legs and transferring them onto food preparation surfaces. Additionally, cockroaches can cause allergic reactions and trigger asthma attacks, especially in children. The most effective form of cockroach control is to eliminate moisture build up around the home.
  3. House Flies

    c7f69a05-46ba-4a35-90b4-8e63724f366e.jpg
    House flies are undoubtedly one of the most annoying pests. During the warmer months, they often find ways into the home through open windows and doors, and buzz around unwelcomed. If that’s not bad enough, house flies are also known to contaminate food products and surfaces by spreading more than 100 different kinds of disease-causing organisms picked up on the silla on their bodies. To prevent flies from becoming a nuisance, homeowners should keep the house as clean as possible and remove trash regularly.
  4. Lice

    f5b58f21-70e3-4fb1-9670-4aca3fb19a53 2.jpg
    Head lice suck blood from the scalp of humans, but they are not really considered a health threat. Still, lice are often a source of unease among families. Lice spread from one person to another through contact with bedding, clothing or by sharing combs. Lice outbreaks are common in schools because children frequently come into close contact with each other. There are special combs, shampoos and conditioners designed specifically to treat lice.
  5. Mosquitoes

    3ca52095-cca9-4dde-88d0-5025107e1dc3.jpg
    Nothing can ruin a fun summer day by the pool like mosquitoes. Unfortunately, these blood-sucking pests can leave more than red, itchy welts. Mosquito bites may also lead to more serious and potentially fatal diseases, including West Nile virus, Chikungunya, malaria and Dengue fever. The key to mosquito prevention is wearing bug spray. If you are spending time outdoors, make sure to apply an insect repellant containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon-eucalyptus or IR3535. It is also wise to wear long sleeves, long pants and closed toe shoes to protect your skin from mosquitoes and other stinging or biting insects.
    Source: http://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/pest-articles/list-top-5-pests-we-love-to-hate/
Read more…

What Happens to Mosquitoes in Winter?

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 temperatures begin to fall, the last surviving adult females lay their eggs in water-holding containers. The adults eventually die off while the next generation overwinters in the egg stage, waiting to hatch the following spring.

“The newly-deposited eggs survive the winter because they can withstand several months without water, as well as relatively cold conditions,” said Bentley. “As temperatures start to rise and rainfall picks back up again in spring, the eggs are re-submerged and hatch to start the next generation.”

This survival can create implications when the eggs come from an infected mosquito. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene found evidence that an infected female mosquito could pass Zika onto her offspring.

“Because the Zika-carrying, Aedes species of mosquitoes overwinter in the egg stage, it could be possible for infected females to lay some eggs that could survive the winter and emerge as diseased adults the following spring,” said Bentley.

The NPMA recommends that homeowners take preventative measures, even in the fall and winter, by inspecting properties for any containers they can remove and keep from holding water. These water collection sites can be harboring eggs. “Mosquitoes need only half an inch of standing water or enough water to fill a soda cap,” said Bentley.

Although mosquitoes may be out of sight, they are waiting it out for spring.

For more information on mosquitoes and the diseases they can carry, visit PestWorld.org.

Read more…

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

    44 Termite (E. Subterranean Termite).jpg

    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

    Drywood termite swarmer.jpg

    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

    Dampwood Termite - NPMA.jpg

    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

    Formosan termite workers.jpg

    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

    47 Tree termite (Nasutitermes spp.).jpg

    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. 

Source: http://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/pest-articles/southeastern-us-braces-for-heavy-termite-season/

Read more…

How Often Should You Water Your Lawn?

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.

Read more…

How to Properly Water Your Lawn

Watering efficiently

A healthy lawn makes a very good filter for absorbing many things that can be washed into our streams. The ideal lawn is one that will grow best in your environment without lots of supplemental watering. We have all probably read about people living in desert areas in the country trying to grow lawns that require almost daily watering just to survive the summer heat. This is extremely foolish and short-sighted. Turf grasses were never intended to be grown everywhere.

