A “wasps nest” isn’t something you want to unexpectedly wander into…

But let’s say you do. Don’t start swatting! That attracts more wasps, be calm and move away. Walk indoors if you can. But wait, it followed you inside? Open windows and doors and allow it some room to get out, that’s what it really wants anyway, to get outside. Wasps nests are generally found around loose piles of wood, under porches, along rafters or in empty cans, buckets, boxes etc. that are rarely used. Wasp nests can be rather large and look somewhat like a paper football.

Don’t kill the bees!

By now, everyone knows to protect the bees, but wasps, they are another story. While wasps don’t pollinate plants, they do help us out by eating other insects. Wasps, if you don’t know, pack a pretty tough punch when they sting you, but they don’t die afterwards. But how do you tell the difference between a bee and a wasp? Bees are “husky” and wasps are “slim”, bees are “hairy” and wasps are smooth. While there are other characteristics, aren’t these super easy to remember ? Husky and Hairy versus Slim and Smooth, really great names and mascots for a wrestling match. 

“Wasps Nests” can you say that three times really fast?

Wasp nests are generally designed by the queen in the spring and they grow all spring and early summer. By August, the nests are at their peak size and the wasps are at their most aggressive. The end of the summer is not the best time for you to decide to get rid of a wasp nest on your own.  By August, either get the help of a professional or just try to avoid stirring them up. Wait and let the frost get them, then get rid of the nests so they don’t move back in next spring.  If you are a self declared wasp hunter, start looking for them early in the year and destroy the nests (and the queen) before they grow and get really angry. 

Stop them before they have a fighting chance.

Here are five things you can do to prevent wasps from taking up residence with you next spring:

  • 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

Wasp hunters, is that a thing?

Well of course, there’s always “that guy” who decides to either make art of an underground wasp nest (watch here). And then there’s the “inventor” type who decides to modify and old fan and make a wasp vacuum cleaner of sorts to suck all the wasps out of a nest (watch here). Personally, I am allergic to wasp stings and there’s no way I would attempt either of these unique approaches. I would call a professional pest service like Lawn and Pest Solutions and let them handle this while I stayed safely inside. A licensed technician from Lawn and Pest can assess the situation and handle it promptly and safely. We serve all areas between Memphis, Oxford, New Albany and Tupelo and everywhere in between. Give us a call and avoid wasps, hornets, bees and other angry pests!

Is The Very Hungry Caterpillar really based on Armyworms?

Do you remember how this popular children’s book goes?

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (an excerpt)

In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf.

One Sunday morning, the warm sun came up and pop! – out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar.

He started to look for some food.

On Monday he ate through one apple. But he was still hungry.

By Sunday he wasn’t hungry anymore, so he built himself a cocoon,  took a big nap, and two weeks later he was a beautiful butterfly!

Or was he a moth? There are a LOT of similarities when you start reading….

Armyworms aren’t really worms at all

Armyworms start out as night flying moths that arrive in swarms after a cool, wet spring. You might notice them flying around the lights on your porch at night. The gray moths will arrive en masse and cover your lawn while you sleep. There they can lay up to 300 eggs per night for 3 nights, meaning each moth can lay up to almost 1,000 eggs. (Are you starting to see how they got the name “Army” worms?) Seven days later, they hatch as “very hungry caterpillars” and start feasting.

He ate and he ate and he ate.

The caterpillars or Armyworms will spend the next 20-25 days eating everything green, yellow or red. They can destroy lawns or crops almost overnight. Their only objective is to eat as much as possible. After the feast ends, they rest for about 2 weeks before emerging as a moth. The cycle continues….with the possibility of three generations of Armyworms in just one summer through fall. This newscast from 2018 shows how crops in Texas were devastated by an invasion of Armyworms.

This “very hungry caterpillar” isn’t so cute anymore.

If you aren’t convinced this is a pest instead of a cute little caterpillar, look for these signs:

  • Little bits of chewed up leaves
  • “Skeletonized” leaves 
  • The presence of birds (who like to feast on Armyworms)
  • Moths swarming around your outside lights at night

How do you stop the invasion?

