Fall Lawn Care in St. Louis & St. Charles

As the heat of summer gives way to the cooler, crisper days of fall, it’s time to prepare your lawn for fall and winter. Check out the tips below, and you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful, green, weed-free lawn next spring.

 

Keep doing what you’re doing

Existing lawn care, such as mowing, edging, and watering should continue as needed. Remember that while the best time to water is early in the morning, the best time to mow is in the evening right before the sun goes down, because the grass is dry and temperatures are cooler.

 

Fall planting

Early fall is the best time to plant trees and shrubs, because planting in autumn allows them time to establish their roots and transition into the garden while the conditions aren’t as harsh.

 

Air it out

Aeration perforates the lawn by removing small plugs and has several benefits for your lawn. It takes compaction out of the soil, which allows for better water percolation and allows fertilizer to reach the root zone. The plugs that are left on the surface due to aeration also have a purpose: The soil from the plugs will dissolve into your turf, and the microbes from the soil will decompose the thatch (a layer of organic matter that accumulates on a lawn around the base of the grass plants).

 

Remember to fertilize

When you feed your lawn in the fall with a fall/winter fertilizer, the nutrients are changed into carbohydrates, which improve the root system in your lawn. By putting energy into the roots instead of promoting blade growth, you are improving your lawn for next spring.

 

Get it under control

Fall is a great time to control broadleaf weeds in your lawn. Broadleaf weeds like clover and dandelions prepare themselves for winter just like your lawn. There are many options for lawn weed killer, which work by causing the plant to grow beyond its ability to sustain that growth. For best results, try to spray for weeds when temperatures are in the mid-50s or warmer.

 

Mow it down

As the weather cools in the fall, lower the height of your mower. Mowing the lawn shorter in the fall encourages rhizome (stems running underground horizontally) development in the turf, which will thicken the lawn and help choke out weeds. Begin in September and continue through October, gradually reducing the height of your lawn until you’re mowing to a height of approximately one inch. By slowly reducing the height, your lawn will not be stressed by the shorter mower height as the fall temperatures cool.

 

Overseed it

Fall is the best time to seed, because warm soil temperatures and plenty of rain help the seeds germinate quickly. The faster the seed germinates and the lawn becomes more established, the less competition it has with weeds. The cool air temperatures also allow the young lawn to grow strong without the threat of heat stress. If weeds have caused thin areas, make sure you kill and remove the weeds before overseeding.

 

We do lawn care

Did you know that Amco Ranger does lawn care in addition to pest control? We give these services the same professional attention to detail and offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Give us a call today to ensure a lush-looking lawn in the spring.

Wrong season? Check out our spring bug survival guide.

How to Get Rid of Centipedes and Silverfish

Creepy crawlies can invade your home and give you quite a scare when one appears on your wall or runs across the bathroom floor. Two common pests that are often mistaken for each other are centipedes and silverfish. Both of these pests like damp conditions and can be a nuisance to your family. How do you tell the difference?

 

House Centipede

Appearance: About one to 1-1/2 inches long; flattened, with one pair of legs on most of their segments; segments number from 10 to 100; yellowish, brown, or grey-yellow with bands of brown striping on their torsos and long legs.

Habits: Usually live outdoors beneath damp accumulations of leaves, stones, boards, etc.; sometimes find their way into homes, where they hide in dark, moist basements and bathrooms; when disturbed, they run fast.

Diet: Insects and spiders.

Life span: Some species live as long six years.

Harmful? They can bite humans and administer venom if cornered, but neither the bite nor the venom is dangerous. They don’t carry disease, eat your food, or damage clothing. They only eat bugs, which can actually be beneficial.

 

Silverfish

Appearance: About 1/4-1/2 inch long, somewhat “carrot-shaped” from above; grey-blue or silver; three filaments extend from rear.

Habits: Nocturnal; move swiftly, can jump; found in cool, dark, damp places like basements, bathrooms, laundry rooms.

Diet: Carbohydrates, sugars, and starches found in books, glue, silk, food, and flour.

Life span: About two years.