That being said, there are parts of the country where various turf grasses are well suited without the need for daily watering. In many places, grass can be grown without any supplemental watering, or only very minor supplemental watering. The following information is specifically intended for those areas.

How much water does a lawn need?

In general, turf grasses need about 3/4" - 1" of water per week to maintain green color and active growth. However, during certain times during the summer when high temperatures are the norm, you should allow lawns to naturally slow down in growth during those extreme conditions. You may let the lawn go almost completely dormant in hot weather. Many factors such as the soil and weather all have a role in the lawn's water needs. Here are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Decide before hand.
    Decide before summer heat and weather conditions arrive, to either water lawns consistently as needed throughout the season, or let lawns go dormant as conditions turn hot and dry. Do not rotate back and forth. In other words, don't let the grass turn totally brown, then apply enough water to green it up, then let the grass go dormant again. Breaking the lawns dormancy actually drains large amounts of food reserves from the plant.

  • When is it time to water? 
    The first few warm days of summer does not automatically mean to water lawns. In fact, allowing lawns to start to go under mild drought stress actually increases rooting. 
    Watch for foot printing, or footprints remaining on the lawn after walking across it (instead of leaf blades bouncing back up). Grasses also tend to turn darker in color as they go under drought stress. Sampling the root zone soil could be another option.

  • Water as infrequently as possible. 
    Thoroughly water when you do water so moisture soaks down to the roots. Exceptions to this general rule would be for newly seeded lawns where the surface needs to stay moist, newly sodded lawns that have not yet rooted into the soil, or when summer patch disease is a problem. Otherwise, avoid frequent waterings that promote shallower root systems and weeds (e.g., crabgrass).

  • Water early in the day if possible.
    Given a choice, water early in the day when lawns are normally wet from dew. Avoid midday watering due to excessive evaporation, and at night due to potential increased chances of some diseases gaining a foothold. The exception to this guide is when you are in extremely hot weather and nighttime temperatures don't go below 68 degrees. Then it is better to water in the late afternoon or early evening, providing you don't have watering-time restrictions. Early or late in the day reduces the amount of evaporation that takes place during the very hot day, allowing more water to reach the root zone.

  • Spread the water uniformly across the lawn. 
    Sprinklers vary in distribution patterns, and require spray overlap for uniform coverage. Placing coffee cans or similar straight-sided containers on the lawn can help measure water application rates. Avoid flooding areas, or missing other spots. On heavy clay soils and slopes, watch for excessive runoff; it may be necessary to apply the water in several applications to allow for adequate penetration.

  • Water conservation.
    To help conserve water, mow your lawn at a higher than normal height, avoid applying an excess of nitrogen as warm weather approaches, limit traffic over the lawn, improve turf rooting, control thatch and soil compaction, and avoid pesticide use on drought stressed lawns. Don't allow water to hit the driveway or into the street. This is just wasteful.

  • Avoid overwatering
    Use a raingauge to measure how much water you're applying. Overwatering does more than deplete the water supply, it also makes plants prone to pests and adds to stormwater runoff, which pollutes our water systems. By choosing and operating a watering system correctly, you can reduce water bills, insect and disease problems, and maintenance requirements. For example, the more you water your lawn, the faster it grows and the more it needs to be mowed.

  • Hold off watering after fertilization and hold off fertilizing if heavy rains are expected.
    To reduce the possibility of having fertilizer wash into our water system, don't water heavily soon after fertilizing. Use light waterings to give the fertilizer the opportunity to be absorbed by the soil. Also, if heavy rains are in the forecast, hold off fertilizing until the heavy rains have passed.

  • Monitor rainfall
    Don't water the lawn if rains are expected soon. Keep track of rainfall for the week. Don't apply more water to the lawn than what is absolutely necessary. The guide of about 1" of water per week is only a guide. If your lawn doesn't get that 1" of water, it's not going to die. 

Read more…

How Fertilization Will Help Your Lawn

Lawns need a steady supply of nutrients over time to be as healthy as possible. The slow-release fertilizer helps to ensure that your lawn gets the nutrients it needs steadily, over a graduated period. As part of the lawn care service offered in our bi-monthly or monthly program, we continue to apply fertilizer as needed at key points in every season to stimulate and maintain growth.

