Tag: jp mchale
Posted on August 1, 2011 with No Comments
As you are all aware, we have been in the middle of an official heat wave, and signs from temperature changes are visible on all turf throughout our area. As the air temperature rises so do the soil temperatures, and this can cause extreme stresses on turf vigor, in addition to varying lawn service results. As we go through this wave and also attempt to recover, we ask that you PLEASE HAVE PATIENCE during these difficult weather conditions.
A couple facts we all should know:
· Due to the extreme heat during the day and abnormally high temperatures at night , cool season grasses in your lawn may become stressed and lead to dormancy. Weakened grasses can be susceptible to disease and insects.
· High levels of humidity combined with over-watering lawns can actually cause the soil temperatures to rise, doing the opposite of what is trying to be accomplished because it does not allow the water to evaporate from the soil.
· Cool season grasses normally catch a break at night when temperatures drop in the evening. Night time temperatures normally return to a cool (58-64 degrees, allowing grasses to recover from the heat. The past couple of weeks, turf has not had this chance re-cooperate from daytime temperatures.
Until the Day and Night Time Temperatures return to normal please follow the following cultural practices to help your turfgrass:
Water at least 2 inches per week during the early morning hours. Never at night.
Cut grass at 3.5 inches and make sure blades are sharp. Remove clippings to improve air circulation and help prevent disease. When temperatures are above 90 degrees mowing heights should be raised. On days of extreme heat mowing may need to be skipped to reduce stress. Additionally, make sure when trimming near curbs and walkways scalping does not occur.
Adhering to the following steps combined with your management program, turf has a better chance of making it through this stressful period.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the condition of your lawn please feel free to contact the office and speak to Rich Heaton, Tree & Turf Service Manager
We thank you in advance for your patience during these difficult weather conditions
The Tree & Turf Division
JP McHale Pest Management, Inc.
Posted on July 28, 2011 with 4 Comments
For some reason, the call of a cicada makes a summer day feel even hotter! What call? Well, whether you realize it or not, you know the sound to which I am referring. It starts like a revving engine and continues as a sustained shrill or buzzing noise. Produced by the vibration of membranes in the insect abdomen over a resonance chamber, sound is made by a drum-like structure and is used by males to attract mates. In morning, afternoon or evening, you can’t miss the sound of a drumming cicada!
Cicadas are much more than the soundtrack of a hot summer. They have a unique life history that is obscure and difficult to study, since development of nymphs occurs entirely underground! It all starts when an adult female cicada lays eggs in the twigs of a tree or shrub. This typically kills the growing twig, and provides an ideal incubation site for eggs. After about a month, eggs hatch and newly emerged nymphs drop to the ground where they will feed on the roots of perennial plants.
That is exactly the point when things get interesting biologically. You see, there are two major groups of cicadas differentiated by the time it takes for nymphs to develop. The first group is the dog-day cicada, making references to the time of year when adults emerge in July and August – the “dog days of summer.” These are large, green and black insects that have clear wings and make a rattling sound during flight. Nymphs of dog-day cicadas may take 2-3 years to develop, but because they exhibit overlapping generations with adults emerging every year, they are present each summer to fill their air with the mating songs. On tree trunks and other vertical surfaces, you can find the exoskeleton of the last nymphal instar: a tan shell of an insect with claws and rather large eyes. In the middle of the back is an opening from which the adult cicada crawled out, expanded its wings and flew off.
Whereas the dog-day cicada is present every year, periodical cicadas exhibit mass emergence on a cycle of every 13 or 17 years! That’s right; these black and orange insects with red eyes remain in the soil for over a decade, slowly feeding on plant roots and all emerging in May or early June of the same year. Why such a long development time and mass emergence? This life cycle is thought to provide protection from predators by making periodical cicadas an unpredictable food resource. During a mass emergence predators are overwhelmed by the abundance of cicadas, and are not capable of depleting insect numbers. This guarantees the success of the species by providing ample mating opportunities for the cicadas.