Harmful? They don’t bite or spread disease but can destroy books, papers, clothing, and other textiles.

 

Getting Rid of Centipedes and Silverfish

 

Remove moisture

Fix any leaky pipes and use dehumidifiers to reduce areas of high moisture. Install an exhaust fan in the bathroom. Centipedes will actually dry up and die without adequate moisture, while the silverfish will seek a new place to live.

 

Clean the house

Silverfish feed on anything organic so clean up food crumbs and spills and clean dishes right away. Vacuum regularly. Also refrain from stacking books, papers, mail, etc. in boxes or in high moisture areas such as basements. This is the perfect feeding ground for a silverfish. Cleaning should also get rid of other types of insects that the centipedes eat.

 

Store off-season clothing in sealed bins

Avoid storing your clothes in dark closets or basement areas as silverfish prefer inhabiting dark areas and will destroy your clothing. Try placing them in plastic bags or sealed bins with tight lids.

No matter how strange, intimidating, or pervasive your pest infestation, you can trust that Amco Ranger knows exactly how to handle it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Give us a call today if you need helping getting rid of house centipedes and silverfish.

Have seasonal allergies? Let us help you.

Protecting Yourself Against Summer Pests

Summer means spending time outdoors relaxing and having fun. It also means more exposure to bugs. Here are some ways to protect your self and your home from summer insects:

 

Mosquitos

Mosquitoes cause itchy bumps and carry dangerous diseases that can make you very sick. Aside from yard treatments to eliminate mosquitos, these tips can help keep mosquitoes away:

  • Eliminate stagnant water. Divert water away from your home through downspouts and regularly change the water in birdbaths, ponds, and other water features.
  • Wear insect repellent when outdoors.
  • Light citronella candles around your outdoor areas.

 

Ticks

Ticks can cause major illnesses. Reduce your chance of tick bites by following these suggestions:

  • Wear insect repellent when outside.
  • If you are in tall grass, bushes, or trees, wear long sleeves and long pants tucked into your socks.
  • Complete a thorough inspection of your body when you go inside.

 

Wasps

Wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets can be a real pain. To keep your home nest free, try the following tips:

  • Seal cracks and entry points into your home.
  • Examine overhangs and eaves on your home, which make a cozy place for a nest.
  • Keep bushes and trees trimmed and check for nests before you trim anything.
  • If you see a nest, contact a professional. It can be dangerous and painful to attempt removal your self.

 

Ants

Ant colonies can include thousands of ants, which can quickly lead to an infestation. To keep them at bay, try a few of these strategies:

  • Keep bushes, trees, and foliage trimmed and away from your home.
  • Keep your kitchen clean and place food in sealed containers.
  • Vacuum regularly.
  • Place sticky traps or ant bait in problem areas.
  • Seal cracks and holes where ants can enter your home.

 

If you are still having problems with pests after trying these tips, give Amco Ranger a call. We’ll fight the bugs so you can relax and enjoy the summer.

Learn more about how you can protect your pets during the summer. Also find out if you have a cockroach infestation.

Keep Your Pets Safe from Summer Pests

The good old summer time is the perfect time for outdoor activities for the entire family, including pets. However, pests like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes can cause all sorts of problems for your fur babies. Following these tips can help your furry friends get through the summer without pest problems.

 

Fleas

Flea infestations can be transmitted through contact with other animals in addition to spending time outdoors. Once fleas latch on, they can cause problems like hair loss, inflammation, skin infection, anemia, and dermatitis. To keep fleas from causing long-term harm, invest in a flea collar, bathe your pets often, and be sure to regularly wash and vacuum everything they touch.

 

Ticks

Like fleas, ticks can pass on serious diseases when they come into contact with your pets. Anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and Lyme disease can result from tick bites, so it’s important to do everything you can to prevent tick bites in the first place. Use a tick collar, and be sure to inspect your pets anytime they have been outside. If you spot a tick, pull it out with tweezers very slowly so the mouthparts aren’t left in the skin. After removal, flush the tick down the toilet to prevent it from biting again. Also, keep your grass cut and weeds in check – tall grass can be an excellent hiding place for ticks.