Read more…

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 and his yard in Weeki WacheeRich 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, they weren’t very sympathetic, according to Kleber.

“They wanted to argue and make excuses and eventually when it did come out they want to say he was a rogue employee.” “I got fired after 16 years for a job I made a mistake on,” said Schryer.

“I hit the wrong button on the handheld computer.” So, why did he plant a sign in Kleber’s yard saying he’d just sprayed pesticide? “I put down the wrong sign,” said Schryer. “I’m not arguing the point.” Kleber was so infuriated by TruGreen’s initial response to his complaint that he posted an edited version of the incident on his Facebook page.

Rich Kleber and his yard in Weeki WacheeRich Kleber and his yard in Weeki Wachee

So did some of his friends. Eventually, Kleber says the video had 20,000 views and TruGreen Corporate executives began responding.

The company’s refund offers began at $85 and eventually reached $935 to compensate Kleber for money he’d already forked over under a long term contract with the company.

“As soon as I posted on social media they wanted to give me back every dime I’ve ever paid and stop.”

TruGreen Corporate spokeswoman Amy Simpson tells Eight on Your Side “We want to thank Mr. Kleber for bringing this to our attention. We would never defraud our customers.”

Kleber is still waiting for his TruGreen corporate refund but has decided to switch to another lawn spraying company to protect his yard. “I take pride on my lawn,” said Kleber. “I work hard and I put my trust in TruGreen in being able to take care of my lawn and they violated that trust.”

Read more…

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

Read more…

Pest Control Tips

Pests and rodents aren't simply a nuisance - they can severely affect your health and the health of your family. This is why bug and insect prevention is critical in protecting homes, businesses, schools and any other place where human beings live, work or play from a pest infestation.

Here are some general tips to prevent household pests and rodents from entering your home:

Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home including entry points for utilities and pipes.
Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house.
Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
Repair fascia and rotted roof shingles; some insects are drawn to deteriorating wood.
Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground.
Call a qualified pest professional for additional advice and treatment.

Read more…

Mosquito Facts

Fеw animals оn Earth evoke tһе antipathy tһаt mosquitoes do. Tһеіг itchy, irritating bites аnԁ nеагӏу ubiquitous presence саn ruin а backyard barbecue ог а hike іn tһе woods. Tһеу һаνе аn uncanny ability tо sense оυг murderous intentions, tаkіng flight аnԁ disappearing milliseconds Ьеfоге а fatal swat. Anԁ іn оυг bedrooms, tһе persistent, whiny hum оf tһеіг buzzing wings саn wake tһе soundest оf sleepers.

Bеуоnԁ tһе nuisance factor, mosquitoes аге carriers, ог vectors, fог ѕоmе оf humanity’s mоѕt deadly illnesses, аnԁ tһеу аге public enemy number оnе іn tһе fight аgаіnѕt global infectious disease. Mosquito-borne diseases саυѕе millions оf deaths worldwide еνегу year wіtһ а disproportionate effect оn children аnԁ tһе elderly іn developing countries.

Tһеге аге mоге tһаn 3,000 species оf mosquitoes, Ьυt tһе members оf tһгее bear primary responsibility fог tһе spread оf human diseases. Anopheles mosquitoes аге tһе оnӏу species knоwn tо carry malaria. Tһеу аӏѕо transmit filariasis (also called elephantiasis) аnԁ encephalitis. Culex mosquitoes carry encephalitis, filariasis, аnԁ tһе West Nile virus. Anԁ Aedes mosquitoes, оf wһісһ tһе voracious Asian tiger іѕ а member, carry yellow fever, dengue, аnԁ encephalitis.