Because they arrive at night and hide themselves so well, you may not even know you have been invaded until the damage is done. You can be on the lookout, you can read up about Armyworms here but whatever you do, if you THINK you have them, act immediately. Just remember after the eggs have been laid, you have 7 days before the feasting begins. The feasting on your lawn. 

Every story doesn’t end like this…

“Then he nibbled a hole in the cocoon, pushed his way out, and…he was a beautiful butterfly.”  Now that you know more about Armyworms, you definitely know better. If you see any signs of an Armyworm attack on your lawn, please give us a call as soon as possible. Let our licensed lawn and pest technicians evaluate what is happening and plan an attack on these pests. Our Lawn and Pest Solutions crew will help you recover your lawn and protect it from future invasions. We send our trucks all over the Memphis and Oxford areas as well as all of North Mississippi.

Bed bugs are back!

In 1978 The Rolling Stones sang these lyrics in their classic, “Shattered” 

“To live in this town you must be tough, tough, tough, tough, tough!

You got rats on the West Side

Bed bugs Uptown

What a mess this town’s in tatters, I’ve been shattered”

42 years later, and guess who’s still kicking? 

The Rolling Stones AND bed bugs. Sorry friends, but they are back, with a vengeance, and not just in Manhattan. (This blog should have come with a disclaimer…”this post may make you itchy”. )

Some of us may not remember the old days of bed bugs, back when people traveled with their own pesticides in their luggage. When you sprayed your motel mattress down because it was assumed bed bugs were present. This new generation of bed bugs is stronger, more resilient than ever and it takes more than a good travel sized spray down to attack. 

How do bed bugs get into my clean home? 

Bed bugs have nothing to do with cleanliness. They are called “hitchhikers” and will ride home on the bottoms of your shoes, your luggage, purses and backpacks. They usually hide out on soft or upholstered surfaces like beds, sofas, carpets.  They can even travel from room to room in apartment buildings, five star hotels and dormitories. All bed bugs are looking for is a good meal and a place to hide, they don’t need trash or filth, just your blood.

Speaking of blood.

Bed bugs like a good “blood meal”. Yes, that is a term that is hard to erase from memory. Some can go for almost two years without a “blood meal”. After engorging themselves on your blood (while you sleep), they scurry away to hide in the seams of a mattress, under the baseboards, sometimes behind the paintings on the walls. If there is an infestation, they can be found in the folds of curtains, and seams of sofas and chairs. 

Are you afraid to even look for them?

This is totally understandable. Even the signs of bed bugs make you need a shower. Look for these signs of bed bugs:

Tiny blood stains that look like rust on your sheets or pillowcases.

Dark/rusty spots of bedbug excrement on bedding, mattresses and walls. 

Fecal spots, eggs shells or shed skins in hiding places.

A musty odor. 

Is anyone else feeling dirty and itchy yet?

Could this blog get any yuckier?

Imagine researching bed bugs for a living. Then having to go to a hotel and actually get some sleep! But just in case you need more, here’s a video that shows bed bugs in action. Now that you have been fully exposed to everything you could ever want to know about bed bugs, you must be asking….

What can I do to get rid of bed bugs? Or better yet, why did they come back?

The world thought it had taken care of bed bugs forever. Two things happened. First, the bed bugs became stronger and more resistant to the poison. Second, the pesticide used to kill them was banned. This can be likened to how doctors tell us to not overuse antibiotics because we will become resistant to them. Not that we want to have anything in common with bed bugs.

Here’s where we come in.

When you suspect you have bed bugs (you may notice tiny bites on your body) it’s a really good idea to call professionals ASAP. There are plenty of DIY applications you can attempt, but how comfortable do you feel with baking soda getting rid of a pest that eats a “blood meal” and hides in your bed? Exactly.

 If you call us at Lawn and Pest Solutions, we will come inspect your home and if needed, treat it very thoroughly. Then we will come back in 7-14 days and treat it again (because those eggs will have hatched by then). You will have some work to do as well. Our technicians will leave you with a checklist of things to do, like washing and drying all linens with high heat. Getting rid of bed bugs is not fun, it’s not easy, but it can be done. For most, the worst part about bed bugs is just knowing they are there. Count me in that number. 

