Pest control 2/16/2020 – gtg

Types of Ants

Fire ants, carpenter ants, and sugar ants are the most common ants that bother people. We have selected ant killers which will be most effective against these colonies, however, when Maxforce and Drax are combined together, it will deal with just about any known species of ant.

Swarming insects in the Spring may or may not be termites. Winged ants are often confused with winged termites. Ants have bent antennae, termites have straight. Ants have thin waists, termites have thick. Ants have front wings that are longer than their back, the termite has both pairs the same size.

How ant baits work
Ant Baits are designed to work compatibly with the biology and social behavior of ants to achieve effective control. Granular ant killers made from Diazinon or Dursban tends to kill the worker ants too fast. This alarms the active queen and makes her move house and set up a fresh colony.
Baiting for ants gets the ants to work for you. Just put the right bait in the correct place and the ants take it home and kill their queens, and their buddies too. Ant baits are designed to work a little slower than other forms of treatment but they are more effective because the Queen does not get alarmed by the slower reduction in her worker ants. Ant bait is the ideal means of targeted elimination of ant infestations. Baits are used to kill the entire colony, not just foraging workers.

Types of Ant Baits

Ant Bait Gel
No backpack sprayer or hose is required to apply Drax ant bait. Ant baits eliminate chemical drift, will not harm plants, and are odorless. Drax Ant bait gel is not available in stores. Drax controls a variety of protein and sugar feeding ants, including the Pharaoh ant. Drax is pet safe and harmless to children and the environment.

Ant Bait Granules
If the ants bite, such as fire ants or carpenter ants, Maxforce is the product you need. Treat fire ant mounds with one ounce around the perimeter of the mound. Apply 4 to 8 ounces in a 1-2 foot-wide band adjacent to the foundation around the perimeter of buildings. To broadcast granular bait, use one ounce per 1,800 square feet.

Indoor applications include cracks, crevices and other inaccessible areas such as wall voids, unfinished attics and crawl spaces within residential and commercial buildings. A 1/2 ounce application is sufficient for the treatment of cracks and crevices

Ant Bait Stations
Place ant bait stations by ant trails and/or where ants have been seen. Place three bait stations in an average size room, or approximately one bait station per 100 square feet. (Increase for heavy infestations.)

Do not spray chemicals or disturb trails between ant nests and bait stations. Killing ants or disturbing trails will prevent ants from carrying the bait back to the colony. Maxforce is the product you need for ants that bite, such as fire ants or carpenter ants.

Fire Ant Trap
The Solar Fire Ant trap is ideal for use around homes, gardens, farms/ranches, play areas, around pools and ponds. The Solar Fire Ant trap was developed as an alternative to using a dangerous chemical found in most ant baits, though our Drax and Maxforce ant baits are not harmful.

The unit runs on sunlight, so there is no need for batteries, etc. It’s very low maintenance and lasts for years of use. The fire ants are stimulated by electricity, so they attack the fire ant trap and fall into the cone where they continue to attack each other. When there is very little activity or cone is full of fire ants, just dump out dead fire ants and go on to the next troublesome mound.

No Ant Pet Food Dish – Ant less Food Dish
The Bowzer bowl is designed to stop ants from getting to your pet’s food. The base section is uniquely designed to either trap ants or to merely stop them reaching the bowl section. When filled with water the ants do not even try to get further, if kept dry the ants are confused and marooned inside the base.

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Fire ants are not native to the United States. They are thought to have arrived in Southern Alabama from South America in the 1930s. As with most non-native plants or animals, they took to their new environment with great gusto due to the lack of any natural predators. By the 1960s infestations were reported in most states across the southeast region of the country, and by the year 2000, they were entrenched in all walks of Southern life.

They are a constant source of damage to commercial, agricultural and domestic areas. They cause around fifty million dollars worth of medical and veterinary bills per year. Up until recently, the most common approach to controlling them was to call in a pest control company or spread some fast-acting poison to wipe them out.