Mosquitoes υѕе exhaled carbon dioxide, body odors аnԁ temperature, аnԁ movement tо home іn оn tһеіг victims. Onӏу female mosquitoes һаνе tһе mouth parts nесеѕѕагу fог sucking blood. Wһеn biting wіtһ tһеіг proboscis, tһеу stab twо tubes іntо tһе skin: оnе tо inject аn enzyme tһаt inhibits blood clotting; tһе оtһег tо suck blood іntо tһеіг bodies. Tһеу υѕе tһе blood nоt fог tһеіг оwn nourishment Ьυt аѕ а source оf protein fог tһеіг eggs. Fог food, Ьоtһ males аnԁ females eat nectar аnԁ оtһег plant sugars.

Mosquitoes transmit disease іn а variety оf ways. In tһе case оf malaria, parasites attach tһеmѕеӏνеѕ tо tһе gut оf а female mosquito аnԁ enter а host аѕ ѕһе feeds. In оtһег cases, ѕυсһ аѕ yellow fever аnԁ dengue, а virus enters tһе mosquito аѕ іt feeds оn аn infected human аnԁ іѕ transmitted νіа tһе mosquito’s saliva tо а subsequent victim.

Tһе оnӏу silver lining tо tһаt cloud оf mosquitoes іn уоυг garden іѕ tһаt tһеу аге а reliable source оf food fог thousands оf animals, including birds, bats, dragonflies, аnԁ frogs. In addition, humans аге асtυаӏӏу nоt tһе fігѕt choice fог mоѕt mosquitoes ӏооkіng fог а meal. Tһеу υѕυаӏӏу prefer horses, cattle, аnԁ birds.

Aӏӏ mosquitoes nееԁ water tо breed, ѕо eradication аnԁ population-control efforts υѕυаӏӏу involve removal ог treatment оf standing water sources. Insecticide spraying tо kill adult mosquitoes іѕ аӏѕо widespread. However, global efforts tо stop tһе spread оf mosquitoes аге һаνіng ӏіttӏе effect, аnԁ mаnу scientists tһіnk global warming wіӏӏ ӏіkеӏу increase tһеіг number аnԁ range.

Read more…

This update from Daniel Change in Miami. "Miami Beach residents living and working near four sites where traps captured Zika-positive mosquitoes in August and September said public health officials didn’t tell them until Wednesday — after the Miami Herald sued to get the locations — that the traps were as close as their back yards and school yards, potentially upping their risk.

“’I feel it was a real failure of communication,’ said Galen Treuer, 37, a student at the University of Miami who lives at 1236 Drexel Ave., one of four Miami Beach addresses identified Wednesday by Miami-Dade mosquito control officials. ‘They weren’t giving out information to reduce our exposure.’

“Paola Castro, a 33-year-old who lives in an apartment building at another of the sites — 1619 Meridian Ave., just south of Lincoln Road Mall — said she would have liked to have known, too. ‘That’s information they should say immediately, so people can take precautions, like not dressing in black and wearing repellent,’ she said.

“Nearly all of the locations in Miami Beach where traps captured mosquitoes carrying Zika virus are in residential areas, though some are next to schools and near tourist destinations. The county identified four addresses in South Beach after the Miami Herald filed a lawsuit against Miami-Dade seeking the locations.

“In addition to the Drexel Avenue and Meridian Avenue sites, the county said the Zika-carrying mosquitoes were trapped at 932 Lenox Ave., a yellow, two-story townhouse on a residential block, and 2378 Prairie Ave., a single-family home across the street from Miami Beach Senior High and near Hebrew Academy’s Rabbi Alexander Gross High School, the Miami Beach Golf Club and the Bayshore Municipal Golf Course.

“A fifth site — Miami Beach Botanical Garden at 2000 Convention Center Dr. — was identified on Sept. 1, when Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services first announced that traps had captured mosquitoes carrying Zika. However, the garden had been closed three days prior to the announcement.

“The mosquitoes trapped at the five locations tested positive for Zika in late August and early September. But subsequent samples captured at the same sites have been negative for the virus, Miami-Dade officials said.”

Source: The Miami Herald

Read more…

SUBTERRANEAN TERMITES

The best method of subterranean termite control is to avoid water accumulation near the foundation of the home. Prevent subterranean termite access by diverting water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the home, and keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation. Indoors, homeowners should reduce humidity through proper ventilation of crawl spaces, attics and basements to avoid attracting subterranean termite swarms.