Our pest technicians are making their way all over the Memphis area, North Mississippi, Oxford, Tupelo and of course, New Albany. Let us help you fight the war against pests, as we say, “you shouldn’t have to live with them!” Contact us here for a quote.

Should I treat this fungus on my lawn?

Should I treat this fungus on my lawn? Of course you should! If you are reading this blog, you have probably invested plenty of time and money into your lawn.  Why would you NOT treat a fungus that could destroy your beautiful lawn?

Never stop learning

A fungus. The fun never ends when you are writing a blog about lawns and pests. Especially when you know nothing about lawns OR pests! So it goes without saying that an easy way to start a blog about something you know nothing about is to “Google it”!

Fungus or Fungi?

While googling may not get what you really need at first, you always learn something new and usually find something to laugh about. For instance, the plural of fungus is fungi and what better way to remind us of that than this scene from Seinfeld

Just one more random reference.

Let’s go ahead and get this obvious fungus connection over with, but how could I write so much about fungi and NOT mention this very gross and hard to erase memory?  Yes, it’s the commercial for Lamisil (the animated toenail fungus who climbs underneath the big cartoon toenail). I am so sorry. Moving on to the real mission here. A fungus can be easily treated by our trained lawn technicians. You just need to watch for it and call us if you see the signs. 

What type of fungus is growing in my yard? 

The main types of fungus that tend to grow in our popular grass types include:

  • Dollar Spot/Bermuda grass: can cause spots of brown or straw-colored that start as small as a grapefruit. Beware, they can grow to take over your whole yard.
  • Rust/Zoysia grass: to check for rust fungus, take a white tissue and rub a few grass blades. If an orange color comes off on the tissue, you have a rust problem.
  • Gray Leaf Spot/St. Augustine grass: leaves large gray spots on your grass blades that grow larger as the infestation gets worse.

Why now?

Sometimes fungi become a problem when we have had too much rain, sometimes when we haven’t had enough. A common cause for fungi trouble is mowing our lawns too low. Even having a dull mower blade can be an issue or irritant for fungi. Some sources even suggest that if you have a really large lawn that you sharpen your blades a second time mid season!

What can be done to rid my yard of this fungus?

Our techs will come by and investigate and determine the best plan of treatment. A fungicide can be applied to your lawn and have the fungus problem under control in no time. All healthy lawns contain millions of fungi spores at all times. Most fungi will never cause problems , but we never know when one is going to decide to show off. 

As with all lawn issues, when you are working with professionals like Lawn and Pest Solutions, we are only a phone call away.  If you see something going on in your yard, and you know it’s not right, let us know so that we can address the issues before more damage can occur. Your lawn is your investment and we want to help you not only maintain it, but allow it to thrive.  If you aren’t already a customer of ours, consider contacting us here, we serve the areas of Memphis, Oxford, Tupelo and all of North Mississippi. 

How to repair a bald spot in your lawn

Repairing a bald spot in your lawn is fairly easy. Maybe not as easy as buying a can of spray on grass, but it’s a totally doable process. If only it were as simple as Ron Popeil of  Ronco in the early 90’s pushed with “GLH”, his Great Looking Hair spray on hair product. If you don’t remember spray on hair, check out this video for two minutes of pure delight. Speaking of things that are bald…

But the bald eagle isn’t bald!

A simple Google search of bald spot brings up many images before you find a patchy looking lawn. You can imagine…a bald eagle, which isn’t bald after all. Yes, I had to find out how it got its’ name here. That lead to a search for “famous people with a bald spot” and guess what? Not many results. Looks like famous people take care of their bald spots before the paparazzi catches them! Let’s get on to repairing bald spots on your lawn…

The dog did it.

Before getting to the repair, you must first determine the cause of your bald spot(s). For many, bald spots are caused by pet urine. Yuck. Specifically dog urine. But what can you do? One fairly easy solution to stopping the damage is to redirect your dog to other areas to relieve themselves. This will take action on your part, as dogs tend to visit their same spots. It also assumes that you are taking your dog out on a leash and have control of where he or she “visits”. If that is not the case, skip to the “I don’t even have a dog!” section below. 

I don’t even have a dog!

