Monthly Archives: March 2015

Prevent Mosquitoes in Spring to Enjoy Your Yard in Summer

Most people think summer is the only time to be concerned about mosquitoes. However, in the mid-Atlantic, once temperatures stay consistently warm, mosquitoes start to emerge. We can’t pinpoint the exact start of mosquito season, but it is safe to say it’s right around the corner. Mosquitoes that hibernated need consistent warm temperatures to become active, while mosquitoes that spent the winter as eggs need rainfall in order to hatch. That makes the month of April a perfect time for their emergence. Peak season doesn’t occur until July and August, but now is the time to get your yard ready and be aware of how you can prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in your yard.

Mosquitoes can be an annoyance around your yard. Their bites, while undetected as they occur, leave you with itchy red bumps that can irritate and take days to go away. Why is this? Female mosquitoes are the ones responsible for the “bite.” Although technically not a real bite, since they don’t have teeth and use their long mouthpart called a proboscis, their saliva has an anesthetic property that numbs you so you don’t realize one is on you. This saliva is an irritant to humans; therefore you wind up with the itchy bump. But more than just being a nuisance, mosquitoes harbor and can spread dangerous germs and viruses. These include West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, La Crosse encephalitis virus and equine encephalitis virus. The latter two can cause headaches and/or fever and can potentially lead to meningitis or encephalitis. More than an annoyance, mosquitoes can post a health threat to your family. (If you think you have any of the above mentioned illnesses, seek medical attention.)

There are ways you can protect yourself and your family. First, when outside, be sure to use a repellant. Repellants with DEET are proven to be effective. However, there have been reports of natural repellants as well that include citronella, lemon oil, tea tree oil, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint and bergamot, to name a few. Wear long pants and sleeves particularly when out at dusk or dawn. Keep shrubs manicured, as mosquitoes prefer to hide in them when the temperatures are high during the day. Eliminate standing water anywhere in your yard. Mosquitoes will lay eggs in a small amount of standing water.

Bats love mosquitoes, so if you don’t mind having bats around, install a bat box. There are many species of birds that like to eat flying insects, so bird feeders and houses can help too.

Triple S Services can inspect your yard and treat your lawn and shrubs to help you keep your yard mosquito free. Call today for your mosquito abatement appointment: 800-457-3785.

Behind The Walls, A Look at Termites

The word termite evokes fear in most homeowners.  The idea of hoards of tiny insects feasting on the building blocks of your home is scary!  Termites are very destructive insects, but they are equally fascinating.

In forests termites are incredibly beneficial.  They tunnel through and eat rotted wood and tree trunks, naturally aerating and decomposing. They help to speed up the natural process, which in turns helps new growth. They are able to digest plant matter and fungus because their guts are full of microorganisms that break down cellulose. “This symbiosis benefits both the termites and the microorganisms living within their insect hosts. The termites house the bacteria and protozoa, and harvest the wood. In return, the microorganisms digest the cellulose for the termites.”  They are a hard working insect, eating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Their existence dates back 130 million years and they are ancestors of cockroaches.  In Africa, termites build extensive mounds above ground, some of which can be several feet tall. Here in American, most colonies are underground, or in homes.

There are four main types of termites — dampwood, drywood, Formosan and subterranean.  The most common kind found in the US, is the eastern subterranean termite.

In nature, they are important; in your home they are destructive.  Termites can eat through not just wood, but also siding, metal and plaster.  Once they make it inside, they will eat just about anything they can digest, including cabinetry, furniture, walls, beams, laminate flooring and even carpeting!  Sometimes the damage within walls and in ceilings looks like water damage. What appears to be swollen drywall and has a smell that resembles mold or mildew can be termite damage.

Most times if you see termite damage, more damage has already been done behind your walls.  That’s why it is important to schedule termite inspections.  The experts at Triple S know what to look for and how to assess just how much damage has been done.   Annual inspections are recommended. Typically not much damage will occur in the span of one year.  However, after 3 or more years, quite a bit of damage can occur.   Don’t wait too long.  To schedule your termite inspection, call 800-457-3785.