How often should my home be serviced to prevent bugs?
The trend in residential pest control has moved away from monthly service and toward service on a less frequent basis. The reasons for this include refined, longer lasting products and a more integrated approach to pest management. Pest control professionals, such as Petri’s, have implemented a program using a variety of materials, including baits. By targeting areas where pests live and breed, instead of the old practice of just spraying baseboards, we have improved the quality and effectiveness of the service greatly. Advising customers on conditions that exist that promote insect activity at their home or business and how to eliminate these conditions, is something that makes monthly spraying unnecessary in most cases. Petriís recommends either a bi-monthly or quarterly service for most homes depending on certain factors such as current insect activity and customer availability.
Are the pesticides you use safe to have in my home?
Since the purpose of all pesticides is to kill insects, by definition they cannot be called ìsafeî. However, by applying these products in a correct and responsible manner consistent with the product label and directions, there will be no danger posed to people, pets, or plants. Petri’s trains its technicians in all aspects of safety when handling pesticides. Most of the products Petriís uses have a Caution label on them, indicating the lowest level of toxicity (Warning and Danger indicate higher levels). Petriís can also provide customers copies of labels and material safety data sheets on all the products we use, should a customer have further concerns.
How do you get rid of those tiny ants?
The tiny ants are most likely ghost ants or pharaoh ants although there are several varieties commonly found in South Florida. As is true with all ants, the best way to solve the problem is to locate and eliminate all nesting sites. This is of course part of Petriís treatment strategy as well. We realize, however, that finding all the nests can be very difficult, as ants often live in a wide variety of obscure and inaccessible areas. These tiny ants are generally sweet-feeding ants and placing of a combination of liquid and gel sweet baits where ants have been seen is a key step in control. Ghost ants in particular are often found in kitchens and bathrooms, since these ants require moisture and food. These areas and the perimeter of the house should also be thoroughly inspected for foraging ants. Insects that live on shrubs and trees and produce honeydew, such as aphids and scale, can attract sweet feeding ants and should be treated as part of an ant control program. Finally, homeowners can help out greatly through sanitation, trimming back of landscaping that touches the structure, and caulking or sealing of cracks and crevices.
What kind of bugs do you treat for and what is covered under a typical pest control policy?
This can vary from company to company. Petri’s signature service, Protect-A-Guard, controls all the most commonly encountered crawling pests including: the wide variety of ants found in South Florida, cockroaches, spiders, and occasional invaders like silverfish and pill bugs. Because certain pests, such as fleas and ticks, are normally only a problem for customers who have pets, an additional treatment plan is required to address fleas and tick problems. Termites are another group of insects that requires specialized service and treatments. Regular pest control service, unfortunately, will do nothing to prevent termites. For flying insect problems, including mosquitoes, Petri has specific treatment programs designed to control these nuisance pests.
Does the chemical you use have an odor and do I need to leave my home before service?
Most people notice very little to no odor at all with the vast majority of our products. This has been the case for quite a few years as chemicals have been refined and improved. Petri’s Protect-A-Guard service for the home also greatly reduces the amount of products used inside the home since it focuses primarily on where insects originate from, the outside perimeter. There is normally no need to leave your home while inside service is being done. If we are performing a flea control service or if you are pregnant or extra sensitive to the products we are using you will need to leave for only a short period of time. Petri’s first concern is always safety and we will always take all factors into consideration before performing any service.
Back To Top
Why is it important to have my lawn sprayed?
Although there are a great many beneficial insects in Florida lawns, there are also some harmful insects that must be treated. Chinch bugs, sod webworms, armyworms, white grubs, and fire ants are the most common pests to damage St. Augustinegrass in South Florida. Under certain conditions, fungus and disease can develop in a lawn and a fungicide must be applied so these conditions can be remedied. Regular spraying of a lawn with the proper mixture of nutrients will feed the lawn and help maintain a healthy green appearance. Spraying herbicides, if done carefully and correctly by a professional, can also help reduce weeds in a lawn.
Will having my lawn sprayed help stop ants from getting in my home?
Only on a very limited basis. Some ants foraging across the lawn may die, but lawn spraying is mainly intended to control insects that can be harmful to the lawn itself, such as chinch bugs and sod webworms. While Fire ant mounds in the lawn can be treated, other ants are better treated through a pest control service such as Petri’s Protect-A-Guard program, which relies more on locating and eliminating ant nesting sites, baiting, and perimeter spraying of the home.
How often should I water my lawn?
It is best to water your lawn on an as needed basis rather than a set schedule that doesnít take into account rainfall and other weather conditions that may cause the lawn to be too dry or too saturated. Look for signs such as blades closing, a bluish-gray appearance to the grass, or footprints left behind as you walk across the lawn. When these conditions are present, it is time for a deep watering of the lawn. Early morning in the 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. range is the best time to water the lawn in order to decrease the chance of excessive evaporation. It is important to water for a substantial period of time in order to develop a deep root system and therefore a stronger lawn. A general rule is to put out æ to 1 inch of water when the lawn shows water deficiency symptoms. This usually can range from 25 to 50 minutes a section depending on how much water your sprinkler system puts out. Following this process typically results in a lawn being watered 2 to 3 times a week in the Summer and approximately once every 10 days in the Winter months. Remember, this schedule can change with weather conditions.
Do you have any advice for how to mow my lawn properly?