Pet urine is not the only reason for bald spots in lawns (I never thought I would type that phrase), there could be issues with disease, weed or insect infestation.  If this is the case, contact us at Lawn and Pest Solutions and get our guys out to do some investigating. Let us help you determine the cause before we attack with a solution. Solutions for bald spots are pretty easy to understand and don’t require too much labor. 

Seed or sod

The two easiest ways to repair a bald spot on your lawn are to either plant seed or lay sod over the bald spots. Of all of the DIY articles around, this one from HGTV is easy to follow. Either way you go, the steps are simple to follow and in the big scheme of things, not very time consuming. Within a couple of weeks (and regular watering) your bald spots could be a thing of the past. 

RONCO was on to something.

While we can’t offer spray on grass for your lawn, we can easily handle your bald spot issues. Your lawn may have bald spots today, but contact us and we can have our guys out as soon as possible to get rid of “those embarrassing problem areas”. One of RONCO’s biggest selling points was membership in his club. You can benefit from our Lawn 360 program, too! Having you and our guys working together as a team will only make your lawn better. We service the North Mississippi and Memphis areas and have loyal and dependable technicians who are dedicated to doing the best for our customers. Contact us here for an estimate and let us get you on the road to a healthy and lush lawn.

How much should I water my lawn?

Have you ever read an online recipe that seems simple and easy? Then you read the comments and before you know it, the “suggestions” make you order a pizza instead? This is what happens if you read too many articles on “How much should I water my lawn?”

Do I have to?

Well, it depends. Our common grasses in the South (Zoysia, St. Augustine, Bermuda and Centipede) have deep root systems. A deep root system typically allows our lawns to withstand drought. If you have an established, healthy lawn, you don’t really have to water. These types of lawns can go dormant and survive for weeks without water. They will turn brown, but once water (rain) returns, they will recover! 

How do I know when my lawn needs a drink?

After a rainy season in the South, it seems like we will never need to water our lawn. Just remember, July is coming! But there are ways to know when your lawn needs “a drink”. If your lawn looks a little gray or dull, water it! If you walk across your lawn and your footprints stay sunken, give it a drink!

When do I water my lawn?

Get up and get going, water your lawn before 10:00 a.m. when it is cooler.  You need this calm time of day to let the water soak in before it evaporates with sun and wind later. Maybe you like to come home from work and water as you unwind. Try to get watering done before 6:00 p.m. so the blades of grass can dry before dark. 

Let’s keep it simple this time.

If your lawn gets 1” to 1.5” of water in a week per week, your lawn will be fine. Whether the water comes from a good rainfall or a really high tech system, it all counts the same. If you are watering, it is really best if you can divide your waterings into two per week. 

Maybe you aren’t into “simple”

If dragging out the old green hose and spraying your yard is too old fashioned, there are plenty of options. Old fashioned sprinklers are still around, but today you have “smart” options that allow you to program your watering systems. You can even water your lawn from your smart phone if you want to show off at the baseball game. Some smart systems are even linked to the local weather systems info and will water at the most perfect moments. 

Did this information send you to the watering hole?

Hopefully not. If you are really into it, there are so many articles with more information, You can become a lawn scientist or a lawn watering mathematician, but like a simple recipe, why ruin it? Start with a healthy lawn, and we at Lawn and Pest Solutions can get you to that point. Keep your lawn healthy with some simple watering tips above. Do a little research, get a little help. Give us a call. We can send a licensed lawn technician over, get you a quote and have you watering that lush green lawn in no time at all. We serve the areas from Memphis to all over North Mississippi. 

Should I mulch or bag?

For a person who has never mowed a lawn in her life, I have watched more YouTube videos about lawn care than I could have ever dreamed. The things you do when writing a blog on the topic of “mulching versus bagging” are surprising. 

Should I mulch my lawn?

What are the benefits of mulching your lawn clippings? I asked my 17 year old daughter (another person who has never touched a lawnmower) what she thought the benefits would be . Her reply, “well, there must be some sort of nutrients or vitamins or something that your yard gets from the clippings”. OK, this is starting to make good common sense! Yes, there are nutrients galore in your clippings. According to one expert, one of the most beneficial is water.

