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Nasty Lawn Pests to Keep an Eye Out For

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While you may think that your beautiful backyard is a complete safe zone, you might be mistaken. In a space that seems as innocent as a rose garden, there are risks that you take every time you step outside because of the pests you expose yourself to. These are a few pests and bugs that can be, at best, a total nuisance and, at worst, harmful to you and your family.

Ground Rules

First, there are some basic rules that you should follow. These basic ground rules will help prevent any unfortunate situations:

• First, carefully inspect your work are before gardening. Look for any insects in sight that may cause an issue in the future.

• Before you start gardening, make sure you apply bug repellent to any exposed areas of skin.

• While you’re gardening, wear a hat and gloves to protect from bugs and especially ticks, who love to hide in hard to find areas.

Ants

While it’s true some ants can be beneficial to your garden, by performing important jobs like aerating the soil and pollinating flowers, they can be a huge problem if you discover their nest in your yard. If you disturb their nest, they will quickly turn on you and your garden. Even the innocent black ants can be harmful if you are allergic – they have small stingers that can be an uncomfortable when they sting you. Much more harmful is the carpenter ant. Not only can they sting you, they can tunnel through wood and cause damage to your home. Their bite is particularly nasty, as they inject a type of acid in the skin. The worst type of ant is the fire ant. They are extremely territorial and aggressive, and their venomous bites can leave a painful and burning welt.

Bees, Yellow Jackets, Wasps and Hornets

While they usually keep to themselves, if provoked, these flying pests are not so great for humans. Most people have been stung by now, and know whether or not they might have allergic reaction. Each year, 50-100 people die from a wasp or bee sting due to an allergic reaction. So, if you know you are allergic, make sure to have epinephrine injection kit on hand when gardening. If not, then you might just have to accept that they are going to be there.

Ticks

There are not many benefits to having a tick around. Ticks are pests that can carry harmful diseases. The most common disease they can carry is Lyme disease, but they can also carry typhus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, anaplasmosis and other types of infection. If you do notice a tick on yourself, clean the area with alcohol first, and carefully remove all of the tick with tweezers. Clean the area again with alcohol and then wash with soap and water.

Insect and Lawn Care Service Southern California

For insect treatment, perimeter pest control and the premier lawn care service in southern California, choose Lawnscape. We take pride in helping to keep your backyard clean and relatively free of pests. We have been serving Southern California since 1979. Our professional lawn care service turf and ground cover areas, caring for both professionals and homeowners alike.

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Treating Fleas and Ticks in Your Yard

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Flea and tick season is upon us, with the warmer weather certainly bringing about these pests to your yard. However, they are not too hard to eliminate from your home! With a few, easy methods, you can get rid of fleas and ticks in your yard before they have the chance to pester your family and your pets.

Trim Your Lawn

Make sure the lawn in your backyard is the right height. If it’s too long, it makes it easier for fleas and ticks to hide and lurk in the tall stalks. By mowing your lawn regularly, you can ensure that your lawn height remains short enough to prevent teas and ticks from hiding in it. However, make sure the grass isn’t too short as you want to attract spiders and ants – a flea’s biggest predators.

Avoid Overwatering

Make sure to water your lawn properly, giving it enough water to thrive but no so much that it remains wet or flooded throughout the day. Fleas and ticks in your yard prefer a moist environment, so too much water will definitely attract these bugs to your yard. Aerating your lawn may also help if you are having a drainage issue.

Clean Up

Like most pests, fleas and ticks thrive in a messy, dirty environment. These types of environments produce a number of different hiding areas for fleas and ticks to lay eggs. Make sure to remove any piles of lumber, bricks or stones. Pick up any trash, discarded pots, gardening items and any other debris around the back yard. When the growing season is over, make sure to clean up your garden and properly stow and tools that will not be used in the near future.

Treat your pets with preventative medication

One of the best ways to prevent ticks and fleas is to treat your pets with preventative flea and tick medicine. These pests can easily hitch a ride on your dog or cat from an outside area and bring them into your home. The cost of these preventative medications easily pay off by saving your home from the invaders.

Clean the Pet Area

As mentioned before, fleas and ticks can easily enter your home and backyard by your pets. Regularly clean everything in your pet’s areas, like the dog’s bed and kennel, wiping down surfaces and vacuuming floors. Remember that flea larvae remain with 50 feet of your pet’s hangout areas, so make sure to clean the surrounding areas. And if you suspect that your pet has fleas or ticks, immediately clean their area after you treat them.