 

Mosquitoes

Just like humans, pets can contract dangerous diseases like West Nile virus from mosquitoes. More commonly, mosquitoes can pass on heartworm to your pets, which can lead to weight loss, seizures, and blindness. To lessen the number of mosquitoes in your yard, remove all sources of standing water, since this is where they breed. Unfortunately, the only guaranteed way to avoid being bitten is to minimize outdoor activity when mosquitoes are most active from dusk until dawn.

 

In Your Home

Medications that repel and kill fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are available to protect your pets and dramatically reduce your risk of home infestation. If you do end up with an insect problem in your home, call a professional like Amco Ranger. It can take a combination of efforts to get rid of these pests for good.

 

Prepare Your Yard to Guard Against Mosquitoes

It’s mosquito season. With over 3,500 species of mosquitoes out there laying 100-300 eggs at a time, they can’t wait to start bugging us. They are everywhere, but there are actions you can take to get your yard and home ready so mosquitoes don’t eat you alive this summer.

 

Here are a few things you can do for your own mosquito pest control:

 

Eliminate Standing Water

Get rid of standing water, and eliminate opportunities for it to accumulate. Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes; they lay eggs on the surface of standing water, and only need a quarter of an inch to do so.

  • Remove items from your yard that might catch rainwater, such as unused plant pots, wheelbarrows, and children’s toys.
  • For containers that constantly have water, such as birdbaths, clean and refresh the water at least once a week.
  • Drill holes in tire swings, trashcans and recycle bins to allow water to drain out easily.
  • Repair leaky outdoor faucets to avoid water pooling underneath them.
  • Tackle ponds by installing an aeration pump, fountain or water bubbler to keep the water circulating continuously and prevent the chance for mosquito larvae to mature.
  • Clear out your gutters so that water can move freely down the spout instead of pooling there.
  • Get rid of blockages in the ditches near your home so that storm water moves out of them quickly.
  • Fill low spots in your yard with soil, or improve drainage so that water doesn’t remain after a storm.
  • Remove old leaves, which can trap moisture and invite mosquitoes and other pests.

 

Keep Vegetation Short

Keep your grass and shrubs cut short. Mosquitoes are shrub hoppers and gather to rest in shady, cool areas, which is why it’s best to keep your yard weed free and avoid any overgrown vegetation.

 

Hang Mosquito Netting

Hang some mosquito netting around decks and patios to block off the areas where you know you’ll be hanging out. Be sure to place the netting around the perimeter, as well as over the top. Buy netting with small holes that is specifically designed to keep mosquitoes out.

 

Switch to Yellow Bug Lights

When preparing your outdoor space for the summer, choose opaque, yellow bug lights to lessen the number of mosquito swarms. Yellow bug lights transmit different wavelengths that are less visible to insects. Therefore, fewer mosquitoes and bugs are attracted to your space.

 

Scout Out Entry Points

Cracks, gaps, screens and other vulnerable areas of your home are opportunities for pests to enter. Make sure that any entry points are properly secured around the house to prevent unwanted insect guests.

 

Call a Pest Control Company

Following these tips can significantly decrease the mosquito population around your home. If you are still having issues with mosquitoes, give Amco Ranger a call to get a free quote for professional, ongoing defense in your yard. Treatments are tailored to your property and are applied by certified, trained technicians.

Learn more about lawn care from the professionals with these tips. 

Identifying & Eliminating Fungus Gnats, Fruit Flies & Drain Flies

When your home is invaded by tiny, flying insects, you may assume you’ve got fruit flies, but that may not be the case. Fungus gnats, fruit flies, and drain flies are often similar in size and can overtake your home. Here are a few tips for identifying and stopping these three pesky flies.

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnat adults are less than one-eighth inch long, brown or black with light colored legs and have a mosquito-like appearance. They fly erratically and seem to bounce through the air. You will find fungus gnats flying near potted plants, which offer a nice moisture layer for the larvae to grow into mature adult gnats.

