Fire ants

Fire ants are hard working, organized and dangerous to some, so fighting them is not easy. Sometimes their mounds are mistaken for dirt which makes them even trickier to tackle. It is important to know what to look for and how to treat a fire ant problem.

Identifying a fire ant mound

A raised mound looks like a pile of aerated dirt. This is the displaced soil from the ants digging tunnels underground. Fire ants create amazing and expansive tunnels underground for escaping should anyone or anything dare to disturb the mound. This contains the eggs and larvae of the colony, along with countless worker ants. 

Disturbing the mound

When you disturb a fire ant mound, you might be shocked by the hundreds or thousands of ants that come rushing out. The agitated ants will then bite and sting anyone nearby. Fire ant stings hurt a little when you just have one, though it is more common to be stung multiple times by multiple fire ants.

The danger of fire ants

Blisters that develop afterwards are allergic reactions, though some people develop more severe reactions. The areas immediately surrounding the sting may swell, burn, or itch. These stings and/or allergic reactions to the stings can be very dangerous to our children and our pets, especially if they are allergic. 

Do not disturb

While there are plenty of DIY fire ant “solutions” you can try, most people are just chasing them around underneath your lawn. The best way to fight fire ants is with a bait system. A bait system does not disturb the mounds. When the mound is disturbed, fire ants get angry.

Bait systems for fire ants

With a fire ant bait system, the fire ants get the bait and return to their underground system of tunnels. They then “share” the bait with the army below your lawn. Lawn & Pest Solutions has the technology and expertise to provide season-long fire ant control treatment for houses

Our plan

Our treatments target the queen, not just the mound. Our plan is efficient and effective. In just two strategically timed bait applications, we typically wipe out 95% of your fire ants. We will visit two more times per year just to assess the effectiveness or apply more bait (if needed) at no extra charge. 

Give us a call or click here and we will send out a licensed technician to address your issues! We serve the North Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee areas with lawn and pest services. 

Wasp control

Wasp control is something almost everyone has encountered. While a wasp doesn’t usually go out of its’ way to sting, if you disrupt their space, they may get a little “stirred up”. 

Unless one is highly allergic to a wasp sting, they aren’t very harmful (but maybe painful). Those who ARE highly allergic to wasps can be in great danger from just one sting.

Just be calm.

If you happen to wander into a wasp nest, don’t start swatting! Swatting attracts more wasps, so calmly move away. Walk indoors if you can. If a wasp follows you indoors, open windows and doors and allow it some room to get out. 

Where to find wasps

Wasp nests are generally found around loose piles of wood and under porches. They can also be found along rafters or in rarely used empty cans, buckets and boxes.

What’s good about wasps?

The best redeeming quality of a wasp is that it helps us out by eating other insects. Spotting the difference between wasps and bees is pretty easy. Bees are “husky” and wasps are “slim”. Bees are “hairy” and wasps are “smooth”.

What attracts wasps?

  • Flowers and plant life
  • Outdoor eating areas
  • Uncovered and overflowing garbage cans 
  • Properties with many insects and spiders (prey for wasps)

When to control wasps?

Wasp nests are generally designed by the queen in the spring and they grow all spring and early summer. By August, nests are at their peak size and the wasps are at their most aggressive. If you have waited until now, get wasp control with the help of a professional or just try to avoid stirring them up. 

If you decide to just keep calm, let the frost do its’ work.  Then get rid of the nests so they don’t move back in next spring.  Be proactive and start looking for them early in the year. When you find them, destroy the nests and the queen before they grow and get really angry. 

Wasp prevention:

  • Remove abandoned nests in winter
  • Seal gaps in your home
  • Eliminate loose piles of wood and refuse in your yard
  • Clean up rotten fruit under fruit trees
  • Keep outdoor garbage tightly sealed

If you aren’t into wasp control, call a professional pest service like Lawn and Pest Solutions. They can control wasps while you stay safely indoors. Our techs can assess the situation and handle it promptly and safely. We serve the Memphis, Tennessee and North Mississippi areas. Give us a call to control wasps, hornets, bees and other angry pests!

Crape Myrtle Bark Scale

We talk about Crape Myrtle Bark Scale often, and the term “Crape Murder” is popular as well. When looking at photos, it is hard to tell exactly what you are seeing. Is it a plant, a growth, a bug? 

What is Crape Myrtle Bark Scale?

Crape Myrtle Bark Scale is actually a type of insect/pest that attaches itself to the trunk of a Crape Myrtle tree. Before you see the pest, you might first notice black areas forming on the trunk or branches of your tree.