Fortunately, there is now a do-it-yourself pest control product that:
* Kills the ants that find it.
* Wipes out the entire fire ant colony.
* Easy to Apply
* Harmless to children, pets, and the environment.

The (made in the USA) Maxforce ant bait, attacks fire ants by turning one of their greatest strengths into their greatest weakness. Fire ants are incredibly effective foragers (the colony sends out ants to locate food and bring it back to the nest). All you have to do is sprinkle some Maxforce ant granules AROUND a fire ant nest and leave the rest to nature.

You’d think on top of the nest would work better, but it doesn’t. This agitates the ants and seems to have the effect of making them suspicious – if you agitate them too much, you will alert some of the ants (including the queen) and they will relocate and build a new nest for safety. Then you have multiple fire ant nests to control. However, if you quietly approach the nest, sprinkle the bait in a circle 6 to 12 inches outside the nest’s area, the fire ants will do the rest for you by finding that food and returning it for the whole colony to “enjoy”. Some of the larger nests require up to two tablespoons of the granules or you can also tackle it with 2 or 3 smaller doses spread over a few days apart.

The ant granules also have some great side effects too: They kill crickets, roaches and some other types of ant (including carpenter ants). While the granules are lethal if you are a fire ant, they are not poisonous to humans or other animals (although it is not advisable to allow family members or pets to swallow the product).

As with any pest control product, please read and follow all instructions on the label. The outline instructions above are a summary of the instructions and are the tried and tested formula for 100% satisfaction. And yes, we stand by that 100% satisfaction statement. If you are not entirely satisfied, please return the product for a full refund.

Fire ant mounds are treated with one ounce around the perimeter. A 1/2 ounce application is sufficient for treatment of cracks and crevices. Apply 4 to 8 ounces in a 1-2 foot wide band, adjacent to the foundation around the perimeter of buildings.

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How to get rid of fleas. Flea Control, Flea Killers

For controlling and killing fleas, we have three great products which just about all the professional pest control officers use. RX Plus for Fleas is a carpet powder which kills fleas and stops them from breeding. Permethrin kills the current adult flea population and FleaFix is designed to prevent fleas from reaching maturity and therefore cuts out successful breeding.

FleaFix
Is an insect growth regulator to stop reproduction of fleas and roaches and to prevent re-infestation. Safe for plants, furniture, carpets and has pleasant to no odors. Easily mixes – 1 oz. with 1 gallon of water and treats up to 1,500 sq. ft.. indoors, 750 sq. ft outdoors.

Permethrin
This is a great product for treating both inside and outside areas infested with fleas. Multi-use indoor and outdoor insecticide for use on Animals and Animal Premises. For controlling fleas, flies, mange mites, horse flies, ticks, mosquitoes, gnats, ear ticks, deer ticks, poultry mites, blowflies, hog lice, northern fowl mites lice.

FleaFix + Permethrin
Use Permethrin for a quick knock-down of the adult population and let the growth regulator, FleaFix take care of the eggs. Although nearly all fleas present will be controlled by the time you complete the treatment, do not be alarmed if you see some small fleas for a few days after treatment. These fleas are newly hatched from their protective pupae case or newly introduced to the home by your pet. The residual effect of the Permethrin will kill them and the eggs will be controlled the FleaFix Insect Growth Regulator.

RX Flea Powder
The ‘fine’ powder allows for easy application on while brushing into the carpet. The ‘statically charged’ powder provides a clinging effect to carpet fibers. This allows very little to be removed by vacuuming, thereby providing long-lasting protection. It attaches to the flea larvae as they wiggle by. The effectiveness of killing (dehydrating) flea larvae is greatly increased. If applied properly, RX will rid your home of fleas for one full year.

Children and pets should not be in the treatment area during application but can come in immediately following application. Flea powder also has a neutral pH of 7.0, so it will not damage or stain your carpet, or repel pests that can sense acidic substances.

