Mosquitoes Making Unwanted Waves This Summer

An annoying pest may have just become deadlier

In North Texas, the dog days of summer are known for stifling heat and restless locals. This summer, however, there’s a potentially serious threat to the health and well-being of people and pets across the Metroplex. According to numerous reports, mosquitoes bearing a potentially deadly pathogen have appeared in the region this year. In other parts of the country, mosquitoes with even more exotic ailments are making the rounds as well.

The West Nile Scare

Over the past several months, nearly a dozen pools of mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus have been discovered in various corners of the metro area, including:

• Two Dallas ZIP Codes
• Carrollton
• Irving
• Mesquite
• Coppell
• Cedar Hill
• Duncanville

West Nile is a serious disease that causes flu-like symptoms, including muscle aches, headaches and fever, in about 20% of those infected. In rarer cases, it can lead to encephalitis that causes … Read Full Post »

Too Much Fertilizer Is Never a Good Thing

Fertilize in moderation to grow a lush, healthy lawn

Fertilizer is often touted as the secret behind lush lawns that flourish throughout the year. However, pouring granules into your spreader and fertilizing your entire lawn isn’t guaranteed to produce great results. In fact, over-fertilization causes a variety of problems, including insect damage, diseases, decreased drought resistance, and fertilizer burn. Excess fertilizer is also a major cause of water pollution in Texas and the Dallas area. If you’re interested in growing a greener, healthier lawn, here’s what you need to know.

Mowing, edging, aeration and power raking are the cornerstones of lawn care. Most of these tasks are fairly simple, but fertilization requires greater precision. If you’ve ever seen a lawn with snaking streaks, you’ve seen the effects of over-fertilization. As a general rule, warm-season grasses, including Bermuda and St. Augustine, require 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.

Nitrogen Content

The tricky part … Read Full Post »

Best Practices for Preventing Mosquito Infestations

Nothing spoils an outdoor gathering as quickly as swarms of attacking mosquitoes. Not only are mosquitoes annoying, they carry diseases that affect both humans and animals. Luckily, there are ways to control mosquitoes both inside and outside your home using common sense and an integrated pest management (IPM) program that minimizes harmful environmental effects.

Here’s the Buzz on Outdoor Mosquito Control

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, and the larva and developing insects need water to mature. Adult mosquitoes live in moist, cool places, such as under leaves, in drains and on plants. The best way to reduce mosquito populations is by removing sources of standing water. Outdoors, this includes removing pots and containers; filling in puddles; covering drains; keeping ponds, birdbaths and swimming pools clean; and keeping rain gutters free of debris. Even pool covers or tarps protecting outdoor furniture are attractive mosquito breeding grounds.

Some experts recommend using an integrated mosquito … Read Full Post »

Good Hedges Make Good Neighbors

Even if you love your neighbors, you probably don’t want to see everything that goes on in their yard. In the 1990s sitcom “Roseanne,” the Conners’ elderly neighbors enjoyed prancing about in the nude with the curtains pulled back. This accidental discovery prompted Dan and Roseanne to ask their neighbors to plant a hedge. Hopefully, this isn’t the case for you, but if your neighbors have an unsightly yard or you just need a bit more privacy, planting hedges in your landscaping provides the ideal solution.

Improve Your Landscaping With Hedges in Dallas

Hedges offer more benefits than just additional privacy; they also define property lines, break the wind and provide food and shelter for birds. Installing a privacy fence generates an impersonal look and may offend your neighbors, but planting a hedgerow creates a living fence that marks a boundary without cutting off neighborly communication. In addition, seeing a row of … Read Full Post »

Common-Area Maintenance Means Common Pests

Should you be fighting on more fronts?

Are your unwelcome guests really falling prey to your limited maintenance efforts, or are they savvy enough to simply move out temporarily before returning to their normal haunts? Vermin don’t need high-level intelligence to know it’s in their best interest to move somewhere else when the commercial pest control service starts spraying. If your treatment program isn’t comprehensive, you could just be spreading the problem to the rest of your Dallas building or facility.

Survival at All Costs

Creatures such as insects and rodents may lack the size advantages that humans and other animals count on, but they’re some of the planet’s most prevalent residents.