Protect Your Home

You can create a barrier around your home to protect it from fleas and ticks with a perimeter treatment. A perimeter treat is usually an insecticide specifically designed to create a barrier, stopping pests before they get into your home. They can be used on solid surfaces, like brick and concrete, as well as on soil and plant material.

Use Cedar

Did you know that cedar mulch can effectively repel fleas and ticks? It’s a great natural and chemical free way to combat these bugs. You can use it border pet areas and along the edge of your property to create a barrier.

Invite Predators

Fleas and ticks in your yard have natural predators, like spiders and other larger insects. You should make your backyard more appealing to these predators by incorporating their favorite plants in your yard and keeping your lawn height at a good level.

Keep Out Wildlife

Depending on where you live, gophers, squirrels, rabbits, rodents, deer and other wildlife may be sneaking onto your property. In addition to other annoyances these pests can cause, they can also bring fleas and ticks into your yard. Make sure you are taking action to repel these creatures as well.

Lawnscape has been serving Southern California since 1979. We service turf and ground cover areas, caring for both professionals and homeowners alike. Our fertilization, weed, insect and disease control services will ensure that the grass will always be greener on your lawn.

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How and Why Rabbits Damage Your Lawn

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Many people love rabbits and even keep them as pets. It’s easy to see why. The shy little guys are adorable, especially when they have babies, and, as a symbol of spring, they seem quite appropriate and thematic this time of year. Right up until they make themselves at home and your lawn and start damaging it. Despite their petite size and cute, cuddly appearance, these little herbivores can quickly and easily wreak havoc on a lawn and garden, and their ability to reproduce so quickly makes this damage grow exponentially the longer it goes own. A cute rabbit family can quickly become a quick rabbit problem.

Damage Caused by Wild Rabbits

Their ravenous appetites make rabbits disastrous for many types of vegetation, particularly close to the ground and in areas close to uncultivated lands, like those found near greenbelts, parks, and residential areas. These uncultivated areas provide places for rabbits to rest and hide near food sources like your lawn and garden.

Rabbits aren’t picky eaters and will consume and destroy a wide variety of vegetation, but do have some favorites, including but not limited to:

● Vegetable plants, like beans, beets, broccoli, carrot, lettuce, and peas
● Fruits and nuts, such as almonds, apples, blackberries, cherries, citrus fruits, pistachios plums, raspberries, and strawberries
● Herbs like cilantro and parsley
● Ornamental plants including a wide variety of flowers, shrubs, trees, and turf types

In addition, rabbits can be destructive by gnawing through plastic irrigation lines, particularly the small diameter varieties. They may also gnaw on young trees’ thin bark, but the thick, rough bark of older trees is too difficult for them to sink their teeth into. This gnawing can girdle the tree (completely remove the bark from a ring around the tree). If this occurs around the trunk, this terminally damages the plant, but in the case of branches or shoots, the damaged limb can simply be removed.

A rabbit problem can be reason for concerns because of other issues as well. Rabbits sometimes carry a disease called tularemia, or rabbit fever, but this disease is relatively rare in humans. It can be contracted by handling an infected rabbit with bare hands or consuming under cooked rabbit meat. As rabbits can also carry rabies, it’s generally recommended to avoid handling wild rabbits.

Dealing with a Rabbit Problem

Thankfully rabbits, though annoying and damaging, are also totally manageable.

First, make your lawn and garden less appealing by removing attractions for rabbits. Trim low hanging branches that can provide shelter to rabbits from trees, shrubs, and bushes. Keep rabbits out of sheds and out from underneath decks or porches by blocking holes and openings, or out of your yard in general by putting up fencing. You may also want to block rabbits from coming near water features. Make sure fencing is at least three feet high and six inches deep into the ground to avoid having rabbits hope over or tunnel under.

Either remove plants that attract rabbits, or take steps to protect them. You can replace plants that rabbits love with plants that they don’t. Big periwinkle and bougainvillea are great ground cover plants, while birch and alder trees can provide shade that rabbits won’t enjoy. You don’t have to sacrifice color with shrub options like rhododendron and camellia, which can be particularly effective with both perennial and annual plants like goat weed, impatiens, verbena, Echinacea, honeysuckle, and Mexican marigolds.