Indoor Flea Control:
Vacuum all floors, carpets, baseboards, pet bedding and furniture. Vacuuming not only removes a percentage of fleas and eggs, but it also stimulates the cocoons to hatch. Vacuum prior to treatment and resume vacuuming 24 hours after treatment. Recent research indicates that daily vacuuming for two to three weeks after treatment will expedite the elimination of fleas. For flea-control on hardwood floors, begin with vacuuming the floors and baseboards, then spray the floor including all cracks, crevices and baseboards.

The first treatment should include a spray with a quick knockdown insecticide such as Permethrin mixed with an FGR (Flea Growth Regulator), such as FleaFix Wait 24 hours to begin daily vacuuming. The growth regulator will take about three weeks to gain control of the eggs. Some adults will hatch during this period because the FGR will inhibit the development of the eggs and larvae, and the insecticide will kill the adults. The cocoons remain unaffected and will eventually hatch within 5-10 days under normal circumstances. The cocoons require humidity, warmth, and vibration in order to hatch. When the cocoons hatch, the adult fleas emerge, which requires another treatment of insecticide to eliminate the newly-hatched fleas. This is the reason for additional treatments.

If you’re using RX Flea Powder, slowly brush the powder into the carpet with a push broom. Brush in one direction to evenly distribute the powder. Then, use a slow back and forth motion until no visible powder remains. The powder will stick to the carpet but it is better to not vacuum for a few days. Rx for Fleas, WHEN APPLIED PROPERLY, will rid your home of fleas for one full year.

Outdoor Flea Control
To control fleas outdoors, spray the Permethrin, in the areas where the pet spends the majority of time i.e., kennels, runs, beds fence lines, along sidewalks and driveways, underneath decks, and areas adjacent to foundations, etc. A repeat treatment may be necessary after four weeks.

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Rodents include mice, rats, squirrels, porcupines, beavers, guinea pigs, and hamsters. Rodents use their sharp incisors to gnaw wood, break into food, and bite predators. Most rodents eat seeds or plants, though some have more varied diets. Some species have historically been pests, eating seeds stored by people and spreading disease.

Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents of the superfamily Muroidea. “True rats” are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans are the black rat, and the brown rat. Many members of other rodent genera and families are, also referred to as rats and share many characteristics with true rats.

Rats are typically distinguished from mice by their size; rats are generally large rodents, while mice are generally small rodents. The rodents family is very large and complex, and the common terms rat and mouse are not taxonomically specific. Generally, when someone discovers a large rodent, its common name includes the term rat, while if it is small, the name includes the term mouse. Scientifically, the terms are not confined to members of the Rattus and Mus genera,

The best-known rat species are the black rat and the brown rat. The group is generally known as the Old World rats or true rats, and originated in Asia. Rats are bigger than most Old World mice, which are their relatives, but seldom weigh over 500 grams (1.1 lb) in the wild.

The average lifespan of any given rat depends on which species is being discussed, but many only live about a year due to predation.

Rats became commensally with humans remains unsettled, but as a species, they have spread and established themselves along routes of human migration and now live almost everywhere humans are.

Common conflicts and solutions
Food: Rats will eat anything a human will, and more. Worse damage is done by their urine and feces, which are left behind on any uneaten food.

Burrows: Although rats may create damage with their borrowing, it is usually more superficial than structural.

Chewing: Since their front teeth grow all their lives rats, chew on things to keep them worn down. This can be dangerous when they gnaw on electrical wiring.

Public Health: Rats can carry many diseases that are harmful to people.

Tolerance
Tolerating rats is not something many people want to do. For many reasons, people and rats are unlikely to coexist peacefully. But coexist we will, as perhaps more than any other wild animal, rats have adapted to living among humans. That we do not generally tolerate their presence does not mean that we need to use dangerous and inhumane methods to destroy them — or accept a no-holds-barred way of controlling their numbers.

The best way to control rats is to discourage them from taking up residence in the first place. Typically, conditions that support high rat populations are left until there is a real crisis at hand. Then the poisons are used or trapping employed to reduce the population, only to leave unaddressed the cause of the problem in the first place. Any effort to limit rat populations must be followed by taking the necessary steps—exclusion and sanitation—to make sure the same problems never happen again.