If you have fungus gnats, cut back on watering and treat the soil with an insecticide. Also, avoid adding water-retaining material such as peat moss when potting a plant.

Fruit Flies

Fruit flies look similar to house flies but are much smaller. The two most common fruit flies, the red-eyed fruit fly, and the dark-eyed fruit fly, are brownish/black and have striped abdomens. They fly in a smooth path. Any rotting food or area of moist, organic material will be attractive to fruit flies, including garbage cans, compost bins, sink drains, and garbage disposals.

The best way to get rid of fruit flies is to keep your kitchen and garbage cans clean of any accumulated debris that may attract them. This includes thoroughly rinsing out beverage containers, using fruit quickly or placing it in the refrigerator, sealing garbage cans, and removing trash regularly from the area.

Drain Flies

Drain flies have a hairy body with large wings and breed in the slime that coats drains in your home. Once you recognize that you have drain flies, put some tape over the drains where you suspect they are emerging and leave it overnight. The next day, check to see if any flies have been collected. Once you know their source, you can begin eradication.

Use an enzyme drain cleaner and follow the package instructions. A few hours after applying the drain cleaner, flush warm water down the pipe to eliminate any remaining sludge. By completely cleaning the drains, the flies should vanish as a result.

If your fly invasion is more than you can handle, Amco Ranger Termite & Pest Solutions can get rid of the invaders using safe options for your family and pets. Contact us today at (636) 441-BUGS (2847).

Preventing An Ant Infestation

Ants in your home are a nuisance. These crawling insects persistently search high and low for any source of food. An ant scout leaves the nest, laying a trail of pheromones as it goes. If it finds food, it will follow the trail back to the nest and leave more pheromones, creating a stronger trail that other ants in the colony will follow.

Prevention techniques can make your home less appealing to ants and reduce the risk for a potential infestation. Here are some tips to avoid an infestation in your home.

Remove moisture sources.
Like any living thing, ants need water to live. Eliminating stray water sources and moisture from your home will prevent these insects from establishing a colony in or near your house.

Keep your house clean.
Ant food sources are primarily dead insects and human/pet food. Keeping your house clean and free of leftover food and crumbs will prevent ants from being attracted to your home.

Remove materials where ants can establish their nests.
Ants establish their colonies in materials that are near a food source. They also choose areas with debris that will allow them to build their nests. Remove tree stumps, wood, branches and other yard waste from near your house.

Seal points of entry for ants.
If ants are entering your home, but have not yet established a colony inside the house itself, patching holes and cracks will stop ants from getting into your house.

Call a professional.
Prevention techniques may work well, but if they don’t, it may be time to call a professional like Amco Ranger Termite & Pest Solutions to eliminate your ant problem.

Find out more about how you can take care of your lawn against bug infestation.

How Do You Know if You Have Termites?

Termites typically live in colonies underneath your home and when the ground thaws, they emerge, entering your structure through cracks in the foundation. You won’t even know they are there until you see signs in your home.


Signs of Termite Infestation
The following list indicates common signs of a subterranean termite infestation. It is recommended that you have your house thoroughly inspected by a pest control professional trained to detect what can be subtle signs of termites.

The swarm
The appearance of a swarm of what looks like flying ants is a good indication of the existence of a termite nest. Swarming occurs when a colony reaches a certain size and is most common in the spring (March, April, May, and June). Most swarmers emerge on warm days after rain.

Bugs and bug parts
You may see live termites in your home. Reproductive kings and queens are 1/2″ long, winged and black or brown in color. Workers are sterile and usually hidden within infested wood. They are 1/4″ long, wingless and white. You might also see piles of wings, indicating that the swarmers have entered their next phase of development.

Mud tunnels
Subterranean termites live in the ground and build “mud tubes” – pencil-sized tubes made from mud particles, saliva, and fecal matter that connect the nest to the food source. Mud tubes are proof of termite infestation, but their absence does not necessarily mean that a structure is free of termites. You can break open tubes to determine if termites are still active inside. Termites often rebuild damaged tubes, another indication of continued activity. Old tubes are dry and will crumble easily.

