Sarasota and Bradenton's Best Pest Control and Lawn Company! Spider Experts Call (941) 761-0125

Spider control can be a major concern for homeowners - particularly for those who live in Florida. There are about 3,000 species of spiders throughout North America, but only two in the southern and western United States can cause serious harm when accidentally disturbed - the black widow and brown recluse.

Black widow spiders are most recognized for the red hourglass shape under their abdomen. This spider gets its name from the popular belief that the female black widow spider eats the male after mating, although this rarely happens. Black widows are poisonous when ingested during the first 17 days of their life.
Brown recluse spiders have a characteristic dark brown violin marking on their back. These spiders often infest cedar shake roofs and spin irregular webs, which are used as a retreat.
The common house spider is usually the spider most often encountered indoors. It is a nuisance pest, probably more because of its webs than the spider itself. The house spider is found worldwide and is common throughout the United States and Canada.
Unlike most spiders, wolf spiders don't hunt with webs. Instead, they chase their prey using their fast running ability. These spiders are often big and hairy which alarms some people, but they are primarily nuisance pests. Over 100 species of wolf spiders are found in the United States and Canada.

If spiders are infesting your home, contact Westfall's at (941) 761-0125. We will inspect your home, confirm the species of spider and recommend a course of proper spider control.

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They say you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. But what about with lazy spiders versus lively ones? When it comes to keeping pests at bay, the personalities of the spiders hunting them are important.

That’s what two behavioral ecologists reported after watching bug dramas play out in a sunny hilltop alfalfa patch. Raphaël Royauté of North Dakota State University and Jonathan Pruitt of the University of Pittsburgh were studying the personalities of wolf spiders (Pardosa milvina). The spiders are common in many types of crop fields, and prey on all kinds of bugs. But individual spiders, like other animals, can have different habits or tendencies. So, the scientists asked, shouldn’t those differences affect which prey the spiders catch?

First they collected wild wolf spiders from Tennessee. (Rather unnervingly, the authors note that they found the spiders at night “using their eye shine.”) Focusing on female spiders, they performed a simple personality test. They placed each spider on a piece of graph paper, then counted how many lines it walked across in the next three minutes. Spiders that covered a lot of ground were labeled as “active.” Those that preferred to stay put were “inactive.”

Then the researchers brought their spiders to an alfalfa patch they’d planted. They set up 55 “mesocosms,” or mesh boxes about the size of a laundry basket. Into each box, they put eight spiders. These were either eight active spiders, eight lazy ones, or four of each. As a control, 10 boxes held no spiders.

There was also a selection of pests in each box that represented what the spiders might find in the wild. Specifically, the researchers had stocked the boxes with 15 blister beetles, 15 potato leafhoppers, 10 beet armyworms, 9 pea aphids, 5 sharpshooters, and 8 alfalfa weevils each.

A week later, the researchers opened up the boxes to look for survivors. They found that mixed-personality spider groups killed the most pests. Boxes that held only active spiders, or only inactive spiders, had more surviving pests.

Royauté explains that the difference likely comes from how spider personalities interact with the personalities of their prey. Just like the wolf spiders, certain leafhoppers or aphids or weevils may be more timid or bold than others. They might like to stay hidden, or to spend their time exploring the alfalfa. Bugs that hide in one place may be more vulnerable to active spiders, which will hunt them down eventually. But roving bugs may be more vulnerable to lazy spiders that are lying in wait for them. Between the two spider personality types, more prey bugs get eaten.

The biggest surprise, Royauté says, was that boxes holding a mix of spider personality types produced widely varying results. Using only active spiders, or only inactive ones, “yielded very predictable results,” he says. The bug demographics—how many of each species there were—tended to look one way after a week with active spiders, and another way after a week with lazy spiders. But with both types of spiders combined, the results were unpredictable.

Royauté thinks the results could someday be useful for farmers trying to control pests in their fields. For example, maybe a certain pesticide, or a certain way of tilling a field, harms active spiders more than inactive ones. This could indirectly affect which pest species stick around afterward.

Releasing spiders into a field as targeted pest control isn’t very practical, Royauté says. For one thing, spiders are “highly cannibalistic,” so when you raise them in big batches they tend to eat each other. And there can be dozens of spider species in an agricultural field, attacking pests at different points in their life cycles.

It might be more practical, he says, for farmers to try to encourage a diversity of spider species and personality types. Diversity among predators seems to keep prey in check, as the researchers saw in the experimental boxes. Maybe keeping grass strips around a field, or growing two kinds of crops together, can promote the kind of mixed spider community that’s helpful to farmers—better than honey or vinegar.

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Spiders get a bad rap. These creepy-crawlies often appear in horror movies, haunted houses and, worst of all, inside our homes where they are usually met with shrieking and the bottom of a shoe. It's easy to understand why people cringe at the sight of a spider on the wall. The way they move is startling and unpredictable, their webs are sticky and their hunting methods are rather gruesome. There are also many myths floating around about spiders (no, people don't regularly swallow spiders in their sleep!) that make this pest seem much scarier than it actually is. In reality, almost all types of spiders found in the United States pose no threats to people.

Despite the benevolent nature of most spiders, there are two species in the southern and western United States that can cause serious harm when accidentally disturbed - the black widow and brown recluse. Below is a guide to help you identify some of the most common types of spiders and the potential threat they can pose to our health.