Identifying rat signs
Droppings.
Gnawed holes up to two inches wide in baseboards or at doorframes (indicates they have been there a while).
Smudge marks (body oils) on walls.
Sounds of movement in walls and attics.
The family pet staring intently at a blank wall.
Burrows may indicate the presence of rats, but could also indicate other burrowing animals such as chipmunks. Never attempt to control a wildlife problem without being sure what species of wildlife you are dealing with.

To find out if the burrow is in current use, loosely fill it with soil or leaves and check it in a day or two to see if it has been re-opened.

Modifying habitat
Good sanitation is the best and economical way to control rats.

Public health concerns
Rats are considered as carriers or transmitters of more human diseases than any other life form, except maybe the mosquito. Some of the diseases that can be spread from rats to people are bubonic and pneumonic plague, murine typhus, salmonella, leptospirosis, Hantavirus, and tularemia.

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pest-12/28-19 – gtg

How to Protect Your Home Garden from Bird Pests

It’s that time again. Time to check how all your new fruits and vegetables are almost ready for picking and eating. Ready, that is if you protected your garden from pest birds using an effective bird control strategy. If you didn’t, you may find much of your garden has already been (or will soon be) feasted upon. By pest birds. They won’t hesitate to nibble and chew your fruits and veggies until there’s nothing left for you to enjoy.

Various species of birds will prefer to attack different parts of your garden. For example, crows and blue jays will go right for your corn. Grackles and starlings will pull out and bite off your newly planted tomatoes. Mocking birds love to peck holes in your large beefsteak tomatoes—they usually prefer the one-pound, very green ones.

In general, many birds love to eat seeds and seedlings, as well as your fruits, berries, and nuts. Other problem birds include gulls, magpies, pigeons, robins, sparrows, and starlings. Geese and ducks can also wreak havoc with your garden. Besides trampling all over your garden, these larger birds can create quite a smelly mess in droppings. These droppings can carry diseases, which is not something you want all over your edible veggies.

The best way to keep pest birds out of your garden is to implement some proven effective bird deterrents. Here are three the experts recommend:

Sonic Bird Deterrents

Easy to set up and use, Sonic Bird Deterrents emit bird distress and predator calls, which make birds think twice about invading your garden. One sonic system can emit distress and predator calls for as many as 22 different species of birds. It protects large gardens up to an acre and can be programmed to turn on or off at night.

Garden Bird Netting

The idea here is to deny pest birds access to specific areas of your garden. Garden Bird Netting is strong, light, easy to handle and virtually invisible. The netting typically comes in 14 x 100-foot and 14 x 200-foot rolls and three different mesh sizes–1/4-inch, 1/2-inch, and 3/4-inch—depending on the size of the bird that’s attacking your garden. The best plastic bird netting is fabricated from durable, U.V.-protected polypropylene. You can protect your vegetables by wrapping individual plants in netting or suspend the netting around an entire garden area. To safeguard fruit trees, measure the circumference of the tree and cut the net to size (allow at least one foot extra around the circumference). Secure the netting with twine, zip ties, or hog rings.

Visual Bird Deterrents

It’s often best to use Visual Bird Deterrents along with other bird deterrents. Flash Tape and Reflective Banners reflect sunlight and crackle in the breeze to intimidate birds. You can also get Scare Eye Diverters and Bird Scare Balloons, which have large predator eyes to scare birds away.

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At Jenkins, we have expertise in preconstruction termite protection offering physical termite barriers for small to very large buildings both private and commercial jobs. We use products that are safe for onsite workers and which causes no interruption to their work. We use two termite barrier systems: Kordon and Term-seal for both preconstruction work as well as any structural renovations and extensions.