Habits

Subterranean termites build distinctive tunnels, often referred to as "mud tubes," to reach food sources and protect themselves from open air. They use their scissor-like jaws to eat wood 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Like other termite species, subterranean termites also feed on products containing cellulose. Subterranean termites swarm in the spring when groups of reproductive termites go off to start new colonies.

Habitat

Subterranean termites live in underground colonies with as many as two million members. They are also found in moist secluded areas above ground.

Threats

Subterranean termites are by far the most destructive termite species. The hard, saw-toothed jaws of termites 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. If you suspect a termite infestation, contact Westfall's about subterranean termite treatment.

Description:
Color: Creamy white to dark brown/black
Legs: 6
Shape: Long, narrow and oval
Size: 1/8 inch long
Antennae: Yes
Region: Found throughout the U.S.

Read more…

Spider Facts

Spiders have adapted to live in nearly every type of habitat, and they are one of the top 10 most diverse populations on earth. They play vital roles in all ecosystems -except in your home.

The following spider facts will help you learn more about these eight-legged pests, some of which might appear in your backyard this summer and fall.

All spiders produce silk
Something common to all 40,000 species of spiders is that they all spin silk. And as spiders have evolved, so has their ability to work with silk. One spider can produce up to seven different types, each used for a different purpose such as spinning webs or capturing prey.

One species is mostly vegetarian
It was thought that all spiders were carnivorous, capturing and eating other insects, but one species in Central America has been found to be mostly herbivorous! Bagheera kiplingi inhabit trees that produce protein-rich buds on their leaves. These buds are part of a symbiotic relationship between the trees and ants, but B. kiplingi also benefit from consuming the buds. However, during dry seasons these spiders are known to be carnivorous. They may cannibalize each other or steal ant larvae when food is scarce.

Spiders are nearsighted
Most spiders have eight eyes, but some, like the brown recluse spider, only have six. Spiders typically have a main set that can create images while the secondary sets can only detect light and shadow. It is thought that the secondary sets of eyes are derived from the compound eyes of a common ancestor to both spiders and insects.

But even with all of those eyes, spiders cannot see far into the distance. Nearsightedness is a problem for people, but the habits of spiders are such that being nearsighted isn't a deficiency. They wait for prey to get caught in their webs and use silk trip wires to warn of approaching predators.

Females can lay up to 3,000 eggs at one time
These eggs are housed in one or more silk sacs. The level of care a female spider provides for her young varies by species. Some females will die shortly after laying eggs while others will carry spiderlings on their backs or share prey with them.

Jumping spiders can jump up to 50x their own length
When hunting or trying to escape a predator, jumping spiders are able to make very agile movements and jump multiple times their body length. This is possible due to an internal hydraulic system. Jumping spiders can alter the pressure of fluids in their legs resulting in a springing motion that propels the spiders forward.

The 'daddy long-legs' you see might not actually be a spider
The nickname 'daddy long-legs' has been given to several different pests, only one of which is an actual spider. Crane flies, harvestmen and cellar spiders are all colloquially identified as 'daddy long-legs.' Only cellar spiders are spiders. Harvestmen are in the arachnid family, but they lack venom and silk glands. Crane flies are agricultural pests with very long legs and the ability to fly.

If you think you have a spider infestation in your home, contact Westfall's Pest Control & Lawn Care at (941) 761-0125 to identify the species and recommend steps for removal or treatment. Some species are poisonous to humans and should be handled by a professional.

Read more…

Caribbean Crazy Ants in Bradenton, Florida

Westfall's Pest Control met with a homeowner who has the misfortune of being infested with Caribbean Crazy Ants.  These ants move in my the millions.  The unfortunate home owner has been cleaning his pool filter daily to remove the piles of dead suicidal ants.  He has also been sweeping an average of a 5 pound bucket of dead ants per week.  Caribbean crazy ants can be extremely difficult to control but by implementing the proper techniques, we can rid the homeowner of the ant problem.

Read more…