Hollowed-out wood
Termite-damaged wood makes a hollow sound when tapped with a hammer and may appear crushed at structural bearing points. If you pick and probe the surface of an infested piece of wood with a sharp object, you will find tunnels running parallel to the wood’s grain.


What to do
Termite problems are not a do-it-yourself project. If termites have invaded your home, contact a pest control professional like Amco Ranger that can provide ongoing treatment to protect your largest investment – your home.

Also find out how to control dust mites.

What’s That Smell?

Spring is nearly here and warmer temperatures are bringing out the insects. Recently, you may have encountered a weird looking one that smelled terrible when you squished it. It was probably a stink bug – named for its smelly-foot-like odor when crushed. Although stink bugs are not known to bite humans, their tendency to invade homes in high numbers can be a nuisance.

The Bug
Stink bugs are brown, shaped like shields, and are 1/2 to 3/4 inches long. Young stink bugs are similarly shaped, but more rounded and may be black or light green. Although they don’t cause structural damage to homes or buildings, stink bugs can cause significant damage to trees, shrubs, tree fruits, blackberries, corn, beans, tomatoes, and other crops.

Prevention
The best defense against the stink bug is a good offense. To prevent stink bugs from entering your home, seal cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, behind chimneys, and underneath the wood fascia and other openings using a good quality silicone caulk. Repair or replace damaged screens on doors and windows.

Elimination
To get rid of stink bugs that have already entered your home, vacuum up dead and live bugs and throw the vacuum cleaner bag in the outside garbage. Contrary to popular belief, dead stink bugs do not attract other stink bugs – but they can attract other insects, such as carpet beetles, and live stink bugs will emit odors to attract other stink bugs. If an infestation has developed, a pest control specialist such as Amco Ranger should be called to assess the problem.

Find out how you can prevent and eliminate centipedes and silverfish and other summer pests.

Eliminate Pantry Pests

Packaged foods in your pantry can attract pests such as moths, weevils, and small beetles. The good news is that although annoying, they are not dangerous; they won’t bite or sting you or damage your home. Getting rid of these pests is not hard, but it does take time.

 

Where do they come from?

These unwelcome guests can be found in even the most spotless home. Pests often hitch a ride in your food at the grocery store, during delivery, or at the processing plant or warehouse.

 

What foods attract pests?

Nearly any dried food that is stored at room temperature can be a draw, such as grains, cereals, beans, dried fruits, nuts, and spices. Open packages that aren’t sealed well are prime targets, because they allow easy entry. However, many insects can chew their way into unopened packages as well.

 

There’s a bug in my flour.

If you find a bug in a product, throw the entire package away and check the food stored near it. If you don’t spot anything in the other packages or elsewhere in the pantry, the bug was probably an isolated incident, and the other foods are fine to keep. If you want to be extra-cautious, freeze any potentially affected products for three to four days. This will kill any eggs or insects.

 

The bugs are everywhere.

If you find insects in multiple places, empty your pantry completely and vacuum the shelves, floor, and corners, then wash everything with soapy water. Do not apply bleach, ammonia or pesticides – these chemicals won’t prevent a future infestation and can be dangerous if they come in contact with food. Before returning food to the pantry, thoroughly check that each package is undamaged and uncontaminated.

 

Keep the bugs out.

The longer a product sits in your pantry, the more likely it is to become infested, so buy small packages you can use in two to four months. Avoid buying packages that have dents, holes or scratches, and follow the “first in, first out” rule when using food. It’s also helpful to transfer grains, cereals, etc. into glass, metal, or sturdy plastic containers with airtight lids. These containers keep insects out much better than cardboard, paper, or foil. Thoroughly clean your pantry every three to six months, which will help you stay organized and keep pests at bay.

 

Ewww! I think I ate a bug.

If you’ve just enjoyed a nice meal and spot a critter in your pasta package, don’t worry. Pantry pests aren’t poisonous, and accidentally ingesting a bug won’t hurt you.

 Schedule your Free Inspection today!