KORDON TERMITE BARRIER SYSTEMS

Kordon Termite Barrier is a proven system providing effective termite protection for your property. Tremendously effective & ideal for virtually all building applications. The Kordon Termite Barrier system gives you the highest level of termite protection for your property. Kordon is an American environmentally friendly product. Our technicians at Jenkins are accredited and experienced installers of Kordon. The active ingredient in Kordon is deltamethrin, which is a synthetic pyrethroid. It is fatal to termites which have any contact with the Kordon material.

TERM-SEAL BARRIER SYSTEMS

We use TERM-seal’s high-quality physical termite barriers for pre-construction, renovations, additions for all types of residential and commercial construction situations. TERM-seal Passive products are a choice of a non-toxic, physical barrier or TERM-seal Active range of products containing an addition of 0.1% Bifenthrin to enhance repellant qualities. The sealants, coatings and manufactured sheeting and strips have been developed from inorganic compounds that come together to create a new and exciting method of termite management and waterproofing. Our technicians are accredited installers of Term-seal products. TERM-seal products are stable long-lasting and environmentally friendly.

TimberSure® Warranty

Pacific International Insurance Limited TimberSure® gives you real security with a full Timber Replacement Warranty. It provides a way for homeowners to feel safe and secure against damage that may be caused by termites. It is a 12-month warranty underwritten by Pacific International Insurance, which covers the homeowner for up to $100,000 damage in the event of a termite attack. The first step is to have a termite inspection carried out by one of our inspectors. Any recommendations made on environmental modifications to minimize termite activity will need to be implemented by you. The next step is the provision of a chemical barrier in the soil around your home using an approved termite control agent. This will provide a barrier that will impede concealed termite entry.

When you accept a full TimberSure treatment you are protected by the TimberSure Warranty. So it’s a big weight off your shoulders. Plus you are assured that claims can be settled quickly. TimberSure is available for both existing homes and new homes.

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It’s our policy to provide you with information about the termiticide to be used around your house or building. There are strong regulatory controls around use of chemicals in the pest control industry. There are several types of termite control chemicals registered by the relevant American Federal Government AVPMA for use in termite control as a soil treatment chemical. The termiticides have undergone thorough evaluation and approval by national and state government authorities. Breaches by termites are uncommon and generally the barriers provide excellent on-going protection. These products represent modern technology and are NOT in the older style organo-chlorine or organo-phosphate pesticide group. Treatment failures seen throughout the industry are generally a function of building design and treatment application rather than termiticide effectiveness. For example, the termiticide application is likely to be less effective if the footings of a building cannot be effectively accessed because of floor coverings.

We use the following two chemical and believe that these work effectively in Texas conditions.

Manufacturers Information

Bifenthrin
Brand – Biflex Aqua, from F.M.C.
Type – Synthetic pyrethroid water-based termiticide
Toxicity – Rated S6, oral – “slightly toxic”, dermal – “practically non-toxic”.
Odor – This water-based termiticide is almost odorless.
Longevity – the label claims “at least 10 years” when applied at maximum strength. In practical conditions around a typical home, due to water exposure, disturbance of garden beds, etc. STC recommends re-treatment every 5 years.

A characteristic of Bifenthrin is that it binds very quickly and strongly to the soil particles. This makes it a good option where moisture movement in the soil may be a factor. It is the longest-lasting termiticide and with only a slight odor.

Fipronil
Brand – Termidor, from BASF
Type – Benzisothiazolin
Toxicity – -Rated S6, oral-harmful if swallowed, dermal-may irritate the skin, does not readily penetrate the skin. Repeated exposure may cause an allergic reaction.
Odor – has a slight vegetable oil smell.
Longevity – re-treatment each 5 years should be expected.

Termidor is one of the most thoroughly reviewed termite control products and can only be applied by a pest control professional who has been trained in correct application methods. Termidor is incredibly effective even at low application rates. Termidor bonds to the soil in which it is applied, so homeowners need not worry about soil movement. It is, therefore, the most effective termiticide where there is a risk of noncontinuous soil treatment. In addition, Termidor is environmentally friendly with its active ingredient fipronil having been used extensively on food crops around the world and as the leading product for flea and tick control on dogs and cats since 1995.