Along with proper watering, mowing is one of the most essential maintenance practices that contribute to a high quality lawn. The two most important components of mowing are cutting height and frequency. The highest setting of the mower should be used to condition the turf. You should never mow off more than 1/3 of the blade when cutting. This will minimize stress on the lawn and will leave enough leaf surface for photosynthesis to occur which provides food for regrowth. Cutting at the high end will increase the grass leaf area and density and create more root growth. Other advantages to this practice include less of a need for fertilizer and water and higher resistance to pests and thatch. Also, a thicker lawn will choke out weeds through competition for sunlight and nutrients. Mowing should also be done enough to minimize the shock of cutting. The frequency should be adjusted to the growth of the turf. In the summer, it will be necessary to mow more frequently than the winter. Keeping mower blades sharp is also extremely important to the appearance of the lawn. Mower blades should be sharpened as often as prior to every other cutting. A dull mower blade will leave a ragged appearance to the lawn and make the lawn susceptible to disease. Lastly, if mowing is done frequently enough, clippings from mowing can usually be returned to the lawn to help recycle nutrients to Floridaís sandy soils. This will not contribute to the thatch layer.
How often should my lawn be fertilized?
Most St. Augustinegrass lawns in South Florida should be fertilized at least twice a year in the Fall and Spring. Additional fertilizations may be needed in the Winter and Summer depending on other maintenance practices (proper watering and mowing provide less of a need for fertilization). A complete fertilizer should be applied at the rate of 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet per application. A slow release nitrogen-only fertilizer or a liquid iron mixture may be applied in between these complete fertilizations. Petriís applies a granular complete fertilizer in the Fall, Spring, and sometimes Winter. In between these services and especially in the Summer we apply a liquid iron and micronutrient spray to the lawn to maintain a healthy green appearance without excessive growth.
Back To Top
Tree and Ornamental Care
What is the recommended maintenance program for trees and ornamentals?
Just like lawns in South Florida, many of our trees and ornamental plants are also susceptible to insects and disease and therefore should be treated on a regular basis as well. Popular shrubs and trees such as Ixoras and Hibiscuis are commonly infected with various aphids, scale, mealy bugs, beetles, and caterpillars. A schedule of 4 to 6 spray applications per year is recommended in most cases. Trees and ornamentals also require timed fertilizations throughout the year to provide the nutrients they need. Between two and four granular fertilizations and two liquid applications is Petriís general recommendation. However, this can vary depending on the kind of trees and shrubs that are being maintained. Palm trees, for example, require more fertilizer than many other trees and shrubs. Certain times during the year it may be necessary to provide a deep root injection of liquid micronutrients in between the regular fertilizations.
What is the black film I have been noticing on the leaves of my shrubs?
This is sooty mold, which is a fungus that is caused by the excretions of honeydew from insects like aphids, scale, greenbugs, and mealybugs that in turn attracts ants which encourages growth of the fungus. The cure for this is to treat for the honeydew producing insects that are ultimately the cause of the problem. Once treated, this will stop the problem from spreading and new growth that emerges from the plant will not be infected by the black fungus. However, soap, water, and scrubbing may be needed to remove the film from the old foliage.
Back To Top
How do I know if what I am finding in my home are termites or flying ants?
Flying ants and winged termites are commonly confused. Both can swarm out each year by the hundreds or even thousands and often they swarm the same time of year. There are three distinct ways they differ though. Ants have elbowed antennae, a thin pinched waist, and smaller hind wings than front wings. Termites have straight antennae, a broad waist, and perfectly symmetrical wings.
How can you know if you have termites?
The truth is many times you can’t know for certain. A large percentage of the average home can’t be seen. In between walls, behind baseboards, and in areas of an attic or crawl space are all hidden areas that termites can be harboring. Many times, extensive damage can be occurring for years in these areas before people notice the problem. It is still a good idea to have the house inspected on an annual basis. Petri’s professionals are trained to check for signs of termite activity. This might be damaged or soft wood, mud tubes, pellets, or termite wings and bodies from swarmers. Since even the most thorough inspection does not always reveal this evidence and does not fully guarentee absence of termites, Petri’s recommends a preventative treatment for a customer’s peace of mind.
Back To Top
How much does your service usually cost?
This of course varies depending on such factors such as the size of the home, business or lawn we are treating, what program or service schedule the customer wants, and what is the extent of the infestation we are asked to treat. For example, a large home having an infestation of White-Footed ants will be priced higher than a small home that is just in need of preventative maintenance. For these reasons, the best way to receive the most accurate estimate is to have a Petri’s inspector thoroughly survey and inspect your home, business, and/or lawn. To schedule a free estimate you can e-mail us or call us at (954) 781-4100. We would be happy to give you all the information you need to decide what service is best for you.
Why should I hire a pest control company when I can do it on my own?
There are many advantages to having a professional company, such as Petri’s, handle your pest problems. Firstly, we are trained in identifying the insects you are encountering and determining the proper strategy for treatment. The biology and habits of each insect differ and therefore many are treated with differing approaches. For example, certain ant species, such as pharaoh ants, require a baiting strategy when they are found inside, and spraying can actually compound the problem by spreading and splintering the colony to new areas. This is information that most homeowners are not aware of and professional pest control technicians are aware of because of their training. Secondly, professionals are also trained in properly handling pesticides and treatment materials in an environmentally responsible manner. Lastly, many have found the time and expense of buying their own equipment and products and treating their entire property is simply not worth it. They have found that hiring a professional to do the job is a comparatively small and very worthwhile investment.
Back To Top