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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