The following commonsense precautions should be observed both before and after your premises are treated:

You should advise us of any pets or any personal or family allergies, or other concerns.
You must remove or protect any people, animals, birds or fish during the treatment period.
Avoid contact with treated surfaces until the termiticide has dried.
Observe any verbal advice provided by your termite technician at the time of treatment.
Ensure your premises are properly ventilated after treatment.

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The 13-Year Cicadas Set to Invade

We are a family-owned and operated pest control company.

Do you love ‘em? Or do you hate ‘em? The cicadas are coming!

You may have heard rumors that the dreaded 13-year cicadas are emerging this year. It’s true. They are coming between April and June. It is predicted that they will appear when the ground temperature reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Several cicadas have been spotted in the area. In no time, there will be thousands of them!

What exactly are the 13-year cicadas? And why are they coming out this year? Don’t cicadas come out every year? What makes this year special? What’s the difference between a 13-year and a 17-year cicada? What’s the difference between a cicada and a locust? Read on.

Cicadas are known for their beady little eyes. Contrary to popular myth, cicadas are not blind. They can see just fine. However, fine eyesight does not prevent them from flying onto humans occasionally. There are several different types of cicadas. You’re probably familiar with the annual cicadas that come out every summer, typically called dog-day cicadas. The rarer 13- and 17-year cicadas are growing underground all the time, feeding on nutrients in trees, but only come out after they’ve fully grown (after 13 or 17 years). The difference between a 13-year and a 17-year cicada is that one species simply take four years longer to mature than the other. When the 13-year cicadas appear and make a loud racket, it’s called an emergence. After maturing and growing into adulthood underground for 13 years–they are ready to emerge above ground and begin mating. The loud sound that you hear comes from the males. It’s their mating call. The females hear the mating call, find the males, mate and then lay their eggs in tree branches. The reason the cicada emergence is so loud is because millions of cicada babies grew into adulthood underground together for 13 years. Then those millions appear above ground singing together in a shrieking chorus, ready to mate and create millions more babies. It’s an ongoing cycle. The 13-year cicadas sing loudest during the hottest parts of the day. They do sing at night, but not as frequently or as loudly. If you hear singing at night, it’s most likely a cricket, katydid or frog.

We don’t treat for cicadas because treating them with pesticides has proven ineffective. Other than producing a loud and annoying noise, cicadas are not harmful to humans. They don’t attack or sting. They don’t destroy the wood in houses. However, if you have young trees growing in your yard, it’s recommended that you cover them with bird netting or cheesecloth, or to delay pruning until the cicadas have left because of female cicadas cut and pierce the branches of young trees, making the trees weak. Also, if you were planning on any outdoor painting project this summer, perhaps you should reschedule for another time because flying cicadas might ruin your paint job. Although cicadas are often called locusts, they are not synonymous. Locusts are short-horned grasshoppers. Cicadas are an entirely different, plant-sucking creature. The 13-year cicadas are a mysterious thing. Many people don’t understand this phenomenon and will respond in fear. If this blog was helpful and informative to you, please forward it along to your friends and family. Hopefully knowing more about cicadas will help you endure their courtship choruses.

Do you have a pest control question? Give us a call.

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Termite Swarms

We received our first termite swarm call this week. This occurred at a residential slab home. The termites entered the structure behind
the refrigerator through a crack in the concrete slab. During the inspection, we found that the termites have damaged the walls and trim behind the refrigerator. In this situation, we will recommend a soil treatment to eliminate the termite colony and recommend the damages be repaired. In this case, the termites where discovered early and only minor damage has occurred. Termite swarms are usually the first evidence a homeowner
will discover when they have a termite infestation. They are described by many homeowners as flying ants, or ants with wings. A homeowner may also discover mud shelter tubes on foundation walls built by the termites. These shelter tunes provide a highway between the soil and the food source and help protect them from predators. Shelter tubes can be found on crawl space walls, exterior walls, on interior walls and in cracks between moldings.