Types of Spiders

Black Widow Spiders

  • Appearance: Black widows are black and shiny, with a telltale red hourglass shape on their back.
  • Region: This spider species is found throughout United States, but is most common in the southern states where the temperature is warmer.  
  • Habitat: Black widow spiders are often found around woodpiles and can gain entry into a structure on firewood. They are also found under eaves, in boxes, and other areas where they are undisturbed. Black widow spiders spin their webs near ground level.
  • Threat: While male black widow spiders rarely bite, females are known to be aggressive and bite in defense, especially when guarding eggs. Symptoms of a black widow bite include fever, increased blood pressure, sweating and nausea. Fatalities are unlikely, as long as proper medical treatment is sought in a timely manner. Despite their notoriety, there hasn't been a death in the U.S. due to a black widow bite in more than a decade.
  • Unique Facts: Female black widows were previously thought to kill and consume males after mating, hence their name. However, further research has shown this to be a rare occurrence in the natural world.

 

Brown Recluse Spiders 

  • Appearance: Brown recluse spiders are light to dark brown, with a characteristic dark brown violin marking on their back.
  • Region: This species is found in the central Midwest U.S. from Ohio to Nebraska and southward through Texas and Georgia.
  • Habitat: Brown recluse spiders often live outdoors in debris and woodpiles. Indoors, they can be found under furniture, inside storage items and in dark recesses such as baseboards and window moldings. Closets, attics and crawlspaces are the most common hiding places of brown recluse spiders.
  • Threat: Like the black widow spider, the brown recluse spider bites in defense. Bites are often painful and can produce an open, ulcerating sore that requires medical treatment. Restlessness, fever and difficulty sleeping are common symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite.
  • Unique Facts: Male brown recluse spiders wander farther from the nest than females and are therefore more likely to crawl into shoes or other attire. Brown recluse spiders get their name from their coloration and reclusive habits.

Common House Spiders

  • Appearance: House spiders are often yellowish-brown in color with an elongated abdomen.  
  • Region: House spiders are found worldwide and are common throughout the United States and Canada.
  • Habits: Inside structures, house spiders are most likely to be found in upper corners, under furniture, and inside closets, basements, garages and crawl spaces. Outside, they are often found spinning webs around windows and under eaves, especially near light sources that attract prey.
  • Threat: House spiders are nuisance pests, but post no threat to people.
  • Unique Facts: Common house spiders have a difficult time surviving in modern homes due to low humidity and fewer insects for food. They are more likely to prosper in garages, sheds, barns and warehouses.

Jumping Spiders

  • Appearance: Jumping spiders are compact in shape with short legs. They are usually black in color with pale markings.
  • Region: This type of spider is found throughout the United States.
  • Habits: Jumping spiders build web retreats, which can be found both indoors and outdoors. These spiders frequently hunt inside structures around windows and doors because more insects are attracted to these areas and their vision is best in sunlit areas. Outside, jumping spiders are commonly seen running over tree bark, under stones and boards, and on bushes, fences, decks and the outside of buildings.
  • Threat: Jumping spiders may bite in defense, but their bite is not poisonous.
  • Unique Facts: Unlike most spiders, jumping spiders are active during the daytime and seem to like sunshine. They have the keenest vision of all spiders and are able to detect movement up to 18" in distance.

Long Bodied Cellar Spiders

  • Appearance: Cellar spiders are pale yellow to light brown in color with long, skinny legs and a small body.
  • Region: There are about 20 species of cellar spiders found throughout the United States and Canada.
  • Habits: Cellar spiders and their webs are usually found in dark and damp places, such as cellars, basements and crawl spaces. They can also be found in the corners of garages, sheds, barns and warehouses, on eaves, windows and ceilings, and inside closets, sink cabinets and bath-traps. Cellar spiders seem to fare better in areas with higher relative humidity.
  • Threat: Cellar spiders do not bite and therefore pose no threat to humans. Urban legend has it that their venom is the most deadly of all spiders, but their weak mouthparts keep them from injecting venom into humans.
  • Unique Facts: Cellar spiders are commonly referred to as "daddy-long-legs" because of their very long, thin legs.

Wolf Spider

  • Appearance: Wolf spiders are usually dark brown with paler stripes or markings. They have long, spiny legs and some hair on their body.
  • Region: More than 100 species of wolf spiders are found throughout the United States and Canada.
  • Habits: Inside, wolf spiders tend to stay at or near floor level, especially along walls and under furniture. Wolf spiders may be brought indoors with firewood. Outside they can be found under stones, landscape timbers, firewood, leaves and other debris. They often rest in such sheltered places during the day.
  • Threat: Wolf spiders can bite, but it's extremely rare unless they are provoked.
  • Unique Facts: Unlike most spiders, wolf spiders don't hunt with webs. Instead, they actually chase their prey using their fast running ability.

Dangerous or not, most people would prefer not to have any types of spiders in their homes. The best way to prevent spider infestations is to remove any possible harborage sites. Spiders are more likely to take refuge in dwellings during the colder months and will gravitate toward dark, undisturbed nooks and crannies. Therefore, homeowners should keep garages, attics and basements clean and clutter-free, avoid leaving clothing and shoes on the floor and seal off any cracks or crevices around the home from different types of spiders.

Source: http://www.pestworld.org/

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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.

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Notation on our invoice "Nutsedge heavy on both sides bare areas in back also doveweed on both sides" Is this for my information or is there some action I am expected to take?
When I go to pay my bill there is a purchase form there no place
To pay
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 proper…
Jun 12, 2017
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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
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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
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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
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
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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
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Nov 12, 2016
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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
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