It covers parts (or eventually all) of the Crape Myrtle tree with a black, sticky soot-like substance. The actual pest, the Bark Scale is a flat, light gray or white pest that feels like felt. If you press on the Bark Scale and it oozes a pink substance, it is active.

According to Clemson University, Crape Myrtle Bark Scale was first found in Texas in 2004. It has now (2022) spread across the South as far across as North Carolina. Most attribute the spread of CMBS to the movement of plant material across the region.

How does it do the damage?

You might first notice that sidewalks, driveways, shrubs and flowers, garbage cans, pools, toys under your trees are turning black. Everything under the infected tree will get a black, moldy, sooty stain. 

Crape Myrtle Bark Scale typically gathers in the branch crotches or at pruning areas, also under loose bark. As Crape Myrtle Bark Scale takes over, it begins to literally suck the life (sap) from your tree. The thick, black moldy soot will cover the tree and begin raining down onto everything underneath the tree.

Should I get rid of Crape Myrtle Bark Scale?

For some, the black sooty mold that covers your trees and everything underneath is more cause for concern than tree health. Deciding to treat Crape Myrtle Bark Scale may come down to you deciding to protect the investment you have made in your trees, your landscape, and your property.

It is commonly accepted that CMBS won’t kill your trees. In addition to being unattractive, the black mold prevents sunlight from reaching the tree. 

Bark Scale will most likely affect the number of flowers on your tree. The size of flower clusters and overall vigor in the plant health of your Crape Myrtle trees may also suffer. Crape Myrtle Bark Scale may even cause your trees to flower later than healthy trees. 

How is Crape Myrtle Bark Scale treated?

Treatment starts by systemically injecting treatment at the roots of the trees. This will slowly and methodically begin treating the entire tree and ridding it of the pest. 

In addition to the systemic treatment, we spray the entire tree with a growth regulator. This doesn’t improve the growth of the tree, it speeds up the process of getting rid of the Bark Scale. 

In the fall, Lawn and Pest Solutions applies dormant oil to the affected tree. This oil smothers and eliminates any remaining insects on the tree except those which are beneficial to the tree (like ladybugs). 

Each year afterwards, we do an annual systemic treatment as a preventative to keep the CMBS from returning. This treatment also has lawn fertilization  which will help your Crape Myrtle thrive in the future. Even if you don’t have Bark Scale now you might consider this preventative treatment. 

Crape Myrtles are some of the most beautiful flowering trees we have in the South. These majestic trees enhance our properties, parks, cities, and lawns. Contact us today to check on your investment! Lawn and Pest Solutions has a great system to treat your Crape Myrtles before this Crape Myrtle Bark Scale has a chance to infect your trees. Our licensed technicians are trained in recognizing and guiding you in the right direction for treatment and/or prevention. We treat Crape Myrtles in the Memphis, Tennessee area and all over North Mississippi.

Lawn Watering 101

Whether you ask, “how much water does my lawn need” or “will my lawn recover from this disease” the answer is always the same. The most important part of having a beautiful lawn is having a healthy lawn. Whatever is your seasonal challenge, a healthy lawn can fight back. 

A strong and healthy lawn is much more able to withstand extreme summer weather conditions like excessive rain or drought. Which brings us to and often asked question for #askpaul

How much water does my lawn need? 

If you have a common Southern grass like Zoysia, St. Augustine, Bermuda and Centipede, your lawn doesn’t really need a lot of water. These grasses have deep root systems that allow them to withstand drought. If your lawn is healthy and established, you can relax a little. Southern grasses like above can survive for weeks without water. 

Don’t get too relaxed…

Even your strong and healthy lawn of Southern grass needs some water now and then. When you have let things go for too long, it will go dormant and turn brown. 

What does dormant mean?

Dormant doesn’t mean your lawn is dead, it is just resting and saving its’ energy. Once your lawn gets water (whether from rain or your watering) it will recover.

Dormant lawns aren’t very attractive.

It’s true. No one wants to work all year (or invest in the upkeep!) on a lawn that turns brown. If your lawn is going dormant because we are too lazy to turn on the sprinklers, follow these simple guides. 

Lawn watering guides:

  • If your lawn looks a little gray or dull, water it! 
  • If you walk across your lawn and your footprints stay sunken, water it!
  • Water your lawn before 10:00 a.m. when the weather is cooler. This gives the water time to soak in and evaporate with wind and sun.
  • Or…water in the afternoon around 6:00 p.m. allowing the grass to dry before it gets dark.
  • Instead of watering once a week and possibly “overwatering,” divide your watering between two times a week.
  • As long as your lawn gets 1-1.5 inches of rain/water per week, your lawn will be fine.

You can make it even easier!