There is a predator out there that gets the phones buzzing at pest management companies around this time: the cicada killer. This insect is a solitary wasp that captures cicadas and uses them to nourish their offspring. Cicada killers are some of the largest wasp species in North America and hunt by sight. Textbook descriptions suggest that these predators capture prey in flight, something I did not believe until I saw it firsthand. As a graduate student I conducted field research on an agricultural farm in Delaware, which exhibited bare, sandy soils common of the coastal plain. Ideal habitat for cicada killers that burrow up to four feet into the ground, my plots were peppered with burrows made by the female wasps. I watched as aggressive, but stingless males flew around female burrows to either guard their mate or to find mating opportunities. It was one sunny afternoon that a cicada carelessly flew from one hedgerow to another across the field, when suddenly a cicada killer swooped in to grab/sting the insect and bring it to the ground. Paralyzed by the venom, the female would then bring the cicada back to its burrow as a feast for her offspring. The insect world is a cruel place!
What can we do to help? Cicada killers prefer open-ground with bare soil to create their burrows. At JP McHale we offer power seeding and lawn fertilization that will keep your yard healthy, yet making it inhospitable for cicada killers. If you currently have cicada killers, our pest management division has products to target these insects and alleviate your problems. Give us a call today for a pest-free lawn, and be sure to keep an ear out for cicadas this summer!
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Posted on July 26, 2011 with No Comments
Here at JP McHale we hear of bee keepers quite often throughout the summer, especially this year with the great number of swarms in our region. This story of one specific bee keeper blew us away!
A 9 year old boy from England has been fascinated for quite some time by his father’s bee keeping hobby. Weary of the idea some time back, the boy’s father constructed a glass-encased bee colony within their home for his son to marvel at…a display that would assure no harm to the boy.
At 9 years of age, the boy’s father is now comfortable enough to let his son dress head to toe in a full bee keeper outfit, and take care of a bee colony of his own right in their back yard. This young boy has high expectations for his bees and their honey, and his own colony seems to be going strong so far!
Click here to watch the video of this special bee keeper’s new found hobby.
Posted on July 22, 2011 with No Comments
Bed Bugs are expected to be entering public school classrooms at a rate of three times as many as the previous school year, the NY Daily News reports.
These hitch hiker bugs are expected to travel to schools with a child, and home with others as well as leaving classrooms infested.
NYC public schools are planning to store book bags and jackets in plastic bags and sealed containers as an attempt to limit the number of reportable cases.
Be sure to stay on the lookout for bed bugs!
Your children could be bringing them into their schools, or taking them home. Either way, they are pesky to deal with, and a bed bug infestation is nothing to take lightly!
Call JP McHale today if you suspect or know of any bed bug infestations…we’re here to help!
Posted on July 21, 2011 with No Comments
Are you planning to move into a new home? Contact JP McHale today! We offer a home inspection service that surveys the property for any wood destroying organisms, such as termites and carpenter ants that could be causing damage to the property you are interested in.
Wood destroying organisms can decrease the property value and you should be aware as the new owner!
If you’ve recently moved into a new home, you may not be aware of pest issues right away. Rodents, insects, spiders and many more could be lurking in your newly bought residence, and you may not enjoy their company!
Be sure to maintain your home year round with pest control services. It’s always better to purchase a service program before pests make their way into your yard and home. Our services can not only save you time and spare you of stress, but can save you money by preventing pest damage that can become quite costly.
JP McHale offers a year round pest control service called the Home Pest Prevention Program which covers a multitude of critters.
Be sure to contact us today if you are interested in any our pest control programs or inspections!
Posted on July 21, 2011 with No Comments
Remember the recent JP McHale blog with a photo of the purple prism trap that is set out to monitor EAB activity? We’ve got updates on this ash-tree-hungry critter.
These Emerald Ash Borer pests have crept closer in the recent weeks following that blog. The Wall Street Journal has reported on the West Point spotting of the EAB. Click here for the full story!
The state quarantine movement will continue from Greene and Ulster counties to Orange County as well.
There are fears the destructive beetle will make its’ way through New England.
Stay tuned for further information about the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer, and be sure to read up on our previous EAB blog and their harmful ways.
Posted on July 7, 2011 with No Comments
Whether changing residences or simply transporting firewood, you may be relocating the Gypsy Moth and potentially damaging tress of another location. When left untreated, an infestation of Gypsy Moths can damage up to 13 acres of foliage in one season!