Researchers have discovered that ant colonies, for instance, go as far as using their bodies to make living rafts to protect their queens during floods, an act of dedication that most human families would be hard-pressed to imitate. Some cold-blooded insect species … Read Full Post »

5 Ways to Impress the Health Inspector

Ensuring your restaurant kitchen is always ready for inspection

Is your restaurant kitchen ready for the visit from the health inspector? Avoid common mistakes with this simple checklist.

Practice Good Hygiene

Clean habits make for a clean kitchen. Ensure that your staff always washes their hands after using the restroom. Gloves should be changed between preparing different dishes. Most importantly, staff members who are ill should never handle food. Be sure to check the bathrooms to make sure that the sinks and toilets are clean and all drains are operating properly to prevent backup or potential contamination.

Proper Handling of Hazardous Foods

Meats, dairy products, eggs and certain prepared foods must be kept at the proper temperature to avoid bacterial growth. Never leave refrigerated or frozen items sitting out until they become lukewarm. Cook all foods thoroughly and serve or store them in a timely manner. Keep food preparation and cooking surfaces clean at all … Read Full Post »

Do You Know About Those Tenants Under the Eaves?

You may not be in the habit of inspecting the eaves of your building. However, keeping this part of your store or office free from pests is vital when you want to keep dangerous rodents and critters at bay. You probably think outdoor creatures such as squirrels, opossums, and chipmunks are cute, but rodents like these can carry deadly diseases with them and infect your building by invading your eaves. When you want your office, store, or other commercial space to be free from such nuisances and health dangers, you can take these steps to keep these critters away.

Rodents like to live under your eaves because this area provides the warmth and shelter they need to build nests and raise offspring. In fact, this website reports that squirrels can have two or more litters of pups each year. You can get rid of these creatures and discourage them from taking … Read Full Post »

Furry and Freaky Creatures That Go Bump in the Night

Furry animals are cute to look at in a zoo or wildlife sanctuary, but when these critters invade your attic and take over your property, you begin to understand why pest control specialists refer to these animals as nuisances. Despite their small size, they can wreak total havoc on your home, often within a matter of days after finding their way inside your attic, basement, or eaves. When you hear skittering in your attic and on your roof or see the tell-tale signs of a nocturnal animal invasion, it’s time to take the necessary steps to get rid of these critters.

Discouraging these animals from coming into your home can start with practical steps such as bagging up your garbage each night, removing pet food and water bowls from your outdoor patio or backyard area, and getting rid of any other sources of food that might be attracting these animals. When … Read Full Post »

Five Ways to Dispose of Bed-Bug-Infested Bedding

Don’t let your bedding infest other homes

Bed bugs remain an exceptionally difficult pest to exterminate. They hide in tiny crevices and inflict itchy bites after dark. Texas law identifies this insect as a public health nuisance. To avoid spreading these bugs to fellow Texans, it’s vital to discard infested belongings in a safe and lawful manner.

Disposal Options

1. Consider calling a local junk removal service. Some firms will dispose of almost anything for a fee. They quickly haul away mattresses, couches, upholstered chairs and other unwanted items.

2. Many cities provide free curbside junk collection. Dallas residents may use this monthly service to discard old beds and carpets. To protect sanitation workers and neighbors, seal all infested objects in plastic.

3. If your city, landlord or trash removal company allows it, you can put relatively small things in a nearby dumpster. Be sure to deface these items and attach warning labels.

4. Another option … Read Full Post »

Don’t Let Pests Chase Away Business

The customer is always right about pests

Rodents and insects create problems for Dallas businesses, whether they’re child care centers or furniture rental stores. They can annoy, sicken or injure your firm’s customers and employees. Even if you don’t have direct contact with the public, an infestation may ruin valuable goods. It’s vital to take action before pests cause serious harm to your business.

Bothersome Bugs

Your company may offer excellent products and services, but this won’t stop a small infestation from chasing away your customers. No one wants to find ants crawling on a dining table or hotel bed. Likewise, people won’t shop or eat if they smell an expired rodent in the wall. A single pest can prevent you from gaining a loyal patron.

Bad Publicity

When customers buy flea-infested furniture or swat flies while eating meals, they often tell other people about these experiences. Business review websites make this very easy to … Read Full Post »