So you want to mow it and leave it…

You knew there would be a catch. Mulching your lawn clippings and leaving them to nourish the lawn is a “win-win” situation. However, if you are committed, mowing once a week during this time of year (May through August) is required. Yes, once a week, sometimes every 5 days. Clippings that are allowed to pile up on top of growing lawns encourage the problem of thatch. Final answer, if you can’t commit to once a week, bag it up. 

Committed to the mulch?

Mulching is wonderful for your lawn. Mulch once a week and your yard is going to thrive. However, not all lawnmowers are made for mulching. There are two keys to success. The first part of your commitment is to make sure you have the  proper equipment. First, a lawnmower that is made for mulching. Second, setting your lawnmower blade to the proper height. Refer to the owners manual for specifics. The end result of a commitment to mulching is a beautiful and healthy lawn. 

Whatever happened to “summers off?” 

If mowing your lawn once a week give you second thoughts, there is another option. Bagging your lawn clippings isn’t anything to be ashamed of, own this option! If once a week lawn mowing is out of the question, get those clippings off of your lawn. Now that we know better, the “bagging” option is really referring more to the lawnmower’s collection system. Disposing of your clippings responsibly today looks more like using them for compost, not throwing bags of “lawn garbage” in a land fill. There are consequences to leaving your clippings too long.

Looks good, looks good…

If you leave clippings piled up on your lawn all summer while it’s growing like crazy, you are going to have a bigger weed problem in the form of thatch. One positive benefit to bagging your clippings is the satisfying thought of having a totally “clean” lawn. We can all picture a parent or grandparent standing proudly with hands on hips, admiring the freshly mowed and raked lawn! I can’t imagine my extremely detail oriented and lawn obsessed grandmother EVER leaving her lawn clippings out. I can hear her now…

So what did we decide?

Mulching is good for your lawn, but you need a good machine, set to the right blade height and you need to be mowing every 5-7 days. Bagging is not bad, especially if you don’t have the time to mow so frequently or if you don’t have the right equipment. Whatever you decide, you can always contact our licensed lawn techs at Lawn and Pest Solutions for help. If thatch has already gotten the best of you, let us help you get that under control. Call our North Mississippi office, we serve the Memphis area and all over North Mississippi.

Sports Field Management

As a newbie to lawn care terminology, “sports field management” makes me think of not the angry coach who storms the field. I think of the older, more calm “sports manager” who comes out of the dugout to pull the angry guy off the umpire. This older guy is obviously, the “sports field manager”. However, a little knowledge goes a long way, and I have recently learned what sports field management means around here.

All you need is a coach and a tractor

Not that long ago, the management of many smaller school sports fields were the responsibility of the coaches. A lucky coach was one who had a few maintenance guys on a crew to help them out in the summer. It’s not that far fetched to assume that there have been parents, booster clubs, even players who put in hours attempting to keep the field cut and green. However, the level of competition continues to rise.

Best BBQ in town

Today, sports are about more than who won the game. It’s about the nicest stadiums, coolest uniforms, loudest sound system and best looking media guides. Hey, we even judge you on your BBQ nachos around here. What team doesn’t want all of that? In addition to looking good in, around, and on the field, the field itself needs to look good! 

OK, it’s more than just good looks.

The sports field is more than just a green patch of grass or “turf”. The field of play should be healthy, thriving and safe! A safe field is not too wet, not too dry, it has the correct density so as not to cause injuries to players. A lush and thriving field can be used quickly after rain. No one has time to forfeit or reschedule games because of a waterlogged field! So what does it take to have a healthy sports field?

Three steps to a thriving and beautiful field of play

There are three key “ingredients” to reviving, building or even dreaming of a healthy field of play. Verticutting, aeration and topdressing are key to good sports field health. Verticutting allows your turf to breathe easy, absorb nutrients and soak in moisture. Aeration perforates the soil to allow water, air and nutrients in. Top dressing applies sand or a soil mixture after aeration. These three steps conducted by our licensed technicians at Lawn and Pest Solutions can give you a winning field . Contact us here at Lawn and Pest Solutions. We are located in North Mississippi and service areas from the Memphis area and south. Our expanding sports field management services could be just what your team needs for a winning season.