If you ever experience a swarm of ”ant-like” bugs in or around your home, we recommend that you have them identified by a professional. Termites will usually swarm between March and June. The swarms are triggered by humidity and temperature. We will usually have a significant number of calls after heavy rainfall when the humidity levels are high. Swarms usually occur between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you arrive home from work
and find large quantities of bugs on the floors and windowsills, this is a good indication that you have experienced a termite swarm. Catching a termite infestation early is the key to preventing damage to your home. A trained professional knows where to look and what to look for when it comes to termites.

We are always here to answer any questions you may have about all your pest needs.

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Demystifying Velvet Ants: The Buzz on the Fuzz

There’s a great buzz over a fuzzy bug. Some call them velvet ants. Some call them cow killers. Most don’t call them what they really are: wasps.

If you’ve seen a fuzzy red thing walking around on the sidewalk or in your yard lately, it’s probably a female red velvet ant. When left alone, they aren’t looking to threaten humans. However, when picked up and toyed with, a threat may emerge.

When most people see something fuzzy, they think, “Aww, cute! I want to touch it.” However, when it comes to velvet ants, it is not recommended that you pick them up, because they may sting you. And, if something can be called a cow killer, it sting hurts…a lot!

Velvet ants are wasps that cannot actually fly. They feed on the cocoons of ground-nesting bees. Essentially, the mama velvet ant bores a hole in the cocoon of bees nesting underground and lays her eggs inside the cocoon. Then, when the velvet ant eggs hatch, they prey on the eggs in the cocoon.

Interesting, huh? Wasps killing bees in a dynamic, underground battle.

In an even more interesting twist, velvet ants often prey on cicada killers. A cicada killer is a large wasp that preys on cicadas. Female cicada killers capture cicadas, sting them, and then place them in holes they’ve burrowed into the ground. As their young hatch, they feed on the burrowed cicada.

That shifts our food chain paradigm to wasps killing bees and/or other wasps who kill cicadas.

Is your head swirling yet? Or is that just the buzz of all of these insects swarming around in your yard preying on each other?

If you’ve got a question, please call us and ask an expert.

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Installing Landscape Lighting 11/3/19 – gtg

Landscape Lighting Installation

Installing landscape lighting in your yard and garden is one of the most important parts of having a beautifully landscaped area you and your friends can enjoy!

After you have decided to include landscape lighting in your plan for your yard or garden, you must consider the type of lighting that best fits your lifestyle!

If you are a person who likes things to be done easily or likes to change the look of your garden frequently, you should probably use solar landscape lights. These are easy to install since all you need for power is sunlight! You can learn a bit more about solar landscape lighting installation here!

If you have a very shaded yard, you should choose low voltage landscape lighting! These are a bit more difficult because:

they require you to have an electric power source

they require a transformer to convert your house power to 12 volt power

they have wires and cords that you must decide how to hide

most likely you will need to remember to turn them on and off

120 V is available for Outdoor Lighting

You can buy some landscape lighting that uses 120 volt power. 120 volt power is what is used in your home’s grid. These include rope lights and string lights! All these require for installation is a plan, a ladder, an extension cord, a power outlet, and someone to hang the lights. Of landscape lighting that is run on electricity, these are probably the simplest to install!

The downside of these lights is the necessity of checking your cords often to make sure they are not being damaged by the weather or rodents.

Low Voltage Landscape Lighting Installation

Installing landscape lighting that is low voltage is a bit more difficult. For this type of lighting, you will need to install low voltage lighting transformers! A transformer plugs into your home’s power grid and changes the voltage from 120 volts to 12 volts. Most electric powered landscape lighting is low voltage, so a good transformer is a necessity!

When installing landscape lighting, you will need to take into account the wires and cords and how you will hide them. After all, you don’t want unsightly cords running across your garden! Hiding them isn’t terribly difficult. All you need to do is dig a trench 4 to 6 inches deep for the cords to lie in.