JP McHale Pest Management wants you to be mindful when you move to a new home, or when you take firewood with you for camping or outdoor bonfires. Outdoor patio furniture and firewood may be infested with this Gypsy Moth, whether it be the eggs, caterpillars or adult moth itself.
The USDA suggests proper inspection of these materials before you move or head out for a weekend of fun-filled camping…you wouldn’t want to accidentally transport the Gypsy Moth to a new area!
The USDA provides control and utilizes various methods and materials when infestation covers significant ground. Here at JP McHale Pest Management, our Arbor Care program provides our customers with an 8-application-program that covers Gypsy Moths and other seasonal insects that may be posing a problem.
Be sure to contact us today to set up a program or treatment appointment if you’ve come across this destructive seasonal pest!
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Posted on July 6, 2011 with 2 Comments
An article posted by Fox News gives insight about the Giant Hogweed…a plant more dangerous to humans than carnivorous Venus fly traps!
The Giant Hogweed has leaves the size of umbrellas, and its’ sap contains material that causes blindness and blistering burns that leave scarring. This plant is unfortunately located in our immediate area, but is thankfully controlled by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
JP McHale wants you to be on the lookout for this dangerous plant.
Be sure to take proper precautions by contacting the DEC for identification and control. The DEC controls Giant Hogweed by hand-cutting their roots if the site has less than 400 plants, and control by herbicide in areas with over 400 plants.
Be on the lookout for Giant Hogweed plants but be sure not to touch them!
Posted on July 5, 2011 with 2 Comments
In addition to the possible infestation of Emerald Ash Borers [EAB], the Japanese beetle is here to feast on your luscious landscaping. The Japanese beetle, much like the EAB, is not native to our area, but rather introduced accidentally. JP McHale spotted Japanese beetles in Salem, NY over 4th of July weekend…we are now certain they have emerged from the ground to begin feeding!
The larval or grub stage of the Japanese beetle is considered one of the most destructive turf grass pests. These are small, white, C-shaped grubs that feed on the roots of grass and other plants. You might have seen these grubs while planting or weeding in your garden. By feeding on the roots of plants, these beetles are capable of producing large patches of dead grass in your lawn.
A pest in multiple forms, the beetle emerges from the ground to devour your plants once they have already had a shot at their underground roots!
The adult is a green beetle with copper-colored wings that prefers to munch on your rose bushes, but will settle for various other shrubbery or trees throughout your lawn. Japanese beetles are small and mighty, collaborating in groups in order to cause great damage to your pricey ornamentals. The beetles will consume the material between the veins, leaving behind the skeletons of your plants’ leaves.
The Japanese beetle will not harm humans, but could cause economic damage when they strip your plants. Landscaping can be rather expensive, making it important to rid your yard of these destructive little creatures before they rid you of your plants.
JP McHale Pest Management Inc. offers programs that protect you and your yard from the destructive Japanese beetles.
Be sure to contact us today if you’ve come across this pest in your yard!
Photo Credit 1: Matt Frye
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Posted on July 5, 2011 with No Comments
Yes, that is in fact another movie reference, this time for the popular 1990 film Arachnophobia. Many Americans inspected their shoes and the toilet before getting to business after this movie. And with good reason! Fright from spiders is one of our most basic fears, ranking up there with snakes and heights. Some evidence suggests that these fears are innate, having evolved during our development as a species to increase survival. However, fear of spiders in the Northeastern United States is based more in fiction than in fact.
With eight legs and two body parts, spiders belong to a group of arthropods called arachnids; a title shared by ticks, mites and scorpions. Nope, spiders are neither bugs nor insects, which have six legs and three body parts! Worldwide there is an estimated 40,000 species of spiders, with 3,400 in the US and Mexico representing 64 different families. Identification to the family level relies on several key features, including the number of eyes and their arrangement on the cephalothorax, the body segment that contains the head. For example, spiders may have six or eight eyes arranged in pairs, rows, or clusters. As is true for most specimens requiring identification, habitat and behavioral information are invaluable in determining where a specimen lives and what it does.