There are now “smart” options that allow you to program your watering systems. You can water your lawn from your smart phone and even link it to the local weather system to water at the exactly right time. 

Lawn and Pest Solutions can get your Southern grass lawn to a healthy state that can withstand extreme conditions.  You can keep it healthy by following our simple watering guide. Give us a call and we will send a licensed lawn technician your way. We serve neighborhoods and businesses from Memphis, Tennessee to all over North Mississippi with our Lawn 360 program.

Memphis pest control

Controlling pests in Memphis, TN is as easy as calling Lawn and Pest Solutions. We are specialists in pest control and can help you no matter where you are with a pest “situation.”

Are you ready for the professionals?

Whether in Memphis, Germantown or Collierville, keeping your home free of pests is a team effort. We go into homes every day to rid them of pests, but half of the battle is in prevention. 

Here are three ways to help you keep pests from ever entering your home

Clean up debris outside your home. 

Remove piles of twigs and leaves, bag them up and get them off of your property. Those piles make wonderful homes for pests. Any fallen branches or limbs leaning against your home should be removed. Branches that touch your home are like “ladders.” Squirrels, mice, and other pests use these to access your roof, attic, cracks in the home. 

Seal up your home.

Walk around outside and look closely for cracks and crevices where tiny mice and more could squeeze in. Look for the smallest openings around windows, under doors, gaps between the roof and home. Seal up those openings, if pests can’t get in, much of your problem is solved!

Clean up your home.

The most important place to keep clean is your kitchen. Keeping the inside of your home free of open food and water is a never ending, but very necessary process. Don’t leave dirty dishes in your sink overnight or leave pet food out overnight. Be sure to store pet food in an airtight container. Check your pantry to be sure that all food is sealed. Easy to access sweets and dry pastas are easy feeding sources for pests.

These three chores should be done regularly inside and outside of your Memphis home to help fight the war against pests. 

Our licensed pest technicians will spray outside and inside your home on their initial visit. This visit includes a thorough inspection inside and out, and if they can help close up those entry points for pests, they will. 

Our techs will also advise you on anything else you can do to help prevent pests. After the initial spraying, all follow up treatments are completed outside of your home. After the first (indoor) treatment, you don’t have to be home for the following (outdoor) treatments. 

Whether you are fighting roaches, ants, millipedes, or any other pests in your home, we can help you. You can contact our office any day or time by leaving a message on our website.

 Join us at Lawn and Pest Solutions to experience the LPS Difference. Ask about the Pest360 program. Read our reviews on Google and see our satisfied customers.  Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about our company and our professional and friendly technicians. We serve the Memphis, TN and North Mississippi areas.

Pests in Christmas decorations

Pests in Christmas decorations have hilariously become a part of our holiday traditions. Watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is something many of us include in our December playlist. The infamous scene of Chevy Chase being attacked by the squirrel living in his tree will live forever!

So how DID that squirrel get into the Griswold’s tree? 

He hitchhiked in with it, of course! We say this again and again, the biggest key to keeping your home pest-free is never letting pests into your home. One of the easiest ways for pests to get into your home at this time of year is via your Christmas decorations. 

Why do pests like Christmas decor so much?

As you unpack the precious ornaments your children made long ago, have you noticed any changes? The ice cream cone reindeer may be missing his cinnamon candy nose.  Pests enjoy edible ornaments children make like candy cane reindeer and cookie dough snowmen. Some ornaments that we might not consider to be edible, pests do! 

It’s not too late!

If you have already decorated for the season, pack them up appropriately when you take them down. Here are a few tips to keep pests out of your Christmas decorations over the next year:

Store everything in air tight plastic containers. Cardboard boxes are not an option.

If you have an artificial tree, wrap it up tightly in plastic.

If you have hung artificial wreaths or garlands outside, shake them out and wrap them just as tightly. At the very least, store them in an air tight plastic tub.

As you lug boxes to and from your attic, basement or storage room, consider how pests can get in the box. It’s not hard to get into a cardboard box if you are a pest. Next Christmas, when you bring decor back into your house, just remember you are bringing ALL of the contents into your house.

Whether you take your Christmas decorations down December 26th or Valentine’s Day, putting them away is as important as decorating day. Keeping pests away is important when they are going up or coming down! 

Starting with a basement, attic, storage room and home that are already pest free helps keep pests away year round. What you bring into your home at the holidays is something you can control. 

Lawn and Pest Solutions in New Albany, MS can help you prevent pests year round. We have licensed technicians who are trained to thoroughly inspect your home and treat them for your specific needs. We service Memphis, TN and all over North Mississippi and would be glad to provide pest services for inside and outside of your home or business. Contact us here to begin your pest free holidays.