Wiring lights yourself? Our wiring landscape lighting guide might be of some use to you.

When using low voltage lights in your garden, you will either need to remember to turn them on and off or you can attach a timer to the transformer that will take care of that for you!

Wanting some security lighting? Consider installing a motion sensor light! These are the best kinds of lights for security out there.

Now that you know your options, let’s look a bit deeper into installing landscape lighting!

Let the Outdoor Lighting Pro’s do it

As always, if you are not comfortable working with electricity, please contact a licensed electrician to install your transformer!

He should be able to instruct you on how to add more lines into your transformer safely! You should always plan out your lighting design on paper before you begin installing landscape lighting. This ensures you get the proper amount of lights for your garden. It will also show you what type of lighting you will need. Assuming you are going to need low voltage landscape lighting, here is what you will need to begin:

You will need a good, low voltage transformer. Make sure you get one that is adequate for your needs. These come in several different sizes to ensure you get the proper one for your garden.

You will want to buy your lights. Make sure you buy low voltage lights, if that is what you are installing. Most landscape lights are low voltage, but check to be sure.

Enough cord or wire to reach to all areas of your garden.

Junction boxes for each zone of your lights.

Splicers for adding lines into the main line to your transformer. Make sure not to overload one cell of the transformer. It is better to have more lines than to overload the transformer causing a breaker to switch.

A good timer to install on your transformer if you want the lights to automatically come on at a specific time.

A sturdy shovel to dig a small trench with. Most homeowners already have this so you may not have to buy one! It is also good to have someone with a strong back to work this piece of equipment!

After installing your transformer, installing landscape lighting is fairly easy!

Following the plan you made on paper, start by laying out the lights on the ground where you are going to want them placed. After you have them all laid out, check to see if they are going to give you the coverage you want. If not, move them around until you like the effects!

If you are not going to be finished in one day, it may be helpful to place flags where the lights are going to be. That way your lights are not laying on the ground overnight where they can be damaged by being stepped on.

Now that you know where the lights are going to be, start digging a shallow trench, 4 to 6 inches deep, for laying the cords in. You will have 1 main cord coming from the transformer. Your light’s cords will wire into this main cable. You will want to make sure that you can put this cord where it will be hidden or underground to avoid damage, either by weather or other things that can damage your wire.

Try to place the transformer in a spot where you will have few obstacles to get around. You don’t want to try to dig into a sidewalk, for example!

Following your plan, installing landscape lighting should be fairly easy. You may want to plot out where you are going to dig ahead of time. Remember that you will have voltage drop if your line is too long, has too many fixtures connected to it, and what gauge cord you are using.

To avoid a large voltage drop, you should group your fixtures into distance zones. This means your lights that are 100 feet from the transformer should be grouped into 1 cord. You should group into short distance (0-25 feet), medium distance (26-50 feet), long-medium distance (51-75 feet), and long distance (76-100 feet).

Then you should centralize your cable and then run branches from the fixtures into it! You should try to avoid daisy-chaining, which is having fixtures tying into the central cable in a straight line! This avoids as much voltage loss as possible. If you must daisy-chain because of where your lights are located, try to use no more than 3 fixtures per line!

Using these techniques, you should dig a trench to a central location for the lighting zone. Then you will want to install a junction box. Dig trenches to each lighting fixture from the junction box. Run your cord from the lighting fixture to the junction box. Attach the cord using the instructions that came with your lights or junction boxes.

You will want to make sure that each light fixture will receive 11.5 to 11.75 volts of power for the best light. Most junction boxes will tell you how to figure this out so you know how many lights per cable run you can use and still have plenty of voltage for a perfect glow!

While this sounds complicated, installing landscape lighting is relatively easy. Once you have one zone completed, the next one will be easier!

Of course, if you don’t like working with electricity, or simply don’t have the time to do it safely, please don’t hesitate to call a licensed electrician! They are trained to do this work safely!

Although it takes a bit of work, and a bunch of planning, installing landscape lighting will give your yard or garden that special touch that says it is definitely you!

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