Nearly all spiders are predators that feed on other living organisms for nutrition. Most species have mouthparts that open and close sideways like ice tongs, with piercing fangs at the end of jaws called chelicerae. Other spiders, including tarantulas, have mouthparts that move up and down in a stabbing motion. Both mouthpart designs require spiders to liquefy food before consumption, and this is accomplished by injecting digestive fluids into captured prey. Proteins within these digestive fluids break down solid tissue, yielding a soupy liquid ingested by the feeding spider. Prey items are left as hollow exoskeletons or skins after being fed upon by a spider.
In pest management, we often hear the question, “what is the point of _[some pest]_?!” People want to know the role played by mice, clothing moths, ants or mosquitoes, which are commonly viewed only as pests. Sometimes this requires a bit of research to discover not only the ecological role played by an organism, but also the context that will give meaning for the non-ecologist. With spiders, the answer is simple: spiders provide pest control! In my own living space I consider the presence of spiders to be an indicator of spider food. Personally I would rather have the spider! Within reason, I will allow spiders to inhabit the hard to reach corners of a room so long as they do their job and eat invading insects.
Although myth and Hollywood lend to a heightened fear of spiders, there are only a few species of concern in the US. In general, spiders are not very aggressive, and only bite when they are threatened. Most reports of spider bites come from situations where people were sleeping and rolled over a spider, or someone put on an article of clothing that contained a spider.
With no ability to make noise, a spider announces its presence the only way it can, with a bite.
Reactions to a spider bite can range from no visible signs, an itchy raised bump, to severe cases that include ulcer-like sores or even death. In our area of the eastern United States, the brown recluse and black widow spiders are two species with dangerous and harmful bites.
The brown recluse or fiddle-back spider, named for the design on its cephalothorax, is a southern species occasionally introduced to our area with furniture, boxes or other items shipped north. Measuring 1/3 inch, they prey on small, soft-bodied insects and are active at night or in dimly-lit rooms during the day. Although their bite is not painful, the venom of a brown recluse spider contains a powerful cytotoxin that causes tissue death. Large ulcerating sores can form several days after a bite and require immediate medical attention. The presence of a single brown recluse spider in a home is enough to warrant action.
A second species of concern is the infamous black widow spider. Identified by her jet black abdomen with a contrasting red hourglass, this spider can be found in almost every state in the US, excluding Alaska. The danger posed by black widow spiders exceeds that of brown recluse based on the nature of the toxin. While brown recluse venom is cytotoxic, black widow venom is neurotoxic and can therefore create a systemic or whole-body reaction. On a per volume basis, black widow venom is more potent than that of a pit viper, but because it is injected in low levels, death is rare. Black widow bites are most dangerous to small children and the elderly.
Where to Look
Both black widow and brown recluse spiders can live indoors, where they hide in dark, infrequently disturbed spaces behind and under furniture, in basements, garages and closets, and with stored items. Webs are irregular in shape and typically found close to the ground. Outdoors, these spiders prefer to construct their webs in debris piles, in corners near windows and under the eaves of a house. These are areas visited by prey and ideal locations for a web.
More pictures of these and other spiders can be found on Bugguide.net.
Some of the spiders more commonly received for identification at JP McHale include wolf spiders, cellar spiders, sowbug killers, yellow garden spiders, nursery web or fishing spiders, long-legged sac spiders, crab spiders and jumping spiders.
Chances are you have heard one of the many variations about eating spiders while you sleep. Whether it is 4 spiders a year or 20 in a lifetime (which leaves interesting mathematical questions), you would be hard-pressed to find any evidence to suggest that this is true (thank goodness). Myth Busted: we do not eat spiders in our sleep, nor do they obtain moisture from our eyes or mouth while we dream.
“Daddy-long-legs are one of the most poisonous spiders, but their fangs are too short to bite humans.” Actually, the truth about this one is comically ironic. First, the arachnids commonly referred to as daddy-long-legs are not spiders, but instead belong to a group called Opiliones or Harvestmen. What’s more? Harvestmen are not venomous and lack fangs altogether – they do not even bite! Myth Busted: harvestmen are docile predators and scavengers that contain no toxic venom.
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