If you’d rather keep your existing landscaping, you can put up barriers around plants that seem to be particular favorites, and hardware cloth wrapped around the base of a tree can protect the bark. Fertilizer containing blood or bone meal repels herbivores like rabbits and for improved effectiveness you can also add in other repellents like cayenne pepper, human or pet hair, kitty litter, coffee grounds, and manure. Cats and dogs can scare rabbits away, but a decoy predator can also be effective. A variety of effective electronic repellents can be purchased. While these will drive away your rabbit problem and many other pest species, they can also repel wanted wildlife, like songbirds, and can bother pets. Traps for catch and release are also available, but because of animal release laws and the possible dangers associated with handling a wild animal, even an adorable rabbit, using these traps is not recommended.

Pest Prevention and Lawn Recovery

If you are struggle with a rabbit problem, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Since we started in 1979, Lawnscape Systems, Inc. has been one of southern California’s leaders in lawn care. Whether you’re interested in one of our two lawn care programs or any of the many additional lawn care services that we offer, including pest management and comprehensive lawn restoration and recovery, Lawnscape can help any lawn and lawn caregiver. No matter how much work you want to put into your lawn, Lawnscape can ensure you get the most out. And because we only use the highest quality EPA certified products, you can feel safe knowing that any products we apply are safe for the environment and for your family. Contact Lawnscape Systems today!

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Common Lawn Pests and How to Get Rid of Them

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A beautiful lawn provides a wonderful place for families to relax, play, and spend time together. Homeowners work hard to keep their lawn in the best shape possible, but sometimes disasters strike anyway. Lawn pests don’t really care about the steps you take to keep your lawn healthy and attractive, though sometimes they are attracted to your lawn because it’s in such good shape. However, that doesn’t mean you have to put up with pests. Read on to find out some easy ways to eliminate and prevent common lawn pests.

Moles

Moles are excavators. They ruin lawns by creating tunnels and by eating bulbs and other plants materials. Their tunneling dislodges plants, damages and exposes roots, and creates unsightly mounds. Fortunately, with the exception of mating season during late winter and early spring, moles aren’t social creatures, so you should only have to deal with one mole at a time.

There are a variety of strategies that can be used to combat mole problems, but no one strategy is foolproof, so for best results use several strategies at once. Traps, repellents, and baits are all commonly used options. Mole specific varieties of these items can be purchased at garden or hardware stores.

Pocket Gophers

Similar to moles, gophers damage lawns and gardens by tunneling. Gopher tunnels can divert water and cause erosion, while the gophers themselves may damage roots and even irrigation systems by chewing on them. Typically, gophers are loners, but females may live together to cooperatively raise their young.

Gophers can be eliminated in much the same way as moles, through trapping and baits, but one can also fumigate gopher burrows to eliminate the problem. Once again, a combination of these strategies produces the best results. Purchase gopher specific products from a garden or hardware store or a specialty retailer.

Ants

While moles and gophers are annoying and potentially damaging, they’re not a threat. Ants, on the other hand, can be dangerous, especially if you suffer from ant allergies or are plagued by red imported fire ants. Though it can be tempting to deal with ants by just spraying insecticide on any ant you see, this doesn’t eliminate the colony. Using baits is a far more effective method for dealing with ants, because the ants will carry the bait back to the colony, where it is consumed by many ants, dealing far more damage than spraying individual ants. If you happen to know the location of the colony, using an insecticide to deal with it can be an effective method to deal with ant problems.

Voles

Voles, also called meadow mice, are rodents that cause damage primarily by feeding on a wide variety of plants, from turf grass to garden plants to fruit trees. Voles can be quite easily dealt with using traps and baits. Though voles live in shallow burrows, fumigants are not effective in dealing with them. Voles are also quite easy to prevent compared to other garden pests. Repellents are available for the deterrence of voles, but they are generally not very effective. Instead, a fence around your lawn or garden that rises at least a foot above the ground and sinks into the ground at least 6 to 10 inches should keep voles out. Make sure the fence has no holes larger than a quarter of an inch.

Professional Services

Even using these strategies, eliminating lawn pests may not be easy. If this is the case for you, consider hiring a professional. Though your first instinct may be to hire a pest control service, a lawn care service is often a better choice for lawn pests. Experienced lawn care professionals have specialized knowledge on how to eliminate lawn pests and how to protect your lawn and garden while doing so.

Lawnscape Systems, Inc. has been one of Southern Los Angeles’s first choices for lawn care for almost four decades. Lawnscape Systems offers several pest control options for homeowners including diseases and insect treatments, snail controls, and perimeter pest control, in addition to a variety of lawn care programs and additional services. Lawnscape uses only EPA certified products, minimizing the potential damage to your family and the environment. If you have common lawn pests, you don’t need to worry. Contact Lawnscape today to have your lawn